Thursday, July 31, 2008

105 Days To Go

Finally, I got to talk to Scott. Good news with regards to Comic Con 2008. There was a lot of interest in Mechtechs and we got more fans to sign up for the website. On the other hand, Scott needs more character studies from Andrew and Andrew is tied up with a storyboard job. Mikhail also needs to change his style to create more of a manga feel for his characters. Both artists are no where to be found.

Only 105 days to go and we still need to develop eight characters and revise faces for Jeter, Russ and Holly. Andrew is tasked with developing more designs for each character so that Scott can choose the best. I'm just thinking positively that we will reach our deadline, but I'm a little doubtful. We are way behind our target date per my timetable. We should be polishing all of the characters in tight pencils by August 2 and doing layouts by the following week. At this point, I don't see that happening. Hopefully, the colors will be approved quickly so we can squeeze cut time on their deadlines and save time overall.

Now, I'll delegate tasks through email and wait (patiently) for the artists to do them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It's been days since Scott and I communicated and I'm going crazy now. Getting really panicky I should say. How many days do we have left?! Oh my! I've got a lot of pending sketches and pencils for his approval, but I don't think he received my emails about them. He was too busy with the Comic-Con 2008 event, I guess. Now, I'm crossing my fingers for his call.

Andrew is done with all of his character sketches and everything's up for approval. Mikhail did his Jeter and Russ face studies because Scott asked him to revise the face to look more goofy for Jeter and add more character to Russ' face. So we're left hanging on that. However, I thought of a great idea to help him out. I posted it on the Deviant Art site and asked for comments from our viewers there. And I'm excited about the outcome. So for our viewers here, please do visit our DA site: and leave your comments. Help us create these two characters, pleeeeeeease!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Making of R.J.

He is a big Harley type, part human, part alien guy, although, he is more human than alien. He is the Molton Mecha shop’s frontman. He spends most of his time trying to get his staff to stop goofing around and actually do some work and lamenting on the almost lost art of classic echa construction.

A design was submitted by Godfrey during his tryout and this became part of the model for drawing R.J. According to Scott, the body proportion was great and the outfit looked good. It was then sketched in blue lines by Andrew following Godfrey's drawing of Godfrey of the body proportions. However, the face was changed to match the one Scott submitted. After the blue lines were finished, Scott immediately approved Andrew’s design and it was then turned over to Mikhail for tight penciling. Soon, it was done, but the arm of R.J. needed to be revised because Mikhail mistakenly drew it with mechanical arms. With two revisions in mind (the arm and the wrench needed to be bigger), the final pencils were completed.
After the last revision was approved, R.J. was sent to Mark Taduran for coloring. Since R.J. is part alien, we thought he should have different colors for his skin tone. The color of his skin tone needed to be appropriate for his character - no green because he might look like the Hulk and definitely no purple because he might end up looking like Barney! We tried red, but Scott didn’t approve of it. Instead, it was changed to a bluish-gray.

The final R.J. was introduced at the San Diego Comic-Con 2008! You will see more of R.J. as Andrew sketches his different facial expressions and pose guides.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

MechTechs teaser artwork

Tease me...tease me...tease me...or tease you, I should say. That's what we did at the San Diego Comic-Con 2008. Our Creative Director, Scott Ownbey, handed out 20,000 teaser postcards to comic, anime and manga fans. We took advantage of this event to introduce Mechtechs to the crowd and get the fans excited about seeing the final comic which will be launched (hopefully) in November 2008.

The main goal was to introduce the mecha and some of the characters. After the mecha head was penciled and approved, Mark T. was asked to do his magic. Mark decided to make the mecha look different from than usual and picked very out-of-the ordinary colors.

"I want the mecha to look more fresh and "manga" in color. It should not be the usual white, blue and red. I thought of golden yellow accentuated by purple and hot pink. I had been experimenting and that, for me, was the best tri-color combo - a bit playful, not too serious combination. I also took into consideration the outfits of the characters. They should both compliment and contrast the color of the mecha," said Mark Taduran, the head colorist of for the MechTechs project.

