Illustrator Dustin Bolton is responsible for the FIYAH #9 cover art. We asked him a bit about his process and the work he’s excited about.
1: When was the moment you decided that you wanted to become a creator?
I wanted to create and tell stories for as long as I can remember. My mother put a pencil on my hand and taught me to draw a turtle when I was like two years old. I’d been drawing nearly everyday since that day. Like all kids I started out drawing the popular characters and heroes found on tv and comics. At some point my mom told me “I’m not putting other people’s characters up on my wall, draw/create your own”. That challenged me and pushed me to expand not just my drawing skills, but my mind.
2: What do you feel your greatest strengths as an artist are?
My greatest strength is perseverance. At this stage in my career it would have been easy and understandable to settle. To accept that I didn’t get the Pixar gig or the cool game studio job after getting let go from Cartoon Network. It was a gut-punch to go through the valley of obscurity. However, I was fortunate enough to have key people in my life that poured hope back into me. Perseverance is not a solo effort. I’m thankful for the support in my life and their value of my own creative ambitions.
3: What are your current goals as a creator?
My major goal is to finish my first book under my publishing deal! Next I would say, just really push myself to exceed my own expectations for my work. I’ve learned to keep my goals within my reach and try not to get in the way of the momentum. It keeps me sane!
4: If there is any artist out there that you feel is the closest to expressing your style of storytelling, who would it be?
I would say mix of Akira Toriyama (original dragon ball! Nothing with a Z) Hayao Miyazaki and Chris Sanders (lilo and stitch).
5: What’s your method for making sure that have time for art and are able to keep track of your projects?
Time Management! My method is really based off the ebb/flow of freelance/contracting work. When I’m in prime earning season working as an illustrator and animator for major corporate clients I stack paper! When the job slows down I lean into original work with the effort of creating new pitches and stories. The goal is to get sharper and make my work sharper.
6: You can pick any director to be at the helm of a movie for one of your properties, past or future. Who do you pick and why?
My first choice is ME! I was an animation and film major in undergrad. I still need to make another film. However, in interest of answering this question… I think Ava Duvernay or J.J. Abrams would do right by my first book.
7: Drop your social media. Where can people find you at?
Find me on iG and Twitter @dualbo
8: You got the floor on this question. Anything you want our readers to know about what you have planned for the future?
I have my first original graphic novel releasing from Boom Studios early 2020 this is a huge milestone for me! It represents so much of what makes me ME. My publisher hasn’t rolled out a major press release so I can’t say too much more. I’m about explode trying to keep from spilling the beans!
LeKesha is a wearer of many hats and writes novel-length fantasy while wearing any number of them. When she's had it published, you'll be the first to know. She is an ASL teacher and first responder in Florida, reads for bipolar representation for Disability in KidLit, and blogs books and mental health occasionally for BlackGirlNerds.com. She tweets, too. @ElleLewis6