Posts Tagged "illustration"

Promoting Philippine Culture and Preserving Biodiversity Through Art

Philippine Flowers ntoebooks
Since my last post about Affordable Filipino Souvenirs, I have gone all out in employing Philippine themes in my output. Call it growing old and finally realizing what I was given a voice – okay, a drawing arm – to do. At first, I got fixated on drawing the fruits & flowers familiar to me as a child. We have a lot of trees here at home as my Dad never fails to save seeds of fruits we eat to plant in the garden.

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That interest naturally extended to birds. Every morning, Arnold and I would take turns 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 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.

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Upon further research, I learned that just by planting more native plants and trees, these birds will have a home and the various threatened species will have a fighting chance of surviving.

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Thus I am making it my mission to raise awareness for the plight of these creatures and also hail the advantages of planting native flowers & tree species in order to preserve our formerly-rich biodiversity as well as promote our culture. So far I have been able to come up with notebooks and sticker sets that feature local flora and fauna. Oh, and this awesome collab with Filed, the “Garden Bloom” pen capsule.

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The bird is 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.

Philippine birds flowers fruits notebooks

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 part of the earnings to orgs that share this mission but alas, I won’t be able to sustain it since I am still starting out with this small business.

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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 (very soon!) NAIA 3. 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.

bahay kubo postcard and notebooks for DTI Go Lokal

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. 🙂

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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? 🙂 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. 🙂

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 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.

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. <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

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 my shop 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. 😀

 

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My first solo exhibit – “Girl Jam” at Pablo Gallery BGC

Girl Jam exhibit Cynthia Bauzon Arre Pablo Gallery

Happy New Year! I know this is late but I wanted to tell you a bit about my first solo exhibit, “Girl Jam” which is still on display at Pablo Galleries Fort but only until Saturday, January 6. If you were to tell my 18-year-old Fine Arts student self that I will be having my own show some years — okay, decades — later, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it because back then I wasn’t really serious about pursuing painting. I mean, I drew and painted a lot for school but my heart was bent on working in the advertising industry. Which was exactly what happened, but I digress…

A few years ago, when I started revisiting watercolors, I posted these practice sketches on Instagram —

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A friend from the music scene days, Indi, wrote me privately to say that she would love to see me paint local female musicians. I loved the idea but I wasn’t confident enough at the time so I said to her (and apparently to the Universe?), “maybe someday.” I forgot about it but somehow I got obsessed with drawing portraits and capturing accurate likenesses, as you will see if you scroll down to around 2-3 years ago on my IG.

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Drawing and painting everyday I really did improve. By late 2016, when I had already been selling art prints online for a year I was trying to think of what series to draw next and then I remembered that conversation with Indi. So I asked a female musician friend, Myrene of Sandwich, if I could paint her and she said yes which was awesome. <3 When I had lunch with my friends, writer Chinggay Labrador & artist Christina Dy, I mentioned that I was going to make a postcard series starring female musicians but then CDy said, “postcards? Why not have an exhibit instead?” I was surprised because it was an idea playing in my head too but I guess I needed a boost from someone else? She encouraged me to contact a gallery then & there. Pablo was top of mind since I had already taken part in two group shows at their Cubao X gallery years ago and I also remember promising the owners, Yo & Osie that I will have my first ever show with them. So when I texted them, it was an instant yes and my show was almost immediately scheduled! No turning back anymore.

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That was in December 2016. I had, roughly, a year to prepare but I still had to figure out what style to do and what materials to use. I practiced with different mediums and decided to use Turner Acryl Gouache since the bright opaque colors suited the look I had in mind. I purchased my initial Acryl Gouache set from ArtWhale 2 or so years ago but they were almost used up so I decided to buy big tubes of White, Perm. Red, Perm. Yellow, and Ultramarine Blue plus a couple of small tubes of Burnt Umber. All the colors I used are mixes of those colors. (Btw All the canvases were purchased from ArtWhale as well. They were a great big help to me. <3)

Once I had the look figured out it was time to decide on my muses. I made a list but I also asked my friends Buddy & Raymund (formerly of the Eheads) for suggestions on who else to draw — particularly from the younger set — since I wasn’t that immersed in the local scene anymore. After finalizing my list I finally got to work. This was in July 2017.

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I have to be honest, I was thrilled to be working on a personal passion project but there were also times when I would cry out of frustration & exhaustion. Sometimes I felt like giving up, but it was the thought of making my family & also Arnold proud that pushed me to go on. In the end I decided to just let go because I know that I gave it my all.

Since the show is still up I would like to invite you to check out the paintings in person over at Pablo Gallery, South of Market Residences, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, which is just a couple of blocks away from BHS and Serendra. 🙂

But if you can’t make it, you can view my IG for a few photos plus more backstories. Also, here’s a quick peek via this Twitter thread. 🙂

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How I’ve been trying to improve my figure drawing

I’ve always been frustrated with my figure drawing skills (or lack thereof) and, until recently, have been getting away with “charmingly” distorted figures as popularized by indie comics and fashion illustration. For example, the figures in my work for Ang Nawawalang Soundtrack obviously defy human structure logic.

That kind of drawing is acceptable, yes, but I am married to a very skilled artist who always tells me that I have to know anatomy before I can deviate from it. Remember, even Picasso had a realist period before the creative genius revolutionized the art world with his abstract depictions of society. So I made it my mission to practice drawing figures whenever I can and this is how I’ve been doing it.

1. I hang out in coffee shops where I can watch people and draw them inconspicuously. I usually sit in a corner where no one can see me drawing or else they might shy away and turn their backs on me.

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2. I’ve been attending life drawing sessions such as Who Are Maro’s Life Drawing Setup. The session is divided into two halves — one for the male model and another for the female model. Each half is divided into 5, 10, 15, and 30-minute pose sessions so it really trains the artists to draw what they see without overthinking it. Arnold and I have been attending almost regularly since last year. You can follow their FB page to find out when the next one is. Here’s a video of my drawings from the latest one. The first time we joined I just used pencils. The following time I used watercolors, and for this most recent one I used Viarco graphite sticks and tailor’s chalk from ArtWhale.

Using different mediums is training me to think and act quickly before the minutes are up and the model assumes a new position.

3. I watch gesture drawing videos on YouTube. The artist Proko’s human anatomy playlist is definitely a good starting point as he demonstrates drawing, explains bone joints and describes muscle groups in an entertaining way.

4. Sometimes I use Arnold’s action figures to study anatomy. The Final Fantasy XIII figures (which he has a complete set of, lol) are *gorgeous* and I like to pose them around so I can use them as models. They’re also great for studying lighting.

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5. When watching TV series or movies here at home I sometimes sketch from the screen just to train myself to observe lines and angles carefully while setting them on paper. I found it really hard to capture likenesses at first but after much practice I think I’ve gotten a little better at it. Can you guys tell that this is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? J/K 😀

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My figure drawing is still very much a work in progress but I hope this post has inspired those of you who are also struggling to get figures done right.

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Kuretake Zig Pen Meet 3
By the way, if you guys aren’t doing anything this Saturday, September 9, I’d like to invite you to come to the Kuretake ZIG Pen Meet 3 at the ShangriLa Plaza. I’ll be there among around 50 artists who’ll be doing live art. My slot is from 3-5pm and I will be at the “Illustration Alley” section. Not sure what I’ll be drawing yet but for sure I’ll be doing it in watercolors. Hope to see you then!

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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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