Christopher is a journal comic by Chris Williams that details Chris’ experiences with fatherhood. As the site states, it’s “the true story of a new father”. Chris began the comic with an announcement of his wife’s pregnancy and for the next six months the comics detailed his worries, joys, and struggles with both everyday life and getting ready for the challenges of raising a baby. From March 2011, onwards, Christopher was full of the little baby named Nathan and the love that his parents felt for him. Along with that were the little joys of first smiles, workplace jokes, and much more. As a journal comic, it’s easy to relate to Christopher as everyone has been in those situations. Everyone has those inside jokes and those moments with their kid (or niece, nephews, etc.) that Christopher is full of. It’s often funny but it’s even more heartfelt as you can see the genuine love that Chris has for his son. After a bit of a hiatus, Chris has started to update again, so I thought it was a great time to ask him some questions and spread the comic.

Christopher

Christopher

Leo Johnson: To start with, what is it that you do when you’re not making webcomics?

Chris Williams: Other than spending time at the day job and commuting, I tend to spend my days simply playing with my kid, trying to find time to spend with my wife, and just poking away in whatever games I happen to have on my phone. I work as a facility technician/mechanic at a sewage treatment plant, and, well, while it’s not the most glamorous job, it definitely pays the bills. Of course, the thought of making more comics and trying to land my first creative job is always on my mind, the trick is just finding the time to make it happen!

LJ: Pretend we’ve never heard of Christopher? What’s your elevator pitch?

CW: Christopher is a light-hearted journal comic about me and my life as a dad! It’s got everything in there from the day we found out we were pregnant to today, including our struggles and achievements along the way. It also takes a brief look at my abusive childhood, which helped shape me into the person I am today, vowing to never repeat the past with my own child.

Christopher

Christopher

LJ: What made you initially decide to do a webcomic?

CW: I’ve had a love of comics almost my entire life. I think the one constant favorite of mine to this day is Calvin and Hobbes; it will always be dear to me. But as for doing webcomics, it all really started with reading through other journal comics, namely American Elf and Allan. Before really dipping my toes into the webcomic field, I had gone through a long period of time where I didn’t draw a thing out of depression from not getting a certain creative job in the gaming industry. I had slaved over getting a portfolio done in time for it, and it was really defeating when it didn’t work out. I really didn’t like that I had let something go (my art) that was such a part of me and who I was, so I eventually started to take an interest in making my own comic just to start drawing again. My first webcomic series was done back in 2009 with a friend who handled most of the writing duties, but unfortunately it didn’t make it past 12 pages due to me just not having enough time to devote to it. Around a year and a half later, my wife and I got pregnant, and I wanted to shout it from the hills to let everyone know. So I started up my current comic, Christopher, and I’ve been going for about 2 and a half years now!

LJ: Describe the process of creating the comic a bit. What does it take to get an idea from your brain on to the page?

CW: Ideas I can use for new strips are always coming at me, so much so that I’ve started carrying around a small sketchbook to jot them down to make sure I don’t forget. Then the next part is probably the number one hardest thing to do: setting the time aside to actually make the comics. When I first started, I used to update every single day, but as time went on, and the responsibilities of being a parent started to pile on, I’ve had to cut back quite a bit because, let’s face it, being a parent is a job that never ends. It also doesn’t help that I’ve gotten quite a bit pickier about the presentation of my comic, I’ve gone from simple black and white at the start, to full-on color with each update. When I do find the time, though, it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to finish up a strip, with a process that starts with scripting and initial storyboarding, followed up by the actual drawing/pencilling, then inking, coloring, and finally lettering. It’s a lot of work, but it’s immensely enjoyable.

Christopher

Christopher

LJ: Christopher is a journal comic, in that it’s based on your life and the events in it. Has the comic made changes in your life easier to work though, like the birth of Nate or the new job, since it acts as a way to “vent”?

