Friday, November 20, 2009

Randy Martinez - Cartoonist Survey #5

Today Randy Martinez, creator of the book, Creature Features, and artist extraordinaire takes some time to share his answers.
Be sure to visit both his website;
and his blog;

What is your favorite pen to use?
It all depends on the job. Different pens work well with different mediums and surfaces. I use about 4-5 different brands of pens. I have yet to find one pens that works well with everything...But I'd be happy if someone made one.

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Most of the time I do an under drawing in Pencil. I have met very few artists that just start with inks. Even if it's just a rough layout in blue non-photo pencil. It's really just a guide, to make things easier. With a Pencil sketch you can be really loose, and look at the whole composition better. Then you come in and focus on details with pen or darker pencil.

Sometimes with Cartooning, you want that looseness, so penciling things in first can work against you. Sergio Aragonez for instance, will do a rough layout sketch when he does those HUGE splash pages with thousands of little people all over, but nothing more than composition guides. Part of Sergio's greatness is the fact that he draws as quick as he thinks. He's like an improve comedian. If he were to pencil out every single character before he inks it, he would not be able to draw in the little jokes he's thinking of while he draws. On the other hand, for the quick gag cartoons, like the marginals in MAD Magazine, he just starts drawing with ink. Amazing to watch.

Oh, and I use a No.2 or HB Pencil, Regular or Mechanical. What ever is in reach.

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Both. Again, it depends on the job and the client. For instance, the work I do for Playroom Ent. (Games) they prefer the way digital color prints out for their games, so I use photoshop to color that work in. But most everything else I prefer to do by hand. Just my preference. I like to get my hands dirty.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Markers, Colored Pencils, Acrylic Paint, Water Color, Colored India Inks. Again, it all depends on the job or the look I'm going for.

What type of paper do you use?
In general, I try to do as much work as I can on Bristol. It's nice and rigid with a nice tooth to hold my pencil work well. I will use Illustration board when I use wet media.
I do all my sketches on regular old printer paper.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?Circles. I have some sort of defect in my wrist that does not allow me to make good circles.
I don't know if that is medically true, but I have just never drawn a good circle. Weird.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?I like to physically go into art stores. We have about 3 major stores in our Hollywood Area. They all seem to carry different things I need so sometimes we have to spend all day getting across town to each store. But it's cool. It's a good excuse to go for a drive with my girlfriend.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Usually just a lot of procrastinating:)
Not really. Doing my art is like breathing to me. I don’t even really think about it. I can do it in any situation, and nothing really disturbs me. In fact I seem to draw a little better when I'm not too focused. So I actually draw while I watch Laker’s games. My rituals really only come into play when I need to focus a bit more and I can't. I usually need to release some energy so I'll sometimes play my guitar and sing until I feel relaxed and ready to draw or paint. Problem is, sometimes I get into it and use up all my energy making music:) But I love it, what can I do? :)

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
Oh Yes, I'm one of those artists that needs to have some background noise. Whether it's music or something on TV, or a movie. I am a Rock n Roll guy, but my iTunes library is made up of everything from Rock, to Jazz, to movie soundtracks. I hit scramble and let it play. But it's amazing how quickly I get through thousands of songs. At least it feels that way. So I've discovered Pandora on the Internet. It's a kind of Internet Radio. I've discovered a lot of new music on there, and some of it is music I wouldn't ever buy, but I like to hear every once in a while. I love Music, and it goes hand in hand with art. So I NEED IT!!!!!
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?Yes I did. But the funny thing is I really didn't get into them until 6th or 7th grade. And then I quite reading them when I got into High School. I know what you are thinking, I let peer pressure get to me, but that's not it at all. Besides being a really good artist when I was a kid, I was an even better athlete. My focus quickly became Basketball and nothing else as I entered high school. I still did art, but I just went through the motions. I liked picking up comics here and there, but I just didn't have time to keep up.

Comics for me were like text books when I was really little. I loved Spider-man, and the Hulk but I never READ them. I studied the drawings and copied them. Once I got to Jr. High I really became obsessed with learning to draw better, and that is when I got REALLY into comics. Started to read them a little, but I was drawing from all of them till I could draw my own versions of them with out looking. My favorite then was by far the X-men. I think I liked the variety of characters. Fun stuff.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Hmmm, good question. I used to read comic strips all the time. It's one of those things that have gotten lost with the invent of Internet news. No more news papers for me. I really liked the ones that were really funny. I grew tired of mild comedy in strips like Beetle Bailey and Peanuts. I remember really liking the "Born Loser" comic strips. Funny stuff. I also liked the "Far Side".

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Don't really have a novel or a story book that was my favorite. My favorite book was "The Art of Star Wars", which I still own:)

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
Both of my parents are artists, so I grew up around it, and learned from the time I could pick up a brush. I soaked up art styles and mediums like a sponge, plus my parents always encouraged me to try new forms of art and learn different techniques. Seemed we always had some sort of artist friend around, so I would learn from them too.

I went to and graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute. Art School was okay, not great. I learned a lot about myself there, but I was pretty much already on my way. Going to Art School was almost like a formality. I had a couple great teachers who acknowledged where I was as an artist and instead of trying to teach me how to make art they posed a lot of difficult philosophical challenges. Which I really didn't realize they did until years after I graduated.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Oh it's a total blessing. Sure it has changed many things. But life is constantly changing. The Internet has opened things up for artists of all kinds. I think it's like anything thing else in life. It all depends on your outlook on life. To me the Internet represents endless opportunities. It's great!

Did either of your parents draw?
Yes. My Dad was an Illustrator/Cartoonist, while my Mom is a high school art teacher.
Much of my foundation comes from my Dad. He was an amazing illustrator, and knew how to use just about every medium there is to know. The gift I received from him was learning at least the basics about everything he knew. But in most cases I learned much more than just the basics. My Mom was more into art forms like stained glass, mosaics and stuff. She hates the word "Crafts", as do I, but for a lack of better terms...
She always introduced me to new forms of art, which helped me develop the ability to express myself in all kinds of different ways. My Mom has gotten back into painting as she gets closer to retirement, but often I end up tutoring her. It's kind of surreal. Full circle, whatever you want to call it.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents of course. While I may have had a rocky childhood in every other facet of life with them, they always, always supported my art. It was always like at the end of the day, no matter what happened, my art came first. But, everyone my entire life has been supportive. Even rotten kids at school, they all loved my art... especially when I gave some to them. Which I was always happy to do. In my Adult life my biggest support is my girlfriend Denise Vasquez. She too is an artist, but I think sometimes she believes in me more than I do, and I'm pretty damn confident.:)
She is awesome.

Do you keep a sketchbook?Yeah, kind of. Funny thing is since my business has picked up in the last 3-4 years I don't draw in a sketch book as much. I "work" so much that when I'm not doing art work for jobs, I don't even want to think about drawing. Sometimes that is a problem on a whole other level. But I enjoy the "work" I'm doing so it's no big deal. But I keep one around just in case I think of an idea while I'm "working" that I don’t want to lose. I keep all my old sketch books, because they are filled with ideas that I draw from now.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, I have taught cartooning many times. I actually do "How to Draw Star Wars" classes to kids at different conventions and stuff. But I've also taught at high school art classes (as a guest) and even helped teach my dad's College Cartooning Class (back when he used to do that).

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
In all forms of art, Passion is by far the most important. Talent can take you so far, but if you have nothing behind it, if there is no love, then it's empty...lifeless. Denise and I were talking about this the other day. If you go into a Gallery and you have a painting that is technically painted perfectly. Tons of detail, perfect color, I mean who ever did this studied their ass off learning how to paint. They probably took a year to paint all the detail. But next to it you have a Van Gough painting. A painting that probably took him a few hours. Personally, I appreciate the technically painted piece, but the Van Gough is the one I will remember. Why, because Van Gough put 100% passion into his work. He's by far not the best draftsman, but it doesn't matter. He's in touch with his passion, and that is what makes great art in my opinion.
Yes, you do have to have some talent, but with out passion...what is the point?
Take Janis Joplin for instance.
Nobody went to see Janis because she was this ultra talented singer with great range. In truth Janis's voice was raspy, and she didn't have a HUGE range. Janis was great because she poured her passion out through her music. Regardless if she was singing the right words, or even on time, the passion is what grabs us, touches us, and we remember that.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I used to collect a lot of Star Wars stuff. But it gets expensive and I have no room.
So I have narrowed it down to one thing. Star Wars Galactic Heroes. They are like little cartoon versions of Star Wars. I love them. I take them out and play with them too. My Nephew LOVES to come over and play Star Wars with me:)

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Wow, good question. Probably Bugs Bunny. He's funny, a smart ass, and very creative in how he gets under peoples skin...for better or worse.

Are you a righty or lefty?
I'm a Lighty.
Ha, no I'm a Righty

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
A Rock Star. No Question.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
Organized Chaos.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, I play Guitar and Bass Guitar. I play out from time to time with Denise. In fact we are playing NAMM this year. It's like comic con for musicians. With any luck, I'll get my first album together in 2010, but I've been saying that for two years now:)

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Get your head examined:)
Ha ha, no. Really, the secret to making art your career is you have to love it. Because it gets REALLY REALLY tough sometimes. Financially, mentally, and sometimes physically.
You have to love it so much that you will never give up on it, even if you tried. It has to be the most important thing in your life, like breathing. But if you love it, then it's not really a struggle.

The greatest thing about art, of any kind is no matter what happens in life no one can ever take it away from you. You may lose all your money, you may even lose your health, but you'll always have the art in you.
(Editor's note: I love those last two sentences! It is so true. The same goes for music.)

Who is your favorite artist?
I love them all. It's the other thing I love about art. It's a never ending ocean of ideas, styles, and inspirations. Each and everyone one of them has their own greatness.

Thanks Randy, I still refer to your Creature Features book all the time!

No comments: