Lessons from coming out of Art Block

It has been a while. After my 31 portraits, I decided to take a sabbatical and rest for a while. I was really getting burnt out. Not only with art, but with a lot of other things. 2020 is just depressing and exhausting.

But somehow, I crawled out of my deep cave and came out with a few paintings. It was tough but I finally managed to break its deep bonds slowly. I had to spend time on my art. My studio needed love. So, I put down the Nintendo Switch, and picked up a pencil and drew.

I hated it. Being rusty, I hated everything that came out of my game addled brain. I did not like how my line art worked, and anatomy? what is that? fortnunately, the classes I taught for children on Saturdays helped jump start my brain and I finally came out with decent work.

I joined pencilvember, drew nature, used colored pencil again, abused graphites, and started to puke out sketch after sketch. of different media and work. Maybe I am back to my old speed again. Maybe soon I will be ready to paint big things again.

What I realized though, is that my art is something that I do for myself. I love when I share my art but art as a career is not for me- at least not right now. I cant think of art as a job. It ruins it. It kills my mojo. But if i start doing it as something I love, then it becomes beautiful to me. It has meaning and purpose and that is something that I need to keep in my work.

I cant work with authors breathing down my neck, but I can illustrate my own book. I dont like to commission things I do not have passion for. I don’t want to be a cookie cutter artist. i want to build and study and explore and be me. I am still healing. I am still recovering from the void of artblock

I am still scared of starting a big work.I am afraid to commit. Perhaps next month?

Thanks July Disney Guys, Hello 31 Animal August!

I just finished July Disney Guys, yes all 31 Watercolor Portraits, and I am very proud of myself. Although, I admit that it is bittersweet because I will miss drawing my boys, I am pretty glad to have finished such a challenge. Drawing 31 Portraits in 31 days was not easy, definitely a challenge especially on days when I am tired and sleepy. It proved even more of a challenge when my work schedule suddenly changed and I had to adjust my creative schedule. It was a struggle to paint anything when you barely have enough sleep, exhausted or just mentally drained.

BUT, I DID IT! NO DELAYS TOO! And I am proud of myself. Check out the flip through below for my Completion of July Disney Guys. YOu can also see them here

I learned a lot during the last 31 days. I learned my strengths were in creating skin tone and in expressive brush strokes. I learned more anatomy and facial planes. I learned about watercolor medium how it acts and different techniques used to render the details on each portrait. I also learned more about myself and my persistence, time management and what I need to improve. I know I have to study clothing folds, how to render textures and metals. I also need to learn how to gouache.

But I am proud of it, for the last 2 months of doing portraits, my pictures have shown a lot of growth. It has been a journey that was worth it and I am thrilled to have finished 2 months of beautiful paintings on Jade, my sketchbook. I am going to finish this book strong, as it is my prettiest book to date.

What’s up for August?

For August we are switching gears and doing small paintings on a hand sketchbook. #31AnimalAugust is something I have started just for warm up. You can check them out on Facebook or my Instagram. I also have started Toby’s Cat-tastic Adventures on my sketchbook. It will feature 13 fantasy paintings in full storybook style, which I will build for my portfolio. If it succeeds, who knows? I may make a copyright-free version and maybe publish? Who knows? But this month I will concentrate on backgrounds and animals and storytelling and I hope to succeed in this venture.

Join me in my Cat-tastic adventures this month! I will also be working more with Every Story My Story and some commissions. as well as some promotions! Looking forward to another productive month!

Q is for Quarantine

Scrolling down my timeline on a mundane Friday night, I found a post that jolted me awake and excited me so much that I reached out to this friend who I have not talked to for more than 10 years to congratulate her on the release of her children’s book, Q is for Quarantine. EJ Nitura, the writer and I are both from the same school in Grade School and High School. We became friends in freshman year of High School because of a band that we were forming and our common love of writing. We both dreamed of being published one day.

So, imagine my surprise and joy when she announced this on Facebook. Not only did she publish, but she was part of the team that created a book that was relevant and meaningful in our present time. Q is for Quarantine is a book that was born out of a need to explain to a little child, Milo what the current situation is all about. The mom, Gita Luz, who spearheaded this operation, wanted a book that would make kids understand our current situation to children. She is a mom of the inspiration for the book, Milo.

The inspiration for the book, cute little Milo

That is when the story took flight. A core team of artists and writers took to the project and worked on it for 2-3 months of production. Such production speed also shows the necessity and the passion that the team had for this book to be able to reach kids age 3-8 and explain to them why suddenly the world changed and why they have to wear masks and social distance. This is a good and fun way to be able to reach those little curious minds and give them the information they need in a way that they could understand.

Creation in progress:
Gita Luz, EJ Nitura, Michelle,Pascual Czari Dy, and Arbee Bagabaldo in a SOCIALLY DISTANT MEETING about the book showing that we can create in all kinds of situations

The illustrations were done by many illustrators from around the globe which gave the book a unique flair. The books characters include all kinds of kids and colorful illustrations that spell inclusiveness and universality. It not only explains the situation but also gives the children lessons about diversity in both race and gender and tells them that we are all in this together.

The Q team creating while in Quarantine is DEFINITELY POSSIBLE

The book was completely done through many zoom meetings and it proves that we can get together to create and things are possible to happen even in difficult situations like the global pandemic. This truly is one of the most encouraging things I have ever seen come out of this time.

Gavin, EJ’s Daughter reading the book

CONGRATULATIONS to THE Q is for Quarantine team! So proud of you, EJ!!
Check them out and you can buy the book HERE

The Likhaya #DTIYS Contest

I do not normally do the Draw-this-in-your-style things that are rampant in Art Twitter and Instagram. I have done a few, but not many. But I chanced upon this that was recommended to me by a friend who is also an artist from Doodle ni Maria. She showed me her entry and I was excited to do this one. This is a redraw of an original collaboration by Shane Salcedo and Sofia Andres for The Lakambini.


The art competition encourages every Filipina Artist to practice her craft and be creative. I do love the fact that I get to empower Filipinas with my art and draw interesting figures.

I admit the whole piece was a bit of a challenge, especially the hands for the lady with the bilao. I also did not like the headwrap, but I had fun with this. I learned about my figure style and learned that these paintings need more room! I need to use bigger paper for these. I did this in my baohong sketchbook.

Even if I do not win the contest, I do love this piece. More power to the Filipina Artists!

August Fantasy Adventures with Toby

Toby the Cat's Diary

Fictional Cat from Instagram

I have a fictional cat. His name is Toby and he has a diary on Instagram. He is a curious and very expressive cat who loves to go on adventures and meeting friends. I started him as a tiny project (literally) as he is in a 3″x 3# frame. ( That is the standard size for micro art journaling for the Facebook group) I enjoy making his mini art and he has gathered quite a following.

Toby loves to get into trouble, meet friends and talk about his owner, Kit. I try to post to the Cat Diary at least twice or three times a week. Depending on my schedule. He is the perfect art bite that I love to satisfy me when I feel the need to create and do not have much time.

Since I really want to push Toby’s Illustrations and create a kind of a story for him, I want to take him out of the house and farm and bring him to some fantastical places. Luckily, the current Kick in the Creatives prompt for August are animals. I combined these with my environment studies for the month and came up with the prompt list!

promptlist3

You can join me on an adventure next month and check my work here on the PROJECT PAGE