Posts Tagged "drawings"

Affordable Filipino Art Gifts for Balikbayans

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? šŸ™‚ 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. šŸ™‚

Native Filipino Fruits Note Card Set


The design for this note card set is a pattern composed of native 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 Native Pinoy Fruits sticker setĀ (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.

Philippine Food Sticker Sets

filipino food stickers

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. <3Ā  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 atĀ Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center.

The Local Music and Indie Films Art Postcard Series

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).Ā  You can find the postcards and art prints at my shop and, again, atĀ 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. šŸ˜€


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Pinoy Food Stickers, Awit Awards, and other Updates

If you’ve been checking my Instagram, itĀ might seem that I have been making nothing but stickers…

Pinoy Food Stickers — Ulam, Panghimagas, Almusal, Kakanin, and Merienda

…which is partly true. The reason for this is I am mostly working offlineĀ to prepareĀ for a major project I’m undertaking this year. Something very much-delayed in my life as an artist. šŸ˜› Before IĀ 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. šŸ˜€

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?

stickers philippines

These can be purchased online from my shop too. In-the-making / paintingĀ photos are on


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.

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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. šŸ˜€ 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 andĀ millennial-y since theyĀ inviteĀ guest DJs to provide live background music and serve food & drinks at intermission. Here are drawings from the first one I attended:

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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).

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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. šŸ™‚ Please visit her site for her updates — she is one of the most talented and insightful people I know. <3

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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. šŸ™‚ Below is one of my bestsellers:

That’s all for now. I promise to update more often this year!

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What Colors to Choose for a Minimalist Watercolor Palette + White Nights Review

Since White Nights (a.k.a. St. Petersburg) Watercolors from Russia became available here in ManilaĀ via Deovir,Ā I’ve read a lot of reviews onlineĀ and have even heard from art-friends that they are easy to re-wet and are highly pigmented. So, being low on EQ I decided to get a few pans for myself. You might already know that I’m not a fan of buying sets (though I have some but they’reĀ eitherĀ gifts and/or were purchased when I hadn’t the slightest clue about pigments and lightfastness) so I made sure to do my research before buying theĀ paints. My self-imposed rules:

  1. I must be able to use the colors and their combinations in what I love to draw the most — faces, food, and felines (okay, animals in general :))
  2. The colors must consist of single pigments — this is to ensure lightfastness and also reduce the incidence of mud when layering.
  3. They have to fit into my handy DIY mint tin palette, meaningĀ a maximum of 9 pans was in order.
  4. I can’t spend over P1,000.00 because do I really need another set of paints? Umm, no Ā (see previous post), but then need is sometimes < want. Fortunately White Nights, like ShinHan, isn’t as expensive as the other brands so I was able to stay below my limit.

White Nights Watercolors customized palette

So taking all that into account, here are the colors I ended up with along with their pigment info & light fastness ratings:
— 2 reds (1 cool, 1 warm): Madder Lake Red Light (PR 187 / LF ***) and Cadmium Red Light (PR 108 / LF ***)
— 1 warm yellow: Cadmium YellowĀ Medium (PY 35 / LF ***)
— 1 green: Emerald Green (PG7 / LF ***)
— 2 earth hues: Raw Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***) and Burnt Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***)
— 2 blues (1 warm, 1 cool): Ultramarine (PB29 / LF ***) and Prussian Blue (PB27 / LF ***)
— 1 neutral: Payne’s Grey (PBk7, PB15, PV3 / LF **)

The last one, Payne’s Grey is not a single-pigment color (it’s made up ofĀ 3Ā pigments) and is something I could’ve gone without since I can mix greys using some of the colors so it’s really just a handy “convenienceĀ hue” for days when IĀ can’t be bothered to doĀ extra mixing. šŸ˜€

Just to show you the range of colors that are possible using just these 9 pans, here are a couple of watercolor charts I made:

White Nights Watercolor Chart

This one (above) shows the range of color combinations andĀ tonal rangesĀ that can be achieved from mixing theĀ brights with the darks. And just because I always paint portraits and people, I made a separate color chart mainly for the reds and yellows (below). I just added the column for green since there was extra space.

white nights watercolor chart skintones

Here’s something I paintedĀ using just the colors in the palette (you can view the work-in-progress video on my Instagram). I used them on Khadi Paper purchased a while back from ArtWhale.

white nights watercolor palette

My capsule review for White Nights Watercolors:
1. Indeed they are easy to re-wet, pick up with the brush and are highly pigmented (some colors more than others though)
2. They are also highly transparent — except for the Cadmiums which are opaque — so they are great for layering.
3.Ā At only P87.00 per pan (except for the Cadmiums which are I think P120 / pan), they are quite affordable. My customized set amounted to around P849.00 and it consists of colors that I will actually use. (Sets usually have 3 or more pans that I always end up never using.) Also, these are FULL pans, not half pans, so you get a lot of paint for your hard-earned cash. šŸ˜›

