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Meet Dariel Filomeno

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dariel Filomeno.

Dariel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My interest in the arts began in Puerto Rico growing up on English dub anime (which also helped my brother and I learn English). I would always try to draw DBZ characters and Knights of the Zodiac until eventually when my family moved to RI and I began reading manga and western comics. After getting hooked on a manga called Bakuman about two friends getting together to create their own manga, I started writing and drawing my own comics in high school. My teachers at the time would comment on the sequential art I would always draw on the back of tests, essays, and homework until my English teacher recommended I attend the Rhode Island School of Design after school program which later on helped me get into RISD itself. In RISD, I pursued a BFA in illustration in order to continue my passion for comics, but I found out the hard way that comics does not pay rent. After three long years of working part-time jobs from retail to fast food, I applied to the USC animation graduate program where I found my love for storyboarding and tv animation. So in a way, I was inspired by tv animation and now I aim to work for TV animation.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. After graduating from my undergrad I moved to LA to live with my girlfriend at the time and pursue a career in freelance illustration and comic book art. What I kept getting was people with great ideas for comics but no money to pay me for my time and work, so I ended up working on multiple projects that never went anywhere while working part-time jobs. It was like that for three years until I finally listened to my ex and applied for grad school. I still work side jobs to pay rent and go to school and LA is expensive, now I am out here alone with no family but school, friends and my passion for making stories keep me going.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I wear many hats and have many interests. I am a comic book artist and creator, Storyboard artist, character designer, background design and 2d animation. My major interest is creating stories that are relatable and diverse in representation. I am always trying to bring more of the characters I grew up with in my personal life into my stories. For instance, I have been doing a lot of little comics about my roommates, growing up in the poor side of Providence, RI and my failed dating life.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In ten years, I hope to see tv animations that represent a wider community of protagonist and characters from all walks of life. Diversity and Inclusion play a huge for me and with shows like Steven Universe and Owl house making waves in the diversity front, I can see the industry-changing for the best.

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