Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

In a few hours, we'll all be saying good bye to the year 2011. I would say that it has not been very easy compared to the year that came before it. But despite all the hardships that I've had to go through, I can still greet 2012 with a smile on my face because of the many good things that happened. My friends, I present to you my review of the year 2011.

I've been more inspired this year compared to the last one primarily because of my family and my girlfriend. Keeping personal and professional matters separated is of paramount importance to artists like myself. It's a lot easier to do it when you have few or no personal issues to deal with. Such is the case for me up to now thanks in no small part to my loved ones. Here's a family portrait that I recently finished. This is also my last painting for this year. I decided to sign it with my last name.

Soon enough, I'll make another one that includes my future wife. :)


I was lucky enough to have been involved in the production of several games including but not limited to Uncharted 3, Gremlins Gizmo the Game, and our company's interpretation of War of the Burning Sky. Unfortunately, I've yet to acquire permission to post client-owned stuff here so I'll just share some of the promotional stuff I did for War of the Burning Sky Online.

I work in an industry in which most, if not all companies prioritize non-disclosure so when the games that I worked on come out and I'm allowed to talk about them, it brings me a great deal of joy! :D


Speaking of talking about the games that I've worked on, I gave a talk for the first time this year. It was a talk about art in the field of video game development. It's a sad thing that not many Filipinos are aware of the many opportunities currently being presented by the local gaming industry. But I'm happy because I keep discovering more and more Filipino artists whose works are truly worthy of worldwide recognition.


After such a long time I finally got to meet once more with my high school classmates. It's been a decade since we saw each other. They almost didn't recognize me. Well, to say that I've gained weight is an understatement. You would find this agreeable if you had known me during my high school years... When I used to be a ballet dancer! Hahahaha! Here's something I did out of nostalgia.

Yes. I was a ballet major during my high school years. I studied at the Philippine High School for the Arts. It's a government-run school that focuses on honing the skills of talented young Filipinos in several art fields such as dance, music, creative writing, visual and theater arts. I wasn't doing ballet all the time though. From time to time I would study the works of my batch mates who majored in visual arts. That's when I began studying traditional media. Sadly, I no longer have the time to make as many traditional pieces as I used to do. But I managed to produce a gouache painting this year! Here's my tribute to Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones. He's my favorite character in the series. Too bad they killed him off in the first season.


Another thing that I won't forget is that during the course of 2011, many of my artworks made their way to the print! The most recent batch being the ones that are on page 11 of ImagineFX issue 78!

And speaking of print, 2011 is also the year in which I tried self-publishing for the first time. See my Komikon 2011 coverage for the details.


Together with my colleagues, my girlfriend and I went to Coron, Palawan earlier this year. It was the first time we took a vacation. Unfortunately, I don't have any related artworks to post.

So there goes my 2011 review. I wish everyone a happy and meaningful new year!

To the people affected by the typhoon Sendong, I would like to extend to you my sympathies. Do not give up. We are a resilient people. I know we can recover from this. 

May God bless you all! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Araw ng Pagbasa (Reading Day)

Here's a little something my friends at Leo Burnett Manila and I did for Araw ng Pagbasa (Reading Day). We did this last Wednesday. This morning, it found its way to the pages of both The Philippine Star and The Philippine Daily Inquirer. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Komikon Experience

I was too tired to make this post last night so I'm doing it now. I had a blast at Komikon 2011! It was my first time to be an exhibitor! I'm so happy to have made a contribution to such an event that not only showcases the art of many talented Filipinos but also proves that komiks is still very much alive!

I was there the whole day and I've been very busy. I came in around 7:30 am to prepare our booth. I got a chance to meet and greet several of the most well-known names in the comics industry before the event officially opened. It was rather calm during the earlier hours and then it got really crowded around lunch time. I barely had time to take pictures because I was also making little sketches which all three of us in our group had to do for our promo (buy all our titles, get one free sketch). It's a good thing my girlfriend decided stay with us there! She did a fantastic job at managing our booth while we were all too busy with sketch requests!

Here are some pictures:

Buena mano! Here's fellow exhibitor Benji Bartolome! The guy behind Team Tag Team and also the first ever buyer of my komiks, Palagdas!

