Well, I was one of the many aspiring artists in that portfolio line, hoping to get work; wicking that one day I'd be working for the "big 2" because thats all we knew. Having a dream, hoping you'll draw your favorite Marvel or DC character; then reality sets in in the form of rejection letters. In 1995 I went to Chicago Comic Con (before Wizard World took over), met two gentlemen who had a table in "artist alley" who thought I had potential. They offered me to come to a comic book workshop class they were teaching in a Chicago city college. These two gentlemen taught me the ropes, from how to tell a story from panel to panel to drawing a better my anatomy; they basically showed everything I was doing wrong and taught me how to do it right. That led to me to work on a few short stories with their creator owned characters. I was able to get work with a few small publishers and then I decided to create my own character, I called him “GUYTRON”. It was publish by m--studios comics and I built a nice audience for myself. At that point I wasn't focus on getting work from the "big 2" anymore, instead; I used all my energy and focus on creating my own comics... for my own audience.
2. Who was you greatest influence?
Rob Liefeld. His style caught my undivided attention. Rob's work ethic is insane, people don't give this guy the credit he deserves; he helped revolutionize comic books. He's my idol and motivation in comics, second only to Jack Kirby!
3. What got you started in doing a comic series?
During the 90s of Image/Milestone comics era, buying all those creator owned titles from both publishers gave me that “you can do this as well” mentality and drove me to create my own comics.
4. What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
Hopefully make a difference (in a positive way) on other up and coming creators and fans as well. I want my comics to be enjoyed by people from every race all around the world.
5. Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I recently got a job as a fashion designer for an online fashion company which is pretty awesome. I create a design, send it to them for approval and it gets put on various apparel etc.
Dwayne McDuffie (R.I.P. Great man and an awesome storyteller), Frank Millier and Chris Claremont
7. What are your three favorite comic book artists?
Ron Wilson, Chuck Patton and Denys Cowan.
8. What kind of equiptment or style of drawing do you use?
I'm an old school creator that still draws using the basics. Mechanical pencil 0.05, non-photo blue pencil, 11"x17" comic book art boards by Carson and Strathmore, templates/circles, gum eraser and an Epson Workforce 7610 IM set. I know alot of artists are using the Cintiq nowadays, maybe down the line L'll invest in getting one.
9. What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I'm pretty much self taught. Took up a few art classes at the IL Institute of art to learning the basic stuff but I learned how to create comics by taking a comicbook workshop class.
10. What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Having my first creator owned comic book Guytron published. Had one hundred copies printed for Wizard World Chicago in 2007... and sold out! That's something I'll never forget.
Its pretty simple..when i have a vision of the story in my head. I sketch out all the characters thats going to be involved in the story.then i write out the over all plot.then send it to what ever writing im collaborating with .then work from the script.and emails and phone calls are also apart of it so me and that writer have a better understanding that we are both on the same page in the direction the story is going including the ending.
12. Are you affiliated to any publisher, group or are you going rogue?
As of right now no, I'm a rouge.
13. What are you currently working on?
I have another creator owned ip in the works which is going to be a Kickstarter called Agent Solo. Its going to be a full color 30 page book (one-shot). The book will be written by Darrell Goza and drawn by me. I have some amazing rewards for backers and I'm planning on launching it in upcoming fall. New followers are welcomed to the Agent Solo fan page on Facebook, there you can see sneak peeks and exclusive videos: https://www.facebook.com/diversecomics
14. What's the premise?
Agent Solo is about a bionic super soldier named Jackson Brice who thwarts national security threats. This one shot is about He comes across his most difficult adversary yet in Lexington Hightower. A Chicago construction worker living a peaceful life with a well paying job and loving family. His 7 year old daughter Emily has chronic leukemia. Everything changes when the economy crashes and Hightower loses his job as his daughters illness takes a turn for the worst.
Filled with anger and rage he decides to break into his ex-employers building stealing their prototype exoskeleton hardware suit made to protect construction workers. Calling himself “Sledge Hammer” he begins robbing banks to provide for his daughters medical treatments in an effort to prolong her life. When a corrupt politician offers him a huge sum of untraceable cash as well as providing his sick daughter with the best medical service available, how could he refuse? The price: a series of contract assassinations of federal agents and witnesses involved in a terrorism prosecution against him for corruption. If Sledgehammer does it he have what he needs for himself and for his daughter. If he fails his ill daughter will die. Never underestimate the love of a father for his family. Can Jackson Brice, aka Agent Solo, stop Sledge Hammers massacre?The line between villain and hero is a slim one at best. One momentary act could be all that makes the difference. Is even the life of a child worth the killing of another individual? These are the questions we answer in: "If I Had A Hammer!"
life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Comics/writing/animation have been the mediums
of art (other than music) that have impacted and
even changed my life the most. They've taught me
things like compassion and self-confidence.
Another thing that impacted me was being a part of
the Image/Milestone comics area of the 90s, going
every Wednesday to the comicbook shop to buy
every creator owned titles by both companies was
like Christmas morning every time. I can't see
myself not creating/drawing comics unless there's
a life threatening health problem or something
drastic like that.
16. Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks
to keep yourself motivated?
Yes, I sure do! I set myself a reasonable quota of pages I can do every week (or month) and force myself to meet those deadlines. Eventually I feel good about periodically letting myself off the hook after I've been meeting them for a while. These routines become so internalized that I no longer need to police myself as much. To keep motivated I work out (thats very important in staying healthy), take walks and watch a healthy dose of Youtube videos focusing on comics; this includes documentaries and podcasts.
17. What's the part of the process you could do without?
I hate inking my own work, and when I have to ink my own work... I sweat bullets.
18. What's the favorite part of the artistic process for you?
I love working on page layouts., it allows me to be the director; making every panel/shot as interesting as I can.
19. What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Creating, writing and drawing comics is hard work, penciling a 20-30 page book isn't a piece of cake; my challenge is completing a book.
20. What are your future plans involving comics?
To keep making good creator owned comics.and hopefully someday have a toy line based off my creations.
Didn't I tell you guys, the man is talented, humble, hard working and focused; a winning combination in any field. We wish you nothing but the best on your future projects Raymond! I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself:
"The first to creating comics is to commit to doing whatever it takes to make your dream a reality."