Bobby Rubio a.k.a Berry Presh
- Pixar story artist
- Creator of the comic books 4 Gun Conclusion, Alcatraz High and Enforcemen
What is it like to work at Pixar?
Pixar is a wonderful and creative place and it’s a joy to work there. It’s nice to work with individuals who share your desire to create a good product, a great product. A product that children around the world will love and not only children but families will love too. I always wanted to work at a company that had top quality and I feel that Pixar is THEE best studio right now doing that type of work. I love working at Pixar.
Before Pixar, where did you get your start at?
After finishing college at Cal Arts, my first job was an intern with Jim Lee at Homage Studios, which is also Image but he called his studio Wildstorm comics. I was a penciler intern, I got to do pinups and trading cards for him, mainly all of his characters that he had at the time – which was the Wildcats. It was great because I got to learn a lot from Jim and I love Jim Lee’s work, I collected his comics when I was a kid; collecting all that X-Men stuff and to work with him was a dream come true. But I did go to Cal Arts to study animation so that year I also had an internship at Disney. After Jim Lee’s internship I went to the Walt Disney internship in Florida. And from there, they wanted me and I had a choice whether to go back to comic books or animation and unfortunately, it was 1994 and the comic book industry wasn’t doing so well and I asked Jim what path I should take and he suggested I go to animation and so I did. I choose animation and I went on to Disney and I started on Pocahontas as a cleanup artist and I stayed there for nine years. I was working my way to become an animator. I finally made animator on Treasure Planet and I was really happy about that because the goal was to become a Walt Disney traditional animator and I finally got it. Unfortunately, traditional animation kind of ended around that time so I made the jump to storyboards and when I went into storyboards I did a few Disney projects. And then I left there and I went to Nickelodeon and I worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender as an Assistant Director for the first season and I think eventually I went back to story for the second season, and that was fun because it was different, it was TV versus a different kind of schedule and a quicker, faster paced schedule and also the great thing about TV and especially Avatar: The Last Airbender, it was an action show and it had a lot of Kung fu and stuff. And it was American Anime and I love American anime ever since I was a kid; stuff like Robotech and Speed Racer and Thunder Cats, I love all of those cartoon shows and so it was great to work there. But then around mid second season to third season of Avatar, I applied for Pixar and they said yes so I only did two and and half years at Avatar. I wish I could of finished the third season but you know Pixar called so I had to go and my first project was the movie Up. I love Up, I was so grateful to be on Up because I also got to work with the amazing Ronnie Del Carmen (he’s Filipino by the way and he’s awesome) and as well as the whole crew I mean even Pete Docter is the director, and Bob Peterson, co-director, were great. It is one of the best, for me easily top 3 Pixar movies, so to be part of that is amazing. And so since then, at Pixar I worked on Up, Brave, Monsters University, Tokyo Mater short and actually I also worked on the new special edits coming out, its already been announced it’s the Toy Story That Time Forgot that’s actually going to be a presentation at San Diego Comic-Con so definitely check that out.
Take us back to the very beginning when you were a kid and what got you started drawing.
I started drawing comic books in sixth grade. I had a fantastic sixth grade teacher, his name was Mr. Edwards and he noticed I liked to read comics and I he inspired me to do my own comic and he had said that if I get good grades, myself and some of my buddies can draw comic book pages and pin them up on boards and that was my first introduction to doing comic books. I created my own superheros and I remember one of my first superheros was The Charger and I made him after the San Diego Chargers. (See the rest of “Secret Origin of Berry Presh“)
What were some of your early memories and accomplishments?
At Bell Junior High School I created Hector the Rabbit and I won a t-shirt contest, I drew this surfing rabbit character and that was another taste of my art being out there, for my peers and friends to see and I was happy that it got out there.
After that I went to Morse High school and I was in the journalism class and I created a tiger character named Morris because our mascot was a tiger. That was cool too, because I did a monthly comic strip for the school paper, The Morse Code and all my friends got to read that and got to see my comics. Also In high school is when I created The Enforcemen and Alcatraz High. The ideas started from there and years down the line, in 2003 I resurrected Alcatraz High and a couple years back I also brought back The Enforcemen – those are two projects I have had ever since I was a kid. I felt they were strong enough stories and the titles I thought were great so I thought lets run with this. And I introduced both projects at the San Diego Comic-Con.
