THE WEB JOURNAL OF JOHN RAY

Kwentillion & Summer Komikon 2012

Posted in Comics, Events, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on May 30, 2012

Summer Komikon 2012 Every year, I look forward for seminars, workshops, talks or events on comics and design. I find pleasure in learning new things and meeting new people who love comics and design as much as I do. This year’s Summer Komikon was no exception. In fact, it was a bit more special than any other event that I have attended in the past 8 years.

My girl and I arrived at the venue after lunch to avoid having to stand in line. After paying the entrance fee and receiving freebies, we entered the hall and I realized one thing: Is it just me or did the Bayanihan Center become smaller since last year? Believe when I say that the attendees have grown in numbers each year. It’s a telltale sign of support for the local comics industry and I only hope for it to grow even more.

Right at the entrance, a large space was alloted to an upcoming local film – Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, directed by Erik Matti and starring Dingdong Dantes and Lovi Poe. It’ll be an action and horror flick, boasting massive special effects and cinematography. In line with the event, they released a preview comicbook of the film written by Erik Matti and art by Digital Art Chefs. From the get –go, it shares a lot of air with Zack Snyder’s 300, but it’s done well enough not to make me cringe. It looks very promising so say the least. I just really hope, with fingers crossed, that the story carries as much impact as the visuals will. Oh, and did I say Ramon Bautista’s in it?

We made a quick walkthrough of the event. The aisles were filled with chatter and noise, indie creators trying their best to pry you out of the chaos and reel you in to their tables. It was your local market of freshly made komiks. And just as you head straight to your suking tindahan, we went to our favorite creators to snag their latest titles. I said hello to Elmer and Cornelia Damaso and bought a copy of Cat’s Trail Rewind issue 3 and 4. I am stoked that they are still continuing the adventures of Airee and the gang. A graphic novel in the horizon, I dare say, is a must!

After treading through the venue, we found ourselves at the Visprint booth where Budjette Tan, KaJo Baldisimo, Paolo Fabregas, Carlo Vergara, Manix Abrera and their colleagues were tending to their fans. I greeted Budj with a grin and he finally handed me my personal copy of Kwentillion. Right then and there, I wanted somebody to punch me. It was a longtime coming, a boyhood dream to see my work in print, along with other Filipino creators. It was last year when Budj found my comic book thesis in this blog and I was speechless when he said he loved it. Weeks later, he would invite TJ Dimacali and I to become part of a pitch for a young-adult magazine. We responded with a resounding yes and that became Kwentillion.

 

Published by Summit Media, Kwentillion targets the burgeoning young-adult market and hopes to not only to serve as a place to discuss our existing fandoms, but also to create new ones. Included in its maiden issue are one-shot comics and prose(The Last Datu by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo; Poso Maximo: A Fair Trade by Robert Magnuson; High Society by Paolo Chikiamco and Hannah Buena; Skygypsies by Timothy James Dimacali and John Raymond Bumanglag; The Secret Origin of Spin-man by Andrew Drilon), exclusive interviews with Manix Abrera and Chester Ocampo, previews of upcoming young-adult novels and other feature articles.

From left: Paolo Chikiamco, Budjette Tan, Sherry Baet, me, Hanna Buena and Timothy James Dimacali

Remember though that succeeding issues will depend on how successful issue 1 will be. I hope you guys grab a copy, share, tweet and talk about the magazine. Follow Kwentillion on twitter and facebook.

National Bookstore also made a buzz when they finally unveiled superstar writer Mark Millar to the floor. Back in February, Mark held a competition where he would attend a signing anywhere around the world to whichever bookstore orders the most copies of Supercrooks #1. It just happened that National Bookstore won and the rest is history. To complete the team, superstar penciler Leinil Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan and colorist Sunny Gho were there as well. They were promoting “Milla in Manila” that was to happen the very next day.

Summer Komikon 2012 was altogether a successful and massive event and we’re only halfway through the year. The only downside was that I couldn’t buy all the comics I wanted. But come Komikon 2012 in November, I’ll raid all the tables and bring home as much comics as I can. And if things go well, you might get to read another sci-fi story from me and TJ Dimacali. On that note, it’s back to the drawing board.

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Batman Sample Pages

Posted in Comics, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on January 18, 2012

Here are my sample pages of a five-page Batman story by Michael Buckley that’s available at Glasshousegraphics.com. It’s the first time I ever drew Batman. I had this criticized by professionals and they’ve pointed many areas for improvement. I’m going to redo these pages and apply what they’ve taught me so far.

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That Was It!

Posted in Comics, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on February 22, 2010

Thesis. That feels good. Very good! After all the frustrations and struggles, my comic book thesis is finally done. A culmination of almost more than a year’s work, scratched off the checklist. The defense held at school last week, February 17, was the shortest 51 minutes I have ever had. The jury, composed of 2 college professors and 1 guest, were not as stingy as I thought they would be – big thumbs up there. Still, I was  nervous as hell. But nothing felt as good as hearing the jury say that I passed.

