Becoming an Artist, One Panel at a Time

Andy Rodriguez is a twenty-something student at FRCC Westminster who has found a fondness for art. He truly is a bit of a Renaissance man when it comes to his passion. There has never been a second that I have known him when he does not have a sketchpad and pencil within a few feet. Even now, as I sit down to talk to him about his time at FRCC Westminster in Dot’s Diner in Boulder, he is scribbling away, capturing the other patrons as they eat their greasy breakfast.

My first question to him was what made him get into art, and after looking a little stumped and chuckling he replied, 

“This is hard….” 

An answer that is very much signature Andy. Being the humble guy he is, he took a second to think. He told me about how he was on track to be a lawyer, but then he started reading comics around 17 or 18, which really ignited a passion.

“I have a whole list of artists and comic books that started my interest in art. When it came to comics, I love people like Gary Frank, James Jean, and John Buscema and I would later come to admire earlier illustrators like Charles Dana Gibson and Frank Frazetta, and to go even further back I like Caravaggio. He has to be favorite at the moment, so much spirit in his compositions.” he said.

He told me how, when he started reading comic books, he would dig more into the history of the artists and authors of the books which really intrigued him. 

“I could probably talk about anything having to do with comic art, the Golden Age Illustration, or even fine art because of that time in my life that I just wanted to learn more,” he told me.

“So then what is your favorite style of art to do?” I asked.

“I don’t really have a favorite type of style, because I like to play with a lot of different styles and mediums.” He explained, “I think each medium informs what I am doing. That being said, my favorite thing to do is drawing, so line art is probably my answer.” 

This led me to ask about his coming to FRCC Westminster and how he feels he has grown as an artist since starting at the school. He told me about how he was able to gain a lot of training and go at his own pace, with teachers providing resources for his personal development. 

“All of these things allowed me to be more expressive with my artwork and skills.” He continued. 

“So then what class did you most enjoy or find most challenging?” I asked.

“You’re really challenging me with these questions,” Andy replied as he sketched some more and thought a bit.

 He told me that his most fun class was figure drawing, because it is his favorite subject to draw, and he got to have real people modeling for him in class. The most challenging he said was the 3-D art class that he is currently enrolled in because it is a new media for him and a new experience. He talked about how he really appreciates that the teacher in the class pushes his students to do better from project to project.

“So, what are your future goals or plans for your art?” I asked as we wrapped our working breakfast.

“I guess I want to start selling pieces.” Andy reflected, “I am starting to sell originals online right now, but I plan to do prints in the future, too. I am also trying to create more brand awareness by growing my online presence. I guess I’d really like to go into illustrating comics one day.”

“What would you say to students at FRCC Westminster, or anywhere really, that want to pursue art?” I asked Andy, as we paid our bill and started walking toward the door.

“Just do it!” he replied, in a very aggressive Shia LaBeouf impression. “Just kidding haha, but really, they should just go for it.”

I think that is pretty good advice considering it comes from the guy that I could never see him being a lawyer, but I know he is bound for great things in his art career. In his last remarks, he said that if people are interested in seeing his work, they should check him out by googling, “Andy B. Rodriguez Art.” and in his words, 

“They should definitely check out Dot’s Diner cause it is the best!” 

One thought on “Becoming an Artist, One Panel at a Time

  1. I had the pleasure of having Andy in two of my classes at FRCC. In addition to being a great artist, he’s one of the most good-natured people I know, and great student as well. Seeing him be very successful would reaffirm my sense of fairness in the universe.

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