Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Imus, Cavite– “The Flag capital of the Philippines!” And I’ve been a proud Caviteño all my life.
How about your schooling? Had you gone under any art training? I wish I had taken up Fine Arts in college. I took up Communications instead, so most of my art skills are self taught.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? I’m just starting out in the business. But this is really what I want to do career-wise so I hope to stay for long. What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? I did some merchandising artworks for Filipino comics legend, Mars Ravelo’s Marvelous Creations. Did some mobile phone artworks for Chikka.com and Kinetix Group. Comics is par-time for now… but it won’t take long, I’ll work full-time on it sooner than later. It’s inevitable! :)
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? Oh it was hard, yet very challenging. But just like Lenny Kravitz said in his song “Believe”: “If you want it, you got it. You just have to believe in yourself.” I did the X-men try-out pencils 2 times. It got bad reviews… I thought, I’d try the other script. So I did the Batman try-out pencils 4 times and got good reviews on my fourth try. I really can’t believe it when Michelle (GHG Asia manager) told me that David Campiti liked my work. I was like… oh really? It took 2 days before it sunk in my head.
With regards to holding my first published work, it was in college. It felt great, it’s like holding your own baby. Blood, sweat and tears. I can feel myself smiling even when I was asleep.
How did you settle on the style(s) you're currently using? If you have multiple styles how did you develop them? I had a lot of influences artwise. But I really admire works by Leinil Yu (in his birthright stint), Pascual Ferry and Salvador Larroca. They’re pencils are so simple, no cross hatchings at all… simplicity at it’s best. I also like Ivan Reis’ work. But of course, I admire every Filipino who made it in the business… I think they all contributed to the style I’m using right now, in one little way or another.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? My mom is very supportive. She wants what’s best for me.
How would you describe your work space? Is it part of your home, or do you go "to the studio"? I work at home in our living room. There’s this really huge dining table there (weird). My PC and it’s accessories are all there. It get’s really hot in there in the afternoons… so I think, maybe I’ll prefer to work at the studio one day.
What job are you the proudest of? It’s still coming up. Lets see…
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project? I’m still doing some try-out pages… nuff said! :)
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. Well for now, It’s just me and my mom. I’m the only child. Hopefully one day I’ll marry and make this family grow. But for now, my comic book career is my priority.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? Mainstream projects of course. I’d love to work on my favorite characters from Marvel, DC and Image. And maybe a creator-owned project. J
Where do you see yourself in five years? ten? I can’t see a thing. It’s too cloudy and distant. I could only wish that I’m still in the business and hopefully at that time I already have a happy family of my own.
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? I really don’t know ‘cause I rarely go outside to socialize. I really have poor social skills, I’m not a snob but I’m more of the shy-type. Some friends know I draw comics… I think they are happy for me. They know this is my dream job.
What's 1 thing you'll always find in your refrigerator? Water? Right… Water.
What's your favorite food? Spaghetti!!! Meaty and cheesy Spaghetti… and Kare-Kareng mamani… Yummy!
What are your favorite interests --Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I love watching MMA and Basketball. I play the guitar, write some songs and have this Grand Eman Concert when nobody’s around or when the neighbors are already asleep. J
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? Yes! I actually have this story which is still in development in my head. I hope I can write and publish it sometime in the future.
What's an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day. I wake up at 6:30 am, check my mails, eat breakfast, take a quick shower then sit on the drawing table for 8 hours straight. I eat my meals at the drawing/dining table as well. After work I try to catch on the evening newscast before I sleep. And that’s it. Sleep and wake up at 6:30 am.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published? Yes… I think so. They just got misplaced. They are here, I swear. I guess the rats hid them somewhere.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be? Still an artist. A graphic artist maybe. Being an artist is what I do best, anyway… I can’t think of any other job.
The single thing you'd most like to be remembered for in your life is...? I’d just wish my would-be kids will tell me one day that I am the best dad in the world! Or I think people remembering my name is enough… Ako po si Emmanuel Joseph B. Casallos bow!…