Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes! I've been drawing since elementary school, where I drew fanart of anime character for classmates. That eventually evolved into creating my own stories, characters and a few original comic pages for fun. But at the time I really wanted to be a painter and sculptor, so I went to an art high school to focus on my fine arts studies. However, during my junior year, I soon realized my passion for making comics. :)
Where do you get your story and character ideas?
I draw inspiration from a lot of things but particularly from my own childhood experiences, from weird dreams, folklore, or sometimes I make up stories for random characters I drew on the spot. And sometimes, my characters are based on people I know and inspire me.
What tools do you use to make comics?
So I use different tools depending on the project I'm working on or the mood I'm trying to convey through my work. When I color and ink, sometimes I use watercolors (Pelikan brand) for a more whimsical vibe, or I ink with a nib (using Winsor & Newton Black India Ink) for more textural look, or I color digitally (with Photoshop) for vibrant colors. And sometimes I combine all my techniques, it all depends on what I'm in the mood for!
But before I ink and color, lately I've been thumbnailing and pencil my pages traditionally on computer paper with a 2h or HB pencil.
For The Isle of the Lost graphic novel, I pencilled and inked the pages all digitally.
Particularly for Miss Quinces, I pencil my pages traditionally and scan them onto the computer where I ink digitally through Clip Studio. The pages are then colored, this time not by me, but by my awesome colorist Mariana Azzi!
How long does it take you to make a book?
To be honest, the answer to this question is never the same. Making books can take a long time (like years) or it can be quick for some artists. And if you're working on a book that's written and drawn by you, sometimes it take more time to develop that a book someone else wrote. It all depends because life can affect how you work, and that's totally okay!
For Miss Quinces, it took me about 2 years. After the pitching stage which took a few months, we went straight to the script phase, it took me about 8-10 months to develop the story with my editors. The pencils took me about 3-4 months and inking took about 5 months. :P
Who are your favorite artists?
I love reading books by Iasmin Omar Ata (Mis(h)adra), Breena Nuñez (Half and Half), Ngozi Ukazu (Check, Please!), Raina Telgemeier (Guts), Yuko Ota & Ananth Hirsh (Johnny Wander), and there's so many more, it's hard to choose! Ahh!
I want to be an artist too, do you have any advice?
Yes! Keep on drawing and give yourself challenges to improve your drawing. Get interested in reading about everything! You never know what will inspire you or what could help your storytelling.
What’s your favorite food?
I love my mother's enchiladas and my dad makes weird yet tasty empanadas. :3
Do you have any hobbies?
I love art journaling, scrapbooking and embroidery!
Do you have any pets?
I have two adorable rescue pups! Mac is a cuddly chihuahua mix and Roni is an energetic Miniature Pinscher mix (both mixed with something I don't know yet) and together they're Mac and Roni (like the cheesy pasta dish!).
Can I get a free book?
Unfortunately I don't have any spare copies for readers, however you can find my books at your local library (if they’re not there, ask your librarian to order a copy, they'd be happy to help). My books are also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or even check your local bookstore.