Graphika Manila 2019: Beyond Expectations

I attended the 14th year of Graphika Manila 2019 conference last 2nd & 3rd February 2019. I went to help out Michael in taking some video footage of his interview with some of the conference speakers. To be honest, I was expecting a conference with all the technical talks that I know nothing about. But it blew my mind more than I ever imagined that it gave me a whole new perspective, ignited my creative thoughts, giving my blog a sense of direction (working on it!). 


It is a Philippine-based Conference on Creativity. Every year, the event showcases talented artists of multidisciplinary creative approaches in identity, art direction, animation, web, and even designed environments. The conference focuses on the creative side of design rather than technology.

This article is entirely all about my personal experience. For some reasons (which I will share later), I am not the best person to write about what exactly happened at the conference. So, before you waste your time on me, I have actually browsed this best article you can read about the details in Graphika Manila 2019. Check this link out:


Although having to help out with the interview is fun, I kinda felt sad realizing that I wont be able to listen to all the speakers. I’m supposedly fine with that. I came without expecting myself to just sit down and listen to the talks. But when we had to get into the function halls to take some video footage, I was able to witness some speakers on stage. They were like rock stars sharing their humble beginnings, art stories and creative processes that brought them to where they are today. 

I have actually nothing to fret about. I may have not catch all speakers talks but I got a chance for closer encounters with them during the interview. With that, I was able to bring home some very insightful takeaways. The experience left me with a brighter outlook, armed with igniting words. From here, I look forward to push myself even more. 🙂

So, I can unfortunately only share with you 5 out of 12 speakers. Enjoy!

During an interview of Anthony Francisco

Interview with Anthony Francisco, Marvel Studios’ Senior Visual Development Artist,

Anthony Francisco, a Fil-AM illustrator and concept artist currently working at Marvel Studios as Senior Visual Development Artist. 

Other than passion and creativity, Anthony taught me that commitment, resilience, and organization are as important, even for artists. He reminded of how being patient in the process can help your hard work pay off. For him, it took 20 years. He also added that,“humility is good but if someone is recognizing your work out there, go for it and claim it! You worked for it, you deserve it! It is yours!”. I have asked him if it is something like the concept of “too much of something is not good”“too much goodness is bad”, “too much love will kill you” and all sorts. He does not agree to this because it only adds a bad connotation to what is already good.

“A ‘good’ should only be good, and love is always good. It is a matter of right amount, right time, right place, or right person. I’d like to believe that  too much of right love is good. Too much of right humility is always good.  – Anthony Francisco

Anthony’s work includes feature films such as Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Chronicles of Riddick just to name a few. He designed Loki Ragnarok, the Dora Milaje and the Visual Father of Baby Groot.

Yeo Kaa, a Filipino Artist/Painter. We were not able to interview her because she was not feeling well. But I was able to listen to her entire talk.  My ears were all on her as she shared how she started her concept in art. They were all wild stories behind. She was criticized for being bad at drawing. She even failed in her art classes but it did not stop her from achieving her place in the art scene.

“Back in college, meroon kaming plate na ‘trapunto’ na Picasso style, tapos dun ko na realise na hindi naman pala kailangan na ‘realism’ para maconsider na magaling ka”-Yeo Kaa

I love how she transformed her ‘socially unacceptable’ impulses to her art. Her explicit themes of killing her prof who failed her thrice, and talking to her own panties can seem strange for some but this quirkiness is what kept and made her a unique and relatable artist. She has mounted a handful of solo shows in Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Germany.

Yeo Kaa is a the mad, quirky girl and that’s what the art world needs today. Below is my favorite painting that she shared during her talk.

Claus' Art and Creative Director, Justin Harder

Claus Studios’ Art and Creative Director, Justin Harder

Justine Harder, Art & Creative Director of Claus Studios. He was able to shed light to one of my confidence issues which is low-self-esteem. I always worry about not being so good at something compared to the others. But Justin stretched that the world is a competitive place and your creative ideas are valuable assets. Rejection is always around the corner. Learn from it, enjoy the process and grow.

