Who Is Tintin? An Interview with Tintin Pantoja

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 11 - 2013
Filipina artist Tintin Pantoja will be at this Saturday’s Summer Komikon from 4-5 pm to launch “Who is AC?“, a new graphic novel illustrated by her and written by Eisner-award winning creator Hope Larson.
In this breakthrough graphic novel from the award-winning author of Mercury, there’s a new superhero in town—and she’s got kick-butt cyberpowers.

Meet Lin, a formerly average teenage girl whose cell phone zaps her with magical powers. But just as superpowers can travel through the ether, so can evil. As Lin starts to get a handle on her new abilities (while still observing her curfew!), she realizes she has to go head-to-head with a nefarious villain who spreads his influence through binary code. And as if that weren’t enough, a teen blogger has dubbed her an “anonymous coward!” Can Lin detect the cyber-criminal’s vulnerability, save the day, and restore her reputation?

With ingenious scripting from graphic novel phenom Hope Larson and striking art from manga illustrator Tintin Pantoja, this action-packed story brims with magical realism and girl-power goodness.

Tintin spared some time to talk to me a little about magical girls, comic workshops, and fandoms.
Q: “Who is AC?”, your new graphic novel with Hope Larson, has been described as “Who Is AC? is a love letter to the magical girls of shojo manga and anime…” Did you watch magical girl shows growing up? Who were your favorites?

As a kid I would watch SailorMoon dubbed into Indonesian, not really knowing what was going on but loving the characters and the show all the same. I’ve also seen some Card Captor Sakura (but more of the comic than the anime). I also got into a lot of western shows with magical girl elements, like Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony ( the eighties series).
Q: What do you think it is about the idea of the “magical girl” that makes it such a popular genre, especially with teens?

I think teens like seeing someone who’s their age, with their own experiences, exhibiting special powers and saving the world. Magical girls are just a feminine iteration of the superhero- emphasis on magic, romance, and of course, outfits and the relationships between characters. In popular culture, a lot of which is devoted to the heroic exploits of male characters, it’s nice to have a genre in which girls can be the star and save the world through strength and love.
Q: How did you come by this project? What’s it like working with Hope Larson?

I came by this project online. Hope was looking for an artist, and I volunteered my portfolio. She’s great to work with- very upfront about what she wants, and very clear. She sent me the script, and I was pretty much free to interpret it visually. She’s also been very supportive in other ways.
Q: You  graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and now you’re based here. Why did you choose to come back and work from here, as opposed to staying in the United States?

Honestly, it’s hard to stay in New York and not already a permanent resident or citizen, especially if you’re an artist.

Q: You’ve begun teaching a Comics and Manga Workshop here in Metro Manila. Why’d you decide to put up the workshop?
The workshop is only on a dry run right now. I hope to offer it to students during the school year on a weekly weekend basis. I just went online looking for comic schools and didn’t find any, so I thought it might be a good niche to fill, if people were  interested in learning to make comics I don’t know if Elbert Or’s workshop is still ongoing? It might be nice to trade notes with him, if he is. Anyway, a couple of my Indonesian friends put up comic/manga schools in Jakarta and I thought it might be a fun thing to do here. If anyone’s interested in the comic workshop, it’s a two-hour eight/nine-session program in which we make a short comic from script to final coloring/ tones. Email me at tintinp@gmail.com! ;) The first MWF summer sessions starts April 12!
Q: While everyone learns how to create in their own way, what are the benefits that you think a classroom-based workshop has to offer, that would be unavailable to an aspiring creator working on his/her craft alone?

The classroom setup automatically forces you to do the comic itself. A lot of creators- including myself- have a hard time motivating ourselves to work. So in a classroom, you’re automatically being obligated to make your stuff. Also, making comics is so solitary. It’s more fun to be working in a setting where people can learn from each other and encourage each other. It’s true that comics can easily be self-taught. What I want is to make the comics process more social, regular, and enjoyable for the individual creator.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the creative process?

Definitely the inking, when all of the hard work ( thumbnailing and pencilling) have been done!
Q: I read in an old interview that you liked to listen to stories while working. What have you been listening to lately?
I used to listen to online radio shows on the BBC and NPR websites, but mostly I just turn the TV station to the Crime Channel these days, or when inking, catch up on HBO shows like True Blood.
Q: What works/fandoms are you passionate about at the moment? Anything you’re looking forward to picking up for yourself at the Komikon?

At the moment my biggest fandom is the TV show Supernatural ( my favorite character is Castiel), and Adventure Time- but with Fionna and Cake. As for Komikon, I’m very much looking forward to picking up anything new from Mel Casipit- he’s a great artist and I’ve been following his career. I also love discovering new local cartoonists and finding something really unique and cool.
Q: What’s next for you, after “Who is AC?”

