Austrian Illustrator Amir Abou Roumie engages with a College of Fine Arts and Design student during the "Character-Driven Digital Illustration" workshop on Nov. 23 at the Beato Angelico Building.

ARTISTS must use their artworks to raise mental health awareness and empower people instead of pitying them and portraying them as victims, an Austrian illustrator urged.

During a workshop dubbed “Character-Driven Digital Illustration” last Nov. 23, illustrator Amir Abou Roumie said art could connect to “emotions and deeper-human level of the people,” which can make it effective in communicating complex topics like mental health.

“I think it’s important for [artists] to definitely use their platform wisely,” Roumie told the Varsitarian.

“These are all people like everyone else… you don’t have to pity them or something, but you [have to] empower them… Don’t talk about them or show them as victims, but [treat them] as normal people like everyone else.”

The Austrian illustrator said artists could communicate such messages since people consume art everywhere. 

“Everything is art, you know, your mobile phone, everything. There are artists everywhere working who are doing the products that we are consuming. We, the people, are consuming art in more quantity than ever before because everything you are is that (art),” Roumie said.

Roumie has been illustrating children’s books and family cookbooks for 11 years using an art style inspired by cartoons and animations from the 1950s.

During the workshop, Roumie taught select students from the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) and some Varsitarian artists how to use Photoshop and ProCreate for illustrations that promote mental health awareness for children and families through art and literature.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to give something to younger people, to work across borders, to show that art is a national thing — it is a national heritage connecting people everywhere,” Roumie said.

The University partnered with the Austrian Embassy in Manila to hold the illustration workshop at the Beato Angelico Building to celebrate the CFAD’s 22nd founding anniversary. Angeli Ruth Acosta


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