Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Project George - November 2009

Due to a sheer lack of time, I got to try out my "modeling skills" for a
Project George artwork!
That's genuine emotion right there. Hehe

Sorry I posted this so late! TIME Magazine ran an issue on "The real cost of cheap food" so we thought it would be a good idea to focus on the industrialization of agriculture in countries like the US.

Well...actually, that's just my "formal" way of looking at it. My brother simply called this an artwork on "POISON TOMATOES". Haha! :)

This is also our last Project George artwork for 2009. Being back in school has been terrible in terms of finding time to draw so we decided to take a break for a while. But we're definitely looking forward to doing a few isolated projects during the Christmas vacation. Will post more art soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Growing Up with Philippine Art

Finally, children’s books about Philippine art!

Robot monsters, mystery laughter and a path marked with bronze heroes. The Crucible Workshop presents a whole new look at Philippine art with the release of three unique story books for children. Written by members of Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING), the Philippines’ premiere organization of Filipino professional writers for children, the stories show how a work of art can lead to quite a few interesting adventures.

Book Launch Details:
When: November 17, 2009
Where: Filipinas Heritage Library
Time: 3:00-5:00pm

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Project George - September 2009

Project George, 2009

We wanted to do an artwork on beach trash but could never seem to make it come together. After a few so-so attempts and a very kind rejection from our editor (he did say "Back to the drawing board?" instead of "FAIL!"), Misha saved us by tweaking our message to be about the extinction of sea turtles instead. Who knew that the plastic we throw away could wipe out an entire species? :P

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goodbye for now

Towards the end of 2008, I found myself in a "gap". I had just left my research position in Singapore and was waiting for my doctorate program to begin. Yet, I didn't have enough time to actually take on a full-time job.

Given that pursuing a PhD has often been likened to entering a convent (and inflicting head damage on yourself), I decided to take a former professor's advice and use my time to do something I've always wanted to do: be a freelance illustrator. As a kid, I've always loved to draw but never felt that I was good enough to make it a career. So, thanks to the internet, encouraging clients, a supportive family, and an extremely loving husband, I was able to draw, draw and draw. And yes, I loved it.

Of course, a number of well-meaning friends have told me to do more "useful" things but I have no regrets about how I spent the last few months of my life. Because as I look ahead at the next five years of academic research, I am glad that I took the time to focus on something other than my work.

Blank Slate, 2009
I can vouch for each one of these methods.
Working on the kitchen table can do wonders for your creativity (...and your waistline, unfortunately).

Unfortunately, as school officially begins, I have to take a break from blogging for a while. But do check back for news! I have a children's book in the works and a few other projects that will be ongoing till the end of the year. In the meantime, I thought that this cartoon for What's Up seemed like an appropriate way to say goodbye...for now :)

If I were a monster

Blank Slate, 2009

This cartoon was inspired by Alex Noriega's hilarious If I was a robot series. And I have to admit - the panel on being at "two places at the same time" was taken from the movie, A Walk to Remember. Although my version is considerably less romantic. Haha!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Illustration Friday - WRAPPED

Blank Slate Cartoon, 2009

Wilson peeped in to find the entire faculty wrapped up in their morning exercises.


It's been a while since I've sent in something for Illustration Friday. Am not sure if this cartoon really fits the theme but I wanted to submit a drawing before summer ends! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big bite

Project George, 2009

This month's artwork was about animal abuse - and the true cost of our growing demand for food. Apparently, KFC breeds their chickens to be so top-heavy, their legs break :(

Thanks to this month's model for being so game :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another collection

Photo by Kara

In spite my relentless drive to let go of stuff, these bunch of creatures will probably stay with me a little while longer :) But first - one long bath before being put into storage.

My sister saw them hanging out to dry and made them her first models for her film photography class this semester.

They don't look to happy about it though.

More pictures here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Letting go (almost)

When I was a kid, I had this obsessive tendency to collect things. Whether it were erasers, pens or rocks, I accumulated these objects like they were the most valuable things I could ever own. It came to the point that my sisters would actually devise ways to sneak into my room and "peek" at my stationery box. It. Was. A. Big. Deal.

In the process of cleaning out my room, I’ve discovered a lot of my old collections. All immaculate and carefully stored. Yet, instead of feeling nostalgic, I found myself confused - wondering why I had put so much value on these little things. Suddenly, it seemed so strange to keep things that were either meant to be used (like pens and stationery) or quite useless in the first place (like rocks and clay houses).

These were things which my younger self had saved for the future. But now that it was the future (from the perspective of 1986), I simply did not find these things important. So, slowly (and quite ruthlessly) I started giving them away.

my notebook collection...

my pencil toppers collection...
Remember when trolls were so "in"? ;)

...and my stationery collection
All of these were acquired through a sophisticated barter system developed by
other preteen girls with collections.

