Artist Spotlight: Jon Peters, Nerdzilla, and his art form

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It’s not everyday that I get the opportunity to meet some cool people in this world. Even less often that friends from long ago introduce me to people who have particular skills that I have kept to a third grade deficiency – this case, ability to produce art.

Steve Ahmad: I have to say, the first thing that sticks out with your work is that it is all done on paper, correct? Or do you do any digital work as well?

Jon Peters: Everything I do is on paper. I never do anything digital. Although the rising cost of art supplies is giving me pause on my stance on digital.

Why is it you kept to paper, pencil, and ink? Do you mind walking us through the process? Kudos to you for keeping a raw form.

Thank you. I feel a real disconnect with the art when doing things digitally. Not a slight on digital work at all, digital looks great. I don’t want my art to look as crisp and as clean as something done digitally. I want you to be able to see the strokes from the marker and the lines I went over a few times. The world isn’t crisp and clean, neither is my art.

The process is the exact same for every drawing. I rarely have an idea of what I’m going to draw, I let the sketching do the work. Once I have a general idea with what I am actually going to draw, I do the entire thing in pencil. I outline it in fine point black ink. I do a layer of colors with Prismacolor markers, followed by more inks, more colors, etc. I sort of just keep layering colors and ink over the pencil drawing.

Ever come across any naysayers about the process you take as opposed to the digital form mentioned?

Thankfully people seem to react pretty positively to me not switching to digital.

I’d say for the most part your work is very psychedelic and teeters to graphic violence. Is that how you see your work or want others to perceive it?

I think that’s a fair way to perceive it. I have noticed people can be a bit put off by the graphic violence at times. I try to use bright colors and bold outlines to take as much reality out of what I’m drawing as possible, without changing what I’m trying to say. I want people to take whatever they want from my drawings, as long as they’re taking something. I think if they look past the violence they will see it’s usually the drawings I’ve put the most of myself into.

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If asked to lower the intensity of your form to please an audience and put food on your table with the money earned would you do it? Or do you starve and live-out the rest of your artist days?

Tough question – but I think I’m pretty comfortable trying anything. I think there is a place for the more intense aspects of my art, and I can sort of put that stuff away when I’m working on a project for someone else. That being said, I’ve always been very uncomfortable with the money aspect when it comes to art – still am, so I’d say any attempts to tone down my art would be only to reach more people than to reach for more money. I don’t know if that sounded like I’m playing both sides there.

You work does resemble what our fans would find in Cartoon Networks, Superjail – art by Christy Karacas, Stephen Warbrick, and Ben Gruber. What drives you and what has inspired you to create the art that you do?

I take that as a very high compliment being in the same sentence as those artists. I think some of the things that inspire me are in the same vein as shows like Superjail. I like art that pushes buttons that other art might not; things that are weird and gross. I was inspired as a kid by those How To Draw Monsters books I would get at book fairs. Goosebumps, Garbage Pail Kids, late 80s and early 90s cartoons, weird horror movies like Troll. Music was always a big inspiration, and still is. I think the internet sort of stole the mystery from things like that. I think my art is always reaching for that mystery I used to feel as a kid. Expressing myself through my drawings is my one true love.

Is this really where you began your drawing that has lasted to this day?

Yes.  I started drawing as soon as I could pick up a pencil. My parents were always supportive of my art and never limited my interests and imagination – no matter what weird stuff I liked, even at young age. How To Draw Monsters taught me fundamentals on drawing the weird things in my imagination. I still to this day go through tips I’ve learned from books like that in my head I think.

You have drawn comic book characters as well. If you had the dream job land for the specific work that you do but you only had to choose one comic book character to draw, who would it be and why?

It would be someone from Marvel. I’ve been reading Marvel comics my entire life. If I had to choose just one, I’d pick Wolverine. Not only do I love the character, but he has a great supporting cast and rogues gallery, and I’d have a lot of fun tackling some brutal fights. Drawing an angry mutant with foot long claws is an ideal project for my style I think.

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I think people would go wild to see Garbage Pail Kids versions of X-Men characters. I listed some artists from a popular cartoon show. How about you: Who would you recommend some of our fans take a look at if they are digging your style?

The late Seth Fisher, who did the art for the DC mini-series Green Lantern – Willworld. He also did a mini-series for Marvel, Iron Man & Fantastic Four – Big In Japan. He didn’t do many comics before he passed, but the few he did have some of the most out there and imaginative art I’ve seen in mainstream comics. Another artist I like is Riley Rossmo, who did the art for the image series Proof, a comic book about Big Foot. I think I’m biased, all the books I’ve mentioned are about monsters and the supernatural – back to How To Draw Monsters again.

On top of comic book characters, and graphic art, you have also drawn our Nerdzilla on occasion. Going back and forth between drawing your own open inspirations to a more modeled character, how do you still manage to add some of your flavor to what it is you are working on?

Keeping my personal touch on everything I draw is important to me. I never want something I make to resemble something somebody else made, aside from hopefully doing justice to their character. It’s my interpretation, and I don’t want to cheat anybody. I think keeping the same process and routine helps keep my style prominent in any art I do.

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Thanks!  It’s been great so far, and I’m excited for 2013.

For more art, visit: Goblinitis

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Steve Ahmad
Steve Ahmad 308 posts

Steve Ahmad is a writer dedicated in bringing you every angle of every story in the most transparent way . <a href="http://nerdreactor.com/about/">Meet the Nerd Reactor Team</a></a>