Meet the kool kids of Komikon

It’s undeniable that the self-publishing scene in the Philippines has grown in ways that we could have never imagined. A lot of aspiring young artists work towards getting published. And with events and conventions like Komikon, it’s easier for budding comic artists and zine makers to share their stories to a wider market. This year, we scouted some of our favorite artists and talked to them about their beginnings, their inspiration, and how they got to creating in the first place. 

Margaux Janelle Chua, 21 (@margauxjanelle)

Margaux Chua’s digital paintings center around two important themes: the simple joys and “The Spirit of a Heroine,” or the struggles and greatness of women. Margaux first got into art thanks to her dad, “who would often draw my favorite cartoon characters for me as I watched in awe.” She attributes her growth as an artist, however, to being surrounded by talented peers at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde and casting away her self-doubt. “Through making art,” she says, “I want to be able to help make the world a little bit better somehow, in my own little way.” — Fiel Estrella

Andrea Franquez, 24 (@fishfranqz)

Just like any young artist, Andrea fell in love with characters and colors as a kid, but it was The Little Mermaid that inspired her to illustrate. She has been drawing as a hobby ever since, but it was in 2016 that she landed a booth at Komikon. “It was such an experience to see others appreciate your original work, something I don’t get to see when I booth at other cons. Komikon is special to me because of this. I can show the real me, my real art,” she says. And we’re hoping she’s not going to stop any time soon. — Maine Manalansan

Pejie Abia, 29 (@itsmeanansi)

Pejie Abia attributes his distinctive style to when he first watched Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress. “I really like how Kon expresses emotions in his drawings,” he says, “especially with his female characters.” There’s no mistaking Kon’s influence in Pejie’s series “Home Away From Home,” a combination “sad girls and architecture” that grew out of his frustration of wanting to be a background artist for anime. (The pieces are highly collectible, which is why he sells them in postcard form.) Asked why he makes art, Pejie, who also makes album covers and designs gig posters for bands, has only this to say: he does it “to create my own reality.” — FE

Yeehun, 24 (@yhnnhy)

Yeehun describes her art as “floating, flowy, on air,” and “often subtle, erotic, always grotesque.” There have been shifts in colors and styles over the years, but her work does indeed fall within the grotesque genre — think oddities and fantastic imagery. She tried dramatic art deco, but soon found herself dissatisfied. “It took me a while to draw something I would be proud of,” she says. After some experimentation, she landed upon her current style: colorful-grotesque, using lots of patterns. “When I see my work in physical form, it makes me go, ‘Wow… I did something like this,’” she shares. “And painful memories, like getting no sleep while working on these, makes everything worth it.” — FE

Clouds Lunn, 21 (@cloudslunn)

After her ballet lessons got cancelled, Clouds found herself taking up art programs on summer vacations. This passion carried on through the rest of the school year, and even then, her professors noticed her unique style. “Our professor Jason Moss also wrote a note on one of my sketches for class saying ‘I like your lines,’” she recalls. Ever since, she refuses to color within the lines and continues to unapologetically express herself. This year’s Komikon was her first, but she has already learned the ropes. After all, sharing her work has always been driven by heart: “I create for myself so I can breathe easy. When I create for others I do it because I love them.” — MM

Don Mikel Fumar, 27 (@don.fumar)

The reason why I joined Komikon is pretty simple: because I just wanted people to see my artworks. I’m not really after big sales,” comic artist Don Fumar shares. It’s his third year in Komikon, and by the looks of it, he has more ideas brewing soon. “I wanted people to buy my artwork in the (most affordable) way, so I decided to sell postcards and stickers,” he shares. His range of merchandise grows with him as he’s always trying to reinvent his style of artwork. One thing’s for sure, though; the playfulness and youthful charm will remain: “I create to tell a story and satisfy my inner child who just loves to draw and put colors in life.” — MM

Rian Gonzales, 23 (@rianbowart)

For Rian Gonzales, the most fun part of her process is coloring. “I’ve always been drawn to vibrant pieces because of Lisa Frank’s early influence in my art,” she explains. Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura also opened her up to becoming an artist, because she was interested in how an illustrator was able to bring these characters to life. Last year, Rian was tapped to create a variant cover for Archie Comics’ rebooted Betty & Veronica #1. Outside of her comics, her style leans toward a very particular niche, as seen in her “Candy Girl” illustrations. “I mostly draw women in trendy fashion, with delectable sweets and neon colors!” she says. “I’m heavily influenced by harajuku fashion and the pastel goth aesthetic.” — FE

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