Designer, Illustrator, Animator

Legend of Korra Returns with Book 2! Plus, Fire Ferrets Wallpaper!

Legend of Korra Returns with Book 2! Plus, Fire Ferrets Wallpaper!

Legend of Korra returns! Book 2, entitled “Spirits” is coming in 4 days! (That’s September 13 in the US!) Who else is excited? :D I’m looking forward to how Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are going to tidy up the weird ending of Book 1 “Air”. The ending felt too rushed and fell short of the standards set by every other episode of Book 1. But based on the previews and info I’ve found of Book 2, Korra’s airbending miracle is going to have consequences. In the end, though, I feel like the ending to Book 1 is a very minor setback, and I trust Bryke to do better. With their track record (the entire series of Avatar: The Last Airbender and majority of Book 1), trusting them is easy for me. (Still at little mad at/about Mako, though.)

Anyway, here’s some art I’ve done at the height of Book 1, featuring Fire Ferrets version 1 (2? Are we counting the incompetent Hasook?) with members Mako, Korra, and Bolin, out of their Sato Industries uniforms and fighting Equalist crime in plainclothes and stuff. I cleaned it up, and made a little downloadable freebie out of it. Click the button below to get the pack!

mako-01-gm-1280 korra-01-gm-1280 bolin-01-gm-1280 fireferrets-01-gm-1280

The wallpapers are available in these sizes:

  • 1920 x 1080
  • 1366 x 768
  • 1280 x 720

If you want any modifications or have any requests, just leave a comment below, or contact me through my email:

Don’t forget to share the love!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Concept Redesign

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Concept Redesign

About a month ago, I saw the trailers of TMNT: Out of the Shadows, and saw that the Turtles still looked the same for the most part, differing only slightly in height and mask color. I thought, back then, why does it have to be that way? I started watching Nickelodeon’s TMNT 2012 series, and the same thing bugged my mind. Is there no other way to depict the turtles? I did not know the answers to these questions.

I instead asked: What would I do with the Turtles, if I were to design them? So I started sketching out concepts to increase their individuality. These four Turtles, although raised together as brothers, each have their own personality that makes each so different from every other Turtle. I looked at their personalities and habits as the anchor for my designs, and tried to reflect that in their body type and posture.

Body Type and Posture


Brawler Raph, Nerdy Don, Hyper Mikey, Ninja Leo

Raphael is the hot-headed fighter of the bunch. He is usually very aggressive and angry about everything the Turtles go through. So I depicted him as the brawler. I thought, he must be really good at fighting, especially with his bare hands. It’s not that all the other Turtles are weak (they’re not, Splinter made sure of that), but Raph has to have more raw power in his body than everyone else, and so I beefed him up a little bit. I made his torso wider and his height shorter to make it easy for him to find his physical center, making him look more stable and firm. I also added a cracked shell (Nickelodeon’s Raph has this one already), depicting his carelessness couple with his love of fighting. Always so sure of himself and his actions, I imagined him as the stubborn and immovable Turtle, so I put him in a proud stance.

Donatello, on the other hand, is the smartest in the group. It’s not that he can’t fight (Splinter made sure of that, too), but he prefers to use his intellect and strategy in a fight, avoiding physical conflict as much as he can (or as much as his other brothers allow him to). As the inventor of the group, he also creates gadgets and machines, like the Shellraiser, that will benefit in their crusade. So I gave him the intellectual body archetype, tall and slender. He looks to have the least power among the Turtles, but his intellect more than makes up for any power he lacks. I also imagine him having the least confidence among the Turtles, so I gave him a slouching, unsure pose.

Michelangelo is the joker of the group. He is regularly treated as the most immature brother. He always incorporates fun and games in his actions. He loves pizza and… break-dancing? So I imagined him as the quickest in the group. His body has to be fast enough to fight and insert pranks in between. I gave him a short body type that can easily handle fast and agile movements. Being the youngest, he is always energized and ready for a fight, so I gave him a pose that reflects his aversion to staying idle.

