Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve already populated my online store with some of the new Philippine pop art -themed products. Also tweaked its appearance so it looks a bit more polished now (uh, yes, finally :P). Since I’m revamping my product line due to recent epiphanies, most of my older prints and stickers are now ON SALE (at very low prices guise!) so do go and visit the store and grab whatever you can since I won’t be reprinting them ever again. (Make sure to check out the online exclusives section too.) 😀 GO NOW, GO >>
art and design
Since my last post about Affordable Filipino Souvenirs, I have gone all out in employing Philippine themes in my output. Let’s chalk it down to growing old and finally realizing what I was given a voice – okay, a drawing arm – to do. It started with me getting fixated on drawing the fruits & flowers that were familiar to me as a child. We have a lot of trees here at home as my Dad has a habit of saving seeds of fruits we eat and planting them in the garden.
That interest in local flora just naturally extended to birds. This is because every morning, Arnold and I would take turns in accompanying our cat outside so he can chew on plant salad (to aid in his digestion) and get some fresh air. Almost always, a black & white bird with a flamboyant fantail would come swooping down to play with his feelings. I did some research and learned that this is a Pied Fantail or Maria Capra. Another regular feathery visitor was an olive colored bird that flitted among the gumamelas. It looked like a hummingbird but I later on found out that it was an Olive-backed Sunbird. I got interested in these little fellas and soon found out that many of our endemic birds are already classified as “Vulnerable” or “Threatened” due to loss of habitat & deforestation. Such sad.
Upon further research, I learned that just by planting more native plants and trees, these birds will have homes and the various threatened species will have a fighting chance of surviving.
Thus I am making it my mission to raise awareness for the plight of these creatures and also hail the advantages of planting more native flowers & tree species in order to restore our formerly-rich biodiversity as well as promote this facet of our culture. So far I have been able to come up with a few notebook designs and sticker sets that celebrate our local flora and fauna. Oh, and the awesome fruit of my collab with Filed, the “Garden Bloom” pen capsule.
The embroidered images are of a bird — a Philippine Trogon, endemic to the Philippines — and the accompanying flowers are kalachuchi and sampaguitas as well as a lone waxflower below the bird, all native. You may buy it here.
You may also check out the notecards, notebooks, and other Philippine Fruits and Flowers-themed items at my Web Shop and at my stockists – Hey Kessy (UP Town Center) and Common Room (Katipunan, Powerplant Mall, Alabang Town Center). If I had enough funds I would donate a portion of the earnings to orgs that share this mission but since I am still starting out with this small business, for now all I can do is educate and hopefully inspire.
Meanwhile, and in line with the “promoting Philippine culture” aspect of my mission, I was fortunate enough to have been tapped by Common Room to be among the 1st batch of artists to make a souvenir for DTI’s Go Lokal Store in Buendia and NAIA 3 (inside Kiss and Fly: 3rd floor, Departure area). My collection was inspired by the beloved Filipino folk song “Bahay Kubo” — you know the one, it enumerates various vegetables & here I’ve drawn them framing a small nipa hut, the bahay kubo that a typical rural Pinoy family calls home.
I designed these as early as February but the entire collection was launched just last week. At first my postcard design had part of the lyrics but I wasn’t sure if they fall under public domain already (I asked Filscap but apparently they have no idea too) so I took them out and came up with these playful designs. I think they work even without the lyrics since it’s a well-known song. Fun fact: I learned that the vegetables mentioned in the song are “introduced” species, not at all Filipino natives. But still it’s a song that’s ingrained in Filipino culture so I was willing to overlook that detail.
The Bahay Kubo postcards and notebook collection are exclusively available at DTI’s Go Lokal stores. 🙂
Happy New Year! I know this is late but I wanted to tell you a bit about my first solo exhibit, “Girl Jam” which is still on display at Pablo Galleries Fort but only until Saturday, January 6. If you were to tell my 18-year-old Fine Arts student self that I will be having my own show some years — okay, decades — later, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it because back then I wasn’t really serious about pursuing painting. I mean, I drew and painted a lot for school but my heart was bent on working in the advertising industry. Which was exactly what happened, but I digress…
A few years ago, when I started revisiting watercolors, I posted these practice sketches on Instagram —
A friend from the music scene days, Indi, wrote me privately to say that she would love to see me paint local female musicians. I loved the idea but I wasn’t confident enough at the time so I said to her (and apparently to the Universe?), “maybe someday.” I forgot about it but somehow I got obsessed with drawing portraits and capturing accurate likenesses, as you will see if you scroll down to around 2-3 years ago on my IG.
