Thursday, May 28, 2015

Urban Sketchers Philippines 4th Anniversary Events in Old Manila

Urban Sketchers Philippines has come a long way from when it was formed in May 2011 with 3 initial members. Four years later, we now have more than 40 active members joining the monthly sketch sessions around Metro Manila.

Happy 4th birthday, Urban Sketchers Philippines!

For our 4th anniversary, we celebrated by holding two major events: our official monthly sketchwalk on May 16, and an exhibit and workshop on May 17, an activity that was held in line with the first Manila Urban Design Festival.

For our official monthly sketchwalk, we went to Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. Fort Santiago, located at the mouth of the Pasig River, is a citadel that was built by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi when Manila was first established and is part of the defensive structure of Intramuros, Manila’s walled city.

Philippine sketchers in action!

National hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned at the fort before his execution in 1896; the fort features the steps Rizal took from his holding cell on the way out to in Bagumbayan (now Luneta), where he bravely faced his death.

The sketchers scattered around the fort, drawing everything from the tourist tram and horse-drawn carriages to the iconic gate adorned by a relief of Saint James the Great, the patron saint of Spain and after whom the fort was named.

Some of the sketches we made that day. 

USk PH also participated in the first Manila Urban Design Festival with an exhibit of works done on location and a lecture-workshop on sketching in one of the chambers of the Maestranza, part of the foundry of the armory located near Fort Santiago. It also served as a warehouse of the armaments and cannons during the Spanish colonial period. The Maestranza was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt The workshop was led by Janeil Arlegui, one of the founding members of the group. Ryan Sumo also gave some pointers on sketching.

Lecture-workshop by Janeil Arlegui

Sketching at the Maestranza Plaza
Works on display.

Sketch of the workshop by Aurelio Castro III

After the workshop, some of the sketchers went out to the plaza to draw the festival goings-on: a demo by the members of Parkour Philippines, a demo-performance on Philippine martial arts, people buying food and browsing through crafts sold at colorful tents, families and friends walking around. All in all it was an enjoyable weekend of urban sketching fun!

Workshop participants trying out contour sketching.

Sketch by Manuel Jiongco

Sketch by Irma Lara

Sketch by Ryan Sumo

It's a wrap! Urban Sketchers Philippines with Julia Nebrija, Festival Director

More photos of the festival (and sketchers having fun on bicycles!) in Solo Galura's photoset on Flickr here.

Photos in this post by Ian Ulpindo, Ige Trinidad, Ched de Gala, and Irma Lara.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ryan Sumo's Urban Sketching Materials

I've been experimenting with a different process lately with my Urban Sketching, and since the results have received a lot of praise (thanks!) and questions on medium and equipment I use I figured I would make a blog post about it.  Above is the sample of one of my recent sketches while in Intramuros.  I found a nice, shady spot on the wall with a good view of Manila City Hall as well as a food stall on the road below.


Here is a photo of the materials I used for these sketches.  Yup, that's it.  Four pens and a sketchbook.  Usually I only have just the one pen and a sketchbook, and sometimes a small pack of grayscale brushpens.  Why so little?  This has a lot to do with my own personal philosophy of Urban Sketching.  I like to observe things and present them in as unvarnished a way as possible, especially people.  People react in all sorts of ways when they know they're being observed, so when I sketch I try to be as invisible as possible, and having less materials makes that a whole lot easier.  Of course this method has its drawbacks, but I'll save that for another post.  For now, I'll go over each item one by one and show you where you can get them.  Unfortunately most of them are only available on Amazon or in Japan, but hopefully that will change.

Metal Pencil Case

Actually, I'm not sure where I got this pencil case and how much it cost.  It might have been in one of those "container" stores like Beabi or Lock and Lock where they have containers for everything.  In fact I think this may have originally belonged to my wife, who likes buying containers for everything.  If you find one it should probably cost you less than 100 pesos.  It's simple, sleek, and carries my pens.  The Urban Sketchers Philippines sticker was given to me by the current leader of USK Philippines, Lauren Villarama.

Zebra Brush Pen

After trying numerous felt brush pens in the settled on the Zebra brush pen as my favorite (I forget the reasons why, to be honest).  I like brush pens because they give your drawings a sense of weight without even trying, something that regular technical pens and ballpens do not.  You get that sense of line weight using Nib pens as well, but for sheer convenience these brush pens can't be beat.  They rn out of ink in a few months, depending on use.  I usually ask relatives coming from the US to bring me a bunch, or I buy them in bulk when I go to Japan.  Amazon lists this as the Zebra WF1 Scientific Brush (Small Size) and Jetpens list them as Zebra Disposable Brush Pen Fine.  Zebra's brush pens are color coded so always make sure to get the gray one, not the black (medium) or blue (extra fine).  Zebra actually has a retail presence in the Philippines so maybe one day we'll see these in national bookstore.

