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 >>
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. 🙂
If you’re looking for unique, non-mass-produced & affordable Filipino gifts for your balikbayan relatives & friends, may I suggest checking out some items from my shop? 🙂 I admit that in my early years as a graphic designer, it was always a struggle for me to create work that was distinctly Pinoy (unlike my husband Arnold who is an expert at it — it was all over his TEDx talk too). When I started drawing though, the Filipino themes in my mostly pop culture themed work came out naturally. Whodathunkit? So here’s a list of the stuff I have that I believe would make nice gifts for relatives & friends based abroad who may be missing the Philippines. 🙂
The design for this note card set is a pattern composed of Philippine fruits that I remember eating as a kid – atis, macopa, rambutan, chesa, duhat, mabolo, santol, sinigwelas, calamansi, etc. It’s sad that most of these fruits are not commonly found in grocery stores so I felt I had to pay tribute to and raise some awareness for them somehow by way of these drawings. A Pinoy Fruits sticker set (below) is also available at the shop.
The Passenger Series Watercolor Art Postcard Set
As you know the traffic situation in our country is ~ horrible ~ so I tried to find some positive in it and ended up drawing fictitious love stories emerging from random commuting encounters. The paintings are done in watercolor and the cards are available in the shop (Jeepney / Bus / MRT). You may also find them at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center.
My Pinoy Food stickers were born out of a love for eating! Hehe. Seriously, I grew up eating good Filipino comfort food everyday as my mom is Kapampangan and, to me, she cooks the best Pinoy meals on the planet. <3 I made these just for fun over a year ago but I’m happy to see that others have enjoyed these sets as well. There are five sets all in all – Almusal, Kakanin, Merienda, Ulam, and Panghimagas. Available in my shop and also at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center.
The Local Music and Indie Films Art Postcard Series
I spent the mid-to-late 90s hanging out with the #Eraserheads, @marie_jamora and @quarkhenares so I wanted to pay tribute to their works through my drawings. ? The “Ligaya,” “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” “Lightyears,” “Ang Nawawala,” and “Rakenrol” limited edition prints will be available at the #BGCArtMart this Sunday, Dec.6 (hope to see you! ?) and can also be ordered online thru http://www.bauzon.ph/store ?
This print series features illustrations inspired by local films “Ang Nawawala” and “Rakenrol” (by my friends, filmmakers Marie Jamora and Quark Henares, respectively) and music (by my ’90s rocker pals & collaborators the Eraserheads). You can find the postcards and art prints at the webshop and, again, at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center. Incidentally, you guys should also pick up DVDs of the films as they will make wonderful gifts!
Hey Kessy Filipino Food Fiesta Washi Tape
And finally, how can I not include this washi tape! I was very excited when Hey Kessy approached me & fellow Filipino artist Megan Dino (you guys should check out her portraits & merch) to collaborate on a special washi design featuring Filipino fiesta food! Meg & I coordinated via Viber and drew Pinoy food commonly eaten at fiestas — lechon, sisig, kare-kare, pancit palabok, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, bar-b-q, etc — and submitted them to Hey Kessy who turned it into a washi tape for us. It turned out really cute, right? I will stock them in the shop soon but for now they are available at Hey Kessy branches at UP Town Center and Alabang Town Center.
Our Coloring Books – Local Color and Flutterby
Local Color is a coloring book with Philippine fantasy-themed drawings (diwatas, engkantos, etc) by my husband Arnold, and Flutterby contains my drawings culled from childhood daydreams. You may order these online from our publisher, Chamber Shell Publishing via their website and FB page. (While you’re at it, please also check out my husband’s graphic novels over there!)
