I have the pleasure to have a interview with Elmer Damaso, artist of Cat's Trail, Soda Pop Miniatures and DC/Lego "Hero Factory".
* The artist Elmer Damaso himself. :)
When did you get into the profession of a comic artist?
Professionally, I have been drawing comics since 2000. I've been working for a decade already, I guess.
Is there anyone who inspire you to go into this profession?
Well, my dad draws well and is into woodworking and other crafts as a hobby, but he's an electrical engineer. My uncle is into advertising and I see him work (the old-fashioned, non-digital way) when I was a small kid. I guess they got me interested into drawing in the first place. I also enjoy cartoons a lot when I was a kid. Being an animator or illustrator has been a dream of mine ever since. I guess things just fell into place for me and I got my wish. :)
Do you have a favorite super hero or character from Manga or comic?
I never really stuck with a specific character. Anime/Manga-wise, I grew up with illustrations and works of Haruhiko Mikimoto (Macross), Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell), Kousuke Fujishima (Ah! My Goddess!), and Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2). When I was a kid. I liked Transformers and G.I. Joe. So I think I like the shows and comics in general. But no specific character.
Over your years of works, is there one work that you feel a special attachment to?
Probably Cat's Trail (a locally published comics) because this is a story I made and drew myself.
© Elmer Damaso / Cornelia Damaso
For my works outside the Philippines, "Unearthly" by Seven Seas Entertainment, because this story started my career outside my home country.
© Seven Seas Entertainment (www.gomanga.com)
How did you get into this profession and landed yourself working with DC/Wildstorm/Lego?
The short version of my story goes like this: During college, me and a bunch of some friends decided to start a comic publishing business. One of us had the money and resources to accomplish the business stuff, while the rest of us had the skills to fill the art creation side of things. The business prospered for about 6 years and ended (rather abruptly) because of financial problems. But the locally-published work we made helped our career by promoting our works and skills as artists. We kind of went our own ways after that and luckily landed other jobs related to comics or drawing.
© Lego/DC. Click on the images above to see a bigger resolution
A few years after the "break up", the same guy who funded out local company before made some contacts with comics companies in the US by attending conventions like SDCC. Eventually, he was contacted for a possible working relationship for the title, "Hero Factory". He then contacted me for art samples that we can show to DC/Lego. In summary, DC/Lego liked the stuff I made and gave the contract to us.
You designs and illustrate for Soda Pop Miniatures. Are all these designed by you?
I conceptualized and drew the following: Rin Farrah, Suicide Queen and Rollo, and Isabeau Durand (among the released characters). I also made the chibi versions of Malya, and Candy and Cola (not the full-sized figures).
© Soda Pop miniatures
Plus I conceptualized and drew everything for their Super Dungeon Explore series of medieval, chibi characters, monsters and accessories. I made a few other characters, but it is not released as of yet.
© Soda Pop miniatures
Your works for Soda Pop Miniatures are produce as toys now. How do you feel about that?
Well, I still have to wait for the toys they promised to send to me to be completely joyful. But knowing that others like my work for their miniatures, is reward enough for me. (I read from their site that Super Dungeon Explore sold out during the last GENCON) Seeing my concepts/artworks come to life in 3D brings me a great feeling!
© Soda Pop miniatures
Have you thought of having your own comic book with your stories and characters?
I mentioned earlier that I indeed started my comics career with my own story and characters. But me and my wife still have a lot of other stories that we want to publish soon. The problem though is lack of time. Hehe!
That's interesting. Can share with us roughly what those comic going to be? Is it about Romance or true life story?
Well, one of the story is going to be a romantic one with some mysterious elements added to the mix. While another one is based off the fantasy, medieval stuff like Dungeons and Dragons and Warcraft. Unfortunately, I can't reveal anything else to secure our stories before we have it released.
Do you have a fan club?
Locally, there are a lot of fans of my work, Cat's Trail. I meet them every time there's a local convention. I'm not sure if they officially created a fan club of sorts though. I have no idea of the international scene. But there are some people who occasionally send me messages via my deviantart account mentioning that they like my work for Seven Seas and Hero Factory. Stuff like that.
Is there any plan to make your work into Animation? Like Cat's Trail?
I would really love to see Cat's Trail animated someday. But right now, I will have to stick to comics first. Animation requires a lot of money and people to work on it. I cannot afford both at the moment or in the near future, I think.
Thank you Elmer for this opportunities to have this interview and I hope this interview can be a present to Elmer for his Birthday today.
Happy birthday Elmer !!! :D
By the way, Elmer do paid art commissions with quality work. Some of his portfolio can be found at www.iq40.deviantart.com and www.iq40.daportfolio.com. If you have any job for him, you can contact him at this email address: iq40mail AT gmail.com