“You have to be you and do not try to be somebody else. Do what you can do. Nobody else can do what you do” – Justine Harder

Justin has illustrated and designed numerous title sequences for film and television including Deadpool, Thor: The Dark World, My Little Pony: The Movie and Saturday Night Live’s ‘Weekend Update.’ Justin also is an officially licensed Marvel ‘Artist.

Next is Laundry’s Managing Director, James Sweigert. He is one of my favorites. His energy and passion to create more and inspire is burning like mad and it’s basking all on me and to the rest of the attendees! He’s got an incredible team where James never fail to highlight that  their individual backgrounds and experiences were never really a factor for their success. But instead, it was their fun and creativity to make things different and extraordinary that proved their place in the industry.

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with Michael (center) and Laundry’s Managing Director, James Sweigert (right)

“The longest journey an artist could make is from their heads to their heart.” James Sweigert

James Sweigert is an award winning creative executive in advertising and entertainment marketing over the past twenty years. He loves spending time with his dog, Duke Kahanamoku. He surfs in LA and around the world. James has also published a book entitled,“If You Say So”. I just wish I get a chance to read it.

with Aaron Draplin, founder of Draplin Design Co.

with Aaron Draplin, founder of Draplin Design Co.

Aaron Draplin made a lasting impression on  me. He is a graphic designer, author and founder of Draplin Design Co. (DDC). It has rolled up its sleeves on a number of projects related to print, identity, web development, and illustration. Priding itself on craftsmanship and quality, the DDC has made stuff for Nike, Esquire, Ford Motor Company and the Obama Administration. 

I was ecstatic to hear Draplin as he talk about his life as a designer and how he honed his craft through the years. For him, he used his skills to pay his bills, build his house, design for his family and nephew, working for friends, and most specially as tribute for his dad.

“You got to pay your bills, you got to make your money and do all that that adults do. But leave some room for some weird stuff.” – Aaron Draplin.

There’s something comfortingly sturdy about Aaron’s works. It’s simple by design, but doesn’t look cheap and made to leave a mark to the audiences.

He received a standing ovation from some of the attendees; a well-deserved feat for someone who’s made a mark in his career and published a book for himself, Pretty Much Everything’.

Watch this space for the Full Video of our interview with seven of the speakers: 3Dsense Media School 






Open When Letters: A Perfect Gift For Loved Ones

Few months back, my man has to be away for a while (until now -.-). It is quite sad. There are really some things in life that goes beyond our control. We just have to accept it, be patient and strong. Anyways, he was going through difficult times back then. Three days before he had to go I knew I wanted to give him something but I just couldn’t figure what it is. If you have followed my previous blogs about giving presents, I am not that type of person who just simply buy stuff outside. I love making them on my own and sprinkle some personal touch.  So, I searched online and ended up making him some “OPEN WHEN LETTERS”. I know I can’t fix all his problems (sometimes I can make them even worse for being such a drama queen. wOoopss! #girlmoodswings) But at least I hope it may somehow help us while we are apart or especially when he is  feeling down.

Open When Letters are some letters or packages that you give to someone important to you (like your man/girl, a family member, a close friend…) Each letter is supposed to be opened on a very specific occasion. It reminds me of the book PS : I love you, in which the female protagonist has to open each month a letter written by her beloved husband who just died. These letters helped her to overcome her loss and become stronger. They were so full of love and showed how much her husband knew her. I really loved the idea (and the book, you must read it if you haven’t !).

Anyways, I learned about this idea from Pinterest (there are really a lot of amazing stuff from there). I added some exciting twists on it. If you check online, you can mostly find just about 10 example letters. For me, I got 26! ^_^ I hope it is enough to cover while we are away. In every letters, I left a space for him behind in case he feels like writing back (in response). I’d love to read them when I finally get to see him again. I also got someone to keep my letters secured. Who? Keep reading.. 😉


Here are the 26 letters I made:


I am sorry. The photo above is not that clear so I have listed them out for you:

