My name is Ruben, I was born in 1981 and raised in Manila.
When I was a kid, I got a set of children's encyclopedias from my grandmother. Called "A Child's First Library of Learning" they were a series of lavishly illustrated books about the natural sciences. Being reprinted from Japan, they were actually what got me into the "Manga Style" even if I had never heard the word before.
I studied in Pisay, and had to take a science course because of the graduation contract. I took Applied Physics in UPLB, in a program designed by a Filipino Nobel aspirant. I was distracted this entire time by my own doodlings and videogames, and I dropped out.
I shifted to Industrial Design in UP Fine Arts, and I graduated while still being distracted by my art and video games. I have trained and worked as a background artist for a large anime studio, and have done advertising storyboards and some teaching in between.
What inspired or convinced you to become an Artist?
I don't know if I ever consciously decided I wanted to become and artist, it just turned out that way...
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
I usually have an erratic sleep pattern, so there is hardly a typical day. I usually work at home, but you might find me at any coffee place that allows people to plug in their laptops.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
A couple of 3rd Party Dnd Sourcebooks
A few British instructional illustration books
Kev Walker's "Drawing & Painting Fantasy Beasts"
A few animation backgrounds for "One Piece"
Some storyboarding jobs that left me exhausted
A LOT of personal commissions for internet clients.
How do you go about illustration, what goes through your mind, from start to end?
I am a proponent of planning a piece before executing it. I usually go through a lot of sketches and drafts before I'm happy with a composition, and I usually design every object in the image separately before inserting in into the image.
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?
I use Photoshop for nearly everything. First, I do a sketch doodle at low resolution. Then, I do a color test. If that looks good, I do the lineart separately. Then I add in flat colors, color the background, then I correct any anatomical or perspective errors I notice. Finally, I do any color correction and hue changes that are needed.
Sometimes I use 3dsMax for elements in the image. I add any 3d renders while working on the background.
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
I like working in unfamiliar places to get my brainstorms going. There's something very refreshing about being in a place you've never been in.
What is your most favorite subject to draw, And why?
I love drawing pictures based on literary works, primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. The translation from text to an image of a character is so open to interpretation and style. And yet when the finished image is recognizable to the readers of the original material, it shows that the author's original vision still shines through.
I guess that's why I also enjoy personal commissions where the client sends their character designs to me as text. It's very gratifying to sometimes get a character's personality spot-on, even from just words.
Who are the top illustrators whose works excite you the most?
I got into Michael Whelan's compositions and color choices from his covers of books I have read. I admire Peter Chung for his insane freedom with character design. Recently, I've found both brilliance and efficiency in Takeshi Obata's manga pages.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
Always flip your initial sketch horizontally to check for errors! This is the best way to catch asymmetrical faces and weird proportions.
What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?
deviantart.com, homestarrunner.com ...
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
Try not to get burned by the fires that fuel your imagination!
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
rubendevela [at] gmail [dot] com
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?
If anyone wants prints or commissions, just drop me an email!
Would you like the structure of a stable job doing what you do? Why or why not?
I would love a stable job! It would settle my sleep pattern, for one thing. And don't underestimate the value of having an excuse to interact with workmates everyday. It depends on the job, though. For instance, I was making anime backgrounds for a while, and even if I learned a lot there, I was pining for creative control every single day I was there. I'm happy freelancing for now, though. I plan to build up my skill and portfolio to a good level before jobhunting again.