Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dana Martinez

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you go to school, and what extra-curricular activities did you take up? What helped prepared you to become the artist that you are today?
I attended grade school at St. Joseph's Elementary Center in Manila,
and then later at St. Ignatius Learning Center after we transferred to
Mindanao. I attended high school at Xavier University for three years,
and then quit and took a government qualifier exam, picking up random
jobs in the interim. All throughout that time I... guess I paid a lot of
attention to moving pictures, aha. I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid
and because we always had pens and paper lying around at home it wasn't
hard to find interest in drawing. I think reading a lot of books and
watching a lot of cartoons helped me the most, because it kept in me an
active interest for the mediums at all times.

What inspired or convinced you to become an artist?

A lot of things, and a lot of persons, some of which have already been
interviewed here! The entire Culture Crash Comics series, and the
people behind it, they were a very very big inspiration for me, because
before them I wasn't really into drawing as much as I am now, and reading
CCCom really just made me go "wow, this is possible". I used to think
that normal people like me couldn't do stuff like that unless they lived
outside the country or were extremely fortunate. Jennyson Rosero's
works in the Questor magazines were also a big inspiration, and then I
found a battered copy of Gerry Alanguilan's "Wasted", and have treasured it
since. Ultimately, though, a brother-figure of mine convinced me to
pursue this drawing hobby a little further - Kuya Mads, I owe you a lot!

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

...Hmm. Since I opted not to attend college this year (I'm still
undecided on what course to take, woe) a typical day for me involves waking
up at around eight, then cleaning up around the house, do laundry if I
have any, and work on making lunch. After that I pretty much have too
much time in my hands until I have to work on making dinner, so I'd watch
TV, check my mail, read books or draw a whole lot. Though, I did get
myself a new job recently, so this routine's going to change soon. As
for people I work with... I have my friends? Almost all of them draw, and
the ones who don't, they write, so... mostly we just show each other
what we've drawn/written recently and criticize these things until
forever, which is fun. The conversation goes several miles in nine
directions after that, though, so I'm never bored when we're all together.

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

Uh. Well, I've done small commissions over at deviantart.com, and I've
joined random art contests here and online, but I've never worked on
anything big yet. I do make my own comics, just to see if I can, and I
sold some copies of LAVI:-FUZZ- at Komikon 08. I suppose I'm a
semi-serious artist? Pretty amateur/independent at best, if anything.

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

I don't really have a set process, now that I think about it, but I
always start out with an idea and a short play list. Pretty much all of my
pieces in my devart account have song titles for piece titles, because
I can only listen to two or three - even just one - song for one
drawing, or I get distracted. I can't focus when it's quiet, funnily enough.
I guess, what I think about most is what the illustration should look
like, and I'd just let it draw itself without thinking too deeply into
it. There usually are a lot of mistakes, this way, and I usually end up
drawing something that looks nothing like how it started out, but I
like how random things get this way. Commissions are a little different,
though, since I usually get a specific theme/pose/idea for those, but
the work process is pretty much the same. ...This isn't very insightful,
is it. D:

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?

Colors... I have struggled a lot with colors because I have never been
good at color combinations until recently (actually I'm still bad at
them, my color mixes are either too bright or too dull!), so I tend to
use monochromatic or blinding color themes for everything. When coloring
digitally, I only use Photoshop 07, particularly the brush and eraser
tools. I start with cleaning up the lineart I'm going to color, then
choosing the background color, with a grey or red overlay. Then on a
separate layer I just use the default hard brush and color away everything,
switching between several different shades of a particular color for
shading/skin tones/etc. After that I just erase everything that goes
outside the lines, pick a texture from my resource folders or make a new
one, set it on overlay or soft light filter... then add a ton of
gradients, brush-overs, washes, re-colors and generally just experiment with
everything until I chance upon a look I like. It's a long, loopy process! I
prefer coloring things traditionally, to be honest, but markers are
too expensive and watercolors and I do not go well together. Woe!

Inks, though, I can never complain about! Except maybe for how much my
hand would hurt after, but it's a hurt I forget when I'm done. For
inking I use Sakura Microns, Copic multi-liners and fine line pens, and Uni
Pin pigment pens. My default working point size is 0.05, followed by
0.1, but sometimes they're not thin enough. Blue or red lead pencils are
also something I love working with, too, since they make pencilling
easier, and helps with inking later on.

