WHEN asked about getting featured in Inquirer Lifestyle’s To Be You section, Koi Carreon smiles sheepishly.
A humble guy who prefers spending time at home drawing and playing video games during his downtime, Koi is an accomplished illustrator, a fact that surprises many. A regular To be You contributor and one of the main artists working with Paolo Chikiamco on the local comics “Mythspace,” he recently broke into the international comic scene.
It started last September at AsiaPop Comic Con Manila where his portfolio was reviewed by CB Cebulski, Marvel Comics international development and brand manager. A week after, I vividly remember having a ramen lunch with Koi when he suddenly looked up and smiled: Cebulski’s sent him an e-mail on his mobile phone.
“I actually think we may have a cover assignment for you. That was fast, huh?” wrote Cebulski.
Koi’s first project was a variant cover on Marvel’s ongoing comic series, “Weirdworld #3” by Sam Humphries and Mike Del Mundo, released last February.
“At first I couldn’t believe it. It only started to sink in while I was already doing my thumbnail sketches for the cover,” he says. Koi was given a month to work on his piece. “It’s the most exciting project I have worked on so far,” he says.
A few weeks after passing his final art for “Weirdworld #3,” he was given another project, this time for “Star-Lord #2.” With less than a month to the deadline, there was no time to spare. The comics was expected to hit the shelves in December 2015.
Koi cites Chris Samnee, Jake Wyatt, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Mahmud Asrar as some of his influences in illustration. His ultimate goal is to work on titles which these artists are currently drawing for. Doing Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel covers are also among his dream projects.
He’s grateful for the continuous support he gets from his followers and loved ones, particularly his girlfriend. “She inspires me to push forward and do my best every day,” he says.
Of his current projects, he looks forward to the launch of “Indie G Zine,” a tribute art book that includes the work of Sachin Teng, the notable cover artist for Dark Horse Comics’ Dragon Age.
Koi, of course, isn’t the first Filipino artist whose works have been published by international comics giants. Leinil Yu, Stephen Segovia, Mico Suayan and many others continue to receive monthly comic projects from Marvel and DC.
Neither is his breaking into international comics a Cinderella story. Koi says it takes endless cover exercises and determination to get that proverbial golden ticket. “Dreams do come true—but only if you’re willing to sacrifice and put in the hours to work for them,” he says. “Push relentlessly and chase after them!”
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