Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Manila, and grew up in Tondo. I’m now currently living in a condo along Manila Bay. I like the view of the ocean from my window a lot.
Schooling? Art training? I studied in Philippine Cultural High School, the very first Chinese school in Manila. It’s a shame I never learned to speak Chinese well, though. After that I took up Fine Arts and majored in Advertising in the University of Santo Tomas, where I graduated in 2000.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? I’ve been in the business for around 14 years.
What things — both in art and otherwise — have you worked on, besides comics? I’ve done illustrations for novels, children’s books, graphic novels and various merchandising including LEGO..
Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? I work at home, and I’m always at home, so yeah, it’s a full time gig.
Tell us how you broke into the business –was it easy? Hard? Any interesting anecdotes? It wasn’t easy as I thought it would be, I had to rethink and relearn almost everything for more a than a year before I landed my very first job. I didn’t had a PC then, I had to commute back and forth from Tondo to the old office in San Juan (a 1 hour trip) everyday for checking and follow-ups.
When you held your first published work in your hands, how did you feel? I was grinning from ear to ear, I proudly told the saleslady at the comic shop that I drew that. She didn’t believe me, of course.
How did you settle on the style(s) you’re currently using? I was heavily into manga at first, but then I couldn’t make any decent facial expressions so I tried out several styles and mixed in different elements until I came up with something that did the job, with all the facial expressions and body language.
Did you work as an assistant to any other artists? No, but I worked with and was influenced by a whole lot of them.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? My parents were very supportive, but they thought it wasn’t worth all the trouble. That changed when I got my first pay, though.
Please describe your work space. Is it part of your home, or do you go “to the studio”? I work at home. Everything’s on my desk/drafting table/lightbox . I’ve been practicing on an Intuos for a couple of years and nowadays I’m doing mostly purely digital lineart. I switch between a PC and Mac as my workspace.
What job are you the proudest of? I think that would be working with Alex Ross on Battle of the Planets AND getting the chance to work on a Wolverine book in my preferred manga style. That was a dream come true!
What’s your most embarrassing? That would be my first job, a backup story for Exposure: 2nd Coming. I was so late for my deadline and I had rush it.
What project are you currently drawing? I’m currently working on Magika for Red Giant and Shadow Squadron for Stone Arch Books.
Tell us about your family and home situation. Are you married with kids? Anecdotes about married life, how it relates to your busy schedule, etc. If you have kids do they understand your job? What do they say about it? Do they read comics? My girlfriend is my biggest fan, she’s very supportive of my job plus she’s such a big geek like me. She has a friend who works in Disneyland and they so she flew all the way there and spent a weekend in Florida and Megacon. She got to meet Wil Wheaton and Tara Strong and she got her to sign my My Little Pony fanart for me. =)
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? I’d also like to do more non comic book related stuff, more animated and fantasy books, even comedic ones. I think it’s fun to draw exaggerated expressions on characters.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I love drawing, so I think I’ll still be working in the business for the years to come.
Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? I think they are totally unaware of what I do and they probably think I’m a bum. But I work at home so hey, it’s fun to bum out at home!
What’s 1 thing you’ll always find in your refrigerator? Eggs. Lots of it.
What’s your favorite food? Noodles! They’re the key to long life, you know.
What are your favorite interests –Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I think I have to painfully admit that I’m into retro stuff, you know, stuff from the 80’s. I like New Wave and 80’s action and fantasy movies. I am also into anime and manga and occasionally dabble in cosplay with my girlfriend. I contribute to one of the biggest annual cosplay conventions here in Manila.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? Yeah, If I could write, that is. So I’ll stick to drawing for now.
What’s an average day in your life like? Well, I usually wake up by noon, feed my cat and have lunch then some chores. I work for the most part of the day, with a couple of breaks here and there, up until 3 AM.
Any humorous or interesting anecdotes to tell about the comics business? When I was working on the Wolverine manga book, Del Rey had this mandate that they didn’t want too much blood. And in my head I was like, how can you have a Wolverine book – a manga book no less, and not have any blood flying around? I thought that was really weird!
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody’s gotten to see published? I don’t know if tons of sketches count, but I’ve got lots of those lying around everywhere…
If you weren’t a comic-book artist today, what would you be? A very unhappy graphic designer.
Any closing words? Just keep on drawing!
Co-artist for Banzai Girl #1-4(Sirius) Battle of the Planets #1-12 maxiseries(Top Cow) Battle of the Planets: Princess miniseries #1-6 (Top Cow) Tomb Raider (started at #38) (Top Cow) City of Heroes #4-6 (Top Cow) Lego Exo-Force Webcomic (LEGO) Shadowcast Vol 1-5 (Impact Graphic Novels) Couplers Vol 1-2 (RealBuzz Studios) Echobase (Jan Kjaer, Gyldendal) Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol 1 (Del Rey) Bring the Thunder # 1- 4 (Dynamite) Tony Hawk 900 Revolution (Stone Arch Books) Shadow Squadron - ongoing (Stone Arch Books) MAGIKA - ongoing (Red Giant)
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