Pierre the Maze Detective


Whenever I buy books, an important consideration is how good a book will look on my shelf, and I mean that in the literal sense: I like pretty books. This makes for a lot of impulsive shopping as I’m bound to pick up random books that catch my eye, but I’ve never regretted buying a book for its sheer physical beauty.

Such was the case when I had to buy some art supplies a couple of weeks ago, I had meant to pick up a watercolor pad and some new drawing pencils (in my attempts to wring out my creative juices) and I happened to wander to the art books section (erm, yeah, two floors down, but whatever…) and wham! I spotted a lovely, picture book called “Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone.

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INK on Paper + Alterno


Catch children’s illustrators group Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK)’s two exhibits this month: the ongoing INK on Paper, which runs until June 30 at the Prism Gallery, Legaspi Village, Makati; and Alterno, which runs from June 26 to July 3 at Shangri-la Plaza Mall.

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In my quest to get those creative juices running again (and to push myself to draw by hand), I’ve been amassing stocking up on all sorts of books with drawing prompts and other creative exercises.

The stack has grown and I haven’t made a lot of headway through them, but my current favorite of the bunch is a book called “Craft-A-Doodle.”

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Julius Chancer


A couple of years ago, I discovered Julius Chancer completely by chance at the Manila International Book Fair at a publisher’s rep booth, and being a Tintin fan, I was instantly attracted to the cover art. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was an omnibus of “The Rainbow Orchid” adventure, and I knew I wouldn’t find it in the bookstores — I felt it was too good to pass up. I inquired about the book and they told me it wasn’t for sale, and I wheedled and wheedled until they finally agreed to sell it to me (It wasn’t cheap. Haha). I’d been meaning to read it, but with all the moving around my books have been doing in the past couple of years, it got lost in the stacks and only resurfaced as I was packing some books for storage after last year’s monsoon.

Written and illustrated by Garen Ewing and published by Egmont (incidentally, also the publisher of Tintin), The Complete Rainbow Orchid won the Young People’s Comic Award at the 2013 British Comic Awards.

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Doodle Bug

Stress has been at an all-time high in the past four weeks or so, as event after event (after event!) just kept on coming and I was up to my eyeballs in work. Three little books have been my constant companion during this time: Sachiko Umoto’s Illustration School series, which I picked up during the last MIBF.

I initially picked up these books because they’re adorable — who can resist covers like these? And I felt like I need an art refresher course, as this stubbornly dry spell in my artwork has refused to budge. But I’ve always been a doodler, and doodling calms me down especially when stress is at its peak. I find that working with my hands keeps me from getting too agitated, or from screaming (at certain people) in frustration.

Sachiko Umoto is a popular Japanese artist, and her Illustration School series: “Let’s Draw Plants and Small Creatures,” “Let’s Draw Cute Animals,” and “Let’s Draw Happy People” are step-by-step guides to cute (kawaii!) illustrations. The instructions are simple and work for various skill levels, and the pages are textured nicely for pencil drawing. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the books ever since I got them!

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