Originally from Washington, DC Jerry Gaylord is an illustrator based in Los Angeles. He’s worked with Blizzard Entertainment and Warner Bros Animation, also having co-founded Identity Comics Studios.
How would you describe the genre of your work and its unique characteristics?
Jerry Gaylord: A tough question right out of the gate! I would say the genre I work in most is action and pop culture art. I see it as everything that is driving entertainment today. Superheroes, epic imagery, and fun.
What draws your attention the most when deciding projects to work on?
Jerry Gaylord: The thing that really excites me about a project is the potential fun and challenge. I want to work on projects that will have an impact on the people who consume them. The opportunity to work with other artists I respect and admire is also a big deal for me.
What are the specific challenges and key skills required when depicting graphic action figures and scenes?
Jerry Gaylord: Having a grasp of anatomy is a must along with a solid understanding of creating powerful gestures. I always look to make my characters feel larger than life, so finding a great angle to push the perspective or leaning on a story element to capture the emotion is something I am constantly in search of.
Jerry Gaylord: Fanboys Vs Zombies (Boom studios) is a favorite comic project of mine because it was my big break in comics. The work I did on Ultimate Spider-Man (animated series) was special because it was my first work in animation and Spider-Man is one of the greatest characters in all of pop culture. I would also say I’m proud of all the fanart I’ve done over the years. Fan art has been the place where I go to try new things and grow as a creator.
Which clients have you enjoyed the best working with and why?
Jerry Gaylord: My favorite clients tend to be the ones that are open to the creative process and have fun personalities. That goes a long way to making a project enjoyable
What would you say are the essentials of maintaining a good relationship with clients?
Jerry Gaylord: The most important thing to maintain a good relationship with clients is communication and doing your best work for a given deadline. I find that if you can do these two things, people will want to keep working with you.
What has been your learning process and how has it evolved?
Jerry Gaylord: I’ve been pretty much self-taught most of my career but I’ve met some amazing artists along the way like my wife, Penelope R. Gaylord, and my best friend Bryan Turner, who have pushed me to become better and better. In the last few years, I have also turned to Youtube and online classes to learn new things and continue to challenge myself.
What advice would you give to young illustrators who are just starting?
Jerry Gaylord: My advice to artists who are just getting going is “Don’t wait for the right time to get going with your career or to send your portfolio to a prospective client or studio. DO the work and put yourself out there, don’t wait for work to come to you. Go out there and get it.”
According to you, what role does formal education have in developing an artist?
Jerry Gaylord: I think if you have access to art education, that’s a great thing. Art schools can expose you to other great artists and techniques as well as help you build your network. However, you will only get out of it what you put in.
Today, there are incredible online classes you can take taught by artists who work in the industry and are at the top of their game for reasonable prices. That is a cool thing that I wish was around when I was in college.
The most important thing, whether you go to school or not, is to be tenacious in following your goals. If you’re willing to work to make yourself a better artist, you can make it happen.