I'm really not used to seeing any Komikon like this! Komikons are never this empty! Haha! Taken during setup time.

Rommel "Omeng" Estanislao with his latest komiks, Bruho Barbero!

Here's a shot of our booth. Here we can see my art prints and some copies of my komiks. I'm so glad that these things sold pretty well. I should have made more prints of my paintings. more than half of them got sold out early in the afternoon.

Exhibitor and fellow Makasining member, MJ Pajaron.

And Omeng again with my komiks! :D

Makasining presents! Two of the four titles that we sold!

I just realized that this would be the first time I'm posting a picture of myself here on my blog. There I am in blue. With me are two legends, Mr. Randy Valiente (left) and Mr. Tony DeZuñiga!

Mr. DeZuñiga's great! I got from him a Conan print and a copy of a Jonah Hex graphic novel. That's not all! He drew Hex behind the front cover! On-the-spot! That's gotta be the best among all the stuff I bought during the komikon! :)

I also gave him an on-the-spot sketch of Hex as a gift. Too bad I forgot to take a picture! I was starstruck!

Here are Vincent and Lariz! Thanks for the support guys!

Fellow Makasining members, MJ Pajaron and Allen Geneta! Allen's the SEASONED VETERAN of our group! He's been doing this exhibitor thing for quite a while now. MJ and I couldn't have made it to the kon without his help!

Here's Dee! Booth manager supreme! The loveliest girl on the planet!

Here's one of the sketches requested to me by one of the people who bought our titles! Dante from Devil May Cry! I was really nervous when I did this. Aside from the fact that I'm not used to drawing fan art, I didn't actually plan to make sketches during the event but since my ever-so-fantastic girlfriend was there to keep things organized, I had time to do these things.

Here's me again doing a sketch of someone else's original character. I didn't have a hard time with this one because a reference pic was provided.

Our in-house manga artist hard at work!

And more quick sketches!

Then here's my Komikon stash! I finally got my copy of Superman Birthright autographed by Mr. Alanguilan! I wish I had more time to buy more stuff and I wish the event had been longer! Can't wait for the next Komikon! Many many thanks to everyone who made this event possible! It's an experience I will never forget! See you all again next year! :)

I'd like to end this post with a little information about the Makasining Komiks Group.

Makasining is a group of individuals who, despite their differences in style are one in the belief that komiks is a legitimate form of art and working together to continue enriching it. Currently, it's members are Allen Geneta, MJ Pajaron and yours truly. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Commissions and Komikon!


How long has it been since my last post?!

To say that I've been very busy sounds like an understatement. I almost always say I've been busy every time I make a new post here. Three major things have happened!

1. A couple of my works got featured in the FXpose section of ImagineFX Issue 76 (December) 2011. They misspelled the title of one of my paintings. It should be "The SUMMONER Approaches" instead of "The SUMMER..." But, I'm still happy that my work got featured there!

2. My friends from Leo Burnett Philippines commissioned me to do three fully painted posters to promote talks for the 22nd Philippine Ad Congress! Wow! This is one of the bigger local projects I've worked on this year. The Ad Congress is already taking place and these posters have already been released so I guess it's okay to show these now.  The theme is "Change the Game" so my job was to deliver several fantasy-themed scenes designed according to the talks they represent. Here are the posters without copy. I don't have copies of the FA versions as they were done by the guys and gals at Leo Burnett. If ever I get my hands on the final prints of these things, I'll have them replace the pics below. For now, please enjoy my latest colored works! :)

3. KOMIKON 2011! It's less than 24 hours away! It'll be held at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig! For the first time, I'll be one of the exhibitors there! I'm releasing my first indie komiks! Yes, komiks with a "k"! 

I present to you... PALAGDAS! Written and illustrated by yours truly!

 I'll post more about Komikon soon. I haven't slept properly for weeks and I really shouldn't get sick in the next 48 hours. I hope you like the latest updates! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Intermission number!

This isn't a WIP shot of Anggoy Alunsina but rather, a series of speed paintings I made during down time. For the full description, please take a look at the corresponding post on DA.

And now back to other important matters! :D

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anggoy Alunsina WIP#3

This WIP #3 of my latest personal work, Anggoy Alunsina.

