Instagram: @livingsketches_

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

Hello! Kamusta? My name is Ana. I work as an architect by day and do illustrations and dabble a little bit with simple animations during my free time. I currently reside in Metro Manila, Philippines but I grew up in a fishing and farming province up north, spending most of my afternoons drawing, making cards, and working on colouring books.

I moved to the city to study Architecture and eventually stayed for work. I have been an architect for eight years now, mainly focusing on the technical aspect of the field. When the pandemic hit last year and quickly altered our way of living, I got into digital illustration as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. I found solace in mindful sketching and, in a way, also rekindled my childhood love for drawing.

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I love emulating the textures and strokes of soft pastels and using colours that evoke warmth and joy. I do think that I’m still in the process of discovery and that my aesthetic will continue to evolve.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I appreciate the versatility of the digital medium. I use Procreate for all of my works and sometimes switch to Photoshop if I want some precision. This medium is perfect for experimentation and discovery and I am constantly impressed by what many artists can achieve through digital means.

I also love watercolour. I actually started my art journey by practising with watercolour florals and lettering five years ago. I love its unpredictability and it’s always mesmerizing to see the works of amazing watercolour artists like Heikala and Yiniya.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I start with composition. In architecture, there is a planning technique called “bubble diagrams” where we plan spaces by loosely drawing circles that show their size and relationship with each other, and I think that this method affected the way I approach illustration. I map out my composition first with rough sketches and add more and more details and layers as I go.

I love creating textures so I do take my time colouring in my sketches, which is a very therapeutic process for me.

I also take a lot of pictures when I travel and that provides me with references later on. Looking back at old photos and drawing inspiration from them not only helps me with composition but also allows me to revisit many fond memories that I hope to encapsulate in my illustrations.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

My works are inspired by everyday, mundane things, my travels, and personal experiences. I draw whatever brings me joy, no matter how small or commonplace they may be. I aim to capture those tiny moments in life as much as I possibly can and make a visual diary out of them.

I am also deeply inspired by artists who are generous and open about their own creative processes, journeys, and struggles like Lauren Hom, Ella Lama, Phoebe Wahl, Octavia Bromell, to name a few.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art keeps me mentally and emotionally afloat. It was only a year ago when I fully got into digital illustration and it has already brought me so much comfort during the height of the pandemic. Spending time alone and sketching at home allowed me to truly focus on things that I already have and am capable of and recognize that they are more than enough.

7. Where did you study?

I studied Architecture at the University of the Philippines Diliman. I actually do not have formal training in traditional art but I am planning to take some lessons in the future!

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to become a full-time illustrator and open up my own shop! Making art fills me with joy and contentment that I am willing to give it my best shot and hopefully be able to sustainably pursue that path. I also believe that it’s never too late to pursue something different than what you’re used to for so many years.

9. What about in ten?

I actually haven’t thought that far ahead, but that’s okay! People change and their goals can as well. I guess I can only hope that when I’m forty, I still have the enthusiasm and courage to try out new things.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I hope to make art that brings a little bit of joy and comfort to others and reminds them of life’s simple pleasures.

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I love Vietnamese Goi Cuon and Japanese food! And I know it’s not technically food, but I have to have my coffee every day. 

12. Favourite book?

I am so engrossed with movies and anime that I haven’t picked up a book in a very long while but I remember reading The Alchemist years ago and still carry the lessons to this day. 

13. Favourite genre of music? 

Indie Pop/Rock. I always leave upbeat music playing in the background while working; I simply cannot function in complete silence!

14. What are your hobbies? 

I love playing the guitar, cooking, and recently, I have been watching a lot of anime!

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I would definitely be a baker, open a small panaderia preferably somewhere cold, and serve some good coffee! Who knows, that may just be my next goal when I’m fifty!