In Conversation With Harvey Tolibao

Comic Book Illustrator Harvey Montecillo Tolibao was born 25th of June 1981. Raised in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. He started as a Graphic Artist, Furniture Designer, Web Design, Tattoo Design and Illustrations.

He got his first shot in the International Comic Industry in year 2006 with writer Chuck Dixon in the epic graphic fantasy novel Robert Jordan’s NEW SPRING, Wheel of Time. After the 2 issues, Darkhorse approach him to do some books for them the STARWARS: Knights of the Old Republic. It is a very big break for Harvey, because his whole family are StarWars fans.

After a year of Illustartions, he got his Marvel break in 2007 working with Chris NGage in IRONMAN Director of Shield Annual. Since then, he worked as an artist for Marvel with big books like, Ultimate XMen, DarkHawk, Avengers Initiative: Secret Invasion tie in, Young Avengers Hulkling, XMen Hellbound : Second Coming, What If CIVIL WAR, The Mighty Avengers, Marvel Heartbreakers Snowbird, Nation X, Psylocke, Heroes for Hire Covers and recently Silver Surfer mini series with filmmaker and comic book writer GREG PAK.

POPCulture Online caught up with him at the recent Singapore Toys Games and Comic Convention and found out more about his love for StarWars and Psylocke

POPCulture Online: How was it like breaking into marvel?

Harvey Tolibao: It was difficult because you need to be a good and strong artist. There are lots of great artists out there so one has to remember to be humble and learn to be versatile in terms of being able to draw in different styles.

It’s important to understand what the writer wants because once you can understand him it’s easier to break in so even before you start drawing you have to research the character’s past and current story line so that you can deliver good story telling in art.

POPCulture Online: What kept you going?

Harvey Tolibao: At 9 or 10 I already knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and that was to draw for comic books. Now in order to do that, you have to do as much art forms as possible because you need to know everything. I got involved with learning how to draw tattoos to learn how things works and it was the same with designing furniture.

POPCulture Online: Tell us how big a StarWars fan you are and which is your fave character?

Harvey Tolibao: I’m a huge fan of Luke Skywalker because I come from a family of geeks. My dad used to work as an artist for a cinema near where I live in the 70s and 80s. Back then they didn’t have printed posters, you had to draw them out on huge canvases. So my dad would memorize how the characters looked like whenever he drew them.

He said that if one day someone from our family in the current or next generation could work for or do something related to Starwars then that would be a great honour. When I got Starwars he was so proud of me even though in the past he didn’t think that comic artists could make money.

I do this because I want to inspire every kid. Earlier today while I was on the MRT, I was doodling. There was a guy who stayed on to watch what I was doodling even though he was supposed to drop off at Cityhall.

Showing what you can teach the next generation is what’s most important to me.

POPCulture Online: What was the experience like drawing for Ironman Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Harvey Tolibao: It was my first Marvel break. The highest person in Marvel called me and said that I was good at drawing robots after he saw my work on Starwars so he wanted me to try and take on Ironman. I thought that he was a big character so why not give it a go.

30 pages into the story I called and said that there was still no appearance of Ironman, I though he wanted me to draw robots but he said not to worry because there were lots of babes in the pages before the appearance of Ironman so I got to work on drawing the babes. Haha! It was one of the highest honours for me.

POPCulture Online: Tell us more about your sketchbook, Viscocity?

Harvey Tolibao: The art work in there is all drawn on ballpoint pen. I did it because I want to be known as a pen artist. It’s a compilation of pen work for a year and I think it shows how lots of beautiful works can be achieved with a simple ballpoint pen.

The artwork featuring Psylocke battling a hundred ninjas is the longest I’ve done.

POPCulture Online: Tell us more about the Captain America variant featuring the Merlion in the background?

Harvey Tolibao: I did 4 heroic poses of Cap for Marvel but my brother said to draw something boring yet iconic so I did and to my surprise Marvel loved it. I found it too simple so I made some changes inspired by Chris Evans who plays the movie version. This was mostly in terms of Chris Evans’ anatomy.

As for the Merlion, i added it based on a drawing I did of the Merlion in Sentosa a year ago.

POPCulture Online: Which Marvel character would you like to see come to life in a movie?

Harvey Tolibao: It has to be Psylocke because she is my favourite. I want to see what they can do for this lady who is so deadly, iconic and sexy. I hope justice can be done because she is a character with so much potential.

Harvey Tolibao was in town for the recent Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention

By Elliott Danker

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