Time for an update, yes?

The past 2 months have been busy, hence the lack of updates. I’ve been meaning to sit down and share all the exciting things and news that have happened since the last post, but I’ve chosen to spend my non-day job time on drawing exercises and churning out new stuff.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that soon. Note to self: MAKE TIME.


Anyway, I’m sharing with you the output of today’s exercise feauturing this Filipino journalist who was on the cover of Esquire Philippines. He happens to be a favorite subject as well although I haven’t done any drawings of him recently.

Table situation. Bless this mess.
Table situation. Bless this mess.

I also haven’t done a proper portrait in a while so I got a little carried away and painted almost the entire day. Haha! I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome as I’m trying to veer away from how I typically do portraits, especially on the colors I use. I’m supposed to share a gif of the process, but my computer’s out of whack.

For the curious: Shin Han PWC & Escoda Optimo brushes (viaArtWhale.PH), Daniel Smith watercolor Dot Cards, and Arches Cold Pressed 300gsm 7x10in watercolor block.

This painting is actually for a little collaboration (#MariusxMegan) I’m doing with Marius Oczon (@mariusoczon) on Instagram: he cleverly positions my artworks in the photos he takes with the new Huawei P9. Can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with this one. I’ll be sharing the photos soon, but you may check out the project on Instagram using the hashtag above.

Until the next dispatch! 🙂


REVIEW: Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Sketchbook

I’ve been on the lookout for a new watercolor sketchbook as I’m nearing the final pages of my three-year-old Moleskine. The Monologue sketchbooks have been getting quite a buzz from local watercolor hobbyists primarily because of its price point: a notebook is half or even a third of a price of a Moleskine.

So I got myself two – a small one to lug around and a bigger one for portraits, like so:

Drawing on Monologue Sketchbook (Feb 2016)

I was a little satisfied with it, but I’ve noticed inconsistency in terms of quality. Some areas have trouble absorbing the paint; it’s like there’s some waxy layer. And to be honest, I wasn’t really happy with its texture that reminded me of snake skin or burned chicken skin.  Eventually, I shelved these sketchbooks and went back to the Moleskine.

A friend visited Japan last year, and he offered to get me art materials (THANK YOU!). I remember including the Strathmore and/or Watsons journal in my list, but unfortunately, these weren’t available when he dropped by Tokyu Hands. I forgot about these brands eventually. The search, however, continued.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend recommended getting the Strathmore sketchbook, which was available at local art supplies store, Deovir. I dropped by last Friday and got the Strathmore Art Journal 400 Series 300gsm/140lb Cold Press for Php1,290 (or USD 27.73).


The next day, I was able to squeeze in a test in between chores and errands. So I said “See you later,” to my pots and pans and waved “Hello!” to my paints and paper.

Here’s the drawing with the first washes:

Photo 18-06-2016, 6 39 26 PMPlease take note that I use a lot of water for the first washes, and I like to layer in color.

I had to wrap up the exercise as this slave was summoned to the kitchen once more haha. At least I was able to finish the face.


The morning after, I had time to finish the rest and add more shadows. I’m not a fan of using black; I prefer mixing colors to create grays or use Neutral Tint or Payne’s Gray.

For this particular drawing I used Neutral Tint, Indigo, French Ultramarine, Mineral Violet, Burnt Umber, and even Sap Green to create the background and shadows.

Layer, layer, pants on fire

And finally, before being summoned to the kitchen to help my brother cook lunch, I was able to finish the drawing and take an obligatory flatlay. Haha!


I use a lot of layers when I do portraits, and I’m happy to report that this sketchbook handled them well. Probably because it’s 300gsm (although there’s no assurance that if it’s 300gsm, it will perform well).

I also did some lifting and scrubbing, and the paper’s fibers didn’t come off.

Photo 20-06-2016, 8 08 02 AM

I also love that it’s Smyth-sewn bound, which allows the book to be laid flat. If I’m drawing on small paper (like a postcard), I lay it flat on the table. Otherwise, I use a bookstand or an easel to draw because I hate straining my neck and back. I use a binder clip to hold the other page.

Bless this mess

So yes, I’m pretty happy with this purchase! Woohoo! And yes, I definitely would recommend this sketchbook as well, most especially if you work with multiple layers and do a lot of lifting and scrubbing. I hope a smaller one will be on stock soon!

Here’s another close-up of the star of the movie Closer to end this little review. Cheers!

Photo 20-06-2016, 8 08 41 AM

Pantone Wallpaper Project: March

The month will soon be over in a few days so here’s my entry for this little project. Just in the nick of time. Haha.

Open for (Mis)Interpretation
Open for (Mis)Interpretation

Unlike the past 2 entries which were inspired by favorite songs, this one’s more of an experiment on technique. After all, the goal of this project is to veer away from the usual stuff I churn out.

