“I’m an online artist from Las Vegas, based mostly on Instagram. Most of my socials are named @artiboi_navarro. I love all kinds of fandoms, but my feed tends to be filled with Spider-Man and Percy Jackson the most.
I dream of working on Marvel and DC comics, so a lot of my secrets projects on Patreon and my more long term fan projects (like the Webtoon MCaUs) are comics.“
What inspired you to pursue art?
Andrew: I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. There’s a saying in writing “if someone could get you to stop then they probably should.” I think the same is true for drawing. If you don’t feel that hunger or need to draw like it’s just as valuable as breathing, it’ll be hard to make it past all the industry hurdles you’ll have to go through, and I at least have always felt that need. Though on a more anecdotal level, you could attribute my first inspiration to draw from the TV show Blue’s Clues’ “handy dandy notebook!” I have an old family video of when I was 4 or 5 years old, asking my mom how to draw a cow in my very own handy dandy notebook replica.
Tell us about your artwork, style, subject matter etc.
Andrew: Style is a symptom of the work you put in and the path to learning you’ve taken. I don’t really focus on that. But I feel my artwork matters because I always try to think a step beyond “pretty picture.” Art has always been a way for me to bring into reality things I don’t have immediate access to or that I feel is missing from the world. For example, a few years back, while in college, I was enraptured by the fantasy genre and I was frustrated by the fact I couldn’t find any artwork of merfolk just “being people.” What could their culture be like? How did they eat, fave fun, or show love to their fellow kind? So I took it upon myself to draw a short series of exactly that.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into creating an artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Andrew: Every project is different. But say for example I want to write a comic. I find some nugget of inspiration I already have (maybe a cool power, interesting character, or a vague image stamped in my head) and just write every way that could go. It’s chaotic at first but then when I have a rough idea of what the story is I do some research to make sure (A) it’s believable and (B) there’s some older, time-tested story that tells what I’m trying to say better. Comparing my idea with both reality and older myths or archetypes helps me condense it down into just exactly what I need to say to get my flavor of meaning. Then I write it all out, filling in the details and at this point usually dialogue and that’s my script. By this point I’m DESPERATE to draw so I tackle the pages I have the clearest mental image of first and then work my way down. Naturally, once I’ve drawn the page I was most interested in I’ll tire of seeing it so much and be obsessed with another page, down and down until there are none left. I have to follow that inspiration and squeeze each moment dry or I won’t be motivated to finish, which is how a lot of these projects die. If they didn’t die at the idea stage, this (the end-stage) will do it. So I have to be very careful about making sure I love each moment. Part of that process is taking breaks, sometimes for months, to let a project cement itself and find it’s own life.
You say you like Spider-Man and Percy Jackson the most. Can you explain a bit more why?
Andrew: I’ve loved Spider-Man since before I can remember and I think the classic 2002 Sam Rami Spider-Man movie had a lot to do with it. He seems to me like the most real superhero. I relate to him. The things he chooses to do usually carry consequences so it’s a big deal to him to make the right choices, or at least have the right intentions, so that he can be a force for good. In his purest form, be it in the original trilogy or ps4 game or what have you, he’s someone I can easily imagine myself as and aspire to be.
Few fans of Percy Jackson I’ve met realize this but he’s essentially the same character and serves a similar purpose. New York is baked into his character, he is motivated by his loved ones, he learns (at the end of his original series) to be more responsible for his actions. It’s just a slightly different genre. It hits my other passion for the old myths and stories.
What is the work you’ve done that you’re the most excited about?
Andrew: In the past two years I’ve really surprised myself with my art. Previously I would “outgrow” a piece within a few months. I’d hate it and look back at all my art as trash. Now there are quite a few pieces that I can continually come back to as works I’m proud of. A lot of them are series. I love my Bat-family series. I’m in the middle of a Lightning Theif series, which could be better, but for its purpose as a collection, I’m excited about it. There’s a project which I dropped for a number of reasons but I still love that world: @avengersofjustice, which is a fan comic merging our world with the worlds of DC and Marvel superheroes. And then there’s pretty much every spider-man drawing, which I’m happy to see most people love also.
What outside of comics inspires your work?
Andrew: Everything! That’s the secret that a lot of creators miss when they feel they’ve run out of ideas. I’m a firm believer that everything has already been done or is out there in the world. It’s just a matter of finding things that haven’t been done in that way, or in that medium. I call it the Pinterest approach. You take two metaphorical pins, say one from the marvel movies side and one from the romantic music side, you put them together into a new medium (in my case drawings) and people call you original!
What’s a trend you see in comics art today that gets on your nerves?
Andrew: Wel, besides the price of single issues it would be the monotony! It’s easy because comics go on forever and are meant to, for things to become meaningless. Some of my favorite characters that have the deepest character arc baked into them become a sort of “monster of the week.” Flashy fights are fun, obviously, and while that is what gets me to buy a single issue at the start I only keep buying because the story means something. Like Iron Man grappling recently with whether or not he’s artificial intelligence. That brings up questions of what is a soul, what is agency, and who is responsible for what? It also led into him having to give up his life and company. That’s real consequences for weighty questions that give value to the reader, and it’s very rare.
Who are a few artists/people that really inspire you right now, and why?
Andrew: Oh I could name a bunch. Ethan Becker has a youtube channel by that name that gives invaluable art advice. Todd McFarland is a fantastic artist and businessman that changed the game and speaks in a way I understand and relate to. Scores artists and cosplayers on Instagram each have little quirks and shortcuts that show their years of experience, and almost more importantly, self-acceptance.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Andrew: I love it when people attach themselves to a certain idea I come up with. It’s happened a couple of times. Recently there was one follower of my fan-Webtoon who did a fanart of my design for a symbiote-suited Tom Holland! That fills me with joy. That was my idea that I brought into the world because I felt it was missing, and someone else felt that void and was pleased enough with my answer to it to do fanart. How cool is that!?
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Andrew: Instagram DMs easily. Be it fans or potential business partners, if someone messages me @artiboi_navarro I’m likely not gonna miss it. At least over say, email or text.
What’s next on the horizon?
Andrew: I have a dream of a small library of my own comic books or webcomics that I can point to and say “that’s my best work, buy that! Enjoy it, let it tell you something.” So while I may be working at different more immediate projects, and the ultimate goal or forking in bigger comics, in between those things I am trying to find and give time to my own original comics. Partly, that’s what my Patreon is for, documenting that process of making those stories one at a time. I have a lot of them, now it’s just a matter of actually bringing them into this world!
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