Can we meet you? Who is Emmanuel Inok?
My name is Emmanuel Inok, also known as Emazone. I’m an artist, but specifically, an illustrator and 2D Animator. I am based in Lagos State.
Have you always wanted to be an artist? How did your journey as an artist begin and how has it been so far?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist – ever since I got to know myself, as early as five years old, I was drawing already. I was always making one art or the other. Until I grew into this. My journey, so far, has been an interesting one. I didn’t get full support from my parents, especially my dad, who is an engineer. He has always wanted me to follow in his footsteps. But eventually, I think that the creative part of me is what really portrays the lifestyle I want.
Growing up, any time I picked up a pen or pencil to draw, I would get scolded by my parents, who preferred that I picked up my maths book to practice, but I always come back to art – no matter how hard I try to deviate from it.
How did you get into this style of art?
For my style of art, I don’t really have a specific kind. As a kid, I watched cartoons and comic books a lot, and I tried to make all kinds of illustrations that I saw on TV.
I always wanted to try out new styles, from 2D Animations to Illustrations (portrait to landscape). I saw things, and I wanted to replicate them in different ways.
Also, 2D Animation is something that always intrigued me. I had always been intrigued by how the creators drew things and made them come to life. Even when I didn’t know much about computers, I always knew there was something behind the cartoons. And I really wanted to understand it and get to know how to make things come to life also.
Tell me about your victories and your challenges as an artist
One of my challenges is that in this part of the world is putting comics out there in the market isn’t really a lucrative business because of the cost of production. Secondly, people don’t place much value or appreciate the work you’ve done enough to purchase it, or they want to pay ridiculous amounts for your hard work.
However, I have some small victories that are worth celebrating. Right from my junior school days, I drew comics books to sell to Junior classes. At that time, it wasn’t about the money, the fact that I had fun and people liked my work was enough for me.
After school, I ventured into portrait making, which wasn’t easy as there’s a lot of competition to get paying customers. I was able to pull through and make something for myself.
Who are your biggest influences?
I really admire Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Marvel Comic Franchise. I have been following Stan Lee for a very long time – his works basically sparked my interest in how animations are made in Disney and DreamWorks. I think DreamWorks has the best 2D animated movies.
In Nigeria, one artist that influences me is Dukes. He’s very good with painting, and he makes album art for a lot of musicians. He is also a graphic designer, and his work is outstanding. Another artist that influences me is Mohammed. He does amazing comic art. There are so many of them like that, but I can’t mention them all.
Tell me about your favourite project you’ve worked on?
My favorite work so far is an animation I worked on two years ago. I represented Superman as an Ibo man. It took me roughly six months to create it – I was doing everything from the storyboard to the sound effects, the 2D animation CD, and directing. I also did the voiceover myself, and honestly, the project was a lot of work.
It’s my favourite because I wanted to know how good I was and how far I could go in the animation industry, so I took my time to work on it with the little resources I had. It’s one of my best works, and I’m improving. I am also working on better things now.
What’s the most memorable response you’ve had to your work?
I remember doing a sketch of one of my favourite American rappers – Big Sean. I posted the finished work on Instagram and when he saw it, he liked the post. That blew my mind as I didn’t believe that he would recognize the work. It was encouraging for me. Also, this year, I drew my favourite producer – Leriq. I made a portrait of him and posted it on Instagram and Twitter, and he responded. He also posted it and tagged me, and it was also pretty exciting.
How has Talku Talku helped you hone and develop your skills?
Talku Talku has helped to boost my skill since I started with them last year. I have become more time conscious, and I’ve increased the speed at which I work with my professional delivery. Working with Talku Talku also helped to improve my communication with clients, and that has made a lot of difference. Now, when I compare the works I did when I started with what I’m doing now, I realize that there’s a lot of difference as working here has helped me improve in colour balancing, speed, professional delivery, and other areas.
Who are your target audience and how can Talku Talku help you reach them?
I have always thought of creating stuff for companies like Coca-Cola (animation or adverts). It will be a big win for me if I get such an opportunity to work for those kinds of companies at that level. I also want to work with Netflix to make animated movies. It would be a big deal for me to be part of the production of a box office hit.
I know that the more I create quality content for Talku Talku, they are able to put my works out there. Talku Talku, getting more recognition and stability in the industry, will play out well for me as well. By working with Talku Talku to create more professional and quality content in illustration and animation, I stand to benefit from the exposure it brings.
What 3 things does anyone starting in this industry need to know?
First, you need to love the work. If you don’t love it, it will be impossible for you to last long in it. There’s no other way around it, and if you try to imitate anyone, you would eventually burn out. Secondly, you need to practice. You have to practice consistently, and the only way you can practice consistently is when you love the work. Thirdly, you need to be patient because you’re bound to get frustrated – it’s not going to be a very smooth journey at all, but at the end of the day, it will all be worth it.