Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Born in Quezon City and bred in Las Pinas City, the “Little Pineapple” of South Metro Manila, in the heart of the geographical jigsaw puzzle called the Philipines.
How about your schooling? Had you gone under any art training? Graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Bachelor of Fine Arts, major in Advertising. No professional training in comics per se, and I pretty much learned more about the biz from my part-time work in a comic publishing company than my professors at college could ever teach me.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? For about fourteen years now, on again and off again a couple of years back.
What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? Pretty much most of my work nowadays is comic-oriented. Actually, pretty much most of my life is comic-oriented now.
Talk about how you broke into the business --was it easy? Hard? Ups? Downs ? Any interesting anecdotes? When you held your first published work in your hands, how did you feel? I took a freelance job in the local comics scene when I was in my sophomore year at college, a classmate of mine introduced me to an editor and she gave me my first break after a month of submissions, with a regular weekly title. Several months later, I’d be submitting to various editors in 4 different publishing houses.
The first time I held my printed work in my hands, I was excited, thrilled, ecstatic beyond belief! Then five minutes later, I felt that I could do better and went to work on some follow-ups.
How did you settle on the style(s) you're currently using? If you have multiple styles how did you develop them? When Disney animated films made a major comeback around the late 80s with the debut of such films as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, I was so attracted to the art styles that were used and this became the foundation for my own style, which was later tempered by a major exposure to early 80s manga and anime – which was hard to come by and nowhere near mainstream at the time.
Influences on my work include the stylings of Don Bluth, the aforementioned Disney styles, a lot of the styles that permeated 80s US production animation such as Transformers, Mighty Orbots, and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Yukito Kishiro (Battle Angel Alita), Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion), and Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Laupta).
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? They were very encouraging, even tough I’m practically the first artist to come out of our clan. They have yet to read a single page of my work, though.
How would you describe your work space? Is it part of your home, or do you go "to the studio"? A mix of both. So long as I have my stuff with me, I can work anywhere. Depending on the type of work (drawing, writing, misc. production jobs), I go between home and the studio, and have been known to spend weeks at a time away from home, at the studio with the crew if necessary. At home, it’s a comic and anime geek’s nest-hole, with Disney and anime posters everywhere, comics, novels and DVDs piled up all around my workstation and drawing board – which makes it look like the local comic cons, only not quite as messy.
What job are you the proudest of? More like “what jobs I am proudest of”, as I take pride in being versatile. I draw, write, do web design, all sort of graphic design work. The next job I hope to take pride in will be raising a family.
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project? I’m between projects at the moment, providing production assistance while working on a script for a few hundred pages of manga. I plan to continue design work for a project proposal in the near future.
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. As a family, we’re tight. My Dad’s a hard worker as an insurance sales manager, my youngest sister’s an art teacher at a prestigious international school, my other younger sister’s a travel and fashion magazine writer currently married to my best friend (also a writer) and they visit almost every weekend. My mother passed away four years back but left me feeling proud of my family, and my upbringing.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? A multi-volume manga that I myself have written and drawn.
Where do you see yourself in five years? ten? I'd still be drawing like crazy. I figure I’m going to have a pencil in my hand on my deathbed.
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? Interest is pretty much the same as it is in the States, though attention is torn between comics and video games these days. My friends know what I do and they respect that, though some still have the notion that you can’t earn a decent living being in the comics biz. My wife knows it and says she’s envious, that my job is way more exciting than hers - though as she’s an attorney I don’t know what would be more stimulating than watching her putting people on a stand and shredding them down to size…figuratively, of course.
What's 1 thing you'll always find in your refrigerator? Either orange juice or green tea – I run on the stuff.
What's your favorite food? Pizza = manna from heaven. And my sister’s pasta – you haven’t lived till you’ve tried her pesto dishes. Different kinds of breads. And just about anything made from potatoes. I don’t believe in coffee rushes – I believe in sugar highs.
What are your favorite interests --Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? As silly a hobby as it seems, I like reading various genres of comics and manga. And all sorts of sci-fi and fantasy novels – in particular anything written by Neil Gaiman. I also love mystery novels, especially the classic stuff by Sir Athur Conan Doyle.
All sorts of movies and anime from similar genres as the stuff I read. And I’ll watch anything by Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Brad Bird or Quentin Tarantino. My favorite movies are anime by Studio Ghibli and the great Hayao Miyazaki, and every single Pixar movie ever done.
Video games – in particular, action, RPGs and strategy, and anything that makes me think. I use Guitar Hero to jog my brain the same way Sherlock Holmes did with his violin playing.
Music – a wide range of music tastes though my favorite is Pop, Rock and R&B, I’ll listen to anything that sounds great regardless of language. Aside from the mainstream stuff, I listen to songs in my native language, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Swahili, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, and some songs in whatever language is sung by Michael Jackson.
I also like to build and paint model kits – in particular car models – sports cars to rally cars, and all sorts of robot kits, from various super robots to Gundams. I normally use these for mechanical references and poses.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? Thought it, done it, and sold it.
What's an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day. I take a stroll down the deepest corners of the netherverses making new discoveries as I make my way to the farthest reaches of time and space, righting wrongs, fighting the good fight, endeavoring to breach the outer edges of the vast cosmos…then I wake up, work, eat, do a bunch of other stuff then go back to sleep.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published? At least a half-dozen project ideas in my personal files, and several dozen half-baked ideas in my head. Oops! Wait…one’s about done already.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be? Maybe a voice actor, or a DJ. Or anything related to the gaming industry – maybe a designer who does QA on the side. My alternate-universe self would be a shower curtain ring salesman.
The single thing you'd most like to be remembered for in your life is...? That I am capable of many things. Really, I truly take pride in being versatile.
Any other tidbits of info about you that you like to share? I continue to relish the fact that I’m doing stuff I love doing and getting paid for it. I’m living my dream!
Written, drawn, lettered, and toned issue #1-#3 of the Neodreamer manga Glass House Graphics previous website design/writing Armitage Metasploit website Inker for Knightingail issue#1 Logo design for Knightingail Toning artist for Wolverine manga issue #1 & #2 Print media designs for Glass House Graphics Various logo design projects Various web design projects Varous copy writing and scripting projects