Drawing and painting everyday I really did improve. By late 2016, when I had already been selling art prints online for a year I was trying to think of what series to draw next and then I remembered that conversation with Indi. So I asked a female musician friend, Myrene of Sandwich, if I could paint her and she said yes which was awesome. <3 When I had lunch with my friends, writer Chinggay Labrador & artist Christina Dy, I mentioned that I was going to make a postcard series starring female musicians but then CDy said, “postcards? Why not have an exhibit instead?” I was surprised because it was an idea playing in my head too but I guess I needed a boost from someone else? She encouraged me to contact a gallery then & there. Pablo was top of mind since I had already taken part in two group shows at their Cubao X gallery years ago and I also remember promising the owners, Yo & Osie that I will have my first ever show with them. So when I texted them, it was an instant yes and my show was almost immediately scheduled! No turning back anymore.
That was in December 2016. I had, roughly, a year to prepare but I still had to figure out what style to do and what materials to use. I practiced with different mediums and decided to use Turner Acryl Gouache since the bright opaque colors suited the look I had in mind. I purchased my initial Acryl Gouache set from ArtWhale 2 or so years ago but they were almost used up so I decided to buy big tubes of White, Perm. Red, Perm. Yellow, and Ultramarine Blue plus a couple of small tubes of Burnt Umber. All the colors I used are mixes of those colors. (Btw All the canvases were purchased from ArtWhale as well. They were a great big help to me. <3)
Once I had the look figured out it was time to decide on my muses. I made a list but I also asked my friends Buddy & Raymund (formerly of the Eheads) for suggestions on who else to draw — particularly from the younger set — since I wasn’t that immersed in the local scene anymore. After finalizing my list I finally got to work. This was in July 2017.
I have to be honest, I was thrilled to be working on a personal passion project but there were also times when I would cry out of frustration & exhaustion. Sometimes I felt like giving up, but it was the thought of making my family & also Arnold proud that pushed me to go on. In the end I decided to just let go because I know that I gave it my all.
Since the show is still up I would like to invite you to check out the paintings in person over at Pablo Gallery, South of Market Residences, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, which is just a couple of blocks away from BHS and Serendra. 🙂
But if you can’t make it, you can view my IG for a few photos plus more backstories. Also, here’s a quick peek via this Twitter thread. 🙂
Truth is I’m the kilig one when all these talented lovely ladies said yes when I asked if I could paint them for my exhibit.?? https://t.co/i01lH8OiBV
— Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) November 19, 2017
I’ve always been frustrated with my figure drawing skills (or lack thereof) and, until recently, have been getting away with “charmingly” distorted figures as popularized by indie comics and fashion illustration. For example, the figures in my work for Ang Nawawalang Soundtrack obviously defy human structure logic.
That kind of drawing is acceptable, yes, but I am married to a very skilled artist who always tells me that I have to know anatomy before I can deviate from it. Remember, even Picasso had a realist period before the creative genius revolutionized the art world with his abstract depictions of society. So I made it my mission to practice drawing figures whenever I can and this is how I’ve been doing it.
1. I hang out in coffee shops where I can watch people and draw them inconspicuously. I usually sit in a corner where no one can see me drawing or else they might shy away and turn their backs on me.
2. I’ve been attending life drawing sessions such as Who Are Maro’s Life Drawing Setup. The session is divided into two halves — one for the male model and another for the female model. Each half is divided into 5, 10, 15, and 30-minute pose sessions so it really trains the artists to draw what they see without overthinking it. Arnold and I have been attending almost regularly since last year. You can follow their FB page to find out when the next one is. Here’s a video of my drawings from the latest one. The first time we joined I just used pencils. The following time I used watercolors, and for this most recent one I used Viarco graphite sticks and tailor’s chalk from ArtWhale.
Using different mediums is training me to think and act quickly before the minutes are up and the model assumes a new position.
3. I watch gesture drawing videos on YouTube. The artist Proko’s human anatomy playlist is definitely a good starting point as he demonstrates drawing, explains bone joints and describes muscle groups in an entertaining way.
