When we got back to the Philippines, one of the first children’s books we bought was “Carancal: Bayaning Isang Dangkal,” written by Rene O. Villanueva. Lilou loved it! That’s why we’re very excited to have right now in La Pomme Kids 13 original illustrations by Kora Dandan Albano, all having appeared in the Carancal series of children’s books.
And, because we’re always curious about creative people, here’s a short Kora Q & A:
1. Why do you draw, Kora? Because I know how to. Because I’m pretty good at it. Because the other option is to do sums. In college I took up Accounting first because my father said I was also good in math. When he passed away I shifted to Fine Arts.
2. How many kids do you have? Are they cranky in the mornings? Two. Nimai is 14 and Sara is 12. No, they are not cranky in the mornings if they had enough sleep. And enough is between 9 and 12 hours.
3. Do your kids read the books you illustrate? Yes. They not only read the books but they also watch me do the illustrations. Sometimes they insist on the colors I should use for a character’s outfit. They also model for me. For example, if I need to draw a left hand holding a fork and I can’t do it from imagination, I ask one of the girls to hold a fork in front of me, and tell her “don’t move” until I finish.
4. How do you steal hours to do your work? My secret is a reliable all-around maid who has been with us for over a decade now. Her name is Wena. She only works for us five days a week. ‘Pag weekend umuuwi siya sa asawa or relatives niya. I think that’s one reason she doesn’t leave us. And good pay, I think.
My other secret is flexibility. When one of the kids was diagnosed with a developmental disorder in 2003 I had to bring her to therapy every weekday morning for two years. I learned to work in the waiting area of the therapy center. While all the other moms were making chika to the max or watching DVDs, I was making illustrations on my lap. ( I used a piece of thin plywood as a makeshift drawing table.) Because of the need to be constantly around my child who could not yet speak at 3.5 years old, I discovered that I can also do illustrations on our dining table which is in the middle of our apartment. No need to shut myself inside a room to “be creative”. I learned to work while the TV set on my left was playing never-ending episodes of Dora and Blue.
Now, my daughter is 12. She graduated from elementary in a regular school last March. She is madaldal and more than OK na, but I still do my illustrations on our dining table out of habit.
5. Why vegetarian cooking? My husband Jimbo who is a vegetarian since he was 19 introduced me to vegetarian eating. When eating out naaliw ako sa kinakain namin, like hummus, mothabal, and falapel sandwiches. I tried whipping them up at home, madali lang pala. When we got married I discovered that Jimbo owned many vegetarian cookbooks. Yung mga recipes na tingin ko magugustuahan ko rin kainin niluto ko. Nasarapan ako, so ayun! Pero hindi naman ako naging strict vegetarian. I still eat meat once in a while. So I’m more of a “flexitarian.” Ha ha, flexibility na naman!
Take a look at all Kora’s illustrations here.