I was getting carried away with rendering the drapery close to her left leg. I stopped for a while and then I realized it would be a lot better if I just roughly painted everything in it first instead of intensively rendering one part at a time. That way, it would be easier for me to avoid getting too absorbed by the details and see the whole picture as it gets developed.

I'm not used to taking this long to do a painting but I really want it to look more detailed and more polished than anything I've put together so far without losing the traditional touch.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anggoy Alunsina WIP#2

My self-esteem has been waning steadily because of all the awesome work my friends have been posting lately. I really feel like I'm getting left behind. The good news is that I was able to get home earlier than usual tonight... or last night since it's already 12am here! Sheesh!

Here's WIP#2

I wasn't very happy with how I drew the drapery before so I modified the sketch a bit. The next time I work on this (hopefully tomorrow), I'll put some under-paint for the drapery. Something tells me I should have done that earlier but I got carried away while doing certain parts of the picture. My bad.  

I'm still concerned about the details I plan to incorporate such as the Pintados and the accessories but detailing comes last so I guess I'll just cross the bridge when I get there. 

I am so tempted to not go to the office tomorrow so I could spend more time on this!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anggoy Alunsina WIP#1

This has been kicking my ass but I'm determined to finish it.

Anggoy Alunsina WIP #1

I've been wanting to do something based on Philippine Literature so here's my first piece in what I envision as a series of paintings based on Philippine myths and legends particularly the epic from Panay known as Hinilawod. Anggoy Alunsina is one of the characters in that epic. She is the maiden of the eastern sky. Sometimes, she is referred to as "Laun Sina" which means "the unmarried one" for many suitors including gods have failed to win her heart. This is where the story of Hinilawod begins.

More progress shots will follow soon so stay tuned! In the WIPs that will follow, I'll make sure to infuse this illustration with more Filipino elements. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dance of the Knife - the painting and the process

My latest work is a female nude mixed with some fantasy elements. This is also my entry for another ImagineFX art challenge formally called MYFX Challenge #244 - The Witch's Familiar. I found out about this challenge last Tuesday (our time). At first I was reluctant to participate because I had less than 24 hours to come up with a decent piece. But then, I realized that the point of events like these is to be challenged so I decided to put something together and here it is:

I call it "Dance of the Knife". I actually wrote a story about the woman in the picture (See below. After the process summary). I've also put it up on DeviantArt but you won't be able to view it there unless you sign in. It's flagged mature because of the nudity so only DeviantArt users can view it there.

And now, the process.

Significant resources utilized:
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Wacom graphics pen and tablet
  • Lots of references including many photographs taken by Marcus Ranum
  • Google images for pictures of vultures
  • Custom brushes by Jan Ditlev Christensen
  • A lot of inspiration from the works of Boris Vallejo and Tony DeZuñiga

My initial idea for the painting was pretty simple. Actually, I'm not sure if it's even valid to call it an idea. The execution I had in mind was witch + her familiar spirit represented by a vulture. 

There's nothing entirely new with the procedures I observed for this one. I started with a tonal thumbnail, then I continued with a color thumbnail before making a form sketch. To tell you the truth, I didn't get to spend as much time on this painting's thumbnails as the ones I did for my previous works. I'm not very happy about that. I was shooting for speed so was unable to explore that much. I wish I found out about the art challenge sooner.

The strokes I made here are broader than usual since I didn't have much time. About 90 percent of the time I spent on this painting, I was working on just one layer. That's how I paint with oils so it didn't cause any issues. Although if I didn't have a deadline, I would have separated the figure and the ground until the post-processing stages.

Here's a view of the progress from the developed form sketch to the final painting with special effects. While developing the sketch, an idea for the story about the woman and her relationship with the vulture suddenly popped out of my head. It's a happy accident partly influenced by an image of Leda and the swan. 

The steps I took can be summarized as follows:
  1. Tonal thumbnail
  2. Color thumbnail
  3. Form sketch
  4. Refinement of sketch
  5. Tonal fixes
  6. Details
  7. Effects

Painting this took me around 5 hours with many breaks in between which I spent either by drinking water (I just realized that painting makes me thirsty) or cooking up a back story for the subject. I really wish I had more time to do this. That way, I could have spent more time interacting with others in the WIPs forum which is the most fun part of art challenges. Oh well. There will be other challenges!


