We ComiConverse With Artist Fernando Ruiz
August 15th, 2015 | by Susan Rook
Artist Fernando Ruiz was perhaps destined to draw Archie. “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies was the number one song the day on the day he was born. But who could possibly envision Archie and the gang from Riverdale getting tangled up with The Predator?
That crossover came out of an off-the-wall comment during a brainstorming session of Archie Comics creative minds – a kooky mash-up that was hugely popular with fans.
Artist Fernando Ruiz talked with ComiConverse about Archie v Predator and more.
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Fernando Ruiz Interview
ComiConverse: Did you ever think that you, as an artist, would be a rock star? Are you surprised by all the attention?
Fernando Ruiz: Ha! That’s very kind. It’s very hard to think of myself as anything more than a guy trying hard to make a living in the field he enjoys. An art career can be such a fragile, precious thing that I’ve always been just more concerned about making a go of it.
This year, however, I drew the Archie crossover series, Archie vs Predator, which got a lot more attention than anything I’d ever worked on before. People everywhere were asking me about it! That had never happened to be before. It was very gratifying to be working on something so many people cared about!
ComiConverse: I saw an eBay auction of Archie Vs Predator #1 for more than $300!
Fernando Ruiz: That eBay auction is crazy! I know people are having a hard time finding it at this point because it did sell out, but I think there’s still some wishful thinking going on there! Best of luck to that guy though!
ComiConverse: Do you have a favorite image from the series? You share a lot on your Facebook for Fernando Ruiz page.
Fernando Ruiz: Archie vs Predator has been a blast! I think my favorite image from the whole series was early in Archie Vs Predator #2. Even though there were some casualties in the first issue, I think showing Pop getting his head blown off is what convinced readers that we were playing for keeps!
ComiConverse: You teach art at the Kubert School. Do you share what you’re working on with your students?
Fernando Ruiz: I remember showing these pages to my students as I worked on them and they would literally scream out loud. It was great. They were very encouraging as I worked on this series.
Fernando Ruiz: All my life, I’ve loved comics and cartoons. I remember starting out with Harvey comics like Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Eventually, I “graduated” to Archie whom I loved even then!
I moved on to super heroes like Superman, Spider-Man, the Legion of Super Heroes, and just about any book with a character with a mask that I could get my hands on.
As much as I loved reading these comics, as a kid, I would sit down and draw from them too. I’d copy Superman or Spider-Man straight from the pages. Believe it or not, I learned a lot doing this. It was then that I knew I wanted to do this for a living. I’m very happy and fortunate to be able to do that.
ComiConverse: I heard Neal Adams say that new artists are told that tracing is cheating and he thinks that’s dumb advice. What’s your opinion on tracing as a way to learn to draw comics?
Fernando Ruiz: I’m a big fan of tracing and copying as a means of learning and especially problem-solving. I know I certainly started that way. If I had a problem drawing arms for example, I looked at the work of an artist who could draw arms I liked and I copied them!
Eventually though a young artist has to move beyond copying and tracing and be able to generate his own images. Copying can be like training wheels. If you never take the training wheels off, you never really learn how to ride the bike!
ComiConverse: Who is your favorite (non Archie) character?
Fernando Ruiz: I definitely got into comics professionally because I loved them so much as a kid. I loved them all from Richie Rich to Archie to all kinds of super heroes!
Out of all of the characters I read and loved, I guess my DC comic books did edge out the rest a little bit mostly due to my love of Superman. Superman was very definitely my favorite. I loved the versatility of the character. He could be fighting bad guys on Earth but he could also be fighting aliens in space and mad scientists in the past or in the future. He was fantastic and he had this wonderfully rich mythology full of villains, allies and friends. It was great!
I still have all of my comic books from when I was a kid and I still buy new comics and books. My studio is overflowing with these characters.
I still find them inspiring. Ray Bradbury used to say about his own workspace, “I’ll never starve there.”
ComiConverse: If you have a chance to meet Fernando Ruiz at a Comi-Con or Fan Expo, stop and say hi! He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and full of great stories. Facebook is a great way to see his schedule: Fernando Ruiz Facebook. Here’s his website: Fernando Ruiz Everybody. And you can catch him on twitter: @FernandoRuizArt.
Susan Rook is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @BaseballSus