  1. Open when….. you first received these letters
    • It’s about why I am giving him the letters and the rules. Yes! There are rules! Here you go:
  2. Open when….. you are sad
  3. Open when….. you are happy
  4. Open when….. you are super tired
  5. Open when….. you need a good laugh
  6. Open when….. you need a hug
  7. Open when…. I am being grumpy
  8. Open when…. you are sick
  9. Open when…. you are bored
  10. Open when…. you are stressed
  11. Open when…. every 18th of the month
  12. Open when…. you are worried about the future
  13. Open when…. you don’t feel attractive
  14. Open when…. you need a reminder of how much I love you
  15. Open when…. you miss me and our dates
  16. Open when…. you need a cuddle
  17.  Open when…. you can’t sleep
  18. Open when….. you need a motivation
  19. Open when….. you are mad at me
  20. Open when….. you are mad (but not at me)
  21. Open when….. you are having a bad day
  22. Open when….. you are crying
  23. Open when…. we are having a fight / misunderstanding
  24. Open when…. you are jealous
  25. Open when….. you are in love with someone else
  26. Open when…. you want to break-up

They are just ordinary envelopes which are made out of recycled papers. I cut them according to my desired size (considering the size of my box of course). I drew some cutie stuff on it to make it more colorful, more interesting and more exciting to open. Inside are a bunch of our sweet and crazy photos, some cute clip arts, mind games, short stories, my favorites quotations and my personal messages according to each topic in the letter. If you want to make your own and you need help on what to put inside, feel free to let me know. I’d be happy can help! (:

Below are some of the photos of the letters that he have already opened and shared with me. He had already written some stuffs behind too which is only meant for me to read so I blurred them off. Opps! Sorry! ^_^



ed 2




So here’s the one whom I have entrusted my letters to. Her name is Yana! 😀

I wanted my letters to be handy, safe, secured and creative as much as possible so I bought a box from Daiso (Yep, it’s for S$ 2. 00!). And since I love digital painting, I painted a face of a girl and pasted it on the cover of the box (glad the colors were nicely matched!). I named her Yana which stands for You Are Never Alone”. Whenever he feels emotional at some point, Yana is a reminder that in every up & down moments that he encounters, he is never alone. He got me….inside Yana! 😀

The Box.jpg

Some people would say that we put too much effort in a relationship that will not last long (and all those negative vibes). For me, I don’t really care. I am aware of the consequences and I am happy I did it especially he’s been through a lot recently. And in general, I do things in my own decision. Just never be afraid to take steps in showing your love especially when they’ve been always there for you. Savior every opportunity while it’s still there and while you still can.

I hope you enjoyed this article and gave you an idea on how to do yours for your loved ones – boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, brothers, sisters, parents, best friends and all! Cheers! 🙂

My Very First Animation

I always like to give extra special and unique gifts especially to people who are so dear to me. They just deserve it! And no matter how awful my work is, I believe it’s the effort that counts (though I also every time do my very best to make it look presentable. heheh).

As for this one, I was preparing for a birthday gift and the birthday celebrant happens to be a special friend who is now my bf ^^(because the key to a man’s heart is not by feeding his tummy but by feeding his passion! heheh. No, I’m not trying to make an excuse. LOL. But I swear I’m gonna get to that cooking soon. Just give me more time…please..^^,). He is a 3D animation artist.  So, I was like, “Ohhhhkayyy….this is challenging! I wanna make an animation too! Like whatever it takes! ^_^”. Lol. Yeah, I am a quite and a shy type of person but I always like to challenge myself. I’ve been wanting to try animation too and that was a perfect chance.  It was Dec last year (2016). As usual, I had a very limited time when I made it (for some reasons, ideas likes these always pop in my head in a very last-minute so I always end up rushing). I made it a day before his birthday and based on my own understanding on how animation is supposed to be done (I mean no research, no tutorial or anything). So please, I seek your understanding if my drawing looks so horrible and if I did it in the wrong way.  Furthermore, I am not really good especially in impromptu drawing. So feel free to contact me for corrections and improvements. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Alright! Here you go! I think it’s just nice that it looks like a human (to me at least). Haha! Initially, I didn’t intend to come up with such output. I just knew that I wanted to do something unique and special so I just grabbed a paper and a pen, and let my imagination take my hand to whatever it wants to achieve until I completed this picture. In case it isn’t obvious, it is supposed to be a clumsy me (clumsy as usual) excitedly delivering my gift.


