Problem Child
By Brian Ellis

About the Author

Information about Problem Child creator, Brian Ellis

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About Brian Ellis

Hey, I'm Brian. I'm currently 25 years old, I like to write stories and I'm pretty good at drawing so I tell my stories with through my art instead of writing like a normal person.

I grew up in a religious home in Belton, Missouri with three brothers and one sister. I currently rent an apartment with my dog Nelly, in Fremont, Nebraska. I'll probably get around to moving to Maine at some point though.

I used to draw comics in spiral bound notebooks back in middle school and high school. I had one story spanning many many notebooks from 6th to 12th grade that all my friends would pass around at lunch to read. But, after I graduated in 2011, I decided to try and make something of myself and began work on a graphic novel series for publishers, but upon pitching the story to publishers, it received absolutely zero response from the handful of publishers I sent it to. I was still very green and still didn't quite know what I was doing. I did get about 70 pages of the first book of the series done, penciled and inked all by hand, before I decided it was best to move on to other things.
After that I started a new story in the form of a weekly webcomic, (but because of it's weekly release, the quality of the art fluctuated depending on how much free time I had that week, all of it was pretty mediocre though) to establish some experience and that spanned from October of 2011 to February of 2013, drawn completely digitally. It ended abruptly and tragically because my girlfriend at the time convinced me that I needed to start working on actual graphic novels for publishing and that the webcomic was spanning too long and was keeping me from working on other things. I didn't want the story to be without an ending, so I removed the comic's website, but still have the whole thing on my computer.

For that same girlfriend's birthday, I created her a mini comic about a run of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver we were playing through, to which I posted on DeviantArt, and it apparently got the attention of a guy trying to start up a comic book publishing company, Rook the Angel Publishing, promising a contract and a salary and all that to be an inker and a colorist for his company. I did some character designs and stuff like that for him, but nothing substantial, all without being paid for it, and I eventually started hearing from him less and less and I guess it kind of fizzled out before anything came from it. I'm grateful it happened because it helped me broaden my horizons artistically, but otherwise, I'm still not quite sure what to think of the whole experience to this day.

It was also around this time that I wanted to get away from my anime style because I had simply outgrown anime. Since then, I've maintained an anime artstyle for many of my projects, but I've expanded to a more realistic art style for series that call for that.
I continued to start projects that I could never hope to complete, including rebooting the aforementioned webcomic, among other things with nothing seeming to stick.


Around November of 2014, I had the idea of a brand "Brewin Up Trouble", a name derived from a nickname I had in middle school. It was first my intention of starting a website, www.brewinuptrouble.com and hosting my content there, starting off with my rebooted webcomic. That didn't stick however, and I moved onto making a fan comic following the rival of the generation 1 Pokemon games, that didn’t make it past its first release. Around this time, my struggles with depression, a soul crushing job, and a bad break up, had all stunted my motivation substantially, and I couldn’t seem to stick with one project.

Around 2015, I decided to do something drastically different than my usual work. A series of graphic novels aimed towards elementary schoolers. Starting out, I had no direction with this project. It started out starring a 7 year old girl with her teddy bear that she imagined to life. When I couldn’t go anywhere with that, I decided on making this 7 year old girl into a 14 year old superhero, named CosmicGirl Amber Bailey.

In 2016, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I had always been a weird, hyperactive kid, but I always just assumed that was just who I was. I'd later find out that throughout my life, several of my teachers had talked to my parents about it, but they were in denial. After my diagnosis, I was put on medication, and just like that, my inability to focus on a single project was no longer an issue.

Around that same time, my brother approached me about making a video game together, and I decided that this new CosmicGirl character would be the perfect fit for the protagonist, and the game could act as supplementary material for the graphic novel series. From January of 2016 to Late 2017, I worked on developing this game. My brother lost interest in the project rather quickly, and I found new partners, paying for most of their work out of my own pocket. Around $5000 of my own money, and a $2000 loan from my parents, I realized that I was over my head, and that I could continue throwing money at this project that hadn’t made any significant progress since its inception, or I could cut my losses and move on. And I chose the latter.

I moved on to working on the graphic novel for the Amber Bailey character, and after several drafts, it became clear that the story was no longer geared towards children, and was actually fairly dark. I slowly became more invested in the human side of Amber Bailey than the superhero CosmicGirl side.

I had faith in the Amber Bailey story, but I felt that no one would be interested in an original story from an unknown author, so I went back and revisited my idea of the Pokemon fan-comic. My logic was that, if I could attract viewers with a high-quality fan project, they might be open to my original work further down the line. So, in October of 2017, I started Pokemon: Blue’s Version, releasing 30-40 page chapters every month. I worked on this comic religiously. Any free second was wasted if I wasn’t working on the next chapter. I grew a decent following, but my insane work schedule began to wear on me.

In early 2018, taking a break from my work on Pokemon, I drew a stupid little 4-panel comic with the characters from my previous Amber Bailey story and uploaded it to Reddit. I was floored by the reception. I got several comments and messages asking where they could find more of this comic, and I was very sad to tell them that it was one of a kind. I decided to make more, and began to gain a small following.

Problem Child started as a precursor to the CosmicGirl story, about Amber’s life before she became a superhero. But Problem Child was so grounded in reality, I feared the reactions I would get if I introduced a supernatural element into a story like that. Whether it was me giving into the pressure, or I simply changed my mind, eventually I decided that I would feel too constricted, in a storytelling sense, having the end already decided like that. Problem Child and Amber Bailey would continue as their own entity, and I would write the CosmicGirl story around new protagonist somewhere down the line.

I have big plans for Problem Child later on down the line, and I hope you’ll stick around to see how it all pans out!

 

-Brian Ellis