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Chai with Harvey Tolibao

Chai with Harvey Tolibao

By Myron Tay, STGCC 2014, August 28th 2014.

Harvey TolibaoWho are the artists (both within and outside of comic books) who influenced your style?
One of my greatest influences was my Dad. He was a painter who believed that with skill or talent, a man can bring one to a place or a journey he could never think of. When it comes to style, I have grown up in the Jim Lee era. Michael Turner made me believe that comic artists can create beautiful women. Leinil Yu is one of the rare people who have shared his knowledge on comics. Carlo Pagulayan, Ariel Padilla and Lui Antonio are the artists who never stop teaching drawing comics in any way possible and whom I consider my brothers as we develop together in the industry. Stephen Jorge Segovia influenced me both in attitude and creativity. So, I am an artist, illustrator, who have been guided by these people through my comic journey.
Do you think that comic book artists should make changes from time to time? Why or why not? What factors should determine changes (if any) should be made?
A lot of artists think…..this is my opinion, that style can be controlled and originality is at the centre of being a comic book artist. But on the contrary, artists always change, no matter what they are doing. It is part of growth based on the determination to improve. It is my experience that when I try to copy someone else's artwork, it tends not to look like his/her artwork in the end. So, originality will always be a part of any artist who is constantly drawing and never stops what he is doing. Changes in style can be made when working on a project a certain style is demanded by the client. It is quite an advantage for any artist who has trained himself to be versatile in any occasion so that he could jump from project to project without hesitation. To adapt is to survive.
Which of your past projects did you enjoy doing the most? Why?
I may be biased in my answer, but I really do not have a favourite project. To explain further, all of my projects are special in so many ways in my heart. For example, my first project was Star Wars. Who in the world does not love Star Wars? Even my Dad and my Mom are really big fans! My next project was Marvel Iron Man. Who in the world again does not love Iron Man? As I continue my journey in the comic industry, I have been assigned to a lot of my dream projects - from Green Arrow to Green Lantern, Danger Girl and going back to the recent X-Men series. So, in the world of comics, being linked to these projects is everything I could ever ask for. And to conclude, loving every single project or character is the key to remaining in the comic industry.
Samurai by Harvey TolibaoWhat about your work would you like to be remembered for? What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think I would like to be remembered as an illustrator who drew comics and give my best - blood and sweat - to any project that I have been assigned to. But in the years to come, I would love to be part and co-founder of a studio which can help any artist who wanted to break into the industry from comics to game design, from movie design and any related graphic arts.This studio will not only develop skillful artists but give hope to those who dream to fulfill their life's aim when it comes to this category. And I love to be an instrument to share whatever knowledge I may have. Hope that people around me - family, fans, friends - would never leave my side.
What challenges did you face as you were starting out in the comic book industry? How did you overcome them?
This is the time where I would say God lays a path for us. Life and the universe is magic. I had dreamt of being a comic book artist ever since I was in 4th grade. But I am in a location where the best job is to be a policeman or a teacher. My Dad said that to be an artist where we were located was the most difficult job you can imagine. And to become a comic book artist is like being able to punch the moon but I never gave up on those dreams. Then the universe answered because I never stopped knocking on doors, doing everything I can to be one step closer to the dreams I had always held on to. I met Stephen Jorge Segovia when he was starting in the industry and Carlo Pagulayan who gave me two Marvel boards and said “just erase my sketches on the boards and draw there” and that was how it all started. These guys never gave up on me. The patience that they had to share their knowledge made me grow to become the artist that I am today.
What are your thoughts about the current state of the comic book industry? Where do you think it is headed to and what are your hopes for the industry?
On our part, as artists, we will keep improving, finding ways to make our artwork as desirable and as good at telling the story as possible. The comic industry is headed to a new level with tech-nology. The electronic comic books have hit iPads and iPhones. Comics have been made into movies and in rare instances, movies have been made into comics. Some people say that print comics should be gone in a few years to save trees and forests but they are like paintings that never grow old. Print will always rule the world. It may become rarer but it will always be there.
What words of advice would you give to aspiring comic book artists?
I have lived my life based on these words of wisdom from my best friend Carl Riemann Cortez. “Never stop drawing while pencils and papers exist in this world.” And I think, these would be the words that would help not only aspiring artists, but all artists who want to make this industry their legacy to be passed from generation to generation.
What are the comic books you are currently reading that you would recommend to your fans?
I think different comic books would give us different experi-ences. I remember comic books helped me with my English reading ability. It also opened my eyes to the fantasy world which only exists in our imagination. There are comic books that make you learn the importance of friendship, some stories would make you love your family and even your neighbour. These are just some facts that you would learn in any books you read. Therefore, I conclude that any comic book have its REASON to be READ.

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