Artist MEL JOY SAN JUAN began working professionally in comics right out of high school, writing/drawing/lettering/coloring projects for a Manila-based publisher. Upon joining the Glass House Graphics agency, Mel Joy began working for the American comics market.
Among her many projects are covers for Dynamite; Call of Duty for Activision; Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters for Dabel Brothers; Knightingail for Big Dog; Starcraft for TokyoPop; the Ascendant graphic novel for Autarch Games; Time of Legends: Joan of Arc for Mythic Games; children's books for Capstone; and the upcoming Warlords of Oz for Amazing Entertainment.
Growing up with three sisters, Mel Joy immersed herself in writing stories, reading books, and enjoying manga, anime`, and cooking. Psychopass, Hunter x Hunter, Cowboy Bebop, and Evangelion count among her favorite anime`. One Punch Man, among her favorite manga. Solo Leveling, Noblesse, and Omniscient Viewer's Viewpoint are her favorite webtoons.
She resides in General Trias, Cavite, Philippines with her rescue dog Tarts.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Pasay City, and I also grew up there.
Schooling? Art training?
I studied at Eulogio Amang Rodriguez College. But sadly I wont be able to finish my course due to lack of funds ^_^. So, I decided to work instead. I don’t have any formal art training I just leaned here at Glass House Graphics with the help of other fellow artist.
Did you have some experience in creating comics before you started at GHG?
Dave found us at his creating comics seminar in Megamall, during that time I was working at neo comics as a freelance comic artist, but it was a bad experience though. And before that I was able to publish my own work at Funny Comics here in Philippines, but sadly they weren’t able to pay me, because the company just shutdown after I publish my work. Well at least it was my first time to see my drawings published, even if it just ended up like that.
What did your parents say when you started working as a comic artist?
At first they were against it, they always say that there is no money in comics that it’s okay if it’s just a hobby, and they forced me to find other work and I ended up being a service crew in a food chain here in Philippines. But I didn’t give up, whenever I had time or a day off , I was sneaking behind them and going to Megamall’s bowling alley to meet up with my co-artist friends there, and drawing all day long till it’s dawn. After that I would go home and tell my parents that I was in duty even if it was my day off that day. White petty lies huh! hehehe.. But when I started working at Glasshouse graphics company my mother was proud because I’m earning enough money to pay our bills, yet my father is not so proud. I think that he doesn’t want me to end up this way. But I’m happy being a comic artist and as long as I’m paying our bills it’s okay.^^,
What things – both in arts and otherwise – have you worked on, besides comics?
Sometimes I do henna tattoo ,draw some illustrations for school projects and the most funny experience is when my school mate in fine arts asked me to do some job for her. She told me to draw her school plate because she wasn’t able to do it..hahahah…J
Talk about how you broke into the business – was it easy? Hard? Ups? Down? Any interesting anecdotes?
Well in my part, I was one of the luckiest, why? Because I didn’t even think that I would be in the comics industry at such a young age..^^, But I’m proud of that. But the sad part is, being one of the youngest you’re the one to be bullied though. That was the hard part, I thought that I would give up but David still pursued us, believing that we would succeed someday. So I decided to continue, and I want my big boss to be proud of us. There are a lot of years for me to learn something new and it was my advantage. :)
For me it’s, “Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that’s why they call it a present.”
Did you work as an assistant to any other artists? If so, please talk a bit about those experiences?
Yeah I work as an assist to others, I was great because I was able to learn something new from them and apply it to my own work.
How would you describe your workspace? Is it part of your home, or do you go to the studio?
I am working at the studio because I don’t have some space in our house. It’s too crowded.
What is your favorite food?
Mang inasal’s chicken leg and “ginisang golay” ang “sinabawang golay.” Anything that is preferable to eat..^__^
Do you find friends in your co-artist while working? What do you feel when your working with them in same studio?
I have friends of course, Tondat, Tutu ,Tonio and Bart-men. That’s not their real names, it’s just pet names, like Noel we call him “Tondat” because his tummy is big … I find every one of them funny. They can be comedian if they are not working as comic artists. “Peace Tondat” ^_^
What are your interests aside from drawing?
Well playing online games ragnarok online..^_^ I also sing, I was a band vocalist before I was a comic artist. I also love to cook food and deserts and play some musical instruments. And I like cosplaying my fave anime characters.^_^ I hope I could cosplay with the glasshouse dudes someday. But my greatest interest is finding some cute guys in the mall holding each other’s hands.. wahahaha.. yaoi.. every fan girl knows that.
Have you ever written your own stories and turned them into a comic book pages?
Yeah, but it was crap. I sucked at storytelling that time.^_^ Most of my stories are crap. I am a not born writer, but can you ever believe that I can write poetry? Hahaha.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
Operated on and turned into a boy…hahaha..^_^
Do you have some dream projects?
Yeah, Yaoi project will do.(Yaoi= clashes between two guys)
And of course I also like to do some marvel pages. X-men is my greatest dream, I would like to draw Wolverine kissing Cyclops.. O_o Oooopppss… just joking..^_^
If you weren’t a comic-book artist today, what would you be?
I was a bouncer at the convention..^_^
Is there anything you want to say to other aspiring artists there?
Well, practice makes you perfect but nobody is perfect so don’t intend to practice…just joking. Draw anything you want to draw and find some people who could give a better critique to your art and learn from what they said. And also learn for your mistakes.^_^