Tintin Pantoja: Artist from abroad

A remarkable conversation with an illustrator working out of the Philippines

December 9, 2020

Tintin Pantoja graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2005 with a BFA in Illustration/Cartooning. She illustrated the graphic novel "Who is AC?" written by Hope Larson, "Unplugged and Unpopular" with Mat Heagerty, "Hamlet: The Manga Edition", three volumes of "Graphic Universe’s Manga Math" series, and many more. She is based in Manila, Philippines. Visit her at TintinPantoja.com.

Ramon: Everybody, welcome to the Comic Arts Workshop! We've been going on for three years now. Jonah's one of the original founding members. I'm not sure if Joshua is…

You're giving me too much credit Ramon. I did no work to find the group. I just showed up at the events.

Ramon: Yeah, but you've pinched it for me.

Jonah: I guess that's true. Yeah.

Ramon: You've done some of the interviews for me when I wasn't feeling up to it and I appreciate that. I remember if Josh was in from the very beginning. Josh, were you at the very first one? I don't remember.

Josh: No, I joined a little bit afterward.

Ramon: But Josh was part of the first anthology workshop that we conducted. So we had that in 20-, was that 2018 or 2019 that we do the anthology? We had a bunch of guys and we met once a week and I give lessons on comic book stuff and we put together an anthology, kick-started, and got that published by Pronto. And Caylin over here is part of the current group of people who are taking the workshop and we are producing. Everybody has created for themselves a project that you know, we will finish through and we hope to finish through, right Caylin? Anyway, so let's get started. So tonight we are very honored to have our first, very, very, very first international guest speaker Tintin, it's Pantoja, right?

Tintin: Pantoja. Yeah.

Ramon: Yes. So, in the Philippines, there's a lot of Silent J's and G's. In the Philippines I actually grew up with the name, Gil, it's my last name…

Tintin: Right, that's how I pronounce it.

Ramon: It was until I came to this country that everybody started saying Gil and I just, “Okay, fine”, you know. If 99% of the people are saying Gil, the only people who say Gil (hil) are Filipinos and Spanish people and Brazilian saying Gil (jil) because in Portuguese “G” is like “gi” sound I guess from the Portuguese or anything. So anyways, Tintin, we met at the Diversity Comic-Con, she attended online and as I later found out she's quite an accomplished graphic novel illustrator. And I was thrilled to be able to get her to come to speak with us today. So our first question is, can you tell us about your career path?

Tintin: Okay…

Ramon: Wait, wait, wait. Everybody, please give a round of applause for Tintin for coming?

Tintin: Thank you.

Ramon: Okay, so go ahead.

Tintin: Okay, well in terms of career path, as a kid I was always interested in comics. I started reading “Archies” you know from book bargain bins and all that but I only started seriously pursuing comics in college. Well, in high school, I joined, you know, I was like the only chick in my Comics Club but in High school, was it High School, College, College. I was attending college in the Philippines and it just wasn't working out. So I ended up quitting, dropping out in the Philippines, and enrolling in SVA that was in 2001 and I arrived like a week before 911 something like that. Yeah. So anyway that was there and I did four years again of SVA, graduated in 2005 where you know a lot of things were changing there was an influx of manga at that point, the manga's really big at that time. So there were a lot of manga adaptations and I got work doing an adaptation of “Hamlet” for Wiley and they were doing manga adaptations of Shakespeare. So I did that first after that I was able to do a few more as I worked with TOKYOPOP on “Pride and Prejudice” another adaptation, which sadly was not published. It was in process when TOKYOPOP went under. And then I did a few kid's books, “Manga Math”, they were kind of books designed to get kids into solving math problems in comic book form and that turned me on to kids graphic novels and stories for the younger set. So, I worked on that and you know I floated for a while after that, didn‟t do much. And then what next oh, I got a gig with Simon & Schuster working with Hope Larson on a book called “Who is AC”. And so I finished that around 2010 floated a bit more, you know not kind of drifted between teaching comics and you know, making my own stuff and then finally, Oni, I signed up for Oni to do a book called “Unplugged & Unpopular” which is another kids book which is a Sci-Fi kids book, it's not educational but it's middle grade the class would be middle grade right now. And then after that, right now, I'm still working on a series of books for a Singaporean publisher called Difference Engine and it's called “Makers Club” and it's about kids who want to get into stem influenced fields, or they want to solve problems using stem, you know, S-T-E-M techniques and that's that until the present. And I forgot to mention I was one of the people on “Girlamatic” which was an early webcomics collective back in 2005 or 2003 something like that. And so I was doing webcomics while I was studying at SVA for it was a paysite. So that was one of my first professional experiences. That was the first. Yeah, that's basically it. So right now I'm between teaching between doing my own stuff and freelancing.

