Saturday, November 8, 2014


An enterprising person decided to give the hairstyles at the Dolce + Gabbana Fashion Week a gorgeous colour treatment. I decided to challenge myself.

Tools: iPad, Daler-Rowney Jumbo Square Heavyweight cartridge pad,
Inktense and Art of Giving watercolour pencils, Cotman pan watercolours,
Da Vinci and ProArte brushes, Signo white gel pen.

And here is the final raw illustration:

Monday, October 27, 2014

London Is My BF 4

Footbridge near Mansion House Station. Lexington Gray ink in Pen&Ink Sketch fountain pen, Cotman pan watercolours.

Monday, October 20, 2014

fashion sketches

Drawing with coloured pencils and spot colouring with watercolour.

Note The Gap.

Chainmail skirt.
Daler-Rowney Art of Giving watercolour pencils, Cotman pan watercolours in A4 cartridge sketchbook.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

more journal pages

Gold Liquitex acrylic, Copic Fineliner, Sharpies, rub-on letters, collage.

Winter Boots.
Liquitex acrylic in Cobalt Blue, Titanium White and Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue,
silver Uni-Ball Signo gel pen, collage.
Handmade paper journal by Phasha. Here's a cool blog post on the journal company.

Monday, October 13, 2014

draw the rude 2: fortune cookies

More Hannibal coping sketches. I drew them in a notebook where I had earlier glued a cookie fortune. I'd thought the two were unrelated, but...

The fortune is a bit of a weird look into Hannibal's possible point of view of his own life. Then I turned the page over and saw that on the back of the fortune which I'd glued in...

...was the Chinese word for delicious.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


A warm-up exercise that turned into something in its own right. Inspired by this post on Colossal.

Pencil, various pan watercolours. Lettering and borders,
Noodler's Lexington Grey in extra fine fountain pen.
Fabriano small artist's journal.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Petapixel made a post on clever things you can do with a smartphone camera, and I was especially excited about the water drop macro lens.

First attempt: strawberries. I found it really difficult!

Apparently the water droplet is for very extreme closeups only and magnifies quite a lot more than a regular macro lens.

I tried again with my Hero 9296 fountain pen and was really pleased with the results.

For comparison, this is what that pen looks like in normal photography:

So it's a fun technique, but a bit difficult to control. I look forward to playing with it more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I have a book!

Click here for the book launch page!
What My Grandmother Told Me is in Spanish and English, and published by Tahanan Books. At the moment it's only available in the Philippines. I'll be informed when it becomes available in local bookstores and online, and I'll pass on the dates!

Page previews:

Some illustrations that didn't make it into the book:

Friday, August 29, 2014

London is my BF 2

More watercolour illustrations for London Is My Boyfriend. I was able to scan them properly this time! I love my Canon LiDe 100; while laptops come and go, it is my faithful friend.

Pen & Ink Sketch fountain pen with EF nib; Noodler's Lexington Gray ink; Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolour half pans.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Television Without Pity on addiction

This is a screed I never posted from a few years ago, from Television Without Pity. The site is closed now, although you can still read all the recaps, but I'm really sad there won't be any more. I 'watched' entire seasons on that site, and it told me more than watching some of the episodes myself would have.

From a recap of Weeds, season 4, episode 8.

Did you ever read Infinite Jest [by David Foster Wallace]? It's good as a novel, like as a literary thing, but it also says the smartest thing about addiction and recovery. You could say the entire novel comes down to this idea, which is that the thing that gets you into it is the thing that gets you out. You become addicted to something little by little, minute by minute, day by day. Nobody goes from trying a little blow to giving blowjobs for crack in the space of a week: it's little by little, moment by moment. The moments start to spread out until your objective sense of time is so out of whack that you are unable to count the days. And the thing about recovering from addiction -- and I'm not a great believer in mantras or conventional therapies because I believe strongly that the smarter you are, the crazier you get to be, because you have more answers for everything and you could conceivably justify yourself all the way to dead if you wanted, and people often do, and Nancy Botwin is the smartest person alive so she gets to be the craziest too -- is that the thing that gets you in is the thing that gets you out. Little by little, minute to minute, you don't feed the bear.
Jacob Clifton was my favourite writer on the site. Read all the True Blood recaps, you'll understand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

London is my BF

Now that I'm back, it's time to take the London blog to the next level and start adding some art.

