Jamar Nicholas

Jamar Nicholas

Interview: How to be a “Unicorn” in the Comics Industry with Jamar Nicholas

Jamar Nicholas is a Philadelphia born and raised comic book artist. As an African American in the comic book industry, he has made a name for himself, especially with his version of the book, “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun.”

Below is a summary of our interview:


“Always have a plan B.”

His Journey

Jamar was born in West Philadelphia in the early 1970’s.  When he was younger, his mom brought home art tools and he always wanted to draw. He was in love with the art form of telling a story in four panels. He was interested in the craft. He used to watch his mother draw as a kid and started to get into art.  However, what he was doing in school – cartooning – wasn’t popular and his teachers didn’t like it. He received little support from most of his teachers, but one gave him tips on the side. He went to the University of Arts in Philadelphia for animation. But he didn’t want to be an animator, but did some of the graffiti. You can see it in his some of his artwork, today. Jamar knew he was going to have to learn on his own how to draw as a cartoonist and picked up books on how to self-publish. Thus, began to get a name and made appearances for himself.

Low Point

One of his lowest points was for a long time, nobody wanted anything and he was almost going to give up, but he had to go find a different job. He was broke and he needed health insurance, so he went back to teaching.

Aha Moment

Back in 2001, Jamar received an email from someone who worked for Kevin Smith, and said “we love your stuff, wanna do a web comic for us?”  Jamar realized that it was crazy they knew who he was and Jamar didn’t tell them who he was. People were finding out about him and he didn’t bring them his work.

Jamar’s work now  

Jamar used to be known as a hip hop cartoonist. Now, his work is focused on emotional style storytelling. A lot of his style comes from trying to connect with people on an emotional level. And he discusses what it’s like being a black guy drawing non-mainstream art as well as his new book called “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun” he has published with Beacon Press in Boston. He’s creating a story that brings empathy.

Lightning Round

Book Jamar Recommends:

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It’s a how-to book for people who are on the creative, artist side.

Helpful Habit:

Writing things down.

Helpful Person:

Jamar’s mother who has always been very proud of his work and gave him honest feedback about his artwork; and one his best friends, Mike, whom he met at a comic book convention.

Internet Resource:

His favorite is Tumblr.

What’s Your Purpose?

Give a different shaft of light on comics for people who are darker skinned.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

Where to follow Tim and Parting Words

Follow @JamarNicholas

Everybody has a voice. it’s up to you how your voice is heard.

An awesome way to spread the word

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