I completed my first illustration job last night and spent about an hour admiring the finished product. I would’ve kept at it for another hour, but I had to go to sleep. Nevertheless, I still feel really, really excited and proud of what I’ve completed, the same way I always feel when I finish a piece of artwork. When I’m done with a drawing, I usually tend to start thinking that I have to turn my passion for illustrating into an actual source of income. I tend to halt along the way, however, when I get a bit insecure about the quality of my work and worry that my style has absolutely no identity or personality.


I started drawing at the age of four. Yeah yeah, everybody draws stick figures at that age. My first drawings were, indeed, of stick figures, usually heading to school but also going to a dance club at night. The buildings stood on stilts, much like a bahay kubo. I progressed beyond the stick-figure stage after a few months, however, and started drawing fuller people with three fingers. I stuck with the three-fingered model until someone in my family pointed out that that made my drawings look like pigs, so I jumped to four fingers next, thinking that when I hit five fingers, I’ll be golden. I drew a fairly complicated scene at the age of five, showing me running a sari-sari store, with the place full of soap, canned goods, and bottles of whatever. I even drew my family surrounding my store.

Fast forward a few years later when I saw my first Disney princess movie: Cinderella. I was much impressed with the appearance of people, but it was only when The Little Mermaid came out when I knew I found a style I can—copy? Yeah, let’s say copy. I wasn’t entirely comfortable showing my work to people, though I did have a couple of friends with who I enjoyed drawing Garfield and comparing our works. Sometime in sixth grade, I found a classmate leafing through my pad paper filled with my doodles, which I promptly snatched out of her hand.

Come high school, I had a boyfriend who was known for his drawing skills. I figured it couldn’t hurt to show that I could indeed draw too, so I coyly asked him to teach me how to draw. 1 “Okay,” he said, “show me what you can do first.” I drew something, I don’t remember what, but it took him by surprise, saying, “But you already know how to draw!” And in my head, I snickered, “Yeah, I know.” After that, I felt more at ease showcasing my work, but other people unfortunately thought the guy taught me how.

I also began to look to anime for a new style around this time, which I carried with me to college. My friend Mit was also an inspiration during that time; her style was pretty elegant, with lots of fancy little details, and her people always, always had such graceful hands. Today, TJ describes my style as curvy, whereas I think of it more as fluffy. I can’t help it, my tendency nowadays is to draw soft, cute, and rounded things.

  1. This was a once-in-a-lifetime incident. I smartened up enough to know that there is absolutely no need for me to play the dumb ignorant fool ever again.

June 09, 2011 by Lynn
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