Creativity comes in different timelines. You can’t really force it but you can tap into that well of inspiration to make for awesome masterpieces. In the case of international comic artist Harvey Tolibao, it’s a skill that’s mastered even more than the skill of art itself. Despite the challenges over the past few years, he still emerges triumphant with his new endeavors and even more projects in the coming months.
I met Harvey at a comic event in MOA and to say that I am a fan of his works is an understatement. His rendition of Psylocke and Rogue still mesmerizes me the same way I first saw them.
Now venturing forth outside his comfort zones, he is going for much more mammoth-sized ventures and projects. For sure, Harvey is reaching more than what he’s set out to accomplish. With his unique and meticulous art style, it’s not even a surprise.
Grab a nice cup of coffee or a sandwich for this interview with the one and only Harvey Tolibao.
Can you tell us how you got started in your art of choice?
I’m from a family of artists, both my Lolo and Dad are artists while most of my uncles all do creative artwork.
They come from Architecture and Engineering but most of them can draw really good. So influence really comes from the family. My art choice is being a Comic Book Artist aka the Illustrator.
Can you give us a brief rundown of what you do?
I do pencils and inks mostly. I illustrate different comic book titles from several companies.
Currently, I’m working on Marvel, DC, Image, Aspen, Zenescope, Valiant, IDW, DarkHorse, Titan, Legendary | Amazon and some. Also did some several Game Design Illustrations, Statue Designs from different awesome companies.
In your own words, how would you describe your art style?
My artworks are hugely influenced from local and international genre styles. Alfredo Alcala, Francisco Coching, Alex Niño are huge impact in my work, the details and Filipino touch are always there in my works. I have an Anime influence in my Hair Style and Action Story telling. Mobius, Travis Charest, Frank Quitely, Leinil Yu, Kim Jung Gi, Geof Darrow, Rey Macutay are the masters that always there to influence me and my works.
How did you adjust for the last two years?
Oh, this really had a great impact, not only on me but the whole industry. Everything stops, even our studio that works internationally was on halt for a moment.
Mentally and physically, it was really tough. Huge changes, but I realized that to keep moving forward through tough times, working on your skill help you mentally.
The universe never lets us down, working with my portfolio every day, piece by piece, and one of the works that I never thought would happen brought me to a project when 2021 started.
Star Wars High Republic made my whole year last year intense. Working on a 13-issue book was big for me, never done it but it was made possible because of my family around.
Tough years but still there’s a light that made me shine and inspire a new group of people who loves the starters universe.
Did you make any adjustments when it came to your work?
Adjustments, corrections, and adapting are always there. You need to understand what your writer visualizes so that the chemistry will be there on each page.
Covers have a different approach, you need to study if it’s a game adaptation or film series. You need to work around and understand what you want the audience to learn from the illustration you want to deliver. The impact and flow is also important, making them ask why it was like that and what’s the story behind it. Adjustment is part of the creative process.
Can you name your top 3 artists? Your top influences?
Travis Charest, Leinil Yu, and Kim Jung Gi, and lucky enough that two from this list are good friends of mine.
In today’s digital media, how does today’s comic illustrator stay relevant and on top of mind?
Films and TV series always had that backbone from comic books. I think the foundation built by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, and all the creators are still the pioneering outlines of any superhero film we are watching ’till now.
The story never dies and it always influences, reflects, and even serves as the best teacher we have as we make new books, webtoons strips, film and tv series, and more. I hope we stay longer to tell stories.
Among your works, what would be your most favorite?
Psylocke stays there and the new characters of SWHRA Star Wars High Republic Adventures are now close to my heart.
Your message to our readers, stuff to promote?
Keep on hustling, whatever you do. We creatives have always have the role to build amazing things that someday will shine and inspire readers and artists and the cycle will keep on moving.
In other news, SNK ATK just dropped their new collection.