Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I spent a bit of time talking tonight about my former career designing mannequins. When I rediscovered an older version of Painter in my computer, I decided to see if it worked better than the newer one which I just assumed would be better. It is, in a way. The hand is just more fluid, and I'm much more used to the older user interface. I remember doing faces and skin tones a certain way when I was learning this program, so I decided to do a mannequin makeup mask, the way we used to show makeup styles available for mannequins. I'm surpised how much better this handles. considering it's doing so in Classic mode. I might have to continue with this program version again...

Monday, July 30, 2007


Went to see a friend perform tonight. He's posing for me in exchange for me doing an illustration for him, so I thought I'd practice a little. I hate working from other people's photos when the lighting or effects aren't my intent, especially if I like the photo and see no reason for anyone to make a drawing of it when the photo itself is perfect as is. But this is just practice. My back-up program caused my drawing program to act sluggishly, so my strokes are a little too hard...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I've been exercising like crazy over the past few weeks, in an effort to get as lean as possible, for no other reason than personal aesthetics. Plus I'm neurotic. And have body dysmorphia issues.

So I was a little surprised at the gym when I noticed how the light was catching my features: I found that my face got much more chiseled as well, and not in a way that I was used to, or liked. Of course, gym lighting isn't that great to begin with, but it got me studying men's faces and how their bone structures got shaded, specifically with the cheekbones and hollows. I then decided to just draw a typical male face (for me at least) and do all the shadings the way I recall doing them, plus incorporate how my own shadows were cutting in.

It wasn't that different from my own face. Guess I'm not used to being this lean.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I've been feeling isolated lately. I've been laid up with first a bad back injury, then a strange painful queasiness that's made me prefer to stay asleep to avoid it (when the pain doesn't wake me up). And with my work so slow to kick into gear despite my working on it alone (so I'm basically home alone on the computer doing design research), I basically see no one. Even when I try to schedule with friends, things seem to constantly fall through. Or they just don't call back.

Is Mercury Retrograde over yet?

Friday, July 27, 2007


I'm very raw today - I've been nauseous and feeling ill all day since last night, and still am. I had some ideas, but can't bring them to the drawing because I feel so crappy, and I'm not sure what's the what. Some days you just only have what you have, I guess. Although on the bright side, this is my 200th drawing for this blog. Just wish it were more realized and less experimental. Ah well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Nudes

I went to the Drawing Salon in Soho again because my favorite model Rob was posing. I've had so many sketches of him and had him pose for a few of my own concepts, and he's always such a great model. It took me a while to warm up tonight, though. But I started to like what I was doing more by the 4th or 5th sketches. These are a few of the lot from this evening. They're all 20 minute poses (although done in less, usually - don't want to overwork the sketch) that I did on cardstock found in my printer's recycling bin, with a ballpoint pen (so, no erasing... and lots of errant lines).
I like how my linestyle has developed in the years, and it's definitely something I recognize from my youth as a style I loved: the linework of Edward Sorel comes to mind. But I often wonder to myself: am I really an artist? Or is the word "illustrator" more appropriate? Is there a difference between the two?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I just quickly sketched out the first thing that came to mind, because I'm verrrry sleepy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Easy Chair

With my back injury, I've taken the opportunity to just sit and read. And with the Potter book so engrossing (I've read all 6 previously, natch), all I need is a good chair to curl up in. Fortunately, my robin's egg blue velvet chair is great. I originally bought it in a thrift store for like $15, when it was still stiff (its foam had hardened) and covered in a rough brown burlap-like wool. I just got it reupholstered recently, and I really love it. The shape appeals to me a lot, and I always imagined it in this shade of blue. Now I don't need to imagine any further.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I injured my back at the gym today (stupidstupidstupid) and can barely stand now. So, no real drawing from me. Happily, I have the new Harry Potter book to keep me company.

