Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to recycle your toasted CD, or The Merry Christmas post!

My 2012 christmas card theme is peace, DIY multiple original limited edition intaglio prints.

May this season brings peace to you and the world over!

I was looking for ways on how to recycle my piles of toasted CD in a unique and useful way. I remembered a brief printmaking lecture by the Philippine Association of Printmakers I attended that led me to rediscover engraving. The lecture by Ms. Ambie Abano showed the use of acrylic sheets in engraving. Then I thought maybe the plastic CDs can also be used in the process. So I tried making a print using CDs and here are the steps I took:

1. Clean the surface of the CD with soft cloth so it will be easier to engrave your drawing. With any sharp, pointed tool as burin, carefully scratch out your drawing or design on the reflective side of the CD.

2. A finished design on the reflective side of the CD. It's a little hard to scratch the drawing on a plastic so make sure your burin is always sharp and pointed. Use a sturdy tool, and wear glasses to protect your eyes. The shiny surface also makes it hard to see your drawing completely, so if you like you can take out the reflective coating on the other side (Step 3). Simple designs with lots of textures work best with intaglio printing especially on plastic, so work more with different kinds of textures and patterns. 

3. Here's how to remove the reflective coating easily: with a sharp x-acto knife or cutter, carefully lift sideways the coating off on a small part at the edge (see picture above). Then, once you have taken out a few small coats, it is easier to peel them all off with a very sticky tape. Clean up your "naked" CD with a moist cloth. Be very careful in disposing this reflective coating, as it's very thin and light it might be toxic to leave it anywhere.

4.  Materials in making your prints: 
a. Pre-moistened paper. Dip your chosen textured paper in water then place on dry newspaper to absorb excess water. 

b. Semi-soft board or linoleum, can also be your cutting mat, where you will be placing your CD plate. Make registration marks in pencil to align your CD plate and paper in center

c. Water proof paper or wax paper 

d. Printer's ink (intaglio ink) which can be bought in craft stores or printing supplies, or oil paint in tubes, though I haven't tried that yet. Mix with baby or mineral oil if it's too thick. Use baby powder to remove some in your hands, so as not to spoil your clean paper. 

e. Round and heavy "flattener" to give pressure to your plate, this serves as your DIY machine press.

5. Using your fingers, thoroughly smear paint onto the engraved side of the plate. Then carefully remove excess paint with pieces of paper. Make sure some of the inks are still on the grooves (or lines) of the plate. After carefully removing excess paint, wipe your hands or use baby powder to absorb some unwanted inks. Hooray, you are now ready to print!

6. Lay your materials in this sequence: wax paper - pre-moistened clean textured paper front side down - CD plate with inked side up - linoleum or cutting mat. Make sure your registrations are aligned on the CD and chosen paper. Once they're all okay, press over the CD plate with your round "flatenner" thoroughly, making sure all the surface of the CD plate is completely pressed and covered. Lift up the paper and surprise! Congratulations on your first print!  

7.  If you are satisfied with your print, hang it dry or lay it down on clean dry papers. After drying, you can label your print, just below the design with edition numbers, title, and of course your signature with a pencil. If you don't like your paper warped-up, you can flatten them with heavy books for several days.

Okay, some of you might wonder, why bother with all those tiring steps when you can just print on an inkjet printer? Well, it is a labor of love, and I'd like to ask you, which of the two would you rather receive: a toxic laser print or an original intaglio print sprinkled with some love and sweetness?

Merry Christmas and have fun printing!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Seoul-ful experience

It was one of the most wonderful time of my life. I went to Seoul in South Korea to attend the awarding ceremony of the 20th Daekyo Eye Level Children's Literature Award. The experience was surreal, memorable, and fun, as exciting as sharing you these most cherished moments... 

My forever bashful smile and pose captured together with all the winners and Daekyo executives.

With Daekyo Chairman Kang, one of South Korea's top influential businessmen and president of Badminton World Federation, and Dora Yuet Lan Tsang, short story grand winner from HongKong. Chairman Kang's personal rags-to-riches story, through the power of learning, is very inspirational. Dora's winning children's short story, Much Hairdo About Nothing is very funny and aptly for today's vain kids.  

Daekyo Eye Level, our generous host. At the headquarters building, with managing director Mr. Terry Son, Gritty and Dora Tsang, my sister, and yours truly. 

The educational brand name E.Nopi or Noonopi, is a household name in South Korea, which later rebranded to Eye Level to cater a much global consumer. I am sold at the company's philosophy that is  based on "eye level" teaching and learning, meaning the system is tailored to fit at the child's perspective whereas most adults assume the other way around.  

The trip was really memorable because it was my first time to experience snow. It is truly a beautiful and magical experience for me. They were however amazed at me because not all people liked snow. Maybe it's the same thing with the sun or rain...and super typhoons!  

