THE WEB JOURNAL OF JOHN RAY

Creating Comics 101 at MCC

Posted in Comics, Events, Seminars, Workshops by J.R. Bumanglag on August 21, 2009

MCC_Presents__Comic_Creation_by_manilacomic_con

Excited as I was the night before August 9, I couldn’t help but wonder what awaited us in the Comic Creation 101 at the second day of the Metro Comic Con. I woke up as early as I could that Sunday morning and wasted no time preparing my things. I left the house at about 9am, after a teasingly weird episode of Beauty and the Geek. On the road, my mind was set to learn more of the medium I love the most – comics! Breakfast at Jolibee was the only fuel I needed to jumpstart my day. I was giddy-silly, albeit restless to attend a comics-related seminar. The past seminars by Glass House Graphics, unfortunately, were not on top of my list back then. But now’s not the time to waste opportunity. Once the gates opened, it was only a few steps towards the Conference Hall where the seminar was to be held. I passed by the Megatrade Hall where the Metro Comic Con was also preparing to begin their second day.

I was one of the first to enter the conference hall. Some of the organizers I saw way back at the Road to MCC UP leg were setting up already. One of them recognized me and asked if I was the one who posted the podcast. She was wondering why I didn’t attend their leg at CSB-SDA. Regrettably, I was not informed about that. The hall itself was very welcoming, conducive to learning. A few minutes later, Gerry Alanguilan arrived with his trademark clothes – clothes that he always wears whenever I see him in-person. Carlo Pagulayan followed and the moderator decided to begin the seminar.

Gerry Alanguilan

Gerry Alanguilan is a comic book artist, writer and publisher and known for his inking work on Wolverine, X-Men, X-Force, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Force, Iron Man, Wetworks, Grifter, High Roads and Silent Dragon. Locally, he has illustrated his own comics such as Wasted, Humanis Rex, ELMER, Timawa, Crest Hut Butt Shop and Johnny Balbona . I’ve been a fan of Gerry ever since I found his Komikero Komiks Blog and Philippine Online Komiks Museum. For one man to give so much effort into the local comics scene is a sight to behold.

Gerry began the seminar with a discussion about story and idea creation. He describes himself as a good observer, ever so curious about his surroundings. He takes not the importance of two words – WHAT IF – as the beginning of any story. For his work on ELMER, he started off thinking “WHAT IF CHICKENS COULD TALK?” and continued from there. He suggests that having a BLACK BOOK OF IDEAS a must for creators in order to formally collect every idea that he may think of. A small notepad can be of great help to write down the fleeting ideas we get from everyday life.

In a question and answer portion, I managed to ask his opinions about the local writers and their stories being released in the mainstream and independent comics scene. He said that most of the local comics are still very young, amateur and really needs a lot of work. But he can’t blame them for this because most of them make comics as a hobby. He also noticed that there are more Filipino artists than writers, to which I also agreed. His next work will be a take on our national hero, The Marvelous Adventures of Dr. Jose Rizal and inking Leinil Yu on Ultimate Comics Avengers.

Carlo Pagulayan

The next speaker was Carlo Pagulayan. He is a penciler working for Glass House Graphics. He began his career through Dark Horse Comics, illustrating the World Trade Center Twin Towers Tribute Book written by Doug Petrie. Since then, he has done sequentials for Marvel’s Elektra, Emma Frost and Planet Hulk. He is currently working on Agents of Atlas.

Carlo Pagulayan

For his part of the seminar, he explained the ins and outs of anatomy. He described the perfect proportions of the male and female human body, how to draw them and how to move them. Referencing books by Andrew Loomis and Burne Hogarth, he was able to perform a live sketch session on how he envisions the human anatomy. He also exclaims that once you master it, it will follow through with character designs. Fineart.sk, Terragen and Curious Lab’s Poser were some of the resources he gave to us as reference materials in our artistic endeavours. But he advised us that we should not rely on these programs too much as it will deaden our artistic vision. He tells us to only use them in the direst of needs, especially on deadlines.

