I just realized I never posted about this project I worked on late last year. Actually, there have been a few projects I haven’t blogged about, but let’s start with this.
Bobim Papasin, the author of my first illustrated book, Ang Munting Anghel, wrote a short story about Aki, an alupihan (Tagalog word for centipede) and his family. Bobim got me to illustrate two scenes from the story and he entered the manuscript in Singtel’s 2013 Asian Picture Book Awards. Unfortunately, the entry didn’t make it to the finals but coming up with work like this, especially on a tight schedule, is reward enough for me. It’s a story set in the Philippines and it was a treat for me to illustrate scenes that show off our culture (strong family ties) and Filipino food that foreigners deem exotic, but are warm and familiar comfort food to us Filipinos.
Here are some sketches and roughs, along with the final images.
There currently aren’t any plans to publish the story, but I storyboarded the entire thing so I know how to divide the text among the illustrations.
Bobim and I picked two scenes in the story for me to illustrate.
The working sketch for the first scene. Aki celebrates his birthday with his family, with a picnic spread of his favorite Filipino food.
I have a different illustration style and technique for picture books. I like my illustrations with an organic look, drawn by hand, and with the pencil textures showing through even if it’s finished and colored digitally. It’s different from my commercial illustration work where it’s all neat and digital.
Included in the spread is buko juice (coconut juice in the shell) and kalamay, a native delicacy of glutinous rice, coconut, and sugar, served in a coconut husk.
There’s puto (rice cakes) and bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls, purple yam, and jackfruit/bananas in coconut milk), too!
The working sketch for the second scene. The centipede family affirm their love for their son and look out over the valley.
For the second scene, I put in a winding river in the valley and some rice terraces on the side, inspired by a trip to the Mountain Province and the Banaue Rice Terraces last September 2011.
Wish I could let you guys read the story! Hopefully, Bobim gets the chance to have this story published in the future 🙂