Leonardo is the leader and arguably Splinter’s favorite son and student. His physical abilities are more well-rounded, compared to the other Turtles. No clear physical focus, compared to his other brothers. So I gave him a well-rounded body type: not too big, or too tall, just somewhere in between. Leo’s strengths lie, instead, in his talent for looking far ahead, and his decisiveness in stressful situations. As the most obedient student of Splinter, I also imagine that he takes his training serious more than any of his brothers. So I put him in, what I imagine, a stance an obedient ninja student would take.



“Babasagin ko mukha mo” Raph, “What if Rob Liefeld designed Kim Possible” Don, “Billy Crawford” Mikey, “One True Ninja or something” Leo

Taking all this into consideration, I decided to push my direction further with attire. I wanted to add another layer of design by adding clothes to the characters so  I decided that I did not want the Turtles “naked” as they usually are (just shells, bandage, padding and the same attire for everyone). I also tried to consider they live in the sewers, and most of any kind of attire they will have will probably be discarded items from surface-dwellers.

Raphael, being the brawler, would not mind keeping it simple. Being the most physically active Turtle, I made it simple for him so nothing gets in the way of his attacks, but not too simple that there is barely any depth to his attire (we’ll get to that later). Knee and elbow pads could help make it easier for him to fight.

For Donatello, I wanted to exaggerate his attire a little. I gave him lots of pockets for him to put his small inventions in, letting him carry all the tech he wants to to the field. I looked to Kim Possible, another cartoon I liked when I was younger, for inspiration.

Michelangelo, as stated before, likes dancing, so I pushed that a little further: what kind of music would he dance to? I decided on some genres like Hip Hop and RNB, looked for inspiration there. A particular artist I focused on was Billy Crawford (Big City Era, around 2004-2005). I’ve seen him on TV as child, and his image just stuck to me. A bandana under a cap on his head? That’s just ridiculous. So ridiculous that I just had to put it on Mikey. I also used the chains of his weapon the same way Hip Hop artists are fond of using their chains: around their necks.

For Leonardo, some simple ninja pants and a ninja mask made of rags was enough. I changed this version in the final art to something that shows the rags clearer.

All that’s left now is to color it up.

Color and Texture


Final Artwork

Color and Texture both add another layer of design to the characters. The Turtles still keep their respective original colors, BUT their colors are not traditionally placed on a single piece of clothing that they all have (e.g. a mask).

I used Raphael’s color as a sort of lingering story device for his character (huh? whut? idk). We see that his mask is not originally red, but is red due to bloodstains. This reinforces his love to fight, implying that he also shows off the fact that he has been through a handful of intense fights, treating the bloodstains as some kind of trophy for the fights he’s won. (Who’s blood could it be, though? The Kraang? The Foot? Shredder himself? His brothers?)

Donatello’s color is applied most prominently on his goggles. The goggles are colored in a way that it looks like it lights up like a pair of Night Vision Goggles that Don created from normal goggles, and uses it to see better in dark places.

Not much to say about Michelangelo, except that his color is featured prominently on his cap, instead of usually on the mask.

I tweaked Leonardo’s attire a little bit. The previous iteration (see Attire above) did not feel complete or adequate, so I added an upper garment, and changed the mask to make it less actual-ninja-looking, and more This-is-some-rag-I-made-into-my-mask. I also added a long tail, like a scarf is attached to the mask, a la Strider Hiryu. It could be longer.


I realized, in the middle of doing this exercise, that animating these characters with this level of detail would be hard to animate in the first place and, more importantly, sell to kids. Incidentally, both of which are, I believe, sensible and likely reasons a studio like Nickelodeon could have for not deviating as far away from the original designs as I have.

Maybe I can do a version somewhere in between: A simpler version for a children’s cartoon, but with the same direction of individuality between the Turtles. Hmmm…

WIP: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Redesign

WIP: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Redesign

Lately, new TMNT stuff have been coming out (2012 series by Nickelodeon, 2013 game by Activision, 2014 movie by Michael Bay) since Viacom obtained the rights to the franchise, and I’ve noticed that the Turtles still all look alike, (except for color-coding, and some slight physical differences). I wonder: Why do they have to look closely alike? Are they still going with the color-coding thing, and only the color-coding thing?

SO. I’m doing an experiment: These are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, free of faces and adornments, each of them varying only in body type and posture. Can you tell which one is which?


