Blanche Sypaco: By Design

Blanche Sypaco: By Design

Creative Director Blanche Alys Sypaco proves a career in the arts can be fulfilling, financially-sustainable, and a whole lot of fun.

When it comes to stepping into the role you’re meant for, to be the person you are truly meant to be, many people fumble. It’s a scary thing to accept; to change and grow out of what people think or say you should be.

Changing for the better and finding yourself are not things that happen instantaneously, nor is it a walk in the park. If it were, we writers wouldn’t be having existential dread eating at us every other week.

Instead, it’s a journey.

And when it comes to journeys that lead to self-actualization, Blanche Alys Sypaco, a creative director at Republiq Group of Companies (RGC) and a passionate illustrator, has only one thing to say.

“One day, you’re going to realize that your passion may just be a hobby to most people, but it can be a fulfilling purpose to you.”

Reeling us in with her intriguing advice, here’s an interview we did with Blanche about her journey to finding herself, her craft, and her passion.

How did you start getting interested in your craft and illustrating?

I was always interested in creating things; I’d have these crazy dumb ideas and write them down and start drawing. I look at other people’s work and just start thinking about what I could do, too. But I never really thought of it as a career, to be honest, that came later on. But the interest and passion were always there. Making illustrations help me connect. It connects me to the people; their stories, their ambitions, their hopes, their memories, their personality. I usually have a hard time communicating, but my work speaks for itself and for me. 

What led you to pursue it as you grew older?

 I used to draw for fun, and I never thought of it as a career. Growing up in a small city, being an artist was never the end game. I just accepted the fact that life needed me to pay the bills. The reality was not the romantic career I had envisioned. I took a lot of time to reflect on myself. But during those times, I never let go of my pencil. I practiced and stayed in my safe bubble until I realized that this was it; this is what makes me, me.

Eventually, my passion managed to be a big part of my life. I learned more and more about the creative side of the world when I left for college and even after. I promised myself that one day I’m going to be one of those people. I’m going to listen, learn and create things that can make an impact in a positive way, even if it’s just one person at a time.  

Is it a passion project or a career for you? How do you keep the two separate?

I’m privileged enough to have a career in the creative industry while handling my side hustle as an Illustrator. My passion and my career work hand in hand. I learn and earn from both.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

I usually enjoy creating illustrations with motivational phrases or words. Social media is very unpredictable nowadays, and I like the idea that a person having a bad day or a person going through a rough patch could randomly see my artwork with this phrase or word that would hopefully make them feel a bit better about themselves or help them realize that a lot of people are going through what they are going through. 

I even had this one small project for my birth month called #MotiveMondays, last August 2020. I asked my Instagram followers weekly for their favorite phrase or song lyric that motivates them. I then made them into wallpapers that people could save for free. I did this daily on my IG stories so people who would pass through would randomly see these phrases or song lyrics that could brighten up their day. It was also a good way to get to know my followers/friends! You could still save the free wallpapers on my story highlights.

In a country that still has a grasp on the “traditional” careers, was it hard to begin your craft?

Yes. Yes, it was.

It takes a long time for someone to take you seriously. Can you imagine successful people asking you what you do for a living, and you answer with a simple “I draw things.” But I like to believe the world is constantly evolving. People nowadays value crafts and the arts more. You just have to ignore and politely educate the naysayers and find the right people to work with.

Illustration by Blanche Sypaco

If there’s one thing you could change about what people think of or the notion they have of your craft, what would it be?

I still hear the word “worthless” being used to describe our field occasionally, but I still think that being an illustrator is more than just aesthetic; it’s a good way to share people’s stories, give joy and nostalgia, help people connect to ideas and even voice out prejudice and discrimination. And if I could reach out and maybe even help just one person, then I consider it a reason to keep doing what I’m doing. 

Why do you think some people have trouble just “starting” with their passion projects and craft?

Pursuing your passion can mean different things to different people, but no matter your definition, people will always have a reason why they can’t do it; it’s inevitable but understandable. One of the biggest and most common reasons is Money. You always have to start from the bottom, build up portfolios, learn how to gain clients. These things take years. There are no shortcuts or escape buttons, just you and your willingness to be excellent at what you do. It takes a toll on your pride and even your mental state. It’s the irony of life, and you need to experience it to gain experience.

If you had advice for those who want to start on their passion projects, what would it be?

If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. Write down all the reasons you can think of to start your project. Decide what you want to do, create a goal, make time and do some research. 

Allow yourself to sometimes focus on fun over finances. Treat your passion as if it was your baby and let it grow and stand on its own. Have the confidence to make your next passion project a reality. The worst thing that could happen is that maybe (and that’s a big maybe) it won’t work out, but the best thing? Your passion becomes your life, and your life becomes passionate. 

Blanche Alys Sypaco is a creative director at the Republiq Group of Companies. Follow her on Instagram at @blanchealys.