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Derick Jones hits hard with NOSEBLEED

Derick Jones, well-known for his art in the Philly scene, has just consolidated volume #1 of his ongoing webcomic, Nosebleed, for readers to collect. He sits down with Comic Book Yeti Interviews Editor, Andrew Irvin, to shed some light on the making of this indie gem.


(Trigger Warning: Lots of heads explode)

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Derick, thank you for stepping into the Yeti Cave to discuss your latest comic, Nosebleed! Released in March, Nosebleed is now available through your website. Though the print version has only come out recently, how long in the making was this first installment before you began its digital release in April 2023? 


DJ: Nosebleed currently comes out monthly on phillyartblog.com! It started last April 2023 and has been running ever since. Nosebleed has always been on my mind as I’m a huge fan of the telekinetic revenge genre. Philly Artblog reached out to me wanting to work together and I pitched them the idea thinking they would say no, but to my surprise, they loved it. I had to get cranking on it immediately, because I didn’t have anything written other than a paragraph synopsis.



CBY: You know, I never really thought of telekinetic revenge as a subgenre of horror, but with de Palma’s Carrie and Cronenberg’s Scanners as models of the form, I think you’re in good company. Without spoiling anything, Nosebleed #1 concludes on a cliffhanger, denoting the end of part one. How have you partitioned the whole narrative arc, and ideally, what narrative space do you envision you’ll need to complete the whole story?



DJ: I won’t spoil anything but I will say that revenge is the central theme throughout the book and I have about four 40-page books planned. Each one upping the ante and each one more brutal than the last. I’m hoping to have the whole thing wrapped by November next year. I also have some spin-offs floating around in my head, so maybe in a perfect world I can jump on those after this story wraps. 



CBY: I'm glad to hear there's more in store for this world you've created. I’ve taken a look through the prior work available on your site, and while Nosebleed is certainly evocative – thematically and visually – of much of what I’ve read of the work of  Charles Burns, your range is clear in the varied aesthetics you employ. Can you share some of your most formative influences as a comic creator?



DJ: My influences come from indie movies, horror movies, 90s OVAs, and I guess I pull from my life sometimes. Cartoonists like Jason, Daniel Warren Johnson, Daniel Clowes, Alain Dodier, Michael Deforge, Chris Samnee, Alex Toth, Mike Judge's King of the Hill and many, many more. Nosebleed was super influenced by Carrie, Scanners, Domu and fire starter and wanting to add to the lexicon of psychic stories. As for visuals, I’ve always wanted to do that cool French style mixed with heavy inking so every one thinks I’m trying to do the burns thing. I love Charles Burns's work but it’s like this giant shadow I can’t escape being compared to, haha. Before starting Nosebleed I took a week long trip to France and it reignited my love for French comics and I swore when I got back to the states I would try to make something that visually was influenced by the French. 



CBY: I wouldn't discourage the Burns comparisons, as it looks like you've found good company to keep amongst your fellow cartoonists, and your work is also quite distinct from his. You’ve collaborated on horror comics like Urges with Erick Freitas, but Nosebleed is a sole venture on your part. Can you walk us through your scripting process - do you start with the visual storyboarding, or generally begin by writing out your plots and dialogue? How do you build towards completion?



DJ: Nosebleed is the first ongoing solo book I’ve done, and it’s very scary and rewarding having everything on your shoulders. I wouldn’t have made it to page 5 without my editor, Nancy. We basically outline everything word-vomit style, then we clean it up and separate the vomit draft into monthly chapters that are very basic. “Two characters fight about this and then something bad happens,” is what it looks like, haha. After I have that rough outline, I begin storyboarding five pages at a time and I write a little bit of dialogue ahead or while I’m storyboarding. I’d like to sit down and write out a full script, but I like the urgency that comes with keeping things sort of loose. We also do what’s called tent poles - story beats, if you will - so that we always know where the story is going. I’ve been telling my friends to hire an editor for their personal books. It’s nice to have someone there to help you out when you get lost. 



CBY: That's a good piece of advice to take away from this - it's worth it budgeting for time and expertise to help hone stories for a broader audience. Let’s talk a bit about the technical aspects of your art; through penciling, inking, coloring, and lettering, what sort of tools do you employ to get the look you’re after? I see you’ve definitely used various techniques across your portfolio, so I’m keen to hear - what have you found works best for you?


DJ: I’m a brush guy, so I use various brush pens and Tombows. I’ve been aiming for a cleaner cartoony look in my work, and the Tombow really gets the job done. I also love experimenting with gouache. I’d love to use microns and quills a lot more because I’m not that great with them. I use screen tone from time to time, I lucked out and found some tone paper that you can print on with your home printer so I make my own tones and use them. But I’m always trying to switch it up, especially depending on what’s being drawn. But I am also trying to unify all my interest into one recognizable style. 


