Artist Feature: Jerry Gaylord Artist of Boom's Fanboys vs Zombies

I don't want to brag too much, but this here is Jerry Gaylord's first interview. That's right, I read his name when Fanboys vs Zombies was announced and I tracked him down via his deviantART page. The rest of the story goes a little something like the form of this interview so check it out as we get the dirt on Boom's newest title and Jerry's first comic. Also we have a three page preview from the first issue of Fanboys vs Zombies that you'll get to see here first. We'll re-post the preview for you in a more concentrated form later, but for now enjoy the interview! Dustin Cabeal) I read that you were a well-known caricature artist in the D.C. area. That’s quite the success story. What’s your background with art and how did you go from one art medium to the other?

Jerry Gaylord) I'm a self taught artist. I've been drawing since I was about 4yrs old. I've always loved the Super Friends and Superman cartoons and those are what really inspired me to pursue a career in art, comics specifically. When I was 18, right after my first year of college, I lucked into a job at Six Flags in Maryland doing caricatures. It wasn't something I planned, it just kinda happened. I ended up managing all the art operations in the park for a few years, then I gradually got into doing caricatures at parties & events in the DC area. All that time I never stopped pursuing a career in comics. My wife & I found some extremely talented artists in the area who were as motivated as we were & we created Identity Comics Studios. We started doing comic cons & getting our names out there doing projects for indie comic companies as well as our own. Then this opportunity came along and I couldn't say no to drawing zombies.

FVZ_AmandaDC) I think that caricature art is really under appreciated. What skill sets do you need to have to do that type of art and how do you think it’s benefited your style and career?

JG) The most important thing about doing caricatures is simply confidence. You just have to be willing to draw in front of people and be ready to accept the harsh criticisms when they come. You learn early on that you can't please everyone so you just have to do the best you can. Doing caricatures at live events has really helped me build my confidence in my art & my speed. I can do a black & white caricature face in just under 60 seconds with people watching. But honestly I think my comic book style has helped my caricature art, and not the other way around.

DC) How did you get attached to Fanboys vs Zombies? Can you also tell us a little about the book in your own words?

JG) One of my studiomates pointed the book's editor, Eric Harburn, to my portfolio. He shot me an email, told me about the project & asked if I was interested. I sketched up some sample pages and we were on our way.

I think the book is pretty straightforward. It's got characters that have relatable problems and takes place at one of the coolest comic conventions ever. It just happens to be under siege by a zombie horde. It's really good times.

pg05_FanVsZombies_01DC) What was your involvement in the character design process? Did you create the look for all of the characters we’ve seen on the covers or were they already designed for you?

JG) The design work I saw of most of the characters were already drawn by Humberto Ramos. I did get to design Amanda and 1 other character. Amanda is a cute teenager who's eerily obsessed with slaying zombies. Her smile seems to get larger with every zombie she destroys. She is on one of the covers for Issue 2. I think she's probably my favorite character to draw in the book. Even beyond me having created her look, she has some of the cooler scenes in the book in my opinion.

DC) What’s been your best experience working on the title thus far?

JG) Honestly, completing the first issue. I've done sequentials on a deadline before, but never 22 pages in 1 month - pencils & inks. It was a lot of work but it was very satisfying to upload the last page when it was all done.

DC) Are there any moments that have fulfilled a Fanboy dream of yours? And do we have plenty of on the nose humor and dialog from the Fanboys?

JG) Well, I thought it was really cool to sneak in cameos of myself and a couple of people I know into the book. I think there's plenty of fanboy humor & fun stuff for readers to grab on to.

pg04_FanVsZombies_01DC) What’s after Fanboys vs Zombies for you or is it still too soon to tell?

JG) Hopefully Fanboys vs. Zombies will last a long time but I keep myself busy with projects. Our studio is currently working on our own title "Brotherhood of Fighters" which is an action-packed story and will be released in July. Other than that I'm always looking forward to con season.

DC) Who are you rooting for to win in this fight, the Fanboys or the Zombies? Personally, I always back Zombies.

JG) I'm totally rooting for the fanboys. Statistically speaking, they have to win some time.

DC) Something I always like to ask, what’s the number one thing you hate to be asked? (Hopefully I didn’t ask it)

JG) I hate to be asked "so what's your REAL job?" I get asked that a lot, especially at caricature events.

In April you'll have the chance to support Jerry's book Fanboys vs Zombies being released by Boom Studios, so be sure to check it out. I mean the first issue is only a buck so how can you go wrong? We'd like to thank Jerry for his time and Boom for helping out with the interview and wish the both the best of luck on FVZ! Hopefully Jerry will check back in with us when "Brotherhood of Fighters" is released so that we can also check the book out.