I have been on a Convention tour this year. One of my stops we J1-con . At the convention, I got to meet some new up and coming artist. One of those artists is Terence Leonard. I got to speak to him at the convention an talk about all things geek and drawing. We recently got together again and had a chat.
Terence, please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
I was born on Long Island New York, and have lived in Baldwin my whole life. Growing up, I was inspired to draw comics based on the Pokemon and Sonic The Hedgehog video game franchises. As a child, I attended Hofstra University’s Saturday morning Cartooning classes and later graduated from The School of Visual Arts in New York City with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Cartooning. My work typically
starts out in pencil and is then colored digitally.
What inspired you to be an artist?
As far back as I could remember, I always loved drawing and making comics. I just had a driving force that compelled me to draw the things I enjoyed, like cartoons and video game characters. When my teachers told me I could make a career out of it, that’s when my interest got even bigger.
Who are some of your favorite artist and how would you classify your art style?
As far as my main inspiration, I always come back to Akira Toriyama, creator of Dr. Slump and of course DragonBall. I always watched DBZ as a child and collected his manga. His style and storytelling inspired me and sparked my creativity. For Western inspiration, I always read the Archie Sonic The Hedgehog comics and would enjoy the artwork of the later issues from artist such as Tracy Yardley or Patrick Spaziante.
You have a lot of fan art that you have done. What characters have been some of your favorites to draw?
For years my calling card of art was always Sonic The Hedgehog and his world. I was a huge fan of the franchise and still am today. I also would draw Pokemon as those two franchises hold a special place for me. I would always make fan comics about Sonic and make up dumb adventures with them as most young kids do.
I know we all get them from time to time, but what was your weirdest commission request?
I actually didn’t start commissions until I started attending cons as a vendor in late 2016. That said I’ve surprisingly never run into that situation, yet. But I do have my personal standards of what I will and will not draw for commissions. The product the artist produces will bring in those crowds that enjoy those genres.
Be it a personal project or a Major title. What are some of your dream projects you want to work on? What are some of your goals?
I would always like to work on the Sonic comics, now owned by IDW Publishing, or work as a character designer for video game companies like Nintendo or SEGA. Although the latter being somewhat more difficult as I’m an American and trying to get into a foreign, let alone Japanese, company is even more difficult than finding a regular job.
We met at J1 con and I thought it was awesome you had your Dad working at the table with you. What have been some of your favorite convention moments with your dad and have you been slowly introducing him to the various characters you have drawn?
First off, going to college and meeting other artist and learning about their lives has made me realize I’m very lucky to have such great parents that support me and care about my well being, especially now when I’m trying to find work. Because of my drawings and my hobbies, over time they began to know the characters I draw and the franchises they are a part of. One of my best con experiences was at TooManyGames 2018, where I made a killing and met a lot of people that enjoyed my artwork.
Have you ever thought about working on independent comics?
In college, I created my own characters and wrote stories about them. Although I tend to enjoy drawing about video games or cartoons, I wouldn’t mind continuing my story of them.
To aspiring artist what advice would you give them when drawing and thinking about doing conventions?
Never give up hope and always come in with a burning passion of showing people your work. This isn’t easy, I know that very well. In this world, you need to fight hard for the things you want, and it will take time. But if you work hard enough it will pay off and you’ll be able to enjoy life to the fullest. Also, always go to a con that focuses on topics that are similar to the art you are selling, that is key.
Terence, we want to thank you for taking the time out and letting us interview you. Let our readers know where we can find you.
I also started a teepublic account where you can buy my prints and also shirts! https://www.teepublic.com/user/theterence