Monday, September 19, 2016

Rainbows and Paper Bags: Take Aways from the Likha-Pambata Workshop 2016

Our tarp at the workshop venue
Three wonderful things happened during the 4th Likha-Pambata Writing and Illustrating Workshop: 1) there were participants who were able to write a story map/outline; 2) there were participants who developed characters by drawing on paper bags; 3) there were participants who were able to do both by using the character from their story outline. Needless to say, the workshop that I ran with Ruben "Totet" de Jesus had been fun and deeply engaging. I felt inspired myself. I now resolve to finish all book projects I have with my publisher.

YAY! (fingers crossed)

How we went about the activities

The workshop program was in two parts. Being the author who facilitated the writing component of the workshop, I had an input session on my writing life, my writing process and where I get stories to write. Afterwards, participants were given story prompts to come up with story maps and outlines. I used the photo of a rainbow to establish context and focused on questions that lead to character development. In fifteen minutes, participants were able to write! This is only a pre-writing exercise but the output for the day is something they can file in a writing portfolio. This way, ideas and story development techniques are documented and can be tracked down.

Raquel V. Endoso's character is a fearful lion.
When Totet took on the second part of the workshop, the participants couldn't help but be amazed at the spot drawing demonstration. Basic shapes, lines and curves, geometric shapes and points can be used to create a character with emotions and personality. His input in our collaborative work was, I think, is the more interesting topic in the workshop.

Indeed, book development and publishing takes time. It is not easy and it can be messy too. But, if the heart is into this kind of creative endeavor, then, being a part of this industry is worth it. The returns are numerous and the gains are satisfying. Though, I can't claim that authors and artists like Totet and myself will be millionaires in the level of JK Rowling.

The Writer and the Illustrator Collaboration

During the Q&A, I was asked who is the illustrator I wish to collaborate with in the future. I wish to work with Robert Magnuson however, he seemed to be very, elusive.

This question made me think of the reasons I keep in choosing artists to work with. Since my stories are very personal, so is my choice for the book's illustrator. I admire the loving ways of Jomike Tejido towards his daughter. Having met his wife in a school visit, I sense this deep bond between them. He was my first choice for My Daddy, My One and Only. Thank God, Jomike said yes to the project considering how busy he was (and is)!

Raquel's fearful lion! Scaredy cat!
Bernadette Solina Wolf was also my first choice for A Tale of Two Dreams since she has a first hand experience of living in Mindoro. Besides, she knows a good number of Mangyans in the island. The Chocolate Kiss is one of my favorite restaurants. The restaurant is a business managed by Liza Flores' family. I have seen and met her sister there and her mother too. How closely knit she seems to be with her sister and mother. My gut feel told me she would do justice to Dear Nanay. When I saw her studies during the production stage of the book, my separation anxiety surfaced. It was exactly the emotion I want to visually appear in the book.

Totet is a friend and an ally in the advocacy for quality books and children's literature in the Philippines. He is funny, reflective, compassionate and responsible. I know he has sisters. For sure, a guy to be sensitive and perceptive, must have grown up among loving and "annoying" sisters. His work in Big Sister is splendid! In my mind, I hope to work further on with Totet in a workshop where participants can truly create books. It is going to be longer for sure, say two to three days? I don't even know if Totet will agree to the idea.

For now, I hope to keep in touch with the participants via social media. There is a writing and illustrating fellowship that is being talked about among the management team of Lampara Books. It would be my pleasure to be a mentor in this fellowship.

Caption this: ___________________________________
Thank you very much to Jun Matias of Lampara Books for the patience, his trust and confidence in me to push for the book projects that would matter to children and uplift writers and artists in the industry. All the best to Carlos Manalansan and Aiko Buduan-Salazar! May your hard work pay off a hundred fold. On to the next book project, my dears!

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