I have no idea. the future’s kinda wide open at this point. I don’t really have plans or ongoing projects.

 

Ebook Release: Tabi Po Book 2

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 21 - 2012

The second compilation of Mervin Malonzo’s “Tabi Po” aswang webcomic is now out on Flipreads. As with Book One, this is an English edition of the online comic (which is written in Filipino), with a translation by Adam David. Those of you who’ve seen the webomic, or Mervin’s cover and interior illustrations for “Alternative Alamat“  know that he’s one of the most talented Filipino comic book artists in the field today, and this is a great chance for fans to support his work, or for those who don’t speak Filipino to be introduced to his work, so go check it out.

Jonas Diego’s Philippine Artist Database

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 8 - 2012

Jonas Diego is conducting a survey for a possible “Philippine Artist Database”. In his words:

The survey has two (2) objectives: 1. Create a national database for Philippine graphic designers, illustrators, comic book creators, and other types of creative workers 2. Create a fact book based on the results of the survey and make available online for free.

If you’re an artist and you’re interested in participating, you can find the survey here.

C.B. Cebulski in Manila

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 27 - 2012

Marvel Comics’ top international scout C.B. Cebulski will be in Manila, and National Book Store is offering a chance for artists to have their portfolios reviewed. There are separate guidelines for pencilers, cover artists/painters, and colorists. Good luck to those who choose to participate (as well as for those who choose not to–you know who you are).

Manga Workshop with Koi Carreon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 7 - 2012

Koi Carreon (of Ravencage Studios) is, in my opinion, one of the most talented and distinctive Filipino komiks artists in the indie scene today. (You can read his recent Itsura Manga interview here.) “Marco’s Delivery Service” is due to come out in digital format soon (it’s a revised edition, which I had a hand in editing), and his art made the cut for Udon’s Megaman Tribute Limited Edition Hardcover. He’s holding a manga workshop in March, and you can find the details on the poster, or as, copy pasted from the Ravencage tumblr:

for more details, please call: 242-5741 – 50, call or text: 0922-7582439 or email us at: projectecourt@gmail.com and look for Jhen or Rommel.

• class schedules: March 03, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2012
• time: 9:00am – 12:00nn
• age: 10 yrs old and up
• 5 sessions (3 hrs per session)
• place: Filipinas Heritage Library, Makati Avenue, Makati City (Ayala Triangle, across The Peninsula Manila)

CG Pintor: Disney Villains Artjam

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 28 - 2011

The Filipino digital painting masters at CG Pintor are at it again. Their latest artjam? Disney Villains. Here’s a link to the full gallery, and, as always, here are a few of my favorites of the lot:

Syndrome by =The-Hand

Shan-Yu by ~Wreckonning

AUTO GO-4 by ~SteelJoe

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Supermaker: Andrew Drilon Interview

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 17 - 2011

Andrew Drilon (“Pericos Tao“) is one of the most respected komiks creators in the country today. His latest mini-comic, “Supermaker” has garnered praise from creators such as Chris Roberson and Jeff Lemire. He talks about the inspiration for the comic here, but I still wanted to know more. I asked the always busy Andrew if he’d be willing to answer a few questions about “Supermaker” and he graciously agreed:


So… I take it you come from the “characters have a life of their own” school of thought?

 

Sometimes. Well, really, they’re all fictional constructs, but my feeling is that the act of creation is really a conversation with oneself, so some of the creator’s internal logic bleeds into the characters. You can play around with archetypes or create well-rounded personalities, but with each line/panel/image you set down, you’re building rules for them which have to be followed (or subverted with good reason). 

So yeah, I feel that once that “rule set” is established, you can extend it forwards and backwards with your imagination, giving the impression of a life outside the actual story, which allows for things like sequels and fan fiction. However I do like the thought that they exist somewhere in the second dimension, living lives outside our purview. It’s a romantic idea that I tend to obsess over.

You mentioned in your journal entry that “Supermaker” was originally a longer work, but you decided to make it shorter. How long was it, originally? What sort of cuts did you make?

It was originally designed to run in monthly 8-page installments for three years. The first “season” would have been a year, clocking in at around 96 pages, with the whole thing running to almost 300 pages. I had a ton of ideas for it–the overall stylistic theme being rampant references to (and reflections on) all the superhero comics I grew up reading—all anchored in this “real” cartoonist’s story. I wanted to do a “Supreme” or “End League”-style work, which usually starts out being derivative of other stories but evolves into own thing. I love Barth and Borges and Burroughs, and I think there are lots of ways to do metafiction comics that we haven’t seen before. In the end, though, I decided to just cut out the body and leave the heart of it–that sentiment expressed in those 8 pages, which I think is the most important aspect of the story.

