Posted October 21, 2014 by Norby Ela in Comics

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Midnight Inking with Ian Sta. Maria

In this latest entry of Let’s Talk Komiks, we get to talk to the amazing-Hot Toys-lovin’ Ian Sta. Maria. Ian is very well known by being the artist the Skyworld series and the current work Sixty Six. Probably this November, he might release a sketchbook called Midnight Inking. We got some interesting input and exclusive images right here.

FLIPGEEKS: How did you end up drawing comic books?
IAN STA. MARIA: I love comics. Everything I needed to learn to be a man I got (them) from comics. Haha! Started out in college at UP Diliman. I was introduced to Budjette Tan by his brother, Brandie. They had already started Alamat Comics then and I started out inking over Arnold Arre‘s pencils with Batch 72. Ever since I’ve always wanted to make my own title and release something that I would hope other people would enjoy.

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What helped you to have your current set of skills in illustration?
My course in college was Fine Arts. That helped. And I research a lot. I would ask and take tips from anyone and anybody that share the same passion for art and not just drawing comics. I am also very thankful to have been seated (at sketching events) near Stephen Segovia, Heubert Khan Michael, Jimbo Salgado, Mico Suayan and Chucky Penero to name a few. I love watching those guys work because I learn a lot!

What is your day job, if you have one?
Does your job affect you artistically in through paneling/layouts and such?
I work in Advertising. I am currently an Associate Creative Director at Mccann World Group. Advertising deals with a lot of story telling, layout and art direction. So yeah it does affect how we would tell a story, how to market it and the levels of art direction involved in any comic book we’d like to make.

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What is Midnight Inking?
It started out as just a hashtag of sorts since I do all comic book related work at night (Mostly hitting midnight to early morning). Recently I had a chat with some friends and they actually threw in the idea of compiling all the commissions I’ve made and turn it into a sketchbook.

Why release a sketch book now? How many pages is it?
Why release it now? Well, like I mentioned earlier, a few friends came up with the idea of compiling all the commissions I’ve made the past year. It’ll be a small sized fully colored book of 40 pages. The idea was to share all these commissions I’ve made with anyone who appreciates my style of art while the clients can still keep and own the original artwork.

When and where will you release it?
Still figuring that out… I hope it gets printed in time for the November Komikon. If not maybe this summer. We plan to sell it only there.

Aside from Midnight Inking, you are working with a new Sixty Six issue. Could you please tell us about that?
I just finished Chapter 3 the other day and now starting on Chapter 4. The plan is finish chapter 5 before the summer Komikon and release it there under Anino Comics. Maybe release a compiled edition by then.

You are mainly known with your Skyworld series, when can we expect Skyworld: Martial Law to be released?
I don’t know. Mervin Ignacio and I have already drafted the sequences and plots of Martial Law. But I have been very busy lately with work, commissions and finishing Sixty Six. So I really don’t know when I can get around to actually starting it. Once all chapters of Sixty Six are done I need to get back to working with David Hontiveros for a Kadasig origin story. After that’s done I have a few other personal projects that I’d like to push through with before tackling Skyworld: Martial Law.

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Do you have a ritual before/after drawing comics?
Yes, I do. I brew a cup of coffee. Clean my ashtray. Light a cigarette. Then spend maybe ten minutes playing with my Hot Toys… posing them and re-posing before I actually start drawing. It helps get me into that frame of mind of having fun before drawing. Almost like meditation… but with action figures.

Do you have your TV on or have music played while you are drawing?
I usually leave the TV on. Then leave it on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic. They act as ambient noise in the background while I draw.

Is there anyone in the local indie who you would like to work with?
Oh man, there’s a lot of talented people in the local industry whom I’d love to work with! I’d love to write something for or art jam with Tepai Pascual, Aaron Felizmenio, and the Bayan Knights gang. I’d also love to work on a project with Arnold Arre and/or Gerry Alanguilan.

Do you have an apprentice? Do you need one? OK lang sa akin kung kahit pangkain and pamasahe lang ang makakaya mo.
HAHAHAHA! Well I don’t really “need” an apprentice. Baka maglaro lang kami maghapon ng Hot Toys or PS4.

What comic books do you read these days?
Anything I can get my hands on. Lately, I’ve been reading the new Hawkeye series and I am loving it!

You’ve worked with some writers now. Do you have any tips for young writers or artists who are gonna pursue collaborative work?
Tips? Everything starts with hard work and checking your ego.

DRAW/WRITE ALL THE TIME. It’s a learning process that never ends. Whilce Portacio told me once that people should draw or get inspiration from real life. The mistakes you make form the style that you develop and evolve.

[Check out… LET’S TALK COMICS: An Interview with WHILCE PORTACIO]

Get your work out there. Let people see it and learn from whatever they have to say. Criticism can be a bitch sometimes and that’s ok. Be a sponge, take what others have to say and keep an open mind. But do not let people dictate the way you should go about your craft either. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing digital or traditional art or chalk. Those are just tools of the trade.

And check your ego. I’ve met a lot of aspiring artists and professionals who seem to think that they’re the shit. Once you think that way you are doomed. Nobody likes divas.

Don’t do it because you want to get rich and famous. That’s stupid. Get into it because you love the craft.

Comics should be fun and entertaining. So have fun with it!

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by Luigi Cabrera and Norby Ela

Norby Ela

Now residing in San Diego, CA, I strive to work in art and further grow FlipGeeks around the world.