My siblings were horrified – stating that I had grown up to become a cold, pragmatic, heartless soul who lost the magic or wonder associated with childhood. I retorted that it was time to let go. That when you start working, moving from one rented apartment to the next, and budgeting your pay check, keeping a stationery collection would just be a waste of time.

But then I saw this:

And I just couldn’t give it away.

Perhaps there's still some heart in me after all.

PS. Thanks Mama for patiently accompanying your daughter to the sticker store where she would browse for hours...deciding which one was worth her 10 peso budget for that day. I think that that's what made this collection a lot more special :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brand new!

Project George, 2009

After a short break last month, Project George is up and rolling again. This time, we decided to tackle the issue of E-waste and how the quest for the shiniest, newest model always leaves behind a heap of toxic trash.

Kara said the drawing reminded her of Where's Waldo? while Sel asked if I've ever seen Wall-E. I said that all I did was go online and look at depressing photos of electronic dumpsites! :P Thanks for the great work, guys!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Things I love

I've been following a blogger who likes to post a list of the things she loves every week . It was such an amazing way to define oneself as an artist - I could almost see how the stuff that she liked were translated to her work.

I also realized that I never really thought about the things that I love! :P So I've decided to go ahead and build a list of my own:

1. Patterns

Photo by Marvin

2. Hand sewn plushies made from felt
I am obsessed with Redmag's Marvin Minsky Robots.
Sock monkeys are so yesterday.
Made by redmag

3. Doodles
When I doodle, I either draw cake or feet (no bodies). I'm sure there's a psychological reason for all of that but I don't think I want to know.
Art by Fred Blunt

A husband and wife team who create the most amazing illustrations.
I still can't believe they color everything in photoshop! Those details are crazy.

5. Miniature Food
I used to collect plastic groceries as a kid.
I carried them in a big bag and spent hours "arranging them".
My brother thought I was nuts.
Photo by PetitPlat

How about you? I think everyone should take a half hour break and make a list of their own :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More museum work

I think that The Peranakan Museum will always be one of my favourite clients. There are so many intricacies in Peranakan culture, my only complaint is that they rarely ask me to draw in color! :)

Souvenir for preschool program, 2008

Postcard, 2009

Here's one of the few where I actually got to open my paint box. A series of "flat puppets" (they were laminated and printed in A3 paper) which were used to tell young museum visitors about how Peranakan culture started in Malaysia and Singapore.

Peranakan Puppets, 2008
For this series, I actually tried to look for photos of "18th century Chinese and Indian merchants"! Never understimate the power of Google.

If you happen to be passing by Singapore in the future, try to check out The Peranakan Museum. It's worth the trip :)

Illustration Friday - ADAPT

Getaway, 2005

It's hard to adapt to a world that is getting way too crowded :P

Thought that this was an appropriate way to mark the end of summer :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Winding down

Self portrait, 2009

Summer is ending here in Manila - and so is my brief stint as a full-time writer and illustrator. In two months, I go back to building my "real" career as an academic researcher and will be leaving home for another round of studies in the US.

I remember starting this blog with a resolution to spend more time drawing and finally getting some ideas down to paper. With the weeks winding down and work building up, I wonder if I've been able to do enough?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be my guest

I was cleaning out my hard drive the other day and found a number of wedding illustrations that friends have requested over the past two years. People say you know you're growing old when you start receiving wedding invites in the mail. I wonder if there's a saying about the number of invites you draw?

One couple wanted to show themselves crossing a rough ocean to represent the challenges they faced in their relationship. I liked the idea but was terrified of drawing waves!

Another couple wanted to focus on the "details" of their relationship. Every little thing in this drawing was special to the couple. My personal favorite is the stuffed lion named DiCaprio.

This bride was so inspired, she actually wrote a children's book about their relationship! It would have been ideal for the groom to do the illustrations but they decided to "outsource" it to me instead :) The entire story is told in his handwriting though :)

I think the fun part of doing these illustrations was the challenge of helping the couple "implement" their vision of how they wanted their invites to look. Relationships are defined in so many ways, it was fun to look back and see how each invite turned out so different from the other.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Illustration Friday - PARADE

I was quite pleased to know that the theme for this week was a perfect fit for a big book I did last month.

The Drummer in the Band, 2009

The little puppy didn't mean to disrupt the parade. It was just that the drums were disturbing his afternoon nap!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Adventures of Zombo

People associate summer with a lot of things like refreshing halo-halo, ripe mangoes and trips to the beach. But what I love the most about this two-month break is how it inspires the funniest "family projects".

This year, my brother started things off by deciding to document our trip to Phuket through the experiences of Zombo - a plushie doll of a corporate man turned into the terrifying undead.

My brother made Zombo by painting his body on some cheese cloth and stuffing him with random scraps of cloth.

