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Our friendly neighbourhood alumnus-man

By Lindsay Boeckl

If you’ve ever read a Spider-Man or G.I. Joe comic, chances are you’ve seen the artwork of illustrator and Ryerson journalism graduate Valentine De Landro.

De Landro graduated from Ryerson in 2001, however before entering the professional realm he had stints as a photo and features editor at The Eyeopener.

“That was a huge education,” De Landro said. “It was probably the thing that made me realize that I could do illustration as well [as writing] because [it] gave me a forum to kind of scribble and put some things out there.”

As an alumnus, De Landro worked freelance jobs while he prepared his portfolio for comic book conventions. He broke into the comic book industry in 2002 after he was discovered by Marvel Entertainment talent scout C.B. Cebulski.

While working for Marvel, De Landro has illustrated pre-existing characters such as Spider-Man and Angel of X-Factor, as well as developing new characters and storylines.

While both creative avenues require different approaches, they are equally rewarding to De Landro.

“It’s two different things when you really go at it. You want to have that satisfaction — especially when you are dealing with established characters — you want to try and leave your own mark. When you create your own character you are trying to nurture it, both are great.”

“I grew up with all of those characters,” De Landro said. “And then there’s the challenge to create something out of nothing and see if it will take off.”

De Landro began illustrating when the process of making art was much different than it is today.

“When I started, we had to physically ship the art boards around,” De Landro said. “I remember less the hassle and more the panic of trying to get to FedEx… before the last shipment went out or else the next artist wasn’t going to be able to keep the process moving the next day.”

Now, De Landro said, the back and forth nature of digital nature has helped communication between artists. “We can go back and forth. It makes it a lot easier and more collaborative.”

Getting into the business wasn’t the most difficult part to De Landro— staying in is.

“I think staying relevant and staying within the eye of editors and letting them know you are reliable and that you can do the work is just as hard as breaking in… It’s about maintaining some level of professionalism, to remember that it’s not just art and that you have to take it seriously.”

De Landro said the knowledge he gained working at The Eyeopener helped him in the comic book industry.

“It’s all publishing, so it gives you a perspective on what editors go through. Number one: deadlines [are] huge. Knowing how to scramble and get things in — that doesn’t change.”

If you want to see some of Valentine’s early work (or you just need a chuckle) check out this article from 1998.

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