Gener Pedriña, photo by Jay Ignacio

Gener Pedriña currently works as Creative and Digital Head of D’ Ultimate Talent and Entertainment Corp. At the same time, he has also creates comics books, and has released several comics locally. In particular, he’s known for the Sanduguan series, which is a Filipino Superhero Comic book Series whose roster includes several characters that are based on Philippine mythology. When he’s not working or creating comics, Gener likes to spend his time simply drawing, watching movies, or reading comic books. You can find more of Gener’s work on Facebook, DeviantArt, or his website, Kathang Indio.


Q: Everyone has an origin story. Could you share with us the exact moment (or moments) wherein you realized that you wanted to become an artist?

I started drawing at an early age, my major influences back then where the giant robots sentais like Star Rangers, JAK-Q and G-Force. I usually have a pencil and paper while watching and trying to draw the characters.

I was introduced to western comic books when I was 7, and that was the major calling to fully immerse myself in drawing. I drew everywhere, in any pieces of paper, school notebooks, walls and in the ground using coconut sticks or fingers.


Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?

The biggest struggle back then was finding time to draw, it’s quite hard when you hear the phrase “There’s no money in drawing, no one gets rich doing comic books”.

Even now, I’m still juggling regular work, fatherhood and being an artist”. Deadlines are a mess, especially with my own titles.  I tend to relax because I can adjust the deadlines of my personal projects.


Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?

Just like everyone else, I take things one step at a time. Draw when I have that extra time, I have a small sketchpad and pencil almost everywhere I go.


Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?

Determination and perseverance gave me enough fuel to continue. If I gave up drawing, maybe I’m a successful engineer now! 😀

And of course, tips, advice and encouragement from fellow artist, “Many thanks to them”. And expectations of next issues from a few fans. 🙂


Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?

Wish I had known the proper training at an early age, so I could have avoided unlearning and re-learning things and avoided wasting a lot of time learning the wrong way.

I was already working on my book Zodiac Force when I was in college, but I was taught proper lay-outs, penciling, inking and coloring when I was already on my late 20’s.

It was really hard avoiding the wrong things that I was so used to when drawing. I still do those mistakes from time to time.


Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?

Main driving force is self-fulfillment, knowing I can do this and that. And then my few dedicated and forgiving fans who await my next installment.


Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)

Average day, I usually find time to make a few sketches while riding the train to work, but it’s harder now, because the trains are so cramped, making it harder to even do one.

And if get home early from work, I managed to squeeze at least one or two sketches. But weekdays are mostly my main drawing days.


Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?

Dealing with distractions can also be quite tedious, artist needs to be able to concentrate when making pieces. Otherwise we will settle on a sketch or two, and just finalize the image at a more appropriate time.


Q: What do you do when you feel just completely uninspired or burnt out? How do you motivate yourself to start working again?

When I am in burnout mode, it’s bad. The longest one took me months before I was able to draw well. I try to spend my time watching cartoons, anime’s and reading comics to get the fire back.


Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?

Most EPIC win is Sanduguan is now 20 years from it’s initial publishing in Handicrapcomix in 1998, and there are more than a hundred characters in my universe.


Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?

And it’s also my greatest failure to not be able to do more with my original creations. Even if you have really good product, but you don’t have the time and resources to do more, that is a big setback. A hundred characters, but only a handful are known, even to my dedicated fans.


Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?

The best way for promotion has always been my first venture. Sanduguan made it’s debut online, 2 months before appearing in Handicrapcomix. And when the comic was discontinued at issue 6 because of artist commitments, Sanduguan continued its presence online, where it’s fanbase grew until I went to print form again in 2007. I had fans messaging me how they liked the characters designs and how the names were easily identifiable as Filipino in origin.

And then fan art came pouring in, and, if I was not mistaken, way back I had the most expansive gallery of fan art from fellow Filipino artist and a few from other countries, (Not counting Darna :D). I was really elated to know that my characters were gaining fans even though there were no new comic books being released.


Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?

Game plan has been set a long time already, but luck is still elusive, not knocking on my door. Had a few project offers, but didn’t push through because of several things to consider, but mostly copyright issues.

Big picture is seeing a live action movie or TV series, but I can settle for a kick-ass animation and a few merchandising options on the side. 😀


Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?

Main source of ideas is Philippine myth. My main objective is to re-introduce our mythology to the new generation. Majority of our mythology is on the verge of extinction, so I’m doing my small part in helping preserve some of it.

Creativity and talent will always be there, I am very much in awe with our top caliber artists out there. Too many to list, because new talents are arising. They continue to inspire me and frustrate me, ha ha ha. A lot of them are so good they scare me so much into quitting.


Q: What is your big “WHY”? Why do you feel the need to make art? Who are you doing it for? What’s the hidden reason behind your big dream?

The real secret of making art is self-satisfaction, like they say, “Draw for yourself first!” Being able to release several issues of my comics is already a major accomplishment for me. That’s 12 issues of Sanduguan, 4 issues of Bato: The Agimat Warrior and a few others. Sanduguan issue 12 & 13 will come out this year! 😀

I owe it to myself to continue what I started if I can, and for the few fans out there who follow the adventures of my characters.

I just hope that someday, that live action, TV series or animation becomes a reality.



Quick-Fire Questions

Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?

Marvel 1960’s is my main template, but still working on getting there. My number one artist is George Perez and Alfredo Alcala for local talent. Major stories are Squadron Supreme by Mark Gruenwald, Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and Crisis on Infinite Earths by Wolfman, Perez, Dick Giordano and Romeo Tanghal.


Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills? (Feel free to plug in as many as you’d like)

With the advent of the internet, would-be artists now have so many resources to look up, the list is endless. They can select any site and system that can work for them.

Back when I started, I only had television as my guide, a few TV magazines and bodybuilding mags.


Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?

An ideal place to work would be on a remote island with a really good beach and strong internet connection.


Q: Name ONE artist/writer that, if you could, you would pick their brain and find out all the hidden secrets behind their amazing work?

George Perez would be at the top of my list.


Q: Who do you consider your biggest mentor that helped you improve your skills?
(Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met personally. Can be someone you look up to, or someone whose art has inspired you to get better, over the years.)

I have so many artist friends that gave me advice and tips that they are too many to list here. But when I was still training as an inker, the one artist I was always with most of the times was Kajo Baldisimo. He was already really good at a young age.

And then in the weekly gathering of artist at the MegaMall Bowling Alley in the late 90’s I met Gilbert Monsanto, Carlo Pagulayan, Philip Tan, Leinil Yu, Mico Suayan, Fritz Casas and so many more shared a tip or two. 😀

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