Comicadia Interviews: Ruy Fernando Estrada (MaCoatl)

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Hello and welcome to the very first Comicadia Interview! Today, we were very fortunate to have the talented Ruy Estrada as our interviewee! If you haven’t heard of him, by the time this interview is done, I’d be willing to say you’ll want to know more about him and his astounding work!


So Ruy, tell us about yourself.

Well, my name is Ruy but people on the internet also call me Flint (or sometimes even MaCoatl). I have been doing comics for almost 20 years but I’m not sure how many of those could be called “professionally” (yeah, I get paid for making comics, sometimes, but I have never published something of my own, just webcomics and self-publishing).

I have been fascinated with the webcomic medium since the early 2000s. The very first webcomic I remember reading was “Neglected Mario Characters Comix” at SMBHQ staring Fred the Spainyard and Dr. Donez. I never had the ability to program or code so making my own webcomic eluded me for many years. I live in México, southwest, in a city called Guadalajara. I love my culture even if my country disappoints me time after time.

Tell us about your work.

I graduated from architecture back in 2002 but while I loved designing stuff I was never interested in building. It was not long after then that I got involved in the animation industry here in my country, first as a background artist and later as a full-time animator and character designer and I been doing that to make a living since. I have a small animation studio and currently, we run a modestly successful youtube channel (it’s in Spanish, but if a fellow speaker wants to check it is called “curiosamente”).

Tell us about your background in comics – how did you get into drawing? What attracted you to the medium?

Well, I have been making comics for a long while, before trying webcomics I did many on paper which I photocopied and gave to my friends. My current project MaCoatl started back in 2002-2005, then as an idea for an animated TV series. I always loved prehispanic cultures and there weren’t many projects based on them back then (now it’s starting to become a thing). It became a comic project after a trip to the San Diego Comi-Con where I failed to pitch it as an animated series but got invited to publish a short story on a book. From then I started making the comic and haven’t stopped since.

The colorful cast of MaCaotl

MaCoatl is such a colorful comic and the characters are quite unique. What was your inspiration behind the designs for them?

Macoatl has always been a dumping ground for the things I like. Prehispanic Art, check; Dinosaurs, Check; 80´s and 90´s videogame style, check. While there is a little bit of emphasis on the prehispanic stuff on the comic, its rare for me to sit down and design a character, most of them just come to me while doing other stuff and I always keep at hand a notebook where to draw and if something crosses my mind, then I just doodle it and archive it, I might have a use for it later (there have been characters I have kept archived for years before I had a use for them). I must have hundreds of characters lying around waiting for a moment to shine.

For a lot of MaCoatl‘s run, it’s limited to four-panel comics. Is there a reason behind it?

Back in 2008 I got an opportunity to publish MaCoatl on a local newspaper and they were the ones who imposed the format, I never got paid for that, but I keep doing it for the “exposure” (it was the early 2000 social media wasn’t yet a thing, but yeah I know, wrong thing to do, DON´T DO IT GUYS!!) so I stuck with that format until I left the newspaper (Something I should probably have done sooner) I say it was a not exercise on being straight to the point.

What are each of the characters’ favorite foods? I’m guessing none of them let Checomal cook it…

For Kaira are Japanese Peanuts, for the other let’s come up with something right now (as I have never thought about it before) for Xio Pozole; for Ichuel Totopos with Guacamole; For 7, Quesadillas ; For Tik, Tacos al vapor and for Checomal; his mom Tamales.

Your techniques in drawing MaCoatl have certainly improved since the beginning, but the comic hasn’t lost its expressive style. What’s your process like? Do you only work digitally?

Until a couple of years ago, I used to draw everything on paper, then scan it and color and letter it in Photoshop (or other art software sometimes). But since I got some line stabilizers on the PC as well as the chance of rotating the canvas, I started to move fully into digital, the only problem is that having that level of control of every page has made me slower, as I like to fine-tune a lot. Yet I still try to draw in traditional every time I can.

What is up with Tik’s name? I don’t think it’s possible to say the whole thing in a single breath.

Let me try, Tikoloteo Machuperso Gonzáles Gonzáles Romero Solis de la Cantoya Oya … Nope, I find it quite difficult for someone to do it, sorry for that!

What do you hope people get out of reading MaCoatl?

I just hope they have a good time and enjoy the characters and situations, and if they want to come back for more that’s a plus!

Where can people see some of your amazing work?

My two current comic projects are at Tapas, MaCoatl and Rayah the Genie. Or you can just follow me on Twitter where I announce every time I publish something new.


We would like to thank Ruy for his time in answering these questions. I found myself snickering quite profusely at the jokes found in MaCoatl and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a pick-me-up in their day – or someone who just wants to see some well designed, colourful characters!

Jim

Thank you for joining us for this interview. If you would like to be interviewed in this manner by a member of Comicadia, please submit your request to comicadiacollective@gmail.com with a note in the subject line about wanting to be interviewed!

Just… avoid Tik if you can help it.

Original post submitted by Chippy