Pictures and Words


My friends and I gave a talk at the Philippine Literary Festival held at Raffles Makati last August 30, 2015. With me in the panel were Liza Flores, Ray Sunga, and Sergio Bumatay III. We were a bit surprised by the turnout; we actually expected maybe ten attendees tops.


Liza Flores gave an introduction about our organization Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan and talked about her process for her recent book “My Big Sister Can See Dragons” written by Rocky Sanchez Tirona and published by Canvas. The book’s development underwent the usual process that a children’s book goes through in the Philippines, wherein a publisher commissions an illustrator to provide images for an existing story. Liza’s illustrations for the book were all large scale papercuts mounted on wood. During the book’s launch, the illustrations were exhibited at the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum.





Sergio Bumatay talked about out his process for his book “May Darating na Trak Bukas” (literally translated as “a truck will arrive tomorrow”) written by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario and published by Adarna House. Serj’s experience on the book was a bit different since it didn’t originate from a previously written text. Instead, Serj was asked to develop several studies that can serve as inspiration for a new story. From the studies, Adarna House chose one image for Virgilio Almario to base his text on.




Ray Sunga narrated his personal experiences in being a children’s book illustrator, as well as his process, and his inspirations. He gave insights into what we as illustrators experience in the Philippines (notably how you can’t live on illustrating children’s books alone).



I talked about my research on word and picture interactions in picture books as well as my learnings from a writers and illustrators workshop I attended in Bintan, Indonesia (more about this in a coming blog post). The point of my presentation was underscore our role as co-storytellers in picture books, a fact that many in the local industry may have glossed over because of the preeminence of the purely written text as primary sources of stories.

The idea of teaching visual storytelling and visual literacy in general seems to be in its nascent stages in the Philippines. Personally, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that parents shy away from stories that are purely pictorial or at least with very few words. I don’t have the facts as to how visual literacy is being taught in Philippine schools nowadays, but I hope illustrators will have a greater role in shaping the conversation in the future.


Nanay Coring’s Book Launch


This Monday (October 8), the Studio Dialogo team headed over to the newly opened National Bookstore at the Greenhills Shopping Arcade for the Book Launch of “Nanay Coring: The Story of National Bookstore’s Socorro Ramos”. The book was written by Yvette Fernandez and Dialogo’s own Liza Flores.

Socorro Ramos or Nanay Coring, as she’s fondly called, grew up from poverty during the Second World War. She built National Bookstore from nothing and had to rebuild the business twice during the early days when a fire and then a typhoon wiped out everything they owned. Now, as everyone in the Philippines knows, National Bookstore is the leading bookstore in the country, selling everything from books to giftwrapper, school supplies to safe boxes.


2012-10-08-400 Liza’s Family with Nanay Coring 

2012-10-08-404Nanay Coring, Yvette Fernandez and Liza Flores

2012-10-08-416Signing Books

I.N.K. Postcards for sale!

This Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan will be participating in an event at the Bonifacio Global City. So we decided that we might as well come up with some long overdue merchandise that we can actually sell. So, Liza thought of having a bunch of Inkies pitch in and come up with our set of postcards.

We’ve 15 artists participating, with each artist contributing multiple artworks per set. So each set is going to be pretty special and unique. We’re looking at four postcards per set, with each set containing different artworks. Artists included in the postcard series are: Pergy Acuna, Liza Flores, Aldy Aguirre, Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Ferdinand Doctolero, Kora Dandan-Albano, May Tobias-Papa, Serj Bumatay III, Herbert Fucio, Yasmin Doctor, Gigi Lapid, Jonathan Ranola, Conrad Raquel, Jomike Tejido and me.

Yesterday, the proofs arrived at the office and we were pretty happy with the result. 🙂

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Here are the postcards I’ll be including in the series.