CLEARFIELD -- The emerald energy of willpower. That seems to be a trait Tyler Kirkham possesses. For the past year, Kirkham, 28, has been the sketch artist behind the current series of Green Lantern comic books that DC Comics is distributing throughout the country.
The self-taught professional is preparing for a trip next week to Philadelphia, where he will be at a comic book convention.
While there, he will be among his fellow Green Lantern professionals for one of the first showings of the new "Green Lantern" movie to be released Friday by Time-Warner Inc.
"They are bringing out actors from the movie," Kirkham said. "It's going to be fun."
But he points out that being creative as a full-time artist also can have its drawbacks.
"It's a highly competitive world," Kirkham said. "You have to work at getting people to notice you."
He remembers drawing every chance he had in school, sometimes to the point where teachers had to take measures to keep him listening to their material instead of sketching and doodling.
In his last two years of high school, he made a point of going to all of the comic book conventions he could, meeting editors and publishers with whom he could begin communicating about getting a job.
Like the character in the comic-inspired movie, Kirkham said it's his willpower that has helped him create a career where he can wear his pajamas to work.
"This is a profession where you can get burned out and drained.
"In the end, what inspires me to do it is knowing that what I do is going to be on a bookshelf," he said.
"Someone else will be like me. They will pick it up and see the movie and maybe play a video game. They will maybe want to be an artist."
But Kirkham admits that becoming a respected professional is a long road from dreaming to reality.
Making it in such a highly competitive field has been a challenge, he said.
"In the beginning, it was especially scary."
Kirkham moved to California right out of high school for an internship he admits he got because he nagged it out of an editor of a book series.
"I didn't make that much money," he said of the beginning.
Kirkham married his high school sweetheart, Jill, so he could take her with him, and he recalls times being tough.
"We were roommates with another married couple," he said.
But Kirkham said what he lacked in education, he tried to make up for in dedication.
"I got the reputation as a hardworking guy that would never miss a deadline," he said.
"If you have the talent and meet the deadlines, that will always keep you working."
Kirkham said once he made a name for himself, he was able to obtain contracts for his work and to move back to Utah, where he could work from his rural Clearfield home.
Since that time, he has worked for a number of entities, including Marvel Comics, where he has worked on projects for such characters as X-Men, Fantastic Four, Time Raiders, Transformers and Spider-Man.
Kirkham said his drive to make deadlines comes from the ways he has discovered to keep himself motivated.
He said he does this by viewing the work of other people in his field through watching movies, reading other comic books and playing video games.
"When I see something creative, it makes me want to do something, too," he said. "I take those ideas, and they inspire me."
Kirkham said people ask him what they need to do to break into the comic book world.
Like the Green Lantern, who in the comic book story is chosen for his quest because of his lack of fear, Kirkham's advice is to shed one's inhibitions.
"Continue to work at it and do new stuff over and over again," he said.
"You're going to get turned down. Just continue to do new work. ... Some people do one submission and they think that's going to work."
He said when an artist keeps working and keeps chipping away at the industry, that's when they can break in.