Arnold Arre’s “Halina Filipina” graphic novel + “The Mythology Class” movie adaptation

My husband Arnold released a new graphic novel called “Halina Filipina” last weekend at the Komiket, his first one since “Martial Law Babies” in 2008, and I for one am glad that he’s back making comics again — which is actually what he was doing — and what he was quite known for — when we first met.<3

It’s not like he was idle for the past 7 years though — he directed, animated and won awards for short films such as “Milkyboy,” “Lakas ng Lahi,” (among many others) and a music video for our own National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang.” 🙂

That’s my hot-off-the-press copy of “Halina Filipina” when our copies arrived from Nautilus Comics last Thursday, a couple of days before the launch. Look at how our kitty was excited to read it as well! You can see the synopsis here, but I’d also like to share with you a few in-the-making notes. (He also wrote about this at length in the afterword.)

Arnold wrote Halina way back in 2002 when we weren’t even married yet. It’s first incarnation was of a simple love story with a bit of social commentary here and there but he decided not to release it because he didn’t want to follow up his previous novel “After Eden” with another romance book. He ended up releasing the Pinoy fantasy and action-filled “Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat” instead. Thus the Halina pages were kept in storage for many years.

Sometime in Jan or Feb of this year, we chanced upon the pages while organizing our files. We pored over them together and I asked him if maybe he give it another chance? At first, Arnold considered turning it into an animated short. We even talked to our favorite voice actors but somewhere along the way, Arn decided to re-write and re-draw some of the pages — actually most of them. He worked on the story for the next couple of months, and once it was done, he finally let me read it.

I liked it before, but I loved the new and improved “Halina Filipina” written and drawn by the 2015 Arnold even more. It’s not the same simple love story I read 13 years ago, it goes much deeper. Through the characters Halina and Cris and subtle details in the background scenery, Arnold inserts personal statements about social class differences, Philippine mainstream media’s stranglehold over the viewing masses, and other inevitable developing-nation issues (*cough* traffic *cough*). Of course not to be missed is the ultimate message about finding one’s identity through appreciating one’s roots, flaws and all. And when you read it again and again, the subtext becomes even more apparent. That’s how much thought Arnold weaves into his works — he truly makes them a complete reading experience. I won’t go all spoiler-y on you but my only wish is that you will love and appreciate the brains and heart he put into it as much as I do. 🙂

Meanwhile, below are some photos from the launch. Inquirer also wrote about it along with a short interview with Arnold here.

Halina Filipina Komiket launch

Thank you to everyone who joined us that day and endless thanks to Jamie & Iyay Bautista of Nautilus Comics for publishing and making it possible for all of you to read it. It’s not in bookstores yet (as of this writing) but you can order online through orders@nautiluscomics.net .

***

Jerrold Tarog Arnold Arre The Mythology Class

A quick cartoon sketch Arnold posted on FB to confirm the rumors that were going around…

And since I’m devoting this entire post to my husband, I might as well write a bit about “The Mythology Class” movie project with the hugely successful director & producer tandem of Jerrold Tarog and Artikulo Uno. Not to preempt anything but since Mr. Ed Rocha already gave a statement that they’re developing an adaptation of Arnold’s graphic novel, and more recently Jerrold gave this slightly more detailed interview about the project, then I suppose I can tell you that yes Arnold had a couple of meetings with the producers early this year, and we are both thrilled that Jerrold — whose work Arnold has always admired and raved about for years (go ask our friends!) — way before he even started making “Heneral Luna,” — is on top of this project. However it’s still very early to say anything more so for now, let’s just cross our fingers that things will go well. If you haven’t read the book yet, please do check it out. (It’s in bookstores but you can also order “The Mythology Class” online via orders@nautiluscomics.net ) .  🙂

***
Also thought you might be interested in watching Arnold’s talk at TEDxDiliman in October of this year. 🙂

From TEDxDiliman: In this talk, Arnold Arre shares his personal journey to develop his art, and reveals how comic books can both reflect and serve as a tool to promote Philippine culture.