Koi Coloring Brush Pen

Koi Coloring Brush Pens, made by Sakura, are surprisingly hard to find even in Japan.  I found these on Amazon and the first set I bought was actually a grayscale set that I really liked.  I then bought the 12-piece colored set and was disappointed because the colors were too rich and bright for my taste ( I think they were originally made for coloring manga).  On Kraft paper (the brown paper my sketchbook uses) it dampens some of that color and makes it more tolerable for me.  I originally fell in love with these pens because they don't bleed through the pages in the same way most markers do.  I use these to color and shade my line art to give them more volume.

Sakura sells 24-piece and 48-piece sets as well, but they get pretty expensive and I was worried that I wouldn't get the colors I like.  I actually found a store in Bangkok that sells individual colors, but I felt too pressured to buy anything.  Hopefully this is something Sakura Philippines will bring here soon.    

Uni-Ball Signo White Gel Ink Pen

This one you can actually buy in National Bookstore.  The Uni-Ball Signo White Gel Ink Pen costs around 96 Pesos.  Don't expect your local NBS clerk or saleslady to recognize the name immediately though, and bring a picture just in case.  This is one of my most recent purchases, and I bought it specifically to experiment in using it with my new Sketchbook.  It seems to be very popular among comic book artists.

Pentel Felt Tip Sign Pen

This is another one of those pens that I discovered in Japan.  I bought it because it was similar to the Zebra Pen with its felt tip, except colored.  I bought a single brown and grey pen while in Japan, but I recently purchased a set of 12 on Amazon, which I'm very excited to play around with.  As with Sakura, Pentel has a retail presence here, so it's not impossible that they will bring these over someday, perhaps USK Philippines can push for that.

Languo Metal Case Sketchbook

This sketchbook can actually be found in National Book Store, although I cannot say if it's available in all branches.  I found mine buried in the Megamall Branch along with a few others.  Oddly, they seem to all be flag themed.  Mine seems to carry the French flag, while the rest of the sketchbooks I saw bore the Chinese flag (Languo seems to be a Chinese company).  The  most curious thing about these sketchbooks is that they are divided into three sections : Kraft paper, dotted graph paper, and Kraft paper again.  I've never seen sketchbooks like these before.  The thing I liked most about them was that both the Kraft paper and the graph paper were able to hold my Zebra brush pen strokes without bleeding through to the other side of the page.  This "metal" version costs only 215 pesos while there is another square shaped paperback version that costs 146 Pesos (with similar paper divisions).  If the NBS clerks don't seem to  know what you're talking about, just dig around in the sketchbook and notebook sections of your local NBS and you might get lucky.


I hope you guys found this post useful, and have fun experimenting with these materials.  If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them in the comments!

This blog was cross posted from Ryan's art blog, where you can find more urban sketches and other art related stuff.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Urban Sketchers PH 4th Anniversary Events in Old Manila

Hello! Urban Sketchers Philippines turns 4 years old this month!

To celebrate, we will have two events. First, we will be having our official monthly sketchwalk at the historic citadel of Fort Santiago in Intramuros on Saturday, May 16, 2015. We'll be there from 9am to 12nn, so do sketch with us! Everyone is welcome to join the sketchwalk. Joining is always free. :)

You can sketch around Fort Santiago, the view of the Pasig River, the passing tourists, and whatever catches your interest in the area. We meet for show & tell and our 'class picture' at 11:45 sharp by the iconic main gate.

Aside from it being our anniversary sketchwalk, it's also a great opportunity for us to create works that can be exhibited the following day, May 17 (Sunday) during the Urban Design Festival.

Please bring loose sheets of drawing/watercolor paper for the sketchwalk. After our activity, the sketches will be collected for display the following day. We promise to take care of the sketches! :)

The second event is an Urban Sketching Workshop and Exhibit, which is part of the Manila Urban Design Festival that will be held at the Maestranza Plaza (near Plaza Mexico) in Intramuros. This will be on May 17, 2015 (Sunday). The exhibit will run from 1pm-6pm and will feature location drawings made by the members of Urban Sketchers Philippines.

The workshop/talk on location sketching will be from 3pm-5pm and will be facilitated by one of the founders of Urban Sketchers Philippines, Janeil Arlegui. The workshop on sketching will show some of the simplest techniques anyone can learn easily in capturing what you observe onto paper or a sketchbook. With practice, sketching becomes a common skill as learning to ride a bicycle or reading and writing! Sketching can make a big difference in seeing and realizing our city's environments, people, and imagination for it becoming a better place to live in.

