Thursday, August 28, 2014

STGCC 2014: A Much-Needed Catch-up with Guest, Comic Artist Harvey Tolibao!

After a two-year hiatus from attending STGCC, Filipino comic artist Harvey Tolibao will be back on the island this year, with a few homies from the HMT Studios.

Harvey used to visit the Red Dot Island from time to time for book store appearances. The animated and talkative artist would usually spend time chatting and drawing (not just quick sketching, mind you!) insanely detailed art for fans that would always bring huge smiles on their faces. He was one of those people who gave a lot of heart together with a piece of his art, no matter where he was or how much time he had. When he was a guest at STGCC 2010 and 2011, Harvey would be the last guest to close his booth and leave the showfloor!

During his absence from the island's local comics scene, Harvey has kept himself very busy back in the Philippines. He started HMT Studios in 2011, got married and has a lively two-year-old son. He has also worked on several projects, like Marvel's "Silver Surfer" series and DC's "New Guardians" Green Lantern as well as with Zenescope and Valiant. Currently, he is drawing a short arc of "X-Men" Vol. 4 for Marvel, starting from issue #18 to #22. The female-centric story written by Marc Guggenheim has received mostly positive reviews so far.

The Glam Bloggers' Alliance took the chance to catch up with Harvey about what else he has been up to and his aspirations for the future:

GBA: We miss you! What made you decide to return to this year's STGCC??! Anything juicy that you will be bringing with you?
Harvey: STGCC is like my second family when it comes to comic conventions. Fans here have become friends, and then became almost like family who undyingly made my first convention life a big changing moment. 

I remember way back 2011 when I launched my first sketchbook Viscosity, I chosen to do it at STGCC. The connection and the warm welcome, and the acceptance is unbelievably overwhelming. After two years of building HMT Studios, we have decided that we should launch our first Studio Artbook called “BLANK” at STGCC. The name represents an open canvas that has been filled by amazing talent and awesome artwork illustrations by the HMT Studios Crew.

GBA: How do you juggle being a father and a prolific artist? (since we last saw you, you have done a bunch of projects - Avengers Academy, DCnew52's New Guardians, Green Arrow, Grimm's Fairy Tales Covers, Silver Surfer, Danger Girls,…)
Harvey: I thought I was alone the whole time when I was an artist. I never thought that through the whole process there is an amazing team that always there for me. I was growing in my career path through years with my beautiful wife July, super baby Zod, uncanny family, amazing fans and friends. And now, I have a team that would stand by me, and these people help empower me to continue working in this field. All you guys.... those who never stopped believing in me each time I put up something. You make me feel very inspired, knowing that there are people who look forward to the craft, when I am going through life's ups and downs.

GBA: Have you lost any artwork recently? (we will be stealing your portfolio... beware :P) 
Harvey: Artwork are the product of your skills and talent. I've lost a dozen of portfolios when I was in my college years. It almost made me stop drawing when those incidents happened. But my best friend Carl Riemann offered me some words of wisdom. He said, "Do not stop drawing when there is still a pencil and paper existing in the world. You may never know you might be inspiring in some other ways with your works." And I have live by those words ever since. Even when I lose my artwork!

Harvey M Tolibao with colours by Ken of HMT Studios
GBA: When did you start working on HMT Studios and what do you hope to achieve with this new brand of Asian artists? 
Harvey: I was never alone through the years when I started drawing comics. My family members were the first few people who believed in me. They are one of the reasons why this team was built. My family had the same vision and dreams as me, and believed that through my capability we could start building a group that would continue the legacy in this field - where drawing art can make your personal dreams come true. 

In the near future, this studio will give opportunities to those who are imaginative and creative, and whose talents are beyond recognition. In the coming years, we endeavour to give creative folks a path and aim to become one of the first Asian Studio that offer work like ILM or Lucasfilm, or even the WETA team. This is a baby step, and it's always been better to never be afraid to take that first step. 

GBA: In recent times (say in the last 4 months), have you read any comic titles which excited/ inspired you in an unexpected way? 
Harvey: For the last four months, I’ve been curiously watching and listening to a lot of documentary and audio books from business to fantasy, including a President’s life and other inspirational people. Reading about others' lives make me think we could do more in our life through many different ways. It has helped open my mind and my heart, and believe that with a little contribution or inspiration, one can make metal fly and even move mountains. It also makes me believe that each one of us has a reason to exist and to be part of this small world we are living in. We need to do better to make good of whatever we are doing, and believe that no matter how small it is. As long as you put your heart into it, there will be an impact. Even when you can't imagine that it could happen. So, let’s start building those small good things. I hope it make sense…. 

GBA: Who have you not drawn yet and would like to draw as a regular gig? 
Harvey: I don’t know if I am biased with this question. I’ve been asked this in several times but I always come back to the same answer. No matter what or who I draw or what I’ve been assigned to by an editor, I always fall in love with the characters. And I get to know a new dimension of the characters whenever I start working through the process. Whatever gig I'm working on, tends to become my favourite in some ways. 

Page from X-Men #18 (from CBR)

GBA: What upcoming book are you working on and who is your favourite X-men (other than Psylocke)? 
Harvey: I'm working on Marvel’s "X-Men" with Marc Guggenheim and Dark Horse's "Ghost" with Chris Sebela. The "X-Men" series is one of the best opportunity that I can get right now because I have the opportunity to draw all the beautiful kick-ass female X-(Wo)Mens - Rachel Grey, Storm, Jubilee and Monet. What more could you asked for? (Okay, let us try to avoid the big boobs this time.. haha.. I just said something that almost made myself drop from my chair. Whooo! I missed those days.)

Hahahaha. Those boobalicious days indeed, Harvey!

Red Dot Diva assures Harvey that that the GBA does not have any complaints if he so chooses to draw boobalicious babes at his booth during STGCC! ;)


To pre-order "BLANK", email HMT studios at!

Note: Most of the questions above was posed by Agent W, with a few additions from Red Dot Diva!

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