INK& PAPER Interview by Michelle Runde Photography by Arabela Espinoza
he simple act of putting pen to paper can lead to beautiful work. Emo Gonzales, known by his professional name Emonic, is an artist of many talents. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Gonzales has been creating art since he was a child. From graphic design to inking, painting, pencil sketching, and more, there is hardly a medium on paper that Gonzales has not dabbled in.
comics could be. Later I found Violent Cases by artist Dave McKean and writer Neil Gaiman and Havok and Wolverine by artists Jon J. Muth and Kent Williams. These books became my grail books, books I would go to (and still do) for inspiration. Who would you say were some of your first mentors? I took standard art classes in high school under Mrs. Gross, a teacher who saw a bit of potential in me. I was one of the first juniors in high school to be in an AP art program in California. Mr. Frankie, a photography teacher, taught me about comic books and how they were made; he was a mentor to me. He changed my world by taking me to San Diego Comic Con in 1991, my first convention. It was there I met Gary Montalbano, a comic artist who showed me that drawing comics was a real job. It wasn’t easy and took work. Since then, he’s been a mentor to me, giving me hours of advice on being an artist and techniques he used.
What got you started as an artist? I always [drew] as a kid. My mother encouraged me when I was young to draw on pads of paper with crayons. I went to see Star Wars: A New Hope in the theater when I was young, and that made a big impression on me. In grade school, I would trace characters from comics and draw graffiti characters. In third grade, my father gave me a stack of comics that he got from a friend at work. It was the complete run of Frank Miller’s Ronin series. Everything about this book is for mature readers, and it made a big impression on me and how I started to see comics from a young age. From there, how did you come to be a working artist? When I was 18, I took one art class at San Jose City After Ronin, what comics influenced your development as College, but I left school before one semester was over. an artist? In high school, I collected comics. I bought a I’m primarily a self-taught artist. I’ve gained the majority graphic novel that changed how I saw comics and the of my knowledge from reading about techniques and art I wanted to do. It was Batman: Arkham Asylum by talking to other artists. In 1996, I received an AS in artist Dave McKean and writer Grant Morrison. That desktop publishing from a trade school. In 2004, I book was a big eye opener on art and design and what started freelancing as a graphic designer for Bay Area