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Palette Palate: The first Maginhawa StrEat Food Park Art Fair

I had the privilege of taking part in Maginhawa StrEat Food Park‘s first ever art fair titled Palette Palate from August 1-2, 2015, thanks to the awesome Ella Lama who organized the event.  The fair consisted of an exhibit + pop-up shops by some of the participating artists, myself included. Here are the three artworks I displayed (on the counter, last three from the right). They might look familiar because I posted work-in-progress videos and/or just-finished shots of these on Instagram. 😉

maginhawa-streat-foodpark-art-fair-1

Setting up in the background are Ella (left) and Cheska of StrEat. On the wall from l-r are works by Megan Dino, June Digan, Mary Grace Vinas, and Andrea dela Cruz. This is actually a photo from day 2 because we got rained in on the first day and had to set up at 6 pm, 2 hours later than planned.

maginhawa streat food park art fair

Our pack-up-and-go pop-up shops on the first day. From l-r: works for sale by yours truly, Ella Lama, and Megan Dino.

Handy outdoor craft fair tip (especially helpful during the rainy season) — if your items will fit, you can use a craft toolbox (or any other box with a lid) as a “portable shop”. It allows you to arrange and label stuff and you can quickly close it — and protect the contents! — whenever necessary. 🙂

Another learning: have faith in your customers. Given the weather conditions, we initially thought that only a few people would come. To our pleasant surprise a lot showed up, talked to us and bought our stuff. <3 <3 <3 (If you were among those I talked to, THANK YOU! I loved meeting you and was happy to finally see the face behind the familiar Instagram handle. :D)

We were so busy that before we knew it, it was already 10 pm and we hadn’t even eaten. 😀 Thankfully, StrEat is open til 2am so there was plenty of time to grab food once the art buying crowd thinned out.

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

Class picture from day 1 plus a few other snaps of our works in the exhibit. August 2 — Very grateful for much nicer weather on the second day since we were able to set up at 4pm as planned and I also got to take better-lit photos. Some more artworks on display. maginhawa streat art fair Works by Yang Barrios, Alexandra Paredes, Hands Love Papers, Geli Balcruz, and Karen Versoza. More artists were also able to set up shop besides Megan and myself. (Below photo) top left: rubber stamps and cards by Alex Paredes’ Rubber Ducky Stamp Co; bottom left: prints by Karen Versoza and June Digan. earnest and buddy zabala maginhawa streat food park art fair My good friends Earnest and Buddy Zabala dropped by and gamely posed for pics and even helped me sell (woohoo! I love these guys. <3 ) Here they are with my little blue toolbox (looking a bit more organized this time). The evening was a bit more relaxed and I got to bond more with my new friends. These girls are so creative and inspiring! Of course I couldn’t go home without buying some of their beautiful creations: 

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

You can check out the above photo on IG to see their feeds. Included in my loot from Ella, Megan, Alex, Karen, and June are the “Light” book (which was a gift from Rob Cham!), two art cards featuring Paola Jane Esteron‘s calligraphy & watercolor work (also gifts!), and free brush calligraphy of Arn’s and my names by Sarah Francesca of Creative Curiosities. 😀

Finally, an almost-complete class picture which I nicked from Megan’s Facebook album ;

maginhawa streat foodpark art fair

I’m joining another art fair soon! Please stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile you can always check out my feed to see what I’m currently up to. 😉

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Watercolor Artwork for Callalily’s 10th Anniversary Concert + Album Art in-the-making

callalily band 10th year watercolor illustration

Delighted to present my artwork for the band Callalily’s 10th Anniversary Concert (although some of you might have already seen this floating around on Instagram 🙂 ). This is also my first time working with them and I’m very touched that they chose to work with me on the occasion of their 10th year.

