Will Terrell by Will Terrell
This past weekend’s “Texas Country Reporter” segment on the Lubbock Sketch Club seems like a good time to present this short interview I did with the Sketch Club’s head honcho, Will Terrell.
Could you tell us something about yourself? Background, history, age, biography, etc…
I did not grow up in West Texas, in fact I moved around a whole lot before I ended up here. From Austin to Dallas to Denver to Houston and so on. Nine times in all. I moved to Lubbock my Senior year of High school and graduated in 1995 from Lubbock High.
I decided I wanted to make comic books for a living after graduation, mostly because I couldn’t really picture myself doing anything else. I’ve pretty much always been a storyteller. Even as a little kid I would make up invisible worlds wherever I was. Moving around so much, your imagination is pretty much all you have. I’d lay in bed, or in a field somewhere, and make up stories involving every person I knew going on some strange adventure or another with me. In retrospect, it was only natural for me to do that for the rest of my life.
How did the Sketch Club come about?
The Sketch Club came about from my experiences living in San Diego. I worked as a caricature artist out there at Seaworld and Legoland California. While there, I worked with hundreds of other professional artists — cartoonists, caricature artists, comic book artists, and so on. This environment, combined with the knowledge I attained studying at the Watts Atelier of the Arts, allowed me to learn more in a six month period than I’d learned in 10 years in West Texas. It was the entire culture of learning as a group and constantly challenging each other that inspired me to start the Sketch Club when I returned to Lubbock.
I don’t believe that Lubbock has any less talent than other cities, the problem is that there aren’t enough resources or opportunities to do something with it. In this I saw an opportunity for the Sketch Club. I’d been trying to start some sort of comic book artists group in Lubbock since the very beginning. I’ve tried lots of different ways of doing that. From publishing companies, to artist studios, to teaching classes and workshops. None of those seemed to work though. I can honestly say though, that the Lubbock Sketch Club is already enormously successful at what I intended it for. And it is only getting better and better.
Things look to be moving forward very quickly for y’all, especially with the new space at Asbury. Please tell us a little about the new space and all it entails? How quickly is the Sketch Club growing?
The Hope Shalom Community has provided a space for the Sketch Club to give hands-on art education to the community. We are very grateful for this opportunity. Our attitude is to be interactive with teaching and learning. To make the process fun and easy, and teaching people to teach themselves. This is why you’ll see us at local events covering 4 or 5 tables with artists of all ages drawing and having fun.
The new spaces at the Asbury United Methodist Church allow us to do several things. We’ve started with a weekly figure drawing/painting group and that has been very successful so far. It’s training that is available to anyone, that might otherwise be very hard to come by outside of a university (sometimes even INside of a university). In the spring we will begin the next phase of the Sketch Club by hosting monthly workshops on illustration, digital painting, cartooning, etc., as well as a weekly after-school program. We’re very excited about that.
The sketchclub seems to be growing at a steady pace. We just passed our first birthday in October, and we had 35 people show up to our weekly Freebirds Saturday Sketch Night. The numbers tend to fluctuate each week, but we average 20-30. And we’re constantly getting new people along with our regulars cycling through depending on their schedules. Our figure drawing group averages 6-10 people every Wednesday night, and we intend to grow that into multiple nights.
What do you have planned for the Sketch Club’s future?
In the immediate future, we are planning to publish our 3rd issue of the Sketch Club Sketchbook in January. Along with our first comic book anthology. We are also putting together our first comic book CONVENTION in conjunction with the Science Spectrum and Star Books and Comics scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 (Free Comic Book Day!).
In the near future, we would like to do a lot more public events where we have tables set up where the general public is invited to sit and sketch with us. We did 4 this year. My favorite was the Lubbock Arts Festival, where we had over 400 people sit down to draw with us, and we did cartooning for kids workshops for more than 3,000 kids. I’d also like to start taking that into the local school systems.
In the long term, we intend to incorporate the Sketch Club and file as a non-profit art organization. And focus a lot of our energy into training artists to teach and putting them in after-school programs around the city. With an emphasis on teaching young artists to make a career out of their art, and providing the resources and opportunities for them to do that… while enjoying the process.
Is there anything else I should have asked you but forgot to?
There is no fee to join the Sketch Club. Just show up and participate! We meet every Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. at Freebirds world burrito, 4930 S. Loop 289. Also visit our website for more information: www.elsketchoclubo.com