Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Modern Spoliarium

I'm never a fan of boxing, of humans hurting each other while the crowd curses and cheers, all in the price of entertainment. But I believe in the power of Manny Pacquiao, that he is the modern god of the Pinoys: the entire shebang, including himself is symbolical. Manny Pacquiao is another "Elsa", that personifies another Himala. It's like looking at Juan Luna's masterpiece Spoliarium, a compendium of metaphors within metaphors, only on cable TV or LCD or mobile screen, depends on your budget, location and—culture.

Have you ever wondered how the Spoliarium, a painting as large as 4 meters by 7 meters was transported to the Philippines from Spain? Or how they managed the painting of that enormous size enters the small door of the National Museum? And how about this, how on earth was it stolen inside the National Museum, if the rumors were true?

The clue leads to the stitches. If you've seen the spectacular Spoliarium painting close enough, the canvas looks like a collage of overlapping canvasses sewn together and patched up with thick paint. Stories have it that moving the large painting by Juan Luna was a big task and money, they ended up slicing it into pieces and rolled off to a vessel in 18th century express delivery. Now it stands majestically yet chained inside the museum, paradoxical isn't it? That's the power of Spoliarium, just as Manny Pacquiao is.

There is no doubt Manny Pacquiao and Oscar Dela Hoya reaped more than beat and bouts, fame, and not to mention a google of a dollar. Yet, it's no different in the age of gladiators and barbarians, and of endless wars, only glorified by the modern times.

"Dog eat dog" digital photograph

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flaws are Interesting

Mimi, 2005-2012

Among the popular sculptures besides Michelangelo's David, the armless Venus de Milo earned its popularity partly because of the curiosity that evokes the viewer why it is incomplete. Just as amazingly, Rodin's sculptures are crude and almost unfinished, perhaps a take off point from Classicism's near to perfection ideals, yet spark artistic discourse.

In the traditional techniques of the master printers, a small deviation from the originals such as misregistration, stray lines, soiled/inked print, uneven amount of inks, isn't acknowledged as part of the series and won't be signed. Not even "misprints" we have from offset printed books, leaflets or documents, are widely accepted simply because they are rejects and not identical to the originals.

The "Arrovo" 100 peso bills series is considered a printing error, yet that flaw made the series "special" and now collectable, since it can never be reproduced ever again. In multiple original artworks such as prints, if every print is to be considered art, then these printing flaws make them unique.

I love collecting used and old books. Some of the pages are dilapidated, soiled, and folded. Some are rejects because of double prints, misprints, and distorted. But it is these characters that make them special for me. It makes me wonder who their previous owners are and what are the book's adventures with them.

Every part of the human body, if they come in pairs, isn't created perfectly identical. Only God knows the purpose, but science also provide answers. Every human being is flawed, and that's what makes us interesting.

Note: In the photo is our adopted persian cat, Mimi. Its ear is mutilated since we got her and we don't have any idea how or when, but I find her unique just as it is. However, my post hopefully, definitely, strongly discourage cruelty to animals and in no way whatsoever promote mutilation, but rather the appreciation of natural imperfections.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Love Lupito

I finally had the guts and budget to own one of CANVAS' highly acclaimed, award-winning, international quality, Filipino made, children's book offerings. How I long to get at least a copy, the recent Manila Book Fair paved the way of owning a hard bound precious, at a lower price. I got excited to see all of those wonderful books in print and got me thinking to buy the whole hard bound series for my collection. But then my budget was only for one book. I had a difficult time choosing which one to embrace first.

It was "Si Lupito at ang Barrio Sirkero" that won my heart.

It's not only that the artworks were done by one of my favorite painter ever Jose Santos III (How I wish I could afford to buy at least one of his works someday), but the cover really amazed me. The cover looks mystifying, all with the muted sky blue to cool gray with a matte finish that seem to resemble a metallic feel and enhances the subject's magical juggling performance. I cannot distinguish if it's a printing flaw because it looks really subdued and since I have seen the brighter original artworks at the Ayala Museum exhibit, they were very far from the print. Nevertheless it was perfectly right, since the texture and hue created that magical mood that the story calls for.

