With the constantly growing liking for chalk-textured brushes and appreciation for hyperrealistic art, they became two factors which inspires me to hone my skills in illustration. Although I only take on realism for now, the combination of pastel textures and the act of hyper-realistically reflecting photos onto paintings is one of the end goals that I would like to achieve. The portfolio includes two artworks that lean more towards a cartoonish style and five others that take on people’s portraits. These were created on digital mediums as they allow access to more paint, color, and room for error than that of doing the pieces traditionally. The message I intend to tell through my digital artworks may be direct as they are clear imitations of portraits done through illustration. Still, there is a much deeper sense into their completion: the process behind it is often overlooked. Art is inherently not an easy endeavor, and like other fields of study, it requires time and patience to perfect to a standard one wishes to pursue. Concerning this, it is quite a shame how the value of art is still undermined to this day, and although it may be disheartening to some extent, it is one of the things that fuel me to continue and strive better in the craft.
The motivation I garner as an artist is sourced from a variety of things. It could range from a radicalizing event, an aspect of popular culture, a lesson I find relevant for people—including myself—to know, to getting the motivation from seeing other artists thrive. Since digital illustration is not the only medium I focus on, I give every style a try to see what I gravitate towards; in addition to the sources I have mentioned, this desire to give other art styles and mediums a chance also pushes me to keep creating. As for the themes I often center on in illustration, as detailed in the first paragraph, I take on realism with portraits of people I admire. However, expanding and testing out other themes like landscapes and backgrounds is something I wish to do as well; this leads me back to how I started as an artist. My parents told me I started drawing on domestic surfaces as a toddler. This then proceeded to my younger self to grab pieces of scratch paper that my Dad would leave in the house from work and draw all kinds of stuff: the facade of our house, family portraits, scenarios I daydreamed of, and dream houses, to mention a few. Among those subjects, I mostly drew poorly-depicted
landscapes and houses when I was younger, so I would like to see how it turns out when I take on those themes as the artist I am today.
To further refine the quality of art I produce, I would love to equip the skill-level required to create hyperrealistic art. I would start on it digitally since it is the medium I have the most access to at the moment, and hopefully and eventually execute the same style and theme traditionally. Through the Ateneo Heights Artists Workshop, I am not expecting to come out immediately able to attain the goals I wish to acquire. Rather, I know that joining this opportunity will stimulate my artistic ability with capable mentors, considering that I have no formal training in the arts prior to college. This will also pave the way to better understand other perspectives with how other artists think, conceptualize, and go about in their processes. A workshop like such is the best platform to magnify experience and expertise.
The Ateneo HEIGHTS Artists’ Workshop experience was personally moving as an artist—this is a statement I believe I can safely vouch for. I applied and entered the workshop without any solid expectations of the event; all I knew was that it is an annual two-day event that allows student artists from the institution to learn from reputable local artists through constructive criticism. Little did I know that beyond that, it was an enthralling gathering of artists where sessions were grounded on several uplifting insights from the experts.
In this post-workshop period, I have brought the advice and tips the panelists have shared during the session with me. I have developed deeper regard for chalky textures in digital paintings as I gradually realized that its rugged look gives flavor to my work, which magnifies the style I own. I still just take on realism for now as the conditions remain unchanged—no proper materials, time, and sufficient space to do so. Despite this, however, hyperrealist art does not cease to fascinate me with its straightforward imagery that is brimming with skill, excellence, and patience.
One advice that I often think about when creating new works was Ms. Mich Cervantes’s comment on finding one’s style—”Find the things that you gravitate towards when you're copying something so that you could develop your style.” With this in mind, I noticeably developed this habit of asking myself, “which part/s of the process do I enjoy accomplishing the most?” when drawing or even just sketching portraits. Furthermore, Ms. Cervantes's addition to the notion of style has helped me gain more consciousness of the art I create, regardless if it is on digital illustration, graphic design, or whichever medium I choose to focus on for a certain job: “It’s always good to ask yourself what jumps out of this certain picture or what part of it you want to highlight. That's where style comes out.” Apart from this, the panelists’ notable remark, especially of Ms. Kay Aranzanso’s, on the use of references gave me the assurance I was silently asking for. I did not explicitly mention that I was apprehensive of my methods in creating realistic illustrations, thinking it was cheating in a sense. Rather, I gained more confidence with it as they have established that there was nothing wrong with using such. In fact, it is an essential part of the artistic process.
From then on, the comments above (plus others that were not stated) from the panelists are technically engraved in my design and creation process, which I am grateful for having the opportunity to receive. These pieces of advice catalyze the artistic knowledge I have built on my own through years of pursuing this passion. Moreover, another valuable lesson I have learned from Ms. Patricia Ramos was the essence of exploration. The drive to explore more with art has continued to surprise me each time I create, and I have not only applied this in digital illustrations, but with other mediums I engage in as well, such as graphic design.
Admittedly, the experience was tiring, but this was mainly because facing the screen for hours was necessary to complete the activity—given the circumstances at hand. Despite having said that, AHAW is an event I recommend for artists like me. I figured that if the (limiting) online sessions already guided and inspired me this much, what more if times allowed the event to be onsite?