Monday, November 10, 2008

Melvin Calingo aka Tagailog

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you go to school, and what extra-curricular activities did you take up? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

I spent my elementary and high school days in Pasig Catholic College (even got a loyalty medal for that haha.) I'm not really big on extra-curricular activities, but I think I remember joining the science club... and oh yeah, I was the artist for our school org in high school.

A major turning point in my comics life would be that time my friends and I decided to draw comics. I was in the sixth grade and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the hottest cartoon around, so, being fans of the series, we decided to draw that. It was crudely made, folded oslo paper, cut in two, then drawn on with pencil. Each of us made his own comic, then we would swap comics until everyone has read each other's.

What inspired or convinced you to become an artist?

The satisfaction I get from seeing people's faces light up when they see my work is my driving force I guess. Back in high school, I made a crappy "sentai" comic which I drew 1 page a day. I had a classmate who was a big fan of the comic, who kept pushing me to draw more and more pages. It was tough, but rewarding nonetheless.

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

I go to work around 9:30 in Digital Art Chefs in Marikina. We do concept design works, mostly for animation and stuff. It's fun since most of the people I'm currently working with were also involved with Culture Crash comics. It's like working at CCCom again. Everyone in the office is in the same wavelength, so nobody's out of place.

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

I drew Pasig and the fish/squidballs in Kubori Kikiam for Culture Crash Comics, Modus3, an independent comic book, various comic segments for Komiks Atbp, Destiny's Hand 1-3 a manga for Seven Seas Entertainment, Ragnarok comic strips which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer... and others I forgot.

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

When I'm drawing, I always criticize my work as I go along. If you see a flaw in your drawing, then most likely, others will see it too. If an illustration works, it works... if not, scrap it, or shelf it and fix it some other day.

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?

Way back in college, I used to color using watercolor, oil, acrylics, poster colors and markers... nowadays, I color almost exclusively using digital media. I use Photoshop and Painter with the aid of a wacom tablet to color my artworks. I tend to experiment a lot on coloring so if you will notice, most of my old works are colored differently from my newer ones.

Right now, I'm trying to emulate the classic coloring style of the old masters. Basically, I flesh out the tonal values first in black and white then add colors later on. I use a lot of brushes in Painter (too many to mention) but I usually start off with the Graphic Paintbrush and Smudge tool.

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

I try to read more comics and watch films. I barely get to read books nowadays though. I play games a lot... I guess that helps too.

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

Nothing in particular, basically anything that tickles my fancy. A bulk of my work on deviant art are mostly fanart and original works. All if not most of them are manga or anime inspired.

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

Locally, the best illustrators in the field for me would be Elmer Damaso, Kriss Sison and Jhomar Soriano. There are also a lot of illustrators making a name for themselves here and abroad... Gilbert Monsanto, Leinil Yu, Arnold Arre, Gerry Alanguilan and Carlo Vergara to name a few.

My all-time favorite illustrators abroad would have to be Jim Lee (X-men), Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal),and Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell) among others.

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

I've learned a lot from Elmer and Jio from way back when we were just starting out in Culture Crash. Photoshop and Painter basics, comic panelling, pacing etc... Of course we have our own influences, but we also learn from each other's techniques.

I guess the major breakthrough we thought of collectively in Culture Crash was the blue printout technique in drawing comics. Its just a fancy way of doing the trace over of a rough sketch in a lightbox. In this case, instead of inking over a line drawing, we scan and print out the pencilled lineart in blue ink. There are a lot of advantages in doing this, one, we preserve the original line art pencil when doing the inking, two, we skip the cleanup (erasing) part, since there is no pencil involved, and three, since we scan the page digitally, we can make alterations on the fly in Photoshop, adding or removing elements as we please.

I've worked with a lot of artists and I can say that you always have to keep an open mind when you're around them. A lot of them have brilliant ideas that they are always willing to share.

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

Deviantart[dot]com and Conceptart[dot]org would be the top art sites in my list

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

Keep an open mind and take criticisms in stride. Don't be dissuaded by negative comments, instead, take it as a challenge to make your skill better. Critics know what they are talking about, no matter how stupid some of them may seem to be. The worst thing you could do as an artist (or as a human being for that matter) is think that you are better than everyone else. Strive to be better, and always be humble. You'll end up looking like an ass if you think you are the best out there. Always keep in mind that there is always someone better than you.

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

You can contact me through my DA account at tagailog[dot]deviantart[dot]com or through my email tagailog@gmail[dot]com.

Do you have any of your art work for sale (comics, prints, or anything)? If so, for fans of your work can know where and when to buy it?

You can buy our comics (Pasig 16 and Fresh!) at the Komikon or in Comic Odyssey at Robinsons Galleria


If it's possible that anything around you could be doodled and painted on, what object or surface (the road, a certain building, etc) would you wish to doodle/paint on and why?

Hmm... If I could draw on anything, I'd do a gigantic comic page on a city, that you can only see on a satellite photo or google earth haha

No comments:

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.