The workshop will have two parts: a lecture and a sketchwalk. Participants are asked to bring their own paper, sketchpads/sketchbooks, and drawing materials. Handouts will be provided. Anyone can join this free workshop.

For updates and announcements, please go to our Facebook event page. Thanks and see you on May 16-17! Invite your friends!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sketching at the Zoo

For our April sketchwalk, we went to the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden. Manila Zoo is a place that many of us remembered visiting on field trips in grade school.

April 18 was a hot summer day--we found out later that the temperature in Manila soared to 36.2 degrees Celsius, the hottest day of the year in the metro (so far!)--good thing there were trees around for shade. As the day went on, visitors of all ages poured in, with not a few looking over the shoulders of the sketchers scattered around the zoo. The sketchers were easy to pick out: sitting, crouching, or standing still, they have sketchbooks and pads on their laps and drawing and coloring materials in their hands. They look up to see their subject and look down to create marks, and look up again. It seemed like the sketchers were being observed as well.

Photo: Ian Ulpindo
Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian UlpindoPhoto: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

Photo: Ian Ulpindo

I asked the sketchers what they enjoyed drawing the most. Here's what they shared!

sketch by Aurelio Castro III

Aurelio Castro, photo by Ian Ulpindo
Aurelio Castro III: "I was attracted to this view due to its complexity in light and shadow and overlapping shapes and objects. Getting it on pen got a little complicated during the the first few minutes. I decided to just simplify the drawing as much as I could and let let the watercolor connect and complete the whole picture."
"I’m satisfied with how it turned out, I’m still in awe of how green the lagoon is. And I’m glad I did this sketch even though it was daunting at first. Of all the sketches I did during our Sketchwalk in Manila Zoo this is my favorite because I learned the most from it."

sketch by Camille Chua
Camille Chua, photo by Ian Ulpindo
Camille Chua loved the apes "because they were such characters and that trying to capture their movements was fun, and the lion was a lot of fun to draw in terms of form practice."

Carlo's sketch
Carlo in action, photo by Ige Ochoa Trinidad
Carlo Martinez: "My personal fave among my sketches! I have waited so long to see Maali again, and there - my humble sketch! Can't recall when was the last time I visited this oldest zoo in Asia (of course prior to this recent sketchwalk). I just wish that the other animals in the zoo have a larger habitat area as this elephant does!"

Cynthia Feliciano: "This stork reminded me of the large birds found within the city of Nairobi in Kenya."

Eileen Bondoc Escueta: "This peacock actually posed in front of me, without moving, for a few minutes, JUST long enough for a quick pen-and-ink sketch. Then he turned around and strutted away. So I just made a written note of his colors and colored him at home."

Ige Ochoa Trinidad: "This might be my favorite sketch last Saturday. I really like how the lines interacted with the sketch and became the ostrich's cage. My sweat also played a part and gave the bottom part of the graph a faded effect which will always remind me how hot (but fun) that day was."

Irma Lara: "I have always loved drawing birds. Going to the sketchwalk of USK-Ph gave me the opportunity to sketch them up close. I stayed longer in front of the aviary and sketched the continuously moving stork, night heron & peacock. The double-wattled cassowary also caught my eye because of the nice coloring on its neck against bluish-black feathers on its body."

Manuel Jiongco: "This sketch was done around 4 pm. I love how the sunlight falls on its back as it poses with its wings spread."



 Marcela Suller was shy at first because there were many people around. Eventually she became more comfortable. "I quickly sketched the birds that I saw using my pastels". 

Patts Cadayona: "I enjoyed sketching the Palawan Bearcat, which exhibited only the lazy pose despite changing spots."

Randy Valiente: I decided not to paint or draw in details and just observe the animal's behavior and bone structures while doing rough and fast sketches.

Tissa's sketch
Tad's sketch
Siblings Tad and Tissa Pagaduan joined the sketchwalk for the first time. Tissa says, "We really enjoyed the experience. We liked the experience of seeing people around the area, sketching and really admiring the beauty of the place."

Amado Chua: "I love drawing the tigers." 

Eileen and Irma (Photos by Ige Ochoa Trinidad)

Lennon and Chris; Nigel and Cynthia (Photos by Ige Ochoa Trinidad)

Tad and Tissa (Photos by Ige Ochoa Trinidad)

Awesome zoo sketches!



(Photos by Ige Ochoa Trinidad)

Happy sketchers!