Monday, May 3, 2010

Organizing Your Tools

An inker has the most tools when drawing comics. I have lots of tools from disposable pens, pen brushes, sythetic and sable brushes, white inks/paints, and quills. Inkers also have erasers when we're inking on actual pencilled pages. Nowadays we ink over blue pencils that are printed out via computer/printer.

Yesterday, Sunday, I decided to make my Pen Rack. I only used a thick cardboard a.k.a. illustration board. I drew a plan and the measurement of each compartment. I only used a glue to attach all the boards. I only made this just to organize my old pens that are running out, including the penbrushes, new brushes, pencils, etc. I was planning to make a ink bottl holder on the side, but I ran out of boards. Hehe.

Now my pens are well-organized and I have no problem looking for the right pen when I'm working, which will make my work faster.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pen Brushes - Sakai from Saizen

Just bought two different Japanese penbrushes. It's called Sakai. These pens are cool because they're waterproof, meaning it can't be washed by water.

Above are the pens. The one on the left is the BLACK and on the right is the PALE BLACK or grey. Both are waterproof so I don't have to worry if my drawings will turn brown 10 years from now.

Below are the nibs of the brushes. The first two are the nibs of the BLACK pen on both ends. So it's a two-in-one pen. The small nib is like a crow quill or a tiny brush which is cool and is what I'm looking for. The third is the PALE BLACK or grey.

There are some other brushes in Saizen Japanese (Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Ctr.) store that I wish I could try. Oh, and each pen is P85.00. Pretty expensive but it's worth the try.

Friday, July 31, 2009

An Insult to All Filipino Artists

As a Filipino comics illustrator, I vehemently oppose and protest the awarding of the title National Arist to Carlo J. Caparas for Visual Arts and Film.

Clearly, in this regard, Visual Arts and Film are two separate categories. "Visual Arts" therefore refers to Caparas' work in comics.

Caparas has *never* illustrated any of the stories he wrote. With every character he created, and ever story he wrote, he did it in collaboration with another artist. Panday and Pieta? Illustrated by Steve Gan. Bakekang? Illustrated by Mar Santana. Kroko? Illustrated by Hal Santiago.

How can someone who is *not* a visual artist ever be awarded the title of National Artist for Visual Arts?

It's patently ridiculous, illogical, and insulting to every Filipino visual artist, specially those who deserve this award more, including Francisco V. Coching and Larry Alcala, who should have been made National Artists long ago.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Funny Ideas about "Selling Out"

A lot of young people have some funny ideas about what "selling out" means, and what "artistic integrity" means.

Apparently, "artistic integrity" amounts to only 10 people reading about your work, namely them, and if you try to reach a much wider audience then you are selling out.

Which is just ridiculous. Stupid even.

What kind of artist are you if your work gets read by only 10 freakin' people? Ridiculous. And it defeats the very purpose of art.

To me selling out means compromising your work for commercial reasons. And by compromising I mean changing the nature of your finished work to sell a product, or push an agenda.

For instance, if you composed a song about love, then that song is about the celebration of love. If you use that same song years later to sell burgers because the burger company is giving you money to use your song, then to me that's selling out.

Take note that I don't make any judgments if an artist chooses to do this. If he needs that money to survive and feed his family, then he has every right to do with his song whatever he wants. But that song has now been compromised. If I hear it now, I no longer think about love. I think about burgers. And that hurts the integrity of the song.

If the artist was commissioned to create a new song for the burger company, then that's not selling out. That's simply a job. Everyone needs a job. Even artists.

I've been accused of selling out when Wasted appeared in PULP. How can that be selling out? My work was never compromised. Not a thing about it was changed. In fact, a lot of people got to read Wasted because of it, and that was what I wanted.

It's selling out because Wasted is popular now and it's published by Pulp. Pulp is not underground. They're the man!


If I was asked by PULP to redraw panels so Eric can be seen wearing Giordano shirts and drinking Coke to make the sponsors happy, THAT is selling out. If a movie outfit paid me for the rights to the Wasted movie and they changed the ending by making Eric live so they can make a sequel, THAT is selling out.

