I don’t get to do Woman of Interest articles that often, so when I meet the right woman to feature, I just had to fix a shoot and interview for it. Featured in this article is Rian Gonzales, popular artist for Archie Comics. I’ve been a fan of her chic style of illustration and even had her commission a Psylocke illustration for me. She was so trooper to work with, despite the sudden storm we had for this day. The sun broke out after lunch, giving us enough time to shoot.
What was your first exposure to illustration? How early did you start?
Remember the anime noon time shows in the local channels? That definitely was a jumpstart to my curiousity about art! I remember being so enchanted by Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. I would copy drawings of them on my notebook and show it off to a bunch of people! I also collected Archie Comics and W.I.T.C.H. titles when I was younger. I was also a big manga reader! 🙂
What this career a happy accident? Or did you study for something else?
When I was in highschool, I knew I always wanted to end up in the art field! I was part of the student publication as an artist and I was in a band! It was a toss between music and illustration. I was more confident with the latter so I went ahead and took Advertising Arts in UST 🙂
When was your first break doing commissions, and how was your art discovered?
I was doing commissions as early as when I was in first year college! DeviantArt was the biggest art community then and I was drawing in exchange for DA points for a premium membership! haha it was pretty shallow but it served as a training ground for me to have an idea how the industry works. I guess it helps that I was never shy to put my work out there. Some people may think it takes a lot of guts to setup a page for your work but it’s so nice to be able to connect to people through your work. I had friends in deviantart then who grew up to become working professionals! It’s great to witness their art journey. It’s never a competition! The art community is a friendly bunch 🙂
Do you have a regimen (hand exercises, etc…) to warm up before going about your work?
None! I am terrible at this! haha when I work and my back or hand hurts, i just take a few minutes nap then bounce back! Please do not follow this example! haha
You’re known for being a cover artist for Archie. How did that gig come about?
It’s surprising actually! When the New Revamped Archie from comic creators, FIona Staples and Mark Waid came out, I felt compelled to draw a fan art of the gang! I wasn’t really expecting anything from it. I just posted it up on my Twitter page then Fiona Staples commented and said that it was gorgeous! I was quite smitten at that time. Then, on the same night, Jonathan Betancourt, Director of Operations, messaged me. He told me they were thinking of recreating Betty and Veronica as well and he asked me if i’d like to be on board. I had to pinch myself a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! 🙂
Any particular Archie character you like drawing?
My favorite Archie Character is definitely Betty! I’m #TeamBetty all the way! Although, it is quite fun to draw Veronica since she’s this very posh Kardashian-esque teen with a sassy aura. I love drawing Josie as well since I’m very drawn to pop-punk fashion during my highschool days.
Your style has a very distinct pop-like and feminine feel, care to share your inspirations?
My first major influence was definitely Lisa Frank! She was like the Queen of the 90s. Stickers, journals, DIY bracelets and plushies, you name it! I definitely own anything Lisa Frank and I guess that still shows through my way of coloring art. I am also a big fan of magical girl mangas such as Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura! Most recently, I enjoy the works of Bengal, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart.
Speaking of your style, has it changed over these years?
Definitely! I used to have a very versatile art style because I wanted to figure out what I was really good at, then focus on that. I tried self-studyig a bunch of art styles from anime, comics and western animation. As time progresses, I try to learn more from the masters but I put my own twist to it, until eventually, I found my art style 🙂 Athough I do believe that it is a constant learning process, and I will constantly welcome change as long as I am finding out new things! 🙂
Any future art piece / project you are working on?
There are a ton of things I’m very excited to share but I can’t as of the moment! But definitely, there will be more comic covers, con appearances and notable brand collaborations in the future!
Watch our behind the scenes here!
- Make-up / Hair: Sassa Carlos
- Styling: Sancho Bernardo
- Producer: Carlo Ocampo