The paper of the inside pages is quite thick, probably a 100 lbs. matte vellum paper, exquisite for a children's book. The paper thickness complements the hard bound format. The quality of printing is ok, passable to think it was printed outside the country. You can tell a book if it's printed locally through the quality of ink: foreign books seem to have this bright and very rich ink quality more than the "muddy" prints locally. Although I like the cover so much, the design and layout of the inside pages was very simple. The artworks could have been maximized and translated well into paper and book form. Yet I can't complain because there should always be plenty of room for the texts and should be readable, a very important element in children's books. See how difficult it is to create balance in an illustration for a children's book?

The realistic yet odd renderings of illustrations or artworks worked appropriately for the story. The human figures are static and isolated that seem life-like dolls, blurring the line between reality and fantasy. It makes one wonder if there's truly an event, people, or place like that. It's also a merging of the modern and the traditional with the clean, minimalist interior, draping, and background. Some of the objects are symbolical, urges you to think why or what are they for. What I love most about the artwork is the color scheme, it is all subdued and splashed with earth tones, very Filipino. I could almost smell the actual places in the scenes: clean, natural and simple. The settings, costume, and objects are also very Pinoy. Personally, I think some scenes and story line are quite mature to fit a very young audience, perhaps should be recommended only for ages 10-12.

"Si Lupito at ang Barrio Sirkero"
is written by Rowald Almazar with artworks by Jose Santos III, from CANVAS, is highly recommended for kids and adults alike. Now I'll have to look for the author and painter to have my copy signed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Shocking Revelation

It was a happy sunny day. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak among the brightest kids of affluent parents in one of the best schools of the country today. My talk may not be eloquently delivered, but somehow stirred kid's interest. How amazed I was when the boys urgently lined up, then asked questions eagerly. Flashbacks filled my thoughts-were we assertive like them when we were in grade school? How I wished I was brought up as outgoing and well-rounded like them and studied in a prestigious school like that...I guess confidence and self-esteem can also be achieved if you have everything at your convenience. Otherwise, get confidence in excelling in any field you love, or mature with experience to boost self esteem.

One thing that surprised me most from this experience was this revealing info. I learned that these wealthy parents don't bother letting their very fortunate kids experience or teach them live a simple life in spite of all their conveniences, based on a survey. Part of the reasons were, living on tight and tough times is the least they would want and experience for their children. Or parents would not allow that to happen to them at all, at any cost. They don't usually experience that at home so why should they spend time and energy for that anyway, according to a teacher I chatted with. As if the world is not round, I felt sad to know another inconvenient truth.

On that regard, I am very glad that the school is looking for ways to still educate them on these issues by integrating lessons and immersion programs. After all, we are staying together in a dominantly nourishment-hungry, third-world country anyway.

I'm about to go home when there was this boy who interestedly got a copy of my latest book and he was holding another book. Curiously I asked how much was the other book and he said it was around 300 pesos. I surprisingly thought, wow, how generous his allowance must be! Then while having some chat along the service area of the school, out of the blue, out of nowhere, another kid blurted out his 'I can't remember' story to our group.

It was a funny experience.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ecstatic over the Cover

Finally, my most anticipated children's book will soon be launched. After the long wait, gruesome imaginative thinking, and hard work, another beautiful baby is born.

I was on a meeting with fellow INKies when Jordan Santos, the ever genius product development officer of Adarna House, surprised me with the cover proof with gold stamping on it. I was so overwhelmed to see the cover spread. I couldn't wait to see the rest of the book.

Adarna House and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People in partnership with Ortigas Foundation Library
invite you to the launch of
"Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!"
written by Nanoy Rafael and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III
on November 21, 2008 at 6 p.m.
Ortigas Foundation Library 2/F Ortigas Building, Ortigas Avenue Pasig City.