Getting your work out there and read by people is NOT selling out. That is how your art will endure and live on. People need to see it. People need to read it.

Oh yeah, and there's nothing wrong with making money with your art. Some people have funny ideas about art as being free and if you sell them, you lose your "artistic integrity".

Duckshit and piss.

Even Leonardo fucking Da Vinci was paid for his paintings. If art is your life, then you make a living out of it. That is not a problem. Everybody has a job. Why can't yours be what you love doing?

The only people who can afford to condemn artists as being bereft of artistic integrity when they sell their work are kids who still live with their parents and/or don't have to earn a living to survive. It's so easy to say "ooo, Sell OUT!" when you're still living off your momma.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Other Trese

Below are my first two attempt at writing TRESE.

If you've read my babbling in the afterword of Trese:Book 1, you'd know about how Trese was originally supposed to be Anton Trese, and how he was originally supposed to be a police detective and was later changed to a tabloid reporter.

This was all put aside when we decided to make Trese into a female character (originally named Toni --because I wanted her to have a girl's name that sounded like a guy's name-- but TONI TRESE just sounded so wrong!) and made her a consultant to strange, supernatural crime.

Here are the two drafts of TRESE in all it's unedited glory.

MAY 9, 2003

CAP: Detective Anton Trese would usually not place any interest in car accidents like this, but he decided to check it out when he heard on the police radio the particular location of the indecent.

Show street sign that says “Balete Drive”

Show another street sign that says “13th street”

Show a car in the middle of that intersection. A woman in a white dress sprawled on the ground, in front of the car. The dress looks like something from the 1700s. A formal dress.

CAP: The victim: a lady in white with no identification on her.

Important detail, drawn at the edges of the intersection should be a white circle with alibata/runes written near the edge of the circle.


Driver talking to the police. Trese walks near him.

DRIVER: I’m sorry. I guess I was sleepy. Well, I did have something to drink, but not a lot. I swear I didn’t see her. It’s like she just appeared out of nowhere. Must have run from the side. I don’t know. I’m so sorry.

CAP: The victim carried no ID whatsoever.

TRESE: Wake up everyone on this street and ask if they know this woman.


Trese noticed a mound of dirt near the corner of the street. He walks over to it. Stops a foot away from it. He bows down and whispers.

TRESE: Tao po. Magandang Gabi po. Makikisuyo lang po.

Nothing happens.

A nearby manhole suddenly opens.

A dwarf / a nuno comes out, wearing a hardhat and workman’s outfit.

NUNO: Magandang gabi Ginoong Trese.

TRESE: Kilala ninyo po ako?

NUNO: Oo naman. Lahat ng mga taga-ibaba, taga-ibabaw, at mga nasa gitna ay kilalang-kilala ka.

Nuno looks over to the accident.

NUNO: Ngunit sa ibang panahon na natin pag-usapan yan. Gusto mo malaman kung sino ang dalagang ito, `no? Matagal na siya dito.

Nuno stops at the edge of the white circle.

NUNO: ahhh… hmmm… (says something which makes Trese step back to realize the alibata-pentagram on the street)

Trese touches the white powder, smells it, tastes it.
TRESE: Asin? Ginagamit sa pag-bilanggo ng mga espirito at engkangto.

NUNO tastes it.

NUNO: Hindi. Hindi asin… Sirena! Dinurog na buto ng sirena!

TRESE: At saan naman ako makakahanap ng durog na buto ng sirena.

NUNO: hahaha… ayokong masama sa gulong itong. Pabayan mo na ito. Kahit anong mangyari, matutupad lagi ang katarungan ng mga engkanto.

And the nuno goes back to his manhole.

As you see, there even an attempt at writing the story in Filipino, but decided to just all-English in the next draft. Cut-to: two years later...

June 22, 2005

A lady in white was found dead on the intersection of Balete Drive and 13th street.

So, there’s this guy driving home and he’s passing by Balete drive because it’s the quickest way home.

