Wednesday, December 31, 2008


soon after last month's virgin of guadalupe festivities, a young boy in an aztec costume kept coming up to my wife. we joked that he may be a an aztec fertility god. a sign of what may come. now, she can't get little boys out of her mind.

here's hoping he was just a normal kid in a parade costume.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

border crossing

i just moved to mexico. san miguel de allende, mexico to be exact. which would partly explain my lack of new posts (another reason: usually late in the year the publishers throw everything at me. i suspect the holidays & year-ender deadlines are the main culprits).

i hope to get back on track soon & update this blog. at the moment, i've got a new found fascination for mexican culture & history. san miguel is perfect for that. it's quite an artist town too & i've already met a few of them.

i'm guessing my current picture book will be heavily influenced by the bright colors & architecture that surround me ( it's called "alfred zector: book collector" - about a boy who loves collecting books & in the course, practically drains a whole town of them. more on that later).

last note. in the last 2 months, i've visited both of the US' neighbors, canada & mexico (the hat & the pants, ha). and even though i i've always been aware of this, it's still fascinates me how little we (as in, US residents) know about our neighbors. there is this never-ending caricature of mexico & canada that now seem so lazy & outdated. i get the humor, in fact i find them funny, but i wish a few more americans could see what they are missing out on.

anyway, i'm now excited to explore my new home. there are pyramids, colonial ruins & an exotic rich history to be discovered. plus, andy & red's beach (ehrm, shawshank redemption) is only an extended bus ride away! (publishing gods please be kind, heh).

Monday, November 24, 2008

working on the train...

montreal to quebec. sketching on rails: so much easier than on a plane.
plus points on the view: canada's pretty fall colors.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

tv adds 10 pounds to the ears

here's an interview i did last october for a US based filipino tv show that is televised globally. it was also their halloween special so i agreed to throw in a few monster sketches for them.

i planned to show 2 books, "bedtime at the swamp" & "the twelve days of christmas". unfortunately, like always, i probably talked too much & the show had to cut the segment for the christmas book (and a huge chunk of my answer to the last question).

by the way, it was about 4pm and i hadn't yet had a meal that day. not a great idea for a tv show rookie. i think i may have worried the staff a bit with my low key demeanor/hunger. someone behind the camera yelled out "remember macky, ENERGY!" complete with a fist pump. uh, yeah, that helped perk me up.

on the flip side, my mom called & said i looked great! 

but really, i certainly appreciate the opportunity to be on the show. it was a rare treat for a book illustrator like me. it was a lot of fun too & i wouldn't mind doing it again.

my brother, chris, wrote it best in an email:
"they left out the best parts: the bisaya slip (macky doesn't know what's bisaya and what's tagalog) and the 'yeah, maybe lapu lapu. he's the only filipino hero that didn't lose'."

*by the way, chris told everyone he was my manager & everyone believed it. even demanding more make up for me. so i get serious cake on my face... right before the cameras rolled. sweet.

Monday, November 03, 2008

happy days

couldn't help taking this pic. the "twelve hidden days of christmas" hidden picture book on the barnes & noble's christmas display. 

i'm never going to get tired of seeing my books in stores. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

warm up sketch gone overboard

my original plan for this blog was to focus on editorial art, something i really enjoy. but it's been a busy few years for me & that plan went out the window.

here's a sketch i did last week that i thought would be fairly easy. a warm up sketch to start the work day. it turned out to be a lot of fun & worked on it for a few more days, a few minutes at a time (obviously, i'm not that great at sticking to the initial ideas).

too bad. it would have been fun doing weekly sketches of the current election cycle. it's been nuts on both ends of the spectrum. oh well, maybe next time.

