Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have a sketchy, almost messy style, no doubt. While some see that as part of my work's look, I strive for a cleaner, refined finished product. So when I saw the work of illustrator Carlos Aponte at the illustration session two weeks ago(and later online), I was struck by how neat his linework is. Even Stephane Manél, with his soft strokes, boils things down to a clean outline. Maybe that's why some of my favorite artists are all so neat - Nagel, Manel, Paul Smith - I want that control and clean look. I find I can do it then revert back, leaving in the scratchiness that I use to seek out the form of each drawing, sometimes feeling that those self-same strokes add essential fluidity and movement, as often, I think that when I clean out my illustrations to be super tight, they look stiff. But I've developed a style in my head that may move me forward in that direction, and this is a sample. I would still clean out the outlines more, but there may be a few spots where I can leave my natural strokes (specifically the hair). This is only the start of it, as I will likely refine the colors and shading some more, but I do like the outcome so far. It kinda doesn't look like my own work. Maybe that's why I like it? Oof, talk about self-deprecation. Well, I suppose I'll just have to make this pseudo comic book / Gruau style my own...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Crude 5

I was thinking of holding back on the final effects but the experiment with the color was too fun not to show.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Crude 4

I was going for a very high-contrast drawing with thick, controlled shading. I'm still in the placement stages before refining the line work.

Scribbleface, Adjusted

The face I drew bothered me, but I wasn't sure what to do to fix it. As always, a few days away from it made it easier to go back and adjust. The nose and cheek protruded too much, and bringing it all back in made it look better.

I like drawing without a reference, because I like to think I can draw anything that comes to mind. Clearly, I have much to learn still...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brian, 4

I opened up my drawing of my new acquaintance Brian F. and worked on the portrait some more. Funny how you see so many more mistakes when a bit of time has gone by. Filling in the shading went so much more easily this time, without the feeling I had to do a good job. I just had to do it. I'll probably give myself a bit more time too to let the changes gestate before tackling it again, and maybe see it with even fresher eyes. But I think it's coming along.


I've been designing a lot of men's clothing again lately, and my croquis style hasn't changed. Kinda like the way my mom used to design, I do a very vague outline of a head then more detail in the body and clothing. I wasn't sure what I was designing here but I did want to see how sketching on the computer differed from my thumbnails on the sheet of paper I've been filling up lately. I know I have an old sheet of men's croquis from around 1983 in my storage boxes, and I'm pretty sure my sketches haven't changed that much...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Enrico and his friend Heron

Enrico and his friend Heron are closer than they appear.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Steffanie and her friend Heron

Steffanie and her friend Heron execute their Synchronized Taxi Hailing maneuver.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Scribbleface Green

Changing a few details made this face more palatable to continue tonight. I think I like his lips...


Last night was one of those nights where I didn't want to draw, so by the time I got started with this face, I was already over it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


One of my closest friends from college is a woman by the name of Joanne Z., whom we nicknamed Zappy. My other friend Joanne and I loved drawing her, because she was a top model in Manila when we were still in college. I found this old drawing that I never completed because I stopped at the linework. This particular drawing was from around 1984, when Patrick Nagel was one of my biggest inspirations. I recently got the drawing scanned and decided to do a quick color job on it, and this was the result.

And this was the original drawing:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Their Friend Heron

Kent and his friend Heron waited patiently for what seemed like ages, never imagining that what they thought stood for "water closet" was actually the mountain headquarters of the Wool Council.

Andre and his friend Heron suspect that maybe the dumbbells at the gym were labeled heavier than they actually weighed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sketch Session

I visited my old school, FIT, to attend a sketching/drawing salon held every Sunday night by a professor with whom I'm acquainted. It's an interesting setup compared to the erotic drawing salons I'd participated in in the past (where I met most of the artists in tonight's group). They have two models, a draped female fashion model and a male physique model, and they often pose at the same time but not in tandem, so you chose who you wanted to draw. After this week's Stavrinos inspiration, I wanted to sketch fashion again, even if I don't really know what my style is nowadays. Well, interestingly enough, a new one spontaneously emerged, more fluid and sketchier than I've ever had before. I did quite a few sketches tonight, and I even did some watercolors, which I haven't touched in aaaaages! I kept most save for two, as I gave each model one of themselves.