He’s not scared anymore. He’s heard all the stories. And he’s been passing by this road for years and never even seen anything that resembles the so-called White Lady of Balete Drive. But he just can’t help of thinking of that legend every night he drive down this road.

Then it happens, he sees her… as real as she can be.

In his fright he just slams his foot on the gas.

Then he hears the thud.

And he hits the brakes.

And steps out and sees her dead…

He doesn’t even notice that he’s on the intersection of 13th and Balate.

The police finally arrive.

Pictures are being taken of the car and the woman in white.

She’s already being cover with newspapers.

Crime reporter Anton Trese arrives.
Walking around the scene.
He bumps into Detective Michael Andara.

ANDARA: What are you doing here?

TRESE: I should be asking you the same question. Isn’t this just a typical hit and run accident?

Andara stays quiet.

TRESE: Aha… not so ordinary, is it? C’mon tell me what you know and I’ll tell you want I know.

Andara’s reluctant.

ANDARA: She’s not from around here. We asked the neighbors and no one can identify her.

TRESE: Maybe you just have asked the right neighbors.

Trese starts to walk around singing, “who are the people in your neighborhood…”

Andara keeps an eye on him.

Trese sees a “nuno” near one of the trees.

TRESE: Tabi-tabi po! Magtatanong lang.

A manhole near the nuno open and out comes this man.

NUNO: Mr. Trese. Heheheh What can I do for you?

TRESE: Did you know the young miss?

NUNO: Yeah, haunts these parts but never really got in her way.

TRESE: And what do you think killed her?

NUNO: Isn’t it obvious?

TRESE: No, show me.

The nuno shows him that rune circle that covers the entire intersection.

NUNO: This was no accident. This was planned.

The nuno swipes his thumb on the white markings and tastes it.

TRESE: Chalk?

NUNO: Nope, it’s salty.

TRESE: Salt?

NUNO: Nope, it’s the bones of a sirena, ground to a fine dust.
One of the few ways to trap a spirit like our Lady over there.

TRESE: So, where does one find sirena bones?

NUNO: Heh, where does one find a sirena?

And the nuno smiles.

In my original outline, Trese's investigation was supposed to already bring in contact with the the aswang at the docks, the tikbalang king in Makati, and with some sirena along Manila Bay. And that was all supposed to lead him back to Balete, where he would finally solve the case.

I find it interesting that the next draft of TRESE was written a week or so after this one and it was the one that finally became the first Trese story. I guess it took all those years (and Kajo giving me that deadline and that 20-page limit) to get everything on paper.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Papers I Use

I always doodle on paper. Sorry, I think I'm killing too many trees right now.

So to keep myself using less paper, I bought this little hard cover blank book from Best Sellers. It is pretty expensive but it was nicely made. Its around PhP 739.00. Yes it is very expensive. It is also good for those who still write their journal with pens and paper. This little book has a small packet inside the back cover.

The book size is 5" x 7" with 144 pages. You can check out their website at

I also buy 4" x 6" index cards by Corona. They're pretty cool for storyboards if you're in the animation or film biz. I also use it for preliminary sketches of commission drawings.

Now I rarely use sketch pads. There ones that are pretty good using pencils or pens. One is Canson sketch pads. I remember I saw those with higher GSM's but National Bookstore has ran out of stock.

I also found papers that I think are quite good but they are not available on 11x17 ins. sizes. I bought Orange Vellum Board by Star Paper Corporation. It's 8.5" x 13" with 200GSM, 10 sheets per pack. I haven't tried it but I'm sure it's like those other vellum papers you can buy in big sheets. :)

I already tried many papers and so far I only found few that are good in pencils and quills.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Warrior Magazine

Warrior is the UK magazine where I discovered the brilliance of Alan Moore. It was during the days I was still working as an architect, and I had a project in the Quezon City area. I found myself passing by National Book Store along Quezon Avenue and I went in to look for comics.

I found several issues of Warrior Magazine in the bargain section, around 8 or so all in all, each selling for 7 pesos.