RSVP Vanessa Estares @ 372-35-48 local 110

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happiness at the 2008 Ang INK exhibit

Despite the heavy downpour and amidst stranded commuters, I excitedly hustled my way to Shangri-La Mall just to witness the opening of Ang INK's 17th Annual Exhibit, one of the coolest art group in the country. My drenched black pants and sneakers was all worth it, minus the pogi points. The artworks are diverse and meticulously done, the passion and hardwork are obvious. Why don't you see it for yourself and see what I'm talking about.

Exhibit runs until November 14, 2008 at the 4th level of Shangri-La Mall.

Ang I.N.K.'s "Tsubibo" opens at Shangri-la Mall

Children's illustrators group Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang-InK) opens their 17th annual exhibition titled "Tsubibo" on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the 4th level Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

"Tsubibo," explores one of the most popular attractions for children and children at heart: the carnival, in a showcase of over 30 works from Ang I.N.K. members using digital art, paper sculpture, drawing, painting and mixed media.

Ang I.N.K. treats its audience to the sights and sounds of the carnival as "Tsubibo" presents the carnival's wild and wacky cast of characters, and delves into the thrills and chills of rides, arcade games, and other sideshow attractions.

Founded in 1991, Ang I.N.K.'s roster includes full-time freelance illustrators, graphic designers, painters, writer-illustrators, visual arts teachers and students, and artists working in publishing companies, design-related firms and advertising agencies. Apart from children's books, Ang I.N.K. members or "INKies" continue to produce workbooks, textbooks, murals, animated features, product designs and merchandising, both individually and as a group. Several INKies are recipients of local and international awards and continue to make names for themselves both here and abroad.

Presented by Adarna House, OMF Literature, Summit Media, and Oishi, "Tsubibo" runs until Nov. 14 at the Shangri-la Plaza Mall, followed by a 1-day exhibition at the UP College of Fine Arts Art Bazaar on November 15. For inquiries, e-mail

Poster design by Leo Alvarado.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Q&A for Thesis Students - children's book illustration in the making part 3

Many students request me for a personal interview for their book illustration thesis. In order to facilitate student’s research requirements, I have compiled most common interview and research questions and posted them here. I hope what I wrote will help in some way and save their time researching.

Why are illustrations important in children’s books?

Children at such a young age are still learning how to read and understand the meaning of words. Illustrations or pictures help them understand those words and perhaps some issues being tackled in the story. Sometimes illustrations also extend the story visually to a different depth where words cannot express enough.

What inspires you to illustrate for children’s books?

When you illustrate for children, you can be what you want, do all you can. You can make your own story and it extends your imagination. Through illustration, when your work is published, your message to the world in the form of art (or design) can reach a wider audience and impart something invaluable. "Reading" images or illustration is like deciphering a puzzle, and it works amazingly when you unlock those hidden messages.

How would you know whether your artwork would appeal to children?

It’s actually a hit or miss; people in general (since they are actually the ones with the buying power) may love or hate your artwork. Appeal is about personal taste, after all. Maurice Sendak's classic "Where the Wild Things Are" may not be to everyone's understanding but the majority love the book. My black and white illustrations in the book "Tight Times" by Jeanette Patindol won't be understood by as many kids as to why it is colorless, but it won recognition among stakeholders. The best thing to do is try to make a study first, sampling a few illustrations to your audience-the kids in your family, neighbors etc., then ask them what they think about your work. Observe them, their toys, things. Do your research. But usually, cartoon-like and brightly colored illustrations never fail and should work well. 

It is worth noting too that children's preferences in picture book illustrations is also linked to how art lessons were taught. For example, if their art teacher has properly taught them to be open minded about seeing or appreciating beauty and not imposing stereotypes (only objects that are straight, clean, complete, and bright is beautiful), then they can probably pick a wide range of illustration styles. 

Here's another reflection on this topic. 

How did you get into the business?

When I was studying, I thought I should be enhancing my background as an artist. That was the point I got the chance to know Ang INK and wanted to be a part of the group. I wanted to meet the best and famous illustrators at the time. It really helped me well, especially in the knowledge of illustrating and producing books for children. Children's book illustration is a totally different area in the world of art and design. It requires a special attention and illustration skill, a big social responsibility actually. You don't just have to make pretty picture books.

