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Featured Illustrator

Aaron Asis

November 2018

Influenced as a teen by editorial cartoons Aaron Asis began his creative journey to becoming the illustrator he is today. We love the free flowing brush strokes Aaron uses to express his ideas and bring out a message—read on to hear how he developed his style and the journey he took getting there.

What are some of you earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

I started drawing and creating things ever since I was a kid. I grew up in a small province in the Philippines where there is so little to do. Boredom fueled my brain to create things with my imagination to entertain myself.

As a teen, I remember being really drawn to editorial cartoons. I was really amazed at how powerful it can be and how it is a tool to express opinion about current issues and this has been one of my biggest influence as an illustrator.

When I was about to enter college, my parents were hesitant about me picking an arts course, because for them this is not practical and is reserved only for the privileged few. When we researched about it we discovered that there are design and communication arts courses under fine arts and this helped them be convinced that this was what I was getting.

Looking back, it can't be denied that I'll be treading the visual arts track. But if not for the full support of my parents (even though they can't fully grasp what I'm doing), I would not be able to live in this materialized version of my dream. I really owe it to them.

What was your plan for graduating  and what actually happened?

My goal was to work in a digital ad agency and got in. I started as a graphic designer and later on took the art director position. My experience was great! I learned a lot and grew quickly as a creative. At that point, digital advertising is rapidly expanding as more people go online. That was exciting and, at the same time, challenging period for me. But in the middle of that fast-paced world I began to question the value of what I'm doing. I realized that instead of exhausting my self in a job that demands an output that is filed away quickly, what if I just spend my time and energy doing something that has more meaning and lasts longer. I stayed for another year and saved enough money then took a leap. It was not easy at first but, so far, I count it as the best decision that I made.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

Home is where I work. It saves me from the daily traffic in Manila that drains a lot of time and opportunity. But being a freelancer doesn't mean I always have full control of my time. Time is forward-moving and can easily be wasted if you don't manage it properly. So I always try to be mindful on what I do and stay within my schedule everyday. I work from 9am-5pm. I take two or three breaks and a nap in the afternoon. And then I drag myself to exercise for an hour every other day after work. I try to avoid working at night and mostly prefer to continue the next day, but if I can't help it 10 PM is the latest that I can give it. One of my rules is that I shall not allow myself to be at the point where I can't properly function the next day.

I always try to go out and unwind every weekend or on a weekday if I've got some spare time. Once in a while, I disrupt my day by working outside.


Time is forward-moving and can easily be wasted if you don't manage it properly.


What do you look for in a great client?

There is nothing greater than a client who reciprocates due equal to your worth and what you deserve as an artist. Most of us, if not all, really love and enjoy what we're doing that is why a client that respects and compensates well for the hard work is really appreciated.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I’ve been creating artworks using traditional medium ever since I’m in school. When I graduated and got a job, that's when I started using digital as medium for design and illustrations. I was really fascinated by the efficiency and the ability of the computer but that did not stop me from producing traditional artworks. There are things that I learn from working with a traditional technique that I can apply in my digital works, and vice versa. I love playing around the two mediums that is why I developed a style that is an amalgamation of both.

The most dominant feature in my works are the brushstrokes, which was brought forth by my interest in impressionism when I was first introduced in art. My style was further enhanced by my persistent exploration and creation. I remind myself to always let loose and steer away from perfectionism and I'm happy that this allows me to continuously evolve. This style allows me to work on a variety of projects— from children's books to editorial illustrations.

In my opinion, putting too much pressure in finding your style is counterproductive. Instead, just focus on creating works that you want and enjoy. Experiment on different tools and techniques. Never ever box yourself in.

What advice would you give students starting out?

It’s great that there are so many options that a creative may take nowadays. We live in a very convenient time— mistakes can easily be amended. Many things can even be changed by just the fingertips. But despite all these, there are so many distractions that can hinder us from doing the things required and that can help us realize our passions and aspirations in life. So, if you can learn how to control yourself from being distracted (which is easier said than done), that would be great! And of course, work hard and enjoy the journey!


Instagram: @aaronasis


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