Where were you born? Where did you grow up? In Manila, 1981. I grew up here near the airport. How about your schooling? Had you gone under any art training? I had a science education from high school onwards. I had a contract from my high school saying that I had to take a science course in college! I took Applied Physics for a few semesters until I dropped out from too much Starcraft. After that, I was forced to take my hobbies on as my course, completing an arts degree at University of the Philippines. I have trained and worked as a background artist for Toei Animation, and have done advertising storyboards and some teaching in between.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? Since October 2007, as a colorist for a few projects. I'm planning on studying penciling intensively for the time being.
What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? My work is usually poster-type illustrations for commissioners. I still haven't had a book where I drew the comics pages, but I hope to! 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? My first published work was for a 3rd party Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook. I felt like I could have done better with it if I didn't have to go to school!
How did you settle on the style(s) you're currently using? If you have multiple styles how did you develop them? My main style is a basic manga style with a dose of realism and life observations. My finished colored illustrations usually have lots of detail. A lot of elements are designed separately and then integrated into the main image. A lot of my studies nowadays were helped along by suggestions by Wilson Tortosa, another Glasshouse guy. I also have a messy, intense color rendering style I have that's partially a reaction to the smoothness and color choices in most digital coloring nowadays.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? They like the idea. They were initially against an art career when I was still studying Physics, but dropping out can sometimes give you options.
How would you describe your work space? Is it part of your home, or do you go "to the studio"?
I draw digitally, with a tablet. My scanner broke some years ago and I never got around to getting a new one. I work in my house, but sometimes I really have to get out and work at whatever establishment tolerates laptops!
What job are you the proudest of? A commission to draw one of my favorite characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. I was able to fit volumes of continuity references into a single image!
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project? I'm currently doing face and anatomy study. Also a few personal commissions.
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. My parents both work, my sister is a doctor with her own family.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? A possible dream project would be a comic book adaptation of any classic or contemporary science fiction story.
Where do you see yourself in five years? ten? It's hard to tell, isn't it? I'm in a transitional phase in my life right now,
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? My friends are all interested! They help motivate me during art blocks. A lot of them collect more comics than I do. What's 1 thing you'll always find in your refrigerator? Hot sauce!
What's your favorite food? I usually like spicy flavors. And soups!
What are your favorite interests --Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I occasionally play Airsoft. I also like intense music. I love SF anthologies and docu shows.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? All the time! I wish more people were willing and able to draw their own stories. Although it would also take a lot of additional research. Words and stories have their own flow, and need to be studied like anatomy and perspective. What's an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day. I don't really have an average day, nowadays, something I plan to fix! Jumble up the following activities: sleep, eat, draw at home, draw at mall, play airsoft, meet friends over a meal. That's a typical day for me.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published? No, almost everything I finish ends up uploaded.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be? A physicist. Or a kitchen appliance designer. The single thing you'd most like to be remembered for in your life is...? "He did the research."
Contributor to Kev Walker's Drawing & Painting Fantasy Beasts A featured artist in ImagineFX magazine issue 24
Ruben de Vela
GLASS HOUSE GRAPHICS AMERICA
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