Artist's Dossier for November: Mark Mendoza

Sometimes, we call him "Nonito."

Sometimes, we call him "Nonito."

Perhaps more than anyone else, Gunship Revolution's Mark Mendoza is a product of the company's rigorous training regimen, particularly under Senior Art Director Kriss Sison. In this week's Capitana's log, Mark explores with us what it takes to train towards becoming a professional.

So, you've been with Gunship Revolution since the beginning, yeah?
Roughly. I think I joined the gang after six or so months of intense training from Kriss-sensei, XD. GR had just started then if memory serves me right.

Training with Kriss sounds like a major experience. How was that like?
I was very fortunate; because he's my cousin, my training was very hands-on. He may seem scary as a mentor - and many would think that at first - but you'd be surprised. He's cool with how he'll show you the ropes and teach you how to correct your work. Though you'll have to make sure you don't repeat your mistakes too often.

So it seems that art runs in the family.
I'd like to think that's true. We have a niece who seems to draw pretty well for her age; she draws better than I did when I was her age.

Did you think you'd become an artist, growing up?
Nope, never thought I'd become part of of the art industry. I loved to draw when I was young but I always figured I was gonna be a Catholic priest or some lazy engineer. Neither worked out so here I am.

Aside from Kriss, who would you say are your main art influences, especially now that you're in the industry?
I have plenty; top of the list would be Kishida Mel, Redjuice, Makoto Shinkai and Miyazaki, and a few more which I can't remember at the moment. Oh, add Range Murata to the list too.

What kind of training exercises did Kriss put you through when you were training, though?
I was back to basics! I stopped drawing right after I dropped out of college so picking it back up was pretty frustrating. I knew the theories but my hand was out of practice, and picking good colors was not my strongest skill so my work were eyesores. And adding more frustration was the fact that I was working beside him so the difference in quality is like a constant slap in the face haha! That being said, I think it's one important factor to improving skills: you have to be immersed in a learning environment that will frustrate you to kick yourself up.

Can you tell us of a particular moment when you realized you've leveled up in terms of skill?
When Kriss displayed my first digital drawing side by side with a certain commissioned art I made after the training. There was also the first coloring job I did under GR compared to the first portfolio pieces I submitted for GR's site. To be honest though, I don't think you can ever be totally aware of how much you improved until someone else points that out to you.

Ah, true. Now that you're in the profession though, what's a typical day like for you?
Oh goodness.. um, lately, it usually starts with listening to news, followed by ranting at myself over what's going on (political issues usually) while starting to work on the project at hand. I usually listen to to documentaries or episodes of series that I've already watched while at work. Before the day ends, I take a peek at Steam sales.

Any games you're looking forward to getting for the Black Friday Steam Sale?
Ummm... I don't know yet!

What kind of projects are you looking to do with GR in the future?
Anything that involves Japanese anime or Korean art styles themed projects. I also want to experience assisting in a manga/comics team

You mostly do work with clients abroad. Any thoughts about the local industry?
Are you referring to local clients? or the local artists?

The local industry in general. Artists and their opportunities here.
I've heard "horror" stories about some local clients, but i really can't comment since I never got to work with anyone in the country outside GR. On the other hand, it seems that local artists are doing a good job if you look at the successes of comic and art conventions lately.

Ah. Any advice for young artists who might want to join us?
Prepare!!! (your portfolio) and if you fail, don't lose heart. A blade is forged through fire.

And last question: if you can call any one person in the world as your spirit animal, who would it be?
You lost me there. Ahhh! I just remembered! Walter Disney!

Disney? Why him?
Check out the Epic Rap Battle episode between Jim Henson and Stan Lee. You'll find out why there.