We had the good fortune of connecting with Ricky Franklin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ricky, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued a creative career because I am a creative being. I have a compulsory desire to create new things, and my head is always swimming with ideas of new stories to tell. Whether it be helping a company communicate with a customer’s story through graphic design, or telling a story through comics and illustration, my work is about connecting people through visual storytelling. I love the way art can cross cultural boundaries to discover common experiences with people on the other side of the world. This passion keeps me creating.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My illustration work is very driven by my love of fantasy, and much of my work is inspired by the comics, books, films, and shows that have captured my imagination for years. Earlier this year, my brother and I self-published a 100-page fantasy graphic novel that I illustrated, which was a tremendous milestone for me. The book tackles some social issues that are very important to us, told through an accessible but fantastical world. This book is called Mask of the Sentinels and is available to purchase on the Comixology app! Much of the work I create is fan art—work directly paying tribute to the characters and franchises that mean the most to me. While I usually don’t make any money doing this type of work, it helps me connect to many others who share the same interests and passions, and helps me build a larger social media presence. For instance, I spent a few months this year redesigning my favorite characters in the Spider-Man franchise, pulling from various inspirations to create my own twists on these beloved heroes and villains. This project really helped me keep my spirits up while I was job searching this year. One of the coolest projects I got to work on this year was getting paid to do fan art. I was hired by Michaela Murphy, the voice actress behind Toph Beifong in Avatar: The Last Airbender, to create some Avatar-themed merchandise for her online store. Avatar is my favorite TV show, so working with her on those projects was a dream come true for me. Sometimes you need to create content that sells or gets the most attention, but I think artists should always allow themselves to create the kind of work that feeds their soul and makes them happy. I always try to give myself the time to do these passion projects.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Liberty Station is one of my favorite places to go in San Diego. These former military barracks have been transformed into a lovely shopping center. There are some really fun shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants to see here, as well as courtyards with trees and fountains that are a peaceful place to walk around. One of my favorite restaurants here is Soda & Swine, a place that serves everything in the form of a meatball, and has a great selection of bottled sodas.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe much to my PLNU professors, namely Wendy Belt, David Adey, and Courtney Mayer, for helping me forge my skills and discover my strengths and passions. And I would be nowhere without the support of my family. Thanks for everything!
Other: Link to Mask of the Sentinels, my graphic novel on Comixology: bit.ly/2XkRcdq