And so it was approved with Scott commenting that it was an interesting color choice for the mecha head.

We can't wait to show our fans more interesting colors for the rest of the mechas and characters. Keep checking it to see more updates and don't forget to join the MechTechs groups on Facebook and Myspace as well!

Friday, July 25, 2008

MechTechs trailer

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Interview with IAS & Mechtechs Head Colorist

I knew that Mark Anthony Taduran would be chosen as the lead colorist for Mechtechs. Not that the other colorists are not good. They're actually all great, that's why Scott had a hard time choosing, but Mark knows how to play with colors really well and he's good at knowing exactly how Scott wants the colors to look. My prediction was accurate and Mark was chosen with just one submission of artwork.

I recently had the opportunity to pull Mark away from his work and have him answer a few quick questions.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: My family calls me Boboy or Anthony. In Singapore they call me Marko or Markovah. To my college friends, I am known as Em. I can be your most loyal friend but then, can be your greatest enemy. I'm super moody, almost bipolar.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Iriga City (Philippines) where the Filipino Superstar "Nora Aunor" was born. I am Bicolano, but I don't like "Bicol express" too much.

Q: Were you always an artist? Who or what inspired you to be an artist?
A: I started drawing when I was about three years old. My uncle, who was a carpenter and a painter, taught me how to draw a bird. My mother taught me how to draw a woman. I was really inspired by animated cartoons like Rainbow Brite and Thundercats. I copied and drew them. Then, my bestfriend who is also an artist, influenced me to collect comics both local and international in my grade school days. Most of my inspirations are comic artists like J.D. Sto. Domingo, Michael Turner, Joe Madureira and Carlo Vergara among others.

Q: What are your favorite subjects to draw?
A: The Human Figure.

Q: As an artist, what other forms of expression do you indulge in? Who influenced you the most as an artist?
A: I usually draw and color comics, although I used to do graphic design for posters, print ads and other advertising collaterals. My greatest influences are Michael Turner and Joe Mad. Or I should say, they are my idols.

Q: If you were a superhero, what superpowers would you have? Why?
A: I want to have Telekinesis and Telepathy just like Jean Grey in X-men, because I love her.

Q: Who are your favorite characters in Mechtechs?
A: Holly and Hopper

Q: What Mecha would you create if your were RJ? Describe it.
A: I create a mecha with an armor or a battle suit that transforms into a jet. It would be slim and agile and it would move like an "Evangelion" robot. It must be dominantly glossy white like a Mac cover with glossy, ebony black parts. It must have an off-proportioned gigantic right arm that releases torpedos or lasers. It should somehow be recognizable as a female mecha.

Q: What art style do you use the most aside from the style you use at work?
A: I use the comic style in drawing and the painted anime style in coloring.

Keep checking back to see more of Mark's work as the MechTechs series is further developed. As Scott said: "Have Mark leave his mark!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mechtechs Colorists

The next phase for MechTech was to choose among the colorist aspirants who will be fit to render the teasers, promotional materials and comicbook series. Announcements and invites were sent once again to the Manila Studio artists to create their own interpretation of MechTechs colors following the color guide provided by Creative Director Scott Ownbey. Big props to Neil Cervantes, Malaya De Guzman, Samuel Donato, Mark “Mok” Vivas, Sandeson Gonzaga, Mark Anthony Taduran, Christian Dave Gonzales, Giovanni Tengco & Timothy Terrenal for all their creative masterpieces.

Based on the guide, Scott’s idea was to render an overall look which offers a low-tech industrial look with lots of rich earth sepia tones and dramatic use of cool colors that will predominate the look in the visual development of the comicbook.

After another tough analysis of all the submissions, Scott finally selected the best of the best to render the MechTech comicbook. Amongst the aspirants, 2 Marks became Scott’s favorite: Mark Anthony Taduran was chosen to be the head colorist and Mark “Mok” Vivas to be his assistant.

So stay tuned for updates on Artist-Cam sessions and watch our artists draw in real time as we field questions for the artists.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Godfrey Escota - The Villain Penciler

GODFREY ESCOTA, 26 years old

Godfrey is one of the artists who submitted designs for MechTechs. Scott was definitely impressed with his work and he has been chosen to draw the villains for Mechtechs.

Let me introduce you to Godfrey.

He is currently one of the team leaders in the penciler department of Interactive Art Services' Manila studio. He is one very talented guy. Aside from drawing, he does digital painting and sculpting too. He is called the studio clown because there is never a dull moment with this guy - unless he is hungry - because he can sing and dance very well.

Godfrey is a Manila boy, born and raised. His love of drawing people is derived from his enjoyment of comics at an early age. In college he took up architecture to combine his love for drawing with a possible career. As he became more involved in architecture, he was able to keep his love of drawing people alive by creating little comic strips. However, he had to stop doodling and concentrate on his studies to finish his courses.

When asked what supernatural powers he'd choose, Godfrey happily commented that he'd like the power to stop time. He would use this superpower much like Nakamura of the TV show "Heroes." While Godfrey appreciates the tangible results of long hours spent perfecting a work of art, he also finds books on the human mind especially interesting.

Godfrey has been inspired by comic book artists Travis Charest, Jim Lee and Frank Cho. Their work led him to develop his own clean lines and dynamic drawing style. Additionally, Todd McFarlane’s fun, quirky artistry and keen business sense has given Godfrey the desire to open his own business one day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Character sketches for R.J., Russ and Jeter

Andrew provided four sketches of a Mecha head for the teaser and Scott was able to choose one already. See Mikhail’s tighter version which was already approved. Yay! One down.

We finally have sketches of the three characters for our teaser. The three character sketches that Andrew drew of RJ, Russ and Jeter were approved, while the tighter versions Mikhail did still need revisions. And with a tight deadline, I'm going crazy because Mikhail wasn't able to report for work today.

I might have to extend my deadlines for the rest of the characters since we still have nine characters to go and Andrew is having his mood swings. Haaaaah! Working with artists is really making me nuts! But I still have to keep myself sane and keep my fingers crossed that we meet our deadline.

Friday, July 18, 2008

MechTechs: The basics

MechTechs is a new manga mini-series and virtual world that is currently being developed.

The series is set in a mecha garage run by a dysfunctional cast of characters that is passionate about fabricating giant pilot driven robots, or mechas. While the comedic dysfunction of the relationships and the daily drama in the garage is the primary focus of the series, the garage is but a microcosm of a much larger mecha universe. The mechas being built in the garage are being used to fight in the inter-galactic mecha-fought tournament that is taking place right outside.

Want to know the cool part? During the development phase, manga fans can visit the MechTechs blogs and see the characters as they are being drawn via our live 24-hour webcast.

And even better, fans can contribute and make suggestions to the artists as they draw the characters.

The first print issue of the series will be released in November 2008 along with the launch of the 3-D virtual mecha world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The daily activities in the MechTechs studio

July 17, 2008, THURSDAY – 120 Days left
10:30PM (Manila Time)/10:30AM (Florida Time)
What a tiring day. I just arrived from the painting exhibit of one of our artists, Alex Aguilar. I was needed there to support him and take pictures for our Agency Art & Animation blog. Anyway, yesterday I got a message from Scott to inform Andrew to do tight pencils on his drawing of Jeter. Mikhail should do tight pencils on the mecha head for our teaser. Hmmmmmm..I hope I can get hold of Mikhail this time.

11:15PM (Manila Time)/11:15AM (Florida Time)
Finally, Mikhail answered my call. I told him to finish his tight pencils before I leave the office so I can show Scott his work for approval. Meanwhile, Andrew is drawing his Jeter. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long for the two artists to finish their drawings.

3AM(Manila Time)/3PM(Florida Time)
Andrew just finished drawing Jeter. I took a video of him while he was drawing some of it. I'll show it to you as soon as I can upload it.

