Hobonichi Techo 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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-2017-32_zpsjr7i4kxg
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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.

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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*

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The Sunday Currently, no. 3

Reading

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I finally (!) have a bit of time to read actual paper books and not audiobooks! I borrowed a few from Abi and family’s library. I first saw Jenny Saville’s work in 2015’s Art Basel HK. She’s so good! And before I left for the other year’s internship, Abi told me about Raymond Ching and his bird paintings. I love the context he paints his birds in. His lighting technique also reminds me of Durer.

Liza also lent me her Hamiltome. She and Jamie introduced me to Hamilton last year, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot, heh. It is a big, big regret of mine that I didn’t get into it when I was still in New York. I could’ve watched a show! Woe. (Another big regret is not getting to taste girl scout cookies which I have heard great things about, but that is a completely different story altogether.)

Listening
Andrew Bird’s “Echolocations: Canon” album, and also the Hamilton soundtrack, both the original cast version and the mixtape.

Watching
I am on Season 2 of Mind of a Chef.

Loving
-Semi-spicy spinach with oyster mushrooms, and turmeric fried rice. All ingredients found in your friendly neighborhood palengke (market).

nbnh-2017-6_zpsegzohvt9-These hand-illustrated ceramic cups from a Japan Surplus shop along Kamuning that Roja, who I know from INK, pointed out. For good measure, all the ceramic ware were half-price on the day I visited.

-Alsoooo my parents, who just left last week, and who I won’t be seeing until who-knows-when. It’s been ages since I’ve been with both of them at the same time for the holiday. In a span of the few weeks that we were together, I’d witnessed them fight, get along real well, and everything in between.That’s how I realized that A) I know nothing about love. Nothing. and B) My father is a very good man, and I am proud of him. I can only hope to marry someone as kind and patient someday.

nbnh-2017-0_zpswqspelaxHere is a sunset photo from Antipolo to cap off my cheesy sentiments.

-And lastly, I bought a shelf! We changed shelves in the office and I bought the old one we had. This is in my room, and currently houses reference books, some picture books, and graphic novels. So now all my paperbacks can live in the old shelf, where they will be properly stored and sorted instead of just being in piles on a table.

Manila Maker is awesome, check out their stuff and buy a shelf or ten.

Needing
To finish a couple more pending projects and I am officially deadline-free! The first time in more than a year. Lesson learned in not biting off more than you can chew, brought to you by the year 2016.

Also, I picked up my Bible recently and the cover started to disintegrate, hala.

Wanting
I want all these chaos-causing people in the government to just calm down and maybe, you know, go away………

Feeling
OK, at the moment.

Looking Forward To
-I ordered a planner and it’s supposed to arrive this coming week and it’s supposed to have really good paper and I’m excited.

-Along with a couple of Taiyou Matsumoto books that are also supposed to arrive in the mail reaaally soon.

-Getting my computer. I really dislike changing electronic devices and so I have been stalling. But! I’m in the process of checking out the stores where I’ll be getting the pieces of my Frankenstein system, and hopefully by next month, I will start a new chapter of my life wow haha.

-In the past week, I am proud to say that my semi-sedentary self did not pass out while lifting dumbbells and doing planks at home after work, so I’m kind of looking forward to getting through this coming week’s set. I’ve found that a bit of exercise helps me with my anxiety every day and puts me to sleep easily at nigt. I’m really trying to convince myself to just get on with it daily.


Here are some work things!

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Last week I wrapped up some illustrated posters for the Masungi Georeserve and their geotourism and conservation educ projects. I learned so much working on the posters, especially about which species of the animals and plants on the list are endemic to the Philippines, and what they looked like. For instance, the jade vine grows purple in the country, and our local wisteria grows white instead of lilac (European variety). The native impatiens are white, too, instead of the purple and pink ones that look more familiar. It astounds me to learn how much biodiversity can exist in such a small (well, compared to the rest of the country) space like Masungi.

A lot of things feel relatively insignificant compared to this. Nature projects have a very special place in my heart because they are humbling to work on, and they put things in perspective. Carl Sagan was right about the pale blue dot.

I’ll show you the final posters some other time, but here are some style studies. I wanted to render everything in paint, and was a couple of birds in when I saw the timeline, and decided to just draw everything digitally in the interest of time. I’m happy with the paintings, though, and will push through with the other birds someday.

It was my first time to try this realistic style, and I definitely learned a lot of new things about painting with new materials (hot pressed watercolor paper and acryl gouache, which is basically matte acrylic).

Here is a peek of the final drawings that made it to the posters.

nbnh-2017-4_zpsvu5ekmymAnd a peek of a picture book drawing. Not sure when this book comes out, though. Bleep bloop.

And lastly, Studio Dialogo’s latest collab with Prestige Papers is out. I helped work on the illustrations for the covers. I first drew the leaves digitally, then we printed them out, cut each leaf, and composed and mounted them in papercut art style. We had them photographed, then laid them out across the diff products. It was tedious but enjoyable!


