Googoo&Gaga Artist Collection – Watercolor Series + Musings

Excited to tell you guys that super cool apparel brand Googoo&Gaga has invited me along with fellow artist Wiji Lacsamana to come up with designs for their 2016 Artist Collection series. This year they’re focusing on watercolor art. 🙂 I’ve always been a fan of Audrey & AJ Dimarucot’s Googoo&Gaga’s quirky designs (and designer AJ has been a friend since the late 90s) so I was happy to be a part of this collaboration.

Here are the designs I came up with. They come in all sorts of clothing styles too — onesies, tees, lap t-shirts, t-shirt dresses, leggings, and even swimsuits which is pretty cool, right? The pre-order period is over but I believe you can still place orders through this link or by clicking on the image below.

googoo & gaga x cynthia bauzon arre

Googoo&Gaga x Cynthia Arre

I wanted to come up with designs that were fun and quirky without being “cutesy” since these qualities are what sets Googoo & Gaga apart from the other kiddie brands so I thought of drawing animals sporting human clothing and acting like they couldn’t care less. ;P I chose a zebra and giraffe because I read somewhere that these animals, normally found in Africa, actually exist here on our shores — in Calauit to be exact. I thought it would be interesting to set them against tropical foliage to reflect that fact. 😀

I had a great time working on them — and making illustrations for a brand for a change — and would love to have another opportunity like it again. So if anyone out there reading has an idea for a collaboration, please shoot me a message and let’s see what we can do.

***

via GIPHY

To you guys subscribed to this blog (yes, all three of you ;p) I must apologize for the lack of updates and for also being a little impersonal lately. I know I’ve mostly been posting ads for workshops or new products in my store and the occasional product review. Where have all my musings and indirect confessions of inadequacy gone, right?

Well, here goes. I often find myself wondering about what I’m really doing. Shouldn’t I busy myself with making money instead of art? Obviously I can earn more as a designer since that’s what I do professionally but I have stubbornly been focusing more on improving my skills at drawing rather than pursuing what I already know how to do. If there’s something I’ve clocked in over 10,000 of hours on, it’s graphic design. But here I am trying to get into the world of illustration, unknown territory. Perhaps it’s because I almost had it — I was on that route a long time ago. I used to paint everyday. I drew portraits of my idols (River Phoenix, Ralph Macchio, and, okay, the Menudo guys) in charcoal back in high school. The late Jose Joya, a *National Artist*, gave me the honor of being a recipient of his award in 1988. And then I slipped down the rabbit hole of commercial work and all traces of my previous budding illustrator self disappeared.

Around 10 years ago, a friend / fellow artist I greatly admired complimented my portfolio but then asked to see my personal work. My mind went blank. I asked him sheepishly, “what do you mean, ‘personal work’?”  He said, “you know, art you’ve done just for fun.” And so it struck me that I had absolutely NONE to show. Everything was for a client. Even the band stuff. I had fun working on them, yes, but they weren’t for *me*.

BUT. 2014 happened and I’m back on that track or so I’d like to think. I have a long way to go still but whenever I feel like giving up and going back on familiar ground, I scroll down my Instagram, look at the body of *personal work* I’ve amassed, and keep soldering on.

***
p.s. Incidentally, I do almost always post personal musings on Twitter more than any other social network because I know I can write anything and my post will get buried in a few minutess so maybe I’ll see you there? 😀

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CandyMag feature, live watercolor portraiture at Hey Kessy, new items in stock!

Just a quick update! This week’s highlight is definitely the feature on my painting beginnings and works-in-progress on Candy Mag (*heart eyes emoji*).

candymag feature

I was just telling friends that it would’ve been nice to have a publication like Candy when I was a teen. Locally we only had Panorama and MOD(ikr?) so I resorted to saving up and buying copies of Tiger Beat and Bop! at the bookstore near my high school UPIS along Katipunan (now transformed into what’s known as the UP Town Center).  I don’t remember what that book shop / magazine stand was colled but I remember it being at the back of Vinzon’s Hall in UP so I had to cross the bustling Katipunan avenue just to get there — kind of risky for a 13 year old, now that I think about it.

So anyway I was happy to have been chosen by Candy to feature in their section called “Creative Space”, many thanks to Macy Alcaraz and the team! <3

***

Speaking of UP Town, I had another live portrait session at Hey Kessy’s “Better and Brighter” party/launch at the spanking new location on the 2/F of the Urban Turf wing a few weekends ago. 🙂  Here are photos of the lovely ladies I drew. (Were you one of them? :))

cynthia bauzon arre watercolor portraits

There are more behind-the-scene photos in my Facebook Page (here’s the direct link to the album) and on Hey Kessy’s blog. Here’s a video too, in case you’d like to see me in actio.