Pen & Ink Sketch fountain pen with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink, Cotman watercolours in Artists Loft sketchbook.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hannibal sketches: draw the rude

Some things I have been doing: packing, getting hooked on the Hannibal fandom (I was already sold on the show), and spending more time with my mom before going back home to London.

I am not a horror or a gore fan, but I love murder mysteries. Silence of the Lambs is one of my top five all-time favourite films. Still, the TV show is even more stressful than I expected!

One coping mechanism I have is eating food that will ensure the Gentleman Cannibal will want to murder me but won't dare eat me, for fear of dying of cholesterol, sodium, or sugar. The other is speed-sketching.

Drawn with Pentel waterbrush and Sailor Profit Brush Pen (expect a post on this soon!), with Noodler's Bad Blue Heron ink in various dilutions.

And one more quick sketch:

Not a real scene from the merboy story, just a piece of fluff: Fionn teaching Hyacinth to read out of one of those 'fairy tales from around the world' books that I had as a kid. Pentel waterbrush, etc.; plus Koh-I-Noor Hardmuth brown lead with Cotman watercolours for the background.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

merboy illustration 3

Hyacinth rescues the Prince, and Fionn finds him. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what was playing in my head while I was painting this. Just be glad there isn't a seagull listening to his foot!

Later I noticed something was missing, and painted it in but didn't scan the finished painting. Can you spot it?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

doing the work: between 70% and 100%

I've been listening to Chris Oatley's ArtCast, and he talks about the difference between being 70% done and 100% done. In my own work I've been learning to tell whether I'm 'finished', or not.

A sub-optimal 'scan' from my camera phone.
Just because it's a concept sketch and not an animation cel, book illustration or comic book page, doesn't mean I shouldn't flesh it out as far as I can. I should always strive for the feeling I want to evoke from a certain scene. It may not be 'perfect' this time (next time it will! I vow to myself), but it should not be 'oh well, I guess that's ok'. It should be done.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

mysterious beasts

I wanted to incorporate more background elements for the merboy story. Noodler's Bad Blue Heron ink, Sailor Clear Candy fountain pen and Pentel waterbrushes on Muji sketchbook. I tweaked the hue and saturation in Photoshop so the blue wasn't so bright.

This is pretty much the look I want for the comic. Strong character lines, detailed but slightly hazy backgrounds, all in sea-blue on cream. Progress! (Although next time, text should be created and scanned separately.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

tmi time

Share the misery! Ahahahahahahaha ew. Gouache on unidentified notebook.

Friday, June 6, 2014

we are tradition: kalinga woman

In the Cordillera Mountains in the Philippines, there are people called the Igorot, certain tribes of which traditionally wear tattoos all over their body. The art of this style of tattoo is dying; a woman called Whang Od, who lives in the tiny mountain village of Buscalan, is the last surviving fully-trained tattoo artist.

I learned a lot making this piece. I'm not quite where I really want to be with my art right now (to totally mangle a quote from Frank Herbert, the only true art of mankind is the art of discontent*), so I was happy to go back to something that required a lot of patience and craft. It was a slow start, and I made quite a few mistakes at first, but I got into 'the zone' after that.

One thing I did learn is that if you make a line with a Faber-Castell coloured brush pen and then immediately go over it with a Derwent Inktense watercolour pencil, you get a pretty amazing blending effect with a lot of richness and depth. But those pens dry really quickly, so you have to work fast and at the same time be patient: lay down a few lines, blend in, lay down a few lines, blend in.

I did the tattoos the same way I imagined them being done in real life: I rendered the bare skin first, then drew the tattoos in thickly with the coloured pencil, then went over it with the ink pen to make it solid and permanent.

The story came last. I got most of the information (as well as the photo reference) from travel blogs: here, and here, and here.

*the original quote goes like this (minus narration and contextual speech tics):
'Mankind has only one science.' 'And what is that?' 'The science of discontent.'