Hope you guys are able to find a Pinoy pasalubong gift idea in this list. I am in the process of brainstorming for more items to design and draw so please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section. 😀
My work space at home is still the most ideal location for painting but there are times when I need to work outside the house like when I do demos or live portraiture and also when I meet with friends for art dates so I DIY-ed a portable watercolor kit that comfortably allows me to bring my at-home work experience wherever I go. In case you’re in the process of making a watercolor travel or plein-air kit too, I’m sharing mine with you. 🙂
The actual kit is a red pouch that measures 11.5″ x 8.5″ that I purchased for P88 years ago in Daiso. I think it’s a travel accessory pouch but I’ve found it suitable for storing my painting materials especially since the mesh front pocket allows anything that might still be wet inside it to air dry even when already packed. The kit is sitting on a wooden book stand (bought from Fully Booked but it’s similar to this one) that I use as an easel when doing on-the-spot portraits. I have a portable table easel too, you’ll see it in use in this video, but it’s bigger and heavier so I only use it for outdoor events or when I hold workshops.
The back of the pouch has two more pockets where I store watercolor journals, pads and paper towels. See just how sulit this P88 bag is? By the way, the Clester journal is from Sekaido in Tokyo (I also use the Albireo journal which is slightly cheaper) and the Bockingford pad is from ArtWhale.
What’s inside the bag:
- Brush stnad (given by my friend Jovan (@starshuffler). I believe she bought this in an art store n Hong Kong), Never leave your brushes submerged in water, guys. You can rest them on paper towels when not in use but I particularly like how this holder lets my brushes’ bristles dry while keeping their shape.
- A roll-up tool case I bought from crafter friend Nikki of Tweed & Twine. I like that this tool case has wide pockets so I can keep rulers and small pocket palettes in it too. Also, fabric = breathable!
- Flat water bottle from my Holbein Pro Compo II travel set – a kit I stopped using because it’s quite heavy and bulky. I transferred the paint from it into a folding palette.
- My husband‘s 20-year-old Schmincke watercolor palette (video of when I first discovered it here), resurrected for my personal use. 😛
- Collapsible water pail that I bought in Sekaido (Shinjuku main branch) last year.
- Little tin container bought for P29 in Landmark. I have lots of these and I use them for storing extra paint pans or graphite sticks.
The usual art materials:
- Silver Black Velvet Brush #8, a gift from my cousin abroad, locally available from Craft Carrot. The bristles are synthetic and I like how I can make both fine lines and semi-thick washes with it.
- Artetje Canlon Pro 5/0 brush I bought in Sekaido. I think it’s meant for miniature work and I only use it for detail work if necessary.
- Escoda Aquario #12 Squirrel Mop from ArtWhale — my all-time favorite brush. It’s a great mop for laying down initial washes of transparent color and if I forget to bring my other brushes, the pointy end is awesome for sketchy detail work too.
- Escoda Reserva #8 Kolinsky Sable Brush, also from ArtWhale — my next favorite brush. It’s collapsible so it’s perfect for travel. It can hold a lot of paint and is great for laying down juicy strokes of color which supplements the initial base washes made by the Aquario. I have a video of the two brushes in action on my Youtube watercolor tutorial channel.
- Some of the paint in the original palette has dried up so I filled it with colors I actually use which is a combination of Shin Han, White Nights, and leftover Shcmincke pans. I alternate this palette with my other folding palettes (see photo below), depending on what I’ll be painting that day.
- Viarco ArtGraf Water-Soluble Tailor Shape Graphite Block in Sanguine and ArtGraf Graphite Stick, both from ArtWhale. These are awesome and dissolve unbelievably smooth with no obvious streaking, perfect for live figure drawing sessions.
- Selection of paper — usually Strathmore. Khadi and Bockingford from ArtWhale, Hahnemuhle from Deovir Arts, Fabriano from NBS, and Canson Montval or Arches from IFEX or NBS. See my old blog post comparing different watercolor papers and on my watercolor tools (part 1, part 2)
My alternate folding palettes. I love this kind of palette since they are light, inexpensive and they have ample space for mixing colors. The one on the left is the palette I use the most since I’m already accustomed to the paints in it. You can refer to this old post for the colors / brands it contains (though I replaced 3 or 4 of the colors since writing that post). The palette on the right contains Holbein paint from that I transferred from my Pro Compo II travel kit which, as mentioned above, is really too bulky for me to lug around.
And finally below is what the portable setup looks like when in use.
Also here 😀
How about you? What’s in your portable watercolor kit? If you have blog posts about it please do share the links with me in the comments section. 🙂
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!