What does an affinity for Superman, Wolverine, and Captain America get ya? How about a full-time paid profession! Jose Cabrera, 36, graphic designer and comic book artist, grew up hoping his artistic skills might take him places, but decided at an early age that he would have to focus on a steady income apart from the superhero world. This led him into the fields of design and marketing, and fortunately with his success, Cabrera has been able to return to his childhood passion. Maintaining a booming career as a freelance graphic designer, he also publishes a syndicated comic strip, Crying Macho Man, and is thrilled that his life’s passion has developed into a multi-faceted profession. His talent has swooped him into new heights. Found out how he made it happen by reading on as we feature him in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
What’s your background? What’s your story?
The way I’ve made a living for most part of my adult life has been as a graphic designer working for big advertising companies and web entrepreneurs. But my first love as an artist has always been in comics. Ever since I was in grade school I’ve drawn comics to tell stories. However, my instinct told me it wouldn’t pay the bills. That’s why I specialized in graphic design to focus my artistic ability in a career that can afford me the opportunity to keep creating and getting paid.
Today, I still create comic strips and recently I have ventured into the comic book publishing world with the intent of self-publishing and making some money. I currently have a comic strip called Crying Macho Man that lets me create comics like I did as a kid. I’ve created a website along with books and t-shirts that I sell. I have a readership of about 500 a month. I’ve presented my comic at The Alternative Press Expo and currently have a syndicated spot in a San Francisco paper.
What are your day to day responsibilities?
I wake up at five in the morning to write my comic books. After about 3 hours of creating and laughing, I’ll throw on my blue tooth headset and call my client’s concerning a project to make sure I have the low down on their expectations. Then I’ll get to work, trying to create a website, catalogue or other printed materials that meet my clients taste.
Most notable milestones
I won the1999 EMA Creative Excellence & Dansker Award for Corporate Employment Site.
I got to design the site for Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Went to Japan for an exhibition I designed the poster and catalogue for.
What’s your niche?
My business knowledge and marketing ability give me an edge over some of my contemporaries. Also, I’m efficient by having a very fast turn around time for presenting ideas and designs to my client’s. As far as my moonlighting as a comic book artist, I try to show the funny every week and am consistent with my readership.
What’s in store for the future?
I’m continuing to work on my comic strip and hopefully getting it published and distributed. I’m also working on a comic memoir about my experiences growing up in New York called ‘Dominican-York’.
Unexpected learnings along the way
Learning about marketing a website. Managing money. Learning how to be a sales person. Learning about publishing. Patience.
Who would you like to be contacted by?
Other successful comic book artists. Latinos who are comic book artists, graphic designers, publishers.