It’s about that time again for another amazing Artist Spotlight here at Girl Hero!
GH: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
RD: I can tell you way too much about myself! :D Short story, I was born super poor in the middle of nowhere Kansas, had to build my career from nothing and with a lot of hard work it’s become something great. Along the way I met an amazing woman at San Diego Comic-Con. We fell in love on the internet after that, she moved to Kansas, and a few years later we were married at San Diego Comic-Con. We now live in Cape Elizabeth, Maine with our 2 sons (10 and 3). It’s been an amazing journey.
GH: How would you describe your style of art?
RD: All of it! Ha! I work in a wide and wild variety of styles for an equally varying collection of projects and industries. I like so many different types of art, genres, and types of creation and rather than trying to smash one set style into all those different ventures I try to do what works best for the project. I tend to like bold imagery so if anything I would hope that my work could be called bold.
GH: Do you have any artists that influence or inspire you?
RD: My wife, Renae De Liz (http://www.RenaeDeLiz.com) is my biggest influence, both because I love her work and because I see the heart and determination she puts into every single piece, never settling for just okay, but trying to stretch her creative muscles beyond their capacity each time. Besides that I’ve had tons of artists inspire me though I try really hard not to get too inspired. When I first started out I realized pretty quickly that each panel I drew kinda looked like someone else’s art and a different artist each time. So for a long time I stopped looking at other artists work. Still the ones that will always stick with me: Bernie Wrightson, Greg Capullo, Joe Madureira, Justin Sweet, Tony Diterlizzi, all the 90s Image Comics guys including in a big way Rob Liefeld (can it, haterz!) and probably tons more. Anyone awesome.
GH: Looking at your website, I can see that you involve yourself doing a lot of different things (You’re a painter, designer, writer, colorist, photographer, inker, music creator, and so much more!)… How often do you try to keep up with all your interests?
RD: My life is pretty chaotic to it’s pretty hard to answer this. No set time or schedule but I try to make myself capable of doing any of these as jobs rather than just hobbies, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to take the time to do any of them. Got a family to feed. So as projects come up, I take them if I can. Early on, I needed as many ways as possible to make money and get myself out of the rough situation I was in. So I just went for it, usually 20 hours a day, 365 days a year to make myself good enough in all those areas.
GH: Out of the numerous projects you have done, could you pinpoint one that was your absolute favorite to work on?
RD: That’s tough! Probably “The Last Unicorn” drawn by my wife because of how special it was to her (her favorite movie as a little girl and a huge reason why she became an artist) and because of all we went through while working on it (getting married, moving across country, having a baby) and because of how much it means to the Last Unicorn fans, old and young. Special project. Right now, though PETER PAN: The Graphic Novel could replace that.
GH: I saw you and Renae De Liz are married and have done some projects together – Must be great collaborating side-by-side with your love one! Do you guys have any upcoming projects?
RD: It’s just as wonderfully romantic as it sounds. :) Of course it’s also super stressful and difficult at times because I’m inking and coloring THE Renae De Liz and trying not to mess up the gorgeous work she does, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Right now we are working on PETER PAN: The Graphic Novel based closely on the original novel by J.M. Barrie which we launched on Kickstarter last year making $64,000. It’s an amazing experience. We also had a Vertigo book coming out called Fairest: In the Land, and a top secret project that will be announced soon. You know the character. (Hint hint) ;) Our ultimate goal is to focus joust creator-owned projects like Renae’s LADY POWERPUNCH series. I can’t wait!
GH: What do you like to do when you’re not creating? What hobbies do you have outside of the art-world?
RD: No time for hobbies but adventuring with my kids, going to the beach, playing video games with my wife, fitness/nutrition/bodybuilding/bike riding/basketball … it has been years since I’ve been able to spend any time on that. World travel. Living at Disneyland. ;)
GH: Just for fun, have you ever drawn yourself as a superhero/villain/unique character? What kind of powers would you give yourself?
I have an embarrassing amount of time. What kind of powers? ALL OF THEM!!! ;)
GH: What are your goals for the future, both work wise & life?
RD: Writing more. I’ve written 4 novels, a few graphic novels, etc. but haven’t done anything or written much new stuff in several years now. I want to see those and more through to the end and publishing.
GH: Do you currently have any big projects you are working on at the moment?
RD: Peter Pan, of course, and the Vertigo book. Recent projects include HBO’s Game of Thrones, Ridley Scott’s Prophets of Science Fiction and Meteorite Men on The Science Channel. I’m painting covers for Cemetery Dance Publishing. I also have a few graphic novels coming out and a new series called STARMAGE. It’s currently on Kickstarter and we’d love your support.
GH: Lastly, do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
RD: The absolute most important advice is to create with every ounce of your being and with every moment you’re awake and to never quit. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth So true. It’s the whole reason I have the life I have and career I have. I wasn’t particularly talented or skilled and had nothing else going for me. I forged my life into what it is. You can too.——
You can support Ray and his art by visiting his website, donating to their Kickstarter projects & following them on Twitter for updates!