Lizette Daluz is the author of Ang Hari ng Komyut, published by Anino Comics, and included in the Best Reads of the 2018 National Children’s Book Awards. Lizette is also the author and creator of Golden Homes, which she is currently self-publishing, and currently works as a software engineer at Kalibrr. In her spare time, she enjoys playing Stardew Valley, a farming simulator, and reading slice of life comics. You can find out more about Lizette Daluz and her work over on Facebook and Instagram.
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?
It was when I was illustrating for our university paper, The Manila Collegian. I used to join art contests in elementary and high school but I didn’t always win – I didn’t know how to paint, to make shadings, to draw hands, etc. I didn’t see myself as someone who would take art or drawing seriously. What made me want to be an artist was learning about how art can be used to tell stories, struggles, advocacies, and experiences.
Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?
It was deciding on what story to tell. I didn’t want to put out content just because. I tend to second guess myself when I already have something done. Going over questions like, “Is this good enough? What do I want to achieve out of it?” or “Does this dialogue feel forced or cheesy?” Most of the time, if it doesn’t feel right, I would just do it again or go with another idea… and after that I still don’t have anything finished.
Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?
To be honest, I haven’t overcome it, but I do remind myself from time to time that “almost” is never finished. I can always come back to what I end up with and make improvements later on if I want. Or for the next comic that I would make, I can just address the “wrong things” by adjusting some parts of my process – like spend more time on my thumbnails or do a real character design, haha.
Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?
Reading other people’s comics. This is how I teach myself how to panel, how to pace dialogue, or just how to do better storytelling through comics.
Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?
I wish I knew where people printed their comics. The first time I sold Talumpati (my first comic), it was printed with my housemate’s printer and I had a lot of trouble with margins, page sequence, etc.
Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?
Other artists, especially when I see them at conventions or events. When I find really good comics, I’m amazed at how they can deliver such stories. Such that I couldn’t imagine being in another medium. (Also because I feel pressured that people are done with their comic while I am not!)
Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)
I wake up a bit early so I can spend a few hours watching or reading while eating breakfast. If I’m working at home, I’d play with our dogs before working. Then most of my time would be spent on coding. If I have more time, I’d either read more, watch YouTube videos or Netflix, play Stardew Valley, or make comics. Sometimes I really have to set days where I would only make my comic in my non-work time, just so I can follow a schedule and hopefully release content on time.
Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?
I get distracted easily unless I’m “in the zone”, so I just set-up my things in a way where I can get focused quickly.
Q: What do you do when you feel just completely uninspired or burnt out? How do you motivate yourself to start working again?
I watch movies or TV shows, or read other comics. I need to look at other things and think about other things, and then maybe get a fresh idea from what I’ve went through. Sometimes taking a vacation helps (but that would be if nothing else works).
Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?
Getting a National Children’s Book Award for Ang Hari ng Komyut! I’m really happy about that comic and the reception it got. Never imagined this comic would go this far.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?
I guess not being able to release comics for a long time. I’ve been pushing myself to create more, to write more, to draw more… but sometimes it would feel like things aren’t right, like this story is cheesy, it’s too dramatic, or pangit lang talaga [it’s just really bad]. Sometimes I just really feel uninspired and everything I write is trash. But it’s okay, I just start again later in the day or tomorrow.
Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?
Social media helped a lot. I started Ang Hari ng Komyut as a web comic on Facebook and Instagram. Even though I haven’t released a strip for a long time, there are still people who’d find it and read all the comics from the start – which is really cool. Another is selling comics at conventions, publishers usually look for artists at conventions with interesting comics.
Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?
No exact dream yet, right now I just want to make more comics that share people’s stories. But ideally, I want to be able to go over experiences of the underprivileged, which should have a space for the local comic scene.
Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?
My and people’s experiences
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?
Aside from wanting to be better at this craft, I also want to make people feel connected through stories. I like making comics about real life, because it either makes us more aware of where we are, or how we fit into our society.
Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?
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)
Syntax (kind of unrelated but the motivation topics are really good and can somewhat be applied to non-technical work), Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports comics have nice panels which are usually my go to comics for inspiration. Workshops/discussions held during Komikon, BLTX, etc.
Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?
Somewhere quiet with reliable internet connection, with a decent rent!
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?
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.)
Jillian Tamaki, never met her, and most probably doesn’t know that I exist, but her comics have influenced my work greatly. I usually learn something new whenever I read her comics again, like noticing something that was done neatly that I would probably try to do on my next comics. Also, I really like her comic recommendations.