In House Interview with Ivan Cortez, Artist for The Gentlemen’s Club
Hey Factory Fans, welcome to another installment of “In-House Interview”. This week we profile Ivan Cortez, the lucky artist drawing The Gentlemen’s Club.
Tony: Thanks for joining us, Ivan. So tell me, how long have you been doing art? How did you get started?
Ivan: Well, it´s been two years now since I started working as a commercial artist. I graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in 2008 and immediately got my first gig for a couple of book covers and children´s books. After that I did sequential art for independent writers and companies and also webcomics. Right now I´m working for ad agencies doing illustrations and storyboards here in Perú.
Graduation Day: Ivan learned at the feet of the master, Joe Kubert!
Tony: You went to the Kubert school in the States (New Jersey represent!), where’s your studio these days?
Ivan: I went to the Kubert school from 2005 to 2008, after I graduated I came back to Peru and started working there. I have a little studio in my house in Lima.
Tony: Do you find a big difference working on comic projects in the States vs. elsewhere in the world?
Ivan: Not so much of a difference, editors are the same everywhere I think,but you can see some difference in what the project is about. In my country for example the projects talk about social problems, politics, etc. while in the States, in some of the projects that I worked, are about superheros, girls, having fun, etc. which is fine, I like them both.
Tony: Have computers impacted the way you do art? How much of your work is digital now?
Ivan: Yeah, you can bet on that. Especially the internet. I get my gigs online and most of my clients are from the States. I consider myself a traditional artist. I like the paper, the pencil, the pen and ink. I just love it and I like having a portfolio online but also I carry one in my hand with my best projects done in watercolors. As for the digital media, I try to do both: the line art on pencil/ink and then I go to the photoshop for painting and illustrator for lettering.
Tony: Tell us about some of the projects you did before the Webcomic Factory?
Ivan: Let me think… well after I graduated from the school I did a couple of western book covers “The Grand River Trilogy” by Richard Gavigan. After that, I did a lot of freelancing jobs: concept art for video-games, pin-ups, illustration, a children´s book. A four page story for a compilation book in Uruguay also a lot of tryouts for comic books companies and recently story-boarding for an advertisement. The last two years were really exciting.
Tony: Cool. Sounds like a lot of stuff! What are some of your artistic influences?
Ivan: I really like the art nouveau art, specially Alphonse Mucha a Czech painting, one book with his illustrations that I own is my bible. I really like him. You can see some Mucha influences in my paintings. About comic book artist I like Adam and Andy Kubert, Sean Murphy, Leinil Yu and Stuart Immonen. Talking about influences I have to mention Bryan Hitch, he is a master in storytelling. Milo Manara another good storyteller and the way he draw women is beautiful, I wish I could draw like that!!!!
Tony: Does your personality come out in your art? And if so, how?
Ivan: I´m not sure if that happens, I´m still trying to find my style yet. But I really like drawing, specially women so you can bet how I try to make women look nice and sexy.
Tony: What are the challenges drawing a 3-panel gag vs. a comic page?
Ivan: Let´s see. Mostly when you have to do a comic page you have to think in layouts, composition, try to guide the reader through the page, you deal with storytelling, different shots, 6 or 8 panels to try to make the page fun to read. Also you are not dealing with one page you’re dealing with a whole 24-28 pages story is a unit. And of course… time is essential, you have to move on fast to make the deadlines.
In a 3_panel gag you can have more fun I think, you deal only with the begining, middle and end, but you have to be careful in trying to make it funny and the shots interesting.
Ivan in his studio at home.
Tony: Tell us a little bit about your home life. Are you married? Kids, etc?
Ivan: Well, right now I´m living in Lima, Peru with my family, I have two brothers and one sister, my dad is a graphic designer and a journalist and my mom a lab technician. I´m the only artist in the family so everytime we gather everyone wants a caricature or a portrait. I´m working in an ad agency during the week and in the weekends I´m trying to relax and have some fun drawing comics.
Tony: What’s your favorite strip that you’ve done for the Webcomic Factory?
Ivan: I really like the Gentlemen´s Club #6, it was funny because I wanted it to be tasteful and I don´t know if I did it. I think the Bunny character is full of surprises. I hope that the strips grows and maybe we’ll have a space for pinups or one panel jokes. By the way it was funny that Chris considered this episode NSFW!!!
Tony: Yeah! What a prude! (Just kidding, CB.) Do you read webcomics and if so, which ones? What kind of comic books do you read?
Ivan: I used to read a lot all the comics in the Zuda web-page. I like mainstream comics, I grewn up reading super-hero books but also a lot of indie writers are taking over the internet. Graphic Novels are my favorites, one of them is Alan Moore´s Watchmen.
Tony: Yeah, gotta love Alan Moore. What other projects do you have going on besides the Webcomic Factory?
Ivan: Right now my work in advertising is really consuming my time but I try to make time to work on my sequential art projects. One of them is a comic book called “Insurgency America“, the first issue is already pencilled, so we are waiting to see if the project sees the light in the next couple of weeks.
Tony: Where can we find your work online and in print?
Ivan: You can find all my work in:
You can see anything you like and make any requests through my mail or the deviantart links, also if you want to have some prints. Thanks a lot!!!
Tony: Thank you, Ivan. Sweet looking website! Keep drawin’ them strippers!