Underwater is the best place to swim.

I have a few small paintings for sale. These are A6 in size, roughly 4x6in, and are all watercolor works on handmade paper (Khadi paper). Send a message if you’re interested!


I have also added some old and new-ish projects on my portfolio site. The latest one shows the biology posters I made for the Masungi Georeserve. I learned so much from the project, and although I had to work through last year’s holiday season, I enjoyed it very much.

FranAlvarez-Masungi-Birds_posterView more posters and learn more about the project here.


I’ll be part of Light Grey Art Lab’s Camouflage exhibit, which opens on the 26th. I really wish I could go, because it opens alongside other nature-themed exhibit, and one of my inspirations Kelsey Oseid is going to have a show up! If you’re in the Minneapolis area, or will be during that time, do drop by and take some pictures, then show me~

Keeping myself productive and busy helps a lot with the anxiety. I’ve figured that personally, I feel more at ease at the end of the day when I know I’ve finished something (ANYTHING). As much as I can, I try to accomplish even really small tasks before going to bed. It could be something for work, or other things that aren’t really as urgent like writing a journal entry, mopping the room once, or labeling emails.

I’m also very thankful to be surrounded by supportive and level-headed individuals every day, at work and at home. It really helps me put things in perspective, and keeps me focused.

Sometimes it’s hard not to be affected by the world going haywire. I guess it’s good training for keeping your head above water, and for trying hard to make things better along with the rest of the population despite everything. Some days the silver lining’s there, some days you have to draw it yourself.

tout doucement

means “slowly” in French.

The Sunday Currently, and well, My Life Currently may be described in a bunch of gifs from the film Mood Indigo (dir. Gondry).



mixed emotions, long bouts of sleep

I have been in an adjustment-transition-acceptance period these past couple of months (and counting). It is unfortunate that my rather unpleasant disposition has affected the people around me AND work, and I am trying  hard to make things right and not wear This Heavy Thing on my sleeve. If anything, I am learning how to be aware of my environment and not let it consume me, and to consciously make decisions to be a better person, especially now my enemy has a name and we have been properly introduced.

On this note, I will take this moment to encourage you all to keep yourselves properly hydrated, fed with enough vegetables, and exposed to healthy early-morning sunshine, for the benefit of your minds and bodies. These may not be entirely cures to illnesses, but they do help with powering through things, trust me.

If your work is also your hobby, like how drawing and design are mine, make time to take some time off. Working too late into the night and losing too much sleep is apparently now a carcinogen, according the WHO (just sharing trivia, no I do not have cancer). This feels indulgent advice to give out knowing of the list of deadlines that I myself have, but, say it with me, health is wealth.


Everyday I am grateful that, well, I actually made it through the day before. That my shaky hands find others’ to hold and/or high-five, friends who understand, or who don’t but are constantly there for me anyway, a humble home with everything I need: family, home-cooked meals, a clean bed, and pets that are always crazy happy to see me come home every night (except maybe the cat but I know deep inside he loves me).

Slowly I am seeing that I am on this cute but wonky boat, and not an expedition ship like how my younger self might have envisioned older me to be on. In any case, I must learn to row and navigate, and sing a little (OR A LOT) while I’m at it.

Hobonichi Techo 2017


I got myself a Hobonichi for Christmas! I’ve heard very good things about the paper (Tomoe River), and also I’m a sucker for well-designed objects. I got it from their official online store, and I received the parcel a couple of weeks after through EMS.

nbnh-2017-16_zps2gj9al92What’s in the box. Okay, sorry for the dramatic lighting of all the photos haha. It was that time of day and I couldn’t get any more light in the room.

nbnh-2017-17_zpsgwfl81agBefore anything else, this cute flyer also came with the package. It’s an ad for a social media app for pets, I think?

nbnh-2017-18_zps20ftavstThe planner is paperback, with weeks starting on Mondays, and in A6 size that is perfect for my small drawings and handwriting, heh.

nbnh-2017-20_zps8wg5vokwhashtag attention to small details

The first pages feature months in different formats, providing ample amount of space for everything you may possibly need and want to do this 2017.


nbnh-2017-24_zpsflx0hlloThe bulk of the planner features the daily pages, with weekends in red ink. There are also tabs printed on the side of the pages to mark each month. Pretty nifty.

nbnh-2017-25_zpshtcopktwThe back pages have a few sheets of dot grid…

nbnh-2017-26_zpsyontn8wu…and a few more with illustrated guides to Japanese culture.

nbnh-2017-42_zpswqoihzvoThere are quotes on the bottom of each spread. Some are about art and film, some are poems.

nbnh-2017-43_zpsz9osinvfIt spreads out flat but doesn’t crack the spine!

