A decade-and-a-half later: I quit college, left the house, decided to pursue my dream of making comics for a living and realized, to my dismay, that it was FUCKING HARD. The comics community, locally and abroad, is filled with tons of amazing, talented people, all chasing similar dreams, and in an industry with limited slots to offer I simply wasn’t good enough to compete. Never mind, I thought, I’ll make comics anyway--and I did. Between freelance gigs, night after night, page after page, I drew out stories that were sometimes crap and sometimes okay, constantly pushing myself to get better. I struggled with bills and odd jobs, worried about money, acquired a recurring pain in my wrist and right shoulder--all in the hopes that I would one day become good enough to do this for a living.
And one night, tired from work and hungry for something to eat, I reached for my wallet, looked into its empty gaping maw and despaired; literally crumpled to the floor and bawled like a madman. Because it was madness: I’d left my home, my family, school and security in order to devote my life to a medium that frankly didn’t give a shit about me. I thought I’d ruined my life. Lost in self-pity, choking back tears in a mess that I called my room, I contemplated ending it then and there, when I happened upon my dirty old copy of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Reading it again, I remembered the super-people, stalwart and unwilling to surrender to the abyss. And I decided it wasn’t the end of my world unless I allowed it to be.
SUPERMAKER came out of that experience. It was submitted to the Zuda comics competition and rejected two weeks before the imprint went down. I initially intended this to be longer but ultimately decided that, with a few tweaks, it would work better as a short piece. You can read the whole thing over here (click the picture to go):
I’m doing much better now, by the way. I’m still working things out, still honing my craft, but I’m little more secure and a little less dramatic. I see my family more often, go out with my friends on weekends and take comfort in writing and drawing. I love my life, however clumsy or flawed it might seem, because it gives me enough leeway to immerse myself in my passion. I don’t know if I’ll ever make a decent living out of comics, but I sure as hell won’t stop making them.
P.S. I haven't blogged in a looong time and I don't know when I'll be blogging again (these days, I like to spend my free time working on my graphic novel), but if you want to reach me or know what I'm up to, I'm more likely to pop up on my Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Viva la komiks, and thanks for reading.
Illustration I did for a Xavier School creative writing class.
The brief was that it would serve as the starting point of an "Image Inspiration" exercise, where the students would look at an image and write a short story on the spot based on it. With no instructions other than that, I tried to keep the image general enough so that different stories could be written from it, while implying enough specificity and mood so the students would have something to latch on to. It could be sci-fi, it could be horror, it could be fantasy or a murder mystery--it's up to them.
...having a folder full of comics pages you made from scratch.
I just realized tonight that I've broken the 100 strip mark on the latest season of the RAN ONLINE weekly newspaper strip I've been working on forever. This, combined with past seasons, means that I'm only a few months away from breaking 200 strips.
I know it's just numbers, but this represents years of hard labor, lessons learned, sweat and blood, close calls and fond memories for me. The weekly grind of making this strip, on top of other comics, writing and illustration projects, plus the rigors of daily life, have taught me so much about what it means to make comics for a living.
I started working on this project as a teenager--young and arrogant enough to think that I could just get by on talent. The job taught me otherwise. Talent counts for maybe 1% of it. The rest is hard work, discipline, dedication, sacrifice and a willingness to adapt to new situations. There's no way around it. I looks back at older strips and still cringe at little things that I could've done better if I'd had more time, but overall I'm really proud to have gotten this far.
-The Metro Comicon last-last weekend was a blast, mostly because I got to spend time with a lot of local comics creators--Elbert Or and Lorra Angbue-Te made me feel absolutely welcome, I got to comics-jam with Josel Nicolas and his posse, met up with Alexandra Sandoval (the original artist of RAN ONLINE) who I haven't seen in years, and was hijacked by Budgette Tan, Gilbert Monsanto, Gio Paredes, Reno Maniquis and more for a panel on independent comics. I was able to pick up some neat comics stuff, though not as much as I would've liked, because I didn't have much money left, because...
--I now have a Wacom Intuos4! Yayyy! I spent months saving up for this expensive, beautiful piece of hardware, and now it's finally mine! My money situation's back to being tight, but I'm happy. If you've ever tried drawing (or coloring) with a mouse, you know how difficult (and unhealthy) it can be. Now I can make drawing gestures that translate straight into the computer, which is a godsend. I've been working every day on incorporating this new tool into my production process, so hopefully it'll improve my output. More comics!
-Filipino-Canadian artist Noel Tuazon has a new comic, "Tumor", with writer Joshua Fialkov, and you should all check out the awesome site they put up for it (OVER HERE). It's got a trailer, previews, scripts, behind-the-scenes stuff and more. Noel's art is great, as usual.
-I downloaded Google Sketchup just yesterday, and I'm hoping to find the time to learn it. A lot of comics artists have been using this 3d-modelling program to work out complex perspectives and background details, which shouldn't come as a surprise since comics necessitates illustrating with speed. I'd really like to add this tool to my repertoire, mostly to help me out in drawing buildings, cars and all those crazy, complicated weapons I've got to draw for RAN. It doesn't look too hard to figure out; I just need to sit down and learn it.
-Kenneth Yu posts about the return of that cockroach issue of the year, The Book Blockade. Paolo Chikiamco shares a very clear perspective on the matter, over HERE. If, like me, you're already exasperated and frustrated by this issue, you should definitely read Paolo's post to get a bead on what you can do about it.
-I'll be taking a trip to Singapore this October, and I'll probably be bringing back a ton of books, so they'd better not fleece me at the airport or I'm bringing hell.
That's all for now, as I should be getting back to work. More art and stuff to come later this week. Have a good one, people! :)
Thank you everyone for the well-wishes and greets! I've had a wonderful birthday! Fingers crossed for 24! Let's hope I can bring the awesome this year! :)
NOTE TO SELF: Never letter with a brush pen ever again. :p
I'd like to invite you to read it--it's a pretty simple, short story (crazy to think it took so long to make it)--but I'm really happy with how it turned out. Click on the big pic below to read it or go over HERE.
- Current Mood: happy
Waking the Dead is the first collection of short fiction by award-winning author Yvette Tan. It was an absolute pleasure to do the cover and illustrations for this book, as this was definitely the most enjoyable manuscript I've read all year.
The book launch, Waking the Dead: Night of Mayhem, happens this August 15, 2009, 4-7pm at Powerbooks Megamall.
It will be hosted by Yvette Tan and her imaginary friend, Henry. WeeWillDoodle will also be there, doodling on site, with artwork for sale after.
Everyone's invited, and everyone should go. If you have a Facebook, you can RSVP over HERE. Walk-ins and creatures of the night are welcome, but please note that the event is "bring your own zombie." You have been warned. :D
- Current Mood: excited
New comics coming up in a couple of weeks, including "The Love Eaters" and "Memorial" (which I did in collaboration for the Bamboo music video.) Meanwhile I'll be zipping quietly under the radar, slowly working on much longer stories until they're done. :)
- Current Mood: thoughtful