You must have seen her portraits of Taylor Swift, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Reid, or Atom Araullo already. We got to know the talent behind those amazing portraits and more in this week's Creative Space. Read on to find out more about Megan Diño.
- Introductions first. Name, age, and what you do.
Ahoy! I'm Megan Diño, 31 years old (but I'm feeling 22; I don't know about you). I'm a copywriter/scriptwriter for a corporate events agency and a freelance illustrator/artist.
- How did you first get into painting?
I drew a lot when I was a kid, but I've never had formal lessons. Watercolor always fascinated me, thanks to Quentin Blake's illustrations for Roald Dahl’s books.
To mimic watercolor, I would use diluted poster paint; I didn't know better. Haha! This was how I did it until college when I did the graphics and illustrations for UP Manila's The Manila Collegian.
Art, however, took a backseat since my job as a copywriter didn't require me to draw. In fact, I didn't draw for years.
After discovering and becoming addicted to this game named Draw Something (an entry got featured on Huffington Post), I realized I missed drawing so much. So I started drawing via the app Paper by 53 on my iPad. Eventually, I shifted back to pen and paper. The love was officially rekindled.
I also thought of pursuing watercolor for real this time. So I joined basic watercolor workshops by Alessandra Lanot and Valerie Chua, started investing in books, and spent whatever free time I had (which was little to begin with) drawing and painting. I rarely went out for a couple of years and my social life suffered, but sacrifices really have to be made if you want to pursue your passion.
- Why are pop culture icons some of your favorite people to illustrate? Who are your favorites to paint?
When I was younger, I would browse through magazines for drawing references, and these included pop culture icons such as models, actors, and musicians. It was out of convenience, I guess.
But really,illustrating these icons, especially those that I'm a huge fan of, is my way of expressing my admiration and sometimes, obsession. In fact, my sketchpads in grade school had drawings of people I was drawn to such as Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice, Keanu Reeves, and model Laetitia Casta. Nothing much has changed. For subjects and references, I still gravitate towards models and musicians. So yeah, if I love you, there's an 85.32% chance that you'll find your face in my works.
I've been drawing a lot of male faces the past couple of years. Some of my recent favorites are Jon Snow of Game of Thrones, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, a certain local journalist/morning show host, and Spanish model Jon Kortajarena. Have you seen him in the film A Single Man? *sighs*
- We love your lips series! Are you drawn to painting particular details of the face? Take us through your creative process.
THANK YOU! It actually started as a Plan B: I was supposed to paint portraits for a trading card event with other watercolorists last year. Due to time constraints, I decided on doing the common denominator of my favorite subjects: full, luscious lips.
From then on, I started doing illustrations of lips and have rendered them as postcards and pouches, which are available locally at Hey Kessy's After Nine Keeper and soon at The Craft Central Curated.
While the eyes are the windows to the soul, I love just how equally expressive lips are. I love that the emotions conveyed by a single pair of lips are open for interpretation. Is the owner of the lips in pain? Or is actually s/he in pleasure/joy? What is she saying? Or is she even saying anything at all? It's all up to the viewer.
And I also get low-key excited about lip products so painting lips felt natural.
- What are your favorite materials to work with and where's your go-to for supplies?
Most of my works, especially commissioned portraits, are done in watercolors although I also enjoy using graphite pencils to draw/sketch. I've also done illustrationsfor clients in ink, some of which were then colored digitally.
I get my favorite Escoda Optimo brushes as well as Shin Han PWC and Sennelier watercolors from Art Whale PH. For other materials, there are old reliables such as Deovir in Megamall and National Book Store.
I also source my favorite Arches watercolor blocks from Art Friend in Singapore.
- When is the best time for you to paint?
I prefer painting during the day because the colors look better in daylight. Our house also has ample lighting (shout out to our architect!), which makes it really conducive to painting.
But of course, life happens, deadlines happen, and I can't always paint during the day. So to compromise, especially when I'm doing portraits, I paint even just the skin during the day. The rest I can do under artificial lighting.
- Any artist you want to collaborate with?
There are so many! I've been The Secret-ing some, and I'm actually shy so I won't name names.
But my dream, of course, would be to collaborate with my favorite subjects and to do work for bands and artists (local and foreign) whose music I love. That's a really long list, by the way. And because I'll also be a Spice Girls fan, if I could work with Victoria Beckham, then I've truly lived. Hahaha!
Since I have a thing for lips, collaborating with a makeup brand would be great, too!
- Who are the people you follow on Instagram for inspiration?
I have A LOT and some actually aren't art-related accounts. I sometimes get ideas from music, beauty, architecture—even food! Inspiration is everywhere and can be anything.
Recently, however, I've been totally inspired by the watercolor portraits of @nickvrunge. Whenever I see his posts, I feel compelled to drop everything and draw. I also love the works of@daviddownton, @martinejohanna, @henriettaharris, @natillustration, and @hula.
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