How are you chosen to illustrate for a particular book?

The usual practice locally is that the author gets to choose his own style of illustration, but the publisher or you as an illustrator may also suggest the most effective way to convey the story. If a style fits the mood of the story, and you can render that style, then it’s your book. Oftentimes, the author and publisher entrusts me to illustrate their book, so most of the visual thinking is done by me. Usually I’m free to choose which scenes to visualize or highlight in the spread, or the designs of characters, settings, color scheme etc., though sometimes they will suggest what works and what fails, like particular situations or settings.

What type of projects do you enjoy most? Why?

I like projects that are entirely entrusted to you with your own creative freedom, clients who are very open about innovative or avant-garde ideas. This is how creativity soars high in me, and it really affects the output. I am very fortunate and grateful that most of my projects are such. Sometimes I don't mind if a project doesn't pay well, as long as my enthusiasm compensates for it and generates wonderful causes.

How does an illustrator get paid for a commission?

Usually, some publishers prefer the outright fee. They give you a one time professional fee for all the illustrations within a mutually agreed definite period of time. Other publishers also offer royalties. An illustrator in our country today, if one is very resourceful and creative enough, may earn not only through publishing alone. Some illustrators I know venture their artworks in different applications like household items, fashion, merchandising, and even recreational spaces.

What media have you already used in illustrating for children’s books?

So far, I’ve been using mostly water-based media like acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, and pencil on board and canvas. I have noticed that some students do not take their materials and artworks seriously. You may experiment on different media but always keep in mind also about the longevity and conservation of the artwork: use only durable and quality media.

How did you arrive at your particular style?

I myself don’t think have a particular style yet. It really varies per story. In my work, I tend to match the style to the story. If the story requires realistic renditions, then I should shift accordingly. For me, your particular style does not matter; an illustrator is an illustrator - you visualize regardless of artistic style. I think style develops and emerges eventually as you become critical and conscious of your works through time.

But my approach in illustrating is to go beyond the story and make it my own somehow. Rather than illustrating the obvious literal scenes, I want to show more by putting other details which the reader won't find in the texts. I want the readers to think and look more, and ask themselves what, why, and how. The illustrations may somehow be independent of the texts, like in picture books. I also make it a habit to incorporate the Filipino identity in my illustrations, whether in color scheme, ideology, settings, or characters.

What are the processes involved in illustrating a children’s book?

Usually it all starts in a meeting of all the book production team involved: the author, the illustrator, and the publisher. You discuss the look, content, and flow of the story. Then you submit thumbnails for them to know your plans for the story. After approval of the thumbnails, you get to transfer your ideas in pencil, the actual artwork. You then again have these approved. From there you color and finish everything. The publisher will then have it designed in book form. Sometimes, you also get to check color proofs during the printing stage of the book so colors will be accurate to your original artworks.

Is there any book that you would like to re-illustrate or redesign?

Unless the book really looks bad or there's a compelling justification for re-illustrating, I don't think it's ethical to do so. I believe every book is a product of intellect and hardwork, so when you re-illustrate a book make sure there's really a problem, reason, or you present a new take on the story. If ever your thesis requires re-illustration, stick to the classics and not recent books, or better yet why not create your original story? I would love to illustrate children's versions for Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo if I have the chance.

As an illustrator, what are the common difficulties that you encounter? On the other hand, what are the perks? What do you enjoy most about it?

It is very difficult to find time that will fit the average production schedule which is usually around 1-2 months. Illustrating books requires so much of your time if you really want your work to look better, and spend time longer if you want it to look the best. The enjoyable part is the time when you actually see your works, after so much hard work, being published and displayed on stores. And finally being read by kids, being appreciated for your work, and then you hear their crazy but honest comments.

Has the taste preference of children changed over the years?

Definitely preferences change through time. It also evolves coincidentally with technology. Preferences depend on demographics and culture, it is very subjective. One cannot particularly tell which book will likely be well-loved or a best-seller. Generally, a delightful book will always have that universal appeal. A delightful book may not always be the"best" book. Likewise, the "best" book may not always be well-received or become a best-seller.