The guys are celebrating the milestone with a special show tomorrow July 28 at 12 Monkeys in Century City Mall in Makati, 8pm, where you’ll be able to avail of this limited edition t-shirt:

A photo posted by Kean Cipriano (@keanedward) on

I think only a hundred of these were printed so better go early. Admission is free.  🙂

AND! I suppose you’ve already guessed that I’m working on the art and packaging design of Callalily’s 2015 album. I can’t reveal specific details yet but you can follow the design process and development on my Instagram where I’ve been sharing sneak peeks via the hashtag #CynxCLcollab.

callalily band album art in the making

Bonus pic: my first meeting with the band members Kean, Aaron, Tatsi, Lemuel (partly hidden), + Soupstar Entertainment head honcho Darwin Hernandez and Callalily’s road manager JR.

photo with callalily

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Design Process: the new Itchyworms logo

NEW-itchyworms-logo-2015

A few months ago I had the honor of re-designing the Itchyworms‘ logo.

But before anything else, here’s a little backgrounder. I’ve known the guys – Jugs, Jazz, Chino, and Kelvin since 1997 when they were still college students in Ateneo. My good friend, filmmaker Marie Jamora (back then also still a student) took me to their gig in Freedom Bar and so I met the guys. We all became ICQ pals (#titohits), chatting everyday — eventually on the phone too –, and them I started hanging out with them and Marie in almost all of their gigs. I also had the privilege of designing two of their albums — “Little Monsters Under Your Bed” (with Arnold) and “Self-Titled.”

The first Itchyworms logo was based on Jazz’ concept of an “iw!” symbol that looked like a worm. Here are the initial studies and the final version as it appeared in “Self-Titled.”

OLD-itchyworms-logo-2008

As you can see, the 2008 version of the itchyworms logo looked and worked like a badge and later we learned that it was pretty hard to use in merch and posters because of its square shape. So early this year, the band approached me for a redesign. The goal was to freshen the look while retaining the “iw!” concept and make it easier to use on gig posters, business cards, signage, and other promo materials.

NEW-itchyworms-logo-2015-DEV

Pencil studies (above), and the digitized / vectorized versions (below).

NEW-itchyworms-logo-2015-a

They chose the first one (upper left) but they also wanted me to explore making a “3D version” which, I agree, perfectly reflects their vibrant, dynamic music and kwela personalities.

NEW-itchyworms-logo-2015-b

Getting there… I made several versions just to give them more options to choose from. The front-facing logos on the right won so I tweaked and developed that direction further.

NEW-itchyworms-logo-2015-c

I played with lower and upper case letters and shadow effects. In the end the band chose the one at the bottom. Yay, new logo for 2015!

And for throwback fun I’ve included some goofy photos from the old days. 😀

old-itchyworms-pics

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Inviting you to Arnold Arre’s Book Signing Event at Filbar’s Megamall

FILBARS-SIGNING-poster

Arnold and I hope that you can come to his signing event tomorrow, Saturday, at Filbar’s SM Megamall from 1-4 pm. (This is at the Ground Level of Bldg. B.) We’re grateful to Filbar’s for the invitation to hold this event, and of course to our good friends Jamie and Iyay Bautista of Nautilus Comics for publishing his work and bringing them to a new generation of readers. <3

In case you’re not familiar with Arn’s graphic novels, here are most of them:

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

The Mythology Class,” “Trip to Tagaytay,” “Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat,” and “Martial Law Babies.”
(Not in picture: “After Eden” which I forgot to include in the group pic. oops!)

He’s also done some animated videos and his debut short film “Milkyboy” won the New Directors/New Visions Award at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2013.

Lots more info are in his site, arnold-arre.com but since he hardly ever updates his blog since he’s always busy working (especially these days), I’m doing the inviting for him. 😉

So anyway, we hope to see you! There will be some announcements about his upcoming projects and releases. 😀

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

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