Rian Gonzales has left an indelible mark on an undeniable classic, with her colorful art splashed across the cover of Betty & Veronica, the first in the relaunch of the series starring the beloved Archie comics characters.
Gonzales is one of 25 artists chosen to do an alternate cover for this first issue penned by Adam Hughes. Last Sunday, fans were given a chance to have the artist sign their copies and were even treated to personalized art.
"Archie Comics was one of the first titles I was introduced to when I was young," Gonzales told GMA News Online.
"The characters are very easy to relate with especially because they are a bunch of teenagers trying to get through high school problems. To me, Archie comics was a stepping stone for me to appreciate western comics, which also has a big influence in my art style!"
Gonzales is a graduate of Fine Arts and Design from the University of Sto. Tomas and while signing copies, she joked to her fans that her teachers usually discouraged this style. However, she simply loved it too much.
Scenes from the Rian Gonzales fan event at Filbar's in UP Town Center— Aya Tantiangco Miura (@aya_tantiangco) July 24, 2016
(Video: Aya Miura) pic.twitter.com/svBdzxInbM
"My first real introduction to manga style drawing was actually a manhwa!" she said, referring to the South Korean term for comics.
"It was popularly known as Ragnarok, done by artist Lee Myung-jin. Ever since then, I was fascinated how these visual storytellers brought their concept to life and I was lead to the world of manga," she added.
"I delved in first in a bunch of mainstream ones like Bleach. One of my absolute favorite mangaka is Takehiko Inoue. I also absolutely read a lot of manga works from CLAMP. It has greatly influenced my art style."
Gonzales stays true to her Instagram (and DeviantArt) handle "rianbowart" and doesn't shy away from being colorful. Her illustrations, usually depicting female characters from anime and video games, are unabashedly cute and bright.
Artist Arnold Arre, spotted in the crowd at Gonzales' event, describes Gonzales art as sweet. Arre's wife Cynthia is a friend of Gonzales, but the two attended the event as supportive "fans."
Arnold Arre, queuing up to have his copy of Rian Gonzales' art signed: pic.twitter.com/vAOyhiRyNL— Aya Tantiangco Miura (@aya_tantiangco) July 24, 2016
"We're very proud that she did a cover with a prominent title,"Arre told GMA News Online.
"She's like her drawing—she's very sweet. She's very kind and very humble. I like that about her," he added. "She gets thousands and thousands of likes, but it doesn't affect her. She's still the same person."
Gonzales is currently preparing for AsiaPop Comic Con on August and an group show with art collective Ang INK at the Ayala Museum in September. —JST/BAP, GMA News