For those who might be interested, here's the story I wrote.

Dance of the Knife

The period of time from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries was the most difficult for any practitioner of magic in the western hemisphere. Those years are considered to be the peak years of witch-hunts that resulted in more than a hundred thousand executions.

Witches during those harrowing times had different approaches towards the threat to their kind. While some resorted to surrender and repentance, others opted for direct confrontation. Still, there are others who considered escape to be their best option.

Among the many witches known to have continued the study of the dark arts in pursuit of refuge, Catharina Walden's name remains arguably the most-surrounded by mystery. Legend has it that she came from a line of magic practitioners who have dedicated their lives to the research of rituals and spells that allowed travel to the world of spirits. The most-enduring of the many stories about Catharina is the story of The Dance of the Knife.

According to several accounts, The Dance of the Knife was the last ritual that Catharina performed. Designed for teleportation, the ritual involved a ceremonial blade that only their clan is said to have possessed, and a familiar spirit in the form of a vulture. The dance included in the ritual was not a choreographed kind. The movements of the body, particularly the hand that held the ceremonial blade, were guided by the movements of the performer's familiar. Landing on the knife hand was the familiar's way of signifying the end of the ritual where the performer must stab herself in the chest. The Walden clan is said to have claimed that by doing this, the performer is able to conquer all limitations imposed by the physical plane.

What happened to Catharina Walden after performing the ritual is unknown for her body was never found, nor the knife that she used. Pieces of jewelry, amulets, and the fossilized vulture at the site where she allegedly performed the ritual are the only artifacts suggesting that she did exist. This remains the subject of debate among scholars today.


 I hope you like what I put together here! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My first printed work!

I just bought a copy of ImagineFX issue number 73 - September 2011. And I'm very pleased to let you know that my painting Dr. Hawkin's Last Dive got featured on the Forum Winners spread. Many thanks to Beren Neale, to my friends, loved ones and fellow artists! I am grateful for the support, tips and encouragement! This is the first time my work got printed so this one's for you! I hope I get to publish my own book in the future! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Rage or something along its line is what I feel when a computer decides to crash before I get to save my work. F**king machine! I'm gonna miss that painting I was working on. It was a speed-painting of  landscape that I've been doing for 2 hours. Damn! I was too frustrated to repeat it so I decided to do some Green Lantern fan art instead.

Well... This guy here isn't green at all! But he does appear in the same title as his green-clad adversary. I've always wanted to paint Green Lantern but I do not yet have a solid idea about how I'm gonna do it so it'll be Atrocitus for now. I would love to paint all the prominent lanterns of each corps but I don't want to promise it. I think it's luck that gave me the spare 3 hours that I used to paint this so I don't know when I can make a follow-up if I can make one at all.

Hopefully, the next time I post here, I'll have more interesting stuff to share. I actually have been doing quite a handful of paintings lately. I just can't divide my time properly yet which is why I don't get to post here a lot.

Oh, by the way, I just found out that one of my paintings will be in issue 73 of ImagineFX. Cool! It'll be the first time my work is going to get published somewhere! I hope to get into Ballistic someday!

For a larger view of the painting I posted here, please go to my other gallery.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Latest updates May 08, 2011

It's been a long while since my last post. I barely have enough time to do freelance work let alone personal pieces. But I'm glad I found time to:

  • participate (AND WIN!) in one of the ImagineFX weekly art challenges.
  • create my own gallery on the Advanced Photoshop website and get a picture of the week award! 
Here's my winning entry for the IFX weekly challenge:

There's a larger view available for those who might be interested. This is also available as a fine art print. To view these options, please go to my main gallery. I hope you like it! I hope you like the story about it which I wrote myself using Nat Geo magazine articles as references for the writing style! :)

Here's the documentation of the creative process:

The thumbnails. My first study is the little blue one on the lower left corner. It was okay but I didn't go with it because it looked like a still of an aquarium rather than an image taken from under the sea. The second one (the one right on top of it) is a shot from under the massive eel which, unfortunately, didn't feel massive at all. I went with the rightmost variation of my third study. I'm surprised that the portrait orientation worked.

