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TEXT AND ART BY NEAL P. CORPUS
Itching to create under quarantine? Get started with tools from these artists’ arsenals.
Now that we’re in the world’s longest lockdown, it’s no surprise that a lot of us are looking for new hobbies to develop.
Creating art is a practice that helps a lot of people stay sane, and apart from keeping our hands busy, you might even be able turn it into a new career.
But how does one get started? Purchasing your first art materials can be daunting, especially with the plethora of options available.
To help you out, we’ve asked four artists of different disciplines to share their favorite art materials, along with some advice for soon-to-be artists.
Mano Gonzales, illustrator
Mano Gonzales is an illustrator who largely works with graphite. This basically means he uses a pencil and paper.
If you want to get a bit more serious in Mano’s kind of art, try exploring different weights of paper, along with mechanical pencils so you’re never out of a sharp point.
“I live in BGC, so Art Bar at Serendra is my go-to place for materials,” shares Mano. “I use Canson paper and I buy different sizes and weights there; I buy my mechanical pencils from there too.”
It’s a one-stop-shop for all things art materials, but if you’re from another area, most of Mano’s choice materials are available at National Book Store.
Mano’s advice for someone just starting out? “Find a way to practice everyday, and allow yourself to be inspired by anything,” he says. Case in point: in his free time, Mano hangs out at the Art Books section of Fully Booked to get his creative juices flowing.
Sam Bumanlag, painter and illustrator
Although Sam’s mother is a production designer, she got into art when she was in school. “My position was an art director for my school’s newspaper was what first got me into solidly thinking that I could pursue art as a career,” Sam recalls.
Today, Sam works both in traditional and digital mediums. When drawing digitally, she uses an iPad: “[It’s] helped me so much for the past two years because I am able to draw more seamlessly, and the workflow is great,” Sam shares.
When she puts color to paper, however, Sam doesn’t limit herself to only paint and pencils.
One of her recommendations is one we’re all familiar with: crayons. “Crayons are not your typical art material since they’re mostly advertised for kids, but I see the appeal in this medium because it’s generally just fun and easy to use,” says Sam.
Sam has also recently picked up pottery, further proving that art is an ever-evolving practice. For this, she recommends a starter pottery tool set like the one above, and for easy tutorials, check out YouTube as Sam does.
Jel Suarez, collage artist
At first glance, Jel’s practice of collage-making seems like the most accessible. After all, all you need are glue, a pair of scissors, and old books or magazines. “I believe that you don’t need to buy expensive art materials to create,” says Jel.
What will make a difference, though, is constantly working on it. “I honestly had no idea what I was making before,” Jel confesses. “I’d cut up images from books lying around the house, played with different styles and arrangements for my work until I found my own story to tell.”
The inspiration for Jel’s work mostly comes from the things she gathers or collects, like stones from afternoon walks and various things from thrift shops.
Discovering your own style will come with time, says Jel: “Know that it takes time to develop any craft, so there is no right or wrong way to approach your art.”
Here is Jel’s advice for those who want to make a career out of art: “For starters I would suggest that you have alternate sources of income other than just selling your art,” she says. “This will allow you to experiment, enjoy the process, and make the work you truly want.”
Wika Nadera, painter and illustrator
Like many creatives, Wika Nadera understands the world through visual means.
He picked up an eye for art from trips to various art exhibits with his father, and through the illustrated Adarna children’s books that his mother would read to him. “[I] would often derive from the images to understand its context,” Wika shares.
Later on, he attended the Philippine High School For The Arts, where he would develop his artistic capabilities.
There, he collaborated with his schoolmates of different disciplines, which led him to become interested in other arts such as film, photography, and even construction, among many others.
But as an illustrator, like Mano, Wika’s main tool of choice is a mechanical pencil, specifically an Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil in 0.5mm.
“I’m after its ability to keep lines clean for notes besides sketches, and its convenience in school as I don’t use a ballpen,” he shares.
Wika is also quite particular with the materials he uses. His eraser of choice is a Tombow Mono Zero Standard eraser that measures 2.3mm, which “works best when I’m touching up on small details in my pencil works,” Wika adds.
As for his notebook? A B5 unruled Kokuyo Soft Ring notebook. “Since these three are the ones I most often use, I’m very specific with the comfort and convenience of their designs.”
Get your art on at these outlets:
National Book Store: Alabang Town Center, Ayala Malls Circuit, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Feliz, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Ayala Malls Serin, Ayala Malls Solenad, Ayala Malls The 30th, Glorietta, Greenbelt, Fairview Terraces, Market! Market!, TriNoma, U.P. Town Center, Abreeza, Ayala Center Cebu, Ayala Malls Legazpi, Centrio Mall, Harbor Point, MarQuee Mall, and The District Imus.
Art Bar: Serendra, Ayala Center Cebu
Power Mac Center: Ayala Malls Circuit, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Glorietta, Greenbelt, TriNoma, Abreeza, and Harbor Point.
Book Sale: Greenbelt, Fairview Terraces, Market! Market!, Abreeza, and Ayala Malls Legazpi.