I bought mine a little late already and most of the covers were out of stock. I got this pretty knit cover by Tricote. SO NICE. I think I would’ve gotten this, still, even if the others were in stock, heh.

How it looks like with the planner. You can hang your pen on the side.

I love the tassel bookmark, too!

I got the plastic cover to wrap over this, but apparently it doesn’t fit on this knit one because of the size of pen holder. A lot of the other covers have the pen holder set lower.

Aside from notebooks and covers, the Hobonichi store also carries stationery, cutting supplies, and other novelty items to complement the planners. I got an OLFA top sheet cutter (over the perforating knife, which I also had my eyes on). The best utility knife I own is an OLFA, and I really like how it fits perfectly in my hand.

nbnh-2017-34_zps3fcc07eoYou can slide the blade to control how deep you want to cut into your paper. I can use this to cut out stuff from magazines without damaging the parts underneath the page. It’s small, too, and fits just right in the average pencil case.

nbnh-2017-35_zpsxgwsqbzzAnd lastly, this wonderful pack came as a freebie! A uni multi pen (black, blue, red), and a plastic buttered toast plate WHAT.

nbnh-2017-37_zps81sho3f8I love this so much haha.


Some pages I’ve filled already. I use Pitt pens and a sign pen. I heard the paper holds watercolor well, but I have yet to try it. The ink does show on the other side of the page, but it doesn’t bleed over. This doesn’t bother me, though. When you write or paint on the other side, the marks get covered up, so that’s fine.

Overall, I am happy with my planner. Here are some pros and cons that might help if you’re interested in getting one, too.

Pros: Well-designed and no-nonsense. You can spread the pages flat without doing damage to the book. Good selection of covers. I really like the paper, I can use this both as a daily sketchbook and a planner. Some find it small, but I like the size just fine because my handwriting and drawings are tiny anyway. Lightweight, very portable.

Cons: It’s on the pricier side of planners. The size is a downside to others; they get the other planner variations on the store instead. I have to wrap my planner in something before I throw it in my bag so the cover doesn’t get dirty way too soon, and so nothing snags on the knitting.

There. *bow*

The making of.


Agustin Goy opened his exhibit at the National Museum last January 19.

Some pieces from his Ballerines exhibit from a few years ago.
Watercolor pieces with amazing detail and lighting technique!

nbnh-2017-11_zpsisf5v0y41Abi with her portrait

nbnh-2017-12_zpsv2iopgl8Studio Dialogo with Papa Goy. Cheers!

I can’t wrap my head around sixty years of making art. I mean, I’m only 28 and I’m constantly tired, so this is very humbling for me. Sixty years of painting and drawing and hardwork that ultimately shows in the quality of the pieces he’s done over the years. He has also apprenticed under the great Vicente Manansala! I’m proud that the country has artists like him. I hope I grow up to be someone as persevering in whatever field I may end up working in for the rest of my days, art-related or not. At one point during the opening I started to think about the next sixty years of life until I got antsy about the possibilities. I love what I do but the future scares me a lot these days, so I’ll have to leave the future to take care of itself / me / us.

Agustin Goy: Sixty Years in Art runs until March 19 at the National Museum (Old Legistlative Building).


Graphika Manila also happened this month. It was a 2-day event featuring designers, artists, and illustrators from different corners of our lovely world. Pictured above, Jonathan Kim from Rare Volume, one of my favorite speakers from the event.

They make interactive data visualization pieces which are super cool. He talked about the importance of collaboration and making experiments with people who do entirely different things from you. I could just imagine how much testing and research goes into their kind of work. It’s also pretty amazing how they can push technology like that. What a time to be alive.


Gary Baseman was also there to show us his sketches, and share concepts behind some of his exhibits and paintings. He talked about his family background, heritage, memory, loss, and displacement. His talk had a very different tone from the rest of the speakers because his was the most personal, I think, and profound in a way.

On the second day my favorites were Avid Liongoren who talked about Saving Sally and everything his team learned from making the film, and Mr. Bingo, his full-production Kickstarter intro rap video, and his love for hate mail. I liked most of this year’s speakers, and in general this year’s GM was alright.

