What He Does: If you want a lighthearted cartoon about awkward teenage monsters, look no further than Bruce Small, the creator of the wonderful web comic Transyltown presented by Brass Comics. It follows his hero, Timmy, a meek geek of a vampire trying his hardest to impress his folks and girls but mostly succeeding only in being your typical gawky boy. It's the sort of story you instantly warm to, and it's par for the course as far as Small goes.
Small has loved to draw ever since he could hold a pencil. He was introduced to comics by the brother of a baby sitter, and something clicked. The drawings were much better than those he saw on TV, and they told a story without movement. The desire to be a cartoonist was always in the back of his mind, but he didn't think it was a very viable dream until college. After some drawing courses, he began a web comic called Enchantment Passing Through, a semi-autobiographical/ half fantasy project that first allowed him to explore conventional human interactions within a fantastical setting. From there he worked briefly on a sci-fi/action tale called BioRhythm as a writer with an artist named Zach Q, then onto Transyltown.
Hoping to help people to follow his path, Small is working toward releasing a comic drawing course on YouTube. He has been hosting workshops with many young audiences, and the experience has fostered a teaching instinct. He plans to begin releasing his online, all-ages course on YouTube in March 2014. Stay tuned at his Facebook.
Why He Likes It: "I get to craft new worlds, adventures, and people to admire or loath. Hopefully someone will be moved or inspired along the way. What a fun thing that is! I don't think there's much better than that."
What Inspires Him: The main drive behind the stories that Small tells is basic emotional themes. For Transyltown he wanted to explore the concept of friendship, and the idea of a perky vampire slayer and a vampire looking to fit in with different worlds grew up around that theme. He works best with an overall arc that expresses that first, all-important message.
As part of the small but extremely close and loyal Houston comic community, Small is never at a loss for creative people to be inspired by. That said, the one person he's always seeking the approval of is the memory of his own eight-year-old self. With every comic he creates, he asks himself if the childhood him would have liked it.
If Not Here, Then Where: "I don't really know. Houston is home. I would certainly like to visit other places, but I've never given any thought to permanently living anywhere else. Not that I would turn down a location change with good opportunities."
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If Not This, Then What: Small was a dedicated debate team member in school, and a passion for arguing led to his grandfather referring to him as "Senator" in a ribbing manner. If art were off the table, Small would like to pursue a career in politics, or if his optimistic idealism proved too much of a handicap for that, he would just want to be in a position to help change the hearts and minds of people for the better.
What's Next: "There's a lot of stuff in the planning phase, such as collaborative projects and launching another web comic alongside Transyltown, but I would like to make sure that my work flow for Transyltown and the YouTube project are stable before committing to any other major plans."
More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Greg Dean, actor Bruce Foster, paper engineer Valentina Kisseleva, painter Michael Wooten, painter Shawn Hamilton, actor Matt Adams, digital artist and independent curator Gilbert Ruiz, artist Dionne Sparkman Noble, choreographer and professor Lee Wright, artist Vic Shuttee, comedy writer and performer Robin Davidson, poet and translator Jessica Wilbanks, essayist and Pushcart Prize winner David DeHoyos, astronaut photographer Sophie Jordan, bestselling book author Jessi Jordan, comic artist, beekeeper and yeti enthusiast Patrick Peters, architect and professor Jamie Kinosian, visual artist Paris F. Jomadiao, mixed-media artist and stop motion animator Shanon Adams, dancer James Glassman, Houstorian historian and artist Lou Vest, photographer Sara Gaston, stage and screen star Rachael Pavlik, a writer mom Ana Villaronga-Roman, Katy Contemporary Arts Museum director Erin Wasmund, actor, singer and dancer Karim Al-Zand, composer Jan Burandt, paper conservator for The Menil Collection Deke Anderson, actor Craig Cohen, hockey fan and host of Houston Matters Mauro Luna, Poe-Inspired photographer Trond Saeverud, Galveston Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor Khrystyna Balushka, paper flower child Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown Gin Martini, fashion designer Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor Homer Starkey, novelist Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer Erica DelGardo, metalsmith Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter Drake Simpson, actor Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer David Matranga, actor Crystal Belcher, pole dancer Daniel Kramer, photographer Blue 130, pin-up explosion art Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker David Wilhem, light painter Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster Browncoat, pin-up pop artist Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist Vincent Fink, science fashion Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer Sameera Faridi, fashion designer Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre Outspoken Bean, performance poet Barry Moore, architect Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana MarÃa Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer