Remember why you liked comics in the first place?
Our Comics Empower Project continues!
This time, Ariel tells his story:
Most of my childhood was blocked out earlier on.
Ihad a few issues that made me feel different from anyone else on the planet.
Turns out, they just didn’t have labels for introverted creative thinkers.
I started drawing when I was two. My mom and dad were both artists.
I watched a lot of cartoons and some good movies that I still watch with my kids. I wanted to be Don Bluth and create worlds like he did. I grew up in my head and tried my best to put it on paper.
I heard voices. Some were good, some were not. They didn’t tell me to do things or make me hurt myself or anybody, they just all had different opinions or reactions to what was going on at any given time. Like a movie in my head I could manifest them in front of me and see what they might say or do.
Fate is funny, I went to a hospital and they had me trying different medications, they diagnosed me with ADHD. I was supposed to be there though, I met a very influential doctor that suggested, because I was drawing all the time, that I give these voices faces and a problem, motives and that a solution would present itself.
In another place that has nothing to do with me or my life, put them in a situation and write down what happens. Over time I learned to harness this ability and now it is really easy (sometimes too easy) for me to put myself in a character’s shoes and really feel what’s going on in their head.
Comics. I had a late start.
I was twelve, newly relocated 3,000 miles and reborn in San Diego, CA. My dad worked in a dental lab and there was a big Toys’R’Us down the street that I visited every day. I was there for video games and action figures.
Nintendo 64, Playstation and Sega CD, I would play demos for an hour or two and then go back to the lab.
One day I was on my way out and spotted a little comic rack in the corner of the marvel aisle. There were Sonic comics, DC and Marvel comics and coloring books. I knew the X-Men from the Saturday morning cartoons and gravitated to them first. I found this four issue arc, Rogue, drawn by Mike Wieringo. This was a game-changer for me. It was the way he drew Gambit. It was like he looked cool even if he was just in a T-shirt.
Subtle differences like the eyes being black with red pupils and the hair almost jagged, matching his 6 o’clock shadow and animalistically expressive teeth. It was like nothing I had ever seen.
That’s where I spent my time from then on. I absorbed new art like a sponge and am only just now discovering who some of my biggest influences were.
High school was a daydream.
I had a ritual of pulling out my sketchbook for every class and drawing through my days. I met a friend who was better than I was and learned a lot from him about the professional (and sometimes excruciating) side of creating comics and I was hooked.
He introduced me to Marc Silvestri and Michael Turner.
We saw the the rise of Scott J. Campbell, Wildstorm studios and image comics. The birth of Todd Mcfarlane (who roommated with a friend of my art teacher’s) and comics being (decently) portrayed in movies. Exciting times.
Life happens. Two kids, a fiancé and a puppy later, I still read comics, I still write and I still draw and create characters that have their own seperate personalities and motives to this day.
I still look to other artists to see what is new and trending, but most of my meditation is on the first few artists that inspired me to draw better.
I’ve never really been more suited for any other job. Without comics, I wouldn’t have an endless budget for special effects or character casting to tell my stories, I would have to act out every scene and that would be painful for everyone involved.
Follow Ariel here:
His website: www.sandiegobadfish.
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