4:30AM (Manila Time)/4:30PM (Florida Time)
Arrrgghhh, Mikhail's nowhere to be found again. I can't wait for him anymore. Andrew is already done with a second character. I'll post some videos soon. Great pencils on both characters! But I have to leave now. Again, I've been in the office for 12 hours. Sooooo tired.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My MechTechs Diary - 7.15.08

Let me introduce myself. I am Melody de Jesus, Project Manager for MechTechs. I currently work at Interactive Art Services' Manila Studio as Special Projects Manager/Admin Assistant. I'm into photography as well. It is actually my greatest passion. However, being in this project is exciting for me. It is indeed a challenge. My goal for MechTechs is to finish it on time or before the deadline, to make things organized and systematic for the team and to motivate the artists to create excellent artwork - even during stressful times.

July 15, 2008, TUESDAY – 122 Days left
2PM (Manila Time)/ 2AM (Florida Time)
It’s a brand new day today. I got in the office 30 minutes ago. I’m quite sleepy ‘coz I’ve been having sleepless nights due to this project, MechTechs. It seems that before I sleep, during my sleep and when I’m awake, MechTechs is on my mind. I even have dreams about it!!!
Well, last night I had an IM conversation with the big boss, Scott Ownbey. He was following up Mikhail’s sketches…arrrrrrgh! Mikhail’s so hard to reach. I kept on IM-ing, calling and texting him, but he seems so busy with the project. The last time I talked to him, which was the other day, he was working on the two characters that Andrew initially sketched. We have a timetable ‘coz I wanted everything to be systematic and organized, but most of the time there are additional jobs to do (like this blog, videos of the artists, teasers, etc.). Oh well, at least they are brilliant ideas worth working on. Wait! I need to do the video in awhile.

8PM (Manila Time)/8AM (Florida Time)
Wow! So much stress from this hectic day. I transferred my stuff to another office room. I’d just finished cleaning up and setting up my table, computer and all my files, when I received an IM from Scott, again following up on Mikhail’s work and our videos. Now, I have a text from Mikhail that he is having quite a hard time penciling the characters based on Andrew’s sketches. There are some changes in style and it’s quite difficult for him - especially with the tight deadlines. I can feel just how stressed he is. Poor guy! I also checked on Godfrey (who’s doing the villains) and he’s going crazy already thinking of a really great concept. We just took that video, but unfortunately the battery died on us. And what is worse, we don’t have a charger. Godfrey keeps crushing and throwing his paper because he is not satisfied with his artwork.

11PM (Manila Time)/11AM (Florida Time)
Whew! An hour way past my time off. Andrew arrived an hour earlier than his scheduled time and he’s doing the turn-around of RJ already. Anyway, I had a meeting with Pedro, the one in charge of the marketing for Mechtechs. Scott called an hour ago and checked on our progress. Mikhail hasn’t given me anything yet. Scott is getting worried already that we won’t meet our deadlines. But, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. However, I’m getting crazy also uploading stuff to our site for approval because the IT people are upgrading our site. And now Scott’s following up on what has been done. Aaaaaaahhhh!!!

12:53AM (Manila Time)/12:53PM (Florida Time)
Gosh! Finally! The videos and the other characters for approval have been uploaded. But I’m getting kind of stressed out because it’s overtime again and I’m so tired. I have been in the office for 12 hours already, and I still have to wait for Mikhail to finish his characters. I already texted him and hopefully he’ll be done soon.

1:34AM (Manila Time)/1:11PM (Florida Time)
Mikhail texted me that he’s kind of pressured knowing that I’m waiting for him too, so he will be the one to send his sketch to Scott. Good for me, I can go home now and get some sleep.

Monday, July 14, 2008

ABOUT ANDREW SANTOS by Melody C. de Jesus

Andrew Santos was chosen by Creative Director, Scott Ownbey to develop the character designs for the MechTechs series. Santos submitted his favorite character, Holly, and his favorite subject, Mecha. This paved the way for Ownbey to be totally impressed by his artistry. After years of planning for the MechTechs series, the original idea of a grungy, dirty, hard-edged look was altered after Andrew submitted his drawings, transitioning from an image superhero comic to an anime movie slant.

