The art of creating a comic book takes a lot of work. With the abundance of DC and Marvel movies hitting blockbuster charts, it’s hard not to appreciate the process that goes behind creating these characters. The iconic characters we learn to know and love on the big screen all originated from pages clad in illustrations created by a person, an idea, and a pen.
The story of comic artists is a story not often told by a lot of people, so we’d like to shed light on that. To know more about what it is like to be a comic artist, we spoke to John Amor, a Cebuano comic artist based in Davao, and here’s what he has to say about his line of work.
Tell us bit about yourself and your work.
My name is John Amor. I’m a Cebuano based in Davao. I draw comics for American publishers for a living.
What are the common misconceptions about your line of work?
Most people assume most comic artists live in their parents’ basement drawing scantily clad women all day. But on the other end of the spectrum, there also exists the image of rock star artists surrounded by fangirls. Those kinds of artists do exist, but I wouldn’t call them the norm.
Describe your typical work day.
My days usually start at noon, or a little past it. I grab “breakfast” and feed my dogs, and right around the time I have my first coffee the wife gets home from her day job. That brief window is the best part of the day, right up until she goes to bed after dinner. Then I start doing actual work around 10 pm till about 6 am. My clients are all on the other side of the world, so I essentially go by NY time, when I can manage it. 10pm – 6am is essentially me in the trenches, just drawing as much as I can to tell whatever story needs to be told that day. Then I crash right around the time my wife leaves for work.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Drawing is rewarding in itself because at its core you’re creating a world out of nothing. That will never stop being cool. But hands down the most enjoyable part is interacting with fans of my work. It’s a special feeling, knowing something you labored over made an impression on someone’s busy life.
On the flipside John, what would you say is the hardest part of your job? What makes it fulfilling? Would you trade it for something else?
I’d say hardest part, easily, is sticking to a deadline. Comics are a collaborative job, so there’s always someone in the pipeline who can’t do their job until you finish yours. I’m generally a fast artist, but every now and then, a page will come along that will kick my ass, and I’ll just slow right down. What makes the job fulfilling though is knowing that the story you were trying to tell, with just pictures, came out exactly how you wanted. And now people can consume it. When you do that right, it’s gold. I absolutely 100% would not trade it for anything else.
Any message to those who want to pursue the same career? What does it take to be successful or happy in your field?
Draw every day. And never stop exposing yourself to new stories. Not even necessarily just comics, but wherever you can read, hear, or see them. And to be happy in this field, have a story of your own to tell, and tell it when you feel you’re ready.
Get to know more about John’s work here: