As we go through this month with the In Our Dreams Awake Kickstarter going on (don’t forget to check it out), I wanted to spotlight some of the people who helped bring these crazy ideas to life. This brings us to the letterer and the person who is going to make sure the comic actually is formatted correctly to get printed: Alex Lugo.
How long have you been creating/working in comics?
I have been creating and working on comics since about the late nineties and early 2000’s part-time, mostly in the independent comics scene. So, for about the last 25 years as time allows.
What made you want to work on comics?
I’ve loved comics since I was about 4 years old and it’s been a dream that I have been fortunate enough to be able to accomplish. The magic of the stories, the great characters, and being around creative people are what keep me coming back to comics.
Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?
My favorite creators of all time are Jack Kirby and Frank Frazetta. Those two guys are juggernauts in the comics/fantasy fields. For me, it wasn’t even about their incredible output, but their amazing creativity that brought forth so many amazing characters and art pieces.
How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?
It’s definitely my 10pm to 2am work. In the daytime, I have a full-time job, and I am also a full-time dad and husband as well. But when everyone goes to sleep, I become my alter ego and jump into the comics fray.
How would you describe your creative process when it comes to making comics?
I think my process of making comics comes from learning about some of the great 60’s creators: Kirby, Ditko, Lee, etc…I try to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I don’t sit around waiting for inspiration, I go get it and dive into the project. Comics is a commercial art medium, so it needs to keep moving forward, so my process has come from that position. I do research, interview my collaborators, come up with mock-ups, etc…anything I have to do to keep the process going.
Making comics often requires collaboration with others. How do you foster relationships and approach the collaboration process?
Well, I try to touch base with my collaborators/clients and really get into what they are thinking or what they need me to do. I try to capture their vision if I can or offer them something they haven’t thought about to help and improve their story. I think of us as partners who rely on each other to make the best comic that we can. In order to break the ice, I like to get them on the phone, hear their voices, and let them hear mine. This way we know we are real people, not just words in an email so that the project becomes as real as possible and we all have a stake in it.
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?
Really my biggest obstacles are time and daily life. I don’t have a lot of time to create, and the daily routine of life threatens to derail the creative endeavors. It’s tough just to have one job, but I have several jobs at one time. So once everyone goes to sleep, it’s really morning for me again. I grab a cup of coffee, play something in the background, and hit the computer or drawing board or whatever to get things moving.
How has your experience been with the indie comics community?
I love the indie comics community! It’s filled with some of the most talented people I have ever met. They are some of the bravest people I have met as well. They have chosen to deviate from mainstream comics to put out their own books and show the world their artistic soul. That takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that. There is no hiding behind known characters or big companies.
What advice can you give for people who want to start making comics?
I would say (1) make sure it’s your passion and you love it, and (2) make sure that you have a plan for financial return, or if you don’t, you’re ok with that. Comics can be a lot of fun, but they can also be tough.
Are there themes and/or subjects/genres you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?
Not really, I think my go to will always be superheroes, but I have done fantasy, sci-fi, new age, etc..
If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?
Listen with open ears and an open heart to critics, but don’t let their words discourage you from working in comics. Don’t let the person reviewing your work destroy your soul. If they are good at what they do, they will enlighten and encourage you to keep going. Also, learn when to walk away from things and start fresh instead of beating dead horses.
Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything you’d like to promote? Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?
I am working on a couple of projects through my comic company 10 Worlds Studio, one superhero, and one paranormal, but nothing to announce just yet. I did letter a comic series that was picked up by Heavy Metal called Mark of Kings, so I am excited about that for sure. I also love Lord of the Rings, and I am a huge fan of Golden Age comics characters.
Where’s the best place to find out more about you and your works?
You can visit my Instagram page at alexanderlugo_10ws or my website, www.alexlugoart.com.
Alex Lugo is a first-generation Cuban-American artist hailing from Portland, Or, growing up in Inglewood, CA, and now residing in the outer reaches of Los Angeles County. He has worked in the fields of comics, storyboards, and design. After reading All Star Comics 58 in a Portland barbershop, he was pretty much hooked on comic books and continues to work on them, and dream about them to this day. Besides working on comics, Alex loves spending time with his family, traveling, studying the paranormal, and watching films with his son. His work has been featured on TV, films, comics, and other mediums.
I want to thank Alex Lugo for taking the time to answer my questions. And I really appreciate his contributions in bringing In Our Dreams Awake to life. And don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter!
John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.
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He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com