Not just anyone is able to walk away from an education to launch a successful career making comic book art and illustrations.
Ramon Villalobos, a Stockton-based artist, was able to do just that when he left Delta College a few years ago to pursue opportunities in the comic world.
Villalobos began his studies at Delta College in fine arts and graphic arts, while also taking advantage of the wide variety of course offerings.
“I had a really holistic approach to art because I was able to sample a lot of different things while I was there,” he said. “If you go to art school, you have an emphasis on art. At Delta, you can take classes for political science, English and math. It’s less focused on art, so you don’t have blinders on.”
While Delta had influence on some of Villalobos’s development as an artist, it was his dedication to his craft and his passion for his interests that drove his career into rising prominence.
He has amassed more than 3,000 followers on his Tumblr page and has done comic book work for people in several countries including England and Germany.
In describing his art, Villalobos refers to it as comic art in “clear-line” style.
“I generally don’t use a lot of blacks. It’s just dependent on line weight and creating textures and form without relying too much on shading,” he said.
Many have also seen his illustrations in promotional material for Stockton-Con, a local comic book convention.
Some of his more recent works include a high art and pop-science fiction take on comics, called Abstract 3, that he is working on with artist Seth Jacob in Chicago.
It takes the typical atomic age superhero story and removes the villains, leaving them to face the abstract problems of society – for example, his science-altered heroes must face the oil crisis, global warming and systematic control of government.
“It’s like a philosophical debate that we want to have play out in the comic book – that there’s no concrete bad guys – it’s all just stuff that’s already in place. Another one we want to have is about god and religion, so we really want to have big things that are stupid superhero comics, basically,” said Villalobos.
Abstract 3 will be out by the end of the year. In the meantime, Villalobos is working on another big project of compiling a book of illustrated wrestling holds.
“I grew up loving wrestling – my whole family did – and it’s only been recently when I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I should use that as a source of inspiration.’ For a long time it was sort of separate, with wrestling and music, but now I want to mix everything,” he said.
Other inspirations for Villalobos include comic book names such as Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely who have worked on titles such as New X-Men, All-Star Superman as well as Batman and Robin.
Villalobos advises Delta students who may want to follow a similar path into the comic book world should continue to produce more art and work hard.
“The biggest thing is that having a good work ethic will get you farther than anything. That and knowing as much as you can about what you’re doing. Have focus and a good work ethic,” he said.
Visit his blog at ramonvillalobos.tumblr.com. His art on canvas, shirts and totes can be purchased at society6.com/RamonVillalobos.