There are two modern definitions of what a “Hawker” is.

The FIRST, and more common definition, refers to the vendors that sell their goods and wares on the streets and sidewalks.

The SECOND, equally important, and original definition refers to: the art and practice of hunting with a trained hawk or falcon (also called falconry).

You, dear artist and creator, are the hawk.

While we, with your permission, offer to take on the role of the hawker or falconer.

Our mission: to inspire, empower, and train creators to hunt with the same pride and dignity as of one of these magnificent birds.


Art Hawkers of the Past

In 20th century Japan, during the Great Depression in the 1930s, a popular form of street art and theatre flourished. This artform was called the Kamishibai or “Paper Theater”.

Kamishibai Artist in Japan | Photo by: aki.sato

Kamishibai involved the use of different sets of illustration boards, and a device that looked almost like a miniature stage or theater.

The storyteller would then narrate the story with the boards serving as visuals for the audience, and then switch the boards every now and then, as though one were turning the pages of a picture book.

At a period in history where many of the Japanese people were suffering from economic depression, they took to the streets to seek out a way to live on day after day after day.

The Kamishibai was one such venture for Japanese artists and storytellers to make a daily living.

During the Second World War, the Kamishibai had become an even more integral part of Japanese society and culture. One of the reasons this was so was because the paper theaters were easy to transport from place to place, between devastated neighborhoods and even bomb shelters.

Through the paper theater, Japanese cultures and values were carried over. The artform presented to the people a deeper understanding of the periods plight and psyche, and was a means through which the Japanese youth would be able to cope with all the struggles that befell them.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Kamishibai art form is the simple fact that despite their presence being alive during a period of depression, it was found that in 1933 there were about 2,500 Kamishibai in Tokyo alone. Each one of these storytellers performed an average of ten times a day to an audience of up to 30 children. For these street artists and storytellers, then, the Depression years would have been their most prosperous years.



The Modern Day Street Artist

One thing to take away from the Kamishibai art form is the kind of persistence, perseverance, and tenacity that these artists and storytellers had in using their gifts and talents to make a living.

With no jobs available and hardly any money in their pockets, the Kamishibai took to creating the kind of art and stories they were born to create, and then marched through the streets of Japan sharing these stories with the nation’s children.

These days, the road to building an audience of readers and fans is paved through the information highways of the Internet. To put it bluntly, today is the arguably THE BEST time to be an artist. The only thing needed for your work to be seen and shared by millions of people is access to the internet.

It is our goal and our mission, then, to de-mystify and systematize this process as best we can.


The Hawkers Project

Whether you believe it or not, the number of success stories in self-publishing is increasing.

Publishers are turning to the internet and social media for the next big thing. They’re looking at self-published authors whose works and art have captured a dedicated audience. They’re looking for artists whose followers on Facebook and Instagram have grown to the thousands.

Our mission, then, is to look into these success stories, figure out what these authors and artists did to get to where they are.

We are here to test, replicate, and breakdown the process (through our own works like I’m A Legal Alien) so that you can do the same.

Our goal is to de-mystify the creative process, to look into the habits of some of the most prolific, most talented, and most successful artists.

Our goal is to show beginning and aspiring artists that everyone goes through similar (if not the exact same) struggles. And because of these stories, it’s now possible for aspiring artists to leverage off of these experiences so that they don’t have to go through the same struggles and challenges.

Welcome to Hawkers!

We’d love it if you could join us on our quest.



Start with “Why”?

One thing we learned about the most successful and prolific creators is that they never lose sense of why they do what they do.

Because it’s not the dreams of fame and fortune that will motivate you to keep on creating. Money and recognition are the least powerful motivators of creatives.

Instead, it’s actually a strong sense of purpose that will help get over that feeling of giving up.

Here are some of the best “Why’s” our interviewees have shared with us. Hopefully, these statements will help motivate you towards telling your own stories and creating your own art.

I write because there are stories within me that only I can tell. And if one of these stories can inspire even just one person to writer her own story, then I’m happy.Dean Alfar, Don Carlos Palanca Award-Winner
From time to time, I have something to say and, apparently, the wherewithal to say it memorably. That’s honestly all there is to it.Nikki Alfar, Don Carlos Palanca Award-Winner
I just want to be able to share the stories in my head. Having someone tell me that they can relate to a character or that the story moved them and made their outlook better is a big plus.Arnold Arre, Award-Winning Graphic Novelist and Animator
I am insatiably curious about people. I love learning about their stories, and I love hearing about the trivial things and the significant things. When someone tells me they don’t like watching sad movies, I wonder if this had something to do with their childhood. When the barista tells me she made her hair pink with the use of crepe paper, I wonder, what drives her to be different and crafty? When the guard who always greets me in the morning doesn’t do so, I wonder if he had a bad day. It is unlikely that all my wonderings will find answers, so my imagination takes over. I imagine all sorts of answers and stories and they, in turn, compel me to write.Kate Osias, Don Carlos Palanca Award-Winner
It obviously feels good to be recognized and awarded for your hard work. But at the same time, it’s also whenever we meet new readers—especially readers who have started their own work. And they would say they started doing their comics because they read Trese. For me, I guess, that is one of those things I would call an epic win.Budjette Tan, National Book Award-Winner
I like my story, and I want to see it finished. It may be a foolish endeavor to some. But for a writer and artist to actually visualize something, put it on paper, show it to the world, and have the world appreciate it… It’s a feeling I can’t simply write here. It’s quite fulfilling.Joanah Tinio-Calingo, Comic Creator, Pangitain Award-Winner
To tell stories. And to share my views about life, my philosophies, my sense of ethics and morals… at the end of the day, I am always trying to tell a fairy tale with a moral ending. To add to the world’s knowledge and well being. To NOT be a tree that falls in the forest and nobody knows about it.Rod Espinosa, 2002 Eisner-Award Nominee
This may sound cliche or whatever, but aside from getting awards and/or getting published in a number of international publications, it really does mean so much more to me when people tell me that I’ve helped and inspired them to be better. Sometimes we get caught up in wanting to bask in the glamour of fame, or obsessing about likes/followers in our social media accounts, but really, when you find out that you’ve helped people and inspired them, there’s really nothing quite like it. Those moments are always something that I would cherish and hold on to.Shelly Soneja-Del Mundo, Concept & Video Game Artist
These are stories I want to write, stories I know I can right, and stories I want to make available for people like me. Even if a reader doesn’t resonate with my work, if they see it, they’ll know that it’s possible for, say, a space opera to be based on Philippine folklore. Even if I fail, if I can open a door, make others see something worthwhile is possible – or better yet, make them think they can do it better than me – then my work has made the world just a bit better.Paolo Chikiamco, National Book Award-Nominee
That’s the most important thing for me. To tell stories that matter. And it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a commissioned children’s story book. Or if you’re doing a comic about an invisible city. Or a boy too scared to wonder. Or falling in love for the first time. For as long as it’s true—it’s universal, it’s something people will look at and say yes, this is important. Yes, I can so relate to this. Then I’ve done my job.Lara Antonio, Komiket Awards-Nominee

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