Chudrack Salinas

  • Date: August 3rd, 2017
  • Author: admin

Hello, I’m Chudrack Salinas, or just Chud. I’m 23 and a Graphic Artist for a preschool at my full-time job. I also do some freelance work on the side. I also play music as a hobby (sometimes write and record too); I play guitar, drums, harmonica, and I sing very very poorly. I’m a Computer Science graduate and enjoy talking about computer architecture and hardware. I also come from La Trinidad, Benguet (near Baguio City) so I miss the cold and can get really sweaty while walking around and getting lost in Makati (which I enjoy too).

I’ve always enjoyed drawing and generally making things. The digital part mostly came because there were things you just couldn’t do with just pen and paper. I went into digital art mostly because I really wanted to make things I kept seeing online, mostly photo manipulation and digital painting. What amazed me was the variety of thoughts put into pictures that were just not possible with other mediums. A head cracked like an egg. A tree growing into an elephant. A rock with teeth. It was amazing, it was new, it was crazy. And I wanted to be a part of it.

My ideas come from a mix of what I’ve seen other people make. The trick is to make something new from everything you’ve already seen. It doesn’t even have to be new, just make something, and keep making, and making, and making. Eventually you’ll inspire yourself and hopefully others.
Inspiration doesn’t even have to come from the same field you’re working on. In graphic design if you can see it you can use it. I get inspiration from architecture (mostly when I’m taking walks), video games, movies, and other pretty things your eyes can see. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t even have to be something visual: music, novels, food, whatever your senses can sense.

At the preschool I work in, I’m mostly doing illustrations for photo book covers and backgrounds, stories, etc. I’ll include some screenshots but no full work just to be safe. On the side I’m learning on making and animating sprites (pixel art) for a mobile game project (again sorry can’t really show any work) and sometimes consulting on user interfaces/experience and general graphic design.

One of the projects I’m really proud of is the Thesis Banner for our thesis. The context behind the project is probably as important as the poster itself. In short, it had to be finished and printed in less than a week, it had to be both attractive and informative, it had to be approved by our adviser (and my three thesis mates), it had to be done while we were still working on the actual thesis, and it was about half or 25% of our grade for that subject (I don’t remember how much, but it was pretty much required to pass). Basically, it’s pretty similar to actual work I got except it was in school.
To finish on time, I had to work with my thesis mates first to come up with a design we all agreed with and since I was going to be making it, I had to make sure there was a way to do it quickly. This means that I had to pick which parts I would make from scratch and which ones I had to copy and modify from other works. So as much as I wanted the whole design to be made from scratch, time didn’t allow.
Our banner won an award for best design. We lost on best content, but still, best design. What made me enjoy making this was when I realized how similar the workflow was with what I do now: talking with teammates, getting approval, and executing (in a relatively short span of time). The icing on the cake was when I found out the following batch were given our banner to take inspiration from for their own banners.
By the way, if you understood anything written on the poster, we might have an interesting talk.
As of writing, this is the latest thing on my sketchbook that isn’t work related. It’s nothing special but it sort of makes me happy that I still get to draw on a sketchbook on my free time. Not everything I come up with can be used in my current job (can’t use those for preschool kiddie eyes), but everything I make still influences what I do next. On a related note, I recently started scanning and posting old drawings online. You can see them here if you’re interested:

I took two courses at First Academy, Print Media Arts and Web Design. I took Print Media first because it had the most Photoshop. By then I was using Photoshop for about 8 years so I knew my way around. What I didn’t know was how the industry worked, mostly how to get paid. I finished the course with a Certificate of Proficiency (yeaay!) then took a year-long internship at FACA. I was the only intern who did Print Media, everyone else took Web Design. Our supervisor, Sir Marvin was also a Web Ninja. I basically got jealous and wanted to do what they were doing so I took Web Design while finishing the internship.

Art is fun. It’s frustrating. You could say it’s useless. It may leave you with nothing. If you let it. Art only becomes meaningful when you put a part of yourself into your work. Like everything, it takes work to get even a little good. But from what I’ve seen, the best artworks aren’t the best executed ones. The best works are the ones where you get to know the artist because of the art. Learning to be an artist is learning about yourself. And if it’s for you, it’s how others will get to learn about you.

Do something you have no (or little) knowledge of. You learn along the way, either from experience or from other people. If you can, don’t do it for money, do it for the sheer joy of learning. Or if you want the pressure, do it for the money too.

