Born in New Jersey in 1966, Al Rodriguez moved with his parents shortly there after to South Florida where he grew up. All through school Al got in trouble for drawing in class, realizing his love for cartooning by the fifth grade. From there on he spent his spare time creating adventures through a series of comic books. Finding Rodriguez a bit too long, he started signing his artwork Al-Rod in high school and was named Most Talented by his senior class, known for his artistic efforts in the school newspaper and yearbook. After high school Al went on to Tampa for art school, graduating with honors from Tampa Technical Institute for Commercial Art in 1986.

In 1984 Al started his caricaturist career at Busch Gardens The Dark Continent in Tampa, Florida working his way through art school. After a couple of years he realized he actually had a knack for the art form and discovered a market for this talent in the form of party entertainment and special events. Al continued to draw caricatures at parties as he entered the job market as a graphic designer. Not really sure where he was going, Al stumbled into the world of freelancing, getting hired as an independent contractor for a local marketing agency. Turns out he really liked the idea of being his own boss. Even if it was unpredictable.

In 1989 Al moved to Dallas/Fort Worth where he continued drawing caricatures at special events such as company picnics & banquets, grand openings, convention exhibit booths & hospitality suites, bar mitzvahs, you name it. Not just around Texas, but from coast to coast. He also became a charter member of the National Caricaturist Network (NCN). But caricature entertainment wasn't enough. Al pursued a career as a cartoon illustrator and graphic designer as well.

Collaborating with his roommate, Booray, Al pursued newspaper syndication with a comic strip titled Cohabitation. A mild success, the strip ran regularly in a number of college newspapers including the University of California at Berkeley and the University of South Florida in Tampa. Although some syndicates took notice, Cohabitation ran out of gas before it could land a contract. Feel free to check out the comic strip by clicking on Cohabitation below.

Click here to view and enjoy Cohabitation, the comic strip by Al-Rod & Booray

 Meanwhile, the whole publishing industry had changed over to computers. All that Al had learned in school was practically useless. Unable to find any work as a graphic designer, Al bought his first computer. It wasn't much, a little Macintosh Classic with 2 MB of RAM, a 40 MB hard drive and a 9 inch black & white screen. Al spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of desktop publishing, teaching himself how to apply what he learned in school to the new technology. In no time Al was freelancing as a graphic designer, but this time with the ability to work effectively out of his home. Before he knew it, Al had out grown of the Classic and was expanding his home studio to handle bigger jobs for more clients. By 1996 Al had established himself as a strong independent artist, cartoonist and graphic designer. Eventually reinventing himself from freelance art guy to a one man company. Hence, Al-Rod Studio.

Although business was healthy and clients were trained not to expect to hear from him before 10 a.m., Al felt isolated from family and childhood friends in his home state of Florida. By 1997 he relocated back to Miami. Despite the boost to morale, the move left Al-Rod Studio at square one with no clientele locally and few knowing who he was and what he was capable of.

Since then, Al has steadily continued to make a name for himself in South Florida, providing solid work as an artist. Confident of his ability to duplicate the success he had in Texas, and determined not to get up early everyday, Al-Rod Studio became incorporated. Now located on South Beach, Al-Rod Studio, Inc. continues to provide professional services in graphic design, cartoon illustrations and caricature entertainment. As well as produce an offensive line of greeting cards.

It's amazing what he'll do to keep from getting a real job.


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