by - 20:51

I present to you, Baht, Boots, and Gandhi: the first book that I illustrated for, and that was just launched last Thursday! :D

Quick backstory: last year, over one of our lunches, my aunt mentioned that she and her two friends were bent on compiling a series of travel essays, and publishing it in book form. Half-jokingly, I asked if I could illustrate for it, and she said yes. It was only months later, in December, that I got around to working on the illustrations, for she reminded me about it, saying the book was quickly on its way to the printing press. 
They only wanted simple illustrations, my aunt affirmed, nothing too detailed lest the actual printing sacrificed some of the quality. At first, the drafts that I sent reflected specific essays, and were rendered in a cartoon style (as seen above). 

Then, my aunt relayed the feedback from her friends; they found the illustrations alright, but not quite in line with the style of the book cover. "Do you know what retro looks like?" my aunt asked me, and Betty Boop popped into my head. "Something like that," my aunt laughed, and I was thus faced with a new challenge. I had never in my life attempted to draw a retro-style cartoon. I had to scour Google for samples in order to come up with something that looked even remotely retro. Also, the content of the images had changed; now my aunt and her friends requested specific subjects. My aunt wanted a remake of the same island girl as above; author Mo Francisco wanted me to draw her riding the roof of a jeepney, and Gayle Certeza wanted an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to her illustration.

Before I knew it, the new drafts were sent for coloring. One day, my aunt handed to me a published version of the finished book. I caught my name at the back, and did a double-take. Only then did it occur to me that this was serious business. My name is on the cover. I squealed my joy to high glory.

And here are the finished illustrations:

It's so unreal, seeing my drawings on fancy paper, haha!

Each of the illustrations serve as introductions to the authors' biography and acknowledgements. They turned out so nicely, especially with John Casipe's coloring (who I haven't met). 

The book launch was held at the Filipinas National Heritage Library, serving as the opening to the 'Babaenihan' event that celebrated women (that day was International Women's Day). I arrived there early enough to take a few shots of the place while it was relatively empty, and already I could feel the buzz of excitement. My aunt seemed anxious, while her two friends whizzed about in a rush of adrenaline. After cocktails were served, the event opened with a welcoming note by Tweet Sering, author of Astigirl, and was then followed by readings of the three authors of Baht, Boots and Gandhi. The whole event ended with a series of inspirational talks from 'astigirls' (which I wasn't able to catch; astig means 'cool', although in a superlative form, almost ineffably cool - hence astigirls means cool or awesome girls). 

I didn't take much pictures, but here are some of the ones that I did take:

Promotional tarps outside the building
The reception area

The bookstore has such an amazing collection; I kept squealing, "Sources!" (What the Humanities has
done to me...)

Right to left: Gayle Certeza, Gina Verdolaga, Mo Francisco

Look, my illustration's on the screen! :D
My aunt signing her first autograph

A shout-out to my aunt: I'm so proud of you, Tita Gina! A big congratulations, and thank you sooo much for letting me be a part of this big adventure of yours; I hope you have plenty more in the future! I love you!

To the reader, Baht, Boots, and Gandhi will be available to the public soon; I'll let you know when! :) If you come across it, do take the time to read through it, the essays are absolutely wonderful and thoroughly amusing. The book makes you want to travel and write your own stuff!

Thanks for reading, and take care! Woohoo, I'm (sorta) published!

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  1. So proud of you, bb <3 Love them! They're so different from your usual style, but this one's really, really charming. Maybe you could illustrate for me too someday :D :D

  2. I'm so proud of youuu! :)

  3. Thank you so much, Jammy!! >:D<

  4. I would love to!! :D Thank you so much Chuchu!! <3 

  5. You're really a talented artist, Lavina. Congratulations on being a part of this amazing project. We hope your art career takes off as a result. Tito George & Tita Maita

  6. Thank you so much, Tito George and Tita Maita; and I hope so too! Hope you're both doing well, take care!!

  7. guess it runs in the family somehow. ehehe.. congrats! god job!

  8. Yes it does, haha! Thank youu!