Among the 39 employees let go by manga publisher Tokyopop during a recent restructuring was Keila N. Ramos. Keila was kind enough to respond to my interview offer, and she submitted the following responses to my questions.
What was your title at Tokyopop, and how long did you work there?
I was a Production Artist. I was there for 6 months.
Could you summarize your responsibilities for them?
I had to clean, retouch and make a great layout before the books were printed.
What were some of the highlights of your time there? Projects you’re particularly proud of, or experiences that had a major impact?
My highlights were the friends I made there. The great times we spent together (especially at break time playing Nintendo DS) Also, loved Bagel Wednesday!
Projects I’m proud of… Get Backers and Monochrome Factor. Get Backers was a hard one to clean up. Monochrome Factor was just a nice challenge sometimes.
How did you get into the comics industry?
I got into the comics industry because the first thing I learned to read was a comic book. It was a Tom and Jerry comic book. Ever since then, comics were the order of the day at my house.
Could you tell me a little bit about your education and training, or other professional experiences that have contributed to your skill set?
I graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and after that got to work as an Art Teacher for a local college called Academy College. Also did several freelance work with Nickelodeon, Stone Arch Books and Tokyopop, before I worked for them full-time.
What would you like to do next? Keep working in the comics industry? Or are you open to other avenues?
My choices are pretty open right now. I’d love to keep working in the Comics Industry, but I am an Animator. I have also worked as an Illustrator, Video/Sound Editor and Painter.
And I also wanted to leave a sort of “open question” for anything else you’d like to comment on – the state of the comics industry, where you’d like to see it go, how you’re doing since you got the news. Anything’s fair game.
I just want to work in the Media and Printed arts for the rest of my life. My passion is too huge for me to not want to be busy in it. For the comics industry I just want to say, it is a great industry. As an artist, I love to create those other worlds where we can go and escape from this reality, and make readers just want to be like the characters in the story. As an audience/reader, I love to identify with those characters that make us feel we can do anything if we really want it. And as a human being, I ask those who read me, that even though Superman can fly… don’t try that at home.