Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tutu Much, Too

This is the fetish ballerina I had in mind, but it's still pretty rough. Although since I've published it already, I dunno if I'll refine the drawing more to make it polished. But you get the idea. :)


Had a great day having Filipino brunch, meeting a host of new people and hanging out with my friend Erwin, who left for DC today. Whee, indeed!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pastel Dreams

I was well on my way to drawing Zenaida a particular way when my visiting friend Erwin, who is sleeping on the couch now, starting mumbling in his sleep. The distraction veered my sketch another way, one I just went with. Funny how that can happen.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I did my ballerina up with a very kinky fetish mask.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tutu Much

It's not necessarily Black Swan inspired, but nasty ballerinas have been in and out of the zeitgeist oft enough.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cynthia and her friend Heron

Cynthia and her friend Heron assume the fifth position.

Stormin' Ahead

Thought I'd dust off this sketch from a couple of weeks back and add a few details. But after today's annoying day with my client, I'm hardly enthused to do much of anything...

Monday, January 24, 2011


I spent a lot of time shopping the Japanese Zozo sites this past Fall/Winter, and I saved one image to sketch someday. I thought it would be a pain to do, but sometimes, the best thing to do is just copy/sketch something without thinking, because, like yesterday's hair exercise, the instincts just kick in. I think it looks like the guy, but I didn't aim to make it so - I just have a thing for capturing likenesses. I was chatting earlier with a fellow artist about how I take issue with some fashion illustrators who do elaborate pencil sketches based on runway or magazine photos. When they just draw what someone else has styled and photographed, I don't feel like they add something new to it. To me, it's just , well, what would the word be? Rendering? Portraiture? Especially when it's hyper realistic. I suppose I'm much more old school that way, and love an expressive line, even when you're basing it on a model. One of my favorite fashion illustrators form the 80s, Pater Sato, had a way of rendering faces that was reminiscent of Richard Bernstein (of Interview magazine's original painted covers fame) even when they were doing portraits. There was always a skilled hand that showed through...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Posed, Part 3

I shifted the linework back to black for better contrast while I drew hair today. I have high hopes for the hair on this one, and as such, was thinking I should plan how it should be rendered. But as I drew, it looked pained and studied. I know I work best when I don't think about things, so I threw on some music and just let myself do it autonomically. I still had some trouble with it, erasing and redrawing as I went along, but for the most part I just let my instincts do their thing. I'd probably do it all if I were inspired, but I suppose I wasn't really feeling like drawing too much tonight. Still much to do.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Posed, Part 2

I really like how the face in this drawing turned out. I intentionally made her eyes more wide set and had the stylized faces of Jason Brooks in mind. Did a sample makeup, but somehow the shading altered the look I was going for. Of course, as I refine it further, it will certainly evolve, but I'm having fun finding out as I work...!

Friday, January 21, 2011


I had to have an MRI earlier tonight because of an injured shoulder, so while listening to the drone of the Magnetic Resonance Imager (at least, that's what I think it means) I got lost in thinking about the techniques I've distilled for the Urban Bride illustration - i.e. taking what I would normally render in natural media brushes into Photoshop, with its harder lines and more solid colors. Because of the MRI I was missing the opening of a fashion illustration exhibit a few blocks away, so my mind was filled with illustration possibilities. It helped that going to the exhibit at the last minute I was still able to see all the work, which inspired me to do more of my own. So tonight I have two entries... the finished version of the piece I've been working on, and what hopefully will be a future polished and finished piece (as opposed to an abandoned sketch, of which I have many).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Urban Bride, Part 4 - Skyline

Sooo, this version is done for now. I had to send it to our webmistress (ha!) for her to include in an email.

Urban Bride, Part 3

I got so caught up in work emails last night I forgot to post this. Little details make the drawing for me, and I refined the urban bride sketch some more after seeing someone's Facebook page online with their fashion sketches (the eyeshadow and hair details do a lot for me here). My style isn't a very modern one since it's steeped in Gruau, but I decided it's what I do so I should see how I want to develop it, instead of trying to make it look modern. I think just using Photoshop gives it a harder edge, and updates it a little than if I was just using watercolors. Still, the René Gruau/Danilo Franco influence is unmistakable to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weird Kid

I was wondering what to draw when I launched Painter tonight, and this weird, Tim Burton-esque image sprang fully-formed in my head. And oddly enough, I was able to follow through on bringing it to pixels. Although darned if I know why.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Urban Bride, Part 2

I submitted three Bride background concepts and this subway one is the third one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Alice and her friend Heron

Alice and her friend Heron hadn't seen each other in years, but some things never change: the bird was still tardy for their rendezvous.

