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Friday, July 01, 2011

100 Araw ng Komiks: Callwork Comics

100 Araw ng Komiks (100 Days of Comics) is an online event organized for the purpose of spreading awareness of Philippine Komiks through Twitter, Facebook, DeviantArt, blogs and other online venues.
Today I will talk about Callwork and how I started with comics. I never really intended to be in the comic business ever since. Even when I was taking up Fine Arts in UP. I thought of working in something like marketing upon graduating.. but never in comics. I had this impression of comics of being overworked and underpaid.
When I was working with Sykes, I knew I wouldn't want to change careers anymore. But after four years in the call center, the ideas were just coming inside my head. I didn't know how to make comic strips then and  I have no idea about the comic industry. So I started reading again my old Beerlenium book to check how letterings were done and also bought newspapers to see the comic strip size. Then I moved to buying both local and imported comic books. I still remember those first crappy comic strips I made which carries poor punchline and art. Yes, I realized how crappy they were after giving samples for feedback to Gerry Alanguilan . Below is the feedback I got: Dated June 6 2006
"And lastly, and it's something I have difficulty saying and it's why I haven't responded to your

earlier email right away. You are now presenting yourself to the world as a cartoonist. A

cartoonist is one who writes, draws, and letters their own comic strips and comics. Cartoonists

have a great tradition in this country. Larry Alcala, Nonoy Marcelo, Roni Santiago, Pol Medina are

only some who left indelible marks in the history of cartooning in the Philippines. You have a

very high standard to live up to. It's perfectly allright to want to draw simply. There's nothing

more simple than Roni Santiago's work. You can count the lines he makes per panel with the fingers

of your hand. But there is a line that separates professional looking work and amateurish looking

work. By amateurish I mean someone who still needs to learn more about storytelling, composition,

figure drawing, etc. Your work still leans towards the latter. There are already a lot of strips

being published (unfortunately) that suffer from lack of visual quality, and I'm sure you don't

want to be one of them. In the end, you are still making a COMIC STRIP. You can't emphasize

writing over the art or art over the writing. Because if writing is all you want to emphasize, why

not just write joke books? You are creating a unique piece of art where words and pictures work

together closely to tell the story. You need to make sure that you do both well."


Since I have too much ideas, angst and humour about life in the call center, I am not ready to give up yet.
I need to think of another process in my comics. I started checking out how other comics were being drawn. I noticed that they give importance even to small details like the proper drawing of hands, proper folds of clothes, proper cinematography of each frame and lastly, proper script. I started revamping each comic strip and at that time, I just gave birth to a baby girl. So imagine all the pain I have to go through. I know the revamped strips were not as good but it's still better than the prior ones. This was also the time I was having conflicts with my ex husband so imagine how Callwork saved my situation. I realized I didn't need a person to make me happy and that comics made me whole once again. It flamed a passion in my heart that will never grow weary.  By December 2006, I submitted Callwork to Manila Bulletin and started running in their pages Feb. 11 2007. Then I launched the Callwork book in November 2008 Komikon. Both the Callwork and Proud Callboy hit the best sellers in bookstores.
And the learning never stops. I still continue to learn by reading all the comics and books that I can read.  I excert effort in drawing even if it's just a single panel. I choose the words I put in every frame. Below is the recent letter I got from the Great Master of Komiks, Gerry: dated Aug. 23 2010:

"Hello Hazel...

I really like your Dra Yap comics. Artwise, you've vastly improved. There's

still problems with perspective, composition and figure work though, but you

have the makings of some great cartooning when you work those out. Storywise,

what can I say? Natakot si Ilyn reading this and so was I. Dra Yap's story is so

fascinating, scary, fantastic, and so moving that I'm not surprised you did this

comic book. And you were able to translate her life into a comic book so

extremely well."




At 10:41 PM, Blogger kc cordero said...

Salamat sa pagiging part ng local comics. Mabuhay ka. :)

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Hazel Manzano said...

KC - masaya ako at nakakilala ako ng mga taong magagaling tulad mo at mga komikero/SKP group :)


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