And here is something else I painted using White Nights, a simple maguro sushi for my Youtube Channel (hah! If you’re one of my whopping 3 regularĀ viewers, thank you for not laughing at my attempts to makeĀ these homeĀ videos <3)

Other observations:
1. ShinHan, Holbein, and Daniel Smith are still my favorites in terms of color intensity and flow but I’m happy to have this inexpensive set of vivid paints for drawingsĀ that will be scanned and for practice work. Van Gogh, my student-grade set that was a birthday gift from Arnold last year, is my otherĀ go-to for practice work but they are strangely more expensive than White Nights.
2. The pans remain moist for a while so I can’t close the lid of the tin until they dry completely because they might stick in the lidĀ whenĀ I store them sideways.

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My Watercolor Portrait Workshop: quick recap + snaps

Last Saturday I had the privilege of teaching my first watercolor class on portraits. If anyoneĀ told the me of 2015Ā that I’d be holding workshops in a year’s time, I would have laughedĀ in theirĀ face. Seriously, it took me a lot of thinking, overthinking, and convincing to finally crawl out of my comfort zone and gather the confidence to actually go and do it. Why? Because workshops are the new ballet lessons? Well …yes (*sheepish smile*) but alsoĀ because I’ve gained so much from being part of Manila’s growing handmade art community so it’s time to give back. <3 And why not share what I’ve learned over the years decades that I’ve been drawing faces to budding artists whoĀ share the same passion for creating?

But first, credit where it’s due. The first and only drawing-related workshop I ever attended is veteran artistĀ Fernando Sena’s Summer Art Workshop way back in 1986. Believe me that was enough. (He still conducts these workshops, do check them out.) It was an intensive 8-session art course (complete with an on-siteĀ sketchingĀ session at Hinulugang Taktak in Antipolo, a “graduation” and an exhibit) while I was between 2nd and 3rd year high school and that was where I honed my drawing skills. I learned how to use graphite, charcoal, oil pastels, and even oil paints. It completely prepared me for the courses in the UP College of Fine Arts that I would eventually take. šŸ™‚

oil portrait painting by cynthia bauzon arre

An oil portrait painting I made of my Tita Lina back in 1986. My Ate Peach sent this pic to me via IG. Haven’t seen it in years since it’s in their family home in Sydney. šŸ™‚

After that I’d do charcoal and oil portraits of relatives, friends, and the random 80sĀ teen hearthrob (i.e. River Phoenix, Scott Baio, Robby Rosa… I know, so very #titahits). It was only last year when I picked up the old hobby again and taught myself how to do it using watercolors by watching Youtube videos and reading tutorials. I would also observeĀ Arnold whenever he drew and applied some of his digital sketching techniques to my analog work. And that’s how I developed a watercolor portrait style that I’m quite happy with — and that’s what I shared and demonstrated in my class last Saturday.

It was heldĀ at Hey Kessy, a cuteĀ littleĀ art and crafts store in Katipunan which also houses a charmingly decorated brightly-lit workshop venue. It’s also where I did the Shrink Art workshop last year. I love the place’s artsy,Ā creative vibe so please expect more workshops from me in theĀ space.

Some photos of what went on…

watercolor workshop portraits

I thought it was important for them to learn face-drawing basics first so I guided theĀ participants onĀ how to do itĀ then letĀ them apply what they learned when sketchingĀ from a reference photo. *I just had to pick Kiko Mizuhara as ourĀ practice model. How pretty is she?

watercolor workshop portraits watercolor workshop portraits philippines

After we were happy with our respective pencil drawings, we started painting. Below is the result of the face I sketched and painted on-site. Admittedly, this was the part I stressed over for weeks since I’ve never drawn in front of an audienceĀ before — can I do it fast enough? Will it turn out okay?

watercolor workshop portraits manila

Below: everyone hard at work on their paintings.

watercolor workshop portraits quezon city

And finally, the result of everyone’s efforts — yay, class photo!

watercolor workshop philippines

A few of the participants are illustrators like my friend Jovan de Ocampo who’s a cake designerĀ andĀ longtimeĀ member of AngINK; some are young art students looking to hone their portrait skills, and some are new to watercolors andĀ admitted that they’ve never properly drawn faces before. But look at their outputs above and below, they did it and I think some of their own styles are already emerging! I’m so proud of them. šŸ™‚

workshop participant works

One of the participants, Chu, even shared a before and after photo (below, left) Ā of a portrait she made a month ago (inset) and her work after she took my workshop.

workshop student works

The other drawingĀ (aboce, right) is a portrait wherein she used a technique I taught them. So happy to see so much improvement in such a short time!

You can keep track of my workshops and student outputs via the hashtag #cynarreworkshops on Instagram. I will definitely hold another class like this soon so if you’d like to join the next one, please leave a comment on this postĀ + your preference of area (QC / Makati) so I can update you once I get hold of more details. šŸ™‚

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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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