Whilce Portacio on Kids, Cultivating New Talents and Styles

Whilce Portacio on Kids, Cultivating New Talents
and Styles Omar: How did you go and how do you keep that
passionate alive over the years to keep going in and wanting to develop new talent because
I think that’s something you’re so great at? Whilce: It’s really my kids. I’m fortunate,
all three of my kids can draw. My 18-year-old is a wonderful water-color painter. And Jill
Thompson, I have to thank you for that, I would bring them as kids to the convention.
But see, I’m just dad, so, they would hang out with Jill. And they were watching Jill
and her techniques, and what kind of brushes, what kind of paint and stuff? And so now,
he’s a real good painter, he has a better idea concept like than I do. He’s in AP
art and his compositions stuffs are amazing, and he also shares with me; we’re both science
geeks. So, I thank the Lord, he’s going in September, he just graduated, just went to
prom last night. He’s graduating this year and in September, he’s going to UC Santa Cruz
because he wants to be an astrophysicist; either get into research or become Neil de
Grasse Tyson and illustrate learning physics. Omar: That’s so cool and that’s an amazing
process. It’s living really through you because its the same thing, you wanted
to be an astronaut, it comes full circle and that’s amazing. Whilce: My little girl, my 14-year-old, she’s
now assistant manager in her theater tech group. And so, they’re all getting into art.
So, it was interesting for me because, as a parent, you would like maybe if your kids
kind of followed in what you wanted, what you did, and I must’ve done something right
that they did actually get at least interested in art. Omar: Yeah. Whilce: And so, it was really it. So, for
me, that kind of like carried from that high I got from like discovering a young Leinil
Yu and training him into who he would become today and other people. That kind of high
are being able to foresee where someone is going to go, and then, getting to them to
there, and then, letting them, and then, them being able to take themselves off from there.
And then my kids come and they start getting interested in art and start taking it to where
I wouldn’t have taken it on their own direction and stuff. It’s really, for me, it’s a high,
other than drawing itself because I’ve always loved drawing, being able to see somebody
else do stuff, like all the interns that we had at Marvel, watching them great watching
Campbell, Travis, Lee Bermejo, everybody. It was just really cool watching them go. So,
it’s really just all, everybody else, just seeing, because even though back then it was
a big renaissance when Jim and I came in and with Todd and we started this big renaissance,
it’s a lot more eclectic now even. There are so many different styles and people really
just experimenting. You’ve got to remember back then when we do it, it was so very few
people that wanted to get into it and do it Omar: Now there’s a lot Whilce: Yeah. But see, you got to also remember
like see, when Neal Adams came in, he was from the illustration world, and illustration,
what’s that? And then, so what he brought into comics, we go, oh, maybe we could
apply this. And so, everybody starting experimenting. I remember when Bill Sienkiewicz
came into the industry and it was, you know, he was like emotion explosions on the page.
Okay, it’s not really a specific clean technique, it’s getting the emotion across with whatever
tool you can. I was there, everybody would turn their pages over and get out that Rusty
Miller, that cotton swab and try to make these effects and stuff like. Omar: Try to copy because they saw greatness
and the emotion was getting to them, they would get emotional reaction from it. Whilce: But see, that’s how small the industry
was that somebody could have some experience in one other medium and bring it in, and then,
spark this infusion of variation and something new. Now, there’s just so many different
styles and different things. And all the other industries are grown up, like when I first
got in, concept design was really not and it was more technical than anything, it was
drowsing really at that time. Now, there are artists on their own and there�re now digital
painters too. And so, all those influences coming in and everybody want to switch ponds
and stuff. So, there’s just a lot of creativity happening right now, it’s just, you know what’s
really interesting? Here is a little tidbit I just found a couple days ago. Even though
back then, like I said, there weren’t that many eyes on us because we weren’t that successful,
and now, all the eyes are on us. Well, if you actually look at the publishing numbers,
our X-men, has averaged 400,000. Omar: Wow, that’s crazy. That’s like, it’s
not heard of in today’s comic books. Whilce: You know what the cancellation number
was? 125. Omar: That’s just crazy because. I mean, even
the top-selling books right now are around 1.5, so, the market has changed so much. Whilce: It’s changed so much. People don’t
remember, like when I first got in, Carl had this, Carl Potts had this thing called Double
Vision. It basically was a story that they didn’t do and they were giving to everybody
new as a trial to see if you can really tell a story, but the caveat was you have to do
it in a eight pages. You have to take a 20-page story and do it in eight pages. Omar: Oh wow! Whilce: That’s tough. So, if you can get through
that, you’re ready. Omar: You can get through anything, you got
to go to work. Whilce: Yeah, okay. Now, here’s the other
side to that because okay, you can tell a story but you’re kind of slow, okay? So, you’ve
got to have both; you’ve got to tell stories and you’ve got to hit that deadline, okay?
But we don’t want to let you go. So, everybody and they should do it so well already, everybody
had a story. You know, Chris Claremont had this other idea, and so, he would write it
out, and then, we go, okay, we’ll hold it, put it on a hold, it’s approved and we’ll
try to figure out where we could drop it, and that was also failsafe. If we have a problem
with the deadline, we could just drop this in there, right? Omar: You’re good to go, even with that. Whilce: Yeah. So, Carl goes, hey, you need
to make some money. Here’s the story and I could pay you, at least, 45 bucks. I could
get paid something and do something really professional on a real deadline even though
it wasn’t a published deadline, but you could treat it as a real deadline. So, I get
some real experience as opposed to now where there isn’t that extra money running around
inside the system. Omar: No, there’s not. Because now, everything’s
very tight. Whilce: So now, as a young artist, you have
to be a hundred percent. We cannot accept you unless you are a hundred percent. Because
again, a week delay in a deadline, that’s what? A couple of hundred thousand or so.
So, we can’t afford that. You have to be tested before you can join the ranks. But
back then, you can get eased in. Again, I sound like an old guy, I am an old guy but
that was the real difference back then; there was a lot more freedom back then.

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