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!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Then and Now

It's been a while since I've celebrated my birthday at home. I dragged a friend out for a pancake breakfast, completed a new drawing, and had a nice family dinner. In between, friends from high school and college texted their greetings (this doesn't happen when you live in another country). Coming back to Manila has been like one overdrawn process of nostalgia. I think that's why this birthday was extra special.

In tribute to the joys of getting older, I thought it would be nice to look back at how things have changed throughout the years.

Untitled, 2003

NOWMuse(s), 2009

So what happens when we get older? Do we grow more mature, more restrained and more confident with ourselves? Or do we simply lose the energy to finish coloring a page? ;)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Message in a Bottle

I was browsing through my online portfolio when I came upon this painting I did for my husband a few days before I left the US.

Letter Sent, 2008

I thought it would be fun to create something to complete the drawing's message. After all, every letter sent is eventually received.

Letter Received, 2009

While it would have been more accurate to draw myself in a bottle of buildings and billboards, I wasn't sure if there was such a thing as an "urban-themed" terrarium ;) Still, my husband's snow globe is pretty spot on (See the reason why here).

It's amazing how something as simple as writing letters can continue to connect two people living in such different environments.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thank you Eraserheads, Farewell Francis M.

Picture by mousepotatoph

One day in 1992, Papa brought home a cassette tape of Ultraelectromagneticpop, an album by a young band called The Eraserheads. He had heard about these four students who were starting to make waves in the rock scene and wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Unfortunately, I was still in my “Take That” phase and didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was actually being introduced to one of Philippines’ most influential bands. By the time I got to university, rumors of their break up were already spreading. I only saw them live once before they finally disbanded in 2002.

Horrified at my ignorance, my then boyfriend (now husband) made it a personal mission to “educate” me on Eheads music. After listening to only one album (with running commentary for background reference), I was hooked.

For the next six years, their songs became a wonderful source of comfort. I sang out loud in my dorm room in Boston, hummed quietly in between work in the office, and provided “back-up vocals” for my husband when we wanted to chase away homesick blues.

We didn't bring a camera but ended up in a stranger's photo!
The benefit of being at the venue 3 hours before the show?
Photo by Gerass

So at their final reunion concert last Saturday, I screamed, jumped, and sang along with thousands of other fans who were grateful for one more chance to see the band together again. Even the bouncers were singing along to the songs and I promptly teared up when the band paid tribute to Francis M., a Filipino musician who succumbed to Leukemia at age 44.

Photo by htcola

Thank you Eraserheads. Your songs represented two things I love about being Filipino: 1) the creative ability to make do with what we have and 2) the shared understanding that we must NEVER EVER take ourselves too seriously. While I’ve tried to do the same in my own art, I don’t think I’ll ever be as successful as you were.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Illustration Friday - Intricate

SingTeach cartoon, 2006

I looked up the dictionary definition of "Intricate" and read that it is often used to describe "something solvable only with painstaking effort"

What else would be more appropriate for this week's theme than a cartoon on teaching in the "modern" classroom?


Considering that I’ve been working from home lately (often dressed in pajamas with wild “house hair”), the past few days have felt oddly like going back to the office. It's been a crazy rush to beat deadlines, please clients and get work done!

The Drummer in the Band, 2009

First, I had to draw illustrations for two “big books” to be used in a school in Malaysia. One story was called “The Drummer in the Band” and I had a lot of fun drawing the uniforms and instruments. However, I was also relieved that the lead character was a drummer. I didn’t want to be drawing 12 pages of trombones!

The next project was an emergency request from the Asian Civilizations Museum. They wanted to develop an activity booklet for their upcoming exhibit on Emperor KangXi. And unfortunately, the artist they hired was unable to continue the project. This left me with 7 activities, 4 pages and 4 days to finish everything (although revisions stretched out to an entire week!). I contracted my brother to help me with the layout and we invaded the kitchen table with our laptops and sketchbooks, forcing the family to have meals somewhere else.

ACM Booklet Cover, 2009

The original artist had a very digital anime style and part of the challenge was blending his “Emperor KangXi” with my own hand-drawn art. I think the result was not bad at all! Quite impressive for someone who just learned how to use the gradient tool two days ago ;)

While it's great to be so busy with new projects, I’ve hardly had time for other creative work. I’m starting to crave for some “fun art” before another wave of deadlines arrives.