Sunday, April 24, 2016

Of Golf and Pencil Strokes

I used to play golf. A lot. I'd wake up at 3:30 am if I want to tee off before 6:00 am, in a golf course in Silang Cavite. That meant I must leave by 4:00 am and drive at 90-100 kph in SLEX, grab a McDo breakfast muffin in Petron before taking the Southwoods, Carmona route. I'm a morning person and adventures like that are just my cup of tea. The smell of freshly cut grass in the dew-filled greens gave me a different kind of high, and  revved/relaxed me to drive my first shot to more than a hundred and fifty yards on a good day (or not, which I then would attribute to lack of stretching hehe!)

Fast forward to today where at 5:30 am I'd already tinkering with my pencils and be busy looking through coloring books and choosing what image to color for the day. I miss the rush of seeing my ball land a few inches from the hole, but good finishing strokes with my pencils also give me that kind of satisfaction come to think of it. 

Strokes are important. In golf as well as in coloring. Awareness of them leads you to define and master each one. As I taught myself to study my entire body (particularly my muscles and how some relaxed and some tightened when I would do my backswings) while playing golf I learned that I, too, could do the same with coloring. 

Awareness of my clubhead's angle and speed is next. I knew I could control my pencil's tip as much as I can my woods' so that I can attain the flight that I want. In terms of coloring I realized too that various angles can yield varied vividnessof colors and design.

Finally, and this is what I tell my students in coloring, there is the right rhythm when executing your strokes. Too abrupt will earn the "pilit" comment from my caddy. "Huwag mong hatakin, hayaan mo lang." To a great degree determining this rhythm depends on whether you make a calculated pause or not when applying your pigments with your pencil strokes. I may be over thinking this analogy at this point but, oh well, it works for me. All my best game swings are those where I pause at the farthest point of my backswing in order to give the ball a good 'ping' after trusting that my body would unwind and perform well enough as the golf gods designed it. 

Eye on the ball is critical. I cannot overemphasize this enough. In making your swing as well as when coloring. Should your mind go adrift atleast your eyes must be fixed on those lines you don't wish to color beyond, believe me, your hands will follow. Trust your hand -eye coordination.

I miss playing golf, it's been years. If only my health condition didn't keep me from playing even for leisure. But am grateful I found out about coloring. It's not all that different, it's still a lot about perfecting my strokes and finishing a game till the end even if I didn't think I played that well. After all every game leads one to improving mistakes in the next round. So there's no losing proposition there. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mythos: Poseidon, God of the Sea

Poseidon is my latest finished page from the book "Mythos: Of Greek Gods and Godesses" by Patrick Earl E. Alvarez, and it definitely won't be the last. I had also done Cronus, Titan God of Time  previous to this. 

A couple of months back, February 13 to be exact, I came face to face with this 32-page inked creation, which then wasn't even a published book yet. The hand sketches were showed by Patrick to the colorista crowd gathered for an Over Coffee Coloring™ event, and everyone oohed and aaahed on each turn of the book's 11 x 14 inch sized pages. My mind went berzerk with each quick turn. The illustrations were unlike anything I've seen in other coloring books. It was the kind of illustration I'm always drawn to color, the manually-inked kind. 

I have always sensed the difference. 

For instance, when I colored the portuguese man of war (jellyfishes) in the book Atlantis by White Star Publications (Australian) I sensed that I was quite forlorn. Unlike previous works I did of Johanna Basford or Millie Marotta the artist in Atlantis was unknown and I wasn't feeling any connection while coloring. Even more when I would notice unfinished details in the picture that screamed 'digital layout'. 

When I got my copy of Mythos I browsed each page and immediately confirmed to myself that the raw quality of its illustrations is the premium kind I, as a colorist, long for in illustrations. After all I color not just with my hands but with all of my being, and essentially do so to make a connection. I savor each experience of tracing my pencil tip to follow shapes and strokes in drawings which, to the artist, are essential to complete the overall illustration. Coloring for me is like the Ignatian spiritual exercises, they are time well spent, praying using pigments. If I can't make this journey through coloring I could very well just render the images using Photoshop© in my PC. 

Funny thing though, unlike the Jesuits who meditate in serene places, my zone of peace looks like this haha!
Oh well, to each his own. 

By the way here is Cronus, my other Mythos work. 

I should mention that someone else felt an adrenaline rush when I brought my Mythos copy home. It was my daughter. She just turned thirteen and, like her brothers, she's a net gaming junkie. She kept saying "Oh my gosh! These images are awesome", before she showed me images from an internet game she knows of, Smite. She suggested that I use as color inspiration the images of the Greek and Titan gods there. It's awesome when I can connect with my kids this way through coloring. 

She loved this Poseidon work of mine by the way. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Museum Exhibit of Coloristas

So with my friend Effie and my husband Marv in the car with me we snaked our way through España to beat the traffic and get to the UST Museum on time for the 3:00 opening. We made it early *whew!* in fact we even had time to view the beautiful collections of paintings, relics and artifacts of the Dominicans. 

During the program REV. FR. ISIDRO C. ABAÑO, O.P., the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences Director and an exhibitor himself, spoke about how coloring has become a refuge for his soul after a hard day's work. He described how he seemed to be hypnotized everytime he rendered colors with his pencils within the confines of his room and even when he travelled. It was as if I was listening to him talk about me, describing my own almost-meditative coloring experiences when I, too, become lost in the world of colors and shades. It struck me that while each person's encounter with coloring is unique we colorists all essentially similar in how we find an almost 'therapeutic' calmness in doing it. 

