Just a quick note to let you know that 8″ x 10″ and 4″ x 6″ art and postcard prints featuring some of my recent cat-approved watercolor illustrations are now listed at the shop, in case you’re interested. 😉 There are three new art prints and twelve postcards. (You can use the “sort by newness” filter in the drop down to see all of them.) I’m also selling these — among others — at a small art fair along with some pretty awesome artists & crafters next month. I’ll announce once more details are available. 🙂
(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…
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*)
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.
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! 😀
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.
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:
* You may order these from my store. 😀
UPDATE (Oct.27, 2015)
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.
(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. 🙂
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.
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!
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. 🙂
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.
#tbt – My beloved watercolor set from the 80s on top of my grade school drawing board. These guys survived years of termite infestations and government turnovers. ???? I think the paints can still be reactivated with water but 'd rather just keep them in storage for now. ? #showyourwatercolor #sakura
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.
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. 😀
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.
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.