Finishing this off by next week.

Pokémon Icon Set 01, Animation

Pokémon Icon Set 01, Animation

Lots of exciting news this week, with events like The Apple WWDC and E3 happening. Looking forward to Nintendo Direct @ E3, which is happening in a few hours. Really excited! I made this icon set in anticipation for whatever news they have for Pokémon X Y, and any other plans for Generation 6.

Pokemon Icon Set 01

I wanted them to look like app icons, if they were to exist as apps in the smartphones of the Pokemon world.

Bonus! I tried making one of the icons move for some animation practice.

Pokémon Get! from Gab Madrid on Vimeo.

I’m thinking of making more sets, too. There are still a lot things that can still be designed and used as icons. Come to think of it, what is the Pokemon equivalent of a smartphone? The C Gear? The Xtransceiver? What about older, obsolete phone-equivalent models, like the Pokégear from Generation 2? HMMM…

Tegan and Sara – I’m Not Your Hero (Comic)

Tegan and Sara – I’m Not Your Hero (Comic)

I went to Singapore a couple of weeks ago to watch Tegan and Sara live in concert. The concert was such an exciting and mind-blowing experience for me, that I downloaded videos of the whole concert for me to listen to over and over again.

With myself still not being over it, I made a short comic based on the Tegan and Sara song “I’m Not Your Hero“.

The song came off as a really sad song to me since the first time I heard it. For me, it was about a person who was so tired of trying to do everything to be someone’s hero, and yet still being unrecognized as one, to the point of feeling helpless, broken and burnt out. Later, I’ve found out that it was basically about Sara’s struggles of being alienated as a member of the gay community and the indie community.

Regardless of what it is originally about, the way I came to interpret it stuck to me, and it became my favorite track from their latest album, Heartthrob. (With “Now I’m All Messed Up” being a close second.)

The comic really has no profound interpretation of the song. It’s just something I thought up quickly. I just wanted it to be as sad as how I felt the song to be.

Click the image for full size:


Also, I would like to point out that this comic may have been inspired by the movie Windstruck.

Daft Punk – Get Lucky Wallpaper

Daft Punk – Get Lucky Wallpaper

I decided to make something over the weekend out of weeks of obsessing over Daft Punk’s new song Get Lucky. It’s free to download, if you want it as a wallpaper. :)

The wallpaper is available in these sizes:

  • 1920 x 1080
  • 1366 x 768
  • 1280 x 720

If you want any modifications or have any requests, just leave a comment below, or contact me through my email:

Don’t forget to share the love!

Family Reunion for Kamusta? Magazine

Family Reunion for Kamusta? Magazine

Last December 2012, I was invited to contribute an illustration for Kamusta? Magazine by their Photography Editor, and my friend from high school, Joseph Angan. They were counting down to Christmas, and every day they would feature a photo or illustration that emphasizes a certain part of the Filipino Christmas. Mine is about (extended) family reunions every Christmas, and how you’re suddenly introduced to all these relatives you’ve never met before. Here’s a digital sketch from my process:


 And here’s the final version: reunion-01-gm-hires Really liked how it turned out. Thick lines, harsh corners, and warm color schemes are my jam.

Thanks to the Kamusta? Team for the opportunity to contribute! Check out Kamusta? Magazine here! 

Kamusta? is an online travel magazine for adventurers who want to see the real Philippines. Here at Kamusta? Magazine, we aim to showcase the best of Filipino life, and to provide useful information for travellers and backpackers hoping to experience life as locals do.

Rob Cham Portrait Trade!

Rob Cham Portrait Trade!

Earlier this year, Rob started this thing where he would trade portraits with other artists. (He was half tempted to call them Portrades. I thought he should. It sounds cool, right?) I contacted him a few weeks ago and decided to go for it! I’ve seen Rob distort his name to Robocham a few times, so I got an idea from that. Here’s a few sketches from my process:


And here’s what I finally came up with:


Th title is a reference to Mega Man Legends (obvs). With this whole Mega Man thing going on with the illustration, I thought I could insert a few small eggs around the illustration:

His life meter is a reference to his famous Helvetiburger shirt:


Photo of Rob pilfered from his Facebook profile. Photo by Patricia Nabong


And I put a little Servbot version of my face near my signature.