CBY: I've never toyed around with Tombows, so I'll have to pick some up! You’ve released Nosebleed digitally over most of 2023 through phillyartblog.org, which is now hosting chapters of #2 as you release them. The site includes a variety of other content and isn’t solely an audience of readers with prior awareness of your work, what sort of response did you receive from the readership over its initial run, and how has the print run with (similarly Philly-based) Reptile House Comix come to fruition?   



DJ: Philly Artblog has been awesome to work with, I have complete freedom to do what ever I want and they pay me to make a comic! As for reaction from the audience, it’s been quiet because it’s a webcomic, ya know? So it's hard to get people to jump from socials to come to the site, so I mostly hear from my editors over at the blog and they haven’t told me to stop yet so I guess it’s going well. Every now and then I’ll get a ping from someone saying they love where the story is headed. Reptile House rules, as well. My friend Nick Bunch is the publisher, and I was so stoked he agreed to publish it. The print run is like a nice size; 500 total, and I believe we are almost at the the end of that run. I would be a mess if we did one of those giant 10,000 runs. I’ve been doing shows again and the response has been good, people seem to be sold just off the cover alone which makes me happy. 



CBY: Yeah, the cover is certainly arresting, so I can understand the response. Your work has also been lauded for its positional value and representation of Philadelphia. Your website mentions you’re now based in Chicago (where I lived for a couple years), so I’m curious - how do you find the different metropolitan character of the city has changed aspects of your life, and how (if at all) might it be impacting the way you frame your art and selection of settings going forward?



DJ: Yeah, Philly is like an ex-lover you can’t get out of your life. Very much a love-hate thing between us. It’s my favorite place to draw because you can always dirty it up and it’s instantly recognizable. The power lines and the backs of houses are my favorite. I just recently came back from a trip to China and I’ve always thought Philly has that vibe. Maybe it’s the congestion or all the power lines. Chicago really impacted my work in a weird way. It made me draw better humans because I hate the buildings out here. No offense to Chicago, but the architecture or vibes are kinda meh here, but the people are amazing. I also only have four friends here and they are all working cartoonists, so I spent 90% of my time in my studio drawing since I moved here. Way more than I ever spent in Philly. The isolation has been great for getting things done. 



CBY: If you can find productivity and creativity in lieu of distraction, it sounds like you're in a good place! You’ve done a lot of commercial illustration work over the years, as well, including posters for the Philadelphia Eagles, Megan Thee Stallion, and various bands and films. Can you share a bit about how your commission process works, particularly when working with institutional clients? What sort of advice might you have for other artists trying to build commercial portfolios around making sure their work is representative of both their values and the specifications the client demands?



DJ: This is the hard one. I have no idea how I’ve gotten those jobs, and anytime I’ve tried replicating or making portfolios for more of that work ,it doesn’t go well. I’ve tried the whole reaching out to art directors and I always get crickets. Then out of nowhere my email gets hit with crazy jobs like the ones you mentioned. It’s very frustrating.

I’ve always felt that I’ve gotten lucky with art gigs, but am trying to be more active and hit people up instead of the other way around. As for advice? Definitely become or get a good colorist - no one is going to hire you for your black and white drawing unless they are absolutely immaculate. I wish they do but they mostly want color. Def keep a separate portfolio of work that you’d be interested in making and try to update as much as possible. Also don’t be afraid to publicly ask for gigs. 



CBY: All great advice, and I can see why it would be frustrating that there doesn't seem to be more method to the madness of contract inquiries in your experience. Now, obviously Nosebleed is ongoing, and it looks like we’re still a ways off from the conclusion (you mentioned a 160+ page run broken into four volumes), so I’m sure it’s taking up a significant chunk of your productive time. Do you have other creative endeavors or other projects in the works you’d like our readers to keep an eye out for over the rest of 2024?



DJ: I’ve been slowly chipping away at a Kamen Rider book I want to write and draw. God I wish I could work on the two at the same time but money just doesn’t permit it. I’ve also been working on Urges 2! Hoping to have that done by the end of the year as well. 



CBY: Fantastic! I look forward to seeing whatever you have coming out next. I asked earlier about your formative influences - what’s influencing you these days? What other comic artists keep you inspired, and what other media (film, music, literature, etc.) is worth our readers checking out after they get their hands on Nosebleed?


DJ: Lately, I’ve been into Tom Reilly, that guy is so freaking good. I’ve been reading Jerome K. Jerome Bloche by Alain Dodier in French. It’s a gorgeous book. I’ve been watching a lot of action movies, cause I wanted the pace of Nosebleed book #2 to be way more hectic and action-heavy. Bastien Vives has been in my orbit lately as well. Mostly I’ve been consuming tutorials, and trying to tighten up my character gestures and cartooning. 



CBY: It'll be great to see how the action shapes up over the upcoming Nosebleed installments! Derick, thanks for joining us today! I’ve linked to your website, but where can people see your work published and find you on social media?


DJ: Thanks for having me! 

Find me on YouTube @derickjones3135 

Instagram @skudsink 

Twitter @skudsink 

...and buy a copy of Nosebleed at https://www.reptilehousecomix.com/



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