Interview with Jorge Corona
Jorge Corona is, simply put, a fantastic artist. You can tell that he really enjoys his craft and it shows in the line work he does. He’s an up and comer you may not have heard about just quite yet but he’s gonna put out quality work for years to come if you’re buyin’.
I caught up with Jorge via the interwebs and got a chance to ask him what’s up.
You’re a graduate of SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) in Savannah, GA. How was your experience there and how did it help you grow as an artist?
My time at SCAD was one of the best experiences in my life. It wasn’t only a time to go study art as I had always wanted to do but it was also the chance to meet some great and amazing artists — both fellow students and professors. My undergrad here in Venezuela was in Graphic Design and I got into it because it was the closest degree my University had to offer in an Illustration format. Being a Sequential Artist (although at that moment I didn’t know that was the proper name, it was more like “the guy who draw comics” back then) was what I had always really wanted to do. SCAD gave me the opportunity to finally study what I always wanted.
As for how it helped me grow as an artist I think it was a lot of teaching me the work ethics of this profession. Since comics, and how to draw them, was always an interest of mine, I had tons of books about it. I went on-line and learned about the authors and artists and saw their process. Being at SCAD, I was able to understand how all that came to be. The Sequential Arts programs (and maybe I can talk more properly about the MFA program, since that’s the one I graduated from) is very intensive. For those two years I ate, drank, and breathed comics. Not only the theory but also producing them. It was week after week of producing pages, from idea to script, to thumbs, to pencils, to inks, and, in some cases, to colors. I understood the hard work that goes behind the comic that I read as a kid and all the rules that made some artists work and others not.
It was a time where I found a visual language that I was able to translate regardless of the style I was working on. It taught me how to take my interest in storytelling and exploit it as best as I could. I actually have a lot of things to thank for from my time at SCAD.
Has it always been a dream for you to become an artist? Is your family artistic as well?
Ever since I was a kid my Mom knew that the way to keep me from running around the house was to give me a paper and a pencil. I loved to draw. It was the thing I liked to do the most, and it kind of stuck through my whole life. As I said, I went into Graphic Design because I wanted a career were I could draw. Never having felt a big call for classic art, painting a basket of fruits to the point of realism was never a goal, neither to abstract the fruit until it was understood after an extensive lecture about space and time. That is not to say that I didn’t like art, I loved it! I loved going to museums and to be able to read about the great masters. It just wasn’t really my thing. I wanted to know how to draw Aladdin and make him look like the Disney movie; I wanted to draw the Looney Tunes, Johnny Quest, and the Swatcats; and then Batman: The Animated Series came out and that was it. I was a goner. I’ve been influenced by animation probably more than by any other medium. Again it was a process that, at least back then, I had no idea how to translate into something I could do.
Here in Venezuela comics were never a real “big thing” when I was a kid, except maybe by the funny pages on the newspapers. Those weren’t the characters I was watching on the TV or the movies, unless we count Garfield. Then on a trip with my family, I discovered comic books. There was Batman again! I never stopped after that. It was a whole new language of illustration that I could try to mimic and it was the characters that I loved from cartoons. That was the kind of art I became interested on doing. I later realized that Illustration had many other different applications and I have been lucky enough to have worked on many different fields of it.
All along the way my parents were really supportive of my interests. Both of my parents were Architects so, even they had a bit more of a technical and mathematical approach to art, they both enjoyed it. My Mom tried buying me every book, art supply or class to develop my skills and my dad turned out to be a comic book fan back on his early years; in both of them I had companions and supporters for what I wanted to do.
You are a native of Venezuela. When did you come over to the US and how easy or hard was that to adjust to?
I AM a native of Venezuela and I’m back here after my studies at SCAD. I went to the US in 2011 to start my MFA and lived there for 2 years. The process of adaptation and adjustment took less than expected. I was lucky to find a great group of friends and faculty members that made me feel right at home from the beginning. They were my family for 2 years and made it easy to find that cliché of “home away from home” and I can’t wait to get back and see them all again.
