An afternoon of drawing our childhood

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Today in the third floor lobby of Ayala Museum, INKies (members of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan) and participants gathered for an afternoon of sketching, painting, snacks, and music.

It was Sketch Afternoon, the last event we have in celebration of Ang INK’s 25th Anniversary. Earlier this morning, our organization held a Kiddie Arts and Crafts Party where lots of kids got to learn how to make Story Stones, paint Kraft Boxes, and create funky and colorful hats!

Meanwhile for Sketch Afternoon, we got to sit around long tables with art materials and pieces of paper in front of us. It was like a family lunch or feast for me, only we were going to draw. Some INKies were wearing the hats they made in the Kiddie Arts Party, so there was a birthday party atmosphere earlier too.

The featured artists in this event, Aaron Asis, Joza Nada, Raine Sarmiento, Brent Sabas, Aldy Aguirre, Kevin Roque, and Tristan Yuvienco, gave their respective brief talks about their art, techniques, and inspiration.

I love listening to artists talk about their own passions – actually, I love listening and seeing anyone who talks about what he loves. You see them smiling or seriously discussing about their work intently. They give little laughs, share funny stories about their illustrations, and you get inspired and taken with their love for art.

I’d also like to share the one lesson that stuck to me: how Aaron Asis said that there has to be consistency in your work or style regardless of the medium you use. I admire his illustrations, and one night last week, I was looking around in National Bookstore, and I found a Filipino translated copy of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. It was this blue paperback with an illustration on the cover with seemingly familiar shapes and textures. There was no name as to who illustrated the cover, but I had a feeling who it was.

And while he was showing his works earlier, I saw the book in his presentation!

Consistency. Even in digital or traditional. Even in children’s illustrations or book covers.

I also appreciated how Ate Joza said that she loves the imperfections in people, so she incorporates that in her subjects. Ate Raine also mentioned about finding your strengths in drawing.

I can’t wait to learn more and share the lessons from staying with Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan!

After the featured artists’ talks, we went straight away to our agenda.

For this event, we were asked to bring an object that would remind us of childhood.

What I brought was this koala bear…

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along with A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner and a December 1970 issue of Reader’s Digest.

The koala works like a clip. Right now, his arms and legs are clinging to my laptop’s screen. This special koala is in one of my earliest memories, probably back when I was two or three years old. I remember that we had two of them. My Dad used to keep this little guy clipped on his computer screen too when we were still living in my Tita Mila’s humble home behind Lola’s and Lolo’s home in Zambales. The koala reminds me of childhood, and when the word childhood comes to my mind, I remember my family – my Mom and Dad. I remember home.

The other two objects – Winnie the Pooh and Reader’s Digest – also remind me of something about the past. My Mom and Dad bought me children’s books before, which is probably why I loved to read since then. This copy of AA Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner isn’t really part of my childhood, but it reminds me of the books I read then. It also connected me to another memory: a big book of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I don’t know if my rusty memory is making it up, but I recall I have crayon marks on some pages of that book.

As for the Reader’s Digest copy, when Lola was still with us in our family home, I remember that we would always have one copy sitting atop the toilet’s tank cover, ready for reading! We still have Lola’s collection in our home. I remember my Tito Roberto saying that it was through Reader’s Digest that his vocabulary widened.

I was hoping to bring photographs of my family, but I may end up feeling emotional in this very laid-back afternoon in a museum.

So for this afternoon, we got to to draw our objects or even make a story out of them if we wanted to. And for those who were not able to bring something, they could share with someone else’s object.

This was the one I did.

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I’m sorry for the pun. 🙂

And here’s Winnie the Pooh with his jar of hunny and a copy of Reader’s Digest with browning pages.

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After we all finished our drawings, we had Show and Tell. The participants showed their illustrations, and my seatmate CJ, the youngest in our Sketch Afternoon group, showed us hers as well with the girl who had hair that resembled a waterfall.

Then it was the INKies’ turn. I loved seeing their objects too like Ate Yas Doctor’s old tiger costume complete with gloves, Jamie Bauza’s doll named Jamie who I think looks cute naman despite her being called creepy 😦 (and we had the same coconut husk-shaped hair too when I was younger!), Ate Raine Sarmiento’s pink doll, Nerfe’s cute doll in a red dress and heart-shaped necklace…

I loved seeing their little and big sketches in color and in black and white, in paper and in tiny booklet form, inspired by their objects or memories about the past. Like Ate Frances Alvarez’s apartment with bougainvilleas beside it, Kuya Lui Buan’s teddy bear, Tristan’s drawing of a Pikachu…

This activity – creating something out of our childhood, the purest stage we were in, like what Ate Yas said – has been special. Seeing my fellow INKies’ and the partipants’ works and hearing their stories brought me a glimpse of our younger selves in fading memories, in a time when we were still just learning what it was like to be alive, in a time when we were still unaware of how much we were loved by our families, in a time when only our parents, grandparents, or older siblings knew us so much.

Our childhood memories, memories we barely remember, are still strong for the people who loved us and raised us.

And when I see this koala, this Winnie the Pooh book, my Lola’s old collection of Reader’s Digest, I remember a faint image of my childhood but a stronger image of my family.

Thank you, Ang INK, for a Saturday afternoon well spent. You not only remind me of my childhood, but you remind me to how to see and love like the child I was before and how to be one again.

Maybe I still am, maybe we’re all still children, only older. And I think that’s a good thing.

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