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Ramon Perez

Ramon Perez

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Illustration

Year of graduation: 1995

Comic reflections
Ramón Pérez says studying at Sheridan wasn’t just about pursuing his muse –  his education gave him the foundation to survive a varied career in the arts. Since graduating, he’s freelanced in advertising, concept art, film, animation, children’s books, magazine illustration and comic books. He says longevity in a career is often a result of versatility.

“That’s one of the things I love about the arts in general, they allow you to jump around,” he says. “I don’t consider myself the best artist. There are a lot of people who can paint and draw and do all kinds of artistic things way better than I can. The strongest skillset I have is being a creative thinker in how I approach a given problem or challenge, artistic or otherwise. That’s the attribute I believe has allowed me to survive in the different facets of my industry.”

On Jan. 30, Pérez  will be sharing that wisdom with current students during a panel discussion with fellow alumni and comics artists Jeff Lemire (Advanced Illustration ’05) and Chip Zdarsky (Illustration ’00). It’s not the first time the trio has worked together.  In 2015, Pérez  and Lemire joined forces on All-New Hawkeye, and in 2016 Pérez  and Zdarsky illustrated and authored Marvel’s Civil War II: Choosing Sides, an eight-page book that attracted international media attention for its cover of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clad in boxing garb.
Pérez is now a full-time, award-winning cartoonist. It’s a dream job for someone who spent his childhood buried in Calvin and Hobbes and Hagar the Horrible.  To date, his career highlights include his adaptation of Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand; Spider Man: Learning to Crawl; The All-New Hawkeye; and the digital comics Butternutsquash and Kukuburi. In late 2017, he worked with award-winning screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna on Jane, a graphic novel adaptation of the classic Jane Eyre. Pérez loves comics because it’s a unique medium that allows him to create a story through a series of illustrations that work together sequentially and stand alone as unique pieces of art.
“Comics is a very unique medium,” he explains, “You’re playing with time, space, visual, motion. You’re playing with all that on a 2D page.”
Now that he has the opportunity to pursue comics full time, he also finds himself with the chance to give back to others. He is the chief executive officer of Toronto-based Royal Academy of Illustration and Design (RAID), co-founded in 2003 by Zdarsky and fellow Illustration grad Kagan McLeod. The collective gives artists an organic and inspirational environment to work in, which allows a diverse range of artists, from veterans to new graduates, to share ideas. And that, he says, is just as important to success as starting off with the right education in the first place.
“You’re not only experiencing a variety of talents and skill sets and approaches, there’s always a constant influx of energy and new ways of doing things … there’s always a constant inspiration and collaboration within a studio.”
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