Today’s feature highlights a webcomic buddy of mine I first met at SPACE con in Columbus, OH in 2013. Boy that feels like forever but was in fact just two years ago.
Thom Hotka is a webcomic artist and video blogger best known for the epic webcomic Nextuus and the Thomcast videos. I got the chance to ask him some questions, and here are his answers…
So you’ve been working on Nextuus, your fantasy epic webcomic, for the last 9 years. Did you ever think it would last this long? Is there an end in sight?!
I wasn’t really sure how long it was going to take when I started- Upon the launch of the comic, I didn’t have the end of the story settled on. Now I do have an ending planned, though the story is only about 1/3 of the way told! I’m updating more frequently than when I started, so I’m not sure if it will take as long to get to the end from where we are now.
What, if anything, has changed in your creative process, especially when producing your webcomic? Have you discovered a step in the process (writing, pencilling, etc) that you particularly enjoy, and why?
I started out doing all of the writing myself. About a year in, I enlisted my friend Professor Trey Petersen to co-write. Now I bounce ideas for the plot off of him, and he helps proofread chapter scripts, which has improved the dialogue and pacing of the comic greatly.
A step I have grown to enjoy that used to give me a lot of fright is writing the scripts for each chapter. Having a co-writer helps to remove some of those fears, as well as having a rough timeline of events that stretches to the end of the story– even if a chapter is difficult to write, I know where the story needs to go, which keeps me from getting stuck.
Do you think Nextuus will be the only project you make, or are there other stories you’ve been wanting to tell?
There are other stories I would like to tell, but honestly most of them are (or can be) set in the same universe as the current Nextuus story. The current webcomic is ‘The Search for the Ocean Shard’, and I’d like there to be other adventures using the same Nextuus setting.
I also know you do video blogs, or “Thomcasts,” as you call them. What inspired you to go into that?
The Thomcast started as a project to help me set and meet my own goals (I was starting work on my second printed volume of Nextuus, at the time). The idea is, I’ll tell the Internet about goals I want to meet. Then I’m on the hook, because I don’t want to lie to the Internet!
I was getting into YouTube heavily when I started the project and draw a lot of inspiration from some of the big vloggers like Wheezy Waiter and Hank & John Green.
How does the process of video-making compare with making webcomics? Is there any particular part of video-making you like best?
It has been harder for me to sit down and make a video than it has to sit down and draw a page. Even with some recurring segments and new projects to discuss, sometimes I’m just not really sure what to talk about! Once I have an idea, making the videos is usually a lot of fun.
My favorite part is when I come up with some little skit that will be easy to pull off on my own. I like trying to come up with something that will be funny for watchers.
Have you been on board with any other projects, like anthologies, other webcomics, etc? If so, are you able to talk about them a little?
I’ll do the occasional collab or guest spot. I’m always up for helping out fellow artists when I can! I don’t currently have any other projects outside of the weekly webcomic updates and prepping a 3rd printed volume of Nextuus.
Next week I actually won’t be posting a new Featured Artist because I’ll be taking a week off! I have family visiting and want to take some time to see them. But don’t worry! I have sketches and other fun stuff queued up for you next week, so it’ll seem like I haven’t left. (Ain’t technology great?)
Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.