Looking for Inspiration at Graphicon 5 (Davao 2016)

Isn’t it weird that a burnt-out writer such as me is attending a graphic design conference? And what’s weirder is that I even went to great lengths to actually pay for the participation fee and… guess what? Travelled (again) outside of Cebu!

All for the sake of my search for inspiration.

Graphicon 5 is a conference organized by Davao Graphic Designers Community (DGDC) generally for the motion & graphic designers and other creative people in the field of visual design. It was held last Saturday, December 10, 2016 in Davao, specifically in CAP Auditorium.

I heard about Graphicon a couple of months ago, and unable to see a similar event in Cebu, I felt the urge to join despite having to fly away even when I was broke. But I said to myself, “this is one ‘creative’ conference and it’s going to be an investment for my personal and professional growth and for broadening my horizons (choz) as a freelance writer.”

bank deposit for conference pass

Caption: Never regret spending for things that will help you grow as a person and professional… choz! Repeat to self one million times. LOLz

Side Note: If, in the kindness of your heart, you want to help me “regain” my expenses, you might be interested in Funding My Website.

Actually, I have been planning to join this Davao event some weeks before I found out about Cebu LitFest, a whole-day literary festival (yes, one of my quest for inspiration and this one’s related to my writing career) held in Ayala Center of Cebu some Saturdays ago. (See Looking for Inspiration at Cebu Litfest 2016 for details)

I saw the list of guests who’ll be talking in the event — most of them are in the multimedia and design fields. I didn’t know anyone on the list (because I’m not in the same industry) except for Abbey Sy, whose name I recognized because of her recent books on journaling and lettering. And true enough, she was giving a talk on Typography.

Here’s the list of the speakers:

  • Megan Palero – Motion Design
  • Janine Pring – Creative Entrepreneurship
  • Paolo Ramirez – Digital Portraits
  • Daryl Feril – Illustration
  • Abbey Sy – Typography
  • RocketsheepStudio.com – Defining & Working within Limitations for Video Production Work

My pics are blurry because I was in the balcony. Huhu

Graphicon 5 speakers - first part - December 2016

(From L-R) Speakers Palero, Pring and Ramirez

Graphicon 5 speakers - second part - December 2016

(From L-R) Speakers Feril, Sy and Rocketsheep

Abbey Sy on Typography

There’s my sign. I’m not sure if I love typography though, but one thing’s I’m certain of — I am interested in maintaining legible handwriting. Haha. In this digital age, I have known a lot of people who complained they don’t like their own handwriting. In a way, I had always been encouraging people:

Don’t make handwriting a lost skill

I’m not really into calligraphy or typography and those ever popular “scriptwriting” via brush. See? I don’t even know the terms. Haha.

I just want to maintain a legible writing with my personal style while still adhering to some “basic” rules taught in my kindergarten and elementary school days. Actually, there’s a dark, traumatic story behind my interest in plain handwriting, but I don’t want to talk about it now.

Going back to Abbey Sy (http://abbey-sy.com/)…

Hello text by Abbey Sy


Using her personal creative typography styles, Ms. Sy inspired participants as she shared pointers and tips to succeed as a visual artist and as an entrepreneur. Abbey has proven, like the rest of the speakers in the event, that one can have great opportunities ahead if you do what you love and love what you do.

Ms. Sy has given a lot of helpful tips and here are the salient points.

Just start.

Practice makes progress.

Put yourself out there.

Creativity takes courage.

Work hard (always).

Always be creating.

Every Guest Speaker Provides Valuable Lessons, Too

Surprisingly, the rest of the speakers also inspired me in one way or another despite the fact that I’m not a graphic or multimedia artist.

(on Motion Design) Megan Palero showed us what motion design is and provided insights on how a motion design process should go from planning to production. To make it clearer for the audience, he revealed some case studies. What strike me in Mr. Palero’s presentation is how he came up with the concept for the Graphicon 5 opening title (yes, he’s the creative director of the event). With diversity (in Mindanao) as the general theme of the event, he creatively and skilfully included every related shapes, patterns and icons to come up with a colourful, playful motion design. (love)

The ingenuity is definitely a mental “orgasm” for me. Lolz.
(See more of Mr. Palero’s works at https://vimeo.com/meganpalero)

(on Creative Entrepreneurship) Janine Pring shared her story of how she developed Dreametry design studio (www.dreametry.com) with the aim to inspire people to be creative. Imagine, she initially started as a Ragnarok enthusiast who just wanted to earn more money to get more Ragna credits? By observing what jobs are popular online, she strived to learn the skills necessary to earn money.

Through hard work and passion for learning/selfdevelopment, she was able to establish and constantly expand Dreametry to what it is now. And the best part is she and her team continue to strive to be the best they can be.

She gave many tips to help aspiring creative entrepreneurs, but this is one of those advices that strike me the most:

Invest more on tools… unahin muna ang workstation
— Janine Pring

… Ouch. At least this helped strengthen my conviction that I did the right thing when I spent P29,000+++ on an Asus laptop when my HP suddenly died. Stupid HP, dying when I needed you the most in my freelance writing career. Now I’m still broke because of that.

(on Digital Portraits) Paolo Ramirez probably stunned other graphic artists who love complicated, advanced digital art techniques when he demonstrated how he creates his digital portraits using just the basic processes of dodge, burn, smudge and liquefy, among others. (see Mr. Ramirez’s works at https://paoloramirez.wordpress.com/)

Mr. Ramirez, a self-confessed food lover (and a cutie!), is also the owner of the Secret Garden coffee shop (https://www.facebook.com/secretgardendavao/) in Davao. Too bad I wasn’t able to check it out yet. My Toril-based friend stood up on me when I was in the city. *sad*

(on Illustration) Daryl Feril revealed his stories of unexpected career and self-discovery, which I find quite awesome. He actually started as a Computer Engineering student and (I hope I remembered it right) dropped out on his 3rd year (hmmm… reminds me of someone). Later on, he focused on what he loves to do most — drawing by hand. Nope, not digital drawing… but doing it by hand. He landed with several creative projects and the most notable part is that the companies are hiring him for his unique style.

