The College’s comic book illustration and enthusiast organization DrawINK concluded the academic year with DrawINK CON 2021—a three-day convention last June 17 to 19 featuring comic creators as they highlight the experiences of being artists in the industry.
To officially mark its beginning on June 17, hosts DrawINK Marketing Officer and ID 117 Multimedia Arts (MMA) student Kathleen Faith Mendoza and DrawINK Treasurer and ID 118 Digital Filmmaking student Elijah Gerard Adrada welcomed the community of comic book writers, artists, and enthusiasts alike.
Those who came before us
Kicking off the day-filled comic book enthusiasm, creator of daily and Sunday web comic strip “Callous” series, Dr. Carlo San Juan, talked about his renowned comic series that centers around a physician named Dr. Rianna Nicah and her daily life and struggles. He talked about his experiences prior to the boom of social media, numerous convention experiences, and the recognition his comic strip making has received.
“They blaze the trail before you and you have to respect that,” he said, putting importance in honoring veteran comic artists.
We are then entertained with a discussion with one of DrawINK’s founders and previous VP externals, “Scouts Adventure” and “Battlegirls” creator, and ID 117 MMA student Miko Fernando, and DrawINK’s current president and co-founder and ID 117 Animation student Benz Golin. The discussion continued on as they talked about Fernando’s comic book series and their experiences with starting the organization itself.
The topic for the convention then shifted as freelance artist, muralist, and one of the Indie Komiks podcast’s proponents Mr. Mel Casipit, also known as “Mukatman,” brought cartoon styled comics into the spotlight. Mr. Casipit shared his personal experiences with writing comedic comics such as his latest serialized comic “Parekoys,” as seen in Manila Bulletin Comics page every Sunday. Moreover, he answered questions about the nitty-gritty of comic book styles and writing, and transitioning from local comic websites like Penlab and Komikspot.
Lastly, Mr. Casipit gave a live demo session on digital comic creation, giving advice, and answering questions along the way. Expressing that fame is just a bonus to him, “Gusto ko lang makagawa ng maraming comics at mai-share sa lahat,” he said. “Kung ang i-go-goal mo sumikat. Wala, mabubulag ka sa fame. Mas maganda na gumawa ka lang ng comics kasi love mong gumawa talaga ng comics.”
The industry at large
Meanwhile, at the convention’s second day, comics creator and illustrator Mr. Richard Mercado shared about the ways of writing young adult queer comics. He talked about the comics industry itself around the young adult genre and the different steps of making your own comic—from the brainstorming and planning stage to writing the very script itself. He shared tips like writing a comic story with the three-act-structure, having peers who can properly provide feedback on your work, and different publishing options like through seling printed comics in conventions like “Komiket” and “Komikon” or publishing online through Penlab.
Furthermore, comic cover artist and ID 115 MMA alumnus Chino Andin and comic book artist/illustrator, former DrawINK president and co-founder, and ID 117 Animation student Paolo James Cruz discussed their personal experiences with Filipino komiks and the industry. While discussing the different inspirations they take from with their own art styles, Andin gave a live drawing session.
The two comic creators talked about art and the possibility of getting picked up by a publisher as motivation and the differences between digital and traditional art when one is starting out. On the other hand, the discussion also touched on the politics of comics—with representation and the marketing of companies towards minorities.
Capping off the second day—independent filmmaker, comic artist, and “Komiket” co-founder Mr. Paolo Herras talked about the biggest local comics and art market “Komiket” and its goals of bringing Filipino komiks further into the comic industry. He also explained the uniqueness of “Komiket” with its intellectual property (IP) developer position from other organizations and highlighted the workshops and support provided to chosen writers and artists through.
The last day of the convention packed a punch as people were greeted by comic book illustrator and “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah” creator, DrawINK adviser, and part-time MMA instructor Mr. Carlo Vergara. He tackled the journey of “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,” from its film and stage musical adaptation to the international viewership the comic hero has reached. The popular comic book series is known for its voluptuous and charismatic titular character and becoming a Philippine pop culture and LGBTQIA+ icon.
In a roundtable discussion, Mr. Vergara then shared his humble beginnings with a wide array of topics about the industry. Three years after the publishing of the original two-part “Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,” a movie and musical adaptation was set to happen. “So you can imagine yourself, you just wanted to do comic books, gumawa ka lang ng comic, and then suddenly you have all these companies contacting you, wanting an adaptation,” he said, talking about his experiences during the shift of his work into the film and theater medium.
To formally conclude DrawINK CON 2021, Golin provided his gratitude to the many speakers invited and featured, the members of the organization who have worked hard for the event, their adviser Mr. Vergara, and the audience of the convention.