Ramon: I know I gave you that list of questions, but I do have some follow-up questions that were down on that list.

Tintin: Sure, sure.

Ramon: You said so you grew up reading comics in the Philippines. Now, you know when I was growing up in the Philippines, you know, you were either getting Filipino Comics, right? Or you were getting reprints of America of Marvel and DC Comics, right?


Ramon: But that was the 80s. So when you were reading comics and you know, when you were growing up were these Marvel-DC, were these Indies, were these coming out of like, you know, the publishing houses or were they coming out in comic book company. What kind of comics were you reading in the Philippines?

Tintin: Well, I started out with “Archies” because Archie Comics are everywhere here or were back in the 80s. And then I found a stack of “Tintin” Comics, you know, the Hergé ones in my school library so I devoured those. And then you know “Alf” Comics you know a lot of American reprints. And then I moved to Indonesia actually, I lived in Indonesia between 1991 and 1998 and they started importing a lot of manga, translating, and importing a lot of manga. So I would read and try to learn Indonesian, sadly not very well, but I would read Indonesian Comics which were influenced by manga as well as manga that had been translated into Indonesian. And they were translating a bunch of early 80s stuff so we were talking about early “Shoujo”, 90s stuff like “Sailor Moon” and “Yu Yu Hakusho” you know, the big 90s titles, the big 80s titles, “Rose of Versailles”. I also had a lot of international friends a lot of Taiwanese friends, Japanese friends who would be reading comics in class, and I would just, you know borrow the volumes from them. And I remember as the night before one of our big final exams, I was reading “Rose of Versailles”, which I had cribbed from one of my German-Japanese friends, and I know this is a spoiler but you know it's a French Revolution so pretty much everyone, you know dies at the end. And this was a big shocker to me. So I called her up and I was like, “Oh my god, everybody dies. Why?”, she was like, “Shut up. Study. Study”. So yeah, that was my big story like me going to pieces the night before my exam not because of stress, but because Oscar dies in the end. Sorry guys.

Ramon: Thanks, you spoil it for me. How did you get your first job doing Comics or graphic novels?

Tintin: Well, if you count “Girlamatic”, I'm not quite sure. I think I must have signed up online somewhere but in terms of doing the “Hamlet” book, which is my first published book. Sorry?

Ramon: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

Tintin: Yeah, the “Hamlet” adaptation for John Wiley with Adam Sexton that was mostly through school, you know. I was doing manga at the time it was big this was around 2005 they were looking for manga artists who were kind of just coming into the style but working in the western industry. So I got a recommendation from my teacher, you know with your [inaudible] they're looking for people so it was, you know, connections within the school.

Ramon: So you were still in New York when this happened?

Tintin: Yes, yes, and then I finished it when I moved back to Indonesia briefly after New York. Yeah, so that's why I finished the book. I got the assignment in New York and then finished it that Indonesia, which was interesting because at that time the internet hasn't been, the connections weren't very good back in Jakarta when I moved back so that was kind of a struggle.

Ramon: So after that, all your freelance projects were done while you were living abroad.

Tintin: Yeah. Yeah, pretty much online, word of mouth, yeah online applications, support folio submissions. Yeah.

Ramon: Would you say that all your work is coming through referrals and that you don't have to, one of the things that they always tell you whether it's in comics or in business is you don‟t have to go, you have to network and meet people and make contacts to get…

Tintin: Yeah. That's a big chunk of it, yeah. And that's one of the big difficulties if you're working in the US industry and you live outside the US which is how are you going to network and meet all these, you know, all the editors, all the people, all your peers and you know, I hate to say this but the covid environment with people going online has helped that a lot. It's made connections a lot more accessible. It's you know, what the one bright spot I guess.

Ramon: But before Covid does that mean that you would travel to Comic Cons outside of Asia?

