Thursday, November 24, 2011

the enchanted

Illustration from the book, Ang Mahiwagang Kuba (The Enchanted Hunchback)

What was your inspiration for the children's book Ang Mahiwagang Kuba? How did you come up with the characters?

The original version of the story was set in European monarchy. Instead of adhering to the royalty look besides making the illustrations current, I got inspiration from fantasy comics digital artists. The story is very complicated and so are the characters. To challenge myself without illustrating too far, I also made some twists in the identities of each character. Some of them are borrowed from mythologies. Some characters are creature-like that are matched to each other so that the reader will be able to follow them along with the plots. The intriguing character's identities create back stories.

What medium did you use?

The illustrations were traditionally drawn in pencil on a 15x20 board. They were then scanned at a very high resolution image. All of the colorings, enhancements, and retouching were done in Photoshop. Texture was also added digitally.

I noticed the layout and composition seem to have a lot of whitespace and bare details on the setting, does it have any significance?

As the story of Lola Basyang is a classic, I wanted the illustrations to look timeless too. I like the reader to wonder if there's such a place or where can they be. It adds curiosity. Besides, the story is so complicated that I wanted the reader to focus on the characters since there are many protagonists and should fit on limited pages. I placed emphasis by placing more details on the characters rather than the background to make their identities colorful and easier to decipher.

Any significance on the ending illustration?

I ended the story with that illustration as my "postmodern" take on the moral of the story: a kind heart is more valuable than the physical attributes of a person. Taking a famous quote from The Little Prince, what is essential is invisible to the naked eye. This ending illustration shifts the point of view of the story from fantasy to reality.

What was your intention on the page that looks like a misprint? (the repulsive face of a character distortedly cloned)

It's intended to generate a visually uncomfortable reaction from the reader, relating to the character's annoyed feeling in the story.

The book launch and signing of Ang Mahiwagang Kuba (The Enchanted Hunchback) 
retold by Christine Bellen and illustrated by yours truly, published by Anvil 
together with other Lola Basyang stories of the same author and publisher
will be on November 26, 2011 3p.m. at the Bestsellers, Robinsons Ortigas. 
See you there!

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