Monday, November 10, 2014

ink and water

I've been using my pens more for sketching than writing, and I have quite a few go-to sketching tools that I seriously feel lost without. I lean towards using pens with permanent, waterproof ink because I like putting watercolor washes over my sketches

Last Saturday I bought a bottle of Noodler's X-feather ink, something that's said to look great on any kind of paper. Feathering is a common problem when using fountain pens on paper, and this ink claims to be unaffected by that. It's also anti-forgery, but my signature isn't all that valuable, but okay. Now, X-feather is not at all waterproof, but I think it has its merits, sketching-wise.

After laying down some lines, you can get a waterbrush and put some shadows or grey tones over the sketch. I do this with my non-permanent ink brushpens, like the Akashiya:

and the Paintastics black brush pen, which turns purple when wet:

My other fountain pen inks are too light or too "watery" for sketching purposes, so I found this Noodler's ink really nice. It's good for times when I don't have time to put watercolors, or have no desire to bring colored pencils but still want to use my fountain pens and put some form of "color" in. And because I have a full bottle, I won't be using "I might use up all of my precious permanent ink" as an excuse for not practicing my line work with my fountain pens. 

(My friend Ige lets me have some of his Noodler's Black waterproof ink, but I don't want to use up his stash and besides, I've been looking for ink that dilutes to grey this nicely.)

a shoe, a water tumbler, and my pen organizer. quick sketches!

The ink+water combo works best on watercolor paper, but can also be done on plain paper--just expect some bleed-through!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baguio, for a wee while

The annual conference of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines brought me to Baguio this year. The conference starts on a Thursday but I was there starting Wednesday to help in the preparations. The last time I was in Baguio was March last year, when my trip buddies and I stopped over for a meal on our way to Sagada. I remember it was 3am and it was freezing. The last time before that was in 2009, for a training seminar.

I was supposed to go home on the Sunday after the conference, but felt compelled to stay another day. I found out there was going to be an art event that weekend and I wanted to check it out, plus I felt I just needed more time to myself, to re-explore, to sketch, and simply to spend a leisurely time on my own.

I walked a lot, took photos, sketched. I discovered new places and rediscovered old ones. I explored the market, walked to the bus terminal from the SLU guesthouse where I was staying and came back another way, stayed for a good while in Mt. Cloud bookshop, and walked some more.

On Saturday I was able to meet a couple of Baguio artists. We sketched and I encouraged them to be active in our Urban Sketchers group. I spent most of Sunday with a Baguio-based colleague who went with me to the art event, took me to the new art space along Assumption Road called Ili-likha (one of Kidlat Tahimik's projects), and also introduced me to perhaps the oldest bar along Session Road, Rumours. While walking to Cafe by the Ruins we saw a couple of German Shepherds, one of which was carrying a basket in its mouth, and in the basket was the cutest little Shih Tzu--or I think it was a Shih Tzu--trotting along their owner, perhaps on their way to Burnham Park for some treats from tourists. I wanted to stay longer, but had things to do back in Manila.

Brooms soon.

Passionfruit on the left, Spanish tomatoes on the right

I was told that the Buddhist temple in Baguio welcomes visitors--you just have to knock on the door. It's on my to-do list.

Kawayan de Guia's work for 'Markets of Resistance'

Artworks for barter. The concept was, instead of paying for an artwork with cash, you barter with items that the artist needs, such as food (rice, beans, coffee, etc.) and art materials (canvas, paint, textiles). I wanted the green tile on the far left and left my number, but the artist hasn't contacted me about what he wants to barter with. I was, however, contacted by someone else who also wanted one of the artist's tiles. :/

My colleague Hector (we were classmates in grad school) looking at artworks in one of the stalls.

I sketched and sketched. I'd like to believe I'm getting better at location sketching. :)

While waiting for my bus to call for boarding

The view from my seat, while waiting for the bus to leave the terminal. I really like how I did the water tank.

The scenes along the highway don't change much, so even if the bus was moving I was able to do some quick sketches.
A 15-minute stopover--the last one--let me do a quick sketch of a hut that sold pasalubong. I had to finish coloring in the bus.

One of the participants of the conference, during break time. We had rice cakes.

We stayed in the Saint Louis University guest house. 

After checking out the stalls for 'Markets of Resistance', we made our way to Cafe by the Ruins for a light snack...

...and ginger tea with honey.

That night we headed to VOCAS and hung out the balcony...

...before heading to Ili-likha for vegetarian paella. I was able to cuddle this sweet cat.

Then suddenly it was Monday and I had to go home. Oh well, I thought, there's always a next time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Siem Reap sketches

Last month, my mom, my sisters and I went to Siem Reap in Cambodia for some good ol' touristy stuff and girl bonding. We explored the Angkor Thom temple complex, took shelter in one of Ta Prohm's stupas when it rained, had our fill of buffet food, road a boat to a floating village, and saw Cambodian artisans hard at work.

We have more than 500 photos of the trip but I won't be putting them here (boo), as they're really very...touristy, and I've exhausted all my touristy energy when I uploaded them all on Facebook.

My film photos are taking such a long time to have processed now, for two reasons: one, I don't get to use up a roll as quickly as before; and two, ever since Digiprint has started closing its branches, I'm left with few choices. Go to Hidalgo to have it processed and scanned to CD, wait 1-3 hours (since I'm already there anyway, might as well wait), and pay a lot for one roll; go to TeamManila to have it processed and scanned by Digiprint, wait up to two weeks (!!!) for the CD and negatives, and pay around Php 500 for 4 rolls; or nothing. (Note: I used to pay *only* Php 250 for 5 rolls in Digiprint, and the CD would be delivered to me in 3 days' time.) Those are the two best choices I have at the moment. The last remaining Digiprint in the metro (that I'm aware of, at least), the one in Shang, is closed due to 'mall renovations'.