*i'm pretty clear on where i stand on this election. i already voted last week & it was for hope & change.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

what makes it all worth it

 i had 3 surprise packages in one week. copies of the "bedtime at the swamp" picture book, greeting cards of my latest pkpress illustration ( rock guitarist theme) & the most surprising of all ... copies of "the 12 hidden days of christmas"

"12 days" is not yet even available in stores (oct 7). i usually get my copies way after the release date. 

normally, i become very critical of my artwork when i finally see it in print. but with "12 days" i found myself enjoying the finished product, which surprised me because the book was easily one of my more difficult projects (painting hidden picture book + suspect math skills = crossed-eyes & a lot of re-dos).

the next day, i read the book to my nephew at his younger brother's birthday party. 

the reason i'm writing about this is because i have never, in my 5 years as a book illustrator, read any of my books to any kid. it dawned onto me, while sitting with him, that i've never witnessed any proof that my target readers actually approve of my work - that my artwork, well, works!

 i've been painting blind & just expecting children to "get" the stories.

well, now i know. the books work splendidly. nathan would not get off my lap, alternating between the 2 books & either looking for santa or making those wonderful monster noises that kids do so well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

going postal

just found out today that the "take me out to the ballgame" book was being sold at the nearby post office (2 blocks away). my wife was in line waiting for her turn & noticed that familiar cover hanging on the store wall. credit goes to her for the discovery. i would not have noticed it.

it's on sale to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the baseball song. USPS is also issuing a 42 cent commemorative stamp designed by artist Richard Sheaff.

I had no idea that this book would have this much staying power when I was working on it 3 years ago. It is also being sold in Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame).

more info here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

north park urban art

some interesting urban art where we live. most of the pix are not mine. i'd credit the photographers but i lost the link sources. unfortunately, most of the artwork have been painted over (i think by new building owners). this is why i had to go find the pics on the net instead. the paint rollers where just too quick for my slow-poke rodriguez camera trigger. most, if not all of them, seem to be business sponsored art. there are more than a few taggers in our neighborhood, but i hate that shit. these ones definitely stood out & made the north park area more appealing to me.

university ave. inbetween 30th & ohio
now painted over. an early favorite.

undisputed gym wall (ohio street)
also painted over. too bad, i enjoyed looking at this while walking the dog.

also on the undisputed gym wall.

linkery restaurant wall (30th street)
solid artwork by acamonchi.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Flat Stanley

I've signed with HarperCollins to do a relaunch/redesign of the Flat Stanley books. This is another long term series that I will be working on for the next 4 years.

As with every start of the new project, there is that "getting to know you" phase that the illustrator & art director/editor gets to do. Right from the start, the FS editors have been a joy to work with.

I always hear about horror stories from other artists about dealing with art directors, but I've been lucky so far to have not experienced any of that.

I've already finished a few book covers & I hope to show some of them soon. There will be different sets of books that would target different reading levels (a first for me).

At the moment, amazon is showing the previous designs but crediting them to me. Hopefully, this will be corrected because I'd like to see the previous illustrator properly recognized for his work.

Monday, August 04, 2008


i finally got to go to the sd comic-con to see what all the fuss is about. even though i live in sd, my work sked prevented me to check it out in the past.

the hollywood & gaming industry's presence was definitely felt, but i was there to see the interesting people & the artwork.

it's hard not to feel the energy at the con. it's like walking in a huge (*star wars ref alert*) mos eisley cantina or (*more geek ref alert*) hellboy's troll market.

just a few of the pics i took:

imperial officer shoots hellboy.

tired jedis (too many storm troopers at the con)

i wanted to buy these "artists" figurines. too bad, they would have looked great beside the da vinci action figure & the larry bird bobble head ... (i should stop typing).

just missed.

watchmen's owlship. great book. hope the movie does it justice.

a family outing - speedy & the green arrow. this just spells comic-con.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

another ad spot

since i just wrote about spots for promotion, here's one that i did last year for PLAY!

i wanted to get away from the type of look that i've been doing & try something more fun & less time consuming.

