Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wilson Tortosa

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

When I was 5 doctors found out that I had a congenital heart disease, I was regularly getting sick so they forbid any sports or overexertion. I studied in Philippine Cultural High School(the first Chinese school in Manila)where I skipped one year of Chinese classes in the afternoon due to my conditon. So I guess all that free time got me started on doodling and drawing. Later I took up Fine Arts(majored in Advertising) in UST, simply because I don't like Math. When I found out that it's the only course that had Comic Book Illustration for a thesis I took the drawing and illustrating thing seriously hehe.

What inspired or convinced you to become an Artist?

Watching a lot of Saturday morning cartoons helped a lot, but I think if it wasn't for my ma's constant encouragement even when I was a kid(she would even show my doodles to guests) I would have never started off in the first place. =)

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

I normally wake up late in the mornings, and after lunch and a few hours of cable I start working around 3 PM. I leave my PC online while I work in case my agent or other artists contacts me. Around 11 or 12 midnight I take a break and watch cable again for an hour(there's always something good on Animax around that time)before I resume till around 3 AM. Usually I handle all the lineart because I do tight pencils but when I do work with an inker like Ernest Jocson I send to him all the penciled pages digitally which he
prints out in blue ink. If the inker isn't based here in Manila I have it sent in batches by courier.

What are some of the things that you have worked on?

I started off with a few titles from the now defunct Chaos! Comics, then a few Exposure issues on Avatar. I have worked on titles for Top Cow like the Battle of the Planets series, Tomb Raider, and City of Heroes. I've also done manga for Harcourt Publishing's Impact Graphic Novels, a lot of layout work for TokyoPop and for various other publishers. I'm currently working on the Exoforce animated webcomic for LEGO.

How do you go about illustration, what goes through your mind, from start to end?

Well I start off with a particular mood or emotion that I want to capture in the drawing. I don't want it to just look "pretty" or "cool" I want it to somehow stir people's feelings when they take a look. Also, I try to add a bit of storytelling in there. As a comic book artist you have to be able to handle sequential art. but I find it more fun and challenging to be able to tell a story with just a single illustration. I emphasize facial expressions and body language a lot, I think it makes the characters more believable and easier to connect with.

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art (if at all), as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

Well, I'm no colorist, but I'm trying out tones using Manga Studio EX. As a tight penciler(meaning the lines are crisp and dark as possible) I use an F pencil for sketching and render with a 2B 0.5 mechanical pencil. I clean up my pages in Photoshop 7.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

I try to catch a movie if I can, it helps me imagine shots and angles among other things. I watch a lot of anime and read a lot of manga especially if my fave creators are involved. I surf the net a lot, too.

I also try to meet other artists, I learn a lot from their views and helps me see stuff from a different perspective. I have to admit I love window shopping as well hehe.

What is your most favorite subject to draw, And why?

I think it would have to be a mother and daughter piece. I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world. I also love drawing similar relationship themes like an odd couple or a brother and sister.

Who are the top illustrators whose works excite you the most?

Oh in my book there are lots, like Leinil Yu and Whilce Portacio. Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre are a source of inspiration and have made invaluable contributions to the local industry(and continues to do so.) For foreign artists I think the visual styles of Yukito Kishiro, Akira Toriyama, Hiroaki Samura, Masamune Shirow and Katsuya Terada(among others) influence me a lot.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

I've learned that you can be so flexible that you can work in any style or genre yet still keep your own unique element present, like your own style of storytelling, or attention to detail, or maybe the way you do facial expresions or use body language.

What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?

DeviantArt, Youtube, Wikipedia and -I have to admit- 2chan and 4chan imagboards XD

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

There really isn't a "right" way to draw, and it's normal to emulate a style, but try to also learn and understand the basics first. That way you'll know what rules to break, what shortcuts can be done, which can be exaggerated and so on. You'll eventually be able to develop your own style. But style isn't always enough because you have to be able to tell a story. You have to also give an effort in storytelling and characterization.

An artist's style is like an actor's physical beauty. It can get you noticed and help you get there. But an artist's storytelling is like the actor's acting talent. it will determine his effectiveness as an actor.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

They can visit me at my deviantART page and leave a comment or drop me a note. They can also email me at wtortosa[at] or chat with my username wtortosa in YM.

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for fans of your work can know where and when to buy it?

You can visit where you can find some including other artist's works, or they can contact my agent David Campiti through davecampit[at]


Thanks a lot man! If you need any more info ask away =

Why haven't you married the girl of your dreams yet?

Uh, it's either she's too young or too unreachable?
LOL Or perhaps I haven't met her yet XD


Ner P said...

iba talaga si pareng wilson!


Jansen David said...

wilson tortosa is da bomb! the guy draws charater with so much emotions and convictions--astig!

Got an Artist?

Do you know a Filipino artist who makes exceptional Japanese manga style illustrations? If so, leave his/her name and any other info about him/her on this post.