Artist: Kael Ngu
"My latest works include variant covers for DC Comic's Justice League Dark #27, Detective Comics #1027, Superman #28, and Marvel Comic's X-Men series."
❓Who or what influenced your art style the most at the beginning of your journey?
🗣 There are lots of people who inspired me! Each of them played a role in a specific aspect of my artworks and my journey.
I was heavily manga-influenced in my early days. Some of my favorite mangakas include Takeshi Obata, Oh Great!, and Masashi Kishimoto. Even though I'm working for the western superhero market now, my works always have some manga elements and their impact.
Apart from the Japanese influences, I'm also inspired by many modern digital artists around the world, Puppeteer Lee, Sergey Kolesov, Ruan Jia, Dean Holdeen, to name a few. My inkings are done traditionally, but my colorings are fully digital. I like to mix old school with modern techniques in my works.
Of course, classical painters play an essential role as well. Masters like JC Leyendecker, Situ Mian, Frank Frazetta always remind me to be honest, humble, and strive for better.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣 I started my professional career doing concept art for a local game company called the Passion Republic. There I learned how to work with people. I got the importance of teamwork in the industry. Later on, I started to draw traditionally, taking some time after work to change and refresh myself from my digital workflow during the day.
From there, I started to gain some followings, and I figured people love to see my traditional stuff, and I started to do more. Eventually, publishers started noticing me, and before I know it, I'm drawing a Batman cover.
❓What software and hardware do you use, and why?
🗣 For traditional drawing, I'm mostly using a brush pen and Copic markers. My brush pens are Zebra FD501 and Pentel FD10, while Copics are the Neutral gray series.
I love brush pens because I don't have to change the nib sizes like a fine-liner does while I work. I only have to vary the degree of pressure while I draw to have different line thickness! While I'm using Copics to bring out the lighting and make things pop.
For digital, I'm using a Wacom Intuos 5 medium and Photoshop. I also use Ipad's Procreate sometimes when I need to ink digitally. Procreate has some of the best features in art software, and I love it!
❓How do you like to work: as a freelancer, or maybe full-time or part-time?
🗣 I love the flexibility of freelance the most. I like to take my own pace, schedule my projects. Sometimes when I don't feel like drawing, I can take a break anytime I want, take a walk, go to a bookstore, read a book.
Flexibility beats everything else for me.
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣 It is drawing a comic book. It is nothing like I ever imagined, and it pains me so much that to draw a good book, so much effort has to go into it with so little time.
I think this is because it is my first time doing it, and I believe as with everything else, the more you do, the better you get, the more efficient you will be. Practice makes perfect!
❓What was your most significant learning experience, and how does it help you now?
🗣 It is listening to feedback, which is especially essential if you're doing mainstream works, working for other people. Not every input is valuable, but not every feedback is worthless too. Learning to filter and digest what is right for you helps push you to the next level.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣 My dream project is to work on X-Men comic - featuring just black and white inks, maybe with a splash of color. I've always loved comic books in pure black and white inks, but sometimes a splash of color brings a stronger impact in storytelling.
❓Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
🗣 I haven't done many works, but so far, I'm quite proud of what I'm doing for the comic book. I think I'm pushing myself with something that I haven't done ever before, and even though I'm taking a lot of time on it, I'm still happy with how it is looking so far. Soon to be released, if all is good!
❓Do you have any passion projects you're working on or plan to start?
🗣 I love to do book publishing. Once in a blue moon, I'll work with my friends and make a book project for fun. We will pick a theme and draw and drown in our own world. We have many failed projects, but that's ok. Haha!
❓If you had just one question but anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣 What is the perfect life?