So, yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Lord Mesa. Lord Mesa is an artist who does drawings inspired by popular shows and movies, he’s attracted a lot of attention from the stars of these shows and movies, and as such is well known to them and has on occasion done work for them as well. It was really cool getting to speak to him, and to get to know the person behind the drawings.
If you haven’t already, you can check out Lord Mesa on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/lordmesa?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Or on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/lordmesa.art/
And here’s the interview (the bolded are the questions, the plain text are his responses):
- Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed by The Phoenix Newspaper, Lord Mesa, for those of our readers who don’t know much about the person behind the drawings, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I was born in the Philippines and my parents brought me over to the USA when I was two, I grew up in the Bay Area, San Francisco, California. When I was growing up I really wanted to become a comic book artist, people like Jim Lee who drew the strips in comic books but also created their own characters and story lines were influential in driving that desire in me. When it came time for me to go to university, I wanted to do a comic book major, but most places did not have it-including the San Francisco College of Arts where I ended up going- so instead I chose the more conventional illustration major. I suppose one reason why I took illustration was because even though it wasn’t seen as a conventional choice for an Asian to take, it had better career prospects than some of the other options. To soothe my parents worries I took design courses as well, I thought it would be like Mad Men, but quickly realised it wasn’t! I soon came to dislike taking the course, and began wondering what to do.”
“Then, one day as I was at a café at school , I saw someone drawing and was so impressed by what they were doing that I just had to ask what it was that they were doing. They told me they were doing an illustration major, and I knew then that that was what I should be doing instead of design. I switched over to illustration from design, but took a break from school for a brief period. I always got the feeling that my tutors saw myself and my fellow students not as people to help grow and learn, but as competition for the outside world, and that was never healthy for me.”
“After graduation, I took my portfolio and applied to a lot of companies, I got a lot of rejections before getting a letter from Disney’s TV and advertising department, who told me they were considering putting me on their new storyboard programme. However, in the end they ended up doing it in house to see if it would be effective, and eventually they scrapped it. And though that was quite disappointing, I never gave up, I couldn’t. For me there never was any question about stopping, I love animation and have done so since I was a kid growing up in the eighties. Being able to draw is a necessity for me, like breathing. “
“It was my wife who helped me get my first break, at the time after graduation she told me that she was going to LA to work in an entertainment company and she asked if I wanted to come with her. I said yes, and for the first few months I didn’t have a job, but then a friend of a friend put me in contact with a t-shirt company that was looking for a designer. They used a lot of computer software, and as I hadn’t got that much experience with the computer software they used, it was a real on the job learning experience. The two tools I used initially were Illustrator and Photoshop, and man was it different. It was a real journey for me as I became a convert to the computer cause. The Ctrl Z and being able to save the original file digitally and then come back to that to make changes rather than having to draw an entire new drawing by hand again, was brilliant. The first thing I ever drew properly for myself using the software, was Wolverine, and I really liked how it turned out.”
“And since then I’ve been drawing a lot, being able to draw representations of the shows such as Arrow and The Flash, that I love is really cool, and having people give feedback on the drawings is just something else entirely. It’s really awesome.”
- What’s the favourite drawing you’ve done?
“Ah, that’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! Generally, my favourite drawing is the most recent piece that I’ve done. Though a stand out one would be the drawing I did for the four way cross over between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow for the CW. That drawing included more characters than I’ve ever included on a single piece before, thankfully there was no speech required for it, so some space was reserved, but I really liked how the drawing turned out and it got a very good response, so I’m really happy with it.
It tends to take me between an hour and half and two and a half hours to complete a drawing using Clipstudio, and I’ve noticed that I have a habit of thinking about ideas for the next piece that I want to do when doing another piece, so I think it all seems to be bouncing around in my head at once. But to get back to your question, I don’t have a specific favourite piece, I love them all, but I do have notable ones.”
- Are you doing any pieces now/ or have any planned for the future?
“I’ve done a few illustrations for Wonder Woman-which I thought was a brilliant movie by the way, if you haven’t already been to see it, you should- I’ll probably do another one for Wonder Woman. I’m also waiting for Spider Man: Homecoming to come out so that I can get inspiration from there as well, and also because the movie looks like it will be really good! I’ve been catching up on a lot of shows such as Supernatural, 100 and Winona Irk as well, so have been taking inspiration from there as well. Doing a lot of preparation for San Diego Comic Con in July, because it’s become a pop culture event and fans often have interests in a lot of other shows as well as the comic book ones, so it’s good to have a variety of work on show. And finally, currently preparing artwork to incorporate into an app that will be launching at San Diego Comic Con.”
- Is there anything else you’d like to say for our readers?
“I’d just like to say thank you for the support and encouragement, and thank you for giving me the chance to speak about my art.”