Here's a similar reflection on this topic.

What problems do book illustrators face today?

What I’m looking at now, as one of the problems, I guess, is that foreign competitors dominate the local book industry. I have learned that there are still many of us Pinoys who recommend foreign/imported books more than our own local books. It is sad but we still have this colonial mentality within us, when in fact we have all the talents far greater than, if not at par with, the world has to offer, if only given the chance.

The local children's book scene is not as enthusiastically supported and financially rewarding unlike in other parts of the world where illustrators and authors are esteemed and celebrated. It is sad that our industry is being looked down only because they are just books for kids and nothing more than just fairy tales. Most people don't realize the creativity and passion that every bookmaker place in each of the books that children read. More importantly, some people never take advantage the power of children's literature has: the potential to influence positively a child's values and experiences even today.

Another problem, I think, although only indirectly affecting illustrators, is technology. The printing technique, design, and quality of imported books have come a long way from our own, based on what I'm seeing on the shelves. So far, I'm satisfied with only a few print production houses who are very meticulous in their output especially binding, ink quality, and clarity regardless of budget. Of all I have worked with, only a few of them can also understand design, or are willing to produce your bizarre design ideas at the most cost efficient budget. 

Other problems include infringement of intellectual property rights, the preference for digital to conventional media, and the proliferation and use of image banks and archives.
With all these challenges that faces the children's book illustrator in our country, it is very sad that only few stay in the game. I have met some talented illustrators who have turned their back on this vocation and pursued other more rewarding interests, so only the more passionate children's book illustrators remain. No wonder there's still a lot of work to be done.

What advice can you give to aspiring illustrators?

Just keep on enjoying what you do best and strive to produce quality works, make your own legacy proudly with your name on it. Educate more people about art and the profession so more will take it seriously. Most importantly, please love our country and fellow Filipinos, they're all we've got.

Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu illustrations in the making Part 2


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Manila International Book Fair

Bibliophiliacs converge again at the the biggest and longest-running book fair in the Philippines on its 29th year, the Manila International Book Fair this time at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex on September 12-16, 2008.

"With over 300 exhibitors, the MIBF showcases the largest and most varied collection of literature, textbooks, educational supplements, general references, religious and inspirational titles, self-help books, management books, Filipiniana, coffee table books, popular novels, children's books, art books, graphic novels, rare and hard-to-find titles, magazines, audio and e-books, multimedia, teaching supplies and services, publishers' technology, and travel materials."

Seminars and workshops are also offered during the fair, with PBBY schedules here.

I will also be there on September 14 and 16 for an afternoon of book signing of my recent books at the Adarna booth, so hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eraserheads Mania

I went Quiapo (the photography, flea market, and mystique mecca of the country) today to buy some stuff needed for my yet expensive hobby, photography. I listed all the things I wanted, separated what I needed, and supposed to buy all those needed no matter what. After canvassing different stores at Hidalgo while gushing at every snippets I see around wishing I can adopt all of them, I'm left enticed to buy what I wanted more than what I needed. So I finally decided I wanted this set and this, and a little boy enjoyingly at lost inside a toy store...without thinking much about the pros and cons of buying such brands and products. Okay, I'm gonna get all of them...

I'm about to buy all of them. I went to the nearest ATM to download some cash so I can already get them and go home with my new toys. Yipeee.

My bank's system cannot process dispensing cash at the moment.

Okay, I'll try another machine...and another, and another. No cash, no toys for me today. Okay. I tested my fate: if this last machine wouldn't still give me the cash I needed...then I won't complain anymore.

Still no cash. No more words. Thanks God, I went home with nothing.

At least it wasn't only me: I've heard that the biggest band concert of the year, despite all the troubles and controversies, pushed through. Although the band wasn't fortunate enough to finish the entire gig completely together.

The troubles we get when we change the events destined not to happen or should not happen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Save the Seas Freebie no. 3

I made this design in Adobe Illustrator using the tablet for the first time. It is supposedly for an environmental project of a client. Since the design called for a more realistic rendition, I decided to give this design for free. At least it will be put into use than stuck in my hard drive forever.