Urban Bride

So, I have to put some sort of New York background on the bridal illustration I did. Ugh, I'm so not feeling it, but gotta find a way to make it work, eh? These are studies using very rough background items on the more finished initial bride image.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pattern Forming

Earlier in the season I had an inspiration and a dilemma: I wasn't feeling any of the clothes I've acquired for the past several years, as I was ready for something (relatively, to me) new. I was over all the edgy Rick Owens and draped/goth ninja looks that lost their edge because mainstream designers seemed to have adopted them more than ever, but I was feeling a serious mix of patterns: plaids with fair isle with leopard prints with photo prints... which was kind of distressing because I had none of those pieces. So I spent the entire season building a new wardrobe, but as cheaply as possible. This was one of the outfits that came together after I had some key pieces mixed in with things I never got the nerve to get rid of: a black fair isle zip cardi over a shadow plaid flannel shirt over blackwatch tartan pants over sequined tiger-print Converse high tops. It kinda just all works because all the patterns just cancel each other out. But I also felt a little strange because no one else is doing what I'm doing, but I kinda just wanted to go there. And now I look at many of the pre-fall collections starting to come up for 2011, and pattern-over-pattern mixes are everywhere.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thieving Bitch

One of the aspects of being ill that often occurs for me is the prevalence of dreams. I have tons of them, and I can usually remember them in some detail. Actually, I remember most of my dreams, but perhaps because I have so many in series from short bursts of sleep when I'm sick that they seem more vivid. Last night, one of the five or so dreams I had involved me in possession of a slew of vintage shoes and clothing that for some reason I was selling on a sidewalk, like in a flea market. A Chinese woman, pretty, and slim, had tried on a pair of vintage designer clogs (I even remembered the name of the brand within the first few hours of waking up, but forget now), and walked away presumably to get a feel for them. The next thing I knew I was told by a companion that she had run off with them, the clogs on her feet and her own shoes in a plastic bag, and I followed her out on the street to catch her. This is what she looked like.

What's interesting to me is that I recall these colors quite vividly, because her outfit matched the black, red and gold clogs perfectly. Supposedly you only dream in black and white, but this is certainly not the first dream I recall being in color.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I had my first lucid dream that I can remember, about my baby brother Joey. Of course, he wouldn't be much of a baby now, but he died before he turned 30, so he'll always be young in my mind. It was a strange dream.

I found myself in the old hallway going to the bedroom Joey and I shared in our childhood home in Manila. Everything was pitch black, and I was kind of afraid. I entered my old room which was also cloaked in near total darkness, then like a movie, a slight illumination focused on where Joey's bed used to be. I could see the mosquito netting over his bed, the netting we used pretty much all the way until we all left for the States. Joey was inside the netting on his bed, and he sat up, and put on a shirt. I immediately knew it was him, although he appeared to be the age he'd be if he were still alive. I was also aware how much this was a dream, one of those rare conscious moments while asleep. I called out his name and told him how we weren't always the closest of brothers but that I missed him, but he didn't respond. Instead, we both got distracted by a mouse playing amidsts some toys at the foot of his bed, and when he activated something by remote control to turn on some of the other toys, I woke up.

Sick Day Make-up Drawings

A few days ago, I actually made several drawings, but posted only the boufant hairdo. Since yesterday my head was throbbing so hard I could barely muster a line, I'm bringing in the excess from that day to make up for lost time. I figure if I can draw an extra drawing to make up for a missed day, I can also draw extra for credit days.

I'm being entirely too anal, aren't I? Sue me, I'm still sick.

PV and his friend Heron share a similarly warped point of view.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I've been sick with an odd cold-like virus since last Saturday, and last night (and pretty much all of today) my view of my life was my bedroom, as soon through the murky vision of my pain-addled head.

Retro Modern 'Do

This is a hairstyle that the mannequins at the Rootstein showroom are currently featuring. I like the fact that it's very 60s (since it was a Halston themed showroom) but also a bit 80s in that lioness look way that I found so fun way back when. The main (mane?) difference is that the crown is flat in the beginning before it gets full - I really like that bit. I also like how quickly this drawing flowed - there wasn't much retooling, and all in all it took maybe less than 15 minute to render.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Bride

I sent this drawing off, and even fixed it a little - changed the model's left arm and hand, added some thicker emphasis strokes, centered the composition, added more 'pastel' highlights, and cleaned up a few errant lines. It may not seem like much here but when it's enlarged to over 5 feet tall like the last one I did, then every single error becomes glaringly apparent. Hopefully she'll like this one.