Although~ The biggest disappointment was how the host went about the event, and why the management allowed it. It was like she didn’t take the industry seriously enough to prioritize asking relevant questions to the speakers, instead of asking them to dance, rap, what their shampoo of choice is, or which sports teams they like. Most of the very few questions that were asked every after speaker were insignificant, which I am only feeling frustrated about because there were only what, two, three questions that were entertained every after speaker. This has happened before, too, when this guy took one of the precious two Q&A spots for the Sagmeister talk to just ask the designer to sign his girlfriend’s book in public.

And we wonder why a lot of people don’t take design seriously in this country.

I have a lot of strong feelings about constantly presenting design in a gimmicky noontime show way. Some people enjoy it, sure, inevitably so. I mean, we’re in the Philippines. Fun times are fun (fun times sell~~~ hello elephant in the room), and play is an integral part of creativity, but I think education, insight, and discourse should be at the forefront of these conferences, not entertainment. Right now, it’s the only conference of its kind and of that scale, with the capacity to bring in international speakers and all. People (students!) shell out money and spend a whole weekend at the event, and I they deserve something more. I really hope to see improvements in the future.

The Sunday Currently, no. 4

Just finished After Lambana (Eliza Victoria, Mervin Malonzo, published by Visprint). I enjoyed it and I’m happy I bought it. Please read more local graphic novels!  On a different note, my copy had badly printed pages towards the end. I wonder if I can get it replaced?

Also my Twitter feed is bursting at the seams with current events. My country’s president is still one of the worst there is right now, and it gives me real anxiety just thinking about how his words affect the country every time he opens his mouth. I can’t keep up with everything. Also, as for foreign news, my heart goes out to everyone stuck in the airports due to the immigration ban, and applause for all the lawyers camping out there, offering their services pro bono to help all those people.

La La Land’s score. I like the score, shush.

Just finished Chunking Express, Wong Kar Wai, one of my comfort films.

My sister, because she turned 18 this past week!  For the past 18 years, me and my family have never known anything that will be for certain because of her condition (she has brain nerve damage), and it’s been quite a journey for us all. Every year added is a very special gift that we are tremendously grateful for.

Aside from that, nothing. All my feelings towards anything else are desaturated because it’s that time of the month, and all my energies are focused on fighting abdominal pain and a ton of discomfort.

To catch up on news even though it hurts huhu. Wrap up drawing assignments and replying to emails.

To do something about the chaos but what???

Alright, okay.

The Sunday Currently is by Sidda Thonton

quiet tree


I’ve been experimenting with new ways to paint, and combining the materials I like to work with like watercolor and stamps.

Things are also falling into place day by day. Rolling my sleeves up for the rest of the year.

an open window

Hello all! I’m still selling some prints and some paintings as a little fundraiser for the illustration internship I got into at the Cornell University, where my main project will be making materials for the conservation campaign of the Philippine Eagle. Proceeds will surely help with visa fees and will be for the things I need to settle in once I get there. A little goes a long way! : ) Thank you so much for the support!

Find my artworks at tinyurl.com/FranAlvarezPrints and tinyurl.com/FranAlvarezPaintings

For inquiries and purchases, please send a message on facebook.com/FranAlvarezPH, or email hello@francesalvarez.com

Big love and even bigger pizzas,


Alright, alright, alright

Who do we have here but April? Hello from the end-half of a long weekend.


I had the surprising honor of making the cover for A-HA! Learning Center‘s third zine! And I say surprising because I had seen Jaton’s message super late, but took the chance to volunteer anyway. All the stories had been assigned already but I’m happy I was able to contribute, still, by making the cover.

A-HA! has a writing club to teach their students English, and help them improve their skills by having them write essays and stories. Last month, A-HA! surprised their students and released a special edition of their zine with the kids’ stories interpreted by 16 illustrators.

Download the whole zine here, and check out A-HA!’s Facebook page, too.



Here is a peek of my work for Light Grey Art Lab’s “Guts” exhibit which opens in a few weeks (April 17) in Minneapolis. I wish I could teleport to see the exhibit for myself, but hey if you’re in the area by some chance, do drop by.

My piece is inspired by vintage educational posters, and violins!




In other news, a couple of my new favorite things that are both purple, coincidentally.

So far, this weekend has been rather productive! I finished a painting, and two books (This One Summer, and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro on audiobook, which I highly recommend because the narration is very good), washed all my sneakers, and gave the cat a bath, all before Saturday night! Sunday night I spent catching up on a couple more deadlines. Save for a few more revisions and things, I think I may be deadline-free for a while! Until something comes up again, yes, but the prospect of 8 hours of sleep during weekdays makes me happy and glad.