Still a lot of pinoys, especially in local communities, and people all over the world are not aware about the connection of taking care of the seas and our livelihood. We should work together to preserve the waters, most importantly coral reefs. Fisher folks still use dynamite. Shockingly, I have also learned that sunblock may also cause destruction of these precious reefs.

You can use this design freely without royalties but not for commercial use, nor sell it through image bank or sell the image as is. I would appreciate proper credit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu illustrations in the making Part 2

I just finished all the thumbnail sketches and the actual drawing of the illustrations. Here are some of my thoughts while doing the pencil sketches.

Illustrating children's books seem easy to do but it's actually very difficult to merge everything together: there should be lots of room for the text, the composition has to be very dynamic with one central focus of the action within the page.

Revise, revise, revise. Look again and again for details. As much as possible have it critiqued by well versed in the field, listen to what they have to say. If gone tired of looking, put it down then start again, then you will realize your mistakes.

Patterns within the page creates visual rhythm, these can be achieved by repeating some objects, patterns in the design of clothes, style of hands and feet, color, shapes and lines may also create the effect.

Sometimes exaggeration of some action creates dramatic composition. This can be done by enlarging or prolonging some of the character's body parts; extending movement within the space; extending the story out of context but without much fading away from the main action; and showing humor in the character's reactions.

Preferably, it is better to break social and design stereotypes: characters of different races, unusual but understandable settings and details, actions of characters that seem to display their unique habits or personalities as imperfect but civilized human beings.

Children's book illustration can also be a good avenue for inculcating positive values visually: playing with texts of positive quotes used as labels and names, drawing gestures and scenes that suggest or symbolizes proper behavior or other ways of showing affection/values. It's like embedding these positive values subliminally.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why Change Styles

People often ask me why my artwork's style changes, there is no distinct or emerging signature uniquely my own. I gathered some of my past and recent works - paintings and illustrations. I observed they seem not to be related with one another, each work created by a totally different person.

I tried to find any specific "signature" style that relates all my works together. If color scheme is the factor, I think my works are almost always bursting with highly contrasting colors. I also found out that I tend to like simple silhouettes with a single unified composition, every work seem almost poster-like, graphic in terms of layout. But I like each of them unique.

Do we really need to find that one true style? Some painters and illustrators say it helps to have one unique, identifiable style and stick to that no matter what. Probably, the reason to this is because you tend to get a 'hold' of a specific market or audience, and perhaps patrons. It's like letting them hooked on your art. In the advertising world where the art director picks the kind of art appropriate for a project, it's important to have consistent style because they need guarantee that the work commissioned to the illustrator matches their portfolio. Advertising illustration is quite precise in conveying messages.

On a personal view, there will always be an audience for any particular style. I believe no matter how varied your style is, if it's really good and strong, it will stand out and people will get to appreciate your work. But of course, you need to put your work out there and show them to your "market." 

For me, style is your own manner of doing things in whatever you do. It's like all the habits you've developed, the tastes you have acquired, the places/images you've seen, or the knowledge you have gained through experiences. It's the way you pick and put together your wardrobe, the way you arrange plates on the table, or the way you fix your hair. In art, it becomes your identity, as such, you can use it to amplify an expression and a voice. Your personality becomes your style: it can't be rock and roll when you love classical. I think style is different from a fad. Instead, it is something very flexible and adapts to current trends. It is changing but is developing. No matter what your style becomes, your voice and vision stay the same.

But why do we need to change styles? Because pattern stalls. We get tired of pop songs after the media hype and saturation. Mannerist paintings and illustrations become predictable and sometimes it brings us to a point where they make us cringe. You get used to your hairstyle then feel old. We don't like to wear single colored clothes nor live in a monochromatic room.

Because we live in a constant state of flux in an indefinite continued progression called time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Composition is Everything

Ever wondered why a photograph or an image, painting, a scene, a design or layout, an illustration, is so compelling? In addition to color harmony, the texture of the medium, or the sensibility of subject matter, there is one more element that drives the over-all aesthetic quality of beautiful images: the composition.

