Magic #19 – Writing for kiddos

I remember, when I was in Grade 2, I used to write stories. One of my friends did the same, and I wanted to compete. Sort of. But my literary pursuit was shortlived.

In high school I ventured into writing kids’ stories again — or at least, I remember writing one story and painted illustrations for it. I submitted a sample to a publisher. After some weeks, the well-known local children’s book publisher replied saying they couldn’t publish my work if I was not of their religion (non-Catholic). After telling her about my rejection, my doting tita in the States was furious and said that that publisher didn’t deserve my — in her unprejudiced opinion — good work.


Now I feel like I want to explore doing children’s literature again. I guess it’s a way of sharing my own experience when I was still a child, for which I’m very grateful: being surrounded with colorful books filled with life. I had a picture book of animals (which introduced me to zebras and giraffes and penguins), a slew of fairy tales free in every can of Nido milk, and several second-hand hardbound collections from, again, my tita in the States. If it weren’t for those books, I wouldn’t have gained a hunger to know more and be amazed by life’s simple details.

I’m sorry it’s taking me three paragraphs to say that, really, I’m excited. Here’s to a future Palanca Award! 😛

The stories will be posted here.


Magic #13 – Using the Pen tool in Illustrator and Photoshop

I think I finally got the hang of vector-making, or at least using the Pen tool most popular in Illustrator, but is also present in Photoshop (where you can actually make “faux-vectors”).

I forced myself to learn it in my new job. I used to have tremendous frustration in making the Pen tool work for my illustrations. It turned out that I had the wrong paradigm. I found out that the cartoons I see created using the Pen tool are not really drawn on the “workspace” from scratch. A paper illustration needs to be created first, and then it is traced by the Pen tool once the drawing is imported to Illustrator, or even just Photoshop.

The cartoon below is something I made using the Pen tool in Photoshop. It’s the image that really taught me how make the tool work to my advantage.


Excitement consumes me. Oh, the thought of near-endless possibilities!