20 Questions with Comic Creators: VJ Billingsley of It Could Be Worse

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     Welcome back True Believers, once again we are here at The Root Beer Party Headquarters is an undisclosed location of a far away land in an undiscovered country.  Today we have with us Vinnie Billingsley of It Could Be Worse Which can be found here:   https://stormrookstudios.com/home

     VJ Billingsley is a jack of all trades ranging from Author, musician, artist, cartoonist, soldier, and even fitness instructor.  VJ refers to his comic as an “abstract satirical parody,” but it is also highly autobiographical.

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So let’s get to know the man behind the comic:  

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Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
A: I was in the military and going through a pretty rough patch at that time. Cartooning initially was a way t escape the real-life drama I was enduring and from there I figured I keep it going. My current strip was initially called “In The Army Now,” but changed to “It Could Be Worse” upon my discharge.

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Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
A: Berkeley Breathed, Lynn Johnston, Gary Larson, Bill Waterson and Jim Davis, as far as Cartooning goes.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
A: I drink Faygo Arctic Sun, lol.

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Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
A: To pass it on to my children who are talented artists in their own right.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
A: Music and writing. I have a TON of stuff going on, which can be seen at http://www.stormrookstudios.com.

Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
A: Professional. I’m currently working on getting admission into the National Cartoonists Society. I still love what I do though and if I didn’t make a dime, I’d still do it.

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
A: Not much, but I’d do taboo subjects tastefully and with a point or leading up to a point. I’d never do shock for the sake of shock. What’s the point in that?

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Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
A: Equipment – Samsung Galaxy Note Tab 10, Surface Pro 3 and Galaxy Note 9. Apps I use are Artflow (Pencils), Autodesk Sketchbook (Inks), Clip Studio (Colors/Letters), Photo Editor (Post Process). My style is a blend of Berkeley Breathed, Lynn Johnston and Bill Waterson. The premise of the strip can be best described as an adult-oriented warped version of Peanuts.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
A: I attended what is now Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy for 2D/3D Visual Art, but for the most part, I’m self-taught in regard to cartooning/comics.

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
A: Getting love from big time musicians and artists on my strip ranging from Rafael Sadiq (Tony, Toni, Tone) to Ice T.

Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
A: Having to suspend production due to trying to secure a second job to pay bills.

Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
A: Working on that now.

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
A: Dee Parson is future God (Pen & Ink, Rosebuds, Life With Kurami), George Gant (Beware of Toddler, The Reset Button), Bill Abbott (Spectickles, The Percenters), Laura Yang (Yin & Yangster), George Ford (Addanac City) & Ervine Johnson (Single Dad Diaries)

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
A: It increased the size of my network ,gave me a stress release and nope.

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Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
A: What’s the point? If YOU can do better – DO BETTER. Do your own strip and prove us wrong.

Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
A: Yep. Timer Apps. Plans, schedules and seeing my increasing fan following is motivational enough.

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Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
A: Arctic Sun and Zimas

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
A: Yes. Just have to wait till Facebook lifts their restrictions on me and you’ll see me interact with you all.

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Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
A: Finding time to do it amongst the other stuff I got going. But it’s the number 1 priority, so it’ll get done regardless.

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
A: To make Stormrook Studios a household name and leave an empire for my children and retire before 50…hopefully, lol.

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     So there you have it True Believers, another glimpse behind the curtain of the world of comics.  Only here at the Root Beer Party do you get to know the creators of all the comics you love and enjoy everyday.  VJ is now taking the private Root Beer Party jet back to StormRookStudios to create more great comics for all of us to enjoy.  

     So stay tuned for more exciting exclusive interviews and news from all of the amazing Root Beer Party Members, and as always True Believers, May your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

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