Posted on September 11, 2014 by rica

Watercolor Portrait #31: Looking Back

This is a watercolor portrait of my brother. It’s not one of the best I’ve made but it shows me how much I’ve improved in the past 3 months. Yes, three months ago I started this 100 Portraits projects. I decided to try and paint my brother again after three months.


This is what I painted three months ago.


That was before I got a real watercolor set, used the proper paper and, well…learned more about the medium along the way.

One thing’s for sure, I will paint my brother’s portrait again after a few weeks and see how much has changed after that.

Posted on September 9, 2014 by rica

Watercolor Portrait #30: Barely There

Amado and I were talking about watercolor techniques. There’s one that was so light that it leaves the barest hint of color. I was lucky to find a photo to try it out.

If I painted watercolor this way, a single box of 5ml tubes would last me a year. Yes, a normal tube of artist grade watercolor is just 5ml. Imagine my surprise when I saw them. I didn’t realize how vibrant the pigments were until I tried it.


Here I’ve zoomed in a bit for you guys to see the details.

Although it isn’t obvious in the paintings I’ve scanned, I’ve seen the difference between artist grade and student grade paints and now I understand why they’re more expensive.

Sighs. Yes.

Posted on September 8, 2014 by rica

Animation Backgrounds

It’s been 20 years since I last did anything for animation. AVPs, OBBs and training presentations do not count. I’m talking about animation that tells stories. The kind that starts as a nagging dream in one’s mind. This idea was born from somebody else’s dream. I’m just helping him make it happen.

Before, animation backgrounds were painted on clear sheets of acrylic [foreground] and acid-free bristol boards. Now, they’re drawn, scanned and painted digitally.

This is what it looks like. The creative director calls them “art lines”.

After the rain

After the rain

Afternoon scene

Afternoon scene

Morning Scene

Morning Scene

These were drawn and penciled by another artist. Once these drawings are done, they are scanned and sent to a colorist, me.

I also receive reference studies for light and shadows. These are my guides for coloring.

Street light in the afternoon

Street light in the afternoon

The light reference after the rains.

The light reference after the rains.

How the alley should look in the morning, till around noon.

How the alley should look in the morning, till around noon.

How the street should look at night.

How the street should look at night.

Once I receive these, the coloring process begins. I had to do an actual background by hand. I posted that last week. Once the painting is done, I recreate the SAME scene digitally and repeat each stroke. I also make sure that it looks like brush strokes – watercolor brush strokes.

To make things easier for myself, I blow it up to print size. This way, I can put in details. After all, this isn’t your regular Flintstones cartoon show. The only instructions I have from the director is that it should look like a watercolor painting and that the lighting has to be correct. From the scenes above. I did the following:


FINAL: MORNING SCENE: The shadows were corrected and made to look stronger. After all, this should be around 11am – 1pm. Light was white to bluish.


DRAFT: AFTERNOON SCENE: The area where the sun shone was corrected. Naturally I had to adjust the highlights. Not only that, I had to check the brightness. Areas where the sun shone had to be yellowish-white


FINAL: RAINS: I had to correct the shadows and the mood. Almost everything has to be grayish and sad. The rain and floods will be animated.


FINAL: EVENING: I must say that this is my favorite. I had to redo all the color tones and add the correct highlights. The correction for this scene took at least 2 hours to do and at least 7 different “design plates” were made. This was the 7th and the final one.

Just to show you the level of detail, I’m zooming into a part of the scene.


All this took 2 days to paint. When I say 2 days that’s me working 10 hours a day. The scene for these backgrounds will just be a minute or two. Much of the animation is still being made. In fact all these backgrounds still passes through color correction for consistency.

This is the reason why I haven’t done my painting-per-day routine. I’ve been painting for 7 days straight. I still have 4 more backgrounds to finish and after that I’m done. The last background is more complicated because it involves a foreground. :) Will blog about that next time.

All these do not belong to me. The copyright belongs to the director and producer of the animated feature. I am a mere colorist. :)

Posted on September 2, 2014 by rica

Wish Granted

Last night I was alone and talking to myself [mentally] on my balcony. I was trying to do experiments on coloring and I think, I failed miserably. Feeling bad about it, I took a break.

I told myself, “I just don’t want to be a regular portrait artist. I want to be one of the best. I don’t see a lot of really good artists. I want to be the kind of artist that people seek out to paint portraits for themselves – the kind that will last for generations to come. If I am to do paintings – let it be of people. Portraits. The kind of portraits people will love and feel good about themselves.” That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t tell anyone about it.

Today, I had a request to do a portrait of a couple. In acrylic. ACRYLIC.

They had an old portrait, a photo, that was fading. A painting wouldn’t – and shouldn’t fade. The best part is that they will provide everything I need.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The Universe heard and answered. I am now moving in that direction and walking it. Yes people, be careful of what you wish for and pray for. Once it comes true, be prepared to hit the ground running!!

Does this mean I will quit being a webmaster or SEO/SEM site manager? No. Will I stop doing digital graphics and designs? No. Will I quit and drop everything to pursue this? No. Rather I will make time and set some goals for myself.

These are:

  1. 100 Portraits of people and pets
  2. 100 Things
  3. 100 Places

They will be hand painted on paper and canvas.

Will this include paintings and works done digitally? No. That is separate. :)

All this will come to pass.

Posted on August 29, 2014 by rica

Watercolor Portrait #29: Marilyn Monroe

This is another ‘test’ between Amado and I. The challenge was how to paint the dress and her hair.



This is my version:


This is Amado’s version. I love how he did the dress, the hair and the shadows.

Mailyn by Amado Chua

With this one, I had problems doing the hair. I guess it is something I have to learn. I will check out youtube for How-To videos after this.

PS: This will be my last painting for this week. Technically I just painted two portraits this week because of my schedule. September is just around the corner and that means I have to do some bazaar duty.

Also, I will be doing some test studies – I was asked to do backgrounds for a short animated feature. The schedule is tight and the task is challenging. So, I will still be painting – I just can’t post any of it until it’s done. And since it’s not portrait, but places, it’s not included in the counting. :)

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