Who was an influence when you were a kid?
As far as influences, I love George Pérez, he was drawing The New Teen Titans and the funny thing was when I was little kid I would actually trade my X-Mens for New Teen Titans and I had arguments on who was better: George Pérez, the artist of New Teen Titans or John Byrne, artist of X-Men and I still think that George Pérez is better and that is my honest opinion.
Who was your Favorite Teen Titan?
Growing up in San Diego, what are some of your early memories of San Diego Comic-Con and how it has evolved through the years?
I remember going in junior high with my buddy, Keithan Jones. And we went to Comic-Con when it was at the Convention and Performing Arts Center in Downtown San Diego. I remember meeting artists, that’s when there was no movies – there was just mainly comic books and comic book creators and you got to meet them and you got to buy original artwork, comics, Japanese Anime books, models and toys. I was meeting artists that I only knew their names by looking at the comic book. I do remember, myself and Keith brought our portfolios, and I remember showing them Enforcemen. That splash page took weeks to draw it was super detailed because my influence was George Pérez. But I took it way too far and I remember when I showed that drawing to professionals they were like, “whoa kid, you got way too much time on your hands” cause it was way too detailed. I wouldn’t go that detailed today but it’s pretty impressive if you see it. It’s on my DeviantART page. SDCC has definitely grown and I’ve seen it grow from just a couple of rooms and a few tables to this big, mega event. It takes up the whole convention center and even goes beyond the convention center into downtown. It’s such a big deal in San Diego now, that’s fantastic! It’s neat to see it grow from this little niche group of kids who back then there was a small group of us who collected comics and went to the Comic-Con and it now seems like everybody wants to go to the Comic-Con.
From attendee to exhibitor, now you’re one of the artist at the Comic-Con. Tell us about your new release this year at SDCC.
4 Gun Conclusion is coming out this year and it’s a story about, two hitmen who have to rescue their boss’ daughter from the Yakuza – who took her to this island. They do rescue her and they have to make their way from one end of the island to the airport to escape but going through the island they have to fight all these gang members and these are different gangs that have different fighting styles and attire. It’s pretty quirky, and its fun and it has everything that I wanted to do. I wanted to create a book that had colorful characters and there is a ton of action because it’s about two hitmen fighting a bunch of gangs and the book is suggested for mature readers – only for the language and violence. It’s a fun book and I think people are going to love it.
With this comic I wanted to take the whole Avengers movie model where you introduce to the world one character first, like Iron Man and slowly integrate other characters until you hit the big massive story. So with this comic, I started with Guinness “The Punk Rock Samurai” and Bronson “The South Beach Assassin” first. The story takes place in this hitmen world, this mob world where the hitmen are celebrities, they are rock stars. So stay tuned for more characters to follow.
If you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con drop by Booth #1943 and pick up a copy of 4 Gun Conclusion.
On your DeviantART page, besides your professional work, we see a lot of drawings of mash-ups of movies, TV shows and celebrities…
It’s funny because I didn’t think these sketches were going to be popular and they actually have become very popular – the most well known one being the X-Men/Hangover mash-up and that one was cool. The image came about when I was looking at The Hangover poster and I was noticing that Carlos had those big huge shades and I immediately thought of Cyclops’ shades for some reason and then I drew the rest of the characters to look like X-Men and it worked out that Zach is kind of hairy so I made him Wolverine. And Wolverine is supposed to be stubby, in comics he’s short. He’s not Hugh Jackman size so I think that works and I made Colossus and Nightcrawler because they used to be the threesome buddies back in the day and it was nice to see them together again.
The other popular one is the X-Men vs Avengers drawing where they’re breakdancing. Breakdancing brings back memories of growing up in the 80s, and that’s all fun and good. It’s funny, it’s cool that kids today, they are bboys and they come to the SDCC booth and that’s cool they are breakdancing like that. I like the mashup thing. To me, it makes the drawing more interesting. I can easily draw Batman but I want to draw Batman doing something silly or something cool. I want to tell a story with a drawing. That’s what I try to do with most of my pinups.