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CG Pintor: Dragonslayers Artjam

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 3 - 2011

The incredible Filipino artists of CG Pintor (who provide the artwork for Usok) began an artjam last June. The topic? Dragon Slayers. Head over to the artjam page to see all the contributions, but here are a few of my favorites:


Solstice by K. Lapeña

Dragon Slaying… by Anton Gustilo

Lost in Time by Jun Martinez

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Art Fantastic: Interview with MJ Pajaron

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 20 - 2011

MJ Pajaron (janemini on deviantart) grew up in Caloocan with two brothers and a sister who all share her love for karaoke. An avid anime fan and a gamer who enjoys roleplaying games and first person shooters, MJ provided the art for Kate Aton-Osias’ story “100% of Me” in Usok #2. In this interview, MY talks about games, anime, and some differences between two dimensional and three dimensional art.

You’re the first artist I’ve met (virtually speaking) who is equally at home with two dimensional and three dimensional art work. Or at least, it seems that way–are you more naturally inclined toward one form?

I am an artist, a game developer and a gamer… For someone like me who loves games and has the passion to make games, it actually seems only natural that I’d be interested in both art forms. I would say that I didn’t have the slightest idea about 3D models back in college, but when I found out that one of my units in 2nd year college would be 3D modeling, I got excited. I was amazed when I first saw how 3D models were done (from modeling to animation), but then… I was disappointed to learn that there were the professors were not as knowledgeable nor as capable as I’d expected them to be. Fortunately, in my second job I met the people who taught me all I know in 3D modeling, my officemates and friends who shared tips and techniques Ranging from the most basic to the most advanced. I truly thank them for all they’ve shared with me! Great games also inspire me to do more 3d models :-D

Which games have had art design that truly impressed you?

The Prince of Persia game released in 2008. I just love it, from the concept to the in-game art! (Although I do have mixed feelings about Elika always being there to pick you up whenever you fall…) Another would be Call of Duty Modern Warfare. I really like the lighting in the game, which was very realistic!

What are the advantages of 3D art as compared to 2D, and vice versa?

In 3D- Effects, lighting and shadow are processed in real-time, and that is awesome! On the other hand, in 2D, lighting and shadows are fixed. SFX is complicated.

2D games doesn’t require powerful computers unlike 3D.

Animation is easier to do in 3d rather than in 2D, especially considering the latest technologies that make the 3d animator’s work easier and faster.

In 2D, however, you don’t need plug-ins–instead, you sit for an hours, do some trial and error for the lighting and special effects, and from that you can create a really nice looking piece.
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Art Fantastic: Interview with Mark Bulahao

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 16 - 2011

Mark Bulahao (edictiv on deviantart) grew up in Northern Luzon, and came to Metro Manila to pursue his education. A fan of history and warfare (evident in his art and his loves HBO’s “Rome”), he painted a more static, yet sinister, scene for Elaine Cuyegkeng’s “The Widow and the Princess of the Dwende” in Usok #2, and he took the time to sit down with us (virtually speaking) to discuss his influences, the importance (and joy) of drawing backgrounds, and whether or not artistic talent is genetic.


How did you get started as an artist?

I got interested in drawing at a very early age. I think it’s all the cartoons and video games that got me started. I also collected Marvel and DC comic books and copied them all the time.

Me and my brother were fortunate to have a few friends who also liked drawing. After playing video games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, we would do an artjam on our favorite characters or design ones based on them. They later lost interest with drawing in high school but me and my brother stuck with it.

You have a twin brother who also seems to be a very good artist. Do you think that, to some degree, artistic talent is genetic? Does anyone else in your family draw/paint?

In our family, only the two of us are interested in drawing. So far I haven’t seen or read anything that proves the existence of “artistic genes” so I have no reason to believe in it. We just happen to like drawing and have made it a hobby.

A lot of the pieces in your deviantart gallery have a lot of detail invested in the background, whereas a lot of artists I know would prefer not to do backgrounds at all. Do you enjoy rendering those vast, panoramas? Do you like working on the background as much as working on the characters/people?

If art is biology, then those who are interested in backgrounds would be the type of biologists who study not just a certain species but their environment as well: how they interact with it, what role and niche they play in the ecosystem, how they cope with environmental changes, etc. I guess artists who ignore backgrounds are like biologists who are more concerned with a species’ anatomy, behaviors and interactions with other creatures. I don’t want to choose between the two because I’d rather be both.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoy doing environments and landscapes more than characters, but there’s a special kind of feeling in creating thriving ecosystems or living and breathing societies. There’s an incomparable joy in painting places that can allow someone to forget about reality for a while and be transported into another world, even for just a few seconds.

If you want to create fictional worlds, then you have to understand that a setting can become the star of a story while the characters themselves can take a back seat. Environments can have “personalities” and sometimes they’re much more interesting and complex than the characters that inhabit them.
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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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