Born in 1967 in Sonora, Mexico, and raised in California since 1969, Rafael called the city of Bell Gardens his home, a distinction he shares with the rock 'n roll legend, Eddie Cochran. At an early age he discovered his love for comics, as it encouraged him to read more, and began the fueling of his burgeoning imagination.
His earliest reading assignments began with newspaper strips ranging from Sagendorf’s "Popeye", "The Phantom", as well as spanish reprints of "Phantomas" and "Steve Canyon" and "Blondie". Ultimately Rafael's tastes matured with the likes of "Captain America", "The Fantastic Four" and from Mexico, "Kaliman". During this time Rafael began to take note of comic greats, Frank Robbins and Jack Kirby. In addition, local illustrators like NC Wyeth (at the neighborhood library) and Jesus Helguera (from the meat market) became contemporary influences.
But Rafael's problems really began when he got the notion to draw.
After graduating Bell Gardens High School, Rafael went on to Woodbury University to study Graphic Design, after which he attended Cerritos College to strengthen his portfolio for The Art Center of Design, and to study under Manuel De Leon, the noted anatomist.
Breaking into mainstream comics in 1990, and went on to video game animation and design in 1994. Since 1996, Rafael has self-published the Xeric Award winning comic SONAMBULO. He is currently working as a storyboard artist in the field of television animation.