***

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on


And finally, I’ve updated my online store! Please do check out the new stuff when you have time. <3

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What Colors to Choose for a Minimalist Watercolor Palette + White Nights Review

Since White Nights (a.k.a. St. Petersburg) Watercolors from Russia became available here in Manila via Deovir, I’ve read a lot of reviews online and have even heard from art-friends that they are easy to re-wet and are highly pigmented. So, being low on EQ I decided to get a few pans for myself. You might already know that I’m not a fan of buying sets (though I have some but they’re either gifts and/or were purchased when I hadn’t the slightest clue about pigments and lightfastness) so I made sure to do my research before buying the paints. My self-imposed rules:

  1. I must be able to use the colors and their combinations in what I love to draw the most — faces, food, and felines (okay, animals in general :))
  2. The colors must consist of single pigments — this is to ensure lightfastness and also reduce the incidence of mud when layering.
  3. They have to fit into my handy DIY mint tin palette, meaning a maximum of 9 pans was in order.
  4. I can’t spend over P1,000.00 because do I really need another set of paints? Umm, no  (see previous post), but then need is sometimes < want. Fortunately White Nights, like ShinHan, isn’t as expensive as the other brands so I was able to stay below my limit.

White Nights Watercolors customized palette

So taking all that into account, here are the colors I ended up with along with their pigment info & light fastness ratings:
— 2 reds (1 cool, 1 warm): Madder Lake Red Light (PR 187 / LF ***) and Cadmium Red Light (PR 108 / LF ***)
— 1 warm yellow: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 35 / LF ***)
— 1 green: Emerald Green (PG7 / LF ***)
— 2 earth hues: Raw Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***) and Burnt Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***)
— 2 blues (1 warm, 1 cool): Ultramarine (PB29 / LF ***) and Prussian Blue (PB27 / LF ***)
— 1 neutral: Payne’s Grey (PBk7, PB15, PV3 / LF **)
[source]

The last one, Payne’s Grey is not a single-pigment color (it’s made up of 3 pigments) and is something I could’ve gone without since I can mix greys using some of the colors so it’s really just a handy “convenience hue” for days when I can’t be bothered to do extra mixing. 😀

Just to show you the range of colors that are possible using just these 9 pans, here are a couple of watercolor charts I made:

White Nights Watercolor Chart

This one (above) shows the range of color combinations and tonal ranges that can be achieved from mixing the brights with the darks. And just because I always paint portraits and people, I made a separate color chart mainly for the reds and yellows (below). I just added the column for green since there was extra space.

white nights watercolor chart skintones

Here’s something I painted using just the colors in the palette (you can view the work-in-progress video on my Instagram). I used them on Khadi Paper purchased a while back from ArtWhale.

white nights watercolor palette

My capsule review for White Nights Watercolors:
1. Indeed they are easy to re-wet, pick up with the brush and are highly pigmented (some colors more than others though)
2. They are also highly transparent — except for the Cadmiums which are opaque — so they are great for layering.
3. At only P87.00 per pan (except for the Cadmiums which are I think P120 / pan), they are quite affordable. My customized set amounted to around P849.00 and it consists of colors that I will actually use. (Sets usually have 3 or more pans that I always end up never using.) Also, these are FULL pans, not half pans, so you get a lot of paint for your hard-earned cash. 😛

And here is something else I painted using White Nights, a simple maguro sushi for my Youtube Channel (hah! If you’re one of my whopping 3 regular viewers, thank you for not laughing at my attempts to make these home videos <3)

Other observations:
1. ShinHan, Holbein, and Daniel Smith are still my favorites in terms of color intensity and flow but I’m happy to have this inexpensive set of vivid paints for drawings that will be scanned and for practice work. Van Gogh, my student-grade set that was a birthday gift from Arnold last year, is my other go-to for practice work but they are strangely more expensive than White Nights.
2. The pans remain moist for a while so I can’t close the lid of the tin until they dry completely because they might stick in the lid when I store them sideways.

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My Watercolor Palette + Live Portrait Session at Hey Kessy Photos

Choosing colors for a watercolor palette is tricky. I’m a little OC so up ’til a few weeks ago, my palettes were sorted by brand — one for ShinHan, one for Holbein, etc. The downside is that I had to lug both palettes around when I paint outdoors. Very impractical, especially since I acquired tubes from other brands (Daniel Smith & Sennelier) which meant I’ll have to add more palettes for each additional brand. Eek. To avoid that bothersome scenario, I devoted an afternoon to testing all the colors and hand-picking ones I’ll have the most use out of and then I combined those into a single palette. Thought I’d share it here since a lot of folks have been asking me about the paints I use. 🙂

watercolor palette

Since I paint mostly people with the occasional landscape or urban background, I decided on a rainbow spectrum of colors — their warm and cool iterations — plus a few neutrals. This way I’ll get to mix a large variety of the other hues I might need.