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

MUSIC! I love music so much, especially dance music and rock. Currently
I'm listening to Girugamesh, a bunch of anime theme songs, and a lot
of Bjork, Interpol and Bloc Party. After music, I guess movies count as
an inspiration source, but recently I'm more into American TV shows
like Prison Break, Bones, the Law & Order franchise, and CSI:LV. Re-reading
books also help keep my creative juices going, like William Golding's
"Lord of The Flies" and Edgar Allan Poe's works.

...And reading comics, too.

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

I go through phases where I absolutely love drawing girls in pretty
clothes, then move on to drawing ambiguously gendered people in pretty
clothes, then to drawing little boys and girls in pretty clothes. ...I
like drawing clothes. I love drawing pretty clothes!

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

This question makes me want to flail! The list is long and... long.
Linework-wise, and this list is probably the list that makes me the
happiest when they update with new works, my favorite illustrators and comic
artists would be Shirow Miwa (Dogs: Bullets & Carnage), Sho-u Tajima
(MPD Psycho) and Christy Lijewski (RE:Play, Grand Scope); their lines are
really really amazing, for me, and I just feel like crying when I see
their lineart. For the "shonen manga" feel I'm a big fan of Hoshino
Katsura (D Grayman), Takeshi Obata (Death Note), Ito Ogure (Tenjo Tenge,
Air Gear), Kubo Tite (Bleach) and Akira Amano (Hitman Reborn, though I
don't have any interest in reading it, sadly). For pretty clothes and
general prettiness I follow Kaori Yuki (Angel Sanctuary), Foo swee Chin
(muZz) and Yun Kouga (Loveless, Gundam 00). There's also a long long
list of devart account names, but aha, I should cut things off to here or
it'll be too long! Incidentally, the new season of Gundam 00 and the
whole Mushishi animated series make me a very very happy person.

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

I learned about lightboxes from C. Lijewski, and ever since seeing one
at a friend's office I've wanted one so badly. Not really a technique,
but its existence makes me horribly happy as an inker! I also learned a
few tips on how to use markers from looking at manga artists' splash
pages, and the colored-lead to grey-lead pencilling process has been a
great help for me. Learning how to use tones digitally is another thing
I'm so happy to have learned, as well, because without it I don't think
I could've made my comic pages look better. There are probably a lot
more things I've learned off other people, but I can't recall nor place
my finger on them as there's likely a whole lot that I've never noticed
I picked up.

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

Livejournal.com is possibly my most frequented site, after my email
account, and I get most of my community updates there for manga and anime
series I follow, as well as a good number of art blogs, like zombiejam
and visceralprince. Deviantart.com comes next, followed by hypeem.com
and elbo.ws, two music blog aggregator sites.

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

Horribly cliche answer: Practice! And learn to criticize your own work,
as well as be receptive to critique when it is given to you. Also,
take some lessons or pick up some guides, whether it's on anatomy or
layouting or whatever you feel you need to learn and can't figure out on
your own. It won't guarantee you that you'll be a great artist, but at
least it'll give you a more concrete idea on how things work and help make
you better. And never think that you're the best, never let thoughts
like that get into your head; it'll ruin you, further down the line.
Always strive to improve yourself, because there's never a finish line
when it comes to art.

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

Please just email me! My email address is at kidcorva[at]yahoo[dot]com.
If Yahoo keeps bouncing your emails back, though, please just leave a
message at my devart account (lambchild.deviantart.com), or my
livejournal (firstofsummer.livejournal.com). I check these three
accounts regularly unless I'm out of internet coverage, so I should get
any messages sent my way through these accounts.

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?

I sell prints of my work at my deviantart account, but I don't have a
sales post so please just note me! Anything in my deviantart gallery is
available unless I state otherwise. I also do commissions through
there, I have a commissions post somewhere in there, JUST NOTE ME! I don't
bite at all. Comics-wise... I'll probably only sell at conventions, but
if it's something I've already printed out and I have a spare copy
lying around, I can sell them to you. Email me about this, though!

What favorite line from a film that you wished you could have said

From Domino Harvey, of the movie "Domino": "Did you have a nose job?"
Just before she punches a sorority president in the face, even.

1 comment:

nick said...

Ooooh interview ni Dana (lambchild sa DA dba?)...

galeng ng artist na to talong-talo ako!

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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.