Photo 26-03-2016, 1 01 17 PM
Materials: Shin Han PWC on 300gsm hot pressed Arches watercolor paper

And so I’ve decided to call this piece Open for (Mis)Interpretation. Let me know what you see on the comments section after you download the wallpaper, of course. 🙂

Download links: 1024×7681440×9001280×800iPhone6 iPhone6 Plus

Oh, and I’ve made the entries for this project available on my Society6 account, so if you fancy a tote shirt, print, phone case, etc., just visit my page.

Available at Society6!

Check out my January and February entries as well. Cheers!

February 2016 Dispatches

February has been a very busy month: some opportunities had to be let go of, weekends became weekdays, sleep became optional, and side projects had to take a back seat.

In the thick of things, I still managed to sneak in a few drawing sessions here and there. I had to; otherwise I’d go full-on bat-shit, I eat-humans-for-breakfast crazy. Haha.

So here’s a round-up of stuff I was able to post on my Instagram account (follow me if you’re there) under my hashtag #drawingdispatches.

This also serves as a review and a reminder for me to heed my own advice of setting aside time to flex your drawing muscles daily.

So here we go. February in drawings:

…unless you got buns, hun. But a pretzel works just as fine, nbd.

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 2, 2016 at 12:43am PST


Sometimes lullabies come in the form of a quick sketching session in bed. Good night, folks. 🌙

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 4, 2016 at 8:51am PST



Nineties. Night. ✨

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 6, 2016 at 8:59am PST




Watercolor warm-up. I haven’t drawn in a week, and I feel soooo rusty. 😣

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:45pm PST


Today’s get-out-of-your-rut watercolor exercise. Hahaha! Leo was a favorite subject in my pubertal years: I was maybe 11 when Romeo + Juliet was released. Loved the movie, loved the soundtrack. Loved it so much, it induced a Shakespeare phase (Macbeth’s a favorite). And then Titanic was released. And we all adored Leo’s Jack (I was in an all-girls Catholic school then so you can imagine the obsession). And this exercise was a reminder why I loved drawing Leo: look those eyes. Sigh. I hope I was able to capture the intense blue. I actually listened to 90’s rock and hip-hop to kick up the nostalgia a notch. Hahaha! Anyway, I haven’t seen The Ravenant as my family warned me that while it was beautiful, they left the cinema with a heavy heart. I already am too stressed at the moment so I’ll wait until things calm down before I see it. Hahaha! 💙💙💙

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 14, 2016 at 7:48am PST


Mood 🌑

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:12am PST


That’s a wrap. Good night. 🌙

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:09am PST



*insert canine cutie-induced gibberish*

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 25, 2016 at 2:45am PST


I have seen the new Game of Thrones poster, obviously. 🐲

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 25, 2016 at 3:49am PST


Exercising at midnight because man, I feel rusty. 😞 Used a b&w photo for reference.

A photo posted by Megan Diño (@megandino) on Feb 25, 2016 at 9:04am PST




Pantone Wallpaper Project: February

Let’s begin with the song behind this month’s entry.

Click play please.

I love Bloc Party so much, I watched them twice in a span of one week in 2013 – in Singapore and then here in Manila. I haven’t listened to their new album though. But anyway.

If you look at the context of the entire song, it’s about a love for a past filled with moments that we hope we experience again in the present. We yearn for, we search for, and we hold on to these moments because they give reason to the otherwise mundane lives we lead.

The original watercolor illustration

 Sometimes these moments involve those shared with your dearly beloved, albeit unreciprocated and therefore, in secret. Often these happen quickly, but your feelings taught you to be mindful both in his presence and in his absence. You take note of everything. And anything.

Grant me Serenity of the Pantone kind

Maybe it’s his hand brushing yours. The emojis he punctuates his messages with. The way he smiles while telling you about his recent adventures. Your split-second glances that make all else fade into a blur.

La Vie en Rose Quartz

You bury your head, your heart, your soul in these moments. For they are all you ever have and all you can ever ask. Yes, they bring you pain, but they too bring you life.

“Just give me moments. Not hours or days.”

Easily one of my favorite lyrics. EVER. And tears inevitably were shed when I heard this live twice.

Drawingdispatches_Feb2016_FOR POSTING
February Wallpaper!

Anyway, someone asked me last month what’s my mix for Serenity and Rose Quartz.

As with the January entry, I still used Shin Han PWC watercolors although this time I opted to use a cold-pressed Arches watercolor block (I typically opt for hot pressed). For Rose Quartz, I used Shell Pink, adding in a bit of Alizarin Crimson for the darker areas. For Serenity, I used Lavender with a little Indigo mixed in it. I also used Neutral Tint for the hair and the darkest features of both faces. (Shin Han PWC is available locally at Art Whale.)

The mix

I then scanned the original watercolor painting and did a little bit of rendering on Photoshop. Click on the links below to download. Enjoy!

