Photo by Xtian Lozañes

Doodle Jam: The Revolution, as It Happens on Paper

By jam lebrilla

Everyone doodles. We doodle words, figures, or random shapes. We all do it, but not all of us think it’s useful, or even allowed. It’s because doodling has always had a bad reputation among “serious” people. Even the word “doodle” sounds ridiculous. But that’s all about to change. Doodling is being revamped and rebranded in Iloilo City.

On Dec. 27, 2014, there was a Doodle Jam at Fuel. Sponsored by Sharpie, the event brought two guests: Rai Cruz, an artist from Manila, and Gab Tiongson, an Ilonggo and a founding member of Doodle Thursday. It was a night of music, coffee and doodling as the organizers handed out paper and fat Sharpie pens thicker than your finger. The small tables were filled with a combination of low-toned conversations, sporadic clapping for those singing in the alcove, and some intense zones of concentration as people bent over their blank pieces of paper and doodled.

The event started at 7 PM, but it wasn’t until round 9 PM when we were able to hear Rai Cruz’s talk. His plane was really, really, delayed. I swear, there’s a doorway to hell inside our airports, and it appears before Christmas and disappears after the New Year. It’s a good thing he was able to get to Fuel just in time and grace us with his wisdom and comedic wit. Rai is a charming guy, and he got the crowd laughing as he discussed doodling, street art, graffiti, and how bass players only get “+2” in charm points compared to lead guitarists that get “+8”. This is true.

Hahaha. Just kidding.

On a more serious note, he also discussed the “legal” and “illegal” aspects of his work. Rai Cruz does street art so, for him, it really boils down to asking permission. If you get the go signal to have your way with a wall, then good for you. If not… well, let’s say I learned some really interesting tips that night.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hear the talk from Gab Tiongson. I would’ve loved to hear it, but like I said, there’s hell in our airports. We were only lucky enough to get one speaker and not both. It sucks, but what can you do? Make a sign-up sheet saying the doorway to hell should be removed? I think you’d need permits for that. I wonder which department of the government gives those out.

I stayed around at Fuel after the talk though, and was lucky enough to meet Nollz, one of the guys behind PIOD, a group in Iloilo specializing in papercraft. I’ve been a huge papercraft fan ever since I realized I could make my own Millenium Falcon out of paper and glue, so meeting him was just amazing for me. He’s currently building his portfolio of work and creating more awesomeness. I am hoping to someday see a huge paper robot appear on a street out of nowhere. LOL. A nerd can dream right?

Staying around until the very end of the event has proven to be useful, since I was finally able to meet Gab Tiongson before the end of the night. I felt lucky because, well, this is the first time I’ve actually met someone I’ve only followed on Tumblr before. It’s a new experience for me to meet the person behind the Tumblr account. It’s like thinking, “Huh, he’s an actual person.”

I also scored a ton of stickers. Gab was giving them out like a boss. The song “Santa’s Coming to Town” played in my head while I was grabbing the goodies. Gab’s art is all doodling awesomeness, so I am gonna share the love and stick these babies all over Iloilo City. Inside restrooms. Under bridges. Behind the driver’s seat on jeepneys.

But seriously, stupid jokes aside, it was an inspiring night. Because talks like these provide the backbone for an art community. They get us together, us dreamers, us artists, us doodlers. We reconnect with old friends and make new ones. We find out we belong to a community. But more importantly, these talks show us what’s possible. What people are doing. People we’ve met, and not strangers on the internet whose Facebook, DeviantArt or Tumblr posts we keep liking, or whose Behance account we keep appreciating. It’s during nights like these when we realize that our ridiculous-sounding dreams are possible. We just have to move beyond the dream, to make it into a reality.