McQueen Dress

This is an outfit that was in the window at Alexander McQueen. Trying to do my old watercolor fashion techniques but digitally. Doesn't seem to work too well. Argh.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Aman, an online acquaintance of mine, has a blog entry where he queried people which superhero they would be, and who they would do. He was surprised that many people mentioned Aquaman as a childhood crush. I totally get that - count me among them. I know why, too: Mike Grell drew a panel of our seaborne hero with the waviest hair, and somewhat younger and leaner than he normally would be drawn by other artists. I always thought Grell always drew the sexiest men anyhow, but with his boat neck and totally 70s sideburns, I was all wet for Aquaman. This is a quick sketchy version of the panel as I remember it. I think mine looks a little feminine though. Ah well...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back Up

Backing up my hard disks so I'm doodling offline... this is what used to happen to any spare sheet of paper that hung around. My house back in Manila used to be full of them. Now that I think about it, I'm glad I never got reprimanded by my parents for drawing everywhere, and on almost anything. And usually half-naked women. Maybe they thought it was healthy and that I wasn't quite so gay.... lol.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


A car commercial got me thinking of helmet visors and rendering shiny black glass. I used to love doing glass as a kid drawing helmeted super-heroes and futuristic cityscapes. Wildfire was definitely an favorite subject. But I thought I'd take a stab at doing something halfway between realistic and very stylized. I think it kinda looks realistic, but I'm not sure.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I was testing the Painter program to see if I can do my Galliano sketch in watercolor style, like Antonio Lopez. I think it would totally be appropriate for a fashion homage piece, but I have to see if it gets the effects if want. It would be so much easier if I could use real watercolor, but that's not gonna happen. Anyhow, these are a few techniques. The watercolor wetness looks promising. I'll just have to clean up my lines really well before painting in the transparent washes. Here's hoping I can pull it off...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Head Case

When I used to gab away on the phone for hours back in college, the calendar right next to it would end up filled with my doodles. There were always women with weird hairdos and headdresses. This totally reminds me of those drawings. It also, unfortunately, reminds me of a turkey.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


John Galliano's menswear runway shows have always been filthy in more ways than one: between the makeup and the flagrant homoeroticism, there's just so much about it that's so dirty. It's quite nasty... and I mean that in a good way. I had planned this drawing ages ago, but only today have I gotten around to doing it. This is just a rough study based on the initial digital sketch I made of a pic my friend Rob posed for lo so many ages ago. It's actually feeling promising.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Old Dog, New Tricks

I'm rather pleased with myself. After going though a few new links on my blog reader, I happened upon the site of a British illustrator, Christian Ward. Ward's illustrations have a dreamy, watercolor-y effect to them, and I found his portraits really inspiring. So I set out to just draw a face (as is often my wont) but maintaining a very light line. For some reason Painter was in a weird rubber stamp mode, and I think it filled in whatever lines I made with an underlying pattern -- this particular one seemed to have something to do with roses. Anyhow, it reminded me of Ward's work, so I decided to run with it. I think Ward may use reference for his portraits, because they look so natural. I just went straight and drew from my head. But what was really fun for me was incorporating some of the details I studied in my last two male portraits from photo references (from the last several days), mainly how the lips, nose and eyes resolve when seen from a 3/4 view. I really like the result. I feel like she looks like someone who may really exist, as opposed to a face i invented. Well, at least to me she looks that way. But it goes to show, you can never be too old to learn something new.

Friday, July 13, 2007


This whole hand-made, undone naive kind of work has been so fashionable lately, but to me it's mindless work. I see it more as graphic design than anything else. But I thought I'd try my hand at it. I basically let my lines fall where they would.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Next Top Model

As I'm trying to recycle the many magazines I've been acquiring (it's an ongoing process), I often take a magazine with me to read while I go to appointments or ride on the subway. While sitting in a doctor's waiting room I started to draw the cover model in my Spring issue of Fashion, Inc., a men's style guide out of London. I kept the magazine because I thought he was a beautiful man, but because I was studying his features as I drew, I later recognized him as the guy in naught but a pair of white speedos burning up the latest Dolce fragrance campaign.

It's not a great likeness, but it's a relatively quick sketch and I know some of where it went wrong: I initially didn't make his nose tall enough (and maybe a tad too defined with linework), and the eyes are set in too close and too large, but then I continued drawing (after starting the sketch on my lap) on a flat surface too close to my face - which always distorts my view. But working in ballpoint, there's only so much one can do to correct. The photograph of the drawing doesn't help either, as the flash is reflecting off the ink and making it look lighter. It was great to draw his mouth, though - I never knew how to resolve the corners of a mouth on the far side of the viewer, when seen from this angle. His is definitely one variation to learn.


I really didn't want to draw tonight. I actually wanted to go watch a late screening of Harry Potter, but they were all sold out. I then decided I would make an icebox cake, just so I wouldn't spend another night drawing (and considering that the last time I made an icebox cake I was in my teens, that says something!). Then I watched videos and downloaded files. But it was inevitable, I'd have to make a drawing.

