Drawings from old sketchpads

(I actually constructed this post as I was waiting for my turn at the dentist’s office the other day where I underwent Root Canal part 1. Hope that’s not TMI.)

If it’s not obvious enough from Instagram, I’ve fallen in love with painting all over again. I can trace this love from back when I was 4 or 5 when I received my first Guitar watercolor set. You know the one — hard, loose cakes with hardly no pigment in a flat tin case. Fortunately my parents lovingly supported my whims and bought me art books & materials without flinching whenever I needed them. For instance, this slanted drawing board which I’ve had since I was 8…

drawing-board

It’s filled with old memories of spilled paints, failed sunset wash attempts, and crudely cut friskets (which you can still see traces of). I can’t bear to throw it out even if there are better, less clunky, CLEANER tabletop easels out there. Happy that it’s getting a lot of use again.

I also went on a mission to unearth old sketch books from my room at my parents’ because I wanted to see them again and show them to Arnold. Out emerged a stack of moldy Corona pads filled with yellowing pages of (mostly laughable) illustrations from when I was in grade school up ’til college. Just for fun I’m sharing some of the more presentable ones:

drawings-from-childhood

1) These are from 6th grade when I was obsessed with painting trees and Sanrio characters. Kiki and Lala were my faves, as you can see.

drawings-from-childhood-2

2) More drawings from 6th Grade, also because we had “Practical Arts” as a subject. So here are early attempts at figure drawing and lettering. And yes, yet another tree.

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3) Big jump from 6th grade to 4th year high school. I remember being fascinated with paisley patterns and water reflections. Incidentally I made a lot of oil paintings in high school. I think I’ll show them another time.

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4) These sketches were for Figure Drawing 101 class in college in U.P. where I was fortunate to have had Robert Alejandro as a teacher. All the stiff-looking figures above are mine but the fluid figure guide in between the dancer and man carrying a baby is his. I remember him telling me to loosen up my lines because I was so self-conscious when drawing. I think I still am at times… Anyway. He was also my teacher in Advertising 101 so I have more plates with his signature and advice / comments on them.

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5: More sketchbook drawings from college. Being in Fine Arts allowed me to express myself through illustration. This will carbon-date me but the guy on the left is supposed to be Robert Downey Jr. in “Less Than Zero.” The boy on the top right was copied from U2’s album “Boy” and the drawings on the bottom right are supposed to be Terry Hall on the cover of The Colourfield’s “Confession” album. (New Wave fan right here *raises hand*)

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6) Even more drawings from the college years. I don’t recall my state of mind when I was drawing the girl and the snake but I must’ve been in an emo phase (though the term “emo” hasn’t been coined up yet. Back then it was simply called “being a teenager.”)

And finally, one of my old favorites because I think I was able to capture his likeness without using a grid…

Side note: I was a big fan of River Phoenix since his “Explorers” days — way before “Stand By Me.” I used to watch “Sneakers” and “Running on Empty” over and over (on a Betamax, lol). This painting was done 3 years before his untimely demise in 1993. I’m not even sure if it was for class, I think I just painted him for watercolor portrait practice.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey down memory lane.

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How I make shrink plastic charms for accessories & other stuff

Even before my BGC Art Mart day, I had a feeling I would get a lot of questions about what the kitty accessories I’m selling are made of and how I make them so I put a tutorial together and had it on display in a frame on my table. (You can see part of it in @firehailtree’s instagram photo.). It turned out to be a good idea because my customers were able to understand how much care was placed into each item.  Some even asked if I sold shrink plastic because they’d like to try it out themselves! 😀

Anyway, I’d also like to share the how-tos with you. 🙂
shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-1

1. I draw the illustrations individually on sheets of shrink plastic, mindful of the fact that the colors will darken and the drawings will shrink down to about 1/3 of its original size. This particular sheet is glossy so I roughened the surface with sandpaper so that I could draw on it with colored pencils.

2. I cut them to shape with a pair of scissors.

shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-2

3. I shrink the pieces individually using a heat gun. This is best for complicated shapes that you want to have more control over. Otherwise you can use a toaster oven to bake multiple pieces at a time.

4. Ta-dah! The piece is now smaller, thicker, and harder than it was. After it’s cooled down, I would usually spray it with a fixative to “fix” the colored pencil drawings, after which I would apply a glaze coating.

Here’s one of my cat pins in action:

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

* You may order these from my store. 😀

UPDATE (Oct.27, 2015)

I’ll be having a Shrink Plastic Crafting Workshop at Hey Kessy (Quezon City) on November 21! Please visit this link to sign up and reserve a slot.

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Life After Breakfast’s Watercolor Playdate + my shop is now open

I was recently invited to join a watercolor-themed craft soiree organized by crafter / designer Alessa Lanot, the brains and talent behind the very popular Life After Breakfast Blog, and it was quite an exhilarating experience.

LABWatercolorSwap2015
(photo from LAB)

In her invitation, Alessa said she wanted to gather some of Manila’s top female watercolor artists for a little swap and playdate. It’s been so long since I’ve actually painted along with other artists (not counting my husband of course, teehee) so naturally I was game. I was actually *floored* when I saw the works of the girls in the final list a few days before the event. Very proud to have been among this talented bunch.

We had to bring enough artworks for the swap so I brought prints of these new illustrations. The bottom two look familiar because they are re-creations of the colored pencil illustrations I did sometime ago. 🙂

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

And below is my art haul from the girls. So precious. <3 You can tap on the image on Instagram to see who made the artworks.

