Thomasian brings to life French sci-fi book

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A THOMASIAN artist is making waves in the French art scene for his illustrations of Jean-David Morvan’s graphic novel trilogy, Ravage, a science fiction novel by René Barjavel.

Rey Macutay, who studied advertising at the then College of Architecture and Fine Arts, was tapped to work at Editions Glénat, a French comic publisher, by Morvan after seeing his works on Facebook.

“Morvan said he liked the artworks I was posting on my Facebook page and told me that I should work at Glénat,” said Macutay.

Macutay, a concept artist from Caloocan City, communicates with Morvan and some editors at Glénat via email.

“My publishers are in France. Our colorist, Walter Pezzali, works and resides in Japan. But it felt like we were just a jeepney ride away from each other,” he said.

He used a traditional painting technique called “ink wash” over the line art to produce an entirely grey or midtone color.

More “appealing and dynamic,” the technique uses a brush instead of a pen, which gives the watercolour-like effect in the graphic novel.

Eloise de la Maison, who also works at Glénat, translates the novel script in English for Macutay.

“They know I don’t speak French so they try to communicate in English as much as possible,” he said.

Layouting the illustrations was the biggest challenge for Macutay even though he was a layout artist for 12 years.

“Deciding from what panel to use and figuring out caption and speech bubble placements tricky,” he said.

He also had to consider how to establish focal points, eye movement of the reader, composition, camera angles and negative spaces.

“I tend to give a lot more weight on this part of the process,” he said.

Macutay, who has always envisioned himself to be a comic illustrator, penetrated the French art scene when he illustrated the book Jaurès in 2014.

“Jaurès was my first ever published work in the French market.”

He first worked in the local comics industry in 1990.

“I used the works of Filipino masters like Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, Francisco Coching, Rudy Nebres etc., as references,” he said.

Macutay is still affiliated with Glénat and is currently working on a new volume of Morvan’s graphic trilogy.

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