The thesis study, entitled “The Combination of the Filipino Traditional Style and Modern Digital Coloring,” was a very personal project of mine. The venture was an intense stylistic adjustment – a challenge I simply took to open opportunities and develop my personal style. Throughout the endeavor, I’ve learned much about the Filipino masters of the old komiks industry. My appreciation of the Filipino style has grown and I would cite Alfredo Alcala as my most favorite Filipino artist. He was a very passionate man, embedded in the details of his artwork.

The story I chose to adapt into a comic book was Timothy James Dimacali’s “Skygypsies,” a short story published in Philippine Speculative Fiction III. It is a sci-fi adventure set in the regions of the asteroid belt, wherein the Badjaos have transitioned from seafaring to spacefaring –  a fulfillment of their destiny beyond the stars. From the very first time I read the story, I fell in-love with it and the story grew on me. It presents an ocean of potential…and I for one wanted to realize that.

Overall, there were a lot of things that I could have done better. I’ve realized now that I have to go back to basics and relearn a lot of things. And in equal footing, there were things I was very happy about as well. Enjoy and cheers to the future!

A Strip About Taxation

Posted in Comics, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on September 28, 2009

I drew this strip for a taxation class in college. I had little time to illustrate so I had to go streamlined. Nothing special, just a conversation between a cat and a dog about taxation.

Kat and Doug in the Wonderful World of Taxation

Kat and Doug

How Old Is Old?

Posted in Comics, My Art, Technology by J.R. Bumanglag on July 9, 2009

Sample Page

Some things never grow old like the enthusiasm I have for comics. For years, I have pondered long and hard to why I give much interest in a medium most people see as children’s entertainment. It’s a somewhat search for the truth, the purpose and the reason why I love comics so much. Everyday is a new discovery as I read the many thousands of work being churned out by great artists and writers. And it’s a journey one page at a time.

Surprisingly, I never thought I’d be so inspired by being exposed to the works of the old Filipino masters. Anime, manga and all other foreign influences have been my primary influences for the most of my artistic endeavours. I could imagine asking my younger self to enumerate Filipino comic book artists and hearing only a few. But the names Alcala, Redondo, Coching and Nino have permanently found a home in my heart as great artists. I would have wished to see them stroke their brushes one more time – sans Nino who I had the pleasure of such.

It has come to a point that I give them a nod, a pat on the back, a shout that their styles are, in my sincerest belief, have become more relevant and meaningful in this day and age. In as much as we drown ourselves with the modern styles of our foreign counterparts, an opportune moment has presented itself ever so silently. There is a Filipino style of illustrating komiks and the fact of knowing that is great.

Here I present a sample of what I want to play around with. The meeting of old illustration techniques and digital editing skills placed into one piece. The juxtaposition of conformity and modernity will be the biggest challenge in the proposal. This is where I skew the timeline and create an alternate reality – that’s the idea anyway.

Here’s the process that the art went through. A many thanks to Joel Chua from Pixel Pintura for giving plentiful advice given to the piece. I also added the logos that were based from old scans of Pilipino Komiks. I’ll probably trace other old komiks logos and converting them to vector and uploading them to this site for others to use sparingly to their own artwork.

Process

Logos

Digital Art and Beyond

Posted in My Art, Technology by J.R. Bumanglag on July 7, 2009

It’s interesting to learn how many artists today are shifting to digital art. With the proliferation of computer programs such as Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator and Maya, art has become somewhat more accessible and appealing to people. I’ve come to know that the creative and media industries today prefer applicants to be knowledgeable with the said programs. The digital paintbrush has become an industry standard and can become a powerful addition to an artist’s already abundant tools. I’m a traditionalist in terms of how I approach my art. But these past few years of being bombarded with digitally rendered paintings, edited photos and 3D models have changed my perception. At first, I was hesitant and a non-believer of such a technology. I soon realized it was just a means to an end. Soon, painting with an invisible brush was inevitable.

Painting Digitally

Digital painting number one. A first of many artworks to come, my first digital painting was a blast! I had never had this much fun in a long time. It was a challenge, yes, but overall a mind-exercising experience. And to think I didn’t have to go through my usual setup session of preparing tubes and palettes, cleaning brushes and containers. Of course, traditional has its advantages. But professionally, going digital is a must if I have to hit deadlines and such. The possibilities are as far as the infinite digital canvas.

Visual Merchandising Arts

Posted in Advertising, My Art, Photography by J.R. Bumanglag on July 5, 2009

Speaking of Transformers and all the hype it has caused in cinemas, I remembered a particular piece I made a year ago for my visual merchandizing art class. It’s basically a gondola for the new Transformers toys. It is an output of my continuous desire to have a transformers toy after the movie hit theatres two year ago. Working with little pieces, I envisioned the toys coming to life inside the gondola for children to see. The diorama on top of the piece would give life to the toys, as if they just shot out of the movie. It took me at least a day to finish it and I had fun making it. Until now though, I still don’t have a transformers toy. Poor me.