Tintin: Yeah, I would go to New York regularly in once every two or three years, check out NYCC, but you know, I never made you know, big connections there. I would always get lost. It was always such a big event that I could never, I didn't know who to meet, and I didn't know how to submit. So it was mostly online via emails later on and a lot of luck. Yeah. And hearing about submission calls. Yeah.

Ramon: Why did you leave New York or why did you move back to Asia?

Tintin: Well, it was simply, I was working freelance, after 911 it became very hard to stay in New York on a work visa and the work Visa anyway you couldn't support freelance, you had to have a regular job in the industry that you had studied in so, you know Comics does not really hire people and issue work visas. And at that time, I know there's a way around it where you build up your portfolio if you're a very well recognized artist you can apply as a special O Visa…

Ramon: Yeah, there is.

Tintin: …but that didn't apply to my case. Yeah. You know, beginning of the career, it's not really it's for mid-career or people at the height of their careers. Yeah, not really for people just starting out.

Ramon: I could do that now.

Tintin: No, yeah would be, quite expensive.

Ramon: Let me ask you, what do you think are the advantages of living abroad and working for the US market?

Tintin: Advantages, well, the cost of living is lower, I think. With the internet right now, with the connections, with the improved connections, it's a lot easier to get work, to contact people and I wouldn't say it's an advantage but U.S. Publishers are being a lot more open with working with people outside the US and traditional markets. I'm sorry guys, can you hear that?

Ramon: Yes.

Tintin: Is there a bark in the background? I am so sorry you want me to? Yeah, if it bothers you I'll do something about it. If not…

Ramon: Let's keep going and see how it goes.

Tintin: Okay, okay.

Ramon: So, the flip side is that so what some of the disadvantages of working from abroad aside from like the internet which is now better and aside from not being able to network at local events. What are some of the other disadvantages are problems, obstacles you have to be a freelance illustrator?

Tintin: The time difference, you know, it's kind of hard to field phone calls in the middle of the night. I'm doing a lot of meetings with you know, with the U.S. group right now, a Meetup group kind of like yours, and a lot of the stuff is like at the middle of the night at 2 a.m. for me and I have to stay up late for that. Getting comp copies, getting supplies it's why partly why I decided to move my work digital instead of doing traditional work like with pen and ink because for a while it was super hard to get you to know decent pen and ink and brushes here and they're so expensive when they get here. So the supplies, getting comp copies, getting work like I mean getting reference we don't have public libraries so if you want to book you buy it and that can get pretty expensive.

Ramon: I guess that's true. We didn't have public libraries. We have school libraries, I remember school libraries but not public libraries.

Tintin: Yeah.

Ramon: Do you ever work with me, I know that last month we had David Campiti who represents a couple of Filipino artists and one of my regulars is Chris Allo who also represents a couple of Filipino artists, do you ever work with representatives or agents?

Tintin: You know, I tried I attended a couple of Dave Campiti's workshops, but I was never like, my style, I don't think my styles fit his market for one thing. He's very direct market-oriented and it's a very, I think well, from what I remember he had a very specific look in his Studio, but also, I don't know I just never found a studio that I was comfortable with working with.

Ramon: What about agents?

Tintin: I have an agent right now. I did work with an agent since 2005 but we split up and then now I have a different agent. So yeah, that's pretty important but he's a traditional market, traditional book market agent, he‟s not a comic book agent. So I've been getting stuff mostly on my own like in terms of work, but I'm trying to get him to fill my books, my stories and he's New York, well, he used to be New York-based until all the New York office is closed for the year. So now he's like in the Virgin Islands or something.

Ramon: Nice. What's your ultimate goal as a graphic novel illustrator? What would be your main thing?

Tintin: I want to write and draw my own stuff, which is where the market is heading. It's heading towards writer-artists or at least writer-artist teams, people who author your own stories. I've been trying to break into the traditional book market, the trade market and that's why I got this agent. And I'm my ultimate dream is to write and draw my own books, which is kind of what I'm doing now, so I‟m trying…

Ramon: So, when you say the traditional book market, you mean the traditional graphic novel book market? Not prose, right?

Tintin: The traditional children's book market, so we're talking about the big publishers, the big four now...

Ramon: So when you say children's book, you're talking about non-graphic novels? Are you talking about [inaudible].

