Today VampirePhile has the pleasure of an interview with Jerry Gonzales, artist/illustrator with Dusk Comics.
VampirePhile: Hello Jerry and welcome. So my first question is, for those reading who may not yet know about you, tell us a bit about yourself, such as how you got started as an illustrator/graphic artist?
Jerry Gonzales: Thanks for the opportunity. I'm from Austin, TX., born and raised, I got into wanting to draw comics at a young age. Then again who didn't. I really started to focus on getting in to the comic business around high school, after I had made a short comic for my friends and realized that I could do this for a living. I never went to college for my career, I was self taught in how to illustrate for comics. Before the age of Facebook, MySpace, DeviantArt, and so forth, I sent all my submissions via snail mail. After many months of mailing submissions to several different companies, one company from San Antonio named Antarctic Press, published several pin ups and stories for their fan based Annuals of Gold Digger and Ninja High School. A few years later, I met David at a con in Dallas and he got me a job at Dusk Comics.
JG: Dusk is about a young woman name Eve who was in a abusive marriage but gets kidnapped into the world of vampires and magic. Her benefactor, Lord Ash, leads her back to a normal life but Eve chooses to stay with Ash. Mystery Masque is another version of the comic character from the 1940's Miss Masque. Also better know as Masquerade from Dynamite Entertainment. Note that Miss Masque is a public domain character so there's not too much of a worry of a legal lawsuit coming our way. Anyway the difference between Dynamite's Miss Masque and ours is that their character focuses on the superpower aspect of Miss Masque. Our version deals with crime fighting side of the character. In the book, Diana Adams is an adrenaline, she feels alive when she's in a stressful situation. So when her friend/co-worker, gets in trouble with a criminal organization, Diana takes advantage of the situation helping her friend out thus giving her the alter ego of Miss Masque.
VP: How long you've been an illustrator / graphic artist with Dusk Comics?
JG: I've worked for Dusk Comics for about roughly two or three years. Wow, time flies when you get into the comic biz. (laughs)
VP: How long does one panel take to draw and/or colour in?
JG: With one panel, from pencils to inks, it only takes about an hour. A full page from beginning to end takes about eight hours to do. I used to crank out pages in less time but the end result was the pages turned out poorly. So I started to slow down my process and take my time with the artwork. I've avoided coloring, due to the fact that I suck at it. Someday, I might take the time to learn how to color.
VP: What materials do you use and/or prefer to use? And what medium do you work in? Do you illustrate by computer or by hand or both?
JG: I materials that I use are mechanical pencils (varying from .03 to 2mm), non-photo blue pencils, kneaded eraser, Sumi black ink, Hunt 102 crow quill pen, various brushes, .35 and .50 Koh-i-noor pens, and for paper I use Blue Line Pro art boards. I mainly go the traditional route when it comes to illustrating comics. But I recently started messing around with sketching on Manga Studio and on Photoshop. I not sure if I really want to commit to doing all of my comic work digitally.
VP: In three words, describe your style?
JG: Work in Progress.
VP: Give us a general idea of the process it may take to develop a comic such as Dusk, especially as it’s all collaborative. How many people are involved at any one time? Is it all done at the same time or does it go through several stages starting with the author?
JG: The steps for developing a comic usually goes by: writer has a script, which goes to the penciler who illustrates the pages, then the inker goes over the pencils and last the letter types up the dialog. In between each step there's constant communication (via email) with the writer/editor. As for how long the process takes, it all depends on how reliable everybody who is contributing to the book(s). Some of us have bills to pay so we rely on our jobs in the outside world to take care of that while getting an issue done at a particular time frame. The first volume of Dusk, didn't have too much of a deadline to work on. All the stories were culminated over long periods of time. Mystery Masque was done in about eight or nine months, or at least on my part I was able to finish the book within that time.
VP: Other than graphically, do you contribute to the storyline of the Dusk series and/or Mystery Masque?
JG: The only thing I contribute to the storyline is mainly just pacing of the story. If there's something that doesn't look right with a particular page then I'll shoot an email to David and then go from there. I would like a shot at writing a comic someday. It may not involve Dusk or Mystery Masque, but I have a few ideas that I would like make into a comic.
VP: Given the nature of Dusk, what do you find attractive about the world of the Paranormal, if anything?