Yet, while Zombo was technically a "doll", he couldn't seem to fit in with the others.

So he spent most of the trip on his own while we took turns babysitting him.

In the end, Zombo didn't really scare anyone - but he did attract a lot of long stares and a few muffled giggles.
I guess we'll see how it goes in his next trip :)

More photos of Zombo's adventures here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not Wallpaper

My dad had to give a talk at the Manila Contemporary yesterday so my sisters and I tagged along to give him some moral support (and make sure his powerpoint actually works).

Photo by Kara

The place was full of huge paintings which were meant to represent the exhibit theme of parameter, play and repetition. We had so much fun taking pictures, we didn't realize that our photos had unintentionally reduced the artwork to background wallpaper. Expensive wallpaper.

Check out the rest of the exhibit here.

Illustration Friday - IMPOSSIBILITY

Night Creature, 2009

I always enjoy jazzing up a regular everyday scene with a touch of impossibility :)

Perhaps this is the best thing about being a researcher by profession and an illustrator on the side?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Take My Breath Away

Project George, 2009

This month's Project George artwork was inspired by Matte Stephens, one of my favorite flickr artists. Although I'm not sure if he would be pleased to know that his whimsical drawing has been turned into a commentary on air pollution. :P

PS. Thanks to our model and his supportive mommy for being so patient during the shoot!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Papa and the Little Red Horse

When Papa was a little boy, his parents had a tradition of bringing the whole family to a church in Antipolo during the month of May. Papa loved these annual visits because the nearby market always had the coolest things.

There was a wooden machine gun that went rat-ta-ta-tat as you turned its little knob

a green toy snake that could twist and coil when held by its tail

and a tin bird that bobbed its head when pulled by a string.

Yet - while his parents gamely bought him the gun, the snake and the tin bird, there was one toy he wanted but could never have: a little red papier mache horse. For some reason, his parents always said NO. And everytime Papa would ask why, they would simply respond:

What would you do with a papier mache horse?

Eventually, time passed and the family stopped visiting the Antipolo church. Papa grew up and went on to wanting other things. But he never got his little red horse.

So imagine Papa's delight when, more than forty years later, he finds himself on a road trip to Paete, a city known for its wood carvers and craftsmen. THE PLACE WHERE PAPIER MACHE HORSES COME FROM.

All the way from the South Luzon Expressway, Papa told his kids about his important mission.

We travelled to three churches (Mama reminded us that the whole point of the trip was the Visita Iglesia and not a search for paper animals).

Weaved our way through a a whole lot of people

And just when we were about to give up

Papa finally got his red papier mache horse.
Except that this time it wasn't so little anymore because neither was he.

More pictures on the search for Papa's little red horse here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tito Arturo Makes Robot Monsters

Just a peek at what's been happening the past few days:

Anito, 2009

Paper Monsters, 2009

Do you guys remember the legend of the monster snake
who lived in the basement of Robinsons?

Noguchi, 2009

Drawing a series of illustrations can be fun but also a little nerve-wracking for someone as impatient as me. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product and moving on...even if it will take a few more months.

It's Easter in a few days!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Color inspiration

I was working on extending my tea series but wanted to differentiate the new watercolors from my earlier work. After a few days of brainstorming, I realized that the solution was a simple case of working backwards.

Instead of starting with a sketch, I decided to let a color theme determine the subject of my work. Luckily, Snippet and Ink's wedding inspiration boards provided the perfect inspiration for this experiment.

For the first work, an inspiration board called Licorice and Lemon Drops made me think of salabat and how our grandparents always recommended it as the best way to get rid of a cold.

Lemon Ginger, 2009

Meanwhile, an inspiration board entitled Hot Air Balloons and Polka Dots led to a drawing of daydreams and travel. For some reason, the orange and blue palette made me imagine a sunny kitchen on a Saturday morning.

Wanderlust, 2009

What do you guys think?
More to come soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Illustration Friday - Subtract

It takes a lot of work not to subtract too much from our savings!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Pirate or the Robber?

Deciding on how to present the concept of "music piracy" led to our family's first case of "conflict due to artistic differences".

I wanted to use the image of a robber to convey the message of how piracy is a form of stealing:
Project George V1, April 2009

While my siblings preferred a quirky / witty take on the concept by having a "pirate" committing piracy:
Project George V2, April 2009

The argument had come to the point of "Fine! Do what you want!" "Fine!" "Whatever!" - so I decided to just provide two versions for our editors to choose from.

In the end, they liked both versions very much but decided that while the pirate had more visual impact, the robber set the right tone.

It was a nice way to settle the argument and in a way, an important lesson for me as well. I tend to get worked up when faced with something I strongly oppose and this experience was a good reminder to try ideas out first before shutting them down.

I have to admit, that pirate is quite cute. Arr!