MANILA - Drawing has been a stress reliever during the pandemic for Kelly Liwanag, a visual artist based in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
But this July, his doodles have focused on one subject--the people of ABS-CBN.
Liwanag has already drawn more than 50 comic versions of the Kapamilya network's journalists, celebrities, and executives, posting them on his social media.
These pen-and-ink versions share similar features: larger, elliptical heads, but more importantly, grinning eyes and smiling, agape mouths.
Liwanag started off on July 7 by drawing the anchor teams of newscasts "TV Patrol" and "Bandila" and some of its correspondents.
The congressional hearings and the then impending vote on the ABS-CBN franchise spurred him to visually honor its personalities.
He's since drawn versions of company leaders Mark Lopez, Carlo Katigbak, Cory Vidanes, and Ging Reyes, who faced the House committee.
"I really wasn't expecting something big. Yung sa'kin naman, share my works and post it online, use hashtags, pay tribute, and make people smile," Liwanag said.
"And the interesting thing, it looks like maraming napangiti, seeing the interactions and the reactions when I posted the work. So, it's a good thing."
He said he expanded his list of subjects from suggestions he got online and also by getting to know other ABS-CBN journalists who reacted to his posted doodles.
Among his renditions of the network's celebrities are the hosts of It's Showtime and artists Angel Locsin, Coco Martin, and Anne Curtis as their fantasy characters Darna, Panday, and Diyosa.
He also paid tribute to former news personalities Angelo Castro Jr. and Ernie Baron.
Each doodle is drawn on 9" x 12" sketch pad sheets. The process takes about an hour, which includes taking high-resolution photos and making digital corrections on his computer.
Liwanag has been drawing since childhood and has worked in graphic and web design.
He usually creates in either surrealist or comic styles, switching between pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic on canvas, and digital media.
Like many long-time ABS-CBN viewers, he recalled being affected by the broadcast shutdown in May.
"It became a part of my system until now. So imagine your routine for many years and then biglang mawawala, siyempre malungkot."
"My take is that there are no perfect companies. I hope a chance was given so as to reform para hindi nakaapekto sa mas maraming tao, most especially that we are on crisis right now."
Liwanag hoped his doodles would add to the encouragement being sent all over for the the network's workers.
"While the station is streaming online, and they're still continuing service for the Filipino people, naniniwala ako there's still hope," he said.
"Nakikita naman natin maraming sumusuporta sa ABS-CBN family, so do what is right and just press on."
One of his more meaningful doodles is not of any particular Kapamilya personality.
It's of him embracing a person with ABS-CBN's 3-ringed logo for a head.
A giant hug for a company--and a family--facing crisis.