Jay David Ramos is a highly experienced veteran digital artist and comic book colorist with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment, print, toy, video game, and comics industry. After graduating cum laude with a BFA in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines, he moved into a career working for industry names like MARVEL, DC, DARK HORSE/LUCAS BOOKS, HASBRO, UPPER DECK, HARPERCOLLINS, DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE, DREAMWORKS PUBLISHING, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, ESPN, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT, and TAKE TWO INTERACTIVE/ROCKSTAR GAMES, among others; on countless titles which include Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Joker Year of the Villain, Red Hood Outlaw, Superman, Batman: Arkham Knight, Aquaman, Captain America, Extraordinary X- men, Thor, Jean Grey, X-Men: Blue, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Thanos Imperative, Justice League, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Call of Duty, and the storybook adaptation of Dreamwork’s Turbo. He is a member of Disney’s The Storybook Art Team, working on titles like Disney Jr’s Fancy Nancy, World of Reading, and 5 Minute Marvel Stories.
He has served as resource speaker at the Annual Manila Comics Creation Seminar and Metro Comic Con, and has lectured and given demonstrations on digital coloring at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University – Benilde School of Design and Arts, and California State University – Long Beach School of Art.
He lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles, CA.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Iligan City, Lanao Norte. It’s located in the southern part of the Philippines. I lived there until I was 19 yrs old.
Schooling? Art training?
I have a degree in Visual Communication.
How long have you been working professionally in comics?
I’ve been working since June 2004. You do the math.
What things — both in art and otherwise – have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time?
Besides comics, I also do some graphic design and illustration, conceptualizations, and advertising stuff for local clients.I’m also into filmmaking, mostly short films.I also extra in local TV commercials, TV shows, and music videos.Comics is my full-time gig right 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?
Well, it was hard. It took me one year and 8 months to get in! I remember getting my portfolio reviewed by David Campiti when he conducted a seminar here in the University, and to tell you frankly, I received the harshest comments ever given to any of my work. I was trying out as a Penciler back then. When I attended his seminar the third time, I showed him color samples. That was okay because he gave me some mild comments. He referred me to GHG colorist Rain Beredo.
Rain liked some of my stuff. And he gave me some points to help me improve. Several months later, GHG gave me some color tryout pages from Marvel. I colored them and sent them to Dave. Two days later, I got emails from Mike Kelleher of GHG and Howard Feltman from Galaxy Graphix saying that they liked my work.
Galaxy Graphix then gave me a pin up to color. And that was the start! At first, I felt like it was a dream. I’m just thankful to GHG for the opportunity and the help they gave me. Nothing happened to that Marvel tryout though because the editor of the book was fired.Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get hold of some copies of my works. Oh well.
Did you work as an assistant to any other artists?If so, please talk a bit about those experiences.
I assisted Mike Kelleher with some Transformers pages and I occasionally do some flats for Rain Beredo.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics?
They’re very supportive! They even bought me a new computer so that I can work with no disturbances from having my siblings share the computer. I love them! The money I get from this job is also a big help to our family’s financial needs.
How would you describe your workspace? Is it part of your home, or do you go “to the studio”?
I work in the living room where my computer is placed.
What job are you the proudest of? What’s your most embarrassing?
I’m proud of all my works because I know that I really gave them an effort but the one piece that I really like is the Wonder Woman piece I colored.
That piece got inspiring comments from Mike Deodato, Jr himself as well as from Will Conrad, David Campiti, and Rainier Beredo.
The embarrassing work would only be the first try on the Galaxy Girl comic. Eventually, Rain and I got it right the fourth time!
What are you currently working on? Comments on that project?
I’m currently coloring The Dark Project for Trepidation Comics and some pin-ups and covers for other publishers.
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. Are you married?
My family have been very supportive. I guess my friends are too, even if they’re always asking me to treat them out come my paycheck. I’m single so
I don’t have kids and all.
My relatives even shook my hand when they got the news that I’m coloring comics!
What projects do you hope to work on in the future?
I hope to work on a Batman book or Superman. And I would love to color a Jim Lee work, even if it’s for free!
Where do you see yourself in five years? ten?
Still working in comics. Hopefully, I will have been doing work for Marvel or DC by that time.
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react?
Some of my friends are also comics readers. Two of them do flats for me.
Well, I’m not really the friendly neighbor type. I don’t go out much.
I’m a homebody. So I wouldn’t know if my neighbors have any idea on what I do for a living.
What’s one thing you’ll always find in your refrigerator?
What’s your favorite food?
PIZZA!!!! Oh, and my sister’s Blueberry Pie.
What are your favorite interests –Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports?
I seldom watch movies. I listen to music everyday especially when I’m working. Anything from Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Boyz II Men, Coldplay… heck, I listen to love songs and Gospel music!
As for hobbies, I collect comics. I used to play basketball and badminton but now, with all the work to attend to, I hardly play sports.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories?
Ever been in a gang?
What’s an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day.
Very mundane actually. My routine is basically the same every day. That’s one of the downsides of working in comics. It’s reality! Ask any artist out there and you get the same answer most of the time.I get up by 8am or 10am, have breakfast and then I work until 3-5am the next day, depending on the pages I’m working on. I only get a break during lunch and dinner.Getting paid for a crayola habit is pretty fun actually, but there comes a point when your creative energies are just drained.That’s why I always try to give the weekend to myself or else I’ll go crazy.
Any humorous or interesting anecdotes to tell about the comics business?
There was this nightmare project where I had to color 112 pages in 18 days! That was really an impossible project!
But I took it and I colored 13 pages in two days. Then I received news that some of the pages, some 4-6 of them which I already colored were going to be redrawn and re-colored! I had 16 days until deadline.
I did what any sane person would do — I quit.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody’s gotten to see published?
I’ve got lots of stories! I hope that someday I will be able to start working on them and share them to the world.
If you weren’t a comic-book artist today, what would you be?
An art director or a creative director in an advertising agency. I also see myself as a film director, or a rockstar! Who knows?
Have you taught comic-book art or had any assistants?
Before I got in to GHG, I used to teach and offer coloring services to people who want to learn about comic book coloring and stuff. They pay me 850 pesos for the whole module I made.
Now, I review color samples from aspiring colorists who visit the GHG Manila office or the ones who email me if I have the time. I only teach what I know.
The single thing you’d most like to be remembered for in your life is…?
I was the person who did not believe in the impossible, who dreamed BIG dreams, and worked hard to fulfill them all.
Any closing words for your fans?
C’mon, I don’t have fans! Well, to all those who aspire to get into the comics industry, just do your best and don’t be discouraged when you get harsh comments especially from David Campiti!
Seriously, you need to dream BIG dreams! Work hard to achieve them. Do your best job and learn to accept criticisms because it can really help you improve on your work! Best of luck, my friend!
15 Minutes: Good Ol’ Days (Slave Labor Graphics)
Tokyo Knights promotional art (Topcow)
Kingdom Saga (Metron Press)
City of Heroes trading cards (Topcow)
VS! (Harcourt Achieve)
The Dark Project (Trepidation)
Vampirella Halloween Special 2006 (Harris Publications, Inc.) Vampirella (Harris Publications, Inc.)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Dark Horse/Lucas Books)
Vampirella (Harris Publications, Inc.)
Avalon High: Coronation (Tokyo Pop/Harper-Collins) Hits and Misses (Real Buzz)
As Assisting Colorist:
Echoes of Dawn (Trepidation)
Jack Hightower (Dark Horse)