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Comic book artist and creative director: What I do and how much I make

Carlos Perez, also known as Loso Perez, is a creative director and owner of Prime Vice Studios. He's passionate about sequential art and uses it for storytelling in comics, animation, and games. He's also an advocate for representation, creating the first bilingual comic. His work includes a project with the Sid Foundation, creating a comic to raise awareness about lung transplant research. He's also an aspiring art professor, aiming to empower others through art.

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Video transcript

My name is Carlos Perez, I go by Loso Perez, and I'm the owner/creative director of Prime Vice Studios. I'm 34 years old, and my salary is at $25,000 and rising. Sequential art is art that tells stories, visual storytelling, so that includes comics, web comics, graphic novels, cartoons, and art that is used for animation, games, and within that, you create concept art that also applies to designing for apparel and so on and so forth, digital content. I got inspired by sequential art, superhero comics, and the ability that they could be used for educational and entertainment purposes. Because of the lack of representation, I wanted to bring that into the forefront, so one thing I did was make the first bilingual comic where there is English and Spanish mixed into the comic themselves, so anybody that's of either language dominance can understand the comic. I wanted to bridge that gap. Prime Vice Studios is a company I started to provide sequential art services and art instruction. I'm the creative director, so I make all the major decisions, I'm the lead artist, and I'm the one that has to pull in other talent when necessary to supplement for projects. I am the one that has to also get the jobs and pull in the contracts and do the outreach and client retention, I do all of that, and also, the major way that I'm doing it is leveraging social media, so I push content out with tags and people that know me and are looking for that kind of stuff, they will find me and hire me because they see the sample of the work, and when you look deeper, you'll see the catalog of the work, and all my social media is to lead back to my website. One of my favorite projects was working with the Sid Foundation. They were also one of our first to publish our work, so what I did was, they wanted to find a way to reach out with their company and bring awareness to lung transplant research in a fun and original way, and what we did was create the concept of an Indian superhero, little girl, a 12-year-old girl, and her robot sidekick Ecmo that turns into a backpack, and created a comic, and the stories revolve around bringing awareness to lung issues and pollution and all relevant issues related to that. I did the initial designs and then I also worked on the second book, and what happened was we got an opportunity to go to India and teach a comics creation workshop in New Delhi. We introduced them to Lung Girl as a reference, and it was a great project because they got to develop art skills, which is not always encouraged everywhere, and also they got to learn how to create a superhero for themselves, and that is very empowering because they find a way to, you know, just connect with the world in general when they have something to say, and that's reflected in what type of superhero that they create. As being a professional artist, I wanted to transition into also being an art professor and continue to teach because I felt you could build a more stronger following and audience in having and empowering people, as opposed to just being admired and having an audience that just feeds your ego. Right now, I'm making $25,000 a year, and it's growing. It does vary because that's an average amount, so what happens is you have your floods and then you have your dry spells, but you want to always make sure that you budget, too, for the long run. I have to pay for Adobe Suite and art supplies and the best quality art supplies to deliver the best quality, you have to take those costs into consideration. Also, as an artist or creative individual, you have to make peace with the market, meaning that you can create any art that you want, but it doesn't matter if the art's not gonna sell, to a certain degree, and that can be hard, that's the harsh reality. I think you should still create anything you want, but if you want to make a living and build a business from your talent, you have to be aware of what our market needs. Also, in my case, I'm creating new niches as well, so that's interesting because you're trailblazing, and you can charge what you want, but you have to be able to be convincing in your proposals for that. What I love most about my job is that I got to create it and live it up without regrets. I think it's been the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. I grew up always being talented and loving art, but I've had to deal with a lot of doubt and backlash from it, so being able to prove it to myself that I could live how I want and fulfill my own dream has been the best part of my job.