Top row, left to right: Cobalt Blue Light (Holbein), Marine Blue (Shin Han PWC), Viridian (Shin Han PWC), Hooker’s Green (Sennelier), Leaf Green (Holbein), Hansa Yellow Light (Daniel Smith), New Gamboge (Daniel Smith), Pyrrol Scarlet (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone Rose (Daniel Smith), Permanent Red (Shin Han PWC).
Bottom row, left to right: Vandyke Brown (ShinHan PWC), Helios Purple (Sennelier), Quinacridone Gold (Sennelier), Davy’s Grey (Holbein), Payne’s Grey (Holbein), Permanent Violet (Holbein), Mineral Violet (ShinHan PWC), French Ultramarine (Daniel Smith), and Pthalo Blue (Daniel Smith).  [info on where to shop these brands are below]

Below is an illustration I made using only the paints from this palette.

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on


(If you think the characters look familiar, that’s because they’re based on Augustus and Hazel from “The Fault in Our Stars.” I’m currently working on illustrations inspired by YA films, a wonderful idea suggested to me by talented artist & letterer Abbey Sy. So excited to make more. :D)

I’m very happy with this combination because it has everything I need — just look at the colors that can be mixed from this selection on the charts I placed beside the palette. If you’re looking into getting into watercolors and are panicking over what pricey set to buy, try determining the colors you need first and then purchase individual tubes & pans and make your own set 🙂

ShinHan PWC and Sennelier tubes are from ArtWhale (can be ordered online)
Daniel Smith tubes are from DE’s ArtRoom (they’re based in Cebu but you can also order online)
Holbein tubes are from Deovir Arts (SM North Edsa, Quezon City)

***
Last Saturday I had a live portrait session for Hey Kessy’s Father’s Day Celebration. When Dinny (of Hey Kessy) asked a few weeks ago if I ‘d be willing to do it, I hesitated but, as expected, dear husband said that I’ll never know that I can if I don’t try. I practiced using Arnold, random faces on Pinterest, and my cat (:D) as the models, grit my teeth and finally messaged back in the affirmative.

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

I sat in the store for 3 hours, from 10 am to 1 pm and was able to draw three friendly faces.  I’m thinking that if I had chosen an afternoon schedule, there’d probably be more walk-ins but I was thankful for the relaxed pace.

live portraits by cynthia bauzon arre

Each portrait took about 20-30 minutes to make. I was worried about not capturing resemblance exactly but I relaxed once I set my mind that given the setup, all I could do were caricatures at the most…

live portraits cynthia bauzon arre

On hindsight, I’m glad I accepted the gig because painting from life with the models actually knowing that I’m painting them — as opposed to sneakily painting people in a coffee shop — is a great experience. We had to do it for art class in college but the subjects were either classmates or hired models. This time, my subjects really had the intention of having me draw them, which gave me a boost of confidence. Save for Danry who I already know from comic-related events, I got to know really nice people beyond just “hi’s and hello’s” and that was wonderful.

***

Speaking of Hey Kessy, I have a Shrink Art Workshop there on July 2! I resurrected my Youtube Channel and made a How-to Make-Shrink-Art video so you’ll have a taste of what we’ll be doing there,

Please sign up via this form if you’d like to learn how to make shrink art out of your doodles too! Class fee is P1500, inclusive of materials and light snacks.
*More details here.

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Where to find my art prints, postcards, & other work in Metro Manila

cynthia arre hey kessy

Aside from my online (home-based) store, my products — art prints, postcards, etc — are now also available at two lovely stores in the Katipunan, Quezon City area. The first one is Hey Kessy who has been carrying my products since last year actually. I’va also held a couple of workshops there before and am having another one on July 2 — please see my previous post for details. 🙂

Hey Kessy has recently moved to a cozy space at the U.P. Town Center’s new Urban Turf section on the 2nd floor which is pretty awesome because it can now be easily accessed by mall-goers. They have a new section called After Nine Keeper which is a pop-up of goods by local artists and crafters including my friends Arlene Sy, Megan Dino, Tweed & Twine, Rubber Ducky Stamp Co., and more!

There you will also find these handmade notebooks below featuring my watercolor cat and girl illustrations. The notebooks are bound by an elastic string with tiny shrink plastic charms and the notebooks are designed in a way that the paper inside can be replaced / refilled. 🙂

cynthia-arre-hey-kessy-3

Also in Katipunan, right across Ateneo is this wondrous place called Common Room which is essentially a pop-up containing artworks & crafts by around 60 local designers. I’m proud to have my products along with the many beautiful things stocked there. 🙂

cynthia arre common room katipunan

So many wonderful photo-opps there too. When I hand-delivered this Ang Nawawala” print, I couldn’t help but take a photo along with the LOVE Scrabble pillows by PopJunkLove. <3 Below is another photo I took just today and I love how it also shows the variety of goods you’ll find in-store.

cynthia-arre-common-room-2

Apart from Hey Kessy and Common Room,some of my cards can also be found at Prism Gallery in Makati. 🙂 They were part of an exhibit before but Prism decided to retain them in their collection so please do visit the gallery if you’re in the area.

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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino illustrator, graphic designer, and craft hobbyist. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist hubby Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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