The Lord of Oz: Interview with artist Miguel Mendonça
Interview by Rui Ferreira
Miguel Mendonça has been one of the most active artists from Zenescope american publisher. A real fairy tale. Read an interview with the artist and see his amazing art.
Miguel Mendonça always loved drawing, his brother had a major role introducing him to comics. Despite living in Olhão and therefore outside the major urban centers, where everything happens, that was not a major problem because of this highly technologically communications advanced era where we live in.
Having delved by Design in his professional development, somehow connected with sketching, took advantage of that when, later on, decided to make his life out of comics. After taking that decision, he began a process of preparing his portfolio for the comics industry, and the first opportunities began to emerge.
In Portugal he does not have anything published yet, but he have a lot of participations in some comics competitions and other publications. His career is mostly abroad, particularly at Zenescope, in which already have several published works. He also have an ongoing project on Kickstarter called Sideckicks.
WORKS IN PORTUGAL
Let’s know a bit more about Miguel Mendonça, to whom would like to thank for his time and kindness.
Analyzing your performance, especially your career abroad, it seems easy. Since 2013 you already have 13 participations on Grimm Fairy Tales Universe at Zenescope. 13 titles in a year. How do you explain this amazing activity, for someone who was barely known in the comics industry? Apart from your obvious talent who is most responsible for this fanfare? The presence of increasingly Portuguese illustrators out there was also important for your decision to go through this path?
I can’t say it’s easy, especially for the work that it entails. Nor that there is ease entering the American comics industry. It may be easier to do now compared to a few years ago, as new technologies allow greater ease of communication, but it still took some time for dissemination and promotion (about one year) to get feedback from a publisher with a job offer. I think, like everything, has a lot to do with timing, send the right things to the right editor at the right time.
I think the hardest thing was making the decision “to dedicate myself 100% to comics” before even having a concrete proposal. I needed to made a mental change, which implied focusing entirely on looking for a career in this area and follow that path without looking back. I can say that I had a kind of epiphany that told me “this is what I’ve always wanted to do, I will not stop until I have opportunity to do it.”
I think from there, things started to happen naturally. Of course, when I say stay focused, i mean working hard, make increasingly better samples, self-promotion, research publishers, contacts within the area etc. When I started to have my goals clearly defined, it has become easier to know which path to follow. I knew I wanted to be working in comics and improve my art, with this in mind i concentrated all my efforts on it.
If I did so much in such a short period it was because things were going well, I tried to focus on the opportunities as best as possible and try to make the next drawing better than the last. Till now it’s been great.
I also have to admit that, to being able to have so many work this last year, it was also important to have been drawing most of my life. I believe this is the best way to go and to accomplish my goals.
For this has contributed, not the presence of Portuguese illustrators abroad, but definitely the contacts with breeders here in Portugal, I feel that the communities of Portuguese artists are very supportive with each other, and it’s important to have the possibility to exchange points of view with other authors and artists. In my experience, the Festival Internacional de BD de Beja contributed especially for that, resulting in a creative synergy that is always motivating.
OZColors by Ulises Grostieta
How does your family and friends react to this adventure of yours? Living in a small town where people still know each other, how do they react to your talent and your work?
It is always rewarding to see people reaction to my work. Family and closest friends support is unconditional. They know that I worked hard for being here, so it does not seem especially surprising to see me in this adventure. And they also have a critical eye, that they know I value to be able to try to improve at each step. As for the reaction of my city, this phenomenon news word-of-mouth really happens, especially with my number one fan (my mom) constantly showing my new work to everybody. But I’m not really a celebrity, because in a way, to be doing these 13 titles a year (not counted yet, but if you say i believe) you need to leave a little of your social life behind and spend most of the time “threaded” on the drawing board. But the final result is worth it.
TALES FROM OZColors by Maxflan Araujo
You have taken inspiration from various artists and styles, like the European, American or Japanese. In what of this styles do you feel more comfortable?
I often say that I seek the perfect blend of the world’s three major schools, American, European and Japanese style. This is because I have influences and idols on the three of them. I began my interest in comic books through the influence of my older brother, who collected Franco-Belgian comic strips, later I started drawing more seriously with influences of Mangas like Dragon Ball and Evangelion, and then I became interested in American comics like “death of Superman”. Today most of my idols in the art world, work in the American market.
UNLEASHED Colors by Ulises Grostieta
With the american industry wide open, where a lot of people already know your work, what would you like to reach? Super-Heroes at Marvel, DC Comics, Valiant? or something less fictional at Image or BOOM! Studios?
I like to think that things will be happening naturally if i get focused on my job. While working like i have been doing, i feel that I am progressing more and more, from there i will try to make the most of the opportunities that arise. Of course the major American publishers will always be experiences through which I intend to be part in the future.
If you could choose, in the Super-Hero universe, which characters would you like most drawing?
I would be lying if did not answer Superman without hesitation. But would always welcome countless other characters, Wolverine, Batman (who would not want to draw Batman?) Thor, Spider-Man, Daredevil, X-Men, Avengers, Justice League … but I’m digressing …
As a curiosity at last year’s Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, in an assessment of Portfolios, the Marvel editor C. B. Cebulski asked me what character I would like to draw. I had a blackout and suddenly, to my great astonishment, I could not remember the names of any of the Marvel characters.
WARLORD OF OZ Colors by Ulises Grostieta
And what about authors? Do you have someone in particularly that you would lie to work with?
Right now, I really like the cinematic way of telling stories by Mark Millar and the freshness of Robert Kirkman.
You have a project at kickstarter with the author Russell Brettholtz, where did this came from?
It happened when i was in the promotion process of my portfolio through the internet forums. This was one of the projects that have emerged. The author saw some samples of my work and contacted me with information about the project.
What are your ambitions for the Portuguese market? when will we have a book of your own here in Portugal? Is that an important goal for you?
I have some projects with Portuguese authors on stand-by. Somewhere in the future I would like to release a book in Portugal yes, but I will have to try to take advantage of the opportunities that arise across the Atlantic and then we’ll see.
You have just finished Warlord of Oz, whats next? Do you already have something planed that you can talk about?
I have some things on the horizon, but nothing is defined yet that i can talk about.
WARLORD OF OZ Colors by Ulises Grostieta
Miguel was born in Faro on the fall of 1984. Besides Comics he loves anime, video games, movies and TV series.
In Portugal he has some participations in some comics contests like FIBDA and other projects like Cadavre Exquis from Daniel Maia.
At Zenescope Miguel has done some titles from Grimm Fairy Tales Universe, like: Unleashed, Oz, Tales From Oz and Warlord of Oz. He has also the Sidekicks project at Kickstarter.
You can see more of his work at: Blogspot, Tumblr and Deviantart.
note: Originally published at Universo BD, November 6th 2014.