My dream gig would be to be able to keep doing what I’m doing right now and make my living out of it. I love trying new things and that includes jobs and opportunities. It’s one of the things that I love most about being an illustrator, it offers you the opportunity to do something different every time. I’ve worked on magazines, design companies, advertising agencies and even audio visual productions, and drawing had always taken me there. Right now I’m finally working with comics and graphic novels, and I never thought I would be able to do that as a living. It is my passion and what I want to keep doing until the day I can’t hold a pencil anymore. It doesn’t mean that I won’t do graphic design again or advertising illustration, but to be able to keep moving around those fields is my dream gig. I’m still looking forward to teach at some point in my life too.
If you could pick one comic book character to give a complete upgrade on, who would it be and why?
Hahaha! This is a tricky one.
Immediately I would think of Superman, just because I hate the guy unless he is opposite to some other character. I have no idea what to do with him. people that know me see this question and I bet they said “He’s going to say Batman”, but that’s my favorite character! I don’t want to upgrade him. I want to draw him just as he is. I think it would come down to Deadman or the Spectre. There is something about the iconography of those characters that I just love. Maybe I could do some kind of team up story! (Just as I say it I realize that there’s probably one already).
But yeah, I think both Deadman and Spectre are characters that offer so much potential as to the stories you can tell with them. In a way, both of them get the ‘super’ side of their persona from very dark origins. It’s a fact that the human side of their identity is what needs to be coped with. I mean, one is a ghost looking to solve his own murder and the other is wrath incarnated; none came from a happy place. I’m also a sucker for good paranormal plots tinted with a bit of pulp and noir. No surprise that Hellboy is one of my favorite characters too.
Beside, how cool is Deadman’s costume? Who wouldn’t want to draw that Dracula-like collar over and over?!
We’d love to hear about any work you’re doing currently so please feel free to “pimp yo stuff” as the youngsters say these days.
Right now I’m lucky to have some projects on my drawing board. I’m currently penciling and inking the new Teen Titans Go from DC Comics. It’s based on the new Cartoon Network show and it’s been a lot of fun to do. I love to be able to do this comics which is targeted for a wider audience, especially kids, because I think today it’s the perfect way to get the TV audiences interested in the comic medium if they weren’t before. Then expand from there into other titles as they grow up. It’s a book full of wacky humor but I love to give the “superhero” approach to otherwise ordinary situations.
I’m also in the middle of finishing a short story for an anthology a friend from SCAD is putting together along with other amazing artist called Horizon. He’s planning a Kickstarter campaign for somewhere at the beginning of February. It’s a fantasy themed book and it’s going to be on a horizontal format. I like how the project it’s coming along and you should check it out and, if you like it, give us a hand with it and get your hand on a sweet copy.
There is also a cover I did for Assailant Comics. It’s part of a fairy tale series they’re publishing early this year; a piece for VIZ Entertainment for a Bravest Warriors book that just got announced. I’m also working for a local magazine here in Venezuela as an illustrator.
The other big project I’m working on is my own graphic novel to be fully done this year and due to come out on 2015 by Archaia. It’s called “Poe” and I don’t want to give too much of it away at this point but it’s a young adult novel with a bit of fantasy and fairy tale tones to it. Right now, I’m on the finishing stages of scripting and thumbnailing and should be starting on penciling the pages soon. I’m really excited about this book. It’s the first step into a story I’ve been cooking in my head for a while now and it’s finally becoming a real book.
Do you have any words of encouragement for those looking to break into comics or illustration?
I think the important thing is to never stop working, and to never get too comfortable to the point of thinking that there is no more room for improvement. There can be many reasons to just quit and it is a very competitive field, but the good thing is that even though there are many artists out there, there is also a wide range of people looking for books and illustrations to love and follow. It may take a while to find your niche but if you are consistent and professional about your artistic work then, more often than not, you’ll be able to live doing what you love.
Another thing is to not be afraid to get out there; to show your work to people and professionals and get ready to learn from them. Not every review may be a positive one, but take what they say to help you grow, not as an attack to you.
BOOM! Jorge Corona, everybody. Cool, cool dude and a fantastic artist. He also hit me up with a list of potential interviewees I can contact, so expect to see more of these. I’ll try for one every two weeks or so. Thanks again to Jorge for taking the time. It’s much appreciated brother! I’ll hit you back up in a few months and see how you’re doing.
Until next time…