Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Photos: Singapore

Just some pics of Jean, Fergus and Nanay Lily(my mother in-law) on her visit to Singapore.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Art Roots

I used to live in a not so known city in northern Mindanao called Gingoog (pronounced hee-ngo-og). It's better described as the city between the more known Cagayan de Oro City(where i moved later) and Butuan city. I grew up on this area. Learnt so many things in life, And it was i this place where my love for art, particularly comics was first hatched. It's the place where I dreamth of shooting for the moon and touching the sun.

I guess I'd have to thank my public school teacher mother for my earliest influences. She was the one who introduced me to komiks( the filipino term for the local comics). Mama has been buying and reading komiks as far as i can remember. Back then Komiks was the most popular form of entertainment since only the few well- off family can afford television back then(mostly black & white cabinet type) and the other form of entertainment was only the radio.

My father wa very strict with schedules. I guess I got that trait from him. But back then it used to piss the hell out of me because we cannot play outside when the hand of the clock hits six. I could not stand listening to the horror segments in the radio and wasn't allowed to watch television after seven so i ended up copying things from the stockload of komiks that my mother had. I guess this was even before I started school since I can remember drawing things for my classmates at first grade.

These copying has evolved into a hobby. Whenever I have no homework (well okay, even I had one) I always take a stack of the komiks and just randomly copy the drawings there that I like. And I basically learnt reading too through this medium. I like reading it since it was accompanied with nice figures and colourful drawings especially the fantasy- themed stories.

By age nine I was already making my own komiks, with my own stories using cheap bond papers and ordinary ball-point pen to draw. I fold the papers in half and staple it at the centre before drawing on it, making it an "instant" komiks after i finished drawing on it. These were later sold or given as gifts to friends and classmates. By this time also I began to have "idols", artists that drew the best stories and illustrations that I like best, and had been tracking their works religiously. I always tried swiping (a term of copying an artform) them out, copying the exact figures that would fit to my own stories (well my stories were mostly based on these characters too). It was in this age too ( around 1983) that I first had my first encounter with an american comicbook. It was with a classmates who's relatives live in the the US. I cannot forget the first book. It was Fantastic Four by Lee & Kirby. I remembered being so amazed by its style that was so different from the homegrown artists that I idolized at that time. I mean, it doesn't made Redondo or Florese inferior, it's just that it's so fresh to my eyes that I ended up borrowing the book and read it in my home over and over again. This led me to exposure to the great universe of Marvel and DC, and later on other American comicbooks.

Upon reaching fifth grade I already began to buy, trade, and rent my favourite komiks. Religiously waiting for the next issue (in this case, weekly). The income I had for this will eventually be used to buy the more expensive american comics which were only available in big bookstores in Cagayan de Oro. I remembered buying titles like Wolverine(Bloodlust) and Captain America and was very influenced by it. The way that in the local komiks, Vic Catan's Jippen: Anti-ninja and Rudy Florese's Exkirmuz became my art bible for a long time. Drawing and studying their technique while my brothers converge around me to watch me draw.

But I guess the single foreign series that made a really big impact to me was 1986's Man of Steel by John Byrne and Dick Giordano. It was the re-introduction of Superman as we knew him today. I busted my Piggy bank to buy the first three issue. And man it wasn't cheap. but looking back it's a small price for the things i've learnt from buying those books.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Moments: Learning the craft

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
--Abigail Adams, 1780
US wife of John Adams 1764 (1744 - 1818)

Snapshots of Fergus learning to draw (click image for a bigger version).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Bro shines again

This was a section headline about a month ago in Sunstar Daily Cebu. I'm just posting it here to congratulate my younger brother Rio, for bagging a 3rd successive national prize for Editorial Cartooning besting some of the best editorial cartoonist in the country. Congrats again, bro. And congatulations too on that newborn baby girl of yours.

*click on the image to load a bigger one and click agai nto zoom to article.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Burst of life

"Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

--Emily Dickinson

Friday, August 18, 2006

Moments: Miracle and fairy tales

"Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life."
-- anonymous

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves... and THIS. The black, curious eyes of my child. The inexplicable feeling everytime you hold someone so fragile and so precious in your arms. This is my miracle.

Most of us never really grow up or mature all that much -- we simply grow taller. Or wiser, if you may. Sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Funny Komiks

Funny komiks is one of the most identifiable pinoy komiks ever, especially to the kids of yesteryears. Sadly, Philippine komiks industry crashed down in the late 90's and never recovered since. And Funny komiks, like other titles that's been in the market since the early 60's ceased publication. Funny Komiks was an intergral part of my childhood. It was one of my most favourite local comicbook and I made sure I have a copy of each weekly issue. It's iconic characters, "Superkat" and later on "Superdog" has always been an inspiration for me in drawing. They were gone now, and so are my boxes of komiks collections which gave way to termite infestation. But of course, a thing's value, even if it's all but gone will always remain in the heart of those who valued it. And this komiks will always have a place in mine...

I was grade six when this issue came out. (check out the price)...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Captured Bliss

Something I did way back in 2000. Water colour on 18"x26" strathmore board.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Judgment Day

"Judgment Day"

Help me, my brother
I'm standing in Judas' lair
These million eyes are like quicksand
My feet is drawn to hell

Send me your Pegasus
So I can see the bright of day
Free me from Herod's stare
For I can't stand this pain eternal

Fly me out to the clouds of heaven
On Hermes' wings I shall ride
Have compassion and absolution
Escape death and destruction

Now I see the sun's talons
Creeping within my foreground
He cast in me all my sins
It's too heavy it buried me

The lights of hope eclipsed
I was chained on the titan's horns
The sentinel cerebrus was watching in the dark
As Charon carried me to his chariot of black.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sketchbook 2

Done sometime in 2002. Still life study, using 0.2, 0.5 and 0.8 disposable uni filt-tip drawing pens.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Won't let the devil have all the fun

I've been collecting original cassetet tapes of my favourite musicians since sixth grade. And over the years, from high school until I graduated in college, this collection has grown that I have to house a whole cabinet for it in my old room. When I settled in Cagayan de Oro and was collecting CD's already, my tapes collection remained in my parent's house. It was only when I last went home that I've checked on it again. And i found out that they were deteriorating. I can't even play most of them anymore because they were already infected with dust fungus. I was miserable to say the least, because these music were part of the most memorable days of my student life. It's a pity that it went like that because i know that when I play a certain record, I can remember what memorable event happened to me while that song was my favourite. So each of it has cerain memories within their sleeves, waiting to be remembered as the song played away. This collection was as varied as my mood. They range from classics (such as America, the Eagles, Beatles, the WHO, CSNY, etc.) to metal (Poison, Megadeth, Slaughter, Metallica, etc.) to Grunge music (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound garden, Verve Pipe), to Punk ( Pink Floyd, INXS, U2, Duran Duran, Greenday), Pinoy rock (Hagibis, The Dawn, Yano, E-heads, Wolfgang, etc) and to even mellow ones like Barry Manilow, Jose Mari Chan and Tommy Paige. Though the rock albums far outnumbered the mellow/ pop ones.

Back then, I get criticism from older folks about my choice of music. And I used to laugh a lot when I hear these crap from people. I can't understand why they like branding rock music as the "Devils Music". And Mellow, gospel and pop music has always been the goodie oldie-friendly tunes. It makes me sad to know that people judge music by its loudness or the costumes performers wear. I agree that there has always been a strong relationship between music and religion. Maybe because they both connect directly to the heart and can have real inspiration for good or evil, whichever way. But saying that it is an evil deed to listen to rock 'n roll or headbanging to metal and grunge band is insane! Music is beautiful. And it is irrelevant or even unfair to classify music in lieu to one's religion or being typecasted as being an evil sound just because it's loud and it has guitar riffs that echoes and such. We have to face the fact that good music IS good music. No matter what kind of music it is. I mean, there is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music. People are people. And like any ordinary person, we dream, we cry, we laugh and we feel things like love, hate, joy, pain, and so on. And being in the moment of these feelings, we need something to capture that feeling. To bookmark it in a compartment in our brain and recall it whenever we need it to. We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it. Like me, I can still remember the days that I was doing graveyard shifts with my design plates in college, or how it felt to have your heart broken-- and this is further amplified in our memories when we hear music that was played on during those times, or albums of musicians you used to pound the boombox with while drawing dusk till dawn. Music is like an instant recollection- activator. And we always associate it with the highest and lowest moments in our lives. So irregardless of what kind of music it is, as long as it hit you straight in the heart, be with it. Screw the hypocrites. Rock music is good music, and I like it damn fine. And never ever will I resign to the idea that it is the music of the devil. For heaven's sake, I wont let the devil have all the fun!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Memories of the river

The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give. There is something fascinating in being a child, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever, and our dreams shooting the stars.