Tintin: Well, the traditional Publishers like Scholastic and Simon and Schuster…

Ramon: But they produced children's book somebody else produce graphic novels.

They started getting into graphic novels…

Ramon: Yeah.

Tintin: … ever since like the early-mid 2000s.

Ramon: So you want to do graphic novels for them? For those guys?

Tintin: Yes.

Ramon: I get it. Okay.

Tintin: As well as online, you know Webtoons is huge, webcomics are growing. There are a lot more opportunities on my mind than when I started out, so that's another avenue.

Ramon: Okay. I have one last question but instead, I would like to open it up to the audience to see if anybody has any questions.

Tintin: Okay. I'm so sorry about that.

Ramon: Guys, does anybody have any questions?

Charles: Can you tell us what your class is?

Tintin: My classes?

Charles: Yeah. Yeah, but what do you actually teach and what sort of students are coming to you?

Tintin: I thought I would teach, you know I had a class for adults, young adults, and we would talk about graphic novels and the pitching process and being a bit more professional in approach. And then I had to class for kids and we would do you know how to make comics, how to make quick comic exercises. So we would have projects like make a zine, make a two-page comic, learn to Ink, that kind of things. So back in 2014 to about 2006, I was teaching and then I would home tutor after that until Covid hit…

Ramon: This is in the Philippines, Tintin?

Tintin: Yeah. This is in the Philippines.

Any other questions guys?

Jonah: I have a question. Are you actively working on any kid's graphic novel proposals that are self-written and illustrated at the moment?

Tintin: Yeah. Yeah. I'm working on a YA graphic novel right now. It's been through like five drafts already. I got my agent through that project it's called “Unicorn Sword” for now and it's been with him. I've been rewriting, workshopping it with him, you know, it went through the first round of submissions but didn't go anywhere so we had to revise it and we're going through it again getting ready for the next hopefully last draft or last iteration of it for 2021. Yeah, so it's a slow agonizing process at least for me getting through to traditional Publishers. Yeah.

Robert: I have a question.

Tintin: Yeah?

Robert: The books you focus on it‟s like what kind of themes do you like to focus on like a life lesson that you want to apply with your books? Different life lessons?

Tintin: To the books. I write?

Robert: Yes.

Tintin: The themes, well, I am more of a fantasy person. Does that answer? Yeah. In terms of genre, I'm more of a fantasy person rather than a slice-of-life person or contemporary which is you know, contemporaries rom-coms and things said in the real world, but I can't help bringing in themes of fantasy or horror or whatever there has to be some speculative element to all my stories. And I think the common denominator in my stories is that they all feature young girls at least for now or even young women or they're very fit in the YA space so it's kind of like teenage, early to late teenage, fantasy, or speculative, John Rogue work. Yeah.

Ramon: Any other questions guys? I have a question…

Jonah: What have you learned from, oh, sorry Ramon…

Ramon: Go ahead, go ahead.

Jonah: … I interrupted you. So, you said that the first time you pitched it didn't work out. What did you learn about either, you know the story or the pitch process that you know will allow you to improve for the next time?

Tintin: Okay, for the story itself, a lot of storytelling stuff I mean the market is very particular in what it wants or at least editors are very particular on what they want and sometimes they just won't tell you. They'll say, “This is not a good fit for me. This is not good a good fit for our house”. So I was very lucky to receive feedback from one editor who had very specific things to say. So I've been applying those and a lot of those are you know clarifications of world-building theme, character, you know without getting too specific you have to know your protagonist very well and the world has to, I don't know, the world has to have this, it has to be explained, it has to have this internal logic. I just discovered it it‟s so much harder to do fantasy than it is to do contemporary,  real-world stuff because you have to explain the rules of the world so thoroughly and help your reader understand it and everything has to make sense. And also the info dumps, oh my god, like how do you tell a person the history of like a thousand-year-old world or that kind of thing without gliding too light on it, so that‟s the storytelling aspect. In terms of pitching, I learned to, first of all, try to be resilient, try to not take anything personally because the rejection is going to be hard and there's going to be a lot of it and just to be more malleable I think with the stories you want to tell. I think if you want to pitch traditionally you're going to have to be prepared to make a lot of changes to your story to accept a lot of revisions within the scope of, you know, what you want to express, within the scope of your story. Hopefully while staying true to yourself and the story.

