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Listening to Music

11 Mar
Listening to music

Listening to music

Jessica Cardenas
22 years old
executive assistant
General Trias, Cavite, Philippines

About my drawing
What I was doing: Maaga akong dumating sa aming opisina ngayong araw. (I arrived an hour early for work)
Whom I was with: Habang mag-isa, naisipan kong magdrawing muna. (While alone, I drew something)
So now I’m sharing you my favorite foreign singers who truly make me happy.

This is Jessica’s third sketch! View previous ones here.

Draw-a-thon at the Children’s Museum in Manila

9 Dec

Last December 1st, I held my first draw-a-thon. (You know what a marathon is, right? It’s just like that, except that you’re drawing.) It was at the Museo Pambata (Children’s Museum) of Manila, Philippines, for their Children’s Advocacy Program. I brought in DrawHappy as well as my other drawing project, Rorsketch (a visual perception project where you draw your interpretations of clouds). After showing them some current sketches and making them warm up their hands, we got to drawing.

Kids, I have to say, are not only talented and completely open to new experiences, but also insatiable when it comes to pouring their imaginations on paper. The terror of a blank canvas doesn’t apply much. Here are some of the sketches:

Head on to this post for how they did on the clouds.

Here are some photos of the event:

Then we had chocolate ice cream, fudgee bars, and grape juice. Oh, to be eight years old again!

Thanks so much, Museo Pambata, for hosting, and to the awesome kids for all these drawings!

If you would like to hold a draw-a-thon in your school or organization, please email drawhappyproject[at]gmail[dot]com.

Remembering my daughter

3 Sep

Kristina L. Araño
28 years old
Human Resource / Recruitment Specialist in an Engineering firm
Laguna, Philippines

About my drawing

What I was doing: I just finished doing interviews and was screening resumes when I remembered how cute my 6-year-old daughter was, when I saw her last night happily reviewing her lessons.
Where I was: I’m sitting on my cubicle at Human Resource Department a few minutes before coffee time
Alone or with company: I am just alone in my area, while most of my officemates attend to their business meetings / work activities



This drawing first appeared on page G4 of the Learning section of the  Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Ice Cream

4 Aug

Jessica L. Cardenas
21 years old
executive assistant
General Trias, Cavite, Philippines

About my drawing
What I was doing: Just had a meeting. Had a minor boo-boo at work just now
Where I was: My desk at our office
Whom I was with: I’m alone in my thoughts but technically my office mates are  at their respective areas

First published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer Learning Section, page H4, 30 July 2012. 
Addendum! Happy birthday, Jessica, who turns 22 today (August 27th)! She sent us another sketch:

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

Wandering, watching, and window shopping

22 Jul

“I am happy when I…. (1) See new places, experience new cultures (2) Stay connected with family and friends (3) Window shop and shop during sale season (4) Watch(or cry because of) my favorite teleserye (5) Am anywhere there’s sun and sea (6) Make people well or feel protected when they are sick.”

Beverly Lorraine C. Ho
27 years old
physician / health systems student
Manila, Philippines

About my drawing
What I was doing: Finishing the guidelines for an upcoming program for hospitals in the country
Where I was: Beside my reliable laptop, at home
Whom I was with: Alone


Gratitude and drawing

14 Jun

They say being consciously grateful makes you happier.

Finishing graduate school and (temporarily) away from New York City, I’ve been unconsciously giving drawings of people as farewell and thank-you gifts. I thought it would make them happy, but on my end, drawing embeds them further into my memory.

Here’s one of my taekwondo class:

Another of two lovely guests at my birthday party:

And one I’ve never met, but who has supported some of my projects:

Thanks, all!


Swimming, Summer, Starfish

16 Mar

“Swimming makes me happy.”

Anton Papa
5 ½ years old
Senior Kindergarten
Antipolo City, Philippines

From Anton’s mom

Anton’s favorite question to ask of people: “Are you happy?”

I learned of your project from Brainpickings and thought that it would be interesting to ask my son (who loves to draw) what makes him happy.
He said, “Swimming makes me happy.”
And he drew himself on our vacation last summer, floating on the water with the fish and starfish we found incredibly so near the beach.

Inventing things in my mind

20 Feb


“Filling out timecards at my old job brought me great frustration. But one day I invented something to solve the problem. I drew it on my arm, and my frustration then gave way to amusement.”

Nikki Sylianteng
30 years old
interaction design student
Manila → Los Angeles → New York
About my drawing
What I was doing: Procrastinating and trying to alleviate my stress
Where I was: My desk at work in Marina del Rey, CA
Whom I was with: My co-workers were at their desks a few feet from me


23 Sep

“Clouds make me happy!”

Catherine Young
28 years old
writer, artist, interaction designer, grad student
Manila / New York / Barcelona

About my drawing
What I was doing: Drawing other things
Where I was: In my apartment
Whom I was with: Alone

Drawing happy at the New York Poetry Festival

3 Aug

This past weekend, I was at the first annual New York Poetry Festival in Governors Island, which showcased the different formats, aesthetics, and personalities of New York City’s reading series and collectives. As a volunteer, I helped paint acrylic ravens on parasols designed by Kate Russell.

During slow sales, I asked some people to draw what makes them happy. The first one, Ned, called me out and asked why I haven’t drawn my own happiness when I’ve asked so many others. Ha. Good point. I said I’ll draw my happiness if he would draw his. And so, on the spot, this is what I drew:

Happiness according to me
“Being in airy high places, love and being loved back, friends, being lost in a good book, letters, parasols, coffee, clouds and more clouds, kickpads, breaking boards with my feet, tomatoes, making things with clay, sailboats, genuinely nice people, nice hats, mermaids, unicorns, dinosaurs, cake, fresh flowers, butterflies.”

Catherine Young

28 years old
writer, visual artist, interaction designer
SVA grad student
Manila, Philippines
New York, NY, USA
Barcelona, Spain

About my drawing
I was painting parasols and helping to sell T-shirts at a poetry festival. I was with the rest of the merchandising team and volunteers. And man, was it hot.

And here’s Ned with a big satisfied smile, holding up my drawing:

You’ll see his drawing next.

Other people were also nice enough to draw. Here’s my friend Kate:

That was a fun weekend; I asked people to write poetry on origami cranes, too.

Thanks to Isaiah, who wrote this incredible poem:

The wild birds
Brighten the
setting sky,
Their wings
eat the
shadowed wind
and soar
to the
next sun.

More posts to come! And for New Yorkers who missed the festival, make sure to check it out next year. It’s such a wonderful thing to happen for the New York poetry scene. Visit the website of the New York Poetry Society. The New York Poetry Festival was co-founded by the indefatigable Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski.


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