“I like Andrew’s anime-type sensibility,” said Ownbey of Santo's drawings.

Santos is currently an artist of Interactive Art Services. He was born and raised in Bagiuo City, Philippines.

When asked about his favorite subjects, Andrew says: “While my favorite subjects are women, I’m definitely at my best with Mecha. Structures and figures of mechanical workings fascinate me. Guns are my favorite subjects too. And people say that I’m good at drawing motorbikes. Aside from drawing, I also dabble in photography and writing. My biggest influence as an artist has always been my older brother, who is now into poetry and writing.”

Get to know more about Santos. Watch his video interview... coming soon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Penciler for MechTech

Just recently, the MechTechs comic book launched its initial preproduction phase by evaluating artists from Manila Studio that will pave the way for the development of characters to layouts, pencils, colors and Mech-tastic backgrounds.

Following style guides and using the Mech Techs script, announcements and invites were posted for Manila Studio artists to create their own robotic renditions and mechanical imaginations to interpret their own MechTech characters and Mechas to become part of the new publication venture.

The results of the artworks proved to be a tough decision for Creative Director Scott Ownbey.

“Let me say that I originally thought picking artists for MechTechs would be easy. I normally have no reservations making quick decisions when it comes to artistic talent. However I can see some real passion in the submissions and some amazing qualities that each of you guys can bring to the project. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of talent from some artists I wasn't familiar with. I must say, "Thank you!" to everyone that took the time to submit custom pieces. I get more blown away with the talent from Manila Studio everyday." -Scott Ownbey, Creative Director Manila Studio

From among the Manila Studio Artists who made stunning Mech Tech renditions Mannie Abeleda, Benjo Camay, Jonathan Ledesma, Godfrey Escota, Jaime Salangsang, Mara Miranda, Alex Aguilar, Rosame Gregorio, Andrew Santos, Jerald Dorado, Alethia Rio, who were all equally good, Ownbey finally chose Andrew Santos to do the main characters and Mechas development. His anime slant and sensibility for Mecha designs are outstanding, says Ownbey. On the other hand, Godfrey Escota was tasked to establish the evil characters and Mikhail Garcia will do the layouts & backgrounds.

Submissions for colors are still yet to be judged by Ownbey. This is another tough decision to be concluded. Watch out for more updates.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mechas Tryout Sketches

Pilot-controlled robots come in all shapes and sizes, for a multitude of different uses: war machine Mechas, demolition Mechas, construction and haulage Mechas, gladiator Mechas, racing Mechas, sports Mechas. The planet Cleveland was famous for its Mecha shops, back in the days when craft, precision and artistry still meant something in Mecha production, but that was before the market became flooded with cheap mass-produced imports from the Galactic Rim. There are still enough Mecha enthusiasts out there who knows that for true quality and craftsmanship, you still have to go to Cleveland. These were Molton Mecha mark of individuality that still set their custom-made creations apart from all other Mechas.

About MechTechs

After years of producing top-quality, story-based artwork for leading ad agencies, Interactive Art Services (IAS) and its sister companies have teamed up with renowned comic writer Gordon Rennie to produce MechTechs, the company’s first venture into the world of comic publishing.

MechTechs is the product of a synergistic effort combining Rennie’s writing talent and IAS CEO Scott Ownbey’s conceptualization with the illustrative efforts of the story-driven artists of IAS and its sister companies, Storyboards Online, Animatic Media, Manila Studio and ShanghaiPOP.

The first issue of the four-issue mini-series will be released in November.

MechTechs is set in a mecha garage run by a dysfunctional cast of characters, a microcosm of a much larger mecha universe. The comedic dysfunction in the garage serves as the primary focus in the first issue of MechTechs, while outside of the garage there is perpetual fighting in mecha-fought tournaments.