Charles: You said you've been through six revisions on a recent project so [inaudible]…

Tintin: Yeah.

Charles: So, at what stage is the work that you're doing is, I mean you haven't reached a hundred pages six times, I hope.

Tintin: Well, I'm a bit slow. The way I do comics is I actually write the whole thing, I doodle the whole thing in rough sketches so you know that's the whole book and the rough draft is handwritten. So I've done that like four or five times at this point.

Charles: Ouch.

Tintin: Yeah. But I like writing by hand. And then I type it in and then we do the revisions based on the typewritten document. So at that stage, at this newest stage, the latest document, I handwritten the whole thing again, I've written to the outline turned it in to my agent and I'm waiting for feedback.

Charles: Is this a, you say handwritten, is this a story just drawn out or is it a text outline?

Tintin: I draw the entire thing…

Charles: Okay.

Tintin: …like in doodle forms, sketch forms…

Charles: Right, right.

Tintin: …and then I summarized it as an outline and turned it into my agent. But before then I'm working with an even rougher outline, so. I don't think a lot of people work like this. I think a lot of people either go straight to writing the text document or they work from a pitch and I don't know how they get deals based on pitches. I think for an untried writer you really have to have a finished manuscript but a lot of people seem to get by on pitches, so.

Ramon: Any other questions Hey, how feasible is it to self-publish in the Philippines? Over here we are able to, there is a lot of bunch of printers that print on demand or can do smaller ones or do digital printing. So how feasible is it to self-publish in the Philippines?

Tintin: You know I know a couple of people who are just doing self-publishing and they're working okay. I mean, I don't know the complete finances but you know living costs are lower but also people are living together with their families. Like the concept of living alone on your own is not the same as it is in the west, you live with your family until you're married or you know, you really have to like move for work purposes. So that contributes to the lower...

Ramon: Cost of living?

Tintin: …lower cost of living. So people have been getting by based on that. There's a writer-publisher team they do a book for teens about angels or something and they seem to be doing okay. They publish in local comic book stores, local bookshops. The distribution system is really bad I got to say, digital, I think is still in its infancy here, digital books. So it's a combination of selling in book stores, selling commissions, selling in local comic events, which were kind of plentiful until 2020.

Ramon: A related question I have is this is I've worked with several artists from the Philippines on my books but for a long time most of these artists that I would find in the Philippines are all doing Marvel-DC style meaning superheroes and people with muscles and things like that. And whenever I tried to look for illustrators who work like you or Raina Telgemeier or you know artists that are more that are not Marvel-DC house style, but are more, you know, like an original graphic novel, Memoir type, you know Art Spiegelman types, things like that. I couldn't find them in the Philippines until I met you. Is there a community of artists like that there?

It's growing! For the longest time comics here were dominated by a lot of Marvel and DC stuff because that‟s the stuff we were getting, that's the stuff that we were seeing. The local industry was very dominated by American Comics or American comic styles. But with webcomics now that webcomics are coming in, people influenced by manga, people influenced by you know, Indie comics from the State's online, you know, the demographics are shifting, the styles are changing and we're seeing a lot more non Marvel-DC styles, I think. There's a new web comics site called Penlab, Penlab something like that, it features Filipino creators and you'll see that shift in style over there. It's very much not Marvel-DC anymore.

Ramon: Okay, looking forward to that. Does anybody else have any questions guys? Nobody else? Okay.

Tintin: Well, what are you guys working on?

Ramon: Why don't we go around the room and really quickly and quickly reintroduce ourselves and very briefly what you're working on. So let‟s start with Jonah.

Jonah: Okay. I'm Jonah. I live in Brooklyn. I am a graphic novel editor and a cartoonist. I work at Scholastic on graphic novels and picture books as my day job and then at night for example right now, I draw and I have a graphic novel with Little Brown coming out in 2023. It's a YA contemporary thing that is loosely based on my experiences in high school and I'm almost 50% done penciling it which is great but that also means I have to pencil the next fifty percent and then ink the whole thing. Luckily,I don't have to color it…

Ramon: How many total pages, Jonah?

Jonah: It's going to be 256, the full book, which is like 244 of art so it's substantial. I mean, I did one other graphic novel that I publish as a webcomic and that was only like a hundred and sixty pages or something and that took me like six years and this is a situation where I'm trying to do significantly more than that in significantly less time. So it's a lot.

