Frequently asked questions

These are questions I've been asked a few times or that I think would be helpful to answer. I'll add more as I get more questions. Feel free to email me at or visit my portfolio at

1. Who are you?
Peace, my name is Robert Trujillo/ Tres. I write and illustrate stories. I design characters for children's books and animation, and I paint murals occasionally too. Parenthood,Ethnic Studies,Storytelling, Food, Music, Social Justice, Science Fiction,Design, & Publishing are regular thoughts. To contact me for commissioned art, freelance, or collaboration. Email me:

2. Where you from?
I'm from the Bay Area (California). I was born in Oakland and raised in the East Bay (Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Hayward) and I stayed with my family a lot in San Francisco.

2. Do you have any advice for up and coming illustrators/artists?
Yes, only do this if you are having fun and you are passionate about what you do. If you don't love it, you're not going to last long. Once you realize this is something you want to do start having fun, practicing, and looking for others who like what you like. You'll learn the most from your friends. So find you tribe, crew, family, or network of artists. Show them your work and look at theirs. Try to be unique, and always try to improve on what you did last time.

3. Can you visit my school or classroom?
Possibly, I've visited over 40 schools in the past 5 years. If you would like me to come and read to children I can definitely do that. I can also come to lead art/writing workshops with young students. If you want me to talk to older students about career path or my work I'm also open to that. Although I have visited tons of schools in the past for free, I now require an honorarium of some sort. Depending on where the class is I may need to have my travel and lodging expenses met too. Email me what you have in mind.

4. My parents/guardian doesn't support me pursuing art. What do I do?
Your folks sometimes have your best interests at heart and want to see you succeed and be able to take care of yourself. I find most people do want their children to express themselves, but are worried about your ability to make a living. It is difficult, but not impossible. It takes a lot of self motivation, organizational skills, time management, determination, and hustle to make it. And to be honest, everyone's definition of "making it" is different. I would suggest you get a day job and/or attend an affordable school. I wold also suggest that you provide your parents with examples of creatives who make a living and do you homework. To convince them you'll need to learn as much about that person as possible. But above all, don't give up.

5. How do I promote my work/Get noticed?
This one is going to sound simple. It is, but not easy. Make work, and show it to people. That can be through social media, it can be at conventions, or at your local market. Wherever there are people you want to see you, show your work there. Doesn't matter if its good or great, what matters is showing it off. And doing it over and over until people get the message that you are an artist and until they see you improving.

6. How did you get your first job?
I volunteered! I worked for free at first, then as i began to get better I asked for a little and was offered a little. The better I got, the more I was offered and the more I asked. But generally, seek out the people you want to work for and ask them for work. Start small though, and work your way up. 

7. How do I become a freelance artist?
You have to polish your skills, and learn how to manage yourself. At a regular job you have a boss who gives you deadlines, projects, parameters, and a paycheck. When you freelance you have to be the boss and the worker. Which means you wear many more hats that just an artists. You have to do book keeping, promoting, public speaking, sometimes fundraising. But above all, you have to just begin. And keep at it. Get a day job if you have to, and do your freelance work on the side. It will take some time, but stick with it.

8. Is it better to work for a big company or work for myself?
Depends. If you are extremely self motivated and don't mind hustling and doing some of the other things I mentioned freelancing may be for you. But if you work better with rules, reminders, and regular paychecks, you might want to work for a company. When you work for someone else you are an employee of theirs. When you work for yourself you are a business.

9. How did you come up with your style?
I didn't really, it came naturally. Style is something that is unique to each person. I couldn't do what Mode 2 or Kara Walker does, and they probably wouldn't want to do what I do. It comes from who you are and how you see the world. Just by you doing a sculpture or painting, it is your style. You don't have to come up with it. It just is. However, if you want to have a dope style, you just need to practice your craft by doing it over and over and over again. And if you're curious, study what other people are doing. Incorporate some of their techniques. Don't copy exactly, but try it out and sooner or later you'll find that you are doing it you way.

10. Will you do some art for me?
Well, I'm a working artist so I work for hire. That means we would have to work out a project based on your budget. I sometimes exchange art or barter with people, but that is rare and is usually because I know or admire the person's work and they like mine.

11. Will you illustrate my book or comic?
Maybe, depends. I would have to read your manuscript, idea, or synopsis first. If I understand it and it is something that interests me then I would ask about a budget. If you are working with a larger company or publisher than we'll need to work out who does what and I would need to speak to you and them. If you would like to send me something please email it to

12. How can I work with you? 
Please refer to this blog post about the different ways you and I can work together. 

Thanks for reading, If you have any other questions please email me at

No comments: