National Children’s Book Day Blog Tour, Week 2: Dream Date

Mabuhay from Incheon, Korea! Sneaking in a little blog time at the airport.

This week’s theme is:

Hulyo 14 – 19: Dream Date
Sinong manunulat o ilustrador ang nais mong makasama sa isang araw/gabí? (Kailangang mga aklat pambata at pangkabataan ang nililikha niya. Maaari ring maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)

July 14 – 19: Dream Date
Which writer or illustrator would you like to hang out with for a day/night?
(Must have worked on children’s or YA books. You can list more than one person.)

As an active member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, I don’t think I lack “dates” from my friends there, all of whom have been so generous and inspiring through the 4 years that I’ve been a member already. Relatively a short time, but it’s been a really fun ride so far.

The people on my Dream Date list are also from Ang INK, and are both very well-renowned and respected in the illustration community.

Dream Date 1: Beth Parrocha-Doctolero

I have mentioned in my previous NCBD blog tour post that Beth Parrocha-Doctolero is one of my illustration idols, and I would love to have a peek into her process. But more than how much I love her artworks, I also like how she thinks about illustrating for children.

The past week, a long and quite juicy discussion began on the INK group on Facebook about mentorship and the things essential to creating excellent illustrations for children. Here is one of Ms. Beth’s comments, which really hit the nail on the head:

Kapag nagsusulat ng librong pangbata — hindi mo siya bibigyan ng mga salita na isang estudyante lang na pang kolehiyo ang makakaintindi. Kapag magdrodrowing ka para sa librong pangbata — hindi ka magbibigay ng mga imahe na isang taong may “sophisticated visual eye” lang ang makakaintindi. —- Ano ba ang naiintindihan ng isang bata bago siya matutong magbasa? Ano ba ang lenguahe niya —- EMOSYON — simpleng drowing pero makapal na emosyon . Nanduun ang ating tunay na bokasyon at magsisilbing hamon sa ating kakayanan bilang mga illustrators para sa mga bata. Kung papanong sa simpleng mga larawan na kahit 2 taong gulang na bata ay maiintindihan ay mapaparating natin ang isang aral o konsepto na kahit isang matanda ay nahihirapang intindihin o iproseso. Bakit ba napaka popular ng mga “emoticons” Kasi sa simpleng :) ay nalalaman agad ng mambabasa na masaya tayo na hindi kailangan pang explain ang level ng kagalakan. :) as opposed to this :D. Mga simpleng imahe pero lahat makakaintindi. Duon muna dapat ang pagsasanay — visual language — how to convey emotions in a few simple lines — and thus convey a message that sometimes even the most literate or mature finds hard to explain or understand. Bakit laging kailangang emostion muna — kasi nga yun ang unang lenguahe na maiintindihan ng mga bata, na kahit hindi marunong bumasa ay makakaintindi — Maganda na marunong tayo ng mga techniques pero maski gaano kaganda ng technique kung wala namang na-coconvey na message, hindi naging effective yung technique. Kahit isang stick figure lang pero kung naintindihan ng maski 2 taon ang mensahe — naging effective ang illustrator. Kung mapapagsama mo ang technique at good visual and emotional language, mas masaya.

I love this so much because it made me realize that I’ve been so inclined to focus a lot on technical skills and looking for theories and children’s books’ analysis so I can learn how to give depth and substance to my own illustrations. But then no matter how it’s true that the technical and even academic side of it is important, the essence of a good picture book does lie in the emotion/s it evokes. Ms. Beth’s comment had come as such a refreshing revelation. I wonder what other insights a day of hanging out with her would bring?


Dream Date 2: Robert Alejandro

Ah yes, our favorite kuya. You may be familiar with his work for the novelty store Papemelroti, but his sweet illustrations can also be found in a variety of books of different kinds.

A Different Kind of Policeman
written by Emma Tan
illustrated by Robert Alejandro
published by Bookmark

Aside from illustration, kuya Robert is also very much involved in outreaches and activities with kids, especially in the less fortunate areas. This, for me, is really inspiring, and I would like to do more of this myself. I personally still feel a disconnect with my work sometimes, being a children’s illustrator but one who doesn’t really get to interact with children a lot. I feel like it would be so enriching to my work to understand and be inspired by how children think, and consequently create work that evokes more emotion, as stated by Ms. Beth earlier.

Here are some more of kuya Robert’s visual books that fall into the novelty category, I think, but again as a young person, I’d probably be ecstatic to stumble upon these books. Travel and fashion!

I’d love to spend a day trekking with kuya Robert, watching him paint, teaching kids how to make murals, and spreading so much good vibes everywhere.

How about you, who are the people on your dream date list?


Join the  32nd National Children’s Book Day festivities!
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