CW: I think that it’s definitely helped me think over things that have happened with a bit more clarity over the course of the comic. It gives me the chance to really analyze certain things and how I felt at the time, especially when I sit down to make a comic about that event. For the most part, though, I can be pretty stressed out due to my career and how I feel about it, so I’m incredibly thankful that the comic does give me the chance to pick out something fun that happened, make a comic about it, and remind myself that “Hey, maybe life isn’t so bad!” I’m also so very thankful that I can look back at things that have happened, because kids really do grow up so fast, and it’s amazing how much you forget in the course of it all.

LJ: What’s been your favorite strip to create so far?
CW: Oh geez! I’d have to say that it’s a tie between two of them. One of them being the strip that I titled “Brave Sir Nathan“. I absolutely love fantasy worlds, so it was fun for me to just kind of let that shine through for a bit. The other is one I titled “A Million Miles“. I’ll never forget how much my knee hurt that first night with him and how much I ached from not sleeping much at all, but I really would have walked a million more miles while rocking him to try to comfort him that night, and I still feel the same to this day. I’ve got several others that I’m proud of, but those two are my favorite by far.
Christopher

Christopher

LJ: Nate, your son, plays a pretty big part in the comic. Are you looking forward to one day being able to sit down with him and show him all the comics that he was in?

CW: That’s the biggest thing that my wife and I have always talked about! From early on when I started doing this comic, we always said that we were going to be so happy to have something to show him exactly how much he means to us and how much we love him. If nothing else, I want my comic to show him that singular thing: that his parents love him to no end, and always will. And oh yeah, that his parents weren’t always such lame-o squares!
LJ: What makes your comic different from all the others on the internet?

CW: I think, personally, what makes it different is that while it’s a comic about me, it’s truly centered on just becoming and being a parent while trying to maintain that connection you had with your significant other before the kid came along. It’s why I started my comic in the first place, and I think it offers up a fun perspective to parenting, in contrast to the thought that once you have a kid, all the fun ends. It’s just not true! Sure it can be (very) trying at times, but there is still so much fun to be had when you just give up the thought of “I’m an adult and should act as so” and just get down to their level. Just toss any sort of notion of being an “adult” out the window and act silly for a bit, your kid will love you for it. I’ve also been told rather often that I have a way of telling things the way they are, just putting things bluntly. I think it’s due to me just wanting to get to the point, and not wanting to drag things out. I just do the best I can to keep things honest!

Christopher

Christopher

LJ: What’s been your biggest surprise or discovery since you started the comic?
CW: Just how accepting the webcomic community is as a whole! It’s safe to say that some of the absolute best friends I have now are all simply thanks to me wanting to draw comics and post them online. From readers to other creators, it’s a very welcoming environment full of support. Another huge surprise to me is just how much really goes into making a comic seriously, from advertising and marketing, networking, website management, trying to put together books and get them sent out, tabling at conventions, all on top of delivering new content, it can all be a bit overwhelming at times. Thankfully I have some of the most patient and supportive readers, so it’s all more than worth it. Oh, and shipping overseas is expensive, something that I’m still completely shocked by!
LJ: What do you see in the future for the comic?
CW: Other than watching my kid grow as the comic goes on, I’d love to do more books! I learned a TON from my first go with making a book, and I’m all the more eager and ready to make more. Also I’m really pumped to start doing more conventions in the future. I think one dream of mine is to have a table at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, but that’s still way off until my comic is able to help me be able to afford the trip from Frederick, Maryland in the USA to Toronto, Ontario all the way up in Canada. I’d also love to finally kick off some of these other ideas I have for new webcomic series, but that all will come with time.
Christopher

Christopher

LJ: Where else can you be found on the vastness of the internet?

CW: There’s bits and pieces of me scattered in all sorts of places online which I’m slowly starting to collect and put in one spot on my website, but I can most often be found spouting nonsense and the occasional doodle on twitter. I’ve also got a rather neglected deviantArt account, but it’s still fun to go back and look at some other stuff I’ve done there.

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