You've seen this talented artist's work on the pages of Candy and No Filter. Get to know her creative process and what led her to art in the first place.
- Introductions first. Who are you, how old are you, and what do you do?
"I'm Mika Bacani, a 24-year old who draws food and strangers. I'm an illustrator-designer at Bad Idea, a studio busy with building restaurant concepts. This means more food and even more strangers for me. Haha!"
- How did you first get into art? Was there any particular artist or piece that inspired you to get started?
"My earliest encounter with art was from reading a lot of Harvey comics as a kid, particularly Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich. My first ever childhood dream—I remember this vividly—was to become a comic book artist. I told all my friends and teachers. I think my parents are supportive of my work now because I set their expectations (or disappointed them?) early on. Sorry I'm not a doctor, mom!
"Anyway, I'm generally drawn to art with stories to tell, or that very particular process of communicating something abstract through visual means. I think this was what I felt when I was younger even if I didn't completely understand it at the time."
- What's your favorite medium to work with? And do you have a go-to for stocking up on your supplies?
"I love working digitally. When I'm outside, a blank sketchbook and a fine tip pen make me just as happy."
"All of my favorite pens are conveniently available at National Bookstore. My friend Eilyn (@sketchnotes) makes my favorite blank sketchbooks. I'm hoarding them the next chance I get!"
- Your #100DaysofSummerStrangers project on Instagram is very interesting! Do you like drawing people you see and things you see on your daily commute? What other drawing projects are you planning to do in the future?
"It's cool that you think so, thank you! When I chose that prompt for the 100 Day Project, I wanted something that I could learn from every day. I like drawing people too, so it all clicked.
"Drawing strangers made me realize how invested I am in how people interact with one another. I find it hard not to be, especially in Manila where being outside means sharing your space with a lot of people at any given time. Sometimes the difference between a good and a bad day is a person you randomly run into. The project was a good exercise in empathy and appreciation."
"As for future drawing projects, I'm going to Japan in a few weeks and I'm excited to draw the strangers there! I'm planning to make a zine of my trip when I get home.
"I want to draw all 100 strangers too, eventually. The primary reason why I didn't get to finish the project was because I couldn't afford to be outside for 100 days straight. I didn't think that detail through!"
- You've also done work for Candy, No Filter, and other publications. What's a project you loved working on?
"I really enjoyed doing the food illustrations for Candy. And I'm not just saying that, hahaha! Food and art are of equal importance to me—food is storytelling, too—so projects that involve both are always a lot of fun."
- What is the best time of the day for creating for you?
"I love early mornings and late nights. I work best when most people are asleep, basically."
- Do you have a dream collaboration in mind?
"I'd love to collaborate with a fashion publication and cover events with illustrations, I think. Something like my strangers project, except with a focus on clothes.
"I definitely want to collaborate with people in the food industry. Maybe a cookbook in comic form or a zine of staff meals from well-known restaurants!"
- Who are the people you follow on Instagram for inspiration?
"Aside from my friends, I enjoy following local brands! I get really inspired when I see products by homegrown talent. I get the itch to learn new skills, too, which is always important. I currently love Soul Flower (@soulflowerco), Studio 925 (@studio925ph), and Radioactive Mushrooms in the Forest (@radioactivemushroomsitf)."
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