And, here’s the portrait of me that he did. Most excellent.


 You can see the rest of Rob Cham’s Portrait Trades this year on his Facebook page here! Or here!

On Fan Art and being a Fan

On Fan Art and being a Fan

This blog entry contains spoilers of the first season of Legend of Korra. (Also, based on Comic Con 2012 previews, maybe some of season two.) If you haven’t seen the end of season one, well why not?

I have a confession to make: I’m a huge fan of animated series. I’ve been a fan of children’s cartoons since I was old enough to watch tv. I’m 23 now, and I still watch cartoons, though my tastes have changed since omelette du fromage. I am particularly fond of The Legend Of Korra, Tron: Legacy, Motorcity, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, among others. Their plots are driven by very loveable, relatable characters (except you Mako, I still hate you a little) and impart lessons that are effectively taught by immersing the audience in beautiful fictional worlds. They also tackle themes like freedom, passion, war, and justice on a mature level, ambiguously putting these ideologies to test with characters that cannot be easily separated into Black or White, Good or Evil. Basically, they’re reeeaally good and I love them.

And with – and out of – this love, I have spent a generous amount of time doing fan art based on these fictional worlds. Now some would say that I’ve wasted my time doing this. They could say that it is uncreative, unoriginal, amatuer-ish, and useless. And I would like to say otherwise.

Pushing Boundaries

Fan art, and other kinds of fan work, can take as much creativity and originality as purely original work. By taking these existing characters and worlds to situations that their creator could and/or would not, the fan artist can take fans like me to directions we never thought possible. Fan art is rich with non-canon material such as pairings, offspring of canon characters, origin stories, all of which having the same amount of emotion that can move an audience. Art with stories that dabble in questions like What happens 10 years from now? 50 years from now? What happened 50 years ago? are my favorite kind of fan art!


Art by Vinson Ngo

PPGD, a crossover web manga that started around 2002, tells the story of the Power Puff Girls and Dexter (from Dexter’s Laboratory), and their action-packed adventures as they grow up. The comic frequently includes various cameos of characters from other cartoons. Read the manga at

Fan Art as a Challenge

Working with preexisting characters and settings can also serve as limitations to the fan artist. The fan artist can’t just take a certain character anywhere he wants to. It has to make sense, considering the personalities and motivations of the character in question.

What if Korra never got her bending back by the end of season one?

“How Book One: Air should have ended.” Art by SlipStreamBorne

This ending made more sense to me considering how much Korra was out of touch with her spirituality. Near the end of season one, Korra desperately needed a lesson in spirituality. So desperate that making a whole season of lessons of it makes sense, too. (But considering where creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino  are planning to take season two - with Korra taking her connection with the Spirit World for granted and using the Avatar State for small, useless things – I am now okay with the ending. *Thumb up* )

Fan Art as Thanks

Fan art is also a way of expressing appreciation to the professionals who have given society these wonderful fantasy worlds to live in. These people have put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating these worlds only to be experienced by you, the fan. Creating fan art is, in a way, telling these creators that we love and appreciate what they’re doing.

There should be no shame in creating fan art, or fan work in general. Fan work is not inherently dull or uncreative. There will always be some exceptions, but remember that not every fan artist is an E.L. James-equivalent. In the end, it’s always up to the artist to take any available material to creative and thought-provoking places.

(Also I’d like to mention that you, with all your power and might, should not copy someone else’s style or ideas and claim them as your own. That is not the point of Fan Art. And don’t call it as being “influenced by [insert famous artist here]“. That’s not the point of influence, too. But I think that’s another discussion for another day.)

So don’t just do fan art…

I think we owe it to these creators that we do something that is our own. It does not just mean doing something that is completely new and never been done before. (I personally don’t think that’s entirely possible and/or necessary.) It could also mean taking a generic/old/boring concept and giving it a different perspective. It’s like paying it forward: Striving to give others wonder and amazement (and awe and sadness and whatever strong emotion there is left) is what I think the ultimate goal for a creator. That’s what keeps the spirit of creation alive. Try asking Santa!

Related: Check out this Inquirer article on fan art by my friend Judee Zabala!

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