How to be like top comic artist Whilce Portacio? Read his priceless tips

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For the second time around, Filipino-American comic artist Whilce Portacio is one of 2017 AsiaPop Comicon’s special guests. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Filipino comic enthusiasts look up to Filipino-American comic artist Whilce Portacio who is best known for creating the character of Bishop of “Uncanny X Men” and for his contributions to “Artifacts,” “Hulk,” and “Journey Into Mystery.”

He graced last year’s AsiaPOP Comicon (APCC) Manila, and for the second time around, he was in the roster of comic artists featured during last weekend’s third edition of APCC.

While he gets invited to different conventions in different parts of the world, Portacio shared that APCC Manila has a different energy that he enjoys as an artist.

“I do conventions a lot; I go around the world doing conventions. If I took this picture right now of this (APCC Manila), all my friends in the US would just envy this,” Portacio said.

Speaking at APCC’s press conference held a few days before the much-awaited weekend event, Portacio shared many things about comics, including some tips for aspiring comic artists.

He said that he dreams of having a “worldwide Avengers,” and encouraged Filipino comic artists to come up with their own Filipino character.

“I invite everyone right now to start now,” urged Portacio. He added that there’s so much that we have as a culture–the way we live, the way we deal with each other–where artists can draw inspiration from.

“You got to do your own. What you got to do is you got to do a Filipino character in a Filipino situations. You got to do things that touch; those are the great stories,” Portacio advised.

The renowned comic artist who has been in the industry for 30 years further advised that you could do a character “that is not technically great.” Instead, he suggested to do a character that readers can easily relate with and who can elicit reactions like, “Uy, parang ako! (Hey, someone like me!)” or “That’s like my best friend,” or “That’s like my dad.”

“Those stories stick. Those stories are what people will remember. Those kinds of stories are what we are telling people to do. Do us; do you. Do your tropa (friends) with all the flaws and all the greatness,” he strongly suggested.

When it comes to getting an audience for your work, Portacio advised to make full use of the internet and social media.

“If I was one of you guys today, with the internet and how free it is, I would put my work out there. I would do it for free and just put stuff out there,” he said.

Although concerns might arise in the process such as your creative ideas being stolen, the risk might be worth it.

“Imagine the opposite of that, you never put your stuff out there: nobody ever notices; nobody will ever know that you could’ve made it,” Portacio said.

“Just let everybody see it,” he continued.

At APCC Manila 2017, Portacio was joined by Alan Quah, Carl Potts, Rodney Ramos, and Stanley Lau (Artgerm) during a panel discussion, which was one of the highlights of the weekend-long convention.