The female model Tabitha was amazing: she had such a perfect body for fashion, Steven, the professor, was saying she looked like a living croquis... and she certainly did! And on top of that she was ultra sweet, so even if i didn't want to part with any of my drawings of her, I gave her the portrait I did of her face, keeping all the fashion sketches. It was just too easy to draw fashion proportions on her, and I surprised myself by applying my normally sketchy colored pencil style to a fashion illustration proportion, but maintaining the long, lean quality of the limps and positioning. I normally try to clean everything up but for some reason it felt right to just leave everything really sketchy, which I don't think I've ever done before. This might be my real fashion illustration style!

Meanwhile, the guy, Pablo, was equally amazing, with a long lean body and completely defined muscles, but in a way that was still very fluid. He has the kind of body I wish I had (whether as me, or on me... I'm not picky! ;) )

None of these drawings are amazing pieces of art, but they were definitely fun practice, which I've been yearning for for a while. Plus, none of poses were particularly long - the fashion croquis were 5 minutes, so I was working fairly fast. The last time I went to this session I wasn't too pleased with the models nor my work, but hopefully this will spur me to go back and develop these skills which have atrophied for so long...

Face Time, Revisited.

It was one of those nights when I didn't know what to sketch, so I opened up my old Face Time sketch and tried to flesh it out. I didn't get far - coloring a piece always highlights the flaws in the structure (that I would then spend ages trying to fix), flaws that you seldom saw if it was just left as a line drawing.

Natural Bird

I finally got my drive backed up last Friday, although a lot of the files are unusable. But I was too exhausted with worrying about the three+ day process to try and fix it, and as a result, I didn't have any energy to sit in front of my Mac and draw either. So I whipped up this quick and sketchy Heron drawing, to see how he would look if I rendered him AS a sketch. Messy.

Stavrinos, Re-revisited

My Mac was still backing up, so I turned to another page on my sketchbook and whipped out the pencil again. This time I wanted to try drawing an image I would come up with, then shade it as if I were thinking how Stavrinos would do it. It looks like my old comic book work, and I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't brought anything new to my style 20+ years later. Oh well, I suppose that's what practice is for, because I certainly know I do better with my digital drawings than I used to when I started out in 1994, and even as recently as 2003. Certainly this blog has helped m practice, a lot...!

Stavrinos Revisited

I joined a Yahoo group about the artwork of George Stavrinos, and in one of the posts in the message list was a link to an eBay auction of an original Stavrinos piece from an Estee Lauder ad. While the face wasn't what I loved best about Stavrinos, the shading was. He had such an amazing sense of chiaroscuro, and especially in his ore stylized later work before he died, a great sense of when to leave out full shading, which really highlighted the amazing technique he had for fleshing out faces, fabrics and figures. Inspired by that (as well as looking again at my "Visions" book on his art) I tried channeling him again. I didn't really draw from a model or photo, and as I started flshing out the face, that was my downfall. I really prefer to draw from my own head, because then it's all mine. But I also know Stavrinos used a lot of references (most, I believe, he even took photos of himself), so I thought I'd try and mimic his technique more and see what I could learn. Unfortunately, I don't have his shading down anymore (if I ever did), so while I like the nose, everything else is just a regular pencil drawing in my mind. Enh, I guess it's okay... Still, it was fun to draw in pencil again. I even opened up my drafting table to do so! I really need to do more natural media again.

Twice Shy

There are two Herons in this pic but it's shy of a finished sketch. On Monday I started having problems with my last remaining external hard drive (where a lot of my backups resided), so I ended up running diagnostics and backing up the backup to my desktop. That backup too a total of almost 4 days, 24/7. So this was the last digital drawing I did and over the next two days I worked in pencil on actual paper (fancy that!).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Face Time

I decided to just sketch whatever came to mind... and as always, I tended to do a face. Once upon a time I was happy with how quickly I could draw a face, but the way I like details now, there's so much reworking that gets done, I'm seldom immediately satisfied. This one started out okay, but kept on getting reworked until I finally decided to stop working on it, finished or not. Obviously, not.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Soft Fabrics 2

Not loving either the redesign OR the drawing, but that's where I'm leaving it, methinks.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ben and his friend Heron, 3

Ben and his friend Heron work on their tans.

