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Name: Robin De Leon
Location: Angeles City, Pampanga
Filipino Artist Profile: Robin De Leon
There’s nothing sweeter than discovering something you're good at and getting better at it everyday. And what makes it better is when you get to share this discovery with the world. This is exactly what Robin De Leon’s journey has been with RD Streetwear. What started as a childhood dream is now a gateway to Robin’s creativity and artistic vision. Find out more below about how this artist has managed to rise to where he is right now.
How did your journey as an artist begin?
It started when I was very young. At around eight years old, I began to draw. It continued until high school, where they were always asking me to join poster-making contests. I stopped drawing when I started working at 18. I got back to this interest when I was working as a dealer for a casino and then as part of their marketing team. They used my creativity to market to our clients. My co-worker then knows how to use Photoshop but he was still asking me regarding designs. At that time, I didn’t know anything about Photoshop. After a year, I tried to study it and I got used to it. I took a risk by approaching BPO companies who needed designers. I tried it and it was okay. Little by little, I learned to use more apps. For the last three years, I entered digital design. I do all the artwork for my clothing line using an iPad and Apple Pencil.
How did you come up with your brand name and what’s the reason behind it?
Actually, my brand name is just an abbreviation of my name - Robert De Leon or Robin De Leon or RD. I just added Streetwear after it.
How would you describe your style as an artist?
There are some people who like a simple style or minimal. There are those who want a complex design that fills the whole shirt. I positioned myself right in the middle of those two styles. In that way, I can cater to people who like simple and elaborate designs. That’s the foundation of my style.
What is your favorite subject to create and why?
I’m more comfortable creating cartoon-styled designs. I find it hard doing portraits back then but I’m enjoying creating them now. Just recently, I created an anime-inspired portrait. It’s somewhere in the middle of something realistic and cartoon or vector-style. I just add textures to make it more unique.
What are the influences that shaped your artistic style?
Actually, I don’t have that much. So far, I can’t find anything that resembles what I’m doing. Although, it all started with me doing vector art. The shapes and shadows of vexel lines/art are sharp, giving them an outline. I do that too but my rendition is very different. I’m not saying I did that style first but so far, I haven’t seen a design that looks like mine.
Every artist has that one creation they’re proud of the most. For you, what’s that piece and why?
Nothing specific. I can’t think of one artwork. What I can say, though, is that I created a unique style. When people see it, there’s a big chance they’ll know I made it. I experienced that with my clients. They know my work at first sight. I can consider that as my favorite creation - my style.
In your effort to create art, what are the struggles you usually encounter?
Just like what I said earlier, portraits. I really had a hard time dealing with portraits because I didn’t know where to place the shadows, the highlights. When it comes to vector art, you don’t have to follow the same rules when creating portraits. You can even bend those rules.
On the other hand, what are the qualities you consider as strengths?
I am knowledgeable when it comes to the layout of a clothing line. I also do magazines, covers, their corresponding pages. That’s also my forte these days because I have a client in Australia who needs that kind of output. My strength is to position each element in an artwork in an orderly fashion.
To date, what is your most important achievement as an artist?
Where I’m at now, I consider myself lucky being part of the first batch of graphic designers in the industry. When I first tried it, no one was recognizing the importance of graphic designers. I entered this field quite early and there were a lot of opportunities that came my way. I became known, little by little, here in Pampanga. I also branded myself with the idea that I don’t charge lowly rates. As we all know, graphic design is really hard and one of the things that can improve sales for a business.
When people see your work, what do they usually say about it?
So far, with the clients I have, they’re all satisfied because there’s no deadline I didn’t meet. I haven’t had any negative feedback too. If there were, I would make it a point to resolve it.
When it comes to negative feedback or criticism, how do you handle it?
Although it might seem like a cliche, you really have to take it in a positive way. The number one person who criticizes my work is my mom. She’s really hard to satisfy. But I make it a point to practice how I take criticism from my mom to other clients. In this way, I can ensure they don’t have anything else to say about my work when I do the layout.
When creating art, do you prefer working alone or are you comfortable working with someone else?
I’m used to working alone because of the jobs I take from my clients. I’m used to that but I’m also okay working with another person. The hard thing with that setup is not having the same artistic taste. As a result, the outcome of that collaboration couldn’t be understood. That’s the challenge when it comes to working with somebody else.
What’s your advice to talented individuals who are about to start their journey towards becoming an artist?
Just go for it. Back then, I didn’t know a thing about Photoshop. I still said I know how to use it because I was confident about learning it. There are so many platforms available that can help you learn, like Youtube. As long as you have the drive, it’s very easy.
How did you discover Merchiful and why did you choose it as the platform for your designs?
I had this client in Manila and I design stickers for him. He then told me to create my own clothing line, which I was already planning then. He said that I should try Print On Demand, which Merchiful offers. I was surprised because it was close to my area. I visited the factory and saw the products for myself. The number one positive feedback I get from them is the quality.
What can Merchiful customers expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
A lot of designs that can be worn by different types of people. They can be worn by women, men, or children.
In one word, how would you describe yourself?
Just like Robin, you too can exceed expectations every day. Just take a look at RD Streetwear’s collection of wonderful designs here on Merchiful. And while you’re at it, you can also check RD Streetwear out on these social media platforms.
Merchiful Shop: https://merchiful.com/pages/rdstreetwear