Rose Dela Cruz was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and has resided in Hawaii since 2008. She is one of the volunteers for Pen & Ink Works, a local art collective that reaches out to aspiring artists of all ages through the promotion of manga as an art form. She was featured in Hachi Maru Hachi Issue 2, and was a contributing artist to Kawaii Kon 2013. She is currently pursuing her love for art and music through various creative projects and adventures.
For me, creating comics (or drawing, in particular), has always been filled with fond memories which involved drawing limitless adventures in the back of my notebooks during math class throughout my schooling, getting scolded, and making it through everything when things got tough.
Back when I was a child, I’d walk with my mom to her old friend’s house in the afternoons, and whenever they’d talk story, I’d just sit across the bookshelf in the living room and pull out a book to read. One day I found a little one which was filled with cartoonish people in colorful panels and involved in hijinks, and thus I met Archie and his gang. After that, I’d start looking forward to reading Garfield, Hagar the Horrible, etc. in the newspaper comics section. A few years later in 1998, I owned my very first “manga,” which I had to plead with my mom to buy since it cost 250 pesos (around $5), an amount that was too much to spend on something we couldn’t eat. There were other comics that inspired me to draw my own, such as Pugad Baboy (“Swine’s Nest” in Filipino), a satire on Filipino pop culture, society and politics; and Azumanga Daioh, a hilarious manga that never failed to cheer me up. I also kept an open mind towards other genres as well.
In the past I’ve always thought that art was an impractical path for me. But everything that I’ve experienced that was related to it, such as drawing and reading comics, and meeting very supportive people in this field, tremendously inspired me and made life much more fun and worth living.
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