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]
Read More

Summer rain, dripping down your face again

Sigh, my only excuse for not updating except is that I’ve been preoccupied1. Anyway, here are a few notes:

* It’s been out for a while but here’s a plug nonetheless: our mag Wedding Essentials came out with the annual Beautiful Weddings issue last month. It features 25 real-life weddings, over 75 wedding element inspirations, plus over 200 pages of articles, tips, and everything there is to know about planning your big day! Please do grab a copy now, it retails for a very reasonable P200. 🙂

Wedding Essentials Beautiful Weddings

You can see a bigger photo of the cover here, and view the launch party pics here.

* You can find a couple of artworks by Arn in the September and October issues of Rogue mag2 one’s an illustration for our dear Quark Henares‘ really funny article about meeting Sarah Silverman and the other’s for Quark’s Quentin Tarantino fanboy chronicles.

Arnold Arre's artworks for Rogue Magazine

* A sister publication3, Imagine Magazine‘s maiden issue is now out. It’s the new, innovative fashion and design glossy by the team behind the i section of the Manila Bulletin. A high-end, 280-page glossy, Imagine takes fashion coverage to the next level, following the trends in international fashion publishing, where fashion is treated as an exhilaration of an art form, and a magazine serves both as a portfolio and an idea platform. .
Imagine Magazine

There’s an article on Arn in this issue4 penned by no less than one of our favorite writers in the world, Luis Katigbak.

* I was invited to judge for this year’s NU Rock Awards, yes exactly 10 years after I won one. I initially thought that I was only judging for the album packaging design category; it turns out I had to pick winners for the other sections as well. Gasp! The result: a night of cram-listening to all the finalists’ albums because I wanted to be fair to these musicians5 and make the right decisions after all.


* We managed to squeeze in a week of R&R in Hong Kong. I’ve been there tons6 of times before for leisure with either family or friends and mostly for work7 but it was my first time to go with Arn so we allowed ourselves to “do the touristy”. 🙂

Hong Kong 2007

More here.

  1. With this, this, this, this, and this.[ back]
  2. A new-ish cutting-edge literary lifestyle magazine for the modern and might I say intelligent Filipino man.[ back]
  3. Meaning they also belong to Manila Bulletin’s roster of magazines.[ back]
  4. Which we haven’t seen because we haven’t gotten a copy yet, oops![ back]
  5. Never mind if I only got to hear of some of them and their music for the first time last Sunday night.[ back]
  6. Also because I’m old na.[ back]
  7. When you’re in the advertising biz, going to Hong Kong becomes just like going to Cebu or Baguio. Most post-prod work is done there.[ back]
Read More

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 ]

view my portfolio