Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Inspiration Feature: Jonas Diego

For my first inspiration feature, I am very glad to share with the story of a very good friend and the person who made my very elegant banner, Jonas Diego.

"I’ve been drawing as far as I can remember but not really because I was oozing with talent.

I had a very bad case of asthma when I was very young. The slightest bit of exertion would see me wheezing trying to catch my breath. So, while the rest of the neighborhood kids would run around and do stuff that kids do, I was frequently indoors warned to keep my physical exertions to a minimum lest I induce an attack.

Thus I occupied myself by reading (I actually learned to read and draw before I went to school thank to Sesame Street) and drawing. My mom would bring me a copy of Funny Komix every Wednesday and my grandmother was more than happy to provide me with all the scratch paper and pencils that I wanted. I was copying all the colorful characters to be found between its pages and pretty soon I was making up my own.

I never thought I could make a career out of it however. I was led to believe that art was just a hobby to occupy my down time before I went off to college to become something else that was more stable.

During college, chancing upon a comic book with some pretty amazing art, I was surprised when a classmate pointed out that the artist was a Filipino and said that he knew the guy. Thus I was introduced to now good friend Gerry Alanguilan who was kind enough to meet a guy he didn’t know from Adam.

Through him I learned that making comic books can be a serious job and one can actually make a living out of it.

“People get paid to do this!?”

Up until that time, I thought artists just made comic books for fun like I did.

That chance meeting inspired me to create my first “serious” comics, The Book of John. I sold all of the copies for all three issues, which was pretty amazing now that I think about it because there was no place to sell them back then. There were no conventions and no stores would accept consignment of photocopied comics.

Most people learned about my comic through word of mouth and bought copies directly from me or through a common friend. Those were heady days for me.

That experience galvanized my resolve that, even though I’m not sure if I had talent and imagination enough to make it in the comic book field, I would at least give it a try so as not to regret not even attempting the adventure later.

Artists I look up to:
Adam Hughes, Tom Grummet, and Kelley Jones.

Person with the most impact on me, art-wise:
Gerry Alanguilan for turning me to the Dark Side.

Tips for improving:
Practice. It's a cliche but practice does make perfect.

Inspiring others:
I try to maintain a low profile so if ever I do serve as inspiration to others I'd have to say that I probably do it more by example than anything else.

Latest and upcoming projects:
Two upcoming graphic novels: School of Hard Knocks and Stories from Barangay Eternity.
The KOMIKSTRIP 2011: UPLB's very own Comic Book Convention"

Now you see why I had him make my banner!

Thank you Jon for sharing your story, you ROCK!

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