Monday, July 28, 2008

promo spots

once every 2 yrs, mb artists holds a fall party that is attended by the artists & clients. i look forward to this event since this is probably the only time i get to meet the people i work with & the mb artists illustrators who live all over the world.

as always, each illustrator was asked to do a quick b/w spot art with a specific theme. the 1" x 1" spots will be for the invites & promotional giveaway ( a nice booklet with samples of each illustrators' artwork).

this is my spot for the 2006 party:

since the size for the spot art is very small, it only takes a few minutes to do. the tricky part is to keep it simple without much detail so that it can be understood. still, fun stuff.

i got carried away & ended up doing four:

Friday, July 25, 2008

this week in san diego: bridging both worlds

the pride celebration was last weekend while the comic-con just started today. so, it's been quite festive in the city.

we've got 2 groups of partygoers in town. one that party like the best of them & the other that, well, needs to ask mom's permission first.

either way, sd is drowning in costumes & spandex for the whole week.

more on the comic-con later.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

first review

the kirkus review has written the first review for Bedtime At The Swamp:

"Sitting in the moonlit swamp with his West Highland white terrier, a boy hears, "Splish splash / rumba-rumba / bim bam BOOM!" and knows it's a swamp monster. He high-tails it up a willow, but his sister comes to tell him Ma wants him home for bedtime. When they hear the monster again, she joins him up the tree. Each time a relative arrives to fetch him home, they end up in the tree. Even the monster is frightened into joining them by the strange sound-and then Ma herself appears to march her brood off to bed. They all go "splish splash" in the bath, "rumba-rumba" with their toothbrushes, "bim bam" up the stairs and "BOOM!" into bed. Crow's rhythmic chant and rhymed text are nicely brought to life by Pamintuan's bright, swampy, expressive art, the clean lines and colors making the most of the absurd situation. Bedtime and monsters haven't gone together so well in years. Worth a second copy to have on hand for storytimes on either topic." (Picture book. 3-6)

Thanks to the author, krystin crow, for the heads up.

it's been 2 years since i started on this book, but i'll soon be splish splashing my way to the bookstore's kids section in less than 2 weeks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

heaven reeks of cigar smoke tonight.

because coach red is lighting one up. 

the celtics won the championship (after 2 decades, i can actually say this).

there was no way i'd have predicted this season to end this way. a title in boston against the lakers. amazing.

the wife & i saw one nba game this season. it was the celtics in LA in december. i was watching the two teams that would make the finals later that year. how about that?

i stuck with this team since i was a kid, never wavering during the jordan years, the shaq/kobe era & today's lebron generation. i didn't care.  as far as i was concerned, my heroes wore green & white. as a basketball fan the past 2 decades, i stuck out like a sore thumb.

my motivation was that for every bad year, it would make it even more special when the c's finally win one. that, in a sense, i went along the journey with them -- it actually sounded like crazy talk at that time, but, wow, it makes sense now.  it was definitely worth it.

to think, last season, the celtics ranked 29th out of 30 teams.  this year they're nba champions. 

the smiles etched on kg, ray & pierce's faces said it all. i can honestly say i was truly happy for them. 3 classy individuals who deserve their rings. same goes with doc rivers. a gorilla off their backs.

 to me, the post game celebrations were as equally enjoyable as the game. as if i was there celebrating with them, but with a dry shirt. danny boy, you did good.

all-star trios aside, this is still a team game & the celts showed they were the better team. rondo, pose, perk, eddie, the show, pj, big baby and the rest. they deserved this one.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

how not to be poor

i read an interesting bit of news recently.

according to the philippine government, the minimum amount that a family of five should earn to stay out poverty in 2007 is... 10,000 pesos a month ($225).

for a family of five.

