Friday, November 25, 2022

Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) 2022 Artist Highlight - Filipino Illustrator Bea Gomez aka BlueToaster

It is just two more weeks to Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) (previously known as Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention), the island's pop-culture event of the year! The comic convention, featuring over local and international 40 guests (Red Dot Diva is beginning to lose count!) and 350 exhibitors, will return to Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Marina Bay on 10 & 11 December 2022.

Having a slew of renown guests appearing at SGCC is exciting for sure. However, Red Dot Diva has a soft spot for what used to be called “Artist Alley”. This segment of the exhibition show floor, filled with booths from aspiring artist, craters and writers to well-known one, is the indie heartbeat of the creative community. Generally, everyone there is friendly, which helps when you are hoping to make new connections!

In previous years, Red Dot Diva publishes interviews with a few indie artists before the physical convention kicks off. After a two-year hiatus due to the recent pandemic, the RDD pre-SGCC interview tradition returns! To kick-off this year's “Artist Alley” spotlight, Filipino creative Bea Gomez aka BlueToaster bravely fielded Red Dot Diva nosy questions:

Red Dot Diva (RDD): Hello Bea! How did you decide to focus on a career as an artist?
Bea: Hi! I worked as an animator, character designer, and graphic artist in the TV and gaming industry for a few years, then I eventually went on to focus on illustration and comic creation full-time. Focusing on creating artwork that I wanted to make gave me the opportunity to have my works displayed in Thailand, where I lived for some time while backpacking around Asia. Travelling inspired me to share the amazing things I've learned. So now I want to use my art to educate people on topics that I love, and inspire people to travel and be curious about the world through history and fantasy inspired artwork.

RDD: You used to work in MTV Philippines. What did you learn most from your time there, and were the projects you were involved in that were memorable to you?
Bea: Honestly, the biggest take away I got from working there was that working an office job, though creative, was not for me haha! I really like my solitude and peace while I work, which I didn't get much of while working there. I did work on projects that I'm immensely proud of; like the opening billboards I made, all the 3D motion graphics I designed, and helping out with the rebranding.
Hades as a greaser! (by Bea Gomez/ Bluetoaster Art)

RDD: Who are your primary influences in your artistic style?
Bea: My biggest influences in my style are illustrators Matt Rhodes and Claire Hummel (Shoomlah). Matt Rhodes has a talent for telling stories and establishing an entire world with a single image. I want to emulate that visual storytelling in my artwork. And Claire Hummel's amazing character design style and graphic design skills are just *chef's kiss* It sparks joy!

RDD: What do you still want to accomplish as an artist? How do you set achievable goals for yourself?
Bea: I REALLY want to go to conventions outside of Asia to spread my reach and make more artist friends around the world. Maybe even have my artwork diplayed in more galleries around the world. I'd also like to expand by writing books and making video games. When I set goals, I break my goals down into many different mini goals or tasks that will eventually help me reach my ultimate goal. It's like a game; you fight little monsters until you reach the mini-boss then the big boss and win the game! I like to look at achieving goals, and life in general, like playing a game. Gamifying your goals helps keep motivation and makes doing tasks and reaching your goals FUN!

RDD: With mental health being a prominent topic ever since the recent pandemic, how do you keep yourself on an even keel? What kind of safe places do you retreat to when you need to re-centre yourself?
Bea: I recently went through a really hard time, and what I did to re-center myself was to isolate myself and focus on taking care of me and only me. I really like my solitude. So when I find myself really stressed out or overwhelmed by the cacophany of the world, I go on "hermit mode" and isolate myself, and stay away from social media to escape all the negativity. I play video games to escape reality for a while, but mostly I journal and write story ideas.

RDD: What practical advice do you have for those who intend to be a freelance artist, and start their own online business?
Bea: Not sure if this is technically "practical" but my advice would be: understand what your limits are and ALWAYS make time to rest. When you let your passion go up in flames, you can burn yourself out and completely lose your passion to draw. Also stand up and stretch once in a while.

RDD: This isn’t the first time you have a booth at SG Comic Con. How was the experience like the last time (2019), and what will you be doing differently this time round?
Bea: Last SGCC, I had a broken ankle and had a huge cast on, but that didn't hinder how much fun I had! I brought art from other Filipino artists with me last time. It was really nice promoting artists from my country, but it was quite difficult to handle the sales of multiple artists. This year it will just be me, and maybe my friend Frillion. The only difference this year, I think, will be that my booth is smaller and I'll be only selling my (and maybe Frillion's) art only. I also want to sell more paper-based products and prints to lessen the environmental impact my products have.
Meh-rit badges (lol! Love the pun!)

RDD: Please share with us what we look out for at your booth at the upcoming SGCC.
Bea: I'll be having a whole load of completely new products and product types! There will also be a bargain bin with old merch that will be sold for SUPER cheap! Come by the booth and tell me a fun fact or something cool that you learned. I love meeting new people and learning new things!
RDD: Woohoo! I'll definitely gonna be tracking you down at the convention.
Daruma pins

If you don't know where to start when checking out the artist booths at SGCC, put down Bea aka BlueToaster's booth as one of your stops!

You can also check out her wonderful artwork (including her slice of life webtoon called Plan Bea) at these links:



Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) 2022 Hosts A Prelude Event at City Square Mall (8 & 9 October 2022)

Singapore Comic Con 2022 Artist Highlight - Edison Neo, The Brains Behind Martial Arts Comic ‘Snake Claws’

Singapore Comic Con 2022 Artist Highlight - Creative Sibling Team Up Lunaliliputian and Yumu Arts

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