Chico Comics Page Sunday Series Presents:
Skully’s Artist’s Spotlight: Pere Perez
Pere Perez is the artist currently drawing for Marvel Comics’ Rogue & Gambit title!
Pere Perez has worked for Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Marvel Comics & several other Spanish companies as an artist.
Wow! Where do I start? I guess the first thing I want to bring up is the creative layout of the panels on the page itself. Notice the large, broad-scoping top panel that provides excellent perspective and shows a real obvious size ratio between the Sentinel and Rogue & Gambit. This instantly portrays the magnitude of their situation.
An excellent display of action and explosive movement. You can practically feel the concussive blast coming out of the explosions. This is made all the more intense by the amount of detail added to each panel. Even the little rocks that are just meant as scenery are given shape and definition. The razor sharp lines and tight and accurate technique leaves nothing to figure out or guess – much like a photograph, only better because with Perez’ panels we get feeling and movement. It is no wonder that Pere Perez has had a successful career as an artist. He is clearly a master of his craft.
- First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. Between teaching & working you have to be working all the time so I’m happy to get a few minutes with you. How many hours do you put in a week with your various occupations?
- Not as many as it may seem, it’s not that bad. An average page takes me about 6 hours from pencils to inks, and an additional day or two to do the layouts of the whole issue. Also, I only teach comics on Saturday mornings, so I still have plenty of time for martial arts, my secondary art.
- Martial Arts? I am an enthusiast myself – I have been since my first Daredevil comics. I’ve taken Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Shaolin Kung Fu. But, honestly the classes were not that good. I learned moves but not technique. What was your experience in learning? What type(s) are you learning?
- I loved Frank Miller’s Daredevil, it is one of the most realistic portrayals of martial arts, at least at the time it was published. I originally wanted to teach judo, I practised it for 12 years more or less, but I had to quit because of that injury that I mentioned. Some years after that I changed to kung fu, and that’s what I’ve been doing since then. I’m a third degree black belt instructor in wing chun, a black belt in yang taijiquan, and I also practise hung gar, chen taijiquan and xinyiquan all of them considered to be kung fu. I have also practised some kenjutsu and aikijutsu, but I mainly focus on chinsese martial arts.
- I agree about the martial arts portrayal in DD. Some of the beter choreography out there. First of all, major props for being a professor in art. I respect that a lot. When did you decide that you wanted to teach art at a college level?
- Well, it’s not a college, it’s an art school mainly focused on comics. I’ve been teaching since very early on my career, at 19 if my memory doesn’t fail. I find it very rewarding, and allows me to remember how to do what I do and why, and it’s great to be in touch with young aspiring artists filled with passion and energy.
- Ah, an art school, & one that focuses on comics? That’s pretty cool. When did you know that art was what you wanted to do? What was your 1st inspiration?
- At first as a teen I wanted to be a martial arts teacher, but an injury made me rethink that. Because of that injury I spent some time at home, and I started drawing and reading comics more seriously. I recall drawing some Dragon Ball, G.I.Joe and Ninja Turtles when I was younger. Then, when I began taking drawing more seriously I got into Marvel and Image mainly, reading books such as X-Men, Spiderman, Gen 13 or Spawn. Also, Star Wars has always been a great driving force on my motivation towards art.
- What was it that drew you to GI Joe instead of other books at first? Do you still read them today?
- I think my first contact with them was from the toys, and then I began looking for the books. I have recently purchased all the classic G.I.Joe Marvel issues reprinted by IDW and I have finally gotten the chance to know what happened between all the issues that I had and that I couldn’t find at the time. But I haven’t read any of the new stuff, I guess I lost interest on it.
- Star Wars, huh? I guess that’d be thing number 3 we have in common (with comics & MMA). I tend to like it more for its philosophical & supernatural points. What is it that motivates and inspires you from Star Wars? What do you love about it?
- The visuals blew me away as a kid. I got inspired from the ability of creating believable worlds and characters from scratch, I wanted to be able to do that. And I guess the Jedi mythology is somehow responsible for my early interest in martial arts.
- Did you teach yourself how to draw, were you taught or was it a bit of both?
- A bit of both. I did a month long summer course at the school where I teach now (Joso comic school), and then I began an illustration degree after high school at another school, but I stopped after the first year because they weren’t teaching me what I wanted to learn. Then I started going to a studio owned by Oscar Jimenez, who was working for the big two at the time. I learned a lot about the profession there for almost a year. And then after that I spent several years practicing on my own, and I started to get my first gigs.