Tintin: Nice, nice. Congrats.

Jonah: Thank you.

Ramon: Your turn Charlie.

Charlie: I'm Charlie Boatner. I was a minor writer in the Bronze Age and I currently have a webcomic going which actually is mirrored on webtoons so I know the webtoons experience.

Audience: Don't say minor writer, gosh.

Ramon: Yeah, don't say. Yeah, don‟t say minor writer unless you're like 14, so.

Tintin: Oh, yeah. That's how I understood it, like a young writer.

Ramon: Josh.

Josh: My name is Josh. I'm working on One-shot a 122-page story that I wrote and I'm currently penciling. Penciling pages, I hired an inker so he's inking some of my earlier pages and that's all I‟m working on.

Ramon: Who did you get Josh?

Josh: I've got a man, a guy in Texas. His name is Sherman Tedium, I like his work.

Ramon: Okay. Awesome. Caylin.

Caylin: Alright, so it'll be a challenge for me, but I'll try to keep this brief. I am working on a sort of like it's been a love child since 2016 and every day I‟m learning something. I have friends who have different degrees of experience and have been published and one of my good friends scared the crap out of me a couple of days ago because Tintin you have mentioned that you have finished a script for your story and you draw it out in doodle form and you submit that to your agent. So from my research, I understood that agents and Publishers want to see two issues done, basically. So my friend scared me because she's like, you know, “You have to have this whole thing done. This whole thing has to be done. Oh my god”. So, I spoke to additional people and I've walked off the ledge, but that's where I am now. I've just come off the ledge. I'm in the room and I'm sipping a cocktail.

Tintin: All right, that's a good stage to be at.

Ramon: I think every case is different. I think not every pitch has to be finished. Not every publisher expects a finished book. I think a lot of them prefer a chance to give some input in the creating of the book.

Caylin: That's right.

Jonah: That's definitely true. In the kids graphic novel stakes like we usually like to see, you know, full plot synopsis and some artwork not necessarily a finished manuscript, although if it's just text than just, you know, if it's just text then probably the finished manuscript, but if there's some art I think it's better to have it be like a little bit I don't know like it should be fully shaped but still very I think it's open to change like if it's completely drawn out and it can't really be, it‟d be too difficult to like significantly edit it. I think that that is an obstacle.

Ramon: There you go. Hey, Mark. Why don't you tell us about yourself? Mr. Tannen, are you there?

Jonah: I think he's on mute.

Ramon: Okay, we‟ll come back to Mark. Robert. I'm going through the line, you guys in the row. Robert you‟re next.

Robert: All right. Well, I'm working on a comic book that is a love letter to my childhood growing up in the 80s pop culture. And 2021 I'll be celebrating my eighth year working on it, so.

Tintin: Dedication.

Robert: Oh, also I will say that yes. Yes. Well, the thing is it's a comic book that a 12-year old me wish I made so I'm never going to let go that that promise I made, so. But I will also say that at Thanksgiving weekend, I just finished 22 pages fully drawn, fully colored, so, Happy Thanksgiving to me.

Tintin: Wow. Nice. Nice. Congratulations.

Robert: Yes.

Ramon: Jill your turn.

Hey, good I've got my coat and my scarf on so I was going to run out so I'm not running out because you asked. I'm Jill. Hi Tintin!

Tintin: Hello.

Jill: We spoke during Diversity Comic-Con…

Tintin: Right.

Jill: ..briefly…
Tintin: Right, right.

Jill: So, yeah. I'm an art restorer. That's all this art around here, not all of it is mine, and I'm working on three projects sort of kind of get stuck behind me there. It's interesting to hear people say well, I've been working on this, you know, eight years and this many years because if you work on three at once, you kind of lose track of when you started so I'm working on three of them all Vic Memoir. The process is very interesting. I was talking about this with Ramon and a couple of people in my class. I am drawing a lot for my layout, but I fall in love with certain kinds of paper and I do watercolor of some of the images and then I'm going to start dropping them in via Photoshop into the draw-on pages. And it's a lot more work than just putting them all in one page at once but yeah, [inaudible] something that I kind of work that I can‟t seem to give up. And my deadline right now, thanks to Ramon, is to get three chapters done so that I could make that a pitch.

Tintin: Okay.

Jill: So, that‟s what I‟m working on.

