Conversations: Robbie Bautista

10:32:00 PM

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

I discovered The Creative Dork, freelance illustrator Robbie Bautista's blog, while browsing entries to an online contest where both of us made top ten. I was impressed with his work with vectors, and found his writing style witty and engaging. This was in 2010 when I just started to take blogging seriously. I kept coming back to his site particularly for the comic strips but would click on anything new from him that would come up on my Google Reader. I was surprised when he started commenting on my blog, and The Creative Dork having so many followers, I must say it felt like a legitimizing moment as a blogger (haha).

Fast forward to 2011, on his birthday Robbie posted 50 before 25 - a list of 50 goals he wished to accomplish before turning 25. One of it was to conquer his phobia of theme parks and finally take a trip to Enchanted Kingdom. Through a conversation on the comments thread, we discovered that there were three of us (the other was Jayvie) who haven't been, and then and there made a plan for a trip to Laguna. That actually happened and so goes the story of our first ever meeting.

I haven't seen a lot of Team Kaladkarin since then (there were a few city adventures after) but it's great to know that everyone's still doing their own thing. In particular, since the last I saw him Robbie has been quite busy with trips in and out of the country - even participating in the online reality show PHL 360 last year. I caught up with him recently through an email interview, getting down to how his career as an artist started, how life was as a freelancer and what's in the near future for The Creative Dork.

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

How did you get into the creative industry? Were there any other career paths you considered?

I've always been one of the artistic kids in class since grade school, but it was just something I enjoyed doing and never really considered it a career option until college. I wanted to be an architect.

My dad also wanted me to pursue music, so I played the violin until I got sick of it. I sort of regret that now and I'm thinking of studying again. Also, my modeling career didn't fly so I am stuck being an illustrator. Char.

Re: the all-too-familiar stable job vs passion debate. Have your parents always been supportive about your decision to get into this industry?

Yes! I'm lucky that even though I'm not financially (and emotionally) stable, that my parents have always supported my life decisions. They may not always be fans of the things I do, but they're always on my side.

Do you think education is important for an artistic career?

Hmmm. Tough one. I believe having enough life experience is more important than what you learn inside the classroom. But being in college is necessary because you experience a lot of things there, not just the academics, but with peers and deadlines and matters of the heart.

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

What was your last day job before going freelance? What encouraged the switch?

I was a graphic designer for a marketing agency. Back then, I thought they were under-utilizing me so I opted to resign and do things my way. Basically, I just got bored and depressed and was going through the initial stages of my quarter life crisis.

Being a freelancer, I was able to try a lot of different things and experience situations which would've never been possible if I had a regular day job.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My life is not as interesting as people might think. I get up, go online, stay online, eat, draw, get some work done, think about life, daydream, get annoyed by things on Facebok, sleep. That's why I go out and travel as much as I can. It makes me an interesting person when I'm not. Hahaha.

Please take us through your artistic process, where do you start?

I start by writing down ideas, then quick-sketching them and trying out different angles and compositions. When I'm satisfied with that, I sketch it out, have it scanned, then start vectoring from there.

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

What keeps you up during dull hours?

I go out with friends for dinner or a movie. As much as possible, just get away from work as possible, which is also why I travel often. Otherwise, I just watch porn.


Ever had an "I wish I could've done that" moment?

There's a lot of brilliant work out there so I'm just glad to be admiring them from afar. It's nice to see so many output from creative people. I know I'll have my own contribution someday.


Do you listen to music while you work? What's your current jam?

Depapepe and Asian Kung Fu Generation to kickstart the mood. Everything else I go by shuffle. It doesn't really matter what song I'm listening to cause once I'm in the zone, I don't pay attention to it. There's some Taylor Swift and One Direction songs mixed in there as well.

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

Name five industry greats you follow.

May Ann Licudine, Dan Matutina, Sachin Teng, Goni Montes, Jonathan Bartlett.

What is your advocacy?

I'm not sure I have an advocacy yet except for accepting one's individuality. Does that make sense? I have plans of creating illustrations for tourism and education and will probably start on that soon. :)

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

You've been taking trips left and right lately. Can you share to us your most interesting travel story to date?

I went to the Cordillera mountains and got a tattoo done by the legendary Apo Whang-Od, the oldest and last tattoo artist in Kalinga! It wasn't as painful as I imagined. Getting your heart broken was much worse. Like, seriously.

Can you tell us about your experience with PHL360?

That was actually just a short 5-day trip. If anything, it did open me up to traveling without an itinerary and since then, each trip has been more personal instead of being just a usual vacation.

Where are you off to next?

I'm not sure! I have a list of places that I want to explore next, but have no definite dates yet. I'll know when I book it.

People of Manila: Robbie Bautista | Awesome in Manila

How is 2013 looking for The Creative Dork?

I am actually getting back to corporate life in a few days! Three years of freelancing taught me a lot about myself but I believe it's time for a change in lifestyle. There are bigger plans from here on out. =)

Robbie Bautista was previously a twennysomething freelance artist based in Manila. He is now a twennysomething employed artist still based in Manila. You can find his work showcased at Behance, his personal musings and daily doodles about the shiz of living in the third world at The Creative Dork, and his adventures at The Travelling Dork. Feeling even more stalkerish? Follow @thecreativedork on Twitter!

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