- You are quite the colorist as well. I like that you add to the 3rd dimension when you color. It’s not just filling in the blanks. What got you started coloring?
- You are too kind, when I color I’m not completely sure of what I’m doing. I’m always trying to find my coloring style, but I don’t do it often enough to polish and refine a method, so I try new stuff on every piece. Also, I find the coloring process a bit slow, and I tend to get bored by it if I do it for too much days in a row.
- Who are your artistic inspirations? Who has had the greatest effect on your style and technique?
- I have always tried not to be too inspired by any other artist, so what comes out of my pencil is as personal as possible. That said, I constantly get inspired by other artists, but It’s more of a will to be as good as them rather than let their style pour into my art. It’s hard to tell all the artists that inspired me, because at this point they are pretty much countless, but when I began I recall being impressed by the work of artists such as Carlos Pacheco, Adam Hughes, Akira Toriyama, John Byrne, Kevin Maguire or Alan Davis. And nowadays I enjoy a lot of the art of people as Chris Samnee, J.H. Williams, Stuart Immonen, Roger Ibáñez, Lewis Larosa, Kenny Ruiz or Victor Santos to name a few.
- Spain. I’ve never been there, but it comes up a lot when I read history and I’ve seen some beautiful pictures. What was it like to be a comic book guy where you grew up? What kinds of comics did you have access to there?
- When I was growing pretty much all kids read Asterix, Tintin or Mortadelo y Filemón, that are European books. Then I discovered Marvel books, and I got heavily into G.I.Joe. It was a bit hard to get the books, because you could only get them on newsstands, so maybe you missed issues. But we had pretty much everything you have there being reprinted here, plus the European stuff and the manga that was beginning to bloom with books as Dragon Ball.
- Being able to do stuff like this interview is why I got into this and started my magazine. Don’t let my composure fool you, I am geeking out right now. You must have those moments yourself, no? What have been the big “geek-out” moments in your career? A person or even a title that was a dream to work with/on?
- Man, there’s been so many… I have to control myself not to geek out quite often. I’m lucky enough to be friends with artists I admired long before meeting them, I have been invited to comic cons where I’ve meet some of my idols and have gotten to spend some time with them. If you want me to be more specific, One of them is having dinner with Carlos Pacheco, Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont and my agent David Macho, and having to refrain my inner teen self to start asking for autographs on napkins. And on a more professional side, I was a fan of Fred Van Lente’s work before having the chance of working with him for years, and the same could be said about working with Greg Rucka, or Frankie D’Armata, the colorist I’m currently working with on Rogue & Gambit.
- Holy crap! That was quite a dinner, Sir! My mouth dropped a little bit more with each name at that dinner! I gasped at Pacheco. I covered my mouth at Wolfman. By the time you got to Claremont I almost squealed like a little girl. Hahaha. So, you have really been around the block as far as your work history. I think you’ve been around the block a couple times! I mean, some big titles at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Valiant and Dynamite. Is there still that one elusive dream job? That one your still hoping for?
- My dream jobs are more about working with writers I admire, such as Mark Waid, Garth Ennis or Warren Ellis, to name a few, rather than particular characters. I often enjoy more doing small characters that I knew little or nothing before working on them, because I’m more likely to get surprised by the scripts and it makes it more exciting. Also it gives me more freedom to add my own touch without being too conditioned by the artists that have done it before. But asides from that I would like to draw characters as Wolverine, Thor, Spiderman, Shang Chi, Green Lantern or something about Star Wars.
- Do you have any personal projects on the burner at the moment that you can share with us? Anything coming in the future you’re excited about?
- Nothing that I can talk about, but yeah, I’m excited about what’s coming in the future. On the near future, I can tell you that if you’ve read Rogue & Gambit #1, you have seen nothing yet, the next issues are fantastic, Kelly Thompson’s scripts are exciting and are a delight to any X-Men fan, as well as a good starting point to someone who is not familiar with the characters and wants to begin. And the colors by Frank D’Armata are so beautiful that make my pages look way better than they are. You all should get a few copies of each issue.
Thank you for taking the time to check out Skully’s Artist’s Spotlight on Pere Perez. Check back with us on our next Sunday Series for our Artist’s Spotlight on IDW, Marvel & Valiant Comics Jeffrey Veregge!!