If you ask my mom what my earliest dream job was, she’ll answer: Disney. There was no doubt about it, that’s where I wanted to work. At that time I had no idea of the process that went into creating an animated film, I only knew I wanted to be a part of it. That’s one the greatest parts of being a child, you rarely set limits for yourself, perhaps through ignorance or perhaps because that’s when you can dare to dream big without thinking about how to get there.
The dream of working at Disney dwindled as the years went on, but I always continued drawing. I traced a lot of artwork that I found impressive and that I wanted to imitate and I also copied them in freehand. What I was never good at, was to let go of the safety I found in copying someone else’s work, because whenever I did, the result would often be disappointing. What I should have done, that I realize now, is power through it and learn from my mistakes, but it was too easy to go back into the old routine. When I was in my early teens, I was introduced to comics which opened up a whole new world to me. Capturing so much action and movement in an image and not animation, I thought it was just amazing. One of my biggest inspirations at that time was John Romita Jr.’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man, the gritty and realistic feel he could bring to the page was exactly how I wanted to draw. I must have copied hundreds of his drawings from my Spider-Man magazines.
Later, Batman became my favorite comic, especially the issues drawn by Jim Lee, and reading The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, I was turned on to Sin City and from there the Hellboy series, drawn by the magnificent Mike Mignola, which to this day is one of my favorite things to read.