On my wanders around the world of the Internet I find some interesting folk. Today, I want to introduce someone who really has something to offer all you talented artists out there. George Vega is a well-respected, talented illustrator. He is now a publisher and he wants to work with both new and tested talent. Let George explain…
A) Hi, Nick, I would describe myself as a nice and patient guy. It feels to me that people like being around me. I’m awesome at parties! (laughs) I work hard and believe that many have more talent than I, but few can outwork me. This may come from my Kung Fu background,
Q) Kung Fu? So you’re a martial arts expert as well?
A) I am a Black Belt in Northern Shaolin Kung-Fu. I’ve competed in forms and weapons competitions NASKA from 1999- 2002. Back in 2001, was ranked second in Chinese Open hand forms and Chinese style weapons. So, ‘expert’? I don’t know, but I truly love to practice and train. I’m always trying to push myself and understand why this martial art has lasted about 1000 years.
Q) Of course, martial arts centres around patience. Would you say that’s where you picked up your patience?
A) Yes, your right. That’s where my patience may have come from. It helps me deal with people and stand up for myself in a verbal sense.
Q) You are a talented illustrator and graphic designer. Did you have to push yourself to become so good at what you do or did it come naturally?
A) P-U-S-H!!!! Ha! I think the passion is natural. I went to F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York, and my focus was not right those years. Truthfully, I had it easier with graphic design.
I studied graphic design after really not doing much with illustration for years. Graphic design did flow but did not fully satisfy me creatively.
Q) The fire was still burning to do more with your talent? Push it further?
A) Yes, I believe so, because you practice and push yourself to your limits. So, at times, when I watch a movie or stay on the couch watching TV, a little voice goes off in my head and says, “Get to work, you have to keep developing– keep pushing.”
It’s the same voice that would help me as I trained with my Coach and Sifu. However, the answer is certainly ‘yes’– I pushed myself to achieve my current abilities.
Q) Has moving into publishing dimmed the fire at all?
A) It’s tough and it does steal some creative and work time, but I’m trying to cultivate the publishing end of things and want to work with quality people and artists. If I wanted to, I would print cards and hand them to EVERYONE at Comic Con’s Artist Alley and just worry about revenue and getting sales, but I don’t. I try my best to get behind artists who are doing top-notch work, print their books, and showcase them. It would be great to have a full steam ahead publishing company like the big boys where I could also provide creative services.
Q) Are you aiming to become one of the “big boys” in the future? Is that your next goal?
A) Yes, that’s what I’m working on. I can provide publishing services to artists as well as illustration work to other companies.
Q) Are you strongly connected in the world of publishing? To other artists? Other publishing companies?
A) Artists, yes. Some are great friends, too, or we have become friends. Companies– that’s growing daily. I keep making contacts.
Q) As an up-and-coming publisher, how do you feel about the current trend of self-publishing?
A) I think it’s very cool to have that freedom because it gives a chance for that little guy to make something happen. Unfortunately, when you self-publish, you don’t really know if you have something good or if you may lose a lot of money. The kickstarter thing is awesome, but I just hope people don’t get carried away with the capital and not take the opportunity to build something significant. Either way, let people be and the cream always rises.
Q) I read about a lot of writers and artists who lose hope and think they’ll never get recognised for their talents. Did you ever feel as though your talents would never be recognised?
A) All the time…
I wonder if people actually think I’m talented or not. All I know is my whole life I loved to draw and I loved cartoons. As a kid, my favorite cartoon was Voltron. I watched the credits, wondering if I could contact one of those people to teach me. Little did I know that it was all done overseas. I would like to say that patience is key– I am not a phenomenon– I am just lucky enough to know my passion.
Q) George, what would your advice be to young artists trying to break into the business?
A) Such an important question. The first step is with yourself. Take stock of what you have talent-wise.
Talk to other artists, look for people above you or who are further along. Those conversations can be worth gold as far as understanding where you want to go. Really understand the spectrum of illustration– from comics to concept work to sketch cards, traditional to digital, and everything in between…all of it. Because you have to put your efforts in somewhere and you need to choose where they are best placed. You have to know because there it too much competition out there to muck around.
Q) I think that is some of the most important advice anyone could receive. It’s no good doing anything unless you intend to do it well. Did you always know you wanted to be an illustrator as a kid?
A) YES! I would always say I was going to be an artist. I wish I had someone in my family that new something about it, but my parents were not from the US and spoke very little English. My dad was very hardworking and my mom took care of us. Uncles and aunts were too far away, so I had to figure it out myself.
A) Yes, right or wrong, I did it my way. I think anyone can make it if they just keep at it and make the mistakes as well as the successes.
I am lucky enough to have a series of interviews with George. We will be discussing his publishing company Vegamation, and his own work as an illustrator. I am pumped and ready for it, be sure to catch the next one!
Links for George Vega
Contact George here