Bio: I was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, a city favored by expats to learn Spanish. In the early 1970’s my cool hippie aunt Maria Elena used to work at the only bookstore that carried American magazines and she allowed me to browse. I discovered Mad Magazine and the National Lampoon when I was 13 years old and they blew my mind. I wanted to be a cartoonist and work for such publications! After I convinced my dad to allow me study arts (he was a Golf Pro) I went to Mexico City to study visual arts at the National University (UNAM). At the same time I was painting Minimal Art canvases (my major was in public art), I was doodling cartoons and publishing them at my college’s newspaper under a pen name (Feggo, after my 3 names).
After college, I became a freelance cartoonist and illustrator - among other hats- for several publications. One of those hats was working as a researcher at the National Archives. In 1981 they sent me to Chicago for research. After a week there I took the Greyhound to visit a friend in NYC. The city blew my mind! I wanted to come back and try my luck.
I returned in early 1983. My idea was to stay for six months and make some connections. I sold some cartoons and got a section in Twilight Zone magazine but not enough to make a living. Six months later, almost broke and about to return by bus to Mexico, I got a call from a book publisher (H,R & W) to work on comic strips for two English-Spanish books. This helped me stay for two years. One thing led to another and I’m still here. The longest six months of my life!
Later on I got the chance to contribute to the Lampoon and Mad and many other publications. I also got to meet several of my cartoonist heroes and even befriend some of them. I have to mention I’ve never been exclusively dedicated to the cartoons field. I like to be involved in diverse projects if they have to do with humor and art (illustration, animation, fine arts, public art, teaching, lecturing, etc.)
A favorite is the first I got published in The New Yorker (a proud moment because I believe the other Mexican cartoonist who had published before me was Miguel Covarrubias back in the 1930’s.)
Most Popular-ish Cartoon: My Polar Panda bears. Originally published in the Reader’s Digest, it has won accolades at cartoon festivals in Belgium, Portugal and the United Nations.
Find this print here.
Another was the illustration used by the MTA in their subway cars for their Poetry in Motion posters. This illo was a study of 4 larger designs that were made into glass as permanent public art for a subway station (231st, #1 line.) I have some images on my website.
Tools of choice: Pencils I use to sketch are Staedler, Kimberly, any HB or B. The eraser I like is also Staedler. For inking, back in the day I used Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph until the cleaning got on my nerves and disposable pens came into play.
Now I’m not that picky, and there is a great variety of nice pens, from Pigma Micron to even fine point Sharpies, as long as they are permanent ink. For whiteout, I like liquid corrector Aqua Kores. I buy it in Mexico, a German water soluble brand.
And last, sketchbooks with nice paper, any size. They are an artist’s best friend (and useful for jotting down ideas as well).
Tool I wish I could use better: Perhaps nib pens. I never draw with them, for some reason they were not suitable for my style of drawing but I know many great artists used them and many still use them. One of these days I’ll give them a try.
Tool I wish existed: A mind reader that draws what I’m thinking.
Trick: Light tables are great help. I sketch on different papers and I create a final composition on my light table. Another great assistant is Photoshop to enlarge and reduce elements, skew, distort a bit, reverse, etc.
Misc.: I have a couple of cartoons books published: Cats Will Be Cats (Plume/Penguin, 1992) and No Man Is a Desert Island (J.Pinto Books, 2012) available through my website (personalized, free shipping!) or Amazon.
As an artist you have to develop a thick skin to face rejection. It is a great challenge. Don’t take it personal. Use that anger in a creative way. Draw, draw, draw with passion, enjoy your work, nurture it, honor it, celebrate it and most important, have fun in the process.
Awesome, just so inspiring…!