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The “Ber” Months According to Joel: Giving Portions

The “Ber” months: September, October, November and December, have been very busy for me as freelancer thanks largely to game art projects from White Canvas Studios, some work from Outsiders, and comic book color projects such as Foldabots (K-Zone Philippines) and Eternal Descent (IDW Publishing). Without which I probably wouldn’t be able to pay for my web hosting and health insurance next year!

But apart from all the lonesome freelancing, I am happy to have given a portion of my time and money to activities that exposed me to more people.  (Yeah, I prefer to stay at home.)


September: Teaching at Benilde

You probably don’t know that since late September I was a part-time teacher at the School of Design Arts (SDA) of the College of Saint Benilde.  My aim was to have a fixed income source plus the chance to be with teachers from whom I can learn animation. And of course, to see what students from SDA really need. A few colleagues of mine, on the other hand, were excited rather for me to hang around girls almost half my age.

October: Komikon

The Thursday after my first Computer Graphics class at SDA, Typhoon Ondoy hit. The subsequent relief efforts sprung even from 2009’s Komikon in the form of donations and auctions. Despite the impressive number of new Pinoy komiks at the Megatrade on that day, but I decided appropriate most of my budget to the relief fund.

Komikon was paired with the PICCA (Philippine International Cartoon Comics and Animation) event. I’ve heard that even with the international guests (I did get to meet Mr. Ed Aragon), the PICCA attendance wasn’t too good, but hopefully we shall see both events again in 2010.

November: INK Annual Exhibit

Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan conceptualized its 2009 exhibit for a cause as well: a small tribute to the late children’s book author, Rene Villanueva. The exhibit’s artworks illustrate scenes from those of his stories that had only been published in the newspapers. I had made mine a bit sci-fi and used colors brighter than my usual palette.

Lass with Wings

Every year INK struggles with organizing its own events because there are few systems in place to direct efforts that weigh heavily instead on a few committed members. Maybe it’d be better off hiring people to do the events. But give us a chance to make some money, we’ll be glad to “volunteer!!”

November: Animahenasyon

I’ve been a fan of the Pinoy animation festival that is Animahenasyon since it began. Many of these animations you just won’t see anywhere else – not even on YouTube.

85% of the animations continue to be humorous (even without the intention of being so!) while 15% are profound art pieces or dramatic social commentary. This year, and perhaps the next, Animahenasyon was held for three days at the Gateway Mall, Cubao.

It is still very young and the event still retains much of its guerilla and niche feel (unlike the even younger Graphika Manila event.) International speakers that they’ve invited make the seminars worthwhile in addition to business-related talks. I can appreciate the difficulty of setting up the events (just from my experience in INK) so I really wish my friends from the local comics and children’s book industry would come, watch, and network for the next Animahenasyon.

December: Tuldok Animation Team Building

Many people tell me to get out more often.  So when Tuldok Animation invited me to their team building trip to Nasugbu Batangas I didn’t hesitate to say yes.( I did the final poster illustration for Pasintabi, the 2010 Tuldok animated feature film.) Funny thing was I was at the rendezvous one whole day before we were supposed to meet (at 5AM in the morning.) Totally screwed up my bio-rhythm.

Met a number of new people: animators, writers, filmmakers, voice actors, and lighting experts. The cash grants to produce Pasintabi certainly helped in lubricating the organization to work on a film done largely by busy freelancers and employees with day jobs. Hopefully it will continue even after its core group retires.

December Meetups: FAB-V, IGDA Manila, SDA


December is the mega month for meet-ups. I met with FAB-V friends of Victory for a Purple Christmas All-Filipino lunch at Anna’s place in One McKinley. Afterwards, I went to church and after the service had a flat tire, got to hold a shotgun for the first time, and watched while a very helpful Fort Bonifacio patrolman screwed my tire out.

I also attended IGDA Manila’s December assembly. It was a freelance artist theme and Ryan Sumo and Chester “elpinoy” Ocampo were speakers. I got two of my Pixel Pintura students to join me when I quipped that “elpinoy” would be discussing his process. (Multiple lighting layers on various blending modes.) I was inspired to hunt for some game projects to balance the dearth of comic book projects I’ve been getting lately.

I sensed a very strong and vibrant start for IGDA Manila. Good luck you guys, don’t lose that steam.

La Salle really knows how to take care of its faculty – even part timers like myself! The SDA had a Christmas party at the Solomon House. After sitting with the Multimedia faculty, I had a better appreciation of the various classes under the Multimedia track. Most of the Animation faculty showed up later (so I got to eat twice!). We all exchanged gifts. it was a fun night.

The Bible describes my intent in Ecclesiastes (a book written by wise King Solomon) chapter 11, verses 1,2, and 7 :

“Cast your bread upon the waters for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land…. Sow your seed in the morning, and at the evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that or whether both will do equally well.”

It is wise to have eggs in different baskets. If next year is largely an empty nest in terms of freelance projects and classes, then focus on laying new eggs. Please look out for what I’ll be hatching in 2010!

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