verklempt

…is a new-ish word I’ve recently learned about. It’s a Yiddish term to describe a person who’s too emotional to say anything.

IMG_6776.jpg

Quick life update

Between a Puddle and the Ocean opened at Galerie Roberto in Alabang last Feb, curated by Lena Cobangbang. The blue ones are mine, and they are the biggest watercolor pieces I’ve made to date. I normally work small, and the big paintings I usually make are for children’s books, so making these framed ones for exhibit was a feat for me haha.

It took me some time to switch from work to play mode. I found that it’s not easy or quick for me to go from making things for clients and other people to making personal pieces. I kept thinking about other people’s potential opinions, and that didn’t help me AT ALL. So much anxiety over almost nothing. In any case, I’m content with how things played out.


Our all-women original picture book art exhibit Peek-A-Book is on view at the CCP, as part of March being women’s month! I really am grateful to be part of this show, and to be surrounded by excellent and generous mentors from the children’s literature community. My younger self would freak out if she learned about this. The show is up until May 6, and there’s a paper cut workshop + Adarna House book launch on the 28th. Drop by if you can!

I gave a workshop during the opening day, and I’m proud to report that I did not cry in public while talking, thank you very much. I volunteered to do the workshop on a whim, without much thinking, in the middle of a party last year. I did my best the day of! And I had a really good time listening to the participants’ stories which they wrote and sketched themselves. I’m personally a BIG believer that art and literature aren’t untouchable things that exclusively belong to a small number of people precisely because of what I witness during these kinds of workshops. Everyone has good stories in them, it’s just a matter of helping them talk about it/show it.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.02.30 AM

Remember that picture book about the Philippine Eagle that I worked on during my Cornell internship? Well, I am VERY pleased to share with you that An Eagle’s Feather is now published, and is available for purchase as a small book version! Aaah! You can get your copies at the Cornell Lab Publishing Group’s website and on Amazon.

100% of the first $10,000 and 50% thereafter of net proceeds from the sale of this book goes directly to the Philippine Eagle Foundation to support its conservation education and other efforts to save the Philippine Eagle from extinction.

The original plan for this book was just to make ONE copy: one big book for the use of the Philippine Eagle Foundation for their education programs. And now it’s published! I’m happy to see how far this project has come, that more people can have a copy of the book and learn about the Philippine Eagle, its plight, and how we can help.

And! On top of everything: a whole lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. Sudden but surprisingly comfortable.



Upcoming

Art in the Park is on the 15th, which is on Sunday already. I’ll be at the Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan booth, as per usual. Local Loca will be on May 5, and I am crossing all my fingers I get to finish my new zine in time.

D27C2913-AE82-4D13-BB90-860F40F86C98.jpg

Pierra Calasanz-Labrador’s new book of poems Dear Universe comes out on April 27 under Anvil Publishing. I made drawings for it, and I can’t wait to see the book in person! I’ve never illustrated poems before, so working on this project was refreshing. Pierra and Anvil were so generous and had given me a lot of room to explore the poems visually.

Front_and_Back_Covers_Large-1 copy.png

Karapat Dapat, Ang INK and CANVAS PH’s book on the rights of a child, is out next month! We’ve been working on this for the past months. The topic is very pertinent, and the timing of this book’s production+release could not be any more apt.

We’ve already raised funds to produce 15,000 books to be given to public schools and disadvantaged communities. Your support through donations and book purchases can help us print more! Spread the word!

Have a peek of the activities and other pages of the book, and learn more about how you can donate and help HERE.


71B5FC1E-DB31-4476-BF27-978A03C4A456.jpg

The Sunday Monday Currently
no. 6

Reading

IMG_5465.jpg
from The Shape of a Pocket, John Berger

I am reading…a lot of different things all at once. The only books I’ve finished for the year so far are all poetry books, which goes to show how little A) time I have to quiet myself and read and/or B) attention span I have to quiet myself and read.

