Thursday, June 19, 2014

Age of Perez; Interview with Josh Perez Part I

Colorist and artist Josh Perez has been one of the mainstay colorists for the Transformers comics for nearly a decade. During that time he has worked on multiple Transformers titles for both IDW and Dreamwave. Outside of his Transformers work, Perez has colored such titles as Godzilla, A-Team, and Fathom to name a few. In 2013, Perez showcase his artwork on Bravoman for UDON. A fan favorite at both BotCon and TFcon, Josh Perez is a fan living the dream. CBNAH staff writer Panagiotis Drakopoulos interviewed Josh Perez to talk about growing up a Transformer fan, working for Dreamwave and more.

Josh doing some work on his Youtube channel here!

CBNAH: Did you watch the first episode of Gaming Well Wasted with Daniel and Wendel?

Josh Perez: Yes, I did watch that.

CBNAH: The main title card was weird because Wendel doesn't have hair in the card and then when watch him on-screen he has hair.

JP: (Laughs). I did the title card and the images I used were images I had from previous cons and I noticed that too. I'm actually thinking about maybe doing a quick fix on that. Maybe that could be a gag with Wendel's hair.

Josh doing the title cards for Gaming Well Wasted Youtube series

CBNAH: How did you get into drawing and coloring?

JP: Getting into drawing was something I did as a kid, when me and my brothers were very young. We watched the old 80's line-up of Transformers and He-Man. We would always bother our mom to draw the characters for us. I'm not one hundred percent sure exactly why we would but once the show ended you wanted more. I think the need to draw kinda of grew out of that. I'm sure we were drawing ever since we put crayon to wall. We wanted to do it ourselves and stop pestering our mom. I have a twin brother and he's always kind of better at me in drawing. That was more of my push, was watching how good he was and then wanting to catch up to that.

CBNAH: What were your first impressions of Transformers and G.I. Joe?

JP: With G.I. Joe, I had Joe toys. For the life of me I couldn't remember any of their names, but I remember one of them was a journalist or something. I think in the episode he was a spy and had a green and yellow outfit. I remember that being my first Joe toy, um--

CBNAH: Was that the Rivera parody character?

JP: No, no. It was -- I know who you're talking about. But you know, maybe it was, but I don't know. I think I know who you're talking about, the one who has been in Jem and Transformers.

CBNAH: Pretty much in all of the Hasbro shows.

JP: No, it wasn't him, it was an actual character who was a spy on the Joe team but I could be completely wrong. (Editor's Note: We're referencing Hector Ramirez. A character that has pretty much appeared in Jem, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Inhumanoids. But he's not the character that Josh is referring to.) G.I. Joe has always been in the background, I loved the vehicles in G.I. Joe. I don't remember actually owning any of the really big ones, I had a couple of the flat ones but that's kind of what Transformers did because I love the vehicles in Transformers but they were robots, I didn't really have that much... I think I liked Joe a little bit because my dad was in the military and that kind of connection I had with it, but beyond that G.I. Joe was the other show that wasn't Transformers. Transformers I gravitated to very heavily. I don't remember how early it was that I started watching it, I was born in '83, so a lot of Transformers that I could remember started after the movie. I loved Bumblebee, obviously he was the bright yellow kid appeal character, so that kind of hit me hard. He was also the smallest Transformer and I've always been a short guy. So I always tend to gravitate towards short characters and I like the idea of  a character that "Hey, I'm small but I can also be cool too. " He wasn't quite the Wolverine of the group, but I like Transformers a lot and Bumblebee was kinda one of those guys that influence me to do some pretty crappy things.

Josh Perez. Photo from Ultimate Transformers Fansite) and also check out their interview with Josh here

CBNAH: Art wise who were your main influences?

JP: The list is constantly added to, right now Sarah Stone. She was the artist on Transformers: Windblade and I vaguely knew of her stuff before she came to Windblade but once Windblade hit, I'm finding myself really inspired by the stuff that she's doing. My longtime friend Alex Milne is a strong influence in what I do because he has a nice technical grasp of anything he draws Transformer wise is amazing. There's a Japanese artist Naoto Tsushima, I like his stuff, he's done a lot of Transformers the cool stuff and for the collectors' club. Growing up, a lot of American comic artists like Joe Madureira, Jim Lee, Transformers artists like Geoff Senior and Andrew Wildman. A lot of those guys, Transformers was a strong influence -- Japanese animation more but I couldn't  name the artists that influence me without a list.

Josh is currently working on Transformers: Robots in Disguise

CBNAH: What was the best advice you got about art?

JP: It wasn't technically advice but it was something that happened. It was in high school, every kid draws comics or wants to draw stylize and you have to get the basics down. I had an art teacher and I remember we were doing live drawings and I was just not sticking to what we're suppose to do. It wasn't me trying to be a jerk, it was the only way I knew how to draw. I wasn't quite scolded on it but I was just told that I couldn't draw comics style and have to draw real life, this was early on in high school. It's such a small thing but it really punched me in the face because I realize that I was getting  all of my know-how from looking at comics and seeing what they were doing there and not looking at real life seeing how things work. It kind of taught me that stylization is fantastic but you have to know the basics of anatomy and how things work in real life before you can start stylizing it.

CBNAH: Was your first published work the Transformers: Energon series from Dreamwave?

JP: It was actually Dreamwave's More than Meets the Eye series, it was like a profile book. It was issue seven, I think it was, it had Wheeljack and Terrorcons and those were my first printed work.

CBNAH: How did it feel to have first your work publish?

JP: When I first got the job to color those profile pieces, my family was kind of excited when it came out to print. I think they went a little too excited when they went out and bought every copy that the comic book store had. Now is the same thing, they get very excited when my work comes out. I don't live in Texas near my family anymore. So I can't say "Hey, I got some comps if you want." They're genuinely very excited -- my twin brother has been really excited because he's a lot closer to me on a scale of nerdiness. Whenever he sees something of my work, he's very excited about it and it makes me happy.

CBNAH: Speaking about Dreamwave, you know I'm going to ask this question. Can you tell us the work environment of Dreamwave and working for Pat Lee?

JP: In all honesty, at the time working at Dreamwave was really no different than it is working now with IDW. The only difference is that Dreamwave instead of  having an editor -- with publishers like IDW, you have an editor and the creative team. With Dreamwave you had an editor, a project manger or director and an art director. A lot of edits would come through those two and not so much from the editor. But the project manger or director a lot of times you would communicate through MSN. It was pretty fun and relaxing, they tended to have multiple colorists on a book, so I would do about six to eight pages. Aside from the whole pay issue, it was really not bad.

CBNAH: I heard different stories about Pat, ranging from him keeping his expensive car to living in Hong Kong.

JP: I certainly didn't like Dreamwave's practices but in all honesty if I ever meet Pat Lee I like to have a drink with him. I wouldn't grill him or anything like that. But I would love to just chat about Dreamwave because Dreamwave did a lot of really good things for Transformers.

Livestream Session Sped Up

Come back next week for the second part of the interview with Josh Perez which we'll discuss his work at IDW, thoughts on the Transformers film series and much more. And special thanks to Wendel James.

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