“Evolve without losing your personal aesthetic”
— Daryl Feril

Mr. Feril’s works can be seen at https://www.behance.net/dtferil

(on Working Within Limitations for Video Production Work) It was already past 6 PM (time which the event was expected to end) but fortunately. RocketsheepStudio.com (represented by Avid and Jether[?]) totally kept the crowd alive as the last presenter not just with their inspiring insights but also with their witty (green) comments and jolly disposition. Everyone just cracked up every now and then. These Rocketsheep guys totally know how to put a jolly mood despite technical glitches while onstage and… in creating Saving Sally.

Yes, RocketsheepStudio is behind the animated film Saving Sally (https://www.facebook.com/SavingSallyFilm/) which will be part of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Previously, I read on my Facebook newsfeed that it took 10 years to create, and now that I sat in Graphicon 5, I found out the reasons it took so long. In essence, there were just so many challenges they had to deal with considering they’re independent. Listening through their stories gave me a rollercoaster ride of heartaches and inspiration as they shared to us the challenges they faced and how they deal with them.

They gave valuable tips to the audience, but perhaps the most memorable (and comical) of these is:

Kung di kaya, don’t make pilit
— RocketsheepStudio

Translation: If you can’t do it, don’t force it. (It’s comical when said in the original mixed language)

Discover more stunning works by Rocketsheep at http://avidliongoren.com/rocketsheep/

An Event Not Just for Visual Artists

At first, I thought I would really be left out considering the participants would be in the same graphic and multimedia industry. And I’m pretty sure when my friends know I attended the event, they would also wonder why I joined. I even asked myself, “Is it even sensible that a freelance writer made an effort to come to this event?”

Graphicon 5 Q&A Open Forum time with speakers

Q&A Open Forum time

So when I was already there… uhmm.. I actually felt left out. Haha. With the guys behind me saying things in jargon as they watch samples of images and animations presented by the speakers, my mind was like “huhuhu. I can’t relate to what they just said.”

Graphicon 5 admission stamp

Still wondering why I’m really here… Haha.

I don’t care though. Ha! I know I attended the event because I’m searching for inspiration… a creative one. Perhaps something that takes me out of the box as a burnt-out writer. And yeah, I’m a frustrated visual artist too.

But when I look back at the event and the ideas presented, I believe it wasn’t just for graphic designers, motion artists, animators and other related professions. It’s actually an event that will inspire you to nurture your creativity and become an entrepreneur (including freelancers) at the same time.

There is no better time to become freelancer in the Philippines [than now]”
— Paolo Real, Business Development Manager at Payoneer

Listening to the stories of all speakers, you can actually see a general pattern which should encourage any artistic person to pursue (or continue) their career in the creative industry.

For one, many of them started with a career that’s quite different from what they have now. Mr. Feril’s Comp-E history and Ms. Sy’s marketing career are just some examples.

Most of them didn’t know what they want at first but didn’t stop exploring their options. RocketsheepStudio was able to create Saving Sally despite their then-limited knowledge on animation as well as assets and technology. Ms. Pring became obsessed with developing leadership skills to build her “dream” team.

Did I Find the Inspiration I Was Looking For?

Well, despite Graphicon being a conference for the graphic and multimedia students and professionals, I did find some inspiration as a freelance writer especially in the areas of creativity and entrepreneurship.

There’s a lot to learn really, but here are just some of the important ones:

“Do what you love. Love what you do.”
– Janine Pring

“Make beautiful things even if nobody cares”
– Saul Bass (as shared by Paolo Ramirez)

“Evolve without losing your personal aesthetic”
– Daryl Feril

Work on things that inspire & fuel you
– Abbey Sy (I’m not sure about the exact words though)

Then, there are those valuable tips applicable to anyone looking for a career in the creative industry regardless of specialization. I forgot the exact words though and/or the speaker who said them, but the ideas are more or less the following:

Compile your works to create a portfolio.
Do personal projects.

Will I recommend the next Graphicon?

I would say: even if you’re not a graphic or multimedia artist, you will really learn a lot as a creative person and/or entrepreneur most especially when you’re a freelancer. So why not check out the event next year for inspiration? And if you’re not from Davao like me, it’s also a great opportunity to go on a holiday and explore this wonderful place in Mindanao. *love*

In search of inspiration… #Graphicon5 #burntoutWriter #lookingforinspiration #DigitalNomad #ConferenceKit #ethanChildishDelights

A photo posted by Ethan Llemit Second-Accnt (@littlepinoy1983) on

Important Note to Self (just in case I’ll attend next year)

Do not stay in the balcony area (waaah) because you’ll miss a lot of things.

The action always happens in the main area — the throwing of giveaways to the audience (huhuhu); the display of puzzle blocks unique to Mindanao (until now I don’t know how they look *sad*); the photo booth; and the freedom wall, among others.

Davao's Graphicon 5 ticket with admission stamp

out of reach… so far…

I usually stay close to the stage when attending an event, but some ushers pointed me to the balcony when I came in. So I just went up. Ulks. Me and my mindless moments.

I went down during the Q&A portion though. But they guys are already packing up, so I wasn’t able to check out the installations.

Graphicon 5 photo booth

Photo booth. Sucks to be a solo traveller. No one’s gonna take my my photos. lolz

Freedom wall at Graphicon 5

Freedom Wall. No, that’s not me.

Graphicon 5 souvenirs

At least I have the floor all to myself… Ha!

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