Sometimes “follow your passion” really is the best advice. That’s certainly the case for Rian Gonzales, whose career took off once she stopped trying to meet other people’s expectations.
At first, the majority of the Filipina artist’s commissioned illustrations came from fans, with people making awkward requests like drawing a character they enjoy done in the style of another artist they follow, or a sexualized Mary Jane from Spider-Man. Although it was a decent source of income, she felt unhappy and creatively stagnant. It took her a while to find the confidence to chase her personal goals. But once she did, her work was a hit.
有时候，“听从自己的内心”确实是至理名言。菲律宾艺术家 Rian Gonzales 对此深有体会：当她不再迎合他人的期望后，她的创作才迎来真正的突破。
Gonzales is now known for an original cast of characters in her distinct comics-art style. She’s affectionately named these women The Candy Girls, a fitting title that reflects their cheerful demeanors and the candy-colored accessories that they’re always fitted in.
She paints with gouache on paper, with a touch of ink for detail. These are then scanned with an old, beat-up personal scanner and imported into Photoshop where she applies light edits. The resulting artworks are vibrant and loudly feminine; as a result, she often gets commissions for pieces that require a strong female character.
Rian 以她创作的一系列漫画风格原创角色而闻名。她将这些女性角色命名为“The Candy Girls”（硬糖女孩），这个名字很贴切，因为这些角色看上去活泼诱人，常常穿戴糖果色的饰物。
她一般都是用树胶水彩在纸上创作，加上墨水描画细节，之后再用自己那台破旧的扫描仪扫描，导入 Photoshop 进行简单的后期编辑。最终的成品看上去充满活力和女性气息。也正因如此，经常有客户委托她创作一些风格强烈的女性角色。
Although Gonzales has moved on from bending to the will of fan requests, she still loves painting fan art of the heroes of her childhood. And she enjoys the commissions from publishers to recreate them officially, too. But she hopes her original character designs can become more central to her career. “Even though I work on these famous comics, at the end of the day I’m just borrowing their characters. I want something that’s my own.”
虽然 Rian 已经不会再一味按照粉丝的要求创作，但她自己还是会喜欢创作一些同人作品，画一些她从小就喜欢的超级英雄。当然了，她也喜欢接受出版商的委托画这些角色。但她还是希望自己的创作能以原创角色为主。“就算我画再多这些著名漫画角色的同人作品，说到底也不过是借用别人的角色。我更想要完全属于自己的创作。”
Conventions are an important part of the comic-art scene, and it took Gonzales years to organize her first solo booth, which debuted at a convention in Singapore. The experience changed her career path. Seeing the Candy Girls so well-received in person made her realize that people valued her original creations, not just her commissioned illustrations of well-known superheroes. “It gave me more confidence in my art,” she says.
The fact that such a “girly style” is beingly widely embraced is also evidence of a changing industry. “The cinematic universes are reaching larger and more diverse fan bases,” she says. “They’re making an effort to connect with more people.” For example, she’s been asked to darken the skin of Ms. Marvel, who’s a Muslim superhero, and to fatten up Squirrel Girl, who she describes as “a bit chubby.”
“I think there are still stereotypes that women should stick to drawing feminine stuff, but it’s getting better,” she says. “Not all girls in comics draw the type of stuff that I do.”
漫展在漫画艺术界有很重要的地位。Rian 花了很多年的时间去筹备自己的第一个个人展位，并在新加坡的一个漫展上首次亮相。那次的经历改变了她的职业道路。当她亲眼看到 “糖果女孩”如此受欢迎，她意识到，人们喜欢她的原创作品，而不仅仅是她受委托画的那些超级英雄作品。她说：“那次的经历让我对自己的艺术更有信心了。
Still, being a woman in the comic world has its difficulties. Gonzales hasn’t participated in Philippines conventions in recent years because of constant harassment from a stalker. “I don’t know if it’s common in the industry, because I don’t talk about it on social media and haven’t heard from other women,” she says. “He’s an important collector and I’m afraid of his influence. He keeps buying my stuff, so he feels like I owe him. When I tell him to stop, and that I feel very uncomfortable, he’s been very aggressive.”
Despite the progress of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment is still a widespread issue in many parts of the world. Power dynamics have kept Gonzales from being particularly outspoken about her experiences, but by persisting with illustrations that depict empowered women, she’s visualizing a world where women are free to be themselves.
尽管 #MeToo 运动取得了不少进步，但在世界各地，性骚扰仍然是普遍存在的问题。权力的不平衡让 Rian 难以对自己的经历直言不讳。然而，通过不断地描绘强大的女性形象，她向人们展示着一个新的世界，一个女性可以自由做自己的世界。