How are you? Drawing and never stopping drawing. (Laughs).
When did you know that you wanted to draw? Ever since I was a kid, I always drew. I didn't consider being an artist until the Challenger blew up. 1987. I'm going to Google this. I was nine. My dad bought me How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way.
What were some of your influences growing up? Bob Layton, who drew Iron Man.
You have every issue, correct? Yeah and I stopped for a couple of years and then picked up again once our old friend Dave Marquez started drawing and it's actually really good. Also, the G.I. Joe comic from the eighties was a big influence too.
A well done book. Very.
I actually did get to meet Larry Hama. Really? He created all those characters.
Tell me about working for the Alamo Drafthouse. I worked for the Alamo as a food runner and a cook from 2005-2009. They had an opening to run Mondo Tees, their merchandise line since I had retail experience. I realized that I was working to build someone else's business for only thirty-five thousand a year, seventy hours a week. In the fall of 2008 I put the plans together to build Nakatomi. January of my birthday it will be seven years. We're a print shop where we print and sell other artists art work as well as my own.
What's been the one piece you've been proud of? Early on was the Optimus Prime changing into a truck piece. I got so much attention for it and it just snowballed. The most attention I've had has been the realistic interpretation of The Simpsons.
What do you hope to do with your business and where do you see it in five years? It grows every year and I'm happy with where we are. We also keep finding new people to work with.
What's on the pull list? Twilight Children from Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke. All Hellboy books, Southern Bastards, the new Star Wars books are a lot of fun. Velvet and Lazarus, Sex Criminals and Sex by Joe Casey. I read so many damn books. Saga, Walking Dead.
You've had some mainstream success with IDW and the Ninja Turtles. Yeah, I was offered to do interiors for Batman, but had to turn then down due to time constraints. I also got offers for George Strait and Lady Antebellum. I'd love to do work for DC, but I don't have time to do pages for 300.00 a page. Dave Marquez can draw me under the table and he can draw everything. He deserves the money he gets paid. Most comics are lucky to even sell 20K these days.
Trying to make it as an artist in the comics business is how much you're willing to give up and get paid so little. If someone wanted to pay me to do a Transformers book or some kind of mainstream book, I would, but no one would give me 800.00 a page. I have friends who are old and are burned out on the comics industry and here they built someone else's studio. Say what you want about the guys from Image, but they're visionaries. They had the guts to leave the big publishers and go and form their own company that could have easily failed.
If people want to buy your artwork or are curious? They can find the prints at nakatomiinc.com.
You left no stone unturned in pop culture with these prints. We try.
If you could do one series and one only before your career was over, what would that be? Hmmm, man. I think I'd like to do some Ninja Turtles, you know. Draw a story.