Posted April 5, 2016 by Gioseppe Custodio in Comics

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Andrew Villar’s 10 things he learned from 10 years of Komiks

Ten years from doing komiks, local comic book Ambush creator-cartoonist  Andrew Villar. He has been one of the local comic book veterans who has been using the same creator-owned character til today. I can personally describe him to be like the local Erik Larsen with Savage Dragon. This summer, he gets to finally be a special guest for Komikon. With wisdom, FlipGeeks got to talk with Andrew Villar.

LTK Andrew VillarFLIPGEEKS: Andrew. ilang years ka na nagkokomiks?

ANDREW VILLAR: Professionally, I started 2006. Ambush first appeared in the pages of Manila Bulletin March 19, 2006. That’s my first professional comics gig.

At dahil sa pagkokomiks, anu-ano na achieve mo?
I guess my achievement in comics is meeting fellow people who do comics too, mga komikeros, masayang kakwentuhan ang kapareho kayo ng hilig. Also, helping organizing events like FCBD (Free Comic Book Day), Art with Heart, TAGCOM and even GTMACCON.

10 years ka na sa pagkokomiks, first time mo maging special guest sa Komikon? Paano mo nalaman na ikaw ang special guest? Ano reaction? Meron bang feeling kung bakit ngayon pa lang?
Yes, first time. Buti timing din na 10 years na ang Ambush and good din kasi Rod Espinosa is the other guest too. Rod and I are best friends from college pa. Jon Zamar informed and invited me to be the guest. I was really excited!

I called upon the spirits of the land of UTTAMCHANDANI and we all celebrated my being a guest at KOMIKON.

I still work on the collab and just do my best. But di na ulit yun mauulit. I still take every task professionally.

Sa 10 years, Anu-ano ang natutunan mo sa paggawa ng komiks?
I learned:

1. One must use good tools for drawing. (Unipin, yes. Gel pen, no)
2. Use colored pencil for sketching, easy to erase in computer, hard to erase by hand. (Actually, my hand got sore erasing pencil lines before.)
3. Always add backgrounds. They make your drawings look NICE.
4. Collaborate with someone who can understand your shit.
5. Comics will not make you rich financially.
6. Comics will make your souls rich!
7. You always have to go your “A GAME!”, lalo na kung one strip away ka lang sa kikomachine. Kaya kelangang gandahan ang drawing noh?
8. Storytelling is essential in comics. (Di lang ang drawing) Always concentrate on the different characteristics of your characters. (Think about their mannerisms, mahilig ba siya mag mura? matakaw ba siya?)
9. Have a unique style
10. Sleep

How essential is #3 – Always add backgrounds?
When I was working in Manila Bulletin, I don’t usually draw backgrounds. It’s hard to color and it takes too much time, so I just add pictures or sketch up CG images. Di bagay eh sa drawing ko, so when I started working in the Inquirer strips are in B&W so I dont have to worry how hard to color my backgrounds. Banat lang nang banat, until the time na nasanay na ako maglagay ng backgrounds. Sometimes elaborate ones, sometimes simple lines lang. It’s essential kasi, for one, readers will know where the scene is happening and it also add character to the strip.

LTK Andrew Villar Ambush 01

Sino ang pinaka-best na collaborate mo? Bakit?
Oh, Agents of Ambush is co-written by Sam Velasco. Our ideas and humor somehow jived, so it’s easy to make the strips.

In the next 10 years, sino gusto makipag-collaborate with?
Actually I have current collaborations with other artists and I’m excited about them. One is with my good friend and “critically acclaimed” comic creator Julius Villanueva, another one with Callous creator, Carlo Jose San Juan, and Carlo Vergara.

In the next 10 years? I want to collab with my kids. I want them to draw, write Agents of Ambush in the future. And I want to collab with a movie producer and movie director.

How do you know na yung ka-collab ay di perfect fit sayo? How do you manage in breakng the news to him/her na ayaw mo na?
I still work on the collab and just do my best. But di na ulit yun mauulit. I still take every task professionally.

With sa mga baguhan na nagkokomiks ngayon, dapat ba nila matutunanan ang #5 and #6 mo? When did you learn them?
Hmmm, I dunno. Kasi with me, even if I know this fact, I still encourage younger peeps to do comics. Sometimes, kahit na alam nila that is a fact in comics, they still want to do and create comics. I knew about this years ago pa, when I got my newspaper gig but I didn’t mind the pay, to me being in the papers and doing comics is big accomplishment in my part. ERGO makes the soul rich, made my soul rich.

How important is sleep?
OH GOD, VERY. Hahahha.

With #8, how do you keep your “A GAME”? How do you keep up with the new local comic book creators today?
That’s where my co-writer comes in. We discuss it plenty of times, discuss stories plenty of times, we put different scenarios until we are both satisfied, then she writes the script and I draw the strips. For example, we want to make Ambush imperfect, more human, so what do we do? Maybe we can turn her into a bitch? She does a bad thing? She’ll kill someone? yung ganun ba. We put every crazy thing muna sa idea pot namin, then we clean the idea up and co writer writes the script.

How did you find your art style? Any tips on how you can discover your style faster?
Actually, I had that style early on pa. Like HS or College, a friend of mine told me lang na I have a distinctive style na you’ll know I drew an artwork. Don’t copy drawings of others, I guess siguro for starters go lang, but eventually dapat humahagod ka ng sariling mong lines.

How did you teach your kids to find theirs?
My kids? Sina Amos? Well, I introduced Frank Miller, Tim Burton, and the Fables comic books but I never ever told them to copy their artworks. Feeling ko, they knew it themselves kung anu yung artist styles nila eh. They’re still changing, wala pang definite yan, even sa akin. You can see my work na it’s different now kaysa before. Basta dapat di gumaya ng SUPER sa style ng iba. Yung bang tipong pag nakita mo, instead of your name eh artist ng iba masasabi nila.

Agents of Ambush cov

How important is sleep?
OH GOD, VERY. Hahahha. That’s for your life ha. Hahahaha. My average sleep is 3-4 hours lang, kaya I’m saying na it’s important. Hahaha.

Ano ilalabas mo this year, especially 10 years na rin ni Ambush?
Will be releasing the second Agents Of Ambush book this April 16, it will have two covers. The main one and a 10th year anniversary variant cover, then I have a crossover too from another genre talaga. Lolita meets Ambush. I think you’re familiar of Lolita noh? Lolita Gregorio is a character created by Maria Criselda Santos, I collaborated with Cris and we thought it would be fun.

Gioseppe Custodio

I make comics, sometimes I sleep