This is a closer view of the thumbnail I chose. Diver, giant eel, coral reef, school of fish, blue and green and some dramatic lighting. Yep. At this stage I could clearly see where I was going so I decided to build up from here.

The next thing I did was background detailing. I was a little slow at first because I was using newly found custom brushes. I kept looking at underwater photos from Google search to make sure everything felt right.

Then I began to paint the cutlass. I used pictures of Moray eels as references.

At this point, I was beginning to feel uncomfortable about how the eel was coming along because initially, it appeared too ordinary. I got saved by a happy accident. I accidentally selected a blood spatter brush and applied it on the eel's dorsal fin. It looked rather fascinating so I continued to experiment. The next image is my last WIP shot. As you can see, it's very close to the final image save for the bubbles and additional lighting effects.

I WON! Hahahaha! Thanks to all who voted for my entry! 

And here's the artwork that got me "picture of the week" award on the Advanced Photoshop website.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bridge Too Far - the painting and the process

I really love warm colors so I decided to paint a volcanic-themed environment. I call this latest piece of mine "Bridge Too Far". I got inspiration from a couple of scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy- the one in which Gandalf casts away the Balrog and another where the final confrontation between Frodo, Sam and Gollum takes place.

For what it's worth, I would like to share with you how I did this. The following are images showing various stages of the creative process.

STAGE 1: Roughs

You really can't go wrong if you start with roughs. That's a lesson experience has taught me. The two images above are both color thumbnails that served as the bases of this particular illustration. I usually make a tonal (black and white) thumbnail first before I make a color thumbnail. But for paintings where hues are in direct proportion to values such as this one where colors are analogous to orange, I tend to begin without a separate rough for the tonal layout. The difference between the two roughs above is that the second one has slightly cooler hues.

When at this stage, I only use broad brush strokes. There's really no point in getting nit-picky right away. The only thing that matters at this stage is to establish the mood of the painting and to get a quick preview of the composition. Speaking of composition, I followed the rule of thirds for this one.

Another reason why I think it's important to establish both mood and composition during the rough sketching phase is that I can easily revise or discard roughs (if I have to) without feeling bad at all.

STAGE 2: Drawing the perspective grid

I don't think I can paint an effective-looking environment illustration without utilizing perspective- atmospheric or otherwise. I used three-point perspective guidelines here. The blue lines on the image above lead to three vanishing points located way beyond the canvas.

Other than modeling a block mesh in any 3D application, there are no shortcuts when it comes to establishing perspective. This stage is just as important as the rest. It should not be skipped especially if the painting is supposed to have geometric forms in it.

STAGE 3: Initial form sketch

I find it easier to make form sketches such as the one above once I've gone through making roughs and perspective grids. When I make form sketches, what goes on in my mind is that I am just assigning particular materials to each element in the picture. That's why I still keep it loose when I am at this point. This is the stage in which I decide if a certain element is going to be rough or smooth, dull or shiny, and so on. This is also the part where I finalize the light sources in the painting.

STAGE 4: Painting the farthest elements

As the old saying goes, "You can't put the cart before the ox." That is applicable to a lot of things including painting. I paint the farthest elements first because I don't want to get stuck fixing up missed spots which inevitably appear if the foreground is painted before the background. For this particular painting, the most distant part is the lava fall so that's what I painted first. When I am at this stage in any painting, that's when I say the fun part has officially started.

STAGE 5: Overlapping elements

The four images above show the development sequence of the left side of this painting. I still followed the same procedure of painting the more distant elements before the nearer ones. When I speak of distance I mean the distance relative to the camera. Well, we don't really have a camera here because this is a painting but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying. It is during this stage that I draw the details in. This is the best part to get busy with.

STAGE 6: Additional effects and post-processing

After detailing, I refine my paintings further by adding subtle effects. In this painting, I threw in some vapors coming from below. I then ran a smart sharpen filter before I decided to wrap this up. The effect of the said filter on this artwork is subtle as well. It's only noticeable when you look at the painting up close. It's not entirely necessary. I only did it because it produces what I think looks like a dried paint effect which I like. The final result is the first and topmost image in this entry.

I hope you liked this documentation as much as I enjoyed the creative process! :)