We had the good fortune of connecting with Rob Hicks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rob, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Growing up with a hyperactive imagination combined with a knack for drawing is what ultimately lead me to pursue an artistic career. I was always fascinated with the artwork I would see in fantasy novels, cartoons, and comic books. I would try to draw some of my favorite characters exactly how they appeared in the books as well as with some of my own original ideas. My Mom told me that I started doodling and sketching as early as daycare and that my teachers would allow me to stay inside some days during recess to draw! Through my school years, I continued to develop my drawing skills and began to consider the possibility of doing it professionally one day. Unfortunately, I had very little encouragement from school guidance councilors and family because they viewed it as just a hobby and not something that I could make a living from. During my senior year in high school is when I made the decision to study visual arts in college and begin my path to becoming a professional comic book illustrator and start a publishing studio of my own. The most challenging part to pursing my artistic career was ignoring that nagging fear of failure as well as the lack of support from people who didn’t understand what it is like being a creative person. For me, it was never about finding a career that I could make a good living at, it was about turning my passion into something that would make a good life even better.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As both a comic book artist and comic book fan, I am constantly looking to impress myself, first and foremost, with my artwork. Beauty, power, and fluidity are the three basic elements that I aim to achieve with pretty much anything I draw. Creating characters and drawing comic books has been almost a life long passion of mine. It is truly a labor of love but the most rewarding part is seeing the joy and excitement it brings to the people who enjoy my work. I honestly believe that a big part of my professional success so far has come from my natural stubbornness and ‘never quit’ attitude regarding my work. Visualizing my creative career in comics as a marathon, not a sprint, helped me mentally anticipate the frustrations, growing pains, and hardships to come. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way is that presentation is everything. Learning how to present myself, my artwork, and my brand in a passionate as well as professional manner has been one of the biggest rewards so far.
I founded Spiral Ink Comics (SIC) in 2013 as a vehicle for me to share all that I create and produce as an independent comic book artist with any and all fans of the culture and medium. The inspiration for “Spiral Ink” came from lyrics in the song ‘Lateralus’ by the rock music band, Tool, who I’m a huge fan of. “Ride the spiral to the end, we may just go where no one’s been… Spiral out… Keep going”.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The biggest support has always come from my Mom, Ceola, and my younger brother Michael. He and I would make up our own characters and superheroes and then act out their stories with random action figures! The love and support I would receive from friends upon their seeing my artwork has always been a major source of motivation. I must always give gratitude to Steven Prouse, a screenwriter who I met at a Chicago comic book convention in 2004. Steven was looking for an artist to draw his first comic book mini series “Knowledge Is Power” and upon seeing my art samples hired me for the job. Mentoring me on how to produce and publish independent comics and providing my first official professional comic book gig!
I also have an enormous amount of gratitude for Jesse James of Jesse James Comics in Glendale, Arizona for opening his shop doors to local comic artists and creatives to have a weekly place to meet, hangout, draw, and network. Jesse was also the first comic shop to put my first indie comic title, ‘Hooded Cobra’, on the shelves.
The list of names of other artists and creatives who’ve helped me and that I’ve learned valuable skills from goes on and on, but if they’re reading this, hopefully they know who they are; you have my gratitude, always.
Instagram: @robhix_artist @spiralinkcomicsllc
Other: Art Gallery https://rob-hix.deviantart.com