I thought I'd just do a really quick, rough sketch, but as so often happens when I draw, the drawing takes on a life of its own. It's still a little rough edged, but considering the image, I think it kinda works. The badly-rendered face I started with turned into something that was off-kilter and not necessarily model beautiful, but stark. Even the pose is awkward in a way I find interesting, with mistakes in linework becoming part of her oddly straight yet imperfect stance. Needless to say I'm kinda liking the final result, flawed as it is. It started out as a Black Queen costume redesign (from the X-men) but I think it would be much cooler if it was actually Sage. A nasty, killer version.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Super Model

Longtime friends of mine know that I sometimes like to continue postage stamp imagery on envelopes. Then I send them to people.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I was listening to an old album of The Emotions (of Boogie Wonderland fame), not wanting to draw anything. But this came into being and as I continued to draw it, I just wanted to keep doing things to it. I even ended up using some of the detail practice I did from yesterday's Armani man - the nose in particular. This is why this blog is so necessary to me: it keeps me drawing even if I don't want to.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Face Study

I've kept a tearsheet of an old Armani Occhiali ad because I loved the model's bone structure. I've always felt uncertain about how to draw the teeth underneath the cheeks when seen from a 3/4 view, the same with where the eyes meet the cheekbone. So I always thought I should use it as a reference one day, and it seemed like today was the day.

I wasn't trying to get a firm likeness - it actually veers away quite a bit from the model's facial proportions although still maintaining the shapes of his features. But I did want to render his facial structure and all the shadows if for nothing but to learn how to draw his type of facial details. I like it. I especially like the fact that I didn't feel compelled to get a likeness, or be very precise with all the details. It's rather unlike me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


I've been obsessed tonight with researching chair legs tonight. I have a new couch coming in (after returning my old one) that made all my other chairs too short, so I want to increase the leg height on my existing club chair so it didn't seem too short net to the couch. I think I must have spent over 3 hours on the internet obsessing on new leg options. It helped to make a rouch sketch of the chair with the chunky metal option. But man, this drawing is rough.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


This drawing started out completely as a different concept, but I kept fidgeting with it and this is what came out.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Comic-y Sketch

I had an idea on my way home tonight that just didn't translate as I drew it, and it became very comic-book-ish (early 80s comics to be exact). I don't mind it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Scaling Back

I moved into my apartment in Chelsea 15 years ago on the 4th of July. I thought I might have a party, but with everyone gone for the holiday, it didn't make sense. So i decided I was going to clean up - Lord knows I have enough clutter and papers and tearsheets hanging around that need sorting or recycling.

Similarly, I also tried to refine the 'strip' drawing I started a few days ago, scaling her back to something more refined and less detailed (like the chick with her nipple showing), but I didn't have much time. What I DID do isn't readily apparent in the sketch (despite the recoloring of the linework), but like the apartment, some days there's progress, just not enough to seem apparent. Guess it's all in the details. Hopefully I'll get to the desired result soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Perfect Hair

I did something I seldom ever do now that I no longer style mannequin wigs (yes, I used to): I studied a hairstyle to see how it was done. The subject of my scrutiny was Tyra Banks on her talk show, which was on while I was doing cardio at the gym. The hair had that Jaclyn Smith look from the 70s, but as I looked at it, I realized how contrived it all was since it barely ever moved when Tyra did. It was the perfect hairstyle as rendered by teenage girls in the late 70s. But at least Jaclyn's popped a lock over her eye in the Charlie's Angel's opening sequence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


My friend Wes turned me on to yet another genius Roisin Murphy video for Moloko, and I got inspired by the earth tones and off-kilter movements of the choreography. It's nothing I can do really studied, it really has to be gestural and quick...

Monday, July 2, 2007


This is apparently what goes through my head when I watch too many Moloko videos.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


There are so many things that I know how to draw better now more than ever. Upshots, however, aren't one of them...at least, not to my satisfaction. There's so much trying to figure things out. It's times that I attempt to draw one (like this one) that I regret my training never really included formal anatomical understanding of where the bones/skulls affect how the figure will be seen from various views. They never really taught us that at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. Actually, they never really taught us much of anatomy, period. I remember having nude drawings sessions, but never specific exercises on how to draw - they just left us in a room with a naked model and that was it. And when I try desperately to try and make an upshot like this seem natural, I feel my lack of training coming to haunt me. I often have to try and force a face into the position, instead of drawing a face that just happens to be in that position, knowing where all the lines and shadows should sit, how much the features should be foreshortened, etc, etc...

I guess it's never too late to formally learn... but where? And how?