Last Friday I had a talk at the Lit Out Loud, or the Manila International Literary Festival, in celebration of the 14th Philippine Book Development month. I had a panel on “Breaking into Graphic Lit Scene” with Elbert Or, moderated by Carlo Vergara. Graphic Lit or Graphic Literature is the new fancy word for “comic books” here in the Philippines.
It was a great event attended by a lot of people. I always enjoy talks like this as it allows me to share my experience and the things I’ve learned with other people. It’s also an opportunity for me to learn new things.
People have often asked me, “Why don’t you teach?” The answer to that is I want to, but unfortunately, I just don’t have that kind of time. I did attempt it in 2007-2008 when I taught “Comics Illustration” for one term at the College of St. Benilde. But even though I only taught during Saturdays, I felt it was not enough time to teach comics properly, and even then it took too much time away from creating comics.
With work becoming more and more time consuming, I’m having less time now even for talks and conventions. Any time I spend away from the drawing board is time away from doing the work, and as it is with working in comics, it’s no work, no pay. And if you don’t get to do the work in time, the work is given to someone else. And that’s bad for me.
I’ve decided to start declining invitations to talks for this particular reason. I’m good for talks I’ve already agreed to attend, like the one I was invited to at DLSU in February 2011, but that would be pretty much it.
The job is always the priority, and the job took priority when a sudden deadline went head to head with a talk I had scheduled at the Ayala Techno Hub a while back. It’s something I wouldn’t want to happen again.
If there’s one thing I would like most people to understand is how very little extra time full time comic book creators actually have.
Aside from that, having given plenty of talks for many years, I’ve realized that I’m just not THAT good at it. I’m not just being modest. I’m pretty crap at giving talks. I feel I can communicate my thoughts much better through writing. And that’s why I’m taking the extra time to write down the stuff I know right here.