Tintin: Nice. Good luck. Good luck with the three chapters.

Ramon: Lemoney.

Jill: Thanks. And you know forgive me, I'm going to go off video but I'll be listening to you.

Ramon: Lemoney, you're up.

Lemoney: Hi everybody! Hi Christina! Thank you for being here. I'm sorry I was late. I'm Lemoney. I am Ramon‟s problem child student. You know to the point where…

Ramon: Yeah. It's somebody else. It‟s somebody else, Lemoney. Go ahead.

Lemoney: … I have a hard time focusing but I've got two projects that I'm working on right now. So, I'm a clinical psychologist and I'm hoping to turn my dissertation into a graphic novel. Yeah, it's pretty intense. Come again? Okay, sorry. I thought I heard something. So, it's a qualitative study that I did and I interviewed 14 Dominican women and I asked them about their ethnic identity, beauty ideals, and their self-esteem. You know, so how did they racially identify, what were the implications of the kind of like beauty work? How did they learn how to kind of like learn about beauty, feel beautiful, like where are these messages coming from and then what was the beauty work practices that they were employing and then how did all those things impact your self-esteem? So, what Ramon said he was just like focus on just like doing one participant at a time and doing one book as a participant since I've got 14 of them and potentially doing that as a series so that‟s what I‟m putting on the side. That's one project and then the second one is so I'm a psychologist right and my grandma's she suffered from schizophrenia. So I'm writing kind of like a small another one small short story about her and kind of like her process and I've told the story before but just really briefly, I think I got some time, yeah Ramon? Or can I skip it? Yeah? Okay. So, just really quickly, my grandma when they emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic they still work in factories and so when my grandpa used to come and pick her up, he used to flirt with all the women, you know, and so they seek the delusion in her head that these women moved in next door into the abandoned building, you know into the abandoned house and she always had conversations with them and I live with my grandparents during high school, you know, so I always would catch her talking to herself or yelling at them or just, you know, just very disturbed. And so, you know, I would tell her whenever I passed by there I'm going to tell them not to bother you. Okay. I'm just tellingl him to shut up, you know, I would tell her that. And so, I'll tell that story, you know about my relationship with my grandma and how that kind of like, you know, throw me and lands me to the waters of clinical psychology and then doing my dissertation graphic novel, but that's me in a nutshell. I'm a mess. Ramon's had me for about three, four, five months now, Ramon? I'm not quite sure. And I‟m the last one to put anything up on that board. So it's a pleasure to have you thank you so much, and I'm looking for continuing with these projects and getting to know the rest of this community. So thank you so much for being with us.

Ramon: Hey, Mark, tell us about yourself. Thanks, Lemoney.

Lemoney: Thank you.

Mark: Okay. Hey. I'm Mark and nice to see some familiar faces. Jonah hasn't seen you for a while. How's it going? Hey Charlie. Hey Jill. Josh. I'm Mark. I also run another Meetup group which is for people who are working on their own graphic novels and kind of what feedback and we have a very different vibe to Ramon‟s group but we're all one big happy comic family so it's always good to see everyone. I am working on a graphic memoir called “The Godfather of the Ghetto” and it's about family secrets and it's about my great-grandfather who was accused of being a Nazi collaborator even though he was an orthodox Jew and it's about how we relate to family secrets and how families try to shove things under the carpet and it's also sort of reflected off of my identity as a gay man and how my family is not with that secret kind of like putting a lens through both of those experiences. And Tintin, it was very interesting to hear you speak today because I'm someone I can't draw at all. I love amazing artists such as yourself, and I've worked with an artist from China and also up with an artist from Greece. So I'm very interested in hearing about the odds of experience of working with people in other countries because I've certainly had some speed bumps along the way when it comes to things like language barrier and just trying to really communicate nuances. It can be challenging and you speak great English and I know the Philippines, in general, is probably really great because the Philippines, I know English is very common. But when you're dealing with China, when you're dealing with Greece and the Greek language there have been a lot of bumps and difficulties that I've had in a way that kind of gets me curious about whether or not I shouldn't just find someone locally. And so anyway, just I'm rambling but that's me. And that's what I have to say.

Ramon: Thank you, Mark. Hey, Mark, were having our holiday party on the 15th. You're welcome to have a group, we can do a joint one if you want.

