I sat down with Jack Roybal, a loving husband, amazing artist and most recently a father to his newborn daughter for an in-depth interview about his artwork. We both go way back as friends, and I have always known him to have great skill with his art. He has done this wonderful work using a large number of platforms and materials. This young gentleman has big ambitions and what I think is the talent to get him there. He has a large selection of artwork at his home, on his computer and at the San Diego based restaurant and bar 57 Degrees. You can check out his work hanging on the walls there, or if interested in seeing more visit him on Facebook. If you like Jack's work and this feature please let us know, enjoy!
ET: When did you start drawing and really taking it seriously?
JACK: Probably in Junior High. Was in an art history class with one of my buddies and we both got into realistic drawing. A lot of Da Vinci work, Monet, Rembrant was a big influence. So the second we started taking it more serious is when we started drawing from life.
ET: Because you were studying it i guess?
JACK: Yeah before it was just looking at comics and anything interesting.
ET: So later you started taking art classes?
JACK: In high school. Was actually an animation class. Teacher was a pain in the ass. (chuckles) Was the worst.
ET: So you were into comics and art, took an art history class and then animation. What kind of style were you drawing at this time?
JACK: It was comic-realistic, so I was definitely into Alex Ross at the time. Before he kind of blew up you know, no one knew who he was back at that time but he definitely had a huge influence. Besides that, was just all the sci-fi movies that came out, I was like lets fuckin draw that. Was cool.
ET: Do you have any of those old drawings?
JACK: I think I do actually, a lot of old stuff I keep. But it is all old crappy doodles. But back then it was just doodling... avoiding class.
ET: In high school, were you drawing a ton at that point?
JACK: Oh yeah. I got into shading, charcoal but never touched paint and stuff. I was always scared. You know I tried water painting, pen art too. Nothing crazy with pen art, I just didn't have the technique. Recently I've gotten into India Ink, and that is pretty fun because you get different shades from each pen. So when it came to pencils I didn't really like charcoal pencils, I used mechanical pencils. To get the lightest shading you can, and I never had to sharpen them (laughs). And the erasers were great. Everything I did and whatever I drew on was mechanical pencils.
ET: What do you do most of your drawings on? What is your preferred?
JACK: Bristol paper, and then if I really like what I am drawing then I'll eventually transfer it and put it on canvas. If I really, really like it and I don't have canvas then I'll jump on the iPad and I have Photoshop on there.
ET: It's definitely good working with computers for that.
JACK: Yeah it's unlimited resources.
ET: You've always had a really character-artist style. Is that something you were drawn to?
JACK: Yeah I think it was the Pixar movies and Disney, I just really loved that style. And I don't really stick with a style. If I'm drawing on a canvas it's going to be different from what I do on paper. I don't like to subscribe to a style because then they latch you down, like that's Jack's work.
ET: Were you drawing the character-artist style before the movies and Disney influences? What have you done lately?
JACK: That style yeah. I recently got a gig with SDSU to work with their health website. That was my first real gig, and it was pretty fun. It took longer then I thought it would. They would give me some deadline and I would have to work with it, but they were a lot of fun.
ET: The ideas for the site were just from your head? No references?
JACK: Oh yeah.
ET: How much work do you think you have, as far as a portfolio?
JACK: I haven't gathered everything, but its 100's or more pieces.
ET: Do you consider them all done?
JACK: Some are on the back-burner.
ET: Do you try to finish each piece before moving on?
JACK: I like to have two or three pieces going at once so when I do get bored I can move onto something else.
ET: Yeah you definitely have to take a step back sometimes.
JACK: Yes. Get fresh eyes to look at it again. You will see a different perspective. And I try not to hold onto any work, so if it doesn't sell I'll give it away. I do get tired of staring at my work. I've held on to a couple that I've kept in the house.
ET: The stuff around the house, is it one of a kind?
JACK: Yeah the stuff I keep I don't take too seriously so it's just for play. And then I have a wine gallery called 57 degrees that displays a bunch of art too.
ET: You have a lot going on. Are there other prospects at the moment?
JACK: Not right now, just took a break because of my newborn. But just drawing in my spare time, that is always gonna be there. But soon hopefully do a graphic novel.
ET: What about your long term goals?
JACK: Pixar was always a dream. Right now its just if I can land anything with animation or the industry.
ET: Have you ever sent anything to Pixar?
JACK: I sent them something maybe 4 or 5 years ago when I was doing animation at Grossmont College. Was done on the computer and I am sure it was very crummy and crappy.
ET: So your are doing a lot of stuff with canvas and paper, when did you get into the computer part of it?
JACK: At college they had a huge animation department, I dabbled in that. Picked up Photoshop, Illustrator all that stuff. Never did that before so was a little scared, now I am more proficient at it.
ET: If you had to stick with a style, what would you prefer?
JACK: A tablet, if I can take a tablet with me anywhere. I've gotten back into paper because of India Ink. Because I had a buddy who was like, can you draw my dog? So I did that and through friends, it's been on ongoing thing every weekend with dogs or cats.
ET: You sick of that at this point?
JACK: No, because each one is different. Different texture of fur or skin, so it's something I haven't done before.
ET: Do you have copies of all your stuff?
JACK: Yeah I have photos of my work.
ET: Ever thought about doing prints on your work?
JACK: I am gonna say that the work I do is not the potential that I want. Still immature about it I guess, or not confident.
ET: I am surprised to hear you say that, because you've been doing it so long.
JACK: Well I would say I am a lot more confident than I was maybe 4 or 10 years ago. Some of the stuff I do is meant for that person, that time. But the goal is working at Pixar, graphic novels or comics. That would be fucking amazing.
ET: So you keep up with comics today?
JACK: Oh yeah big time.
ET: What is some of your favorite stuff or runs?
JACK: Probably Scott Snider's Batman run of the new 52. He's amazing. And the art is great. That work is really good. Other than that start with "The Court of Owls."
ET: Any tips for those looking to start drawing and get into that realm?
JACK: Follow people. Watch people draw or paint. Just find the greatest person you can and just follow their work. Do the best you can to replicate that. And find your own style, whether it takes, the first year or multiple years. Find what you like and find your niche and your passion.
ET: And don't be afraid to use the eraser. That's what it's there for.
JACK: Oh yeah (laughs).