Thursday, December 14, 2017
Home  >  Features  >  Mighty Artist Spotlight: Ramon Villalobos

Ramon Villalobos

 

Ramon Villalobos: You may have heard this gentleman's name on the likes of Bleeding Cool and Pop Culture Hound. And that's only the beginning! At this year's Stockton-Con, we sat down to chat with the versatile, young artist and picked his brain on his other influences, his upcoming work, and online surprises.

Here's what the "graduate" of the Frank Quitely/Chris Burnham School of Art had to say!

 

MightyVille: Thanks for joining me today, Ramon. So a little background: We first noticed your art on Bleeding Cool...

Ramon Villalobos: Yeah, yeah...

MightyVille: They had an article up about you a few months back. What did you think about that?

Ramon: It was really surprising because ... because I didn't know that was going to happen. When I woke up that morning that they posted it, I got, like. three or four emails and a couple of text messages from people saying, "Oh, you know, congratulations on the Bleeding Cool thing." I'm like, "What are you talking about??!" So I go on there and I saw that and suddenly my inbox is full of people asking me for commissions, and writers asking me if I had samples. I was like, "No! I just do commissions right now. I'm not even confident enough to do sequential art!" So, I had to tell people to, you know, give me a little bit of time and we'll work something out. That was last year. Now I'm like ... I had done some stuff, so, I'm sorta now really plugging into it. But at that time, it was kinda crazy; because those weren't even drawings I spent time on. Those are drawings I did in like a couple of hours in a day.

MightyVille: That says a lot about your work...

Invader Zim & Grr by Ramon Villalobos

Ramon: Yeah...

MightyVille: How'd that make you feel?

Ramon: Well, it made me feel good because I got a lot of exposure. But it also made me feel bad ... because all the comments on that article? It was people reaming me.

MightyVille: Aww, yeah, but you can't worry about that online crap.

Ramon: Yeah, I know ... but I do.

MightyVille: Well, you're an artist, obviously. I guess you've got to.

Ramon:  It was nice. Now, it doesn't bother me at all. At the time, it didn't bother me that much either, but it was a bit ... sort've bittersweet, you know?

MightyVille: Yeah, I get that; makes sense. Can you talk a little about your influences? Some are obvious, some are not so obvious.

Ramon: Yeah, The obvious ones are Frank Quitely, Geoff Darrow, Chris Burnham, like the clean style guys, they're really obvious. Probably less obvious are Will Eisner...

MightyVille: I thought I caught some of that...

Ramon: Yeah, Eisner's big. Jack Kirby is really big. A lot of that, that dynamicism. It's not really the style of it, but more the approach to it. Those are, like, the obvious ones. Aside from them two, I kinda like ... I dunno, man. I haven't slept in like days, so I'm a little off. (Laughs) [Editor's Note: Ramon was up all night finishing this The Dark Knight Rises art exclusively for the show.]

The Dark Knight Rises by Ramon Villalobos

MightyVille: No worries, man, I'm sure this is all a little overwhelming, too.

Ramon: Definitely, yeah, yeah. The not obvious are obvious, I guess. The two biggest guys ever, how are you not influenced by that?

MightyVille: I totally understand. Any time I buy an old Kirby comic, I get a little excited. Tell us about your comic.

Ramon: Which one?

MightyVille: This one here:

Vitruvian Underground by Ramon Villalobos

Ramon: Vitruvian Underground?

MightyVille: Yes.

Ramon: Vitruvian Underground, I didn't draw that one actually, I wrote and colored it. It was drawn by a guy named Craig Cermak. He's currently drawing Voltron: Year One at Dynamite Comics.

MightyVille: Oh, cool.

