Rob Cham: Comic Sans Comedy

Published on Friday, March 8, 2013

Artist ROB CHAM is good at being nonchalant because he saves all his feelings for his chosen outlet: comics on the internet, proving that the highest form of expression is art.
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“I just ended up doing what I am doing because I enjoyed it enough to try and make a living out of it as well.”

Hi, Rob! Let’s start with the basics: full name, age, college, and course.
Hi, STATUS friends. Full name’s Robby Derrick S. Cham. You can just call me Rob, or Rob Cham. People tend to just blurt the 2nd one instead. It’s catchier is what I am told. No idea. I’m 22, and graduated from Ateneo with a degree in Management in the year 2011.

How did you end up doing what you do?
I started out doing illustration and comics in college, where I did projects and posters for what school organizations I was a part of, and comics as my personal outlet for what feelings I had as a young and hopeful student. I started posting my stuff online on my blog, and that got me noticed by people.

From there, I started getting illustration and design jobs from different people while I still kept posting what comics I thought were good enough to post I suppose on that blog. I compiled those and made copies or ‘minicomics,’ and started showing up at what comic conventions we have here, trying to sell my stuff to whoever would be interested in it, and also through what few comic shops that actually decide to sell indie komiks.

After graduating, I freelanced for a bit for different clients here and there before I decided to join Create.ph.

I just ended up doing what I am doing because I enjoyed it enough to try and make a living out of it as well.
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“The internet is amazing and never-ending and just all encompassing. All hail the internet. Books are great, too. And comics. I just read a lot actually.”

What’s your equipment? Not just tech stuff like pen tablets—though you can talk about that, too!—but also simple things like school supplies, or philosophical weapons, like a certain mindset?
Currently, I use a MacBook Pro and Intuos 3 for what digital stuff I produce. Programs I use are Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and ArtRage.
Idea-wise, I start usually by jotting down ideas on my notebooks with whatever.

About the philosophical weapons and the certain mindset, I go to the internet for those which I think is the greatest tool for just getting ideas and finding inspiration. The internet is amazing and never-ending and just all encompassing. All hail the internet. Books are great, too. And comics. I just read a lot actually.
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Any life crises so far?
Just that typical existential angst that artists get asking themselves if they’re good enough or if art is worth pursuing, and the fear of failure. A bunch of normal personal crisises that everyone tries to drown out so that they stay sane enough to keep going. You know, the burdens of sadness and ennui.

If you could design one item of clothing with one particular big-name designer, what and who would it be?
I have no answer for this.
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“[My life crises] is just that typical existential angst that artists get asking themselves if they’re good enough or if art is worth pursuing, and the fear of failure.”

What do you read? In books, comics, and the Internet?
I mostly read about comics and illustration (in books, comics, and the Internet). It’s just me trying to learn as well? I mean, I think it’s important to expose yourself to everything and anything. That’s what I try and look for with any comics or illustration books I buy: inspiration. A lot of the people I follow on Tumblr and what sites I bookmark are usually filled with just these amazing illustrators that I try and learn from. I love that.

I also try to read a bunch of webcomics like Gunshow, Three Word Phrase, Perry Bible Fellowship, Achewood, A Lesson is Learned, Hark! A Vagrant, Nedroid, Pictures for Sad Children, SuperMutant Ninja Academy, Dinosaur Comics.

What books I read are usually these self-help books, and maybe whatever seems interesting at the time that has been made into a movie. Jonathan Safran Foer is probably my favorite author book-wise. Comicbooks-wise, it varies.
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“Expose yourself to everything and anything, and try everything and anything.”

If you could sum up your philosophy about comics, or design in general, in one sentence, what is it?
Expose yourself to everything and anything, and try everything and anything.

Where on the Internet do you spend your time, and what do you like about it?
Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter, Google Reader, Cracked, random humor sites and so on.

Tumblr is where I blog mostly and just tend to read for hours the stream of art that comes in from all the blogs I follow. It’s tumblr, a most addicting thing.

Reddit is the grand central station of the internet where I just go if I need a break or to procrastinate. I’ve seen horrible things.

Twitter is a great way to just feel like you’re connected to the world even if you’re really not. It’s also just a place to throw what brain farts you have.

Everything else is just wasting time when I get sick of Tumblr and Twitter.
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“I just tweet what I think is funny, sometimes terrible commentary on recent events, criticism of the trending topics of the Philippines, anger, pain, fear, aggression, references to TV shows, why poop is weird, the usual.”

You have a very distinct voice on Twitter. Where’s that from? What do you like to talk/tweet about?
The need for attention. Yes. I just tweet what I think is funny, sometimes terrible commentary on recent events, criticism of the trending topics of the Philippines, anger, pain, fear, aggression, references to TV shows, why poop is weird, the usual.

Who and what are you a fanboy for?
Louis CK, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Breaking Bad, Gravity Falls, Adrian Tomine, Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes, KC Green, Warren Ellis, Michael DeForge, Dustin Harbin, Scott C., Laika, Double Fine Productions, Rebecca Sugar, Ed McMillen, Minecraft, Craig Thompson, Matt Fraction, David Brothers, Sean Witzke, Scott Pilgrim, Gabriel Ba, Moebius, Katsushiro Otomo, Jeffrey Brown, Luke Pearson, a lot of stuff.

If you could draw only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Comics. Or profanity.

robcham.me
@robcham
Cover photo by Patricia Nabong
Interview by Petra Magno

For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS March 2013 issue

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