Harvey Tolibao

The next artist in-line was the ever-so-humorous Harvey Tolibao. Like Carlo, Harvey works for Glass House Graphics. He has made sequentials for Marvel’s Avengers: The Initiative and Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Kotor. He is also known for his Bumblebee Pinup that made waves in the interwebs for the sheer details and draftmanship of the artwork. He is set to illustrate Psylocke for Marvel Comics so watch out for that.

Harvey Tolibao

As great as an artist Harvey is, he is also a great speaker. Using is down-to-earth humor, he explained the intricacies of comic book story-telling and why it is more important that being able to draw well. He is also a paper junkie and a sketch addict. In his free time, in travels or whatnot, he finds time to draw even in the harshest of conditions. He is as resourceful as he is uncanny, taking any kind of paper and drawing on it anytime, anywhere. In his latest sequential work, he describes his work from the time he first reads the script to finally setting down the pencils. As he reads the script, he envisions the scene in every conceivable angle, mood of setting and pose of character. He then creates thumbnails of the best depictions he could think of and sends it to his editors for approval. After the go signal, he searched for references in movies, internet and books to give life to the panel. He justifies this use of reference, quoting his father that in today’s age, nothing is original – only God can create the original.

Edgar Tadeo

Next up was Edgar Tadeo, a comic book inker and sometime colorist. Like Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Yu, Gilbert Monsanto and Philip Tan, he came from Whilce Portacio’s school for comic book art. He has worked on X-Men Legacy, Silver Surfer and District X.

For his part of the seminar, he listed down the best materials for inking, why and how to use them and what an inker must have in mind when doing his job.  He listed down the tools of the trade – crowquills, templates, inks, brushes and more – each requiring a decent amount of getting used to. He also noted that inkers have distinct styles – dominant and transparent inking. An inker is also the final step (or semi-final if there is a colorist) to reaching the light of the comic book vision. If need be, he corrects some mistakes of the penciler like incorrect anatomy and such. Way back then, Edgar used to correct Whilce’s hands because the latter admittedly had a weakness drawing them. Although Edgar confessed that he came unprepared, I still learned a lot about inking.

Jay David Ramos

Last in the list was Jay David Ramos. Jay is also a workhorse from Glass House Graphics and has graced his colors in Ultimate X-Men, Iron Man and War Machine. He is also a long-time collaborator of Harvey Tolibao. For his part of the bargain, he described coloring as more than the reds, blues and yellows. It entails an enormous amount of speed and patience because on average, a colorist should at least submit 6 pages a day. Now even for a guy like me, that’s freakingly fast. A colorist should also have vast knowledge of the color theory, color wheel, complimentary, supplementary and a knack for deadlines. He is proud to say that he has never missed a deadline. Ever. As a treat, he did a coloring demo using a panel from Harvey Tolibao’s Avengers. He gave some quick tips on how to color, shortcuts and all. For a photoshop that didn’t have his brushes, he did great work.

All in all, the seminar was a blast! I left very inspired and satisfied. I do wish though that there were more seminars like this. Also, an in-depth seminar for comic book writing would really make my day. But I’m going to have to do the best with what I have.

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One Response

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  1. Jaime Cumagun said, on August 22, 2009 at 2:19 am

    After reading the whole article you wrote, I must say that I am very much impressed with the feelings you put into this one!

    The brief yet detailed description for each artist followed by a photograph for visual identity is just brilliant, it is indeed great to see that your putting your effort and energy into learning more about your dream career in comic illustrations.

    I really like what you wrote here, especially with the naked truth about originality where Harvey Tolibao says: “nothing is original – only God can create the original.” Very powerfull and respectable statement as well.

    All in all I applaud you for making such a fine piece of work through your blog, aside from effort I see that bright passion in you to excel and it makes me proud to have known you as a blockmate and as a friend!

    Somehow your still the passionate artist Ive met years ago and who told me, “Never be satisfied” but at the same time your even more of that artist than ever before because of this inspirational art blog.

    It is hard to describe you at the present in words alone, emerging and ever maturing is best words I can describe you now.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, passion and learnings through this blog for I really enjoyed it. Well keep up the good work and God Bless you in your journey!

    Regards:
    Jaime Cumagun


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