Learning at APCC 2017: Art, Cosplay, Comics, Creation

Attendees at AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2017 (APCC 2017) can remember some of the celebrity guests that have attended the awesome three-day convention. However, aspiring entrants to various entertainment fields may have stayed for the panels and workshops as well.

Creators and icons from various industries have imparted knowledge to APCC 2017. What’s-A-Geek! was lucky enough to attend some of these workshops and panels. Here are some insights:

Cosplay to Conquer Shyness, Industries 

Cosplay dominated the Main Stage on Day 3, especially when cosplay icons took the floor for a cosplay panel. Popular cosplayers such as Haiden Hazard, Jin (BeyondInfinity), Pyon and Alodia Gosiengfiao talked fans through their journey in cosplaying.

Gosiengfiao, for one, shared how cosplaying helped her cope with her shyness. She said cosplaying lets her put on a “mask” that helps boost her confidence.

Meanwhile, Jin had a bright view for cosplaying in the future. The popular cosplayer explained how the hobby opened doors for a lot of fans to get into various industries, such as costume design. Cosplaying, Jin said, can even be part of someone’s creative portfolio.

Carl Potts: Making Everything Flow

Carl Potts conducted his comic book workshop which covered most of the basics of creating a comic book. This workshop not only catered to the beginners but to the more adept who are working to refine their craft even more.

For comic creators, making panels flow is a very important skill to learn. Potts said the immersive quality of a comic is taken away if your readers start stumbling as they figure out how your comic is structured.

He also discussed how to frame panels. One piece of advice he stated was to try not to place the topic of your current panel always in the center as that would get real old real fast. Try experimenting with different ways of framing.

He also gave the general rule of thumb when it comes to panel size. Big shots are usually reserved for establishing the setting of the story. Medium sized shots are usually action and dialogue. Close up shots are usually for facial reactions.

He also advised combining these to make complex and creative panels. Being an artist also means that you have to be well-versed in drawing a lot of things. You’ll never know what’ll be asked of you.

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You have to know what you’re weak at because it doesn’t matter how good you can draw a person if your horse looks like a dog. Your audience will gravitate towards that and it ruins the experience of your entire work. He said to always take time and practice every now and then on your weak points

Shoji Kawamori: Changing Perspectives

Macross icon Shoji Kawamori opened Day 3’s workshops with a talk on his creative process. The prolific creator explained his journey into mecha perhaps began with a childhood fascination of the Apollo project, which sent the first man to the Moon. Kawamori added he wanted to be a part of the Apollo team.

As the years passed, Kawamori poured his passion into German paper blocks. It was in college where he learned how to draw professionally. Moreover, he used to talk about Macross with his peers during breaks. Kawamori showed a lot of sample works through his talk. This includes his contributions as a designer for franchises such as Macross, Cyber Formula, Ace Combat and Eureka Seven.

The creator advised aspiring creators to find ways of changing their audiences’ points of view as a way of creating original works. “Originality” rests on inventive originality and having a unique personality, which Kawamori said could be found even in the most mundane of objects.

As an example, Kawamori reminisced about times when he climbed trees as a child. He said he obtained different perspectives of the world the higher he climbed trees. As a live example, he demonstrated how looking at a tape dispenser in reverse inspire a spaceship design.

Artgerm: Flexibility, Fundamentals, and Believing

Stanley Lau, whose moniker “Artgerm” is his vision of how “infectious” art can inspire people, talked fans through the various experiences one can have as a digital artist. Artgerm and his company Imaginary Friends produced work for companies and media such as Marvel, DC Comics, White Wolf Publishing, Warhammer 40K, and Star Wars.

The artist explained that a digital artist should at least know how to conceptualize, do digital painting, and do digital imaging. It helps if one is into photography, graphic design and 3D modeling. This is because he said one’s asset in the field is familiarity with art fundamentals. The better one knows their fundamentals, the more they can develop their style.

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In speaking of style, Lau also explained that to conceptualize is to assist final product development. Efficient and successful digital artists have passion and commitment, and understand their market position and commercial viability. Artists grow best when they expand their taste and keep on being flexible while developing their strengths.

Lau added that artists must try to maintain a great portfolio with distinctive strength and direction: it must show who they want to be, represent their work and try to impress as early as in the first pages.

The principle also applies in the first works seen in personal websites. Artgerm added that prospective artists should always have sketchbooks ready so they can also demonstrate how they think. Lau also added that the best way to conquer artist “block” is to always dedicate a time of the day to conceptualize and sketch ideas. This helps develop flexibility in execution and show sensitivity to trend and tech.

Stay Motivated, Keep on Creating

Potts also gave the all-important advise of always asking “how can I improve my work?” As he pointed out that it’s when you have a massive fanbase bowing to you like a God that you usually lose yourself. So bring yourself down from that pedestal every once in a while analyze what else can be improved.

Artgerm also said that artists should always show their work to help them see their growth, and to ignore trolls.

“Don’t chase likes, just put your work out there,” he said. “It’s magical to think of something and make it happen on paper.”

Lau added that artists should continue to find ways to stay motivated. “The first ‘like’ on your work should be from yourself,” he told fans. “Do not invest your time to people who don’t believe in you.”

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Rhenn Taguiam
Rhenn Taguiam
Rhenn Taguiam is a frustrated journalist with a knack for comic books and video games. He likes pizza and pasta, and has an uncontrollable urge to gush over anything Super Sentai, Star Trek or X-Men. He is currently on his way to get his Master's Degree - unless he creates his own video game or graphic novel first.
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