Kerby Rosanes Image Credit: Emirates Literature Foundation

Philippines-based illustrator Kerby Rosanes uses ordinary black fine liners to create stunning doodle worlds. At only 24, Rosanes’ art, which began as a hobby, has made him a global doodling superstar.

Rosanes’ works are characterised by complex patterns, peopled with quirky characters and imaginative elements. His intricate images delight and surprise, with strange and humorous new features discovered at every viewing.

Rosanes, will be attending the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017 and answered a few questions for Gulf News ahead of the festival.

Q: How and when did you start making doodles?

Rosanes: “I’ve been doodling since I was a kid. At a young age of 5, I doodled on almost all flat surfaces I could come across. I remember my mum would always get mad at me after discovering the walls of our living room were full of crayon doodles of my favourite cartoons. I was not into toys growing up, but was extremely happy when you gave me crayons or any writing instrument. Drawing has been my favourite hobby since then, but I wasn’t able to pursue or study anything related to it. It was only in 2014 when I made the big jump of quitting my day job and pursuing something I’ve always loved doing — making art.”

Q: Do illustrations help in promoting reading amongst children?

Rosanes: “Absolutely! When I was a kid, I would get easily bored with textbooks or story books that were entirely made out of text. I would not pick up a book without a nice illustration on the cover and inside pages. Most of the time, the illustrations alone can deliver the message of the book clearly without even reading the text.”

Q: How do you keep focused when you work?

Rosanes: “I keep myself focused while working by listening to music. Also by putting a calendar on my table marking all the deadlines for projects.”

Q: Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

Rosanes: “I get inspiration from a lot of things. I grew up watching cartoons and Japanese animation, which I think highly influenced and inspired my art style. I also get inspiration while traveling to different places and experiencing different cultures. Nature has always been an inspiration for my art. I was born and raised in my hometown, where our house is a few metres away from a river, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes, mountains and a volcano. Being exposed to nature growing up is my core source of inspiration.”

Q: What are you trying to communicate with your work?

Rosanes: “Things such as taking care of the environment and other natural issues has been one of the many things I’d like to share across my work. But most of the time, my work does not have a definite meaning at all. What fascinates me is how my audience interpret my work on their own. Some relate them to a personal experience while some create stories out of them.”

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Rosanes: “There are two things:

1. Find your own artistic voice. Art has always been about expression not perfection. And having a unique art style of your own or how you express yourself in an artistic way is the only way to stand out among the crowd. It is ok to emulate the work of others as long as you use it to practice and find your own style.

2. Share your work. Marketing your art is as important as mastering your craft. Putting your stuff out there is the only way to turn it into a serious career.”