Put your lights on the tree (put them on the tree, put them on the tree)

A recent conversation I had with our friend Luis inspired me to ask you guys this question1: Can you name the top five songs you’ve recently discovered (or rediscovered) while your mp3 player was on shuffle? This way, we’ll get to find good music together.

I’m guilty of downloading songs then forgetting about them until they creep up on me in shuffle mode. Or sometimes, when I listen to a song for the first time, it doesn’t make an impact on me until I hear it again on shuffle. Weird I know but maybe it has something to do with what comes before it. If the song preceding it is blah, chances are the song in question will sound better in comparison, right? So anyway here are the top five songs that’s been in my hard drive forever it seems, but only recently 5-starred:

1. The Wrath of Marcie – The Go! Team
2. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk – Rufus Wainright
3. Hospital Rooms Aren’t For Lovers – The Bear Colony
4. Beatific Visions – Brakes
5. Secret Someones – Laura Veirs

And because Christmas is the season for giving, I’ve uploaded them for you: tadah! The link is good for one week. So what are you waiting for? Download! Now! 🙂

And if you’d like to give me something for Christmas (…awshucks), you can always mosey along to any of my two online stores and buy something for your loved ones.2. The Paper Basket, in particular, carries my Christmas design collection:

The Paper Basket Christmas Designs

We have keepsake boxes, greeting cards, note cards, magnets, button pins, and all that jazz. And hey, if you buy (or have bought) at least 5 items3 from either The Paper Basket OR Poptastic, let me know via the comments link below and I will send you a FREE T-SHIRT OF YOUR CHOICE4 from Poptastic, oh yes I will. How ’bout that? 😉

Just in case I don’t get to update again before Christmas, I’d like to leave you with this adorable video from the amazing Sufjan Stevens.

Happy holidays!

  1. I’ve already asked a similar question to my friend network on Facebook and it’s gotten a slew of fascinating responses.[ back]
  2. That, my friend, will raise you to ROCKSTAR status in my book![ back]
  3. Button pins, stickers, and magnets not included.[ back]
  4. Shirt styles included in the offer are the ringer tees, plain white tees, and tank tops.[ back]
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In fire, in fire, down to the last wire

It’s been a while since I posted a What’s the Story entry so I thought I’d share with you a couple of really old design projects that I’ve unearthed from my ancient Mac’s1 hard drive.

Up first, Sharon Cuneta’s “All I Ever Want” album, commissioned to me in 2001. I was ecstatic when the record company called me because I thought, ahahay! A chance to create conceptual mainstream OPM album packaging! I was free to do anything I wanted, the only mandatory was that her face should dominate the page because, well, she is the main selling point of the album. Fair enough.

I came up with these roughs:

Sharon album design study

The first two are the booklet’s back and front covers and the rest are sample inside flaps.

I wanted the design to have a painted, dreamy quality using macros of almost indistinguishable nature elements because the “want” in the album title connoted “dreams, desires, & wishes” to me. (Uhm, that made sense, right?)

After I submitted them, there was no word for a few days. I finally called to ask what the status was and then was told that they2 wanted something that looked like her old stuff3 and so have decided to just ask their in-house designer to do it…

And this4 is what it looked like when it came out.

Oh well. But there’s a happy ending to this tale: I was paid a discontinuation fee.5 🙂
Here’s another design story, one that pushed through. San Miguel Philharmonic/Master Chorale’s “Great Original Pilipino Music album”.

Mr. Ryan Cayabyab is always a joy to work with, mainly because he has excellent taste not just in music but in the visual arts as well. He especially likes it when there’s a concept behind the design you present him.

When I was sent the track list for the GOPM album, “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” stood out at once so I started sketching a couple of lovebirds under a red umbrella almost immediately. I wanted to show the surroundings in blue so that the couple (who were in color because they’re in love) would be the main focus.6 As for the jeepney, well there had to be something to make it Filipino, the title is “Great Original Pilipino Music” after all.

Here are my rough, initial studies. First in pencil, then a study in color.
Great OPM study 1

Mr. C liked it right away! I told him I would clean it up and improve on it, i.e. ask my talented artist hubby to render it like a painting.

Arn actually took it a step further. He thought the jeepney was cluttering the background so he arranged the elements in such a way that the artwork looked like it was telling a story.7 I liked it much better already!

GOPM study 2

But then Mr. C said that he liked the fact that the couple was already together under the umbrella in the first study although he likes the impressionist quality of the new layouts. He also told us that we could lose the jeepney if we wanted. Hmm, maybe he was right.

We came up with this. The lamps are supposed to make it look like the scene is in Luneta, but if you didn’t get that it’s perfectly okay. 😉 Overall, I thought it looked more romantic and was quite sure we had nailed it.

GOPM approved design

And we did! It got approved. And produced shortly after. 🙂

Before I end this, I would like to share something with you.

With Neil Gaiman

We met him! And had dinner with him8!

The last time he was here, we queued in Gateway but didn’t get a chance to have our books signed, although Arn had a lucky encounter (and photo op) with Mr. Gaiman in the washroom. A few days later, Azrael posted that photo in his blog. Mr. Gaiman saw it and wrote Az: Thanks to you… I learned that the nice man next to me at the sinks in the mall was Arnold Arre, whose art I had been admiring a few hours earlier. (And I wished he’d introduced himself.) Mind-blowing, right? Two years later Arn, who was a judge for the Graphic/Fiction Awards’ comics category, finally had the chance to introduce himself properly, and Mr. Gaiman was gracious enough to actually remember Arn’s name and the incident, and reiterate that he really does like his art. What a fine, fine gent.

More kwento and tons of photos in my Multiply.

  1. My G4 is turning 8 next month! I hardly use it anymore.[ back]
  2. I’m actually not sure as to who “they” referred to.[ back]
  3. Why oh why?[ back]
  4. It doesn’t look bad but I’m sorry, looking at it again 6 years later, I still think my design should’ve been given another chance. At least mine had a concept.[ back]
  5. And so should you if you begin a project that doesn’t get fulfilled. Remember to have that clause in your contract.[ back]
  6. Cliche, I know but hey, it works visually.[ back]
  7. That’s my hubby, a natural storyteller![ back]
  8. Well technically with him tablehopping in the room. But we got to talk to him and we actually really had dinner with his son Mike who was seated at our table.[ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my 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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