How I did it:

  1. I used an ordinary pencil to draw at the back of a recycled white paper
  2. I used pink color highlighter for the gift so it wont look too dull
  3. I scanned the drawing to my PC
  4. I used Adobe Photoshop to crop each movement and added the path drawing then saved them .JPEG format separately
  5. I used the “Windows Move Maker” to combine all the photos accordingly
  6. I added a background music

And TadaaAaa! Here’s the short clip of my very first animation:

Indeed, animation is a super tedious job! Sadly,  I don’t think  I am willing to give more time to explore this abyss because I am not a patient person. I just made a super simple one but the struggle was super real! I am glad that I am able to pull through the emotions though (as per the celebrant’s comment^^). And nothing compares to the happiness that I felt upon knowing that I am able to make the character walk, fall down and dance!!! ^__^

I hope you enjoyed it as much as me and the birthday celebrant did. Let me know if you made one too. I’ve to see and learn from your work too.  ❤

“MULTI-PURPOSE” Travel Placards

We will be having our company trip to Bangkok, Thailand, this end of April 2017 (this weekend! ^^). I remember from our previous trips, nobody thought about bringing a banner. LOL. Is that even necessary nowadays? Well, I think it is very important for reasons I bet you already know (Sorry. I just had a tough day at work. I’ll find time to update this if you really wish to know  whyyyy -.-)

Anyways, so for our upcoming trip in BKK (Bangkok), we thought we must have our banner. But we don’t want it to be just any usual boring banner or tarpaulin. Those are too mainstream. So,  we decided to have it interesting & fun by making creative letter boxes instead where everyone will just hold it accordingly and they can play around with it when taking photos or videos. Especially people nowadays are very fun of taking boomerang videos. This should be perfect! ^_^

I’m not sure if someone has already made such banners before but here’s how it looks like. Errrrmm….It’s no longer a banner actually since it isn’t a long cut-piece of cloth. So, I decided to call it “MULTI-PURPOSE” Company Trip Placards. Yeah! ^^,  Why multi-purpose? because you can also use it as a sunshade and as a fan! Lol! FYI: As per my research, April and May are the hottest months of the year in BKK.


It’s not exactly how I wanted it but nah! These are the materials that are immediately available so we just maximized.


Basically, we prepared all the stuffs that we needed:


  • Colored papers
  • Cardboards
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Glue Sticks
  • Glue Gun
  • Chopsticks
  • Scotch tape

Alright, let’s get started!

    We decided what are the words we want to have and counted how many characters we need to make. We made sure that we have enough colored papers and card boards. No need to make the words too long. Just come up with something that is short, specific and just nice for the number of people who are joining the trip. Not everyone has to hold though. For ours, we have about 35 people. So we decided to have “YONG FAH (our company name) BKK (place to visit) 2017 (year)“. Total of 14 characters. Oh! I added an Airplane and a Thailand flag to make it more cute. LOL (additional 2 shouldn’t hurt).
    At first, I wanted to just draw the letters by myself. But I realized that I am not really good at it plus I don’t have much time to explore. So I just used my PC and printed the letters according to the size I wanted (and my cardboard’s of course). I made the fonts look like in “3D” with all the shadows so it will look more interesting. Btw, I printed on different colored papers so it’s more eye-catching. Then, my colleagues helped to cut out each letters slowly & nicely.
    I pasted another colored paper behind each characters (using glue stick & glue gun because it can hold stronger to the type of paper that I am using) and cut it making and outline  so the characters will be more visible.
    Set aside those characters, we will work with that later. Let’s proceed with the card boards now. For me, I am using recycled card boards which I got from our invoicing department. So I need to cover the surface with nice colors to make my placards look neat. I covered all the way to the back and used scotched tape to hold it into place.
    Not necessary but I want people to have something to properly grab on when they’re using it. I placed 2 chopsticks for each as I felt 1 is way too thin. I covered them with colored papers first and the taped it (so some people with very sweaty hands can also enjoy it). Then, I glued it behind the card board using glue gun so it will strongly hold into place.
    The behind part looked kinda messy with all the scotch tapes making it necessary to get covered. Plus, I also wanted to make it harder so I added another cardboard.
    I pasted my cut out letters or characters slowly onto the card boards and made sure that the letters are pasted on the center.
    I added some details by cutting and forming designs from my extra colored papers. I made sure the color combinations will somehow  look nicely matched (according to what’s available…whew! its really hard mix-matching very limited resources -.-)

