Posts Tagged "illustration"

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 ūüėÄ

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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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Pinoy Food Stickers, Awit Awards, and other Updates

If you’ve been checking my Instagram, it¬†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 offline¬†to prepare¬†for a major project I’m undertaking this year. Something very much-delayed in my life as an artist. ūüėõ Before I¬†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. ūüėÄ

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 / painting photos are on www.instagram.com/arncyn.

***

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. ūüėÄ 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 and¬†millennial-y since they¬†invite¬†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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā Below is one of my bestsellers:


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

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Googoo&Gaga Artist Collection – Watercolor Series + Musings

Excited to tell you guys that super cool apparel brand¬†Googoo&Gaga has invited me along with fellow artist Wiji Lacsamana to come up with designs for their 2016¬†Artist Collection series. This year they’re focusing on watercolor art. ūüôā I’ve always been a fan of Audrey & AJ Dimarucot’s Googoo&Gaga’s quirky designs (and designer AJ¬†has been a friend since the late 90s) so I was happy to be a part of this collaboration.

Here¬†are the designs I came up with. They come in all sorts of clothing styles too — onesies, tees, lap t-shirts, t-shirt dresses, leggings, and even swimsuits which is pretty cool, right? The pre-order period is over but I believe you can still place orders through this link¬†or by clicking on the image below.

googoo & gaga x cynthia bauzon arre

Googoo&Gaga x Cynthia Arre

I wanted to come up with designs that were fun and quirky without being “cutesy” since these qualities are what sets Googoo & Gaga apart from the other kiddie brands so I thought of drawing animals sporting human clothing and acting like they couldn’t care less. ;P I chose a zebra and giraffe because I read somewhere that these animals, normally found in Africa, actually exist here on our shores — in Calauit¬†to be exact. I thought it would be interesting to set them against tropical foliage to reflect that fact. ūüėÄ

I had a great time working on them — and making illustrations for a brand for a change — and would love to have another opportunity like it¬†again. So if anyone out there reading has an idea for a collaboration, please shoot me a message and let’s see what we can do.

***

via GIPHY

To you guys subscribed to this blog (yes, all three of you ;p) I must apologize for the lack of updates and for also being a little impersonal lately. I know I’ve mostly been posting ads¬†for workshops or new¬†products in my store¬†and the occasional product review. Where have¬†all my musings¬†and indirect confessions of inadequacy¬†gone, right?

Well, here goes. I often find myself wondering¬†about what I’m really doing.¬†Shouldn’t I¬†busy myself with¬†making money instead of art? Obviously I¬†can earn more as a designer since that’s what I do professionally but I have stubbornly been focusing more on improving my skills at drawing rather than pursuing¬†what I already know how to do. If there’s something I’ve clocked in over 10,000 of hours on, it’s graphic design. But here I am trying to get¬†into¬†the world of illustration, unknown territory. Perhaps it’s because I almost had it¬†— I was on that route a long time ago. I used to paint everyday. I drew¬†portraits of my idols (River Phoenix, Ralph Macchio, and, okay, the Menudo guys) in charcoal back in high school. The late¬†Jose Joya, a *National Artist*,¬†gave¬†me the honor of being a recipient of his award in 1988. And then I slipped down the rabbit hole of commercial work¬†and all traces of my previous budding illustrator self disappeared.

Around 10 years ago, a friend / fellow artist I greatly admired complimented my portfolio but then asked to see my personal work. My mind went blank. I¬†asked¬†him sheepishly, “what do you mean,¬†‘personal work’?” ¬†He said, “you know, art you’ve done just for fun.” And so¬†it struck me that¬†I¬†had absolutely NONE to show. Everything was for a client. Even the band stuff. I had fun working on them, yes, but they weren’t for *me*.

BUT.¬†2014 happened and¬†I’m¬†back on that track or so I’d like to think. I have a long way to go still but whenever I feel like giving up and going back on familiar ground, I scroll down¬†my Instagram, look at¬†the body of *personal work* I’ve amassed, and keep soldering on.

***
p.s. Incidentally, I do almost always post personal musings on Twitter more than any other social network because I know¬†I can write anything and my post will get buried in a few¬†minutess so maybe I’ll see you there? ūüėÄ

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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 Manila¬†via Deovir,¬†I’ve read a lot of reviews online¬†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’re¬†either¬†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 the¬†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, meaning 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 ¬†(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 Yellow¬†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 **)
[source]

The last one, Payne’s Grey is not a single-pigment color (it’s made up of¬†3¬†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 “convenience¬†hue” for days when I¬†can’t be bothered to do¬†extra mixing. ūüėÄ

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 and tonal ranges that can be achieved from mixing the 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 painted¬†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.¬†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. ūüėõ

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 regular¬†viewers, thank you for not laughing at my attempts to make¬†these home¬†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 drawings¬†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 other¬†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 lid¬†when¬†I store them sideways.

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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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