Monday, August 31, 2009

Freelancing with Time Out Beijing from Abroad

Here's one for Time Out Beijing's September issue. I've noticed that I use a lot of cool colours in my work, so here i'm trying to use warmer, more cheerful colours. I'm not sure if I like them though, what do you think? I want to try more pastel type colours next time around. Any comments would be appreciated.

More good news is that Time Out Beijing is keeping me on for the time being even though I am no longer in China. That is quite exciting, so keep on the look out for more Time Out stuff.

Also I'm glad some people found my little piece on drawing in public enjoyable. Next I will be working on a similar article about how to stay "pseudo-focused" and I am also working on a digital painting tutorial for drawingboard. I'm not sure if people will find it useful, but I always enjoy seeing different approaches so I figure at least one person might feel the same. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

7 Strategies on Drawing People Discretely in Public

I remember when I first started drawing people in public: it was not only difficult as most people do not freeze in position for sneaky artists to draw, but also quite nerve wracking since you're probably hoping not to get caught. The fear of receiving evil cut-eye, or worse, a grande latte to the face makes starting out quite treacherous.

So I thought it would be fun share a few things with you that I found helpful when I first started out. Enjoy!

1. Get a smaller sketchbook.
Getting a sketchbook that's 5"x7" or smaller is probably the easiest way to keep you and your new hobby a secret from your victim. Or if you're on a budget, simply get some printer paper, cut it into quarters, and staple it together and voila, you're very own pocket sketchbook.

2. Draw on your lap
Take that small sketchbook and draw on your lap instead of the table. Now your victim will not see the sketchbook and will probably just wonder why you enjoy staring into your lap. Either way, your victim will probably shrug it off and leave you alone.

3. Litter the table with other things
"Things" being newspapers, magazines, books, a laptop, textbooks, comic books, socks, your dog...whatever it is you can find that will hide what you're doing from your victim. Your victim will naturally assume that you're working on whatever it is in front of you, rather than his or her face.

4. Avoid erasing
Having to erase requires vigorous movement of your body and probably causes some rattling of the table, which might cause your coffee to spill, resulting in you cursing to yourself aloud. So it's best to not do it. Don't draw attention to yourself. This is another reason why I enjoy using a pen.

5. Use your peripherals
In other words, treat your victim like an eclipse, do not look directly at it. Look around the person; like at that lamp to their left or the window behind them, but keep the person in your field of view. Use your peripheral vision to notice whether they're looking in your direction or not. Then as they direct their attention elsewhere, you take a quick peek and start doodling what you see. This is also important to keep in mind when your head pops back up for a 2nd glance afterward. Start from your peripherals.

6. Memory Sketch
This method is a good exercise that was introduced to me by Stephen Silver. It's best to choose someone not staring in your general direction(obviously). All you do is take 30 seconds to observe and memorize everything you can about the victim; pose, line of action, proportions, key features, personality, etc. Then you take the next 5 minutes or even 5 months to regurgitate everything you remember. Not only does this improve your observational skills, but it also virtually hides the fact that you are drawing your victim. To onlookers it seems like you're drawing straight out of your imagination.

7. Just blatently do it
Ok maybe you shouldn't wave the sketchbook in your victim's face and announce that you're drawing them. But don't be afraid to just draw and let people around you see. Most people I run into are fascinated with what you're doing. The victims usually can't tell that you're doodling them based on the drawing anyway (hmm don't know if that's good or bad actually). The only thing to remember is not to stare and make them feel uncomfortable (refer to #5 above). An easy way to ignore people around you and to stay focused is to listen to music while you're doing this. The music distracts you enough to ignore onlookers but keeps you in your bubble enough to maintain your focus.

I hope this encourages a few of you to get out there and try it if you haven't already. Be sure to drop a line and let me know how it goes. Don't forget to RSS the blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

happy fast sketches from the happy panda sketchbook!

Hurray more uploads from wonderful mini-sketchbook I bought in Beijing. This time I included the cover. Yes it's a weird cartoon Panda. Yes it says 'Doing the stretching exercise?' And incidentally, yes I AM kind of doing stretching..

Incidentally, I started a thread over at ( of sketches that I have been doing that are generally in this quick and messy style. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Caricature Commission & Upcoming Film debut @ Cannes Film Festival

This caricature commission is for Gus Apadon, producer of an upcoming film that will debut at Berlin and Cannes Film Festival next year called Pinoy Sunday. It is a Filipino film based in Taiwan. Read more about it here

If all goes according to plan I will be illustrating for the film's treatment-turned-storybook as well. This is shaping up to be a very exciting project.

More on that soon, so check back often or follow the twit (...that would be me on twitter) for updates and other random news.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Digital Painting of Flight of the flight

"No Albi you didn't kill me with your dragon flames. I crawled to safety, but you did leave me very badly disfigured.", laughed the boy.

By far the best line in Albi the Racist Dragon.

Anyhoo, I'm glad to finally post this painting. It's been sitting on the shelf for some time now, had the sketches ready to go, but for some reason could not find time to paint it.

So for those who have been patiently waiting for an update these past 5 days here it is, I hope you all like it. Please feel free to click on the 'comments' link which is at the bottom left of the post. Just take 10 seconds, put down your coffee and donut, log in, and kindly leave any comments, critiques, praises or insults so I can get better at what I do.

In other news, I have been participating in this thread over at and posted an older self caricature painting which shows the step-by-step process, and some people have actually found it useful. I personally found it to be lacking a bit, so I decided to work on a 'mini-tutorial' to see if people find it helpful.

I've been inspired by many tutorials over the past few years. Learning from awesome artists like
Marco Bucci, Joe Bluhm, Court Jones, Bobby Chiu, among others, and found these to be very helpful when I first picked up my Wacom. So hopefully others in my boat will feel the same.

Hurray, I am contributing.

P.S. Don't forget to
RSS the blog for updates.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

added some goodies

This is my Twitter bird I doodled. This is when it occured to me that I should probaby start adding more buttons and pretty things to my blog.

SO, I have added a few goodies that you'll notice on the right side panel.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter But don't worry...I'll try not to update about what I am doing at 9:52PM and then what again at 9:53PM. I have a few tidbits I'll share, perhaps non-art related things and my blog updates will be on there also.

And if you're not a Twit like I am feel free RSS!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asian Chief Wiggum

I was sketching while watching parts of this Chinese movie Fight Back to School and i realize this Police Chief on the left looks a lot like Chief Wiggum.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

empty cafe sketches

So the cafe was empty...

more doodling out of my head... and this was all i got...perhaps i just needed more coffee.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

standing in the subway

Here are some pages from my 4x6 cartoon panda sketchbook i bought at 'ArtBox'... Panda says 'Doing the Stretching Exercises?'...i guess in a way i am?

These are mostly done standing on the crowded, sweaty, stinky armpit that is the Line1 subway or on the fly.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Time Out August.

Here's another one for Time Out Beijing. Woohoo!

I've got another piece I'm working on (non-TimeOut) that i'm pretty excited about. I'm debating whether or not to post the sketches or just to post the final and the progress afterwards. Keep on the look out.