Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hoping I Make Sense

Me reading this many years from now I hope I'm making sense. It's probably cliche to say that everyday is a struggle, but it's so true for me. The thing that divides those who last and those who fall by the wayside really is will power. Sometimes even something as simple as getting up from bed. Sometimes it's something more simple, like just moving your arm can be a struggle. But you move your arm. You get up from bed. And you just keep going. Your mind has to be stronger than your body. You need to use your mind to blot out the aches and pains and weaknesses and just. keep. going. The last few months have been like this. But I feel a whole lot better now than I did last January. End of January and early February was perhaps the worst. In the middle of all that I just had to keep going.

The bigger struggle is going back to being creative. Sometimes all your effort goes into just surviving that you just have no time or energy to think of creative things. I think I've done the surviving thing so now I have to get into creating. And I think it's about time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What a Deadline/On Selling Art

I just got done meeting this crazy deadline for IVX #6. Leinil Yu had already started with the book as I was recuperating, but I did manage to ink at least 9 pages of it when I went back to work. But the deadline was crazy. One of the most challenging I've ever had to face. Actually, to be completely honest, the deadline was a few days ago and I just spent the next day sleeping and the next day goofing off just to allow some time for me to rest and recuperate (from the deadline). And as I usually do after a deadline not knowing when we'll be starting the next book, I've had my technical pens cleaned of ink. I think that anyone planning on using tech pens should think about.

Today I went over my stack of original artwork, selecting a bunch that will go up in my art sale page. There's no particular financial reason for it. I figure that there are some people out there who just might want to own original art from a published Marvel comic book that's not as expensive as one might try to get at Ebay or other places internationally. There are pages here and there from selected titles that I have chosen to keep for myself, but I think I will sell most of them eventually.

Superior #3 Page 8 (Sold!)

Original art from my own creations like ELMER are a different matter though. Obviously, every single page is special to me and for a long time I didn't want to sell them. But I have decided to do so anyway because there might be people out there who might want to own a page from it. But I really can't offer them at an inexpensive rate. I call it the "I don't want to sell this" rate. It can be very prohibitive. But if anyone wants it at that price, I can let it go. I've already sold a few, specially when I went on a mini signing tour of comic shops in Paris a few years ago. If DSO ever reads this, I want to thank him specially for buying a page from Elmer. I know it cost a lot and I know how hard you work. Let me just tell you that I appreciate it and won't forget it.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Homebody

It's actually not that hard for me to stay at home all the time. A lot of the time I prefer it. If ever I'm arrested for a crime and held for house arrest, I would not mind. I like staying at home and not go out for long periods of time.

Aside from my regular visits to the hospital, I really haven't gone out of the house in two months. Readers of Crest Hut Butt Shop #4 would be aware of a chronic condition that I have that I have to deal with for the rest of my life. It's a condition that probably weakened me enough to get pneumonia over the end of the year. This horrible time of illness has forced me to seriously consider something I've been thinking about for the past few years. I have to withdraw from a lot of comic book related activities that would require me to make trips to Manila. Travelling has really become not only very expensive, but exhausting.

Expensive because I can no longer commute as it would be too physically difficult for me that we have to always rent a van. Exhausting because well, it's just exhausting for me.

That means far less comics events, no more seminars, talks, interviews, panels, consultations or meetings of any sort that require I be there in person. I really have to conserve my energy and my strength to just stay home and do my work. Right now that's inking for Marvel. That's the only way I can do the work and finish the pages in a timely manner. A single trip to Manila would wipe me out for several days. And several days off doing work is something I can't now afford.

I felt it last year when I had to cancel an appearance at Komikon after I had already paid for my table. This year I've had to cancel an appearance at Komiket after my pneumonia episode.

Will I get better? Hopefully I do. I've had my chronic condition for a long time now and in that time I was able to travel to other countries and participate in lots of activities. I guess right now I'm at a low point physically that I really just have to withdraw and conserve my strength and concentrate on working and getting better.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sleepless and Tired

It's 1:30 in the morning and I should be sleeping. But lately for the past several weeks I haven't been able to sleep well at all. I'm not sleepy. Just tired, and that's a big difference. Being really tired doesn't ensure I'll fall asleep.

I've slowly been getting back into the groove of working. I've had a really slow start but I feel I'm getting faster. Early today I started a page which I finished around 11 in the evening. I was so tired after that, but no matter what, all I can do is stare into the darkness of the room, tossing and turning. I really want to fall asleep so bad.

I've tried playing music in the background. A nasty attack of allergies even gave me an excuse to take an antihistamine the other night and it actually did help. But I don't want to get used to that, my God. I take enough maintenance everyday as it is.

The good thing is, when I do get sleepy at odd hours of the day, sometimes 10 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon, I take that opportunity to sleep. I hate sleeping in the afternoon though because it just screws me up. Upon waking up I feel so terrible that I regret sleeping.

