Steve Gan in Cubao
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"I internalize my emotions with the characters and scnes in the frame. It's not only by my hands that I make my illustrations move. There is the coordination of the heart and mind. I've got to feel it. Oftentimes, I'm the one inside those frames suffering, laughing, moving."
- Steve Gan on Illustrating ComicsSteve Gan was born on May 22, 1945. A naturalized Filipino (He is pure Chinese), Gan regards himself as a self-made artist. Since there were no schools offering courses on comics illustration, he had to learn the basics of comics art through self-study, and hone his talent through self-perseverance.
Gan became interested in drawing at an early age. It was the work of Francisco V. Coching, the Dean of Philippine Comics, that inspired him in the 1950's. He took up architecture at the Mapua Institute of Technology but he became more engrossed in illustration rather than architecture. Together with a college buddy, he began contributing to a small publishing company.
Gan's initial break in the comics field came via Bernarditta, a novel serialized in the now defunct Palos Komiks. His first novel at Atlas Publishing was Bulid sa Putikan, serialized in Hiwaga Komiks.
Soon, Gan was teaming up with some of the country's top komiks novelists, among them Carlo J. Caparas. His illustrations began to attract attention among numerous komiks publications. His name soared to new heights when he began to reap awards from komiks illustration contests sponsored by prestigious organizations concerned with giving due recongition to those involved in the arts.
In 1980, he copped the first prize for his illustrating Ang Panday (serialized in Pilipino Komiks) in a contest under the aegis of SPIC (Society of Philippine Illustrators and Cartoonists), San Miguel Corporation and Philamlife Insurance. He broke his own record by winning first and second prizes in the 1981 SPIC-SMC art awards for illustrating Mekanizmo, serialized in Tagalog Klasiks. He also received recognition for his work on Pieta, his longest running komiks novel which was serialized ni Darna Komiks for five years.
Gan has had illustration stints abroad through the courtesy of Tony DeZuniga, working for Warren Publishing and Marvel Comics (Starlord, Dracula, SKULL The Slayer), but he admits he is more at ease with local scenes.
Research is one task Gan never
gets tired of. He has a voluminous collection of books on well known
illustrators and painters. He says he learned a lot from pouring over their
biographies and analyzing their works. To aid his research on various subjects,
he watches television and goes to movies as often as he can.
When the comics industry began to dip, he shifted to animation and worked as a layout designer on Biker Mice, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Tarzan, Teacher Pet the Movie, and Atlantis. He also worked as a storyboard artist on Jungle Cubs, Timon and Pumba, Calamity Jane, Savage Dragon, Invasion America, and Christmas Carol.
Gan is married and has three children, two girls and one boy.
-Biography from "A History of Komiks" and The Philippine Comic Artists Portfolio.