How did you become an artist?
It was the Senior year of High School and being a directionless teenager with the only discernible talent being drawing I decided to go to Art College. By my last year I had gained a respectable following on Deviantart, this enabled me to do a lot of freelance artwork online for Mobile game companies and small clients! I was already feeling like a full time professional.
After graduating with a Bachelors in Character Design and Illustration in 2010 I found more free time between freelance work and began creating a manga, 'SIN' as a side project for fun. To my surprise it eventually caught the attention of webmanga publisher "Inkblazers", they generously offered to distribute the title and hired me to create regular updates.
It was also during this time that I began travelling to Anime and Comic conventions selling and creating illustrations from fandoms that I loved. This encompassed a wide range of things from Video Games, Anime, Cartoons, Comics and Films. I went on to spend a few years developing and improving my digital painting skills this way while updating "SIN" on a monthly basis.
In 2015 Inkblazers shut down but I continued to update "SIN" on Tapastic for free. By this time I stopped doing commissions for companies and clients, choosing instead to attend pop-culture conventions full time. Creating roughly 30-40 new digital paintings a year while traveling across the globe with a catalogue of roughly 100 illustrations, I was visiting over 20 different cities annually in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia! In the whirlwind storm that was this exciting travelling life I made the difficult decision of putting "SIN" on hiatus.
Fast forward to 2020, COVID hits and I suddenly find myself with a massive abundance of free time due to travel restrictions. I pivot my career back to online commissions, luckily not starving for work since I've maintained a decent online following. Still I found myself yearning to direct my work ethic and passion towards a new project and that's how "ePRO" came to be! Eventually I plan to travel and attend pop-culture conventions again starting in 2022 but maybe less so I can maintain a good update schedule for my Webtoon to ensure it'll have a healthy future!
Where do you get inspiration?
As a writer I think Shonen Anime had a lasting impact on me from my teens (Naruto & Bleach) and I was also really into Scifi (My favorite manga of all time is Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita). Hence my first manga "SIN" being a dystopian post-apocalyptic action series. However as I got older I got into coming-of-age stories that had powerful resonating themes as young people transformed into adulthood, this eventually led me to wanting to create "ePRO"
Artistically I've always tried fusing Eastern aesthetics of Anime with more Western sensibilities. One of the early influential comic book artists that did this was Joe Maduiera, he'll always be a big inspiration. Aside from him a lot of digital painters left a lasting impression on how I approach my art, Marko Djurdjevic who became known from his painterly Marvel covers for his lighting direction, Suke from Riot Games for his dynamic character action layouts of League of Legends Champions and Toni Infante with his bold use of loose shapes and vibrant color to create compositional mood. At risk of going on forever I'll stop there!
What’s your hardware setup?
I work on PC with a WACOM Intuos Pro M! Under the hood I run a AMD Ryzen9 3900X CPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, RTX 3070ti GPU and use a BenQ 32'' 4K UHD monitor for art.
What do you like best about Clip Studio Paint?
Honestly everything, I grew up using Japanese painting programs and CSP feels like the leading software in that regard. I recently got a hold of CSP EX and love the page management function for storyboarding my Webtoon.
How long does it take you to make a single illustration?
Depending on the illustration 8-12 hours which usually works out to 1-2 work days.
Would you consider Clip Studio Paint an industry tool?
Most definitely! As a freelance artist with a decade experience using Japanese painting programs it always felt like they weren't as powerful as say Adobe Photoshop but CSP has really changed my mind about that and I pretty much use it exclusively now.
Would you like to promote some recent project?
Of course! ePRO an action, coming-of-age comic is my passion project that can be read primarily on Webtoon. It combines my love for storytelling and gaming into one exciting adventure, I really hope to shine a light on gaming culture in an authentic and resonating experience for readers.
Where can we follow your work?