I'm gonna go and try again.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Barbaro and other Francisco V. Coching Books

Vibal Foundation, in cooperation with the Francisco V. Coching family, will be coming out with its second collection of classic works by Coching, namely, "Ang Barbaro", and will have a launching on February 8, 2017 at Fully Booked, BGC, Pasig.

I remember when I first approached the Coching family about doing the first of such collections. I had chosen "El Indio" (which Vibal eventually published). Mrs. Luming Coching had wanted me to do "Ang Barbaro" first because Barbaro is in fact, the first part of a two-book story, El Indio being only the sequel.

But I had my heart set on El Indio because I felt it represented the peak of Coching's artistic powers (a peak that never faded, in fact, and continued well past his retirement). In Barbaro, he was still developing his craft. I felt the drawings in El Indio were much more solid, much more well defined and confident, and it contained illustrations that were just spectacular.

El Indio eventually came out in 2009 and Vibal, as well as the Coching family, wanted to continue coming out with these books, Barbaro being the one they wanted. But by 2009 I had realized how time consuming it was to restore such a book. It took me and Zara Macandili around 4 years to digitally restore El Indio. Barbaro was a much thicker book and will definitely take much longer. I had returned to inking for Marvel by then and was too busy to take on such a challenging project. I had to decline.

Years later, the Coching family found a way to collect further volumes in a format very much like the Vibal collection including stories like Lapu-Lapu, Dumagit, Taga sa Bato, Condenado, and even their own version of Ang Barbaro. I thought it was amazing. I visited their booths at komiks events and bought as much of these books as I can. The Coching family editions are far more limited, I'm sure, than the Vibal ones, and print runs are painfully small.

Photo by Macoy Coching

And now Vibal has come up again and decided to do their own collection of "Ang Barbaro". I really wish I could go to this launching. Any new book collecting works by Coching is always a cause for celebration.

But having just come from a long illness which I'm still recovering from, and having been advised by my doctors to avoid crowds for the meantime due to my lowered immune system, there's no way I'll be able to attend this launch next week.  I'll be sure to have a copy reserved for me though! I think this is very exciting!

Facebook Event Page

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good Morning Bugel

It's a nice morning whenever Bugel comes up to me for a wake up call. I'm already awake though, having been awake as early as 5 in the morning. At that time I'm usually at the computer doing computery things. Mostly news surfing, writing, processing artwork. I don't really browse my Facebook feed that much anymore because it's so full of volatile, angry people. In many cases legitimately so, I'm afraid. We're in a very dark place in the world right now, but I choose not to dwell on it. I just concentrate on doing my work, concentrate on my family, keeping myself happy and healthy.

It was tough getting back into the groove of work. It took such a long time to finish that first page, but once I got through it, I knew work would flow much faster and easier, I hope!

There are still some health issues I'm dealing with. I've started coughing again. Not badly enough to be a cause for concern, but I guess it's all my own damn fault. I love spicy food you see. And I've been eating a lot of spicy food lately. My EENT has actually advised me to avoid it because it aggravates my gastric reflux, which I'm sure I'm having right now. Sigh. The healthy life is just so damned boring.

And because I've been eating a lot (because of the steroids), I think I've eaten too much specially over my epic birthday weekend so I'm desperately trying to cut back. But with the steroids it's hard because it really makes you hungry and forces you to eat. Worse, as I said in a previous post, it makes you fat in weird places. So right now I've got this weird big face. I can't wait for my platelet to normalize so they'd take me off the medicine. I'd really like to live normally again. And talk about normal stuff. Like eating.

:)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Back to Work

As of today, I'm back to work! As it turns out, I'm back to work on IVX (Inhumans Vs. X-Men), this time issue #6. Below is a panel from IVX issue #2.


There's actually lots to do before starting work again after a long break. First I needed to have my pens cleaned. I work almost exclusively with technical pens when inking Leinil's work. A lot of people complain that technical pens jam easily, but I just don't think these people know how to use tech pens properly. Since I have an architectural background, I used tech pens, specifically Rotring, for 5 years during college. I've pretty much learned how to use them inside out as well as the best ways to maintain them.

To keep tech pens from jamming, the cap needs to be replaced tightly after every use. And if those pens won't be used for more than 3 days, the ink needs to be removed and the pens cleaned thoroughly. And if the pens will be used constantly, they need to be cleaned thoroughly at least every month, just to keep dried ink from accumulating in the cap, the tip and elsewhere.

I also needed to have my table cleaned of accumulated dust and I have to make sure my printer is properly maintained. I make sure I have enough ink installed and I have enough ink on stand by in case they run out. Out here in San Pablo it can get difficult to get supplies, but with the introduction of more computer shops and a large branch of Office Warehouse, it's gotten quite easier. I also make sure I have enough paper, and looking at my stack I think I still have enough 11"x17" paper to last at least 6 more comic book issues.