» Blog Archive Life with Fernando... -

A man who has brought Archie into the main stream, and had immersed us with illustrations of innovation. I give you Fernando Ruiz…..

1) Tell us a little bit about your self. I heard you graduated from the Joe Kubert School of art in 1994. What got you into comic art, and what did the Kubert school have to offer you?

I was always a life long fan of comics and cartoons. As long as I can remember, I was always drawing my favorite characters… Mickey Mouse, Peanuts, and later on super heroes like Superman and Spider-Man. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to make a living as an artist. I hoped that I could do it drawing comics but I wasn’t sure. After high school, I went to college where I was a Fine Arts major studying drawing and painting. When I finished college, I decided I really wanted to pursue comics as a career and to give it a serious try. To that end, I enrolled at the famous Kubert School, which… and I know I’m biased here… really is the best place to go to learn about comics and cartooning. I’d already received a good foundation in Art in college, but I didn’t know much about the technical end of producing comics. Things like inking and drawing so that your pencil lines are suitable for inking were new considerations for me. The Kubert School certainly gave me a better understanding for what producing a comic book really entails.

2) If I am not mistaken, you told me at Jim Hanley’s that you have been drawing Archie comics for a while. What got you involved, and what is it about Archie that pulled you into its artistic genre?

When I went to the Kubert School, I wanted to work professionally in comics and I didn’t discriminate. I tried drawing as many different types of characters and in as many styles as I could. Whatever the genre… whether it was super heroes like Batman or something cartoonier like Caspar the Friendly Ghost… I gave it a shot. One of the characters I tried drawing was Archie. When Victor Gorelick, the legendary Editor-in-Chief of Archie Comics, came to the School to review our portfolios, he liked my Archie work. He offered me my first story and a week after I graduated, I started drawing regularly for Archie Comics.

3) Describe your particular style of art. What would you call it, and how did you attach yourself to it?

I try to avoid attaching myself or limiting myself to any one “style.” I really try to be as versatile as I can. I want to be able to draw realistically, simplistically, in a cartoonier fashion, and in whatever style a client might need. I can draw super heroes like Batman and I can draw cartoonier characters with an established look like Archie. The more versatile I remain, the more employable I am.

4) Tell us about the new Predator/Archie crossover. Archie is not knew to crossovers, and even came across Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the PussyCats, along with the classic 1994 Archie meets Punisher. This limited series seems to have kicked it into high gear. Why predator? Explain what derived these seperate worlds to merge?

Like the crossover with the Punisher, Archie meeting the Predator is a premise so outrageous you HAVE to read it to see what happens. No one could ever imagine these two characters who are so opposite in genre and premise ever interacting, fighting, or even existing in the same universe! As soon as readers see the cover, they are immediately curious and are drawn in.

5) You mentioned “archie-fying” the predator. Elaborate on that. Explain Archie’s illistration and if how the Predator fits into that image.

Archie, of course, is traditionally a much more cartoonier, visually simplistic character than the gritty, detailed Predator. Initially, I thought I’d draw the Predator realistically and have him be the one realistic element in the Archie universe. My editor, however, asked me to “Archiefy” the Predator and that was definitely the correct call. Now the Predator fits in seemlessly into the Archie Universe. One of the things about this series that readers seem to enjoy is how the book looks and reads like a classic Archie story… except that you have the Predator in it killing people!

6) Explain which continuity this crossover fits into. Is it a “what if?” or is is considered canon?

I think readers are going to catch on very quickly that Archie Vs Predator is its own continuity. If it weren’t, Archie Comics would be left with almost no characters!

7) With the series finishing up, whats in store for fans? What can we expect from such a finale?

One of the best things about this series is that each issue has been different and completely surprising. You can’t have any expectations because writer Alex DeCampi keeps throwing unpredictable, weird and even flat out disturbing twists into every issue. The finish is huge! The last issue was almost non-stop action and a complete blast to draw!

8) Any other future projects in conjunction with Archie that you are doing? What can we look forward to?

After Archie Vs Predator, I’ll be writing and drawing a number of stories in the more classic Archie style for the Archie digests. In this business, you never know what’s coming up. I’d love to do another Archie Vs Predator or even other crazy pairings!

9) How can you describe an illustrators work day? Is it considered flexible, or would you put it on the same level as a 9 to 5?

I’m a freelance illustrator so my hours have a good amount of flexibility to them, but I find that the best way to remain productive is to have a set schedule that you adhere to religiously. If you wake up at noon and stroll over to the drawing board whenever you feel like, I find you don’t get as much done. Discipline is key for the freelance artist. You’re working at home but you have to treat it as though you’re going to a regular office for work.

10) On a more complex level, can you describe Western art in regards to characters such as Archie, and how you compare to foreign comic artists. Is there a difference in art form along with creative control? How does it compare in the business and marketing aspect?

I’m not really familiar with the situations of foreign comic artists. I think they might actually have far more control over their characters than I do since in many of their cases, they are in fact the actual creators of their properties. I’m a freelance artist. I write and draw what the publisher hires me to write and draw. I can be creative of course because I am being hired for my creativity, but ultimately I am being hired to provide a service for a client and the client has to approve what I am doing… and of course, the customer is always right… because he’s paying!

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