Really, you'd think that with the trend of 'going analogue' the hipster lifestyle has popularized, 'inexpensive' film labs would actually pop up here and there. But no. And right now there's nothing I can do about it.

Film photography frustrations aside, I decided to just make this post all about the sketches I made in Siem Reap. For a change. I wasn't able to sketch as much as I would like (it's really hard to sketch while walking around, getting herded by the guide around ancient temples), but I'm happy with what I was able to make. So without further blah, the sketches!

One of the concerns we had about our trip was "Would we be able to attend mass on Sunday?" Our flight was scheduled on Saturday night, and we didn't even know if there are Catholic churches around where we're going. Luckily for us, the NAIA Terminal 3 airport has an anticipated mass every Saturday at 5pm, thanks to the Our Lady of the Airways parish. We used to hear mass there before, when we had to pick up my mom from the airport.

After mass we went to have dinner in one of the airport's restaurants. Our budget flight offered nothing for free, so heavy meal it is. This guy was alone and looked like a regular brooder.

I get bored most when the plane is just sitting on the runway waiting for its go signal to start running--er, flying. Thanks to sketching, I had something to occupy myself with. And once I started, I couldn't stop.

I think it was a full moon when we left, and the night sky was beautiful with clouds and the moon shining over and through them. This was drawn shortly after takeoff; we turned around to our proper course and I didn't see the moon anymore.

I attempted to draw my mom while she slept during our flight. That's not really how her nose looks like--I blame turbulence.

Bayon Temple. I almost tripped on one of the stones while sketchwalking (literally) so I decided to keep my notebook for a while. "A while" turned into "the rest of the day."

The following day, I went down for breakfast early. There was a pool by the dining area, and it wasn't every day that I got to take my sweet time having 'breakfast by the pool', so there.

We would get to swim on our last day there. The pool allows swimming only after 10am, but since we would be leaving earlier, we asked the management if we could take a dip as early as 7am. They agreed! Thank you, Royal Angkor Hotel!

Monday morning was spent in a boat. We were heading to the Tonle Sap Lake to see the floating village. Muddy waters, but we could see people fishing with their nets. I was seated behind my sister. I really like the way I was able to draw the lifejacket, haha.

I do not know how to 'properly' draw water.

Along the side of the river are water level indicators. The area floods during rainy season, and our guide told us that when the water reaches a certain level, the residents evacuate but return to their houses (and their livelihood) when the flood subsides. "Like in the Philippines!" we chorus.

Back on dry land, lunch.

After lunch, we went to the Cultural Village, their version of the Nayong Pilipino. The village featured different kinds of performances, from dances to a wedding ceremony. The group that performed that day was amazing--they changed costumes so quickly, moved from theater to theater like the wind, and were tireless in their dances. 

At the Khmer wedding show, a group of musicians.

This particular performer is what we call "makulit"--he connects to the audience really well, and is very funny. We were able to have a photo with him and some of the other male performers. 

The 'house' over at the Chinese village. With bamboos, of course.

The most entertaining performance happened here, at the Kroeung Village. It was about choosing a husband. The cast was full of endearing and funny characters. And I suck at drawing people (moving ones at that), so house. And tree.

Never leave Cambodia without sketching a lotus, even if it's just the one on your breakfast table.

The sketch that I am proudest of is this one, the view from our hotel room. Proudest because I usually get bored drawing details (all those lines!) but I did my best, and there you go!

At the airport, preying on sleeping passengers.

To pass the time my sister read on her iPad; I sketched.

I was seated at the left aisle seat two rows behind. He was the only one I could comfortably see. For this sketch, I used the Akashiya Brush Pen Koto that we bought at the mall. Nice gray when wet!

It was a short, but sweet trip. I keep saying this, and I do mean it: I plan to go back, maybe for a week. I can still work while there anyway. I'd like to go on a bike ride around town, to the temples, have a picnic under one of the trees, have tea in one of the local tea shops, have a taste of 'authentic' Cambodian food (no more buffets, please), learn a few more useful phrases, buy more brush pens, and make more sketches.

Gotta save up for next year, then.

Monday, June 9, 2014

sketching tools

I've been dabbling in sketching for the past four or so years now, accumulating all sorts of materials such as notebooks, pens, and watercolors. I had been trying to "discover" my own style and believe me when I say I've tried a lot. Like my handwriting, I don't think I will ever stick to just one style, and I realized that I just draw in the way and with the materials that strike my fancy at the moment.

Lately though, I've been feeling more comfortable with brush pens and watercolors: I make outlines with the brush and fill it in with various hues. Sometimes I use the waterbased paint brush, make outlines, and wet the outlines with the aquabrush. For figure drawing practice I sometimes use colored pencils because I don't have to worry about running out of ink. I have a lot to learn, but I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm starting to like my drawings now, hahaha.

Drawn with a waterbased color brushpen (Paintastics black),
washed with water to 'spread' some of the ink.

Drawn using a brush pen with permanent ink and Dong-A watercolors. 

brush pen and watercolors

My newly-customized go-to sketchkit for a trip. Unipin .3, black Paintastics brush pen, Chinese brush pen, Pentel aquabrush, Schneider Creactive calligraphy pen with 1.1 nib, and Faber-Castell watercolor pencils. The notebook is from Papemelroti; I've added watercolor paper to the brown craft paper. Not in photo: the Dong-A watercolor set.