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Meet Jules Rivera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jules Rivera.

Jules, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For the longest time, I was interested in cartoons and animation. I loved the idea that drawings could create worlds that suck so much less than this one. I drew all the time growing up, but I ended up with an engineering gig because I didn’t know how to turn art into a career when I was a kid. I had no one to teach.

Everything I know I’ve had to learn it kind of on my own, I tried to make my engineering career work. I made a webcomic in my evening hours, and I thought I could walk the line of juggling my hobby-turned-passion-turned-oh-my-god-WTF and my day job that paid the bills, but I was wrong.

Eventually, my job became entirely too toxic to stay, and the art bug was screaming to take over. I left my engineering gig to move to LA and pursue a career in animation and comics and movies and whoever the else hires artists to make pretty doodles. You should’ve seen the look on my exit interviewer’s face. I might as well have told him I was going to join the circus.

Anyway, I got my art education here in LA at Gnomon School and the ateliers around Pasadena. I kept making comics and storyboards, Kickstarting not one but two books in a row. Successfully. But I paid the price for building my career. My then-husband wanted a divorce barely two years after we got here. That means I was out on my ass.

I moved back to Florida to stay with family and put my life back together, but constantly took trips back to California. I missed my friends. I missed the foods. I missed the mountains. I missed Los Angeles. It took another two years, but I fought like hell to get back here. Every day I quietly tell myself I’m never letting another person kick me out of this city ever again. I’ve managed to stay for another three and counting.

Now, I’m running a Kickstarter to print my comics collection Love, Joolz: Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl. I carved a collection of art and words and crazy out of my tumultuous experiences in trying (and sometimes failing) to build the life I want for myself. I can’t believe I’ve come this far. I want to go farther, and Los Angeles is the place I want to do it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
So… building an art career is hard, very hard. You have to work constantly at your craft, you have to market yourself constantly. You have to be your own bookkeeper, you have to pay your own health insurance. And all that on top of coloring 13 pages in five days or they go draw this entire cityscape in three-point perspective. I mean the very nature of my chosen path already means I’m playing on expert mode over here.

And then there was my divorce. Yes, that was a horrible experience. No, I never want to go through anything like that again, but I’d be lying if I said I wish it didn’t happen. My ex and I were headed on vastly different paths. I’m glad I chose to go my way instead of his. My path has lead me to understand the world in a much more deeper, connected sense.

My path has lead me to gain so much confidence in myself and the work that I do. It was so hard, but I’m glad I came out the other side stronger and better. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you interesting.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m a freelance illustrator, and I provide a number of services including creating comics, storyboards, sci-fi designs and environments. My characters are very expressive, and my worlds that I create are very colorful. I’m also a practical-minded artist who can create book layouts, logos, and other handy marketing materials. I’m one of the few artists you’ll meet who’s good at math. (ha)

When I’m not creating art for work-for-hire, I work on my own graphic novels. My current project is Kickstarting the printing of my graphic novel Love, Joolz: Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl. This is a collection of my webcomic I put out twice a week of over 100 pages. Like, this is a full-blown graphic novel.

I plan to continue my storysmithing well into the future with further graphic novel ideas as well as breaking into publishing and TV development.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
You’d think it would be the big things like winning an award or those big publication contracts. But my most cherished moments as a creator and artist has been the little moments when I make connections with people with my artwork.

Sometimes I’ll talk to school-age kids, and the way they look at me when I’m done with my little lectures is worth all the struggle. I try to be the hero I wished I’d had.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Eric Carroll

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Ricardo

    March 5, 2019 at 20:45

    She’s an amazing artist! If there was justice in the world…her work would be appreciated by multitudes.

  2. Sarah

    March 6, 2019 at 06:06

    I want this book! ::whimper::

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