"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."--Pablo Picasso
I've decided to start a Let's Meet...series to highlight artists, writers and the like whom I admire.
Tony Dela Cruz, a fellow islander from Guam is the FIRST subject of my series.
I've met Tony once, at a Comic Con, which is no surprise to people who know me. I set off to find him at the artists’ tables because my brother and sister-in-law told me he was there. Rose City Comic Con was a welcoming, laid back experience and finding Tony was a breeze (I compare my Portland con experience to San Diego’s, which is massive and overwhelming and tons of geeky fun having been to twice).
When I found Tony, he recognized me as my kid brother’s sister. Sonny is also an artist. We exchanged pleasantries and I recall asking him if he had any Wonder Woman art, my favorite hero of all time. He graciously directed me to another artist, but I leaned in and told Tony that I would only want to support him, both being from Guam.
Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to watch Tony’s art portfolio grow. I’m eying several of his Wonder Woman designs and will make good on my promise. Soon, Tony, soon!
With his own words, I hope you enjoy learning more about this talented artist!
1. When did this passion for art start?
Pretty early, a couple things really stand out, I remember being a kid watching some artist on PBS drawing workers on a bridge with charcoal and I recall trying to copy what the artist was doing as he was doing it. I also grew up watching my Dad doodle on tiny strips of paper, something I find myself doing from time to time to this day.
2. Why the comic genre specifically?
When I was 13, a lot of my classmates and specifically my cousins were heavily into comic books. It was either that or Dungeons and Dragons, which I never really understood. I opened up one of my cousin’s comic books and I was just hooked from the get go. I started collecting then and have yet to stop. Comics have also helped me grow my skills too. I believe if you’re going to learn something why not incorporate things you love and make the journey enjoyable.
3. Where are you based?
I am based in Seattle, WA more specifically West Seattle.
4. Where can people see your art, purchase? Contact info.
I am currently hosting an art page on Facebook (facebook.com/TDCart) I also have my professional portfolio page (adc1171.wix.com/adc.) This site showcases my professional work in the gaming industry. I also now have an art store (tdcart.storenvy.com) and I can be reached at email@example.com
5. How is the comic con experience for you as an attendee/fan and artist vendor?
The funny thing is have been doing conventions for 8-9 years now and have only attended as a fan once. As an exhibitor in Artist Alley it has been an enriching experience. It has pushed me out of my artistic shell and comfort zones and has forced me to grow and learn to network and market myself better as an artist. Something not every artist is taught in school.
6. How would you describe your style?
I tend to favor a very illustrative style. Comic books have definitely influenced this. I used to work as a graphic artist on Guam and some elements of that type of work also drive certain decisions.
7. Who are your influences?
In comics, I was very influenced in my youth by John Byrne, Art Adams, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson to name a few. More modern artists have played a role as well like Alex Ross, his composition and sense of design is very strong. In terms of art as a whole, Normal Rockwell, Salvador Dali, and the great masters of course.
8. Which character(s) are you all time favorite(s) to illustrate?
My absolute favorite character to draw is the Hulk. By far, the most challenging yet most liberating. I actually find myself making angry faces/expressions as I draw him.
9. What medium do you illustrate with? Digital? Paints?
I primarily use the digital medium nowadays. Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro and Manga Studio are my go to tools now. But when all else fails I always go back to pencils and paper. I just feel I am most comfortable with a pencil in hand.
10. Any comments/observations/criticisms on any of the upcoming comic based movies?
As a whole I think we are living in a great era of cinema and comic books. Advances in technology have helped. My personal opinion though is that the writing has yet to catch up. The movies coming out of the Marvel/Disney pairing are a strong step in the right direction. There are still some curious creative choices being made from the top out there. It’s definitely a challenge when the Internet and the notion of ”creating something new and exciting” come into play. My biggest criticism is too much information gets spoiled early now. A certain movie that just came out is a perfect example of overexposure killing interest.
11. Marvel or DC?
Ah, I grew up Marvel. To this day 98% of my monthly pull box at the comic shop is still Marvel. There was a brief dalliance with the DC universe in the mid to late 80’s, but that has stopped as a whole. I’m not knocking the DC universe, but my first love of comics will always find me back at Marvel.
12. We are commonly connected because of growing up on Guam. What do you most miss about the island?
I definitely miss the people and the culture. I love Seattle, and generally people here have been terrific, but nothing beats home.
13. Please add any additional information you would like the readers to know about you.
As a Marvel fanboy, it was my dream come true to work first hand on an online game for Marvel called, Marvel Superhero Squad Online as well as providing artwork for the physical trading card game that accompanied.
Thank you, Tony! Please check him out at TDCart!