In feng shui, generally you achieve energy balance called the chi through the proper placement of objects according to the most auspicious direction. You "compose" not only the arrangement of your interiors but also to coordinate their complementing color and designs.

Composition is a powerful way of arranging things: it communicates, informs, dictates, and organizes. On the other hand, composition also restricts, discriminates, and delineates.

Written words become powerful through rhetorical composition. Design and form becomes rhetoric through persuasive composition. A persuasive composition is simple, direct, geometric, bold, excites tension but is balanced, logical and there is flow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Original Art is Not Cheap

I treat my works with respect, in fact I treat them like a part of myself. Creating art for me is probably comparable to the hardships of a mother giving birth to her precious child. I feel drained emotionally, physically and mentally whenever I finish an artwork. But the fruits of labor become priceless.

This is what makes an artwork very special, at least for me.

Like every artist's creative piece, my art is one-of-a-kind, original, and can't be found on the streets of Divisoria. You cannot a buy an artist's reputation and name, which was earned through much hardwork, at any SM department stores.

Art is expensive not only because of the expensive medium (the more expensive the material, the more it lasts longer through time) but also because it is special, mostly a product of human endeavor of which not everyone can imitate, achieve nor can be done all over again.

So I hope whenever you ask an artist for cheap art, please do think again, and think of it like you are buying their very soul.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weird Ebay Item

There are some things in life that are difficult to say with all honesty and sincerity combined even if you say it in the most positive way, that the best thing to deal with it is to just leave it alone or say nothing at all rather than being mean and hurting the person.

Can you tell directly to a person's face he's not gifted with good looks? How can you tell a person who has dragon breath? Can you frankly tell that your boss is jologs?

It's difficult to tell a person that you don't like him or her, or—anymore.
You can't simply just tell a friend that they've been cheated.
It's not easy to tell someone that a loved one is gone.

It's hard to say goodbye.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Greener Pastures

And they all thought my parents are sleeping on dollar bills.

If they only knew how hard it is to earn money these days, like everyone else does. With the exception of Piolo Pascual and Marian Rivera. It does not matter whether you are in the US or here in our country.

We all work hard to earn a living.

We all make sacrifices if we want to achieve something.

I guess it is true that your true friends and family are the ones who stays with you through thick and thin. Amusingly, people who never even bothered to help us nor visit us in our cramped apartment when my family was really struggling, are now starting to show up. I wonder why.

Will they ever be there again when times turn sour?

But then there are really true friends and family who will always be there no matter what, even if the ties aren't there anymore because of unavoidable circumstances. No wonder God gives them with so much blessings. I am thankful to God for them and wish them with much more blessings.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flying Colors

I used to think that when a person tells all about his achievements, he's only bragging to the world how proud and great he is. I feel envious and bitter when I read someone makes his way to success, I tend to think of dubious reasons and possibilities why he got there. In a cynic mind, like I used to, it's all about one's self. I'm not talking about, generally, politicians.

Most of us want to get rich quickly. Others just want larger things in their lives, like the Dark Knight who seeks justice in an unjust way or the Joker who just want the world to burn. While some just want to better themselves. We sometimes forget the real stories behind the great success of achievers. All we want to hear or see is the now, the glamour of their triumphs, and not the struggles of hard work and determination.

Now I'm learning that telling your success story is more than getting flattery, but to inspire more people about how you achieved it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today is National Children's Book Day!

There's no other day much happier than today, at least for me, despite the downpour of Helen. That's because we are celebrating the joys of childhood. How I've wanted not to grow up and stay like a child: nothing much to worry about, everything seems like at play, and the joy of receiving gifts!

I have received so much gifts recently. Now's my turn to share them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Expensive Toy

And so I got myself an anticipated birthday gift.

Quite an expensive toy for quite an expensive hobby that hopefully will turn into another profitable skill. After all the hard work, the self-restraint, of missing bonding moments, the tragedies and victories, the pains of waiting, sleepless nights, and now...