Most buildings are futuristic, as if they are sets from a sci-fi movie. This is a dazzling side view of the city hall, a juxtaposition of classic and modern designs amidst urban bustle.
I rarely saw cluttering giant billboards and tarpaulins.

I am very impressed with their road courtesy, sure heavy traffic is still expected on some occasions but you will never freak out from stress and rudeness! Everyone seem to abide traffic laws, yes, even buses. I already gave up on our local traffic situation: I just wish every motorists in Metro Manila will achieve that level of respect on the road. I don't think any new traffic schemes can save us from this traffic from hell, only respect and consideration for each other can redeem and fly us to our destinations.

Posh and automated place where we stayed.

A send off coffee chat with our very warm hosts and Eye Level team, Ms. Yoosun and Bella, together with the funny and outgoing Dora and Gritty, and my shy but fab sis.

At the Eye Level Learning Center. 

An early looming machine at the Museum of ethnic people 

Vintage and ethnic shoes!

Types or evolution of fans

 Monuments are really monumental. Take note of the sweet couple below.

Street plushies at Myeongdong

 Too Cool for School kitschies at the streets of Myeongdong

Awesome graffiti (or mural?questioning what is street art lol) inside the artful Insadong mall restroom.

A beautiful snowy morning at Seoul skyline.

Presidentiable posters and a camera-furious tourist. 

The magnificent Gyeongbokgung palace.

Gyeongbokgung palace interiors.

Real palace guards. We were too shy and scared to have a picture with them haha.

 Lucky me and my sister at the snowy Bukchon traditional village. Most of the houses are over a century old and there are actual residents. I wonder how they are dealing with annoying tourists constantly swarming by the place. 

And of course, the immortal Gangnam area!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a unique book nook!

I thought this book nook inside a mall deserves a separate blog post. 

Before leaving Seoul, we dropped by E-mart, a large department store near the Incheon international airport. While waiting for my companions, I noticed this corner full of boxes and books. At first I thought it was a children's book selling area. But based on what I see on the this banner, it's probably an org dedicated to picture books. Too bad, there's no english translation! 

So I went around and looked at the artworks first:

These illustrations look awesome yet raw and unpretentious, and they look really professional!

And then I looked at the books:

They all looked great too! Amazing.

Then, I realized these were made by kids! or that's how I interpret it. I just hope I'm correct :-)

I checked the organization on the banner, The Story Book Institute on their site: 
Again, there's no english translation and I'm so helpless. Google translate doesn't translate korean language that well. It's probably a school for kids teaching how to make a picture book. Maybe someday, I can come up with a similar workshop so that many local kids will learn to appreciate more the art of making picture books!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The ultimate bahay kubo

How else can you illustrate a classic Filipino rhyme? This very fresh and so-current paper cut illustrations by Pergy Acuna is a funny take. I'm pretty sure Bahay Kubo (Straw Hut), published by Adarna House, will be a cult classic for kids today, as the popular rhyme is for every generations.

The scenes are whimsical and anthropomorphizes veggies—kids will definitely never see them the same way again. The illustrator smartly created her own simple, single scene visual narratives.

This is the best and funniest scenes for me. How about a crying tomato and onion for a pizza party? It's modern and very clever! LOL.

There are more visual puns spread throughout in this small but thick book, perfect for small readers. Like me, they will surely enjoy the illustration details and scenes, and will crave for more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

grandpa's light

I only had brief moments with my lolo (grandpa) when I was a kid and it was a blurry memory, but I remember that he made an impression that he was a simple happy man. My other lolo however, I have no idea who he was because he passed away even before I was born. It's also sad that there are not much photos of them anymore, afaik. I might have to dig some vintage photo albums in the province for that.

Fortunately, there's now a children's book that celebrate our often ignored lolos and so that we can rekindle our best memories with them: Ang mga Lambing ni Lolo Ding (roughly translated, The Sweetness of Grandpa Ding), story by Michael Coroza and illustrated by Maurice Risulmi, published by Adarna House. It's a poignant but endearing story about memory and death.

For me, what really makes this children's book special aside from its theme that courageously deal with death, is the illustration's creative use of lighting. The illustrator is very adept at rendering an ambiance that captures a realistic yet dramatic lighting.

The painterly style of the illustrations rendered digitally also effectively creates a personal connection with the viewer. In fact, the digital medium is barely noticeable. The illustrations are warm and "human" despite it was made with a machine. It makes you wonder and look closer if it's really painted from a computer, unlike a Pixar or Disney animated film. For me, this is how digital media should work seamlessly in art and illustration.

The settings are nostalgic of my childhood, especially on this scene. I can easily relate to this because we used to have fun playing on the streets with my siblings. I'm not sure if some (sheltered) kids still have the privilege to do that now since our streets are becoming dangerous.

The strength of the illustrator is his ability to clearly render characters with unusual expressions. The spread above best exemplify this skill. This is also one of my favorite scenes.