It’s not every student that comes to school with Batman, the Hulk or Superman under his arm. Then again, not every student draws and paints like Bobby Ramos.
Junior fine arts major Ramos is rarely seen without his sketch book in tow. In it, he creates color drawings and paintings of both Marvel and DC comics characters. Among his most recent works is a color illustration of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker.
This weekend, Ramos will be among the artists showcasing and selling works at Houston’s biggest comic book and pop culture convention, Comicpalooza (May 12 – 14 at the George R. Brown Convention Center). He can be found at a table under the name “Ramos Renditions.”
Comic conventions aren’t exactly like museum or gallery exhibitions. Still, Ramos said that events such as Comicpalooza are constructive for artists who are starting out in the industry. According to Ramos, the real value in these conventions is the opportunity to learn from other artists.
“Going to conventions provides artists insights into a new world, where they can show their work,” he said. “Artists working in all forms of media can learn so much at these events. From costume design to props to paintings, there’s a lot of creativity centered in one place. It’s very inspiring.”
Ramos arrived at UHD after taking classes at the University of Houston and Houston Community College. The University was a fit for Ramos’ creative talents, and he discovered mentors in faculty members Mark Cervenka and Floyd Newsum.
“They both are very knowledgeable and are generous in sharing what they know with others,” Ramos said. “Professor Newsum taught me color studies, color values, and how to bring paintings to life using color. And, Cervenka taught me figure drawing … teaching me the baseline core and how to work from the inside out instead of just drawing the figure. That has helped me in everything I do.”
Ramos has been creating art long before coming to Gator City. Growing up in Houston’s Heights community, he attended Harvard Elementary School and Hogg Middle School. As a novice artist, he took inspiration from “Joy of Painting” host Bob Ross.
“I loved his work ethic,” he said. “He made everything look so easy. That was my goal. I wanted to be like him, and just paint great things on the spot.”
Ramos also admired legends from the comic world, including X-Men artist Jim Lee and was a fan of Japanese anime cartoons, such as “Pokemon” and “Dragonball Z.”
“Growing up, I was into comics, cartoons and anything with colors and drawings,” he said. “I always looked for new things to base my drawings on, which helped me develop as an artist.”
Another motivating figure was his mother, Regina Vasquez, who also was a painter and a UHD alumna. His sister, Raquel Ramos, also is an alumna.
Ramos’ art isn’t limited to the canvas. He also creates props and scenery for local dance companies, and was once a dancer himself.
His advice to aspiring artists? Just keep doing it, he said.
“I always run into people who tell me that they used to draw but gave it up,” Ramos said. “They might feel that they’re not good enough, but artists should not compare themselves to others. They should apply what they like about other artists to their own work. The important thing is not to stop. Keep drawing. Keep painting. You can’t make your mark in the world if you quit.”