Will Terrell has set his intention for his return to Lubbock.
“I moved back to Lubbock because I am here to serve my community,” he said. “I want Lubbock to feel loved, and I want Lubbock to love itself and each other so we can make this world a better place.”
Originally from Austin, Texas, Terrell moved to Lubbock as a high school senior in 1994 after spending his childhood moving around the country. It was his desire to belong, and the encouragement from his favorite teacher Ms. Wallace, that drives his mission to make each person he interacts with feel important. He describes her as the first person who believed in him. “She told me, ‘Do what you want to do, and I will show you how to make it better.’ And that became my philosophy for life: To surround myself with people who were better than me and learn from them,” he shared.
“My friend Luis Estrada was an incredible cartoonist and he inspired me to become a comic book artist,” Terrell explained of his high school friend. In 1997, the pair started Lucid Press, a Lubbock-based publishing company that was later known as Lucid Comics. For 15 years, Lucid Comics was widely known in the Lubbock comic book community. Its influence fostered the sense of community Terrell had longed for and took shape in 2006 as the Lubbock Sketch Club, where Terrell would eventually meet his wife, Amber. The Sketch Club was also the catalyst for the creation of Lubbock’s first comic book expo in 2008.
“It was incredible,” he remembers. For six years, Terrell and his partner Robert Mora, owner of Star Comics, hosted Lubbock Comic Book Expo and West Texas Comic Con. Thousands of comic book enthusiasts would make their way to the “Hub City” to celebrate their favorite characters. “My vision at the time was to fill the Lubbock Civic Center with comic book creators,” he said. “It was a 20-year vision. I asked myself, ‘What would it take for 20 years from now to make Lubbock a hub of comic books?’ And, to my surprise, it only took a few years for that to happen.” Today there are two regular conventions, Lubbock Con and Hub City Comic Con.
Terrell’s educational pursuits ultimately landed him in San Diego, CA in 2005 to learn from professional comic book artists until his money ran out. For eight months, his yearning to learn led him to the studio of Jeffrey Watts Atelier of the Arts where he learned the techniques and mythology of renaissance-style art. He also met lifelong mentors and friends who he attributes his success to today.
Brian Stelfreeze, professional comic book artist who worked on Black Panther and Domino, became a mentor. “He is the reason I love what I do, and the reason I feel a need to share with others what I have learned.”
In 2015, Terrell and his family moved to Los Angeles after he got his big break working in animation on the Warner Brothers lot for projects such as The New Looney Tunes, The Wizard of Oz and Animaniacs.
A full-circle moment, in 2020, Terrell and his son attended Lubbock Con. It was there he realized Lubbock was calling him home. Almost immediately after, he returned to Lubbock, and found the community he longed for in sunny Southern California to be right where he had left it.
“I’d already fallen in love with Lubbock to begin with. It’s just something you can’t explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced it. There is just something in the air, you know? The electricity, the presence, the dirt,” he said.
A wealth of knowledge and passion to empower aspiring artists to find their voice, Terrell is dedicated to lifting and providing opportunities to local creators through a myriad of projects he has in the works. “That is the hero’s journey, right?” he asked. “Everybody has to leave and get experience out in the world – but then you bring it back home.”
With the help of a friend, Terrell applied for a resident position in the Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP). I have been praying and visualizing this specific spot in CASP for five years,” he shared.
When walking into Studio 1 at the Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP), the melodies of ringing bells hanging from the ceiling intend to bring awareness to the present moment, while sticky notes with encouraging messages to its reader paint the walls. The words “Love lives in Lubbock when love lives in YOU!” act as the focal point of his current exhibit at the time, reminding him of his mission.
Today, Terrell is sharing his expertise through his YouTube channel, Cartooning with Will Terrell. There, viewers are given the lessons he learned from mentoring artists in the sketch club, as well as guided drawings and much more!