In any case! Current reading list is as follows:
• 2/3 of The Lonely City, Olivia Laing
• 3/4 of The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid, Colin Meloy. I got bored in the middle of this, and so.
• The Shape of a Pocket, John Berger. My main read. It’s conveniently divided into short essays, and I am inching my way to the end.

Listening
Newest additions to the playlist include Thundercat and Sam & Dave.

Watching
Re-watching LOST (!!!) with Jacob in increments. “We have to go back~~~”

Liking

MayaHewitt.jpgMaya Hewitt!

Not Liking
Nothing new: the current adm!inistrat10n. Politics and the chaotic government. The pains of being (female, a commuter, both) in Metro Manila.

Feeling
Mildly disoriented because it’s April, and my question is where did the first part of the year go? I feel like I’m still gearing myself up to start the year, but here we are. Here we are already.

Advertisements

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.

10A Alabama Handmade Arts and Crafts Fair

10aAlabama_poster_zps3a50cd4a

It’s that time of the year again! Quite honestly, I’m equally excited to go holiday shopping as I am to sell.

I’ll have my pattern postcards and bookmarks, my bareta bookmarks, and my latest black and white badges this weekend. I am super duper trying my best to sneak in new items like handpainted stickers. I haven’t made those in a while and I really hope I can make some for this weekend. Let’s see!

Other things that are keeping me busy right now:

1. year-end crunch time at Studio Dialogo! We are on our toes every day haha.
2. watercolor practice, just because I haven’t made time to paint lately
3. an illustration set with Speculiars for a local indie magazine
4. preparations for upcoming Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan events, like the INKFest 2014, and our annual show this December

and the things in between.

Speaking of Ang INK, if you’re dropping by Komikon this weekend at the Bayanihan Center along Pioneer, look for the INK and Betamaks tables! I won’t be there but my orgmates will be selling their artworks and such.

So hey, I’ll see you around!

Where You’re Planted

Something I made during Ang INK’s super fun Fabriano Art Day last month. Prestige Papers is bringing in Fabriano Fine Art Papers soon, and they got INK to test the different kinds of paper. This one is on Artistico Traditional White, Grana Fina, in glorious 640gsm. I tried to test as many materials as I can: watercolor, gouache, pencils, and printmaking ink.

Fabriano’s Fine Art lines include paper for watercolor, drawing, printmaking, and acrylic and oil. These will be available locally in about 3-4 months, according to Prestige Papers, their distributor.

whereabouts

I’ve decided to close my personal Facebook account soon, and I made a Page instead for posting my work and updating everyone. Lately, I’ve been finding Facebook already too crowded for my taste and also distracting, and then this morning I read this and I knew it was time to go.

So! Check out facebook.com/FranAlvarezPH and click Like so we can still keep in touch!

 


 

In other news, here are some upcoming events I will be part of.

NCBD-2014July 15
National Children’s Book Day 2014

You can check the schedule of events here or on the PBBY Facebook page. I will be there with my fellow Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan members! We’ll be having a booth to sell artworks and other goodies. Bring your kids, family members, students, neighbors, and say hello!

***

July 19-20
10A Alabama Handmade Arts and Crafts Fair
posters by Inky Livie

The much-awaited 10A Alabama Arts and Crafts Fair is here again! I’ll be there on both days with Speculiars. I wasn’t able to attend the last one so I’m really excited about this. I’ll be selling handmade necklaces, art prints and postcards, notebooks, and stickers. My friends have some awesome line-ups as well, check out our Facebook page to see them!


***

And lastly, something I made for last weekend’s Manila Bulletin Ang INK Corner. However, we just got word that they cancelled our spot already, and I wasn’t able to buy a copy of the paper on Saturday so I don’t know if this got published. But here it is anyway! It’s a reinterpretation of a previous artwork that also involves an umbrella growing out of the ground.

What I like about making stamp prints is that I work faster with them than with watercolors. It’s perfect for whenever I get in the mood but only have a small amount of time to indulge myself to doodle. I also don’t mind making mistakes with them, as opposed to my watercolor work which I like to be clean and almost calculated.

Yes so there, I hope everyone’s happily busy with projects also. What have you been up to? :)