While attending this year’s Emerald City Comicon I was able to sit down with an awesome illustrator, Tony Dela Cruz.
UTF: The first question I got to ask is: I see a dynamic Batman/Wonder Woman/Superman piece with a silhouette style. Where’d the inspiration for that come form?
Tony Dela Cruz: Well, I started right out of fine arts school as a graphic artist trying to see if that’s what I wanted to do. I also worked in advertising in the marketing department so a lot of the imagery had to be very quick and readable. Over the years, I’ve been interested in doing comic books and then I recently, I felt like I was in a little bit of a rut. So I decided why not try to bridge the two.
UTF: So is this your first con or is it a part of a series that you’re doing this year?
Tony Dela Cruz: This is actually my eighth Emerald City Comic Con. A few years ago I spoke at Comic-Con. I’ve done Rose City as recently as last fall. I’m trying to slowly branch out to other conventions so right now I’m, mainly for financial reasons, sticking with the northwest region, but eventually I’d like to see myself starting to move out to meet other markets and new people. As far as my style, I’m seeing that it’s resonating so I want to see it continue. I’ve got a lot of ideas formulating.
UTF: My next question, your wife was telling me about game assets that you’ve designed. Can you tell me more about that?
Tony Dela Cruz: Yeah. I had originally got my degree at the University of Guam and then moved here to Washington in 2003. Then after three years living in the east side I decided to go back to school and enhance my portfolio. I ended up with the intent to try to get into animation or perhaps the film industry. Obviously I know this is far away from Hollywood but I ended up getting an internship at a studio in Issaquah. And it turned out to be a full time job working on Marvel Super Hero Squad, the online game.
I designed a few environments but mostly assets, specific hero-themed ones. So I would be given let’s say a character like Spider-Man and I would have to design assets that read Spider-Man. Again, I had to deliver the message in a very quick, short, minimalist approach. After that, the studio head basically released me from my contract and I went into freelance work.
UTF: That sounds great. My last question is going to be very upfront. If you had advice to give to any of the fanboys or fangirls that go to our site and are hungry to do art, what would it be?
Tony Dela Cruz: The best advice I ever got was a few years ago actually at my first convention. I met an editor from DC Comics. I showed him my work just to at least get some professional feedback and understand how far I am from where I want to be and he said: to work every day at your craft like it’s already your job and you never know someday it will be. I’ve been following that credo ever since. My work is my hobby. I eat, sleep and drink drawing. My best advice is if you really want it, you will do what you have to do to get it. It’s like sports. If you want to be a good basketball player you got to play a lot of basketball, same thing with art.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Tony Dela Cruz for chatting with me. It was a pleasure, and I hope to see more of his artwork as 2014 rolls on.
So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?
Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!