Rafael Ruiz is a recent acquisition to the Team Fantomen ranks and follows many other top quality Spanish artists who have worked on our hero like Jaime Vallve, Carlos Cruz, Joan Boix, Rafael Lopez Espi and Coral Martinez.
His first story was published in 2015 titled "The Mark of Cain" and was published in Frew #1762, Fantomen 25-26/2015, Fantomet 1/2016 and Brazil's O Fantasma #2.
Fans have enjoyed his work ever since and now we get to learn more as we were lucky enough to spend some time with Rafael Ruiz.
Chronicle Chamber: Welcome to Chronicle Chamber. Can you start of by telling us a bit about yourself? Including what region you are from in Spain?
Rafael Ruiz: I was born in the Balearic Islands. Specifically in Palma de Mallorca.
CC: Where you always into drawing and art? Was it something you grew up wanting to do?
RR: My mother used to tell me jokingly that I was born with a pencil in my hand. From a very young age and without knowing why, I had a knack for drawing. I liked to create characters, vehicles of all kinds and small comics.
As time went by, I was inspired by comics and movies, and mainly by my father. He was a great artist. He used to make big paintings for the cinemas on the island (right). A good person and a better mentor. Everything I know about the art of color I learned from him.
The truth is that my father did not want me to follow in his footsteps, as he said that making a living as an artist is not usually profitable. My mother, on the other hand, always supported me in my endeavor.
CC: Did you study art and if so, where?
RR: I studied art at a local high school on the island. I studied applied arts and art history in the 1990's. It helped me in certain aspects, but the truth is that my real study was self-taught. I learned everything I know about artistic and anatomical drawing on my own. The art of color I learned from my father, as I said before.
CC: Is there anyone in particular who also inspired you and influenced your work besides your father?
RR: Of course. With the comic and illustration section mainly by John Buscema. I was fascinated by his work on "Conan the Barbarian" and I was also inspired by great artists such as Frank Frazetta, Bruce Timm, Simon Bisley, Richard Corben, Ron Garney, John Romita, Geof Darrow and Frank Miller.
My other great source of inspiration is the seventh art (movies). Especially science fiction, action, fantasy and adventure movies. Some of the inspiring movies and directors are Ridley Scott with Alien and Blade Runner, James Cameron with Terminator or Aliens, Paul Verhoeven with Robocop or Total Recall, John Mctiernan with Predator or Die Hard, Kubrick with 2001, Spielberg with Indiana Jones, Lucas with Star Wars, Tim Burton with Batman, Stallone with Rocky or Rambo.
And last but not least, video games: Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Driver, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Crash Bandicoot and more recently Red Dead Redemption, Last or Us, Grand Theft Auto, God of War, BioShock, Uncharted and Alien Isolation.
CC: What made you want to be an artist?
RR: I have always loved the art of drawing and painting. The motivation came from movies, comics, artwork in general and video games.