JG: I find it amazing that every paranormal story and/or legend that has been told for God knows how long, still fascinates us and keeps us wanting more.
VP: Where and/or how far would you like to see the Dusk series go?
JG: I would like to see the series last a few more volumes in the comic world, I like illustrating the book and I would like to continue drawing Dusk in the future. As for anything past the comics medium...well that's for David to decide.
VP: What is your opinion of comics adapted for the big screen? What have been some of your favourite adaptations? Or what are you looking forward to?
JG: For a long time I was real picky about how the movie industry would handle some of the well known comic characters. Over time I realized that they're not making a movie just for the regular comic geeks, they're making a comic movie for the people who aren't comic geeks. I mean you're trying to fit a full comic into a two to three hour movie, and keep the viewer entertained. So you have to forgive a little on the screenwriter or the director from deviating away from the original book. Best advice for anybody who wants to see a movie that looks good, don't go in with high hopes, there's a good chance that you'll be disappointed. As for some of my favorite adaptations, Dark Knight is right on top of the list. Kick-Ass was a good movie, also The Losers, was really good. It didn't do well in the box offices but when you watch the movie, its really entertaining. I look forward to seeing Green Lantern, Captain America and Thor.
VP: What is your opinion with regards to Western and Manga?
And with regards to the terminology “Comic” vs. “Graphic Novel”? Which of the two do you do prefer to use? Do you think there is any relevance to the divide that some enthusiasts feel with regards to the label “Graphic Novel” vs. the label “Comic”?
JG: I enjoy both western and Manga. I grew up on western comics (Marvel, DC, Image), so I have the traditional style of comic book storytelling embedded in my memory. With Manga, I discovered that genre back in high school, much like everyone did in my generation. I'm amazed on how long it has lasted and how mainstream it has become. Back in the day, you couldn't buy mangas at a Borders or a Barnes and Nobel. You would have to special order it through a local comic shop, order online, or go to a convention just to get a import of a manga. I really got into the manga genre because I was fasinated with how complex the stories were and how the artwork was detailed and bold. If it wasn't for manga, I think, I would still be looking for my own style or just plain given up comics all together.
I have mixed feelings about the label "comics" vs. the label "graphic novel". I prefer use the label "comics" over "graphic novel". But when I talk to someone about what I do I tend to use graphic novel. The way I see it, saying graphic novel over saying comics is like saying I work as a Movie theater consultant, when actually you work in the box office at a movie theater near the mall. Both have the same meaning, just one sounds more grown up.
VP: Who are some (other) graphic artists you may admire and why?
JG: The top one on my list is Fred Perry, he's an writer and American-manga artist for "Gold Digger". I love his work, he's the reason I have an art style. Another artist is Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows fame, his artwork is amazing. Also Carlos Pacheco, is another great artist, I got into his style when I read JLA/JSA: Vice and Virtue. I love the way he draws hands. I could go on, but if I did then this interview would take forever.
VP: Technology and Art. With regards to both, what do you think are the pros (and cons) if any?
JG: The good thing that I can think of is that technology has become a very reliable tool with comics. It has changed the way we do art. The down side, it has become too reliable. I feel that without learning how to draw traditionally, the art itself will suffer. Granted I'm in that phase of learning to draw digitally, but it still won't replace the feel of working with pencil and ink.
VP: A just for fun question to finish - With the current “undead” trend in Film and Tv being ever so popular with True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Being Human, Underworld etc – seems like the fans want more fangs! What are some other vampiric or vampire related works you’d like to see adapted for the big and/or small screen?
JG: Well (I'm out dating myself here), there was a book that was released back in the mid to late 90's called Crimson, done by Humberto Ramos. I enjoyed that book and I would of like to see it in a form of a live action TV series. But honestly I would like to do the opposite of putting a vampire related movie or Tv show into a Graphic Novel format. Kind of like what happened to Buffy after the TV series was over, the following season was done in comic format.
VP: Well thank you very much Jerry for stopping by and giving readers the opportunity to discover more about your world and the world of Dusk Comics. We would like to wish you and David Doub and everyone at Dusk Comics continued success with the new release/s. It’s been a pleasure having you here and definitely looking forward to more in the future.
For more info on Dusk Comics and for a free read of Dusk Vol. 1, visit: http://www.duskcomics.com/