Bakersfield College isn’t known to contribute comic writers or artists to the world, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t stand out to become one. Erwin Ledford, 27, is a comic creator and a part-time graphic designer who was born in Los Angeles but moved to Bakersfield as an infant.
“I’ve been drawing cartoons and comics since elementary school,” stated Ledford. “I’ve wanted to be a comic creator nearly my whole life.”
Ledford does all the following works on his own in order to get his comics published: writing, illustrating, inking, coloring and printing.
Erwin grew up reading comics like Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men, which he also used in order to mimic the artworks.
“I think Chris Ware utilizes the strengths of the comic medium better than anyone else in the industry,” Ledford said about his favorite comic book artist. Ledford recommended that people read “The Acme Novelty Library #19” for he feels that it is Ware’s strongest work.
It has been nearly a year since Ledford has made a serious focused effort in order to launch his career in comic books. Ledford’s first mini-comic, “The Plainest Plane’s Plainest Pictorial Periodical Vol. 1,” is a collection of his short gag strips, which varies in genre and has been done in his sketchbook over the last few years.
His second mini-comic, “Lil’ Erwin,” is a collection of autobiographical stories he stated is the one that got the most response out of his readers.
When asked where he gets his ideas for his work, Ledford stated that he draws and writes from life experience.
“I believe on some level everyone is insecure with themselves, and everyone deals with it differently,” he said.
Ledford tries to not limit himself with any particular genres, but some of the comics he has completed cover the genres of comedy and autobiography. He stated that regardless of what genres he covers, he makes stories so that the reader can connect or relate to it on a personal level.
In order to promote his work, Ledford keeps a website and blog in order to give his readers and fans regular updates of his current on-working projects and of locations and times for events he will be attending.
“I think it is important to meet as many people and make as many personal connections as I can with people reading my work,” he said.
Ledford attends local events such as First Friday art walk, which is held in downtown Bakersfield every First Friday of each month. He also attends the annual Bakersfield Comic Con and recently began to attend The Alternative Press Expo, which is held in San Francisco.
“I also owe a lot of credit to word of mouth and all the positive feedback people have been giving my work,” he said.
As he slowly starts off his career, Ledford says that he sees himself carry his comics into the future.
“Comics are one of the most underestimated art mediums,” he stated. “The possibilities of what you can express with comics are endless.”
Ledford’s goal is to have his work published by one of the major publishing companies, which publish independent, creator-owned graphic novels, such as Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, or Top Shelf.
Ledford is also a graphic designer in print media. He studied graphic design at Bakersfield College with David Koeth as his instructor.
“I was fortunate to build a career for my education,” stated Ledford.
“Learning the tangible skills behind graphic design and print media gave me an edge many comic creators don’t have.”