How about your Philip Rivers Bolo tie drawing?
That one was actually requested by a fan on Twitter. He suggested that I do a drawing of Philip Rivers and his bolo tie because it was such a big deal in San Diego. I was like “sure I’ll do it” and I love Philip Rivers and I love the Chargers so I actually gave that drawing special love, I gave it some more time. Usually I would knock it out quickly but I wanted this to be super nice. I was surprised that it got so much love that it went viral. And I love that it went viral in my hometown. I love San Diego. I love the Chargers.
Did Philip Rivers say anything about it?
I have not heard anything of Philip Rivers saying anything about it. But if he was interested I would give him a signed copy.
Is there any artist or art work you’ve seen recently that has caught your eye?
I’m always on Tumblr and there’s a lot of people that catch my eye and a lot are super young and that’s amazing to see. But I should mention, Michael Yates who was my Pixar storyboard intern. That guy is amazing and he did a pinup for me for one of my comic books and that garnered a lot of attention. People were, “who did this pinup?”. I was like “That’s my intern, Michael Yates!”
He’s got a fantastic, animated art style, it’s very expressive and “cartoony” but just enough cartoony and realism so it’s a nice mesh in between. That guy is going to be a super big talent and is one to look out for. He’s at Dreamworks now, definitely look out for Mike, he’s one of the up and comers.
Any advice to young, aspiring artists out there?
The advice I give most of the time is to just keep on drawing and draw for fun. That’s one of those things, when people take this business too seriously, if they don’t make it, they quit. For instance my son Will, right now he draws awesome and I’m not going to force him to draw my way. I want him to enjoy the way he would like to draw. Because once it becomes a chore, then you might want to quit. When people say your art sucks, you may want to quit. But you need to move past that. Move past the people who don’t like your work. You have to move past the people who say you can’t be an artist. You just have to keep drawing and keep at it. And eventually you might outlast those guys who quit. Constantly keep drawing and try to improve. Learn and constantly learn. And learn from your peers, learn from everybody because I’m still learning, even today. You can even learn from young artists. I’ve learned stuff from Mike (Yates).
Any up and coming projects you can talk about?
Toy Story That Time Forgot, it’s coming out this December and the next movie that I worked on is Inside Out – that’s coming out next year. It’s about the emotions in this girl’s mind. Those are the two projects that are coming up.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully directing the 4GC movie.
So who would you pick to play Guinness and Bronson?
Myself and Howard have discussed this and we were like for Bronson it could be the Rock, of course. And if not the Rock we can also see Vin Diesel in the role we can see Idris Elba in the role. those guys would be amazing. For Guinness, Anyone that you can picture to play the Joker would be good cause that’s what I was picturing, this maniac, psycho.
During the Con, what are some of your favorite food places to go to?
I don’t get to leave the Con, unfortunately, because I have to man the booth. I have to eat the hot dogs that are there, which aren’t that bad. But after Exhibit Hall hours, Cotija’s Mexican food comes to mind, because the further away you get from Mexico the worse it gets. Whenever I go home I always try to get as much Mexican food as I can cause it’s not the same elsewhere.
Earlier you mentioned some of the cartoons that you watched as a kid. If you had to pick one, what would be your absolute favorite?
Robotech, the Macross one. The one with Rick Hunter, Lisa and Minmei. That’s my favorite of all times. Thundercats are a close second.
If you could go back in time and tell your 13 year old self one thing what would it be?
I almost want to cheat and do a stock thing. I would buy plenty of Apple stock.
If you could have dinner with one real person (dead or alive) and one fictional person (dead or alive), who would they be and where would you have dinner at?
My wife would be pissed – it would be rad if it was Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Wonder Woman hanging out. And it would have to be some taco shop. At Rubio’s Fish Tacos.
Or maybe Phoebe Cates and her character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High – that would be a close second.
Thanks Bobby and see you at Comic-Con!
Facebook: Art of Bobby Rubio
DeviantART: Bobby Rubio
Tumblr: Bobby Rubio