I have volunteered to be nanny last Saturday since Jean had some visitors from Manila and she was acting as their tour guide to the various tourist spots in the lion city. I brought Fergus to the playground at his usual playing time @ 4:00pm after the afternoon sleep and milk. Watching my son playing at the metal and plastic play equipment with some Malay and Chinese friends at the block playground, I couldn't help but wonder how different my childhood was with that of my son's.

I considered myself lucky to have spent my childhood days not in a big city but in a remote, almost "unknown" city in Northern Mindanao because I have enjoyed things that people in big cities did not. Even my son, growing up here in Singapore won't be experiencing the kind of childhood that I have.

Growing up in the province, and being the eldest of siblings of eight, I learnt in a young age that life is no paradise. You have to do everything you could to survive. My parents, tried hard to raise that big family who were even more infested with cousins who were sent to us by their parents because they themselves cannot afford to raise them. I was fortunate enough to have parents that gave an extra hand to help people. And these values have molded me as I grew up. Sure I had my share of papa's leather belt, but discipline has always been a part of my family.

Fun in my childhood is not about acquiring expensive toys. It's about adventure. If I was not busy copying drawings from my favorite local comicbooks, or if I wasn't reading Mythology books that I was so fascinated at, I only have one place to go with my friends--The river.

Together with my childhood friends--Rolly, Glenn, Patot and my younger brother Roy, splashing and playing in the nearby river was always the activity of the day during summer vacations. What we like most about it was that the deep part of the river, which almost resembles a swimming pool. It has a cliff of about two storey high on its side. And from it, we would jump into the river shouting superhero names as we charge airborne. We always had fun doing that, and after being tired swimming and jumping down from the cliffs, we explore the surrounding bushed area commonly populated with coconuts, variety of trees, and high hedges. We then carve out niches unto these bushes, creating a makeshift camp. Having two camps, we then would battle in that "jungle" pretending to be real soldiers with our improvised, did-it-myself wooden rifle. In that place we learned some lessons the hard way too. Like why it was not a good idea to disturb a beehive, or why it wasn't good to pick fruits from its tree when the owner is there patrolling.

We continued to do that almost every summer until the area was bulldozed to give way for some new residential project. But the sweet memories of childhood with that of the river and my friends will always be cherished.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Day job 2

It's been a while since I haven't posted images here of the projects we did... So here are two below. :)

A condominium complex in Beijing with commercial arcades along side entrance.

National University of Singapore Alumni Bldg Courtyard

Friday, August 04, 2006

Garden in my mind

I'm pounding some work today so not much word to say. Instead, i'm sharing a painting of mine entitled "Garden in my mind"(11"x14" Oil on canvas). Some strokes in there were done by Fergus. You can comment your own interpretation on how you see the painting. :) Happy weekend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'll be

"I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be your love suicide
and I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life..."

For me, these words from the chorus of Edwin McCain's song, "I'll Be" are one of the most honest declaration of love. It's like saying forever without being overly chessy. It's assurance of being there at bad times without the pressure of swearing, It's pledging to be better without the promise of being perfect, It's saying forever without the usual naive, flowery representations.

I first heard this song in 1999. and since then it has grown to be a very big hit. Friends relate to it, and lovers everywhere made it their own. The radio broadcasts has mellowed, and its popularity I guess is fading. But it's still one of the best songs i'll never grow tired with. Maybe the fact that it is sang by a rocker is a plus.

Anyway, if you're one of those who has been in the moon for the last eight years and have no idea of this song, or just someone who like me can't really get tired of this song, then it's time to relish it once again... enjoy. :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

HOPE is coming

Hope: New Orleans, a 200-page comicbook anthology under Ronin Studios which I'm a part of will debut in this month's Wizard World Chicago Comicbook Convention. It has been featured in "The Comic Wire", a news column in The Comicbook Resources Website. A 10-pager I drew for the book entitled "Pillars" is one of 3 stories previewed in the article(the other two are 'Headlines' and 'Oblivion'). Three pages of the story can be previewed at the footer of the page. It's in thumbnail mode so you have to click on the specific page to have a bigger version pop out.

you can find it here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=8033