Soft Fabrics 2010

I found an old sketch/design of my mom's from a newspaper clipping from a Philippine newspaper, the Manila Bulletin, from April 24, 1974 - just over 36 years ago! It featured two pleated shirtwaist dresses (a favorite of my mom's). I thought I'd reinterpret it for 2010. The sketch itself wasn't by my mom, (whose name, as you may have guessed, was Baby, a very common nickname in the Philippines) but the design was. Mom never really drew full figures, but had illustrators render her quick sketches as fully-illustrated models. She claimed she knew how to draw but I never saw her really do anything but quick scratchy sketches. Anyhow, this one was a favorite of mine, as I loved the hairdo back when I was 9, and I tried desperately to recreate it and draw it in my own sketches (I still have the original attempts too - such a little queen). I think this one was by her illustrator Sony (sp), who was one of two who drew for mom, and whose style I didn't love as much as mom's other illustrator Trining. I later did my mom's sketches for her when I was in my late teens and early twenties, as did my friend Joanne.

This is just the inital sketch, but I'm not sold on my redesign just yet so, I'll definitely be retooling it over the next few days.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Spend the entire day in bed, convalescing from what seems to be a bout of the flu. My cleaning lady told me that she had the fly last week. Must be with all this heat and AC...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kitty and her friend Heron

Kitty and her friend Heron seemed undaunted by the extreme lack of taxi cabs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New CS Portrait, Finis?

OMG, I think I'm actually done! Amazing what a day home sick will allow you to do, when you're trapped convalescing.

Put a fork in it

I think it's done.

I had to retool the black levels in my sketch because there are discrepancies between this new image of Gareth and the rest of the series from 2003... go figure, right? I also changed some of the color blocks and made them simpler, actually consciously making blocks of color as opposed to trying to remain faithful to the reference photo.

Sorry, this is all meaningless to those who don't know the original series, but I like to make note of my thoughts since when I review these blog entries, they'll remind me of what I was trying to do...

Monday, July 5, 2010

For Pete's Sake...

You can never tell, sometimes, what people mean when they message you online. SO much nuance is lost despite having all the emoticons and smilies to add emotion where none seem to exist. Yet you still can have misunderstandings. And while the online emotions can be misconstrued, the offline ones are as real as usual...

Sunday, July 4, 2010


My friend Greg and I watched that wannabe Harry Potter movie, " Percy Jackson and The Olympians" tonight since we thought it might be mindless entertainment... and it was, minus the full entertainment part. It was only mildly entertaining, broadcasting its plot points a mile away. But the special effects were suitably Hollywood, and I did like the scene where Jackson displays his birthright amidst a rooftop of water towers... not that you didn't see nearly the entire scene already in the trailers. Still, it made for a memorable visual. I particularly liked the lead actor's stance in that scene. Very comic book. So I drew it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New CS Portrait, part trois

Why is this reminding of some old Neal Adams artwork from the 70s? I feel like it's his way of coloring.

I laid in color and just played. I'm not really liking where this is going, but I'm not making any conscious efforts. It's easy enough to change around as necessary. I think the only think I like for now is his right ear, and the background. Everything can change completely as far as I'm concerned... the colors need to get more painterly and chunky, for one...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New CS Portrait, part deux

Trying desperately to finish at least three new of these CS portraits for the book I'm trying to be published in. I don't even know if the finished ones will make it since my style has changed in 7 years, but I'm trying my best to make it to the July 4th deadline!

I was rather unhappy with my portrait skills with the last one of Gareth, but this one seems to be moving along a little better. I look at the progress and think, well, it's actually progress. I think it helps that I like this face a lot. The model is my friend PJ, who's kinda gone missing from my life of late, and I miss him, especially as I spend a lot of time studying his face.

Christina and her friend Heron

Christina and her friend Heron rebel against authority.

Since Christina is not my Facebook friend and I don't really know her, I've blurred and blocked out her face for a bit of privacy.