More Brides

Aaand we continue with the quick bride line work. It's so open ended and directionless, and fraught with the possibility of revisions from lack of direction from the client that I didn't go into this project with much enthusiasm. But I suppose when a drawing starts to work, it feels better. The one with the green background has the feel I think my client is looking for, but since I'm so rusty, I had to redo those lines over and over until they looked just right... and make them appear as if I got them right in one stroke.Which is fairly obvious I didn't but Painter was having a hard time rendering the strokes with the proper flow, and at the speed that I was whipping them out on the tablet. I suppose I'll just go into it later in Photoshop and maybe even see if I can convert the black linework into convincing vectors. Shades of Danilo Franco, the best illustrator in Manila when I was growing up, popping into my work again... can't escape your influences I suppose.

Below is an initial concept I thought I'd go with, but the top one looks much more 'right.'

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nostalgic Birthday Greetings

It's my old high school friend Senen's birthday today, so I thought transforming my retro Storm drawing into a greeting image for Facebook seemed appropriate (we were both intense X-men fans). I consider the coloring more like painting since I wasn't just filling in the spaces with hues, so it counts as a piece for this blog, despite the fact that I didn't really alter the inks at all.

Gym Guy: The House Elf, continued

So I went back to the gym today and made all sorts of pretenses to be in front of the Huse Elf: asking him questions about my membership renewal, pretending to be looking at my iPhone in front of his desk, moving my lips as if I were calculating something while staring (purportedly) blankly in his general direction. I then tried noting the changes down on a sheet of paper, but that kind of note-taking rarely works for me. It took me so many retries to retool his face to look more like him. And I still might do so yet again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gym Guy: The House Elf

Continuing my series of gym characters, this one is a club employee.He's diminutive in size, possibly no taller than 5'3" (hence the nickname) but he's possibly the nicest membership executive I can remember the club ever having. Always very friendly and personable, always hard at work and usually dressed in very trendy work wear. He's a busy little worker, he is.

I originally had a very definitive idea of how to draw him, but man, did translating what I saw in my mind take a long time! I thought I'd make it in less than 15 minutes, but it took me over an hour of fiddling with the proportions of his face til I was satisfied. Naturally, I'll go back to the gym and study his face after the fact, for further refinements...

Storm 2011

I figured out what I was feeling about yesterday's Storm drawing: it was me trying to draw the way I used to, which was the way my former comicbook idols used to draw. But I have a different style now, with a different way of positioning figures, drawing faces, and setting a scene. So I just had to recall what I felt was great about the time I used to love reading and drawing comics, but channelmy newer sensibilities into it, and see if it works. So far, I'm liking it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Classic Storm

Well, it took another 40 minutes, but I was able to clean up the 'inks' a bit on this drawing and make it seem more like the way I used to draw. I found myself fighting tendencies to make her face more realistic, with frown lines and more realistic expression, but I realize that for me, classic Storm requires a level of stylized perfection, at least in her face. I couldn't really get the cape highlighting inks the way I wanted them, maybe I just couldn't find the proper brush in Photoshop. Ah well, I think it's more like I used to draw, back over 20 years ago. Which is strange, but there you have it.

Okay, the lightning is definitely not stylized the way I would have done it in the 80s...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Storm By The Numbers

I cut my teeth drawing super-heroes, mostly the Legion of Super Heroes from DC and Marvel's X-men. I used to draw Storm pretty much all the time (well, when I wasn't drawing Phoenix) for decades... since 1975. So today, 1.1.11, I wanted to do another Storm drawing, since the last time there was a significant date (8.8.88, to be exact) I drew a sketch of Storm that I really loved and still do to this day. However, over twenty years later, I find that the comics skills have atrophied a bit, even as my skills for drawing other things have improved. What I'm saying is I'm not in love with this drawing. It took about an hour, and I really almost had to work at getting a comicbook look, but also I think I had to find out how I want to draw my own comic book style in the 20teens, because the styles I held in high esteem way back when are, well, 20 years old. What I've noticed is a loss of the strength of line that I often see in older comic book artists - the line weights aren't as precise or careful, the exact things I don't like seeing when I see new work by Neal Adams, Mike Grell or even Paul Smith, all of whom I idolized back in the day. Ah well, guess that's what happens. It's not a bad thing if I find the right way to express myself, I suppose. We'll see. I suppose I can go back into it and refine the 'inks' a bit later.

Happy New Year, on 1.1.11! Here's hoping for beautiful new things to happen for all of us.

Oh and for reference, here's the Storm drawing I did in 1988:


Happy 2011 Everyone - the date is 1/1/11!

I didn't want to draw anything and I wondered to myself if using preset brushes, despite my applying them in strokes like I was actually daubing and/or painting, was cheating. So I did a quick sketch over it just to make it qualify as a drawing.

Today also marks the fourth consecutive year I've been posting - I had no idea I would be posting so long, drawing pretty much every single day. Cheers!