OK! Here is one more shot at being committed to making something everyday. I’m still thinking of what exactly to do for this, considering all things realistic and practical. It makes me nervous because 100 days is kind of a long time and I don’t want to disappoint myself if I quit in the middle of things, but I am also curious if I can pull it off this time around. I figured this also might be an effective way to distract me from all the storms in my head.

Join me if you want! Let’s go!



And lastly, here we are again. Save the date!

Speculiars and Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan will be there. Speculiars will also be hosting a little craft-y side event during the fair, wait for it! As for myself, I’m still planning for the new things I’ll be selling, but I’m pretty excited to shop already.

CreateTEEvity with Uniqlo, and jeepney life lessons

Yesterday, my friends Pergy Acuña, Yas Doctor, Iori Espiritu, and Angela Taguiang, and I represented our illustrators’ org Ang INK at CreateTEEvity, a shirt exhibit and kids’ workshop with Uniqlo. Cannot spaz enough! I love Uniqlo so much you have no idea.

The event was at the newly-opened branch at SM City Marikina. We gave a shirt painting workshop to some students of Industrial Valley Elementary School, with the theme “real-life heroes”. Most of them considered their parents as their real-life heroes, some their teachers, and others Jose Rizal, our national hero. A lot of the kids in my table were hilarious, and although a lot of them were new to painting on fabric, I think I spent more time encouraging them rather than teaching them because they were all so game with drawing already. One of my kids’ works was accidentally reminiscent of Basquiat though he was quite convinced it was ugly, and in his terms, “parang na-Walking Dead” haha.





One of the kids with Uniqlo COO for the Philippines, Mr. Kubota.




Aside from the workshop, the five of us also got to paint our own real-life hero shirts, which are and will be on exhibit at Uniqlo SM City Marikina.


Ma’am Jas of Uniqlo, with some of our shirts on display. She’s also wearing my Astronaut shirt!

INK-UQ-11And some process shots.
I’m not really used to painting on fabric so I opted to use stencils, some ink pads, and my trusty brayer to work on my shirts.


Shirt one is an astronaut.

INK-UQ-9Shirt two is a librarian, but it can also represent book lovers in general.

Thank you Uniqlo and to Edge and Nina of Dentsu Philippines for a fun afternoon! Also special thank yous to Vanessa and Liza for the offer, and to Pergy for the event photos.

Some parents were there as well, and I got into a short conversation with one about drawing as a hobby AND as a job. We talked about children being talented and/or interested in drawing and art, and I felt rather excited to assure her that some start early, some don’t, but it takes more than natural inclination to make things work and become successful in the field. Mentally referenced to this Yuko Shimizu article.

Productive weekend! The first of many more, as indicated by how the heavens have been so gracious, and my inbox is a happy one with the arrival of the next wave of projects for the year. It’s so very pleasantly surprising and comforting that things like this arrive in the middle of haywire and the blues and when I just want to rot in bed forever.


On a different note.

The other day, I was on my usual way home, and because it was a Friday it was exceptionally hard to flag down a jeepney. So when finally one came by–an EMPTY one at that, like an angel–I managed to scramble in and get a good seat, however squished we all were. Along the way I noticed the people seated in front of me: a family of three. Mom with the handbag, dad with a canister tube of diploma, with the university’s logo patterned all over, and the son, in long sleeves, still wearing his grad medal. At first I thought they were arguing about the ride, but after a while I realized they were discussing grad dinner, and what they had eventually decided on: McDo. He was from my alma mater, which was the cherry on top.

The thing is I know of this reality like how everyone knows of this reality. But it was literally right there in front of me, and it hit me real hard, this little something to put things in perspective. I still think about it, the way I think about Stephen Hawking, a giant in a shell, the way I think about all the other things I take for granted, most probably unknowingly.

Well, well. Three cheers to life and the little things that fill the void.

Art in the Park 2015


The annual Art in the Park is tomorrow already! I can’t believe it but here we are again.

I will be at the Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan booth as usual, and we will be near the food stalls, across Coffee Bean. I will have some paintings and drawings for sale, plus prints, postcards, and other paper goods and novelty items.

Also this year, Speculiars and Resurrection Furniture collaborated on some pieces, so do drop by the Resurrection booth as well! I worked on a couple of cabinet doors and turned them into something new.

On a completely different note, I just got back from my solo vacation! I went to Hong Kong, and lost and found myself in more ways than one. More on that later.

So, I shall see you all at Art in the Park!