Mark: Sure, that sounds a great idea.

Ramon: The Kumo space is already set up and everything. But…

Mark: Amazing, we'll side [inaudible] for sure.

Ramon: Sounds good. And lastly, I teach at a local college, but I also created this Workshop just for me as a way to connect. The story I always tell is that I hate going to the bars after Comic Cons. So what I do is I organize these speaking events, so that that's how I network with people in the industry. That's how I get to know them. I invite them to come to speak. I get to ask all the questions that I‟m interested in and don‟t have to worry about alcohol or paying for drinks or the noise of a bar, the occasional dog, but you know, but not by not bar nose. And currently, I'm working on a graphic novel for Benchmark publishing which is going to be a more graphic novel textbook about entrepreneurship and I'm also working on some pitches that I am workshopping, you know, I will be sending around. But I self-published a bunch of stuff and I've been publishing a bunch of anthologies. So anyway, I am very, very pleased that almost everybody here is working on something. I'm really quite impressed with that. What I've noticed about this group is the longer we've been on the more we seem to attract more serious creators people who are actually putting you know, the money where their mouth is and not just people who are talking about doing something but people are doing something and I'm really quite pleased with that. But anyway, my last question for Tintin before we call it a night since we‟re almost up to the wee hour is do you have any advice for people who want to follow in your footsteps just being a comic book illustrator?

Advice. You know, there's the advice that you know be nice, be on time with your deadlines. I think it's also, I don't know if I have anything particular or unique to impart in that.

Ramon: One of the questions I sometimes ask is what some brutally honest advice you would give somebody? Maybe that helps.

Tintin: Really honest advice.

Ramon: You want a word about hurting somebody's feelings what advice would you give them?

You know, you're going to have a lot of compromises and it really depends on what you want. So, you got to define what you want and work towards that because sometimes if you want to get published it sometimes it's going to if you have like this rock-solid vision of this book that you want to submit and the story and it's untouchable and you can't edit it anymore. You don't want to change it then maybe just do your own thing. Self-publish, you know go your own way. If you want to get published by a publisher, I think you got to be flexible and be open to revisions and changes and input. So it really depends on what you want I think controls were everything else. Yeah, so defining that goal early on is helpful.

Ramon: Cool. Okay. Is anybody here know James Rodriguez, he's one of the local artists here in New York. James Rodriguez is I think he's from the Dominican Republic or his family is from the Dominican Republic. But he just married a Filipina girl and moved to the Philippines. I told him to stay there and do his art from there because the cost of living is so low. But anyway, if anybody else has any questions, nobody else has any questions we‟re going to call it a night. Anybody?

Jonah: What's your dog's name?

Tintin: Oh, there's four of them.

Ramon: Oh, wow.

Tintin: That's why there is all that barking. There's Blossom, Kikay, which means girly. Tisay, which means you know fair complexion even though she's a black lab., that was a joke, and Czar which is some kind of Dutch name because we adopted her from a Dutch lady so yeah.

Ramon: Anybody else?

Jonah: Alright Ramon, I want you to interview those dogs in the next event. They clearly want to give a presentation, so.

Tintin: I think so.

They're all giving their own answers to my questions.

Tintin: Right. That was Kikay. She's the noisiest. She's the one who's in the way all the time.

Ramon: But anyways Tintin, you're also invited to the party next Tuesday. Okay?

Tintin: Okay. Yeah, thank you.

Ramon: Did you join us at the Kumo space during Diversity Comic-Con? I don‟t remember.

Tintin: Oh, I don't think I was able to join the Kumo space one.

Ramon: It was after the party.

Tintin: Yeah, yeah. Not the after-party.

Ramon: So anyway…

Tintin: Thank you so much.

Ramon: Thank you again. A big round of applause for Tintin, please.

Tintin: Thanks for having me.

Ramon: Definitely join the Meetup group and join us whenever you can, whenever we have an event. And next time you come to New York you let me know. We'll go hang out. Okay?

Tintin: Okay. Awesome, awesome

Ramon: Sounds good. Thank you, guys.

Charlie: Thank you Ramon.

Tintin: Thank you, goodnight.

Jonah: Thanks Tintin. Thanks Ramon.

Ramon: So come next Tuesday Holiday party, okay?

Tintin: Yep. Thanks.

Categories: Guest Speakers