The 'therapeutic' term was used by Dr. Claudette A. Agnes, a Psychology professor of the university when I struck a conversation with her while viewing the works. She will be giving a talk entitled "A Psychology of Colors". She explained thay while our personalities have somewhat predetermined our color preferences it is still essentially our psychological make-up that comes into play when we make our color choices. I'm really excited to hear her share her study tomorrow, who knows what new insights I would get from it. She got a bit excited and even volunteered to give a talk when I mentioned to her about a company that approached us and expressed the desire to hire our colorista team for their employees' development program. How can one say no to a dream collab! 

It's just amazing how this adult coloring phenomenon has caught even the interest of the academe, enough for them to hold this month long event and invite us coloristas to be at the forefront of it all.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two Exhibitions in April

Just waiting for my latest colored in work from Narelle Craven's "Percy and the Mystic Island" from the frame shop and I'd say all these are ready to go.

I'm talking about half of these framed works from coloring books being sent to the University of Sto. Tomas Museum for an event entitled "Color More, Stress Less", a joint project of the Colleges of Psychology and Fine Arts.

The 4-week run will feature the adult coloring trend in an exhibition and academic talks. The two lectures are interesting, they will tackle the artistic and psychological dimensions of colors in visual art. 

Entrance Fee in the museum is P50 per person. It is open on weekdays only (see bottom of poster for museum operating hours). So starting Monday, April 11, works of colorists from our group, Coloring Book for Adults, may be viewed until May 6, 2016 at the UST Museum Gallery. 

Other koloristas whose works will be included in the exhibition are Vermailene Barrios, Gilda Loja, Ian de Jesus, Ayn Descalsote, Cathy Lasam-Ballo, and Jacqueline Simpao-Callanta. 

Another exhibit (more like mall display) that will feature my works as an adult colorist, is in SM Megamall, Mega Fashion Hall. This will be on the weekend of April 16 & 17. During the event hosted by SM Stationery and sponsored by Faber Castell Philippibes I will also be holding 1-hour workshops for interested colorists and walk-in participants sometime around 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. We koloristas are also calling the gathering an OCC™, our term for our signature event where we meet and greet other hobbyists for an afternoon of fun and learning. 

I'm really excited about the new frontiers we're opening up for all the adult colorists in the country. It's time we democratize art with our renderings and make everyone realize that the practice of art is universal. 

Click here to watch a video I made in YouTube featuring some of my works. All those you see in the clip are attributed in the various entries in this blog. 

Nine Pairs

In the aftermath of the massacre in Mendiola, Manila in 1987 a pile of slippers was seen by a young Bedan student after he left school that fateful day. 

This illustration of the pile is again a poignant reminder that those who once wore them crossed a significant path in their lives which demanded that they part with something after. To others it may have very well been just their slippers, to others it may have been their very lives. For the victims of the Mendiola Massacre January 22, 1987, and the Kidapawan Massacre, April 1, 2016. 

Feel free to download and color for  #kulaykidapawan

Related links: 

La Vida Lawyer Blog

Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Steampunk Hat

I had one of the biggest surprises in my life as a colorista when I got invited (more like 'assigned' haha!) to a Facebook chat group that was to be the temporary  homebase of cover artists for Narelle Craven's latest Percy title, "Percy and the Mystic Island". It was a no-brainer, I said yes immediately, and was assigned by the team to color the only steampunk image in the book, a portrait of a lady wearing a hat with gears and spokes. 

In any project in the past that I wished to give my all in I always enlarged the size before I rendered on it. I did the same to this image, I had it printed on an A3 size vellum board. 

I took out my PanPastel pans for skin shades (orange tint, red iron oxide, red iron oxide tint, burnt siena, burnt siena tint) and started to dab her neck and shoulder little by little with its chalk powder. After a few hours I was happy with the result. 

Coloring the rest of the details was something I struggled with. I realized that the artist in me wanted a monochromatic approach to most of the parts. I wasn't very sure though that my wild idea would be acceptable to Narelle Craven, whose past Percy coloring book series were known for their colorful covers and art. To end the struggle I succumbed to my need for self-expression. 

I first went ahead with the bluish colored lighting effect shining from the back. I think I used more than three shades of blue there. Polychromos oil pencils of Faber Castell has the most exciting blue shades around! The bluish light was supposed to be cast all the way up to the lower part of the gears on her head. Whenever I'd get bored in the middle of my coloring (which took about 5 days to finish) I would take a photo of my wip using my phone camera and play with the light adjustment in the edit feature. 

The above image was how it looked when set towards the dark end. Notice how the blue light effect seemingly shows protruded details on the butterfly-like figure behind her shoulder? I love how the use of light blue colors helps achieve that drama. 

Likewise the orange light shining in front of her casts a pale glow on the vegetation growing to her right. I just love the subtle drama it shows.

I'm glad I did follow my instincts because in the end Narelle said she loved the finished work, teared up a bit even.

As for the background, the clouds, I colored most of the parts using both of my hands. Am not ambi but I decided I'd make use of the extra hand, after all it was capable of holding the pencil upright and moving it slightly. 

The book just recently came out. It WAS available in Amazon US and Colour of Calm Australia, unfortunately I heard it's already sold out. Worth waiting for the next batch of printing, that's for sure.

As for the Steampunk Hat image it's already been exhibited in a mall display for colorists last weekend, and someone has already offered to purchase it. I'm still thinking about selling it though.

Exciting times indeed! Who knows what lies ahead for us modern day coloristas.