Reading them upon getting home I was dumbstruck at how brilliant this writer Alan Moore was. He was writing several stories at once including MARVELMAN, V for VENDETTA, The Bojeffries Saga, and various other things.

I found V For Vendetta particularly brilliant because it was so thought provoking, and the artwork from issue to issue was very consistent.

Marvelman (which will eventually become Miracleman when it finds publication in the US for reasons I will not mention here) was brilliant in its own way, but suffered a bit in the consistency of the artwork.

V For Vendetta felt like a more serious work as a result. In fact, it was probably the very first serious comic book story that I've read, a story that aspired to be more than just your ordinary comic book story.

David Lloyd is truly one of the best comics illustrators out there, but a grossly underrated one.

There are other creators from Warrior who will find broader success later. These guys include Steve Dillon, who would eventually draw Preacher and Punisher, and Alan Davis, who will become immensely popular as artist on things like X-men, Batman, and JLA.

Next time you're at National Book Store, scour the bargain bins a little more closely. You just might find something that could blow you away.

Some People Still Misunderstood Readers

Yesterday, my wife and I were at the Comic Odyssey visiting friends. I was looking around at the new comics when there was a family went in.

There was this young woman with his husband and their mother along with their child. The young woman was so excited looking for "manga" and found the title she wanted to buy. Their mother said "you going to read that? My goodness..." it sounded like it's same old komiks people use to read way back in stone age, figuratively speaking.

My mother reacted same way when I wanted to buy expensive Smurfs coloring book when I was a little kid. But my father understood that I like the drawing and he knew that I'll be copying the drawings from the coloring book.

And here I am. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Link Button

(file name: indiosbravos.gif) I created a button for Indios Bravos. You may use this if you like to link this blog. Just copy it to your computer and upload it to your website or and use this link:


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Other Indios Bravos

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine asked me to accompany her to a garage sale. Turned out, it wasn’t the usual garage sale with all sorts of stuff put on display on the lawn or garage. When we got there, we were met by another friend and by the couple that owned the house. They served us tea and freshly baked scones with butter and jam. They told us that they were leaving for the U.S. and wanted to sell everything in the house: all the furniture, the paintings, and an entire library upstairs. (I ended up buying just one book: a collection of Dorothy Parker’s works.)

They pointed to one of the chairs and said it used to be in a café called Indios Bravos.

Indios Bravos used to be found in Malate. It became a gathering place for actors and poets and painters and all sorts of artists. There was supposedly a round table where only the privileged ones could sit. To be accepted in that “inner circle”, one had to perform and be judged worthy of sitting down at the table. According to legend, one even went as far as reciting poetry in the nude. There was even a time when they spent a whole afternoon riding the jeepneys around Manila, jotting down the vandalism found on the seats and roof of the jeepney, stringing them together to form one long user-generated poem (before there was just a term as “user-generated”).

Sounded like fun times.

Thanks to Gerry for opening Indios Bravos 2.0.

There is no “special round table” here.

I don’t think we’ll get to see any nude-poetry-readings happening in here (unless Gerry tells us to do so).

Everyone is welcome!

I think it’s great that the web has allowed artists and writers to gather and meet, to discuss and debate, to share ideas and create new ones.

So, please have a seat, look around, the guys have already posted some interesting entries about the different projects they’ve worked on. And please bookmark and click the RSS feed for this site, so you can come back and discover more about the past, present and future of our little corner of Philippine comics.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

January 2002

This was taken on my birthday in 2002 at our old house here in San Pablo before I moved out. A few of my friends came over. I remember working on issue #2 of High Roads. The other thing I remember clearly was Ner Pedrina's hand getting caught in a closing van door. Sorry man.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Crowded City

Above is a crowded street of Manhattan in New York. This is something I'm currently working on right now. It's not really a project, just a submission.

For every artist, we all have weaknesses when drawing something. We sometime find a way to get out of it. I used to do shortcuts but that's not an excuse. For an artist, everything is a challenge. If you have difficulties of drawing things, you need to get a reference...Google it when you're online; get a magazine or newspapers and make some clippings of pictures you might use next time you draw.

