Richard Garcia is a freelance concept artist from California who loves to draw & create fun, animated characters from the geek culture he adores. His run of Lil’ Heroes & Villains have gone viral and turned Richard into an internet sensation, and his booth has become a must-see at every convention he attends.
Recently, Richard was kind enough to sit down and tackle our DorkUp questions. Check out the interview below, along with his incredibly creative work:
Where are you from? Growing up, what did you geek out on? What books, comics, tv shows, movies, characters were you into?
I was originally from Kerman, CA but spent most of my life growing up in Fresno. And what geeked me out growing up was a healthy dosage of all things 80’s cartoons and toys such as Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Real Ghostbusters, Voltron, Silverhawks, Airwolf, Knightrider, The Incredible Hulk, NINTENDO! Ugh…the list goes on and on! And I have to say that what really started my obsession with comics was Rom! I can honestly say that that series single-handedly jump-started my love for all things comics and drawing.
What are you geeking out on now?
Hmmm….wow. There’s so much going on for geek fans right now. But if I had to narrow it down, it would probably be The Flash TV show, The Walking Dead TV show, the new season of Daredevil, the Image comic series ‘The Violent’ and the ‘New Power Man’ and ‘Iron Fist’ series and anything Kung Fu movie related.
How long have you been creating your designs & illustrations? What made you decide to start creating them?
Oh, as long as I can remember! It was always something that I always wanted to do, but it really kicked into high gear once I got into high school. The Image comic book boom hit and everybody was buying that stuff up, including myself and people around me seemed to like what I did and having that kind of motivation certainly helped with my self esteem and continued to fuel my drive back then.
How did you learn your craft? Is this something you taught yourself? Or did you attend school for it?
It was in the beginning a self-taught thing. I think I got it from my mother’s side, but at the same time my aunt from my father’s side is quite creative as well. But it was when I moved out to Southern California a few years back where my art really started to mature and expand my skillset when I went to art school for animation.
You have several t-shirt designs at TEEPUBLIC (www.teepublic.com/user/artbyrichard) and recently had a design on RIPT Apparel (https://www.riptapparel.com/pages/member?ArtbyRichard) . How did you hook up with these companies? Was this something you submitted work for?
Yeah, it was definitely something that I submitted work for. And after a while you meet up with some of the people that work for them at shows, such as comic conventions and that helps put a face to your name, which in turn helps keep a good relationship with them.
How did you decide what to create for your t-shirt designs? Were they any more challenging than creating a print? Or about the same?
Well, with that you have to see what’s popular at the moment in geek culture and kind of run with an idea. Generally I like to mash things up, so you can broaden the audience you attract. It’s good to stay up to date with what’s happening in our culture, such as with movies, TV shows, anime, etc…so you can stay relevant with the crowd.
I stopped by your booth recently at WonderCon 2016. You had so many great pieces! I love all the Lil’ Heroes & Villains! How do you decide what to create? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Aw, thanks! And how do I decide? Well, I think it’s a bit of both staying up to date in current geek news and what I personally like at the moment or what I enjoyed having/watching/reading /growing up. 80’s cartoons and video games are pretty big right now and so are tv shows, so I like to draw on that, such as my “Lil’ Masters “(Masters of the Universe), “Guardians of the Burger” (Bob’s Burger/Guardians of the Galaxy) and “Mega Man/Street Fighter” mashup.
How many conventions do you attend every year? Do you travel all over to attend them?
I don’t travel too far—the farthest is probably Vegas, but I’d like to do Emerald City and New York Comic Con one day. But generally, I do about 5-6 shows a year around the Southern California area.
How has your experience been at Conventions? What’s your favorite thing about Cons? What’s your least favorite?
Oh, fantastic! And it’s got to be the interaction with congoers and the enthusiasm they bring with them. I love talking to them! Also, the first timers who are completely blown away by the epicness of it all and finding out that there’s so many others out there that share their love for the culture. That’s always awesome to see, OH, and the families–especially the ones that cosplay together. There’s nothing better than seeing parent not only completely supportive of what their children are into, but joining in on the fun.
Least fave is most def. cleaning up and taking all your stuff down. Haha. That’s the worst for me.
How long does a new illustration take to create?
It depends on how much content I plan to put on it. Bigger ones with multiple characters can take a few days to a week to complete and smaller ones take about a day or less, depending on how much time I have in the day to work on it.
What’s the hardest or most challenging illustration you’ve ever created? What made it so difficult?
A nude portrait of my parents. I think the difficulty speaks in my first sentence. I’m only kidding! Can’t really think of anything right now. I’ll have to get back to you on that one…
What has been your most favorite illustration that you’ve ever created?
I was really proud of my “Lil’ Avengers Ultron” one . It was a homage to the famous Jim Lee X-Men #1 cover. I put a lot of work into it and I was actually happy with the final product, which is rare for me. Heh.
Besides conventions, where do you sell your work? And do you accept commissions?
Um, I have an Etsy shop with some of my prints that you can buy from there. And currently, I’m not. Probably not until June, since I have quite a bit to catch up on for others. Hit me up then!
What are you working on now? Can you give us hints to what your next creation will be?
Right now I’m in talks with a license property to work on something that sounds fun, but I can’t say until I sign on. And my next creations are going to be related to a con that’s coming in June, that’s Masters of the Universe related and hopefully some other 80’s cartoons. And I need to get on that, STAT!
Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Or art shows? Or conventions?
My next place will be in Tustin for Free Comic Book Day out at Comic, Toons N’ Toys, Power-Con in June, then Amazing Las Vegas.
You’ve been very generous with your time! Thank you for this interview, and we look forward to seeing your next creations!
Absolutely! Thank you for being awesome!
Be sure to check out the various Richard Garcia websites: