Honestly, saying “honestly speaking” has always been awkward. This is so especially when the person you talk to is quick enough to pick up the fact that maybe the reason why you’ve been using the phrase is that you’ve been dishonest to them before! So, when you’re thinking about using that phrase, think again! It’s a trap! 🙂
Here’s a blog entry from my laptop dated 4/21, 7:51pm *Woops*
Time flies! After struggling to get things done while my body is begging for a 3-4 hour nap almost every day, I’m so happy I can finally post this (and cross out a lot of things on my list)
I’m writing this while I’m in the plane en route to Manila from Kuala Lumpur. The past 4 days have actually been a visual treat.
So, wait…How did I actually get sent to Malaysia?
Last Monday, I was sitting at a bench in La Union in front of my laptop (woops) and I received a text from a fellow INKie asking if I was free on these on certain dates. I was so sure I wasn’t because my schedule is just pretty crazy these days. I checked my calendar & voila: it was one of them appointment / workshop-free weekends! The task was to represent Ilustrador ng Kabataan at the KLTCC. Of course, I couldn’t resist because I’m actually representing something I’m proud of. I mean, these are artists I love, respect and admire! INK is a a local non-profit group of children’s illustrators. The organization is almost 25 years old and a lot of the members have recevied several awards for their works on children’s books. If you’re curious, I’m not one of them yet. Lol.
So I went to Malaysia thinking it would be 4 days of nothing but silence. The introvert in me needed to mingle.
Let me clarify. I’m partly an introvert but I just need to get past that introverted mode and when I do, I turn into an excited electron. You really have to put your hand a foot away from my face if you want to make me stop talking.
Anyway, I arrived at the Seri Pacific Hotel and started setting up the INK booth before I went to sleep.
Here’s the INK Catalog. The cover design was done by Frances Alvarez.
Orchids at the Seri Pacific Hotel Lobby
The next day, as soon as the clock struck 10, I was on my introvert mode once again. What?? I actually have to wait for people to come to the booth and explain my stuff?
So, I pretty have my spiel ready (because that’s what my brain does when I’m stuck in traffic. It always starts composing blog paragraphs, tweets, instagram captions, lines for the comics). I mean, I’m no writer and I digress all the time but the ideas just visit me anyway.
Before I closed my booth in the afternoon, Agnes of OnceOverlightly and her friend Saran dropped by the booth. Agnes interviewed me once for her blog some three / four years ago and we’ve been keeping in touch over social media ever since.
They gave me this cute package from their own online store dubbed DIY KL which offers fashion forward DIY kits. We talked about the Malaysian DIY / Crafting scene & I shared with them the Philippine crafting / typography / illustration scene and it was refreshing to compare the dynamics.
So I initially thought it was just going to be some 30-minute brief meet-up on a Sunday. Next thing I know, I found myself being brought by Agnes to Kinokuniya to grab a few books at KLCC, the mall under the Petronas Towers. We also had cake at Ben’s. Thank you Agnes for the cake!!! 🙂
I was so amused by this. People these days (myself included) is so obsessed with modifying their handwriting and so, when I saw this ballpoint pen-like font with enough personality, I went “Why didn’t I think of that!??!!” in my mind!
While searching for watercolor books, Agnes & I agreed we can meet up again the next day for a Watercolor & Brush lettering session. I gave her some pencil exercises she can work on for the night.
What’s awesome in KL is that even if it’s 7:30pm, the sun is up so you will feel that the night is really young. Hehe. I went to KLCC’s entrance. Ernest Ng of Don’t Like That Bro and Anish Dev of Epic Makan Time have been to the Philippines before. We’re both under the same Blogging Agency Nuffnang. We spent time in Subic a couple of years ago and introduced them to our local food–even our very own isaw here in UP. 🙂
I was actually excited for two things: Malaysian food and getting to meet kindred souls. Ernest & Dev both have Youtube channels / skits but Ernest is the only webcomic artist I actually really get to talk to. I mean, typography is locally a big scene now-a-days but Googly Gooey comics-wise, I always wish there was someone I could exchange thoughts & opinions with.
We went to Lot 10 where we had all sorts of Malaysian / Chinese food. I know some Malaysian dishes but I haven’t been so diligent about exploring them during my past two trips here so I just thought I should focus on it this time.
So thank you Ernest & Dev for taking time out of your busy schedules to introduce me to the local food! 🙂
I’m such a sucker for drawings with black outlines so this definitely caught my eye! And yes, Teh Tarik is one of my favorite Southeast Asian drinks! ♥
So the next few days, instead of staying in my booth, I went around and met up with the publishers from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and India. 🙂
I’m so happy they were all generous enough to allow me to take photos and style their stuff on their own tables.
So, just to give you an idea, this was a buying rights fair where people are supposed to exchange book titles between publishers. It wasn’t all about publishers. Some were there looking for TV shows to buy, animated series, educational softwares and the like.
So I went to this random booth and I saw this character with a curly hair. I was so surprised to see that the artist, Maslina Yusof, actually had her own booth at the other side of the exhibit hall. I was so curious to know her story as locally, INK illustrators are encouraged to be authors as well.
It’s was so nice that I got to talk to Maslina. She was so accommodating and she was so willing to share her story. She told me that she initially started with advertising and that she wanted to quit her job. She wanted to start something and her inspiration for this storybook project was her own daughter. Her daughter hates her curly hair but Maslina noticed that every time she complained about her hair, those were the moments that her daughter looked cute. 🙂
Her book was a success and eventually, two of the titles were translated into Chinese. Maslina was generous enough to narrate her book to me. I felt so honored since usually, authors only get to read their stories in front of a large crowd. I was so touched I end up crying. Lol. Hahahaha. That was embarrassing. So there I was looking so out of place in the middle of a busy crowd talking about book titles and publishing volumes. Then Maslina gave me a hug and signed the copy of the book in front of me. So surreal!
I will forever be grateful for this moment. I actually almost forgot that I was on a mission to represent INK. But, just the same, I’m happy to tell you guys this story. Hopefully, you too get inspired to go for your dreams no matter how big or seemingly impossible they may sound. 🙂
I eventually got around to browsing the product line-up of the other publishers. While most of the publishers I went to did children’s books, the others were into coffee table books and young adult novels.
I spent the afternoon & evening with Saran & Agnes once again. 🙂 This time they took me to Wondermama. I’m so grateful they took me outside.
We did a mini watercolor & lettering session there and I’m so happy they didn’t ask us to leave. Hahaha.
During this trip, I also got to know the faces behind some of our very own local publishers: Anvil, Abiva, Adarna, Visprint, Flipside & above, the samples of the works of Meganon comics–a local Indie publisher. 🙂
I left Malaysia grateful for the experience. So much for thinking that I’ll be silent during the whole trip when in fact I found myself talking all day almost every day! I also thought that the whole trip would have a work feel to it when in fact it was more of a learning experience / eye-opener for me!
‘Til the next trip. 🙂