Some holiday introspection has brought me to notice how much my life has…hushed. I sometimes find myself missing the more intrepid parts of my early 20s, maybe even wishing I had the stamina and social capabilities to still live like that, but! I also know that taking care of myself in a quiet way is what I have to do at the moment. I need to take deep breaths and sit still for a bit; the adventures can wait for a while longer.

Recently, I’ve learned a few things about how to calm myself down and/or distract myself from bad thoughts. Particularly useful ones that maybe you can use in times of anxiety too, include:
-taking longs breaks from social media
-only thinking of the people within a 100m radius
-consciously remembering good memories from people who genuinely care
-recalling kind things strangers have done for me and for others
-a bit of exercise every day
-and a personal favorite, food show/documentary binges on Netflix heh

A very happy new year to you all, and here’s to a productive and quietly content 2017. I know last year dragged us all by the teeth into the dirt, but as the Rilo Kiley song goes, our bruises are coming / but we will never fold.

On books

A bit of toasty news in the middle of the crazy weather we’re having.

Ang INK’s 23rd annual exhibit opens on Friday, Dec 12, 4PM, at the CANVAS Gallery and Gardens. Hopefully, the storm is gone by then, and we can all see you there. Our exhibit poster is by Abi Dayacap.

All works are based on our favorite books, or stories we really like, even the ones that aren’t for kids!

Here’s a peek of my work. It’s from This Really, Really, Really Old and Influential Book haha. Surprise.

Ok, the story I picked has a special place in my heart, but I have to admit that it isn’t my super ultimate favorite story. I was supposed to do Light is Like Water, from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Strange Pilgrims. I kept reading and re-reading it, and every time I found it beautiful still, but I also found that I wasn’t in the mood? Disposition. Whatever. To draw anything about it. It’s so beautifully written and I couldn’t make my drawings work enough to match how I felt for the story.

The exhibit being about books sounds easy for someone who really likes to read, but I found it difficult to choose a book mostly because I didn’t want to illustrate any of my favorites.

A few months back I got tagged on Instagram and on Facebook to do this meme on listing ten books that have stayed with me. I figured that if these special books have really stayed with me and deeply affected me in some way, I can name them from the top of my head, no hesitations, no need to look at the book shelf. Right now I can name four, and maybe these are all that stayed. Out of all the books I have ever read in my 26 years on this earth since I was what, 5?

1. You Shall Know Our Velocity, Dave Eggers
2. White Oleander, Janet Fitch
3. Strange Pilgrims, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. and an obscure children’s book called The Day The Clocks Stopped. I had it when I was little. It’s part of the Reader’s Digest early readers series, and it’s about a town where all the clocks stop and all the people fall asleep at the same time. It’s well out of print, and I haven’t seen it in a long time, but I remember even how the illustrations look like.

That’s about it. Most are melancholic stories. Who knows when my list will change? ~Nobody~

Also, I know I raved about Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch after I read it, and I honestly really liked it, but after I read Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, I realized how whiny Theo Decker is, and maybe he is the new Holden Caulfield, who knows. It’s not that the book wasn’t good, though. This is just me comparing.

I know I say I like a lot of books. Generally, I think I’m easy to please, and I say that a lot of the books I read, across different genres, are okay. However! I realized that even though I genuinely like a lot of books, not all of them stay.

Here are some that I really like that also kind of stayed with me but not as strongly as the list above:

1. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
2. Eric, from Shaun Tan’s Tales From Outer Suburbia
3. The Principles of Uncertainty, Maira Kalman
4. Jessica Zafra’s Twisted series, which I read a lot of in highschool, and for a while I tried to “write like her” to channel my teenage whatnot, even if the actual writing only existed in my journals haha.
5. All Paul’s letters in the Bible. I even wrote a song about this in college haha! I’m not goody two-shoes but I really do like going to church, and Bible stories, and God. A lot of people find it corny, but I’m happy I can say that I do believe in God out of my own belief, and not because someone told me to.

I wish I had more Filipino favorite books. Also I wish I could read in Filipino as easily as I can read in English. It’s not that English is my first language, even. I’m just used to writing and reading in English. I didn’t grow up reading a lot of local books which is very sad if you think about it! And I know it’s a shame that up to now I don’t read enough local books, BUT I can say that I have really been trying to do so, especially these past few years, and also especially because somehow I’m part of the literature industry now, being a book illustrator.

Some of the local writers I really like are Benilda Santos and Gian Lao who write very beautiful poems, and Eliza Victoria. FH Batacan, also, for Smaller and Smaller Circles. Looking at my shelf, I see that a lot of my local books are anthologies. Twisted books, Fast Food Fiction, Daisy Nueve, Very Short Stories for Harried Readers, and even one of my latest purchases, Querida. The rest are easy Bob Ong reads and Kikomachine books.

On that note, if you have local book recos, comment away! :D

So there! I was only supposed to share with you our upcoming exhibit but here we are.

It feels indulgent to post about my favorite books while the storm is raging on and I feel a little sorry. I hope the storm clears out soon and it’ll be easier to help those in the affected provinces. I hope you guys are safe and dry wherever you’re reading this from.