“It’s not what you can do and what you have that matters the most. It’s how you put it into use.”

Aldy Aguirre is one of those talented Filipino artists who don’t hesitate to show everyone his passion for arts. As the saying goes “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work,” and Aldy believes that his talent in creating illustrations is something that should not be put into waste. With all determination and creative talent combined, he was able to get into Ang Illustrador ng Kabataaan (AngInk), an association of artists committed to the creation and promotion of illustration for children. “I was referred by my brother and sister-in-law to them, I’m really thankful to them for believing in me and seeing my potentials, they’re one of my inspirations,” Aldy says. He was also awarded the PBBY Alcala Illustrator’s Prize in 2010 and he also competed in the Lampara Books Illustrator’s Prize. After bringing home the bacon, book publishers started to offer him to illustrate for their titles.

Recently, the book he illustrated, The Little Girl in a Box, won in the 3rd National Children’s Book Awards as one of the Best Reads for 2014. “I really didn’t expect anything attending the event but it’s so nice and uplifting to know that what you love doing gets appreciated and given this kind of recognition, I’m really thankful. It makes me want to improve on what I do, produce better works in the future, if still given chances to do so,” Aldy shares. According to him, The Little Girl in a Box is the most emotional children’s book he had illustrated. The book portrays a mixed emotion of fear, sadness, uncertainty, hope and joy. His job was to fuse all those feelings through pictures and come up with interesting and playful illustrations. His style in creating illustrations is to see things in the character’s perspective. Among his other works are Piagsugpata, The story of how everything began, Hello, tatay!, Sinemadyika, Ang riles sa tiyan ni tatay, Si Berting ang batang uling, Whuush, at Ang Batang may maraming maraming baha.

Aldy has a sense of joy and passion for kid’s heart and that defines why he chooses to be part of AngInk. He has worked as a freelancer with groups that take care of children’s welfare and rights and he has always been a fan of local and foreign children’s picture book back then. “I brought local books as pasalubong to my little sister before and saw that my favorite illustrators are members of Ink. The organization helped me a lot since I joined,” Aldy says.

Aside from being an illustrator, Aldy is a fulltime father and a husband. He also has an interest in playing percussions. “I used to play drums with my friends that I miss dearly,” he shares.

Aldy’s perseverance and eagerness to do what he loves doing served as his foundation to his success. According to Aldy, respect, humility, and loving what you do are the three qualities one should possess not only for becoming a successful illustrator but also for all aspects in life. What would you tell young illustrators trying to break into the business? “If they want to get noticed, work hard, join competitions, submit their works to publishers, post them in social media, do whatever it takes to get noticed then work harder once someone gives you a break. And it’s not what you can do and what you have that matters the most, its how you put it into use,” Aldy says.

Aldy is currently working on his own story for a picture book and he hopes it will turn out well.