Monday, March 02, 2015

Jim Gutierrez and Undead Presidents

by Mike Rhode
Jim Gutierrez is graphic designer from Texas who's a recent graduate of UDC. One of his professors, the cartoonist Teresa Logan, put me in touch with him and he answered my usual interview questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
The work I do is mostly panels and it usually involves zombies. I love the undead!

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I usually work in traditional pen and ink and I do my coloring digitally. It saves me so much time.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I was born in 1976 in LaMesa, Texas, but I was raised in the Rio Grande Valley.

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?
I was attending school for Graphic Design. I currently live in Cleveland Park.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
Well, like most cartoonists I know, I've been drawing since I was a child. I later took art classes from middle school all through high school. I would often draw comic books with my friend Renning. I later studied graphic design at UDC and that's where my passion for illustration broke wide open. I took an illustration techniques class with Teresa Logan and she helped to bring out the best in me.

Who are your influences?
Some of my influences are Doug Tennapel for his great storytelling and Nate Van Dyke, I love his line work!

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
If I could do something different in my career it would probably be to have had more confidence in my ability when I was younger. If I did I would have started my career a long time ago! Good thing is that I'm here now.

What work are you best-known for?
I think I'm known for my zombies. Most notably The Undead Presidents.

What work are you most proud of?
The work that I'm most proud of is probably the Undead Presidents. That project took me a very long time to complete. I'm glad I saw it all the way through.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I would like to work on my own graphic novel or strip in the future. Something zombie-related of course.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
When I'm in a rut I like to open my ears when I'm in public places. I think it's funny to know what people find are the important things in their lives. I just eavesdrop on a good conversation and take it from there!

What do you think will be the future of your career?
I think I'll find my way back to Texas and try to establish myself there. I have a lot of friends and family I could collaborate with. Plus, its always nice to be creative around familiar surroundings.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
Some of the local cons I attend are Awesomecon and the Baltimore Comicon.

What's your favorite thing about DC?
My most favorite thing about DC is having access to all the great art museums!

Least favorite?
My least favorite thing about DC is that everyone else in this country has access to all the great art museums as well! I don't like crowds...

 What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?
I like the National Gallery of Art. I could spend all day in either wing of the museum. I get so much inspiration every visit I make.

How about a favorite local restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is Cactus Cantina. This place totally reminds me of home.

Do you have a website or blog?
I am currently working on my website and hope to publish it soon.

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