While attending this year’s COMIKAZE Expo, I was able to sit down and speak with some burgeoning talent such as Pepe Melan.
He’s an up-and-coming illustrator who’s got a self published work entitled: Tales of Blood & Fire.
If you’re ready to dive into the thick of it than grab your pencil and read on!
UTF: Let me start with the basics: How did you form your style and what artists inspired you?
Pepe Melan: Basically, I am a painter by nature, so Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, Joe Jusko, those guys influenced me. From there I just started trying to mimic their style, but then, in the end I created my own.
UTF: You have a very solid eye for structure, and I can’t help but mention the Comikaze poster of Stan Lee dressed like Neo, with the octopus tentacles behind him. Where did the idea for depicting the Generalissimo like that come from?
Pepe Melan: Just thinking of him as a hero and something cool, kind of modern, fighting this squid creature in the alley way and it kind of just developed from there. I love trench coats myself, so I always think that’s a cool superhero thing to fight in and have.
UTF: It’s the new-age version of the cape.
We’ve also got some other illustrations that you’ve dabbled with, Darth Vader sticks out, and I’ve got to say I’ve covered Star Wars books from Dark Horse, there are plenty of people who would kill to draw his costume that good.
How much research do you put into every piece? How much time do you take?
Pepe Melan: A good amount, probably a good twenty hours, thirty hours, just downloading pictures, looking for info to use for references, and then using the material I get to obviously illustrate them.
UTF: It’s very nice. You have a fine sense of detail. I see you did some color, did you do that yourself?
Pepe Melan: Yes, I do. The coloring is actually done in Photoshop so I digitally paint on top of my grey scale paintings.
UTF: Very nice, very nice.
Before we wrap up, I want to talk about this piece the one you did for charity. Can you tell me how that came about?
Pepe Melan: A gentleman came to me, liked my style, and asked if I could do something for the Children’s Hospital. All of the drawings go into a sketchbook and all of the proceeds go to help the Children’s Hospital, and it actually happened in Phoenix a couple of years ago.
UTF: Absolutely. It’s always great to give back to the community.
As I wrap up this interview, I want to ask you one last question: Are there any messages or any bits of advice that you want to give to up-and-coming artists? Especially as they do what you are trying to do, namely: breaking into the industry.
Pepe Melan: Don’t give up. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work. It’s not going to happen overnight, so don’t expect it to, and put your time in. That basically goes for all aspects to life, so don’t give up and be dedicated.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Pepe Melan for chatting with me, it was a highlight and I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in the future.
But what did you guys think of the interview? Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!