Hector E. Rodriguez is the Massachusetts-based artist behind comics including the kids book Mandie Pandie in the Curfew (Crazy Comics) and a variety of short stories in GWP’s Psychosis and Comic Artists Guild anthologies. His upcoming project Hell’s Blood is scheduled for release at the New York Comic Con in a few weeks. You can find out more about him and the new project at www.hellsblood.net.
Question 1: When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics for a living?
Way back in high school, I could tell you the year but then I’ll have to kill you.
Question 2: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
Three people actually: Ven Yann, Kelly “my wife” Rodriguez, and Mr. Keith Murphey.
Question 3: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?
I believe many people have had an influence, from the artists that I idolize to my family and even the few fans that I have. I feel so in my own world when I do what I do. There is no bigger comfort zone for me, and I love when I make people do a double take, or I get a “Whoa!” from someone. The only thing I love more than doing this is my wife and children and that is exactly why I do it, for the love of it.
Question 4: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I tend to look at some of my favorite artist work and even some of my own favorite pages.
Question 5: Describe your typical work routine.
With a full time job besides comics my time is limited, so I get up around 7:00 to 9:00 AM, and I usually draw until about 3:30 in the afternoon. On occasion I’ll get home from work and draw until about 2:00 or 3:00 AM, but that’s a last resort type of thing. After my thumbnails I start everything in blue pencil and then I go into pencils.
Question 6: What writing, drawing, or other tools do you use?
Prisma color blue pencils 761 1/2, Faber-Castell 2, 3, and 4H, Blueline Pro Bristol boards, etc., etc.
Question 7: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Seeing a page go from a blank piece of paper to its pencil finish.
Question 8: What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?
Hell’s Blood because I’ve poured so much blood and sweat into it. This one has been in the works for over 10 years.
Question 9: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
Two things that have kept me going and improving, one, for every time I think of quitting and don’t there’s four or five others who do quit. I’ve had many drawing and book partners in the past but only two are still around beside myself. And, two, put yourself out of your comfort zone when you do your work. If you can’t stand doing backgrounds, do them more and more and before you know it they become second nature.
Question 10: Time to get philosophical: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?
Work hard, be patient, and don’t do this to make money. Do it because you enjoy and have a passion for it.
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