Camille Dadal works as a freelance illustrator and designer, and a part of the Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (INK) group of artists. Some of her personal works and projects include her first-ever published comic book, “Hindi Ka Nag-iisa”, which debuted in Komiket 2018, February 24-25, along with her silent storybook, “Ang Tumbang Preso Society”, a picture storybook without words. Camille is also into and in love with photography, especially film photography, and enjoys spending her time watching local and foreign indie films. Besides her love of film and the arts, she also enjoys cooking savory meals, and eating desserts.
Q: Everyone has an origin story. Could you share with us the exact moment (or moments) wherein you realized that you wanted to become an artist?
Ever since I started college I knew that I wanted to be an artist, though I wasn’t really sure what kind. College was great and all, but after graduating, I was clueless about what to do or how to proceed with my career.
So, I applied as a Graphic/Web Designer for various companies and for almost seven years I worked for three companies. During that time I was already doing illustration work as a sideline job for various magazines and projects. But I’ve never really thought about working full-time as an illustrator. It was only two years ago that I decided to go freelance, and since then I realized that becoming an illustrator is what I really wanted.
All those years a voice in my head was always whispering, “Hey, Camille, focus on the one thing that you really love doing,” which I constantly ignored. I am only too glad that I finally listened to that inner voice almost a year ago.
Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?
I have had so many struggles being an artist but the first thing I can think of, and maybe my biggest struggle, is being a perfectionist. I always want everything to be perfect to the point that sometimes I can’t finish a project, thinking it’s not good enough. I think too much. I plan every single detail and sometimes get stuck at the planning stage. I keep thinking of new projects that will be “perfect” and my ideas just float around in my brain are sometimes forgotten.
Aside from the thought of wanting to be always perfect, I sometimes also like to rush things. Thinking back on it makes me laugh right now—wanting to be perfect and yet rushing it. Haha! It’s no wonder I didn’t accomplish much while I was in that state of mind.
In a nutshell? I calmed down. Hahaha! I went on Zen mode, I stopped drinking coffee, and just slowed down the pace. I basically started from scratch: I brushed up on drawing, practiced techniques on how to draw hands properly (I still suck at it by the way! Haha), and followed on Instagram everyone who inspires me to do illustration. I even studied animation! I guess I just wanted to learn all over again.
Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?
Focusing on one thing at a time really helped me. It gave me the perseverance to keep on working and to just learn. Instead of just thinking and planning about a project, I try to do the work as soon as possible and I keep at it until it’s finished. I try to draw everyday but whenever I miss a day, bumabawi na lang ako [I just make up for it] the next day. It’s a journey that I make every single, and my goal, my destination, is to be able to draw non-stop. Focus. Focus. Focus!
Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?
In general, I wish I’d known how to talk more. I am really awkward at making conversations, and just really like to stay in my personal bubble. I sometimes come off as masungit or a snob in social gatherings but I’m just really, really shy. Hahaha!
I want to create good art, as close as possible to my view of perfection; and I want my work to inspire, to leave a mark on people thinking who see my work. I want my work to awaken awareness, constant thinking, and a strong resolve in others. I also just want to make people happy and creating art is the one way I know how.
Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)
I am a freelance artist, so I have to carve a “creative” time into my daily schedule, a block of which is allotted to fulfilling clients’ requirements.
Most mornings I spend reading and answering emails, then proceed to “client work” right away to keep my momentum. I spend about 4-6 hours working for clients and after that, I start on my personal projects and keep on until my energy runs out. When I take my break, I mostly just play with our cats (we have three at home), do laundry or eating an excessive amount of sweets.
Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?
Distractions can be good sometimes; it’s kind of my brain’s or body’s way of telling me that I need a break. If I’m distracted, that’s the time I eat or take a walk or exercise. I use those moments to step back and re-evaluate the progress of my work or my plan for a specific project. I don’t mind distractions most of the time, but I am really strict with my deadlines.
I watch movies, cartoons or just go to sleep! Going out and spending time with family and friends helps a lot, too. But I get my “turning point” when I check my Twitter or Instagram to look at the work of other artists who motivate and inspire me. I tell myself, “Sila productive ang araw. Ikaw, anong ginagawa mo?” [“They had a productive day. And you? What did you do?”] and it always works! Hahaha!
Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far? (Doesn’t have to literally be big. It’s good to also celebrate the small wins.)
Experiencing Komiket for the first time is a big win in my book. I’ve never really seen myself in a position where I can display my work and everyone gets to see it. The experience was exhilarating, and I want more! Plus, I got to meet and talk to some very interesting people while at it. Yay for me!
I consider not doing what I love to do early on as my biggest failure. I know that it’s never too late to start but I feel there was a lot of time wasted. Kaya siguro [That’s probably why] I’m always trying to pick up the pace, but then I have to remind myself that life is not a race; you’ll get your time; take your time and live in the now!
Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?
Get your work out there! Whether it is your first comic book, your first novel, first short film, animation, etc, get it done and put it out there! Upload it on your Facebook page, Instagram, print it, make a Zine, join bazaars, fairs, art groups…do it! Don’t be shy, don’t spend too much time thinking whether it’s good or bad because everybody has to start somewhere. Putting your work out there will help boost your confidence and who knows, someone might take notice and that one person could be all it takes to change your life.
The ultimate goal is to be a good person, and to make good art. My ultimate dream is to create something that will change the world or how people see the world.
Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?
I don’t know about my source of creativity, but I believe in seeing beauty in the oddest of places, and even in sadness… that resonates with me.
Honestly, I just have this driving need to create. What coffee is to other people, that’s art for me. I like creating with my own two hands, and I like conceptualizing ideas, I also like telling stories, and creating art is my own way of sharing a piece of my mind in the world.
I want to make a difference; someday, somehow, hopefully soon. I want to comfort the disturbed and disturb the most comfortable minds of our era. I want to be asked “Why?”.
When I watched Atonement (based on the book by Ian McEwan) for the first time, I was crushed. I liked the sadness…’yung may kirot. Also, the comic book ‘12 Days’ by June Kim. Lastly, Bojack Horseman. Because animals.
Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills? (Feel free to plug in as many as you’d like)
Sketch Collection of Kim Jung Gi, Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series, The Art of Planes, and The Art of Madagascar. For podcasts, I love listening to Andy J. Pizza’s Creative Pep Talk Podcast. I also love watching tutorials by Jake Parker, Lois Van Baarle, and Moderndayjames.
Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?
La Union, Siargao or Hawaii as long as there’s a strong signal and good Wifi/Internet connection. Somewhere near a beach would be great so that I can swim or surf after a hard day’s work.
Q: Name ONE artist/writer that, if you could, you would pick their brain and find out all the hidden secrets behind their amazing work?
Hayao Miyazaki. ‘Nuff said. Hahaha!
Q: Who do you consider your biggest mentor that helped you improve your skills?
(Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met personally. Can be someone you look up to, or someone whose art has inspired you to get better, over the years.)
Jake Parker. The guy is really inspiring! I would like to meet him, as well as Hayao Miyazaki.