Get ready with engineer turned comic artist AJ Bacar

Winona Sigue

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Get ready with engineer turned comic artist AJ Bacar
Meet the artist behind sskaitcomics and the viral comic ‘Man vs Ipis’

Editor’s note: The Get Ready with Me (GRWM) series features the routines of people from different walks of life, from their morning rituals to bedtime habits. In this installment, let’s get ready with comic artist AJ Bacar.

AJ Bacar was riding the bus when he was thinking of a name for his comic series. He was a full-time engineer for a telco company then. As he leaned against the window, watching the rain fall, an idea came to mind.

Siya. Sila. Kayo. Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Sskait.

“I realized that [the series was] inspired by me and the people around me and [the] relatable moments with my friends, family, and even [my brief encounters] with any strangers,” he shared.

AJ left his engineering job a year ago to become a full-time comic artist. His parents were hesitant about his decision at first, but his friends were supportive.

He also recalled how he has always been interested in comics.

“Every Saturday, my mom would always buy me the P15 Funny Komiks after she finishes her grocery [shopping] in the wet market,” he said. “My mom would also give me the comics section of the daily newspapers and I would always read the comics of Pugad Baboy or Kiko Machine there.”Today, AJ runs Sskait online creating daily comics, selling merchandise, and handling events.

“Even though my engineering course is far from what I’m doing now, I think graduating as an engineering student gave me the discipline and focus to solve any challenges that I face,” said AJ, who studied BS Electronics Engineering at De La Salle University.

The 29-year-old comic artist said that the rewarding part of being an online comic artist is the way he’s able to touch people’s lives and leave a positive impact on his readers. 

“For just a simple comic that would take less than five seconds to read, we’re able to lift the spirits of some readers and give them joy amidst their busy [lives],” he added.

AJ admits that, like other artists, he also struggles with art blocks from time to time.

“I always have my [notes] with me. When ideas flow, I write everything down. Then when an art block happens, I have a ready list of stored ideas that I can pull out anytime. Sometimes, the ideas [come] from the people around me, and it gives me inspiration on what to write next.”

He also highlighted the responsibility of being an online creator – to be mindful of the materials he puts out online.

When AJ is not drawing comics on his iPad, he usually stays up late at night to play games or watch Netflix shows. In this interview, he also talked about his daily routine, everyday essentials, and advice for aspiring comic artists.

MORNING ROUTINE. Stretch! Afterwards, I check my emails. Sit and ideate comics. Then, talk to Jana (Sskait junior artist) for her tasks for the day.

SKINCARE ESSENTIALS. Dove soap and water. My mom told me to always use moisturizer so I have Olay moisturizer every morning and evening.

WORKOUT ROUTINE. I usually go to the gym at least three times a week. Workout days are divided into chest + tricep, back + bicep, then leg day. Then every after a workout, ab exercises. I also usually do jumping rope after gym or go for a swim for 10 to 15 laps. Though, there are times when I’m too busy or feeling lazy, so I’m not able to follow this religiously.

KOMIKERO LIFE. There was a fan who bought one of each plush design and another fan who bought one piece of each sticker and each design. I love it when they buy lots of Sskait merch. Also, I love it when fans bring good food. I mean, that’s free food, so why not?

Another memorable experience is meeting awesome people like Pol Medina, Manix Abrera, Jiconyo, Gloco Gaming, Lilypichu, and other great personalities during events! Of course, I was able to mingle with my co-online artists friends like Aeonix, Little Things, Libreng Komiks, Hunghang Flashbacks, and more.

FIT CHECK. Usually I’m only inside the condo since we work from home for Sskait, so sando and shorts. But when I go out, it depends. Sometimes, just a plain regular fit shirt plus shorts or pants. Sometimes I wear oversized tees, jackets, and pants with matching shoes. But most of the time, you’d see me as one of those people na nakapambahay na gumagala sa BGC.

REST. Swimming, workout, jump rope, gaming, Netflix and chill, and gumala!

ADVICE. The hardest thing is to start it. If you want to be a comic artist, or a content creator in general, just start and create one, have it posted online, then follow through. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just post it and let people know about it and see your work. And for people who are already doing it, my advice is to always stay humble and mindful and to use their voice to leave a positive impact on people. 

AJ also shared the tools and devices he recommends for newbie comic artists and his recent budol finds!

AJ recommends 

If you love scrolling for memes on your newsfeed, you’ve probably seen AJ’s artworks before. Remember the blue-shirt guy with black hair, and the mischievous ulan and araw? They’re so funny, makulit, and relatable, making you smile and laugh after a long, tiring day.

Got someone you want us to feature? Just email us at stories@rappler.com with the subject line “GRWM” followed by the name and the designation of the person. – Rappler.com

Follow Sskait on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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