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.

1 comment:

Atsi-Batsi said...

I love this book as well! :)

You have a great blog and am glad I stumbled upon it. I think Filipino illustrators have certain style that makes their work both playful and grounded in reality at the same time. I think local art work will always be unique!