So, there you go. It’s done! ^_^  I hope you like it! We can’t wait to use it for our trip. If you are making one, please let me know. I’d love to see your awesome designs too! 😀

A Sunset or A Sunrise?


Are you a team Sunset or Sunrise?

This is the story behind my Sunset/Sunrise painting:

I did this few years ago. It was midnight on a weekend and I was supposed to make revisions on an Artwork for my Client’s uniform. I am working as Sales in a Uniforms Manufacturing company here in Singapore.

I was half-way done until I just suddenly felt like I wanted to stop and do something else. What was it? I also didn’t know at first. I just started scratching the ‘paint brush’ on the ‘canvas’ randomly, changing colors & forming shapes. I just went on until my fingers led me to a beautiful landscape. From there, more details started popping in my head making me more excited to add more details. .

I was just using Paint in my laptop at first then I moved to Adobe photoshop when I felt the itch to add dramatic effects.

The last photo above was the last progress I made where I realized I needed to stop because it was getting very late and I had to sleep.

The following day, I re-visited it and I knew something else can be done. I tried to emphasize the details. This is the beauty of digital painting. You get the chance to play around. It allows easier and faster modification. 


Each glimpse of a beautiful sunrise will always be rewarding. Yes, It’s a sunrise .:)

So, why Sunrise and not Sunset?

As I shared the story, it was not really my intention to paint either a sunrise or a sunset. It was just a product of my supposedly ‘freestyle’ painting. When I looked at it, I started asking myself, “Did I just painted a sunset or a sunrise? Hhmmm..Wait! Is there even a difference between the two? I checked online and yes, there is! If we share the same question and you wish to find out, check this out: Difference Between Sunset And Sunrise

For me, I decided to call my painting a sunrise. Why? I have seen countless of sunsets and it’s glorious! It makes me feel like I am having a grand finale to end my day and at the same time reflect on how my day went. However, it’s predictable! I get out from work, find my way to gaze on a sunset, reflect about my day, go back home, grab some dinner, check the internet, chat with my loved ones, listen to music and get to sleep. There is almost nothing exciting or challenging about it. Well, I can look forward for tomorrow though. But come on guys! Let’s admit it! For some reasons (or should I say excuses?), we most of the time don’t get our plans done the next day. Chances are we might have forgotten about it or we are just completely don’t care like “Nah! Never mind…wait for another sunset to think about it again.” Procrastination at its finest. Just like your savings, right? (Ouch!..that sort of backfired right there! -.- )

With that in mind, it made me wonder how inspiring could it be to start my day with a beautiful sunrise instead, reflect on my plans for the day and how to achieve it. Sunrise gives the willpower of optimism. It fills light and hope for a day that is yet unknown. Yes, it is unpredictable yet exciting and encouraging. However, it is only caught in the hours when the people are quiet and heavy with sleep. For me, I honestly cannot remember when was the last time I caught one because I am a nocturnal animal. ^_^ I always like to stay up all night fighting the terrors of 3AM until I fall asleep too early in the morning and miss the sun’s rising. Every time I wake up, the sun is already right up in the sky shining so brightly and trying’ to make my skin ‘chocolatier’ (but tastier! kidding!). But that’s what makes the Sunrise even special. As they are saying goes, not everything that’s worth-having comes easy. Every time I catch a glimpse of a beautiful sunrise, it is always rewarding. 🙂

How about you? Are you a team Sunset or a team Sunrise? (=