VMA

The little pieces gave me hard time placing them altogether. I wasn’t working with tweezers and only my little fingers did the job.

VMA

was supposed to be a light behind all of the displayed toys in the diorama, giving it a more spectacular effect. But miniature light bulbs aren’t readily available and are very difficult to install.

VMA

VMA

Another piece I did was this Honey Stars gondola. It’s as simple as it goes.

VMA

VMA

And here’s another piece I did for The Spirit movie. It took me awhile to sculpt the red logo. But I enjoyed the whole design. The end result was an overall team effort with a classmate of mine, so big thanks to Kevin Perez.

VMA

Winding Down the Road

Posted in Books, Comics, Family, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on June 26, 2009

Another week has just flown by and I still have much work to do. The days are either awfully stormy or infernally hot. Podcasts have been keeping me company while working on pages and inks – yes Sidebar, it’s you. I am getting comfy with my new drawing table and am still clamouring for a computer table to go along with it. I’ve read Scott Mccloud’s Making Comics and Understanding Comics two times already and I still want to read about it more. Everyone in the house has been busy, with Mom and Dad travelling for work related issues. In a few days, a close family relative will be leaving for the US and she will be missed. Attending Pixel Pintura Workshop has been a blast and I still want to learn more from Joel Chua. Color is just more than a rainbow! Life has been hectic, like this drawing I did for an Esthetics class last year. Winding down the path, you never know where you’re going. And finding out who you are is just part of the puzzle. But heck, bring it on! I like a challenge!

Winding Down

Ye Old Reliable

Posted in Comics, Family, My Art, Technology by J.R. Bumanglag on June 4, 2009

Sometimes even the oldest and phased out tools can stand the test of time. Ever since mom bought me a new laptop, I still do think that my old laptop still had a kick in it to go on. So I fired it up and yes, it still does work almost perfectly. Way back in 2007, I had asked my parents to buy me a laptop, foregoing my birthday gift a year earlier to give them a head start. But lo and behold, they instead gave my brother’s laptop and bought him a new one. Sensing a little unfairness with the situation, they had explained that his Acer Travelmate 2702LC was faster than the newer laptop. In spite of a fictitious disadvantage, I came to accept the terms of engagement.

Acer Laptop

Basic setup

Failed Cooling System

Special Features

As my classmates will know, our 3rd and 4th year in college was the most hectic. It required us to be a step further in technical know-how with programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator keeping company at the busiest of nights. Old Acer never did let me down, considering I wasn’t the only one using it. Some of my classmates would sleepover at the dorm and we would take turns crashing the keyboard. It also provided ample entertainment at our most boring times. I owe a lot to this fine piece of equipment and am not saying goodbye just yet.

So far, my new laptop has been great, dealing with Photoshop and multiple programs with ease (not so perfect but I can still manage). Though sometimes, it does boot at the wrong side of the bed with check disk giving me nightmares.

Color Preview

I’ve been messing around with the preview page I posted a week ago, getting used to digital colouring and multiple hot keys. I do face some problems like design issues and wrong colour tones, but you do have to make the program work for you and not vice versa. By the end of this week, I’ll be posting the test coloured page and hopefully, have bought a drafting and computer table by then. My fingers are itching to pencil thesis pages.

Dog and Goat

On a side note, last Sunday’s lunch was very satisfying as I made an Ilocano delicacy called Kilawen. It really tastes good, as long as you balance the taste among goat skin, onions, onion leaves, ginger and calamansi. I took our golden retriever Maui to the vet and her ears, which are the most troublesome part of her life, have finally subsided swelling. My grandma will finally leave the hospital and thank God for her successful operation and recovery.

Setting Down Priorities

Posted in Comics, My Art by J.R. Bumanglag on May 25, 2009

After a very long vacation, it’s to go back to the real world. I still have a long way to go with classes coming up and a lot of free time on my hands. It’s so hard to just wake up every day wishing I had all the time in the world to do everything I need to. I realized back then, and some repetitious advice from dad, that I should live my life a day at a time. And it works! It’s like eating a big slab of steak – cut it into manageable slices and take your time. Piece by piece, you’ll eventually finish it.

Sample Page Update

On top of my list of things to do is my book illustration thesis. I estimate it to be 50% done with a lot of working hours dedicated to the comic pages. In a quick change, I will be digitally colouring the book instead of traditional watercolour. Preparing to hit the tablet, I’ll be attending the Pixel Pintura Workshop by Joel Chua in June.

I’ll be regularly updating my blog with thesis as its foremost subject. At the side, writing my stories and practicing the basics will keep me rotating from major and minor priorities. For now, a little teaser for what’s to come.

Update! I think this is a better image of what’s to come. I just couldn’t resist.