And so another year, another period of working hard, saving up, and of dreaming big.

Sigh, I'd like to travel next.

For free.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cool Life-Size Dolls on National Children's Book Day

The National Children's Book Day is on July 15, 2008. It is celebrated every third week of July to commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s "The Monkey and the Turtle" in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.

Activities are lined-up during that day and throughout the year. Here is a schedule from PBBY.

My beloved art group, Ang INK has been very busy preparing for an interesting exhibit: life-size characters from top favorite children's storybooks. The works are really amazing, this photo is just a sneak peak. She is Raquel, from the book "Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel" under Adarna House written by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan illustrated by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero. The lovely doll was created by Pergylene Acuña, a PBBY Alcala Prize winner. Photo by Liza Flores.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Oil Price Hike and the Artist-freebie no.2

We can't really do something but to cope with it. I really wonder why oil price is going up, what makes it score high on the world market. I'm thinking, are they preparing for another world domination? Or is this just one of the global warming initiatives. Why do they keep on inventing luxury cars or SUV that consume a lot of fuel, instead of solar electricity/biofuel, or if not too ambitious: why is teleportation haven't been invented yet?

Here's a screen saver to pass on and remind us of yet another world crisis, click on image then right click to save.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Photoshop Planets Tutorial no.1

I made a Photoshop tutorial on creating planets in the universe. It's a simple, very basic tutorial but it's a good starting point to make your own advanced creations. My version is only Photoshop 7, though some features will also work on different versions.

You may also download the final image as screen saver, just right click and save. A complete tutorial link can be found here .

Looking at the universe makes me feel the vastness of God's creation and how we are linked infinitely with each other. It also reminds me not to give up no matter how big our problems are, because that is actually nothing compared to what is going on out there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Freebie no.1 free Header

The best things in life are free and I absolutely agree.

This is actually from my first full artwork done on Adobe Illustrator. I could have done much better if I used a pen tablet, drawing with a mouse was really awkward and my wrist ached. I'm really amazed at how digital artists use the digital pen, I just drool over their digital paintings.

Want this happy header for your blog? Just click on the image then right click save. You may use this for your personal blogs or website. I'd be happy if you link me back to your site also. Enjoy!

More freebies coming up so stay tuned...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cool Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

I'm not that really familiar with Adobe Illustrator, so I tried browsing the web for some techniques to pump up what I already know. I was amazed there are so many things I didn't know, Illustrator indeed is full of potential. I have some cool links for you to enjoy:

1. Creating a logo

2. Illustrator and Illustration

3. A vector flower

4. Monster

5. Creating 3D

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Posters from Dubai: Case Study no.1

The new land of opportunities for pinoy skill and talent...Dubai. This is where all creatives now converge: from architects, engineers, to artists, shaping together an artificial oasis. That includes a good friend who courageously tried her luck over greener pasteurs. With all the economic and political catastrophes happening around my beautiful islands Philippines, who knows your closest friend might also do the same, perhaps even me.

She buzzed me at ym and asked for another round of critique-ing, she always value my opinion whenever she has doubts about what she designed. The power of information and communication technology and Yahoo messenger combined. As excited for another American-Idolish-critique session, I was also eager to see her studies. I couldn't wait to download them.

Wow I thought, knowing her since college, she has really outgrown herself in her designs. She is now willing to experiment on different things like combining art, illustration and design. And this is what she consulted me about. She was frustrated that she can't seem to fuse them together despite her attempts to make her designs look artsy yet meant for selling. Initially I liked her first study because it was all dynamic, grabs attention, and shows indirect interpretation yet very much relevant to her subject: A poster for a telecom exhibit fair. The second design clearly illustrated the event, but some images she used wasn't that suggestive enough of what she really meant. She asked if the first design doesn't look blasé, like graphic design trends today are going fully ornamental, bursting with Rococo motifs. I told her, well it was destined to be designed as such: posters should catch attention, conforming to the signs of the times, and announcing what it ought to tell.

She opted to develop the second study.