1024×7681280×8001440 x990iPhone 6/6siPhone 6/6s Plus

UPDATE: This artwork, as well as the other Pantone Wallpaper project entries, are now available on my Society6 page. Do visit!


In Between

I need closure in between writing event scripts, and usually I have to watch something, read, or draw. Haven’t drawn in daaaays so that’s what I did over yesterday’s morning caffeination procedure. Haha.


I used a limited palette of Shin Han PWC’s Shell Pink, Lavender, and Indigo and an Escoda Optimo No. 8 (all via Art Whale PH). Paper is a Daler Rowney Cold Pressed pad.

It’s almost the weekend, and I hope I get stuff done so I can draw (and maybe start on my drawing for next month’s entry for my Pantone Wallpaper Project). Cheers!

Pantone Wallpaper Project: January

I’m starting a new project this year – one of the many ideas that are in my phone’s Notes app. I’ve been wanting to do this last year, but I thought of starting it this month because, well, New Year. Haha.

Every month I’ll be dispatching wallpapers of watercolor drawings using this year’s colors per Pantone – Serenity and Rose Quartz. These won’t be my usual portraits of pop culture icons, but perhaps something that’s more conceptual. Probably inspired by a song or a movie or a memory.

Drawingdispatches_Jan2016_FOR POSTING

This month’s wallpaper was inspired by a favorite Jens Lekman song which I remembered at the time I was about to draw it. It’s sad I had to miss his Manila gig as I was somewhere in Laguna for a shoot on that day. Here’s the song:

The song’s pretty straightforward as it has only one line: If I could cry, it would feel like this. I love the contrast of the sad lyric and the happy melody. Also, it reminds me of days when you’d like to let it all out, but you can’t because you should act like you don’t give a fuck or the situation requires a higher level of maturity. And so you swallow your pride and mask your frustration with a hahaha-I’m-so-happy vibe.

Adulthood. Ha!

Anyway, here we go. Just click on the links below to download. If you have suggestions on the size, comment below, and I’ll try to update it. Spread the word and enjoy!

1024×7681280 x 8001440×900iPhone6/6siPhone6/6s Plus

UPDATE: This artwork, as well as my other Pantone Wallpaper Project entries, are now up and are on sale on my Society6 page. Do visit!


Late Last Dispatch for 2015

I’ve welcomed 2016 with a bang, and by bang I mean an explosion of deadlines from my day job (I deal with words and ideas to make people buy stuff lol). As such, I wasn’t able to really formally close the year in this space.

I don’t really believe in starting the new year with a clean slate. I welcome it by keeping with me the moments and experiences that have made the past year colorful. And so I would like to express a heartfelt THANK YOU to my family, colleagues, friends both old and new, and to everyone who pushed me, guided me, and supported me with last year’s dreams, endeavors, and adventures. You know who you are. Thank you for making the past year colorful.

And so here’s my wish: that we all paint 2016 with 2015’s most inspiring and most beautiful hues, and may we discover new ones to make this year even brighter. After all, we create our days, and we create our years. Our lives are our opus.

Here’s to a vibrant 2016!



Red My Lips

Red has never been a favorite color. In fact, I don’t own anything in that color (except a shirt for work), but the only time I can take it is if I wear it in small doses, as in the lips.

And since it’s the season’s default color, I thought I’d do quick watercolor drawings of my favorite lip colors/combos and rename them with those that are season-appropriate.

Photo 25-12-2015, 3 40 49 PM

Here we go (from bottom left)

Christmas Carmageddon. A color that reminds one of the terrible traffic caused by the mad rush to go to the next Christmas party venue or to the mall to shop for gifts or to pig out. Very dangerous. This is one of the reasons one should reconsider spending the holidays here in Metro Manila. Really.

Stop Right Now Thank You Very Much. Whether it’s the pseudo-diet or the continuous influx of deadlines, this is my plea. I need a break. Hear me. Also a lyric from a favorite Spice Girl song.

Smile Like You Mean It. Also a favorite from The Killers. A color reminiscent of dried blood which warns those who ask you awkward questions during gatherings that you devour people for breakfast, but in the spirit of Christmas, you’ll give them a pass.

Awkward questions and remarks include: “How’s *insert name of former flame*?” “When are you getting married?” “Don’t you want to have children now?”

Merry, Merry Merlot. Because the only Christmas spirit I have is the kind that comes in bottles and shared among family and friends.

There you have it. ‘Tis the season to swipe on that color although frankly, I use these colors all year round.

This is no beauty blog, but in case you’re wondering what  MAC products are those: lip liners are Mahogany and Burgundy while lipsticks are Viva Glam 1, Dangerous, and Studded Kiss. Watercolors used are a mix of Shin Han PWC and Shin Han Professional Watercolor on VifArt postcards.

Now let me resume slaving in the kitchen, feeding my food belly, playing with old LEGO blocks while drinking wine, and taking selfies with my dogs.

Season’s Eatings, folks!