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

That’s not even half of it. We also took home vegan goodies from Alessa & her husband’s restaurant Pipino (and also got treated to a full course meal off their new menu!), a mug, notebook and magazine from Herschel, art supplies from Craft Carrot, washi tapes from Hey Kessy, non-toxic brush cleaners from Messy Bessy, and cute journals from The Lunch Break Project, to name a few. The gifts just kept on coming — it felt like Christmas came early. 🙂

Most importantly it was awesome exchanging stories about our watercolor journeys with the other girls. Everyone was nice and sweet and I especially got to bond with Lorra Elena Angbue-Te, Arlene Sy, June Digan, Megan Dino, and Frannie Wei-lookalike Fran Alvarez who even brought her “Fruitcake” book for me to sign. 😉 Also happy that I got to see an old friend, Pierra Labrador, and finally meet Macy Alcaraz whom I’ve known online since the early blogging days!

I know I should devote more space to the event but I’m running out of time at the moment… Meanwhile you can check out Life After Breakfast for even more details.

EDIT (May 3, 2015) — you can check out this CandyMag.com article for a list + links to the Instagram accounts of everyone in the swap. Yay!

***
1-Shop Images

I also wanted to share that my online shop is NOW (FINALLY) OPEN. *deep intake of breath* It’s my first time to have an actual self-operated online store (as opposed to the ones I have that are hosted on Zazzle, etc) so please bear with kinks and all. You can access it from the graphic above or from the “SHOP” link on the sidebar. 🙂

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Watercolor Review: Shin Han Professional Korean Watercolours

As a kid I actually learned to paint with tube watercolors, not with pans. When I was 7, my dad worked as a professor in Kyoto for a year and since then, his Japanese colleague would send my brother and me Sakura cray-pas and tube watercolor sets almost every school year until I was in high school. 

Later on I got acquainted with Prang and so I grew to love the convenience of not having to open tubes while painting.

I haven’t worked with tubed watercolor for years but a few weeks ago I stumbled upon local online art store  Art Whale while Instagram-hopping. They carry beautiful paints like Korea-based Nicker fine art gouache (a.k.a. the brand that Ghibli Animation Studio uses), Japan-based  Turner Colour Works Acryl Gouache,Peerless Watercolors (a vintage American brand known for bright colors in sheet form), and Shin Han Art Korean Watercolours. I was attracted to the latter the most so I immediately ordered seven tubes with some of my Art Mart earnings. 😉  I resisted from getting the set of 12 because I never use black and white anyway so I had to think hard about which ones I’ll get the most use out of.

TIP: If you’re planning on working with a limited palette too, consider getting primary and secondary colors since you can mix them to come up with other colors you’ll need. However, if you need a good starter set, I recommend getting the box of 12 or 24. You’ll get a lot for your money’s worth.

shin han art professional korean watercolors

After placing my order, the tubes were delivered to my doorstep the very next morning by ArtWhale’s fabulous Kuki herself! How’s that for service? 🙂 She even gave me a very useful tip from her own experience — the binder of Korean colors is made from natural glue (the East’s equivalent of gum arabic) so don’t seal the tubes’ caps on too tightly because they will be difficult to reopen. Just close them tight enough so that they won’t spill.

Right after I got the colors I quickly made the painting above. Coming from working with pan colors, my first impression of Shin Han was that the colors were very intense which shocked me at first. I haven’t tried but I think they can be 100% opaque when applied thickly… I’ll get back to you on that.

So I made a mental note to squirt just a bit of paint into the palette which I proceeded to dilute with lots of water to get the consistency I needed. As you can see in the painting above and below, bright color + transparent effects can be achieved with just a teeny bit of paint. Very economical. 😀

shin han art watercolor review

I made this illustration (a portrait of Aoi Miyazaki) because I still had a lot of leftover Shin Han paint on my palette… and for portrait-painting practice. 🙂

Same reason for this next one below.

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

Most of the pigments in these paints are lightfast as well  — the PDF guide in the Korean Shin Han site has lightfastness ratings beside the colors if you need help deciding which ones to choose. They also blend beautifully so employing the wet-on-wet technique is a joy with these paints. I posted a video on my Instagram where I’m using Shin Han so you can check it out to see it in action.

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“Split Screen” – a little wordless comic I made in 2004

Way back in 2004, Arnold and I were part of a Yahoo Group called “Hey! Comics” led by our good friend Ramon de Veyra. It consisted of a bunch of (mainly) non-mainstream-comic readers which made the mailing list a convenient outlet for friendly discussion about recent reads.

Since there were writers & artists in the group, Ramon thought of putting out an anthology of *our own* works. I had never drawn & written a comic before save for a cheesy application letter to an ad agency after graduation.1.  I wanted to leave that expertise to Arnold but Ramon insisted that I try too. Arn encouraged me as well and advised me that perhaps I should draw from personal experience. So I came up with “Split Screen.” I don’t want to reveal too much but it’s basically a story about finding closure and moving on from a painful past. (In other words, #hugot) 🙂

split screen comic by cynthia bauzon arre

It’s only 3 pages long and it has no dialogue so you can click on the image if you’d like to view it in full. I do hope you can let me know what you think of it. 🙂

* By the way, I found Ramon’s blog entry about the comic’s launch from July 2004. Reading it felt like traveling back in time…

** This was previously uploaded in Multiply but since that site is now gone, I thought I’d place it in my portfolio in time for Free Comic Book Day on May 2. )

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  1. That company DID NOT hire me, by the way lol[ back]
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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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