Art and technology go hand in hand for these three comic book artists

Over the last few years, social media has grown to be a great place for artists to share their work. It’s always fun going through the #ArtPH and #VisibleWomen hashtags to see the different styles and colors of emerging artists. The enthusiasm for art nowadays shows how it’s an exciting time for the local comic scene, and Julienne Dadivas (Hulyen), Rian Gonzales and Mika Bacani are three artists whose art styles are at the forefront of this resurgence.

Lucky for us, Beyond the Box collaborated with Hulyen, Rian and Mika for Beyond vol. 2, a comic book that features three original stories with art drawn completely using the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. It serves as the follow-up to last year’s edition featuring Harvey Tolibo, Manix Abrera, and Mervin Malonzo.

Ahead of the launch on Oct. 7, we got to sit down with the three artists to talk about the topics they covered in the compilation and their thoughts on Twitter as an emerging venue to share art.

Froot: Hulyen’s comic is a modern reimagining of the Alamat ng Pinya.

YOUNG STAR: What are your comics for this compilation about?

RIAN GONZALES: Basically this story is about Candy. She’s going through a quarter-life crisis where she feels like her friends are achieving so many things. You feel like by 25 you have to achieve a lot of things. She wants to rekindle her passion and her drive. At the end of (one unfortunate) day, she met a cat and it turned into something magical.

JULIENNE DADIVAS (H): It’s a millennial retelling of Alamat ng Pinya. I was just really fascinated by that story kahit nung bata pa ako. I just wanted to use elements like a pineapple, so gusto ko siya i-connect sa millennials at siguro sa technology na rin or sa reliance ng mga millennials sa Internet.

MIKA BACANI: My comic is about long-distance relationships and the experience of being in one. It’s an exploration of the relationship you have with your partner who is far away but also with the absence and the restraints of space and yourself.

So you’ve all been drawing/illustrating for a long time now. Did you all start out digital?
H: Ako kasi ever since, it’s been a mix of traditional and digital. I don’t know how to paint, so most of the colors ginagawa ko digital. Kasi pag digital, pwede magkamali. Tapos mas madaming options at mas pwede kang mag-experiment.

R: Mostly traditional talaga ever since. This is something new to me in the sense that I was challenged to use a different medium as opposed to what I usually do, which is nice because it’s nice to keep challenging yourself to improve.

M: I started out doing stuff traditionally (like) “Rah! Traditional is the superior medium. Digital is stupid!” The joke’s on me now because all of my work is digital.

Crisis control: Rian Gonzales made a comic about powering through the quarter life crisis.

You all use social media, you’re all on Instagram. How do you think that has helped you grow as artists? Or do you think that has helped in any way?

R: The nice thing about having a space where you could upload your stuff is that clients have a clear vision of what your art style looks like, and you’re going to attract those people who want your work talaga. They’re not gonna hire you to copy.

H: Ako talaga, hindi ko alam kung gagawa ako ng comics kung hindi ako nag-start online. Buong comics career ko siguro online. Minsan mine-message lang ako ng mga tao na magpapagawa, so malaking help talaga na may social media presence para ma-discover ako ng mga readers at clients.

M: I think social media is a space where you can be yourself. I do a lot of experimentation. It’s encouraging when people are receptive to it—not so much that you’re looking for any affirmation, but it’s like “Okay! People are responding, and that’s cool. I can keep on doing this.” The people who approach you to do work for them, they’re familiar with what you do so they have full trust in you to do whatever you want. On the flipside, if someone comes in with work you don’t wanna do, you have the power to say no.

Long-distance call: Mika Bacani tackles long-distance relationships and space constraints in her comic.

Instagram is a platform for you to share your art, but recently we’ve seen the hashtags like #VisibleWomen, etc. on Twitter.

H: Kaka-post ko lang ng #VisibleWomen, so ayoko mag-post ng #ArtPH. Ayokong masyadong papansin (laughs).

R: I think hashtags come with a responsibility. You don’t want to look like you’re just promoting yourself. You have to honor (the hashtag) as a whole. The hashtag comes with the responsibility of what content you are presenting, and if it is appropriate. Be mindful of the guidelines. I think it’s a nice platform to be discovered. Ako kasi, I feel like I’m flooding someone else’s feed if I participate in all the hashtags.

M: I didn’t participate—not because I don’t support it—but I’m just super private and wala rin akong mapo-post. I liked the #ArtPH hashtag when it came out, I discovered so many local people. It was encouraging for me in the sense that, “OMG, the youth (is) making art. Everything is great!” Like all ideal systems, an assh*le is eventually gonna ruin it. But otherwise, the idea is good. I appreciate it for that.


Beyond vol. 2 is out on October 7. For more information, visit or check Beyond the Box out on Facebook and Instagram.

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