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop since around 2004. At that time I had Photoshop 7, the icon was still an eye. I started playing around when I got regular access to the internet. I started out making avatars and signatures on online forums; sometimes wallpapers. I started doing tutorials, learning from other forum members and eventually designing tarpaulins, cards and posters. I think learning through other people at forums was the most important part of my “pre-career”. You get to meet people that are much better than you and more importantly you get to meet people who aren’t afraid to tell you how much you suck. It prepares you for criticism and comments from clients and bosses in the real world. More than getting good, you need to learn how to handle yourself emotionally as well.
The actual start of my career I would say was during my internship at First Academy. I started doing work that would actually be used by people I didn’t know personally. This was new to me. It meant I had to be more professional. And I personally thought I had to do even better work.

First Academy introduced me to a wider world with people interested in making pretty looking things too. It was new for me to see other people who were making things, sharing what they knew, and even learning from what I knew. Until then I only experienced that online (and sometimes at school).

My favorite artists are people I get to meet in person who share their work and who want to see my work. It makes a world of difference when you get to share your work with other people and you both get to talk and learn from each other. I still enjoy seeing works by artists who I’ve read about like Albrecht Durer, Erik Johansson, John Su, and Frank Frazetta. But when you get to talk to the person and see how they express themselves in their work, that’s when you truly make a connection. That’s when you get to understand a person and why they make what they make.

If you enjoy creating, you’ll definitely have fun. Your time and energy will involve more than just working with designs and illustrations. You’ll still have meetings with your coworkers. You’ll still have to manage your time. You’ll still have the occasional argument with management. You’ll still overwork yourself and tire yourself out. But again, like every other job, if you find meaning in it you’ll want to keep doing it. You’ll want to serve other people with it. You’ll want to meet more people to teach and learn. You’ll want to get better at it.

Do the opinions of other people influence or change what you create?
Yes. And that’s not a bad thing.
You have clients, bosses, supervisors who will have to approve of what you do. The fun part (for me anyway) comes in making something that you and everyone else involved will agree on. The best designs I’ve made were those where other people are involved; you get to create something with more than your experience in play. This doesn’t mean you let others dictate everything you do. Pick the complaints apart from the actual useful criticisms but also be open to new ideas. But always be confident (not proud) that you’re still an (or sometimes “the”) artist in the group and that you know when an idea doesn’t work; that includes your own ideas.

How does the future look for you?
If you truly love working in this wonderful world of graphic design, you don’t stop with just one specific job title (or one skill). This makes job hunting hard for me but moving on. I’m still working on being a better illustrator and also learning User Experience design, something I want to get into as I see it as a great mix of technical knowledge mixed with design sensibility. I also have no idea how to do 3D and motion graphics, am terrible at animation, and don’t know how to use a graphics tablet. I also mentioned that I got into digital art because of photo manipulation (something I haven’t been able to do lately) but I still need to learn the “photo” part of photo manipulation.

What advise can you give to people who aspire to become a digital artist like you?
Don’t be a digital artist like me, work to be the digital artist you want to be. Keep working on projects. Produce something as often as you can. It takes hard work and discipline more than talent and motivation.
Keep a sketchpad (or sketchbook) and pencil (pen in my case) handy and get them cheap so you don’t feel bad when you draw something you don’t like. And three more related points from that:

  1. Start drawing if you haven’t already. It’s a quick way to record ideas (any idea, no matter how bad) and drawing generally helps with any design related work.
  2. The only wasted pages on a sketchpad are the empty ones.
  3. If you make something you don’t like, congratulations, you know what bad looks like. Now you have to work on being able to make something that looks good.

What skills does one need to have to survive in the creative industry?
Be professional, be organized, be useful. Being a creative doesn’t just mean you make art, it means you make art that others need. It’s as much a craft as it is a service.

What do you think should digital artists prepare for when they make their portfolios to be noticed by employers?
I’m a huge believer in portfolios. I’ve never been offered a job because of my resume but I’ve converted interviewers by putting a portfolio in front of them.
Other than presenting your work (your best work), your portfolio should also show your personality. Pick works and projects that show your skill and process but also include works that you enjoyed making. Get ready to talk about your work: why you chose that direction, what options you thought of but didn’t do, the hard parts, the fun parts. If you can, prepare a printed portfolio. If you use a sketchbook, bring it along on interviews. Other than employers wanting to know if you’re the right one for them, people just enjoy seeing others create.