My drawing above was obviously had a reference. But I didn't copy the exact detail of the picture I used. I only used how the crowd is placed on the side of the street.

Using a reference doesn't mean you can't draw backgrounds or human figure or animals. It's a challenge. Once you don't use references anymore and get same result of the drawing, that means you've achieved what you can't draw before. :)

Quick Tips for Breaking In Abroad

A lot of Filipinos are finding the opportunity to work in comics abroad. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you get there.

*DC hasn't accepted submissions in the mail for a long time. And now, according to CB Cebulski, Marvel's talent liason, Marvel will stop doing so as well. That leaves fewer options for Philippine based talent to find work abroad. But it's still possible.

*You can go to an agent, like David Campiti, to represent you. You can find out about this here:

*If you don't want to go to an agent, you can try doing it yourself, which is difficult, but not impossible.

*Follow Marvel's talent liason CB Cebulski at Twitter. He has lots of tips for people wanting to break in. Click here.

*Set up a blog or a site which makes it easy for editors to look at your work. CB Ceblulski has said that he would much rather look at artwork in blogs. So set up a web presence. But DON'T make a site where you would require visitors to click several times just to see your art. Take note that he has also expressed hesitation to browse Deviant Art sites. So don't send him links to that.

*Show at least 4-5 pages of storytelling, not pinups. Editors need to see that you can tell a story with your drawings.

*Background is important. Don't think of it as drawing "people". Think of it as drawing "environments". Make it believable that these people fit perfectly in the environment they are standing in.

*Try to avoid wanting to break in directly at Marvel at DC your first time at the bat. Your first professional work is bound to be amateurish and clumsy. Do you want to expose that to the audience of two of the biggest comics companies in the world? Start small. Submit to smaller companies. Learn the ropes. Sharpen your skills and develop your professionalism with these companies first. And if you are good, Marvel or DC would be bound to notice you and grab you. By then, you would be good enough, and professional enough, and your art would have developed well enough for the big time.

I've seen talented artists crash and burn when they got to work at Marvel for the first time. They had difficulty handling the deadlines and the work. And they soon fell out of favor. Some of them are no longer working now. But some started again with smaller companies and are slowly carving good reputations for themselves as good artists.

*Contribute for comics anthologies. There's plenty of open calls for submissions out there. Contribute even if it doesn't pay. A lot of these anthologies don't pay anyway. I've worked on many anthologies and yet I've never been paid for a single one. It's all about exposure. Your published work will act as your submission. It's the best kind of submission you can have.

*While it's all right to do pro bono work for anthologies, try not to do it for full issues or entire series. Check up on your collaborators online to see if they're reputable, if they have a history of either bad or respectable behavior. If these people don't have a credit to their name or if they say "we're going to use this to pitch", then be careful. Most of those don't end well.

*Make it easy for editors to get in touch with you. Check email often so you'll know right away if an editor is trying to get in touch. We're in the Philippines. They're going to be concerned that it would be tough to reach you and not hire you. Make it seem like you're only next door by responding right away.

*Don't leave your editor hanging. If you're having problems dealing with a deadline, TELL THEM, and not disappear and ignore messages. It's hard, but just swallow it and do it. Don't give any stupid excuses.

*If you can, self publish a comic book and send copies to editors. Once again, a published comic book is one of the best submissions you can have.

*Be self reliant. Solve your problems and not bother your editor with things you can solve on your own.

*Don't be an ass. Be friendly.

*Don't be a pest. Be patient. Swallow your pride. Don't argue.

*Do your best fucking work every time. The submission process never truly ends, even if you're already working. You have to prove yourself every time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome To The Indios Bravos Blog

Amazingly, I was actually serious about the subtitle "The Ultimate Chicken Story" when I first came up with the idea. I had been doing these "Stupid Chicken Stories" when I was doing Crest Hut Butt Shop. They were short, over the top stories about chickens that I've experienced in the past. Elmer was supposedly the Ultimate Stupid Chicken Story.

In many ways, it ended up that way.