LUMBERTON — It wasn’t easy for comic book illustrator Herbert L. Richardson Jr. to grow up in the shadow of his father, Lumberton District Court Judge Herbert L. Richardson Sr.
Richardson Jr. had some high expectations to live up to — chief among them was to stay out of trouble.
“He is definitely a big cheese down there, and he has accomplished a lot,” said Richardson Jr., who is now living in Winston-Salem. “My father has always been open minded, he feels that as long as I am mindful of the law, that I don’t need to follow in his footsteps … I spent a great deal of time in his shadow, seeing how things work in the courtroom, and that just wasn’t my thing.”
A former student of Lumberton High School, where his mother Patricia Richardson taught, Richardson Jr. initially had his sights set on a career in engineering as a more practical application of his innate artistic abilities. But after receiving his engineering degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 2002, Richardson Jr. decided to return to school in 2007 to earn a degree in graphic design and animation from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Upon graduation in 2011, Richardson Jr. put his education to use by starting his own design business, Bryght Brothers Interactive Imaging, and releasing several graphic novels, including “The Hired Gun” and “Zodiac Vagabonds.”
Initially, Richardson Jr. says his parents were less than thrilled with his decision to pursue a career as an illustrative artist.
“Just like any other parent, they didn’t want their son being a starving artist,” Richardson Jr. said. “They didn’t want me getting my artwork ripped off by someone else in the business by not knowing how to deal with publishers, that sort of thing. They were a little hesitant at first but after they saw the work and they saw the positive feedback, they got over it.”
Thus far, Richardson Jr. has created 11 independent comic book issues in the past two years for various clients on the East Coast and West Coast, illustrated five covers and has storyboarded two intros for cartoons to be used for potential television pitches.
He plans to release a comic book series called “6 Deep,” which follows the lives of six Detroit superheroes, as well as a Christian comic book he has illustrated called “Faithwalker: Sins of the Father,” which is set to be released during the summer, and a graphic novel titled “Hood Classic 3.”
Richardson Jr., who is now 33 with a wife and child of his own, considers his family to have been a key motivator in his success.
“It has been a journey. I’d like to say that the support has definitely come from not only colleagues that I attended art school with but my friends, who had been kind of on the fence about it at first, but mostly I have gotten support from my mom and dad. I can’t thank them enough for that.”