4. Sometimes I use Arnold’s action figures to study anatomy. The Final Fantasy XIII figures (which he has a complete set of, lol) are *gorgeous* and I like to pose them around so I can use them as models. They’re also great for studying lighting.
5. When watching TV series or movies here at home I sometimes sketch from the screen just to train myself to observe lines and angles carefully while setting them on paper. I found it really hard to capture likenesses at first but after much practice I think I’ve gotten a little better at it. Can you guys tell that this is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? J/K 😀
My figure drawing is still very much a work in progress but I hope this post has inspired those of you who are also struggling to get figures done right.
By the way, if you guys aren’t doing anything this Saturday, September 9, I’d like to invite you to come to the Kuretake ZIG Pen Meet 3 at the ShangriLa Plaza. I’ll be there among around 50 artists who’ll be doing live art. My slot is from 3-5pm and I will be at the “Illustration Alley” section. Not sure what I’ll be drawing yet but for sure I’ll be doing it in watercolors. Hope to see you then!
If you’ve been checking my Instagram, it might seem that I have been making nothing but stickers…
…which is partly true. The reason for this is I am mostly working offline to prepare for a major project I’m undertaking this year. Something very much-delayed in my life as an artist. 😛 Before I reveal details though, I would like to talk about my current batch of stickers. Pictured above is the Filipino Food Sticker Set which consists of my watercolor illustrations of common Pinoy food for almusal (longganisa, itlog na maalat, taho…), ulam (sinigang, bulalo, lechon kawali, adobo…), merienda (fishball, isaw, turon…), kakanin or native delicacies (bibingka, puto bumbong, sapin-sapin, palitaw…) and panghimagas or dessert (leche flan, halo-halo, sago’t gulaman…). It was a challenge to draw the ulam or Filipino dishes especially because our food is so brown and saucy! How to make them look appetizing, right? My solution was to choose food that had vegetables in them to add color, or if they’re just really brown, I placed them on a colored plate. 😀
If you’re interested in these stickers, they are available online at my shop and at Hey Kessy (UP Town Center) and Common Room (near Katipunan Ave cor. Dela Rosa St. QC).
Other designs available are the following: dreaming dogs, smartly-dressed cats, bread and cheese, sushi, girls & kitties, and coffee. Each one is die cut for easy peel-off and size ranges from .5″ to 2″ — perfect for your planners and journals, yes?
Other updates since the last time I wrote here:
1. My design for Callalily’s album “Greetings from Callalily” won at last yeat’s Awit Awards for Best Album Packaging. I was in Tokyo when the guys sent me a Viber message so I couldn’t attend the event but it was such a pleasant surprise because I completely forgot about the nomination hehe. It’s my sexond Awit Best Album Packaging Design Award — the first one was for the Eraserheads’ “Fruitcake” in 1997 — 20 years ago OMG. Who knew.
2. I’ve been working on honing my figure drawing skills by attending WhoAreMaro Live Drawing Setup events. Aside from Arnold, I usually attend with my art date friends Arlene Sy and Kuki Ulpindo of ArtWhale which makes it fun and less nerve-wracking. 😀 Drawing from life is great exercise and WhoAreMaro’s setup is pretty cool. It’s just like the ones we had in school (UPCFA) where the model poses in 5, 10, and 15 minute increments but it’s more hip and millennial-y since they invite guest DJs to provide live background music and serve food & drinks at intermission. Here are drawings from the first one I attended:
3. I’ve also had two on-the-spot-portrait sessions since 2017 rolled in — one was at the BGC Art Mart and the other one at Hey Kessy’s Valentine Pop-Up. Tin of Hey Kessy took a video while I was at work (below).
4. I help my good friend and soul sis, fashion designer Tippi Ocampo with her blog every now and then. This time we changed her blog theme and updated her logo. Tippi has always had a hook and eye logo but she had an idea to use her initials “TO” as the hook & eye and I executed it in graphics for her. 🙂 Please visit her site for her updates — she is one of the most talented and insightful people I know. <3
5. Have I mentioned that I have an online wedding invitation store (and moderately active wedding blog) called Poptastic Bride? I was very active about updating it from 20011-2014 until I got pulled into the arts & crafts scene. The blog is still up and I post updates and freebies (printables) every now and then. I also made an Instagram page for my invitation portfolio. 🙂 Below is one of my bestsellers:
That’s all for now. I promise to update more often this year!