2,000 pesos a month each.

and you are not in poverty.

by the way, this is for a family living in the national capital region. the numbers are likely lower in mindanao.

how they do the numbers is beyond me. i'm no good at math, but i'm guessing these figures don't match reality.

good thing our president is an economist. she'll fix things. she's awesome at fixing things (see: elections, 2004)

good times.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

photo refs

i'm still not sure if this is a good idea. no really, turn back now. rest those eyes. it's probably for the best.

here are a few examples of how i use photo references for my illustrations. a few years ago, it was a major part of my approach to painting. i have now found a happy medium & don't depend on them as much, but i still consider it an important step to illustrating.

my last picture book "bedtime at the swamp" did not have as many photo refs. but the one I am currently doing "abc baseball" has a ton of them, mostly to keep my art consistent with the sport.

so here goes. aw geez...

it's hard to tell, but i was actually upset when this pic was shot. why? because the photographer couldn't stop laughing & kept ruining the shot.

my mvp did some great poses here. this was a nice photo "backbone" to rest my illustration upon. i still think this is the best cover from the series so far.

speaking of great poses. an awesome job by a buddy posing for the whole book. all it took was payment in the form of a BLT sandwich. best investment on deli meat i've ever had. hands down.

since he did such an excellent job, why not show another one? the guy really worked hard for that sandwich.

and the coup de grace. told ya i used to work hard for my photo refs. my li'l bro was also stellar doing impromptu clutch work as the boxing manager.

so, there it is. obviously, there's more, but why prolong the pain?

davao '02

found some old photos of my home city, davao, in a forgotten envelope. i took these when i was on vacation. still a struggling art student. no career. not sure of the future. just full of ideas.

i liked how these photos came out. the color & that authentic grainy look. no edits. just some awkward crops to show what i was really looking at.

made me wish i took these on old polaroids scratched up by time. because that's how i see these now. a time machine on pulp. they may only be 6 years old, but so much has happened since then. to me, they might as well be decades old.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

first round musings

things i learned from the first round of the nba playoffs:

- though i am a long time sportsnut, i have ZERO experience rooting for a title contender. all the teams i have rooted for (except this year) were never expected to win it all (i.e. past celts teams, every philippine olympic team, barry bonds' sf giants, myself in video game matchups).

- i truly, truly suck at rooting for a winner. it's like swimming for the first time.

- lebron is a monster but the cavs are boring. there is no passing or set plays. - get.out.of.way - watch.him.score. boring.

- i will forever hate the lakers.

- work productivity will take a dive as long as the celts are in the hunt. potential catch 22.

- i miss the warriors. i do not miss dallas.

- the tv does not shout back even when you shout at it during games. my tv has good manners.

- the wife will slowly get more stressed out as the celtics go deeper because she has caught the celtic bug. even as she's trying to avoid it.

- kg needs to shoot more. ray allen should not guard the other team's best player.

- when i change the channel, the celtics will lose the lead.

- when i change the channel, the celtics will take the lead.

- i need to come up with a reply when people say "go celtics" when i (or aymone) is wearing my celtic hat. lame replies so far.

- spurs will win it all (current 0-2 hole in 2nd round is a problem though).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the brits do it the right way

now this is how official portraits of heads of states should be done. i just found out that tony blair's official portrait was painted by phil hale.  i own a copy of hale's book & his works have been a favorite of mine since art college.

what stunned me was that britain selected an artist who's style is known to push the envelope.

the blair piece is a departure from hale's signature look. it will, after all, be hung at westminster.

no tie, the look away gaze, the palette.  exhausted & contemplative. i like that it humanizes him. 

the guy who did this

also did these

one can only dream to do the philippine prez official portrait. oh, i'd like to do that one.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


                                                                                        nothing much to write about here.

 i just like this unfinished tree sketch from mexico. the simplicity of it.

i intended a more elaborate sketch.
with leaves & the roofs of the adjoining casa luna building
                                                                                   circling      the 
mexican tiles
the pool maybe                           
some dramatic shadows from the     late        afternoon                             sun.

but then a private party was about to start where i was sitting.  itstartedgettingcrowded.  a person politely asked me to leave. 

i'm glad i did.