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Interview with Andie Tong, illustrator behind the TEKKEN: Blood Feud graphic novel

Get to know Andie Tong and his work on TEKKEN: Blood Feud.

It’s the final day of our week-long preview of the new TEKKEN graphic novel from Titan Comics – which hits bookstores on December 19th. Today we chat to comic artist Andie Tong about his work on the TEKKEN: Blood Feud graphic novel.

Don’t forget, we’re giving away 5 copies of the graphic novel signed by writer Cavan Scott. To enter, check out this link on Twitter.

How did you become a part of the comics project and were you familiar with the TEKKEN franchise?

I was already working with Titan Comics on cover art for some of their comics range when I heard about the TEKKEN comic announcement. I was really interested in this new comic as I’ve been a huge fan of the game since it was released back in the ‘90s. I contacted my editor who then put me in touch with the TEKKEN editor (Tom), who in turn, got me to draw some TEKKEN samples to pitch for the job with Titan and Bandai Namco.

Your work is quite exceptional. How long have you been drawing comics and how did you get into this field?

Oh wow, thank you. I’ve been drawing since I was young but professionally, I started around 2003. It started off by me putting a lot of my artwork on art forums and social media. I got some paid work through this but my career in comics really took off after I started attending comic conventions in the US and UK where I got to meet fellow creators and editors.

Did you have any formal training?

I’ve had some formal training but not related to comics directly. I graduated as a Multimedia designer in 1997 and before working in the comics industry full time, I had a career as a designer for quite a number of years.  I learnt tools and applications such as Photoshop that have continued to help me to this day in the process of comic making.

When I was in primary school, my parents would send me to art classes and I picked up basic techniques, which I sometimes apply and translate to when I’m working digitally these days.

Did you receive any artistic direction when working on the comic?

As long as we stuck to the core design, look and feel of the game, we were allowed to explore. Cavan Scott (writer of the comic) would also have some notes in the script when he had something specific in mind he wanted to tell and how he wanted to tell it.

What was the creative process like from start to finish?

The graphic novel falls between TEKKEN 6 and TEKKEN 7. Cavan kept me informed every step of the way with the story. After reading the script, I would do little thumbnails for myself of the entire issue just to see how things would layout visually. Upon completing that, I would go back and put a little more detail into the pages to define each character and panel. I would then send these pencils off to Cavan and Tom to get feedback. Once approved, I would ink and finish the pages adding a little more detail along the way.

Share with us your artistic mediums. Are Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop involved and do you sketch anything on paper? How is it done?

I mainly draw digitally nowadays, saving a lot of paper. So having learnt a lot of creative applications when I was a designer helped considerably. Out of all the design software I picked up through the years, Photoshop is the main application that I still use for comics and that’s primarily just for coloring. I draw and ink on Clip Studio Paint (use to be called Manga Studio) and I also color on Corel Painter from time to time.

Occasionally, I would go back to drawing and inking on art boards for the covers. I do this to try and keep in touch with the traditional way of creating. As much as technology has made the creative process easier and cleaner and supposedly, faster, there’s no other feeling like putting pencil, pen or brush to paper and feeling the rawness of it all.

What challenges, if any, did you face while working on the project?

Timeline and deadlines are always a worry for me. Once upon a time, I used to think I was rather fast in producing pages. Lately however, I’ve discovered, maybe by getting a bit older, I’m simply not as fast as I once thought I was. I work rather weird long extra hours to compensate for the slowness. Another challenge was trying to get the look and feel of each character’s clothes to be as authentic as possible to the game.

Were there any characters or storylines you enjoyed bringing to life more than others?

I’ve always enjoyed the Mishima clan feud, which we managed to cover a bit of in this comic.

What other projects are you working on these days?

I’m currently still drawing for Titan Comics. They’ve put me on the second arc of Fighting American, created by comic legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Where can people see more of your work?

My past work includes the Disney-published Zodiac Legacy novels written by Stuart Moore and Stan Lee. I’ve also worked on the Tron comic book. Before that, I drew Spectacular Spider-Man UK for several years and have also illustrated a number of early reading books for HarperCollins that included licensed characters from both the Marvel and DC Universes.

Want to know more about Andie’s art process? Check out this phenomenal live drawing:

Check out this stunning TEKKEN live sketch by artist Andie Tong! TEKKEN Issue #1 is in stores this May – you can order your copy NOW from your local comic book store: Use the codes below! MAR172030 – COVER A: Alex RonaldMAR172031 – COVER B: Andie Tong MAR172032 – COVER C: Anton K MAR172033 – COVER D: Videogame Variant MAR172034 – COVER E: Jimbo Salgado Written by Cavan Scott, illustrated by Andie Tong.

Posted by Titan Comics on Thursday, March 9, 2017

Plus, check out this fantastic character sketch:

TEKKEN: Blood Feud graphic novel hits stores on December 19th. You can order this now from Amazon.

Connect with Titan Comics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.

Aziz Peregrino-Brimah aka Zee the CEO | Founder / Editor-in-chief of TekkenGamer | Gaming has been a passion of Zee's since the early days of Atari and ColecoVision. His first experience with Tekken was in the early 90's, and it was Tekken 3 that sealed the deal. True story... As a teenager Zee once received his Winn-Dixie paycheck and spent it all at the arcade the same day. Needless to say, his mother wasn't pleased.


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