Ramon: He was nominated for the Russ Manning Award for Best Newcomer. He didn't win it, but it was, like, it was so great he was nominated. Anyway, we put the comic together, because, we were really tired of getting scripts from writers who didn't approach it from an artist's point of view. He was in school, and we were talking about how every time we got a script, it was, like, five pages of talking heads. This is not fun. It's kinda easy, but it's not fun to do at all. We're both also really huge fans of 1960s comics, especially the team-ups of that time. So we wanted to do an updated version of that. We're also REALLY big fans of Grant Morrison, so it was the same thing there. We wanted to do the best comic we could think of. I mean that's what everybody should do, it seems obvious, but...

MightyVille: It doesn't always work out that way...

Ramon: Sometimes people stumble on a big idea, and don't, like, think about the whole thing. I mean, we might have done the same thing! (Laughs) We could be wrong, but for us it was, like, our favorite book and even though we're working on other things right now, it's our side project, but ... that's our first love, and our work is like how we spend our days.

MightyVille: Nice ... that's cool. Is there any project you're working on that you're drawing right now?

LP by Ramon Villalobos

Ramon: Yeah, I just finished a project called LP, that I did with a guy named Curt Pires from Canada, and that's gonna be out in September of this year. And now I'm working on a book called Abstract 3 by a guy named Seth Jacob, and that I plan on having out in a couple of months. They're both one-shots, they're both following the Sam Humphries approach of doing one one-shot and getting it to people to build a name and then see how we could, like, do more from that.

MightyVille: That's a really great way of getting into the industry.

Ramon: It's great because a lot of time you read the first issue of a book and it ends on, like, a cliffhanger you're like, "When's the rest of this coming out?!" and it never happens.

MightyVille: Right.

Ramon: So if we never do another book, it's still a complete story. That's how Vitruvian was, too.

MightyVille: I totally agree. What comics are you reading right now?

Ramon: Right now? Batman Inc, Action Comics, Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, Wonder Woman ... Actually, I'm really behind on a bunch of my comics ... Batman & Robin. I go the trade way for most of my Marvel stuff, I want a lot of the artists in, like, trade and stuff. A lot of the DC stuff I got from the New 52 launch, so I kept getting those. Anything that Grant Morrison does is, like, at the top of my priority list, and everything else just kinda shakes out.

DC's New 52 Batman Family by Ramon Villalobos

MightyVille: Have you ever had a chance to meet Grant?

Ramon: Nooo ... but I met Frank Quitely though!

MightyVille: Nice. We've had a chance to talk to both of them. I really recommend you talk to Grant Morrison if you can. It's an experience, he's really cool.

Ramon: I read every interview he puts out. Like, his book, when he did his book, I was on a tight deadline, and I shouldn't have read his book, but I read it in, like, a day.

MightyVille: Supergods?

Ramon: Yeah, like in between working on that and getting no sleep! That's, like, the dream person for me to meet, you know what I mean? Him and ... that's it basically. (Laughs)

MightyVille: Hey, you never know ... So, what do you think of the turn-out here?

Ramon: Oh, it was AMAZING. I didn't know what to expect. Because I'm from Stockton and I've done art-walks, and I've done store signings, just little things like that. And you know, kind've whatever turnout. A lot of times, nothing. Except for if we're like at a comic store like Al's Comics, you'll get a lot of people on Wednesdays. But generally nothing. Generally, it's hard to reach people. But today was, like, huge! It's like I was at WonderCon, except for in Stockton, which was nuts! It's surreal.

MightyVille: I'm pretty amazed by the turnout myself. Well, thanks for your time, Ramon. It's been a pleasure talking to you and we look forward to picking your new projects up off the shelves some time soon. We're already fans!

Ramon: Thank you!

 

COMING SOON: A Live Art video featuring Ramon drawing Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and meet us at this year's Alternative Press Expo 2012 (Table 427A) for your chance to win an original King Mob drawing by Ramon!

Love Ramon Villalobos' art as much as we do? Give us your thoughts below!

More Ramon Villalobos on MightyVille:

GIVEAWAY: Batman Family Art Print Signed by Ramon Villalobos

 

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