MANILA, PHILIPPINES — As Filipinos are urged to stay at home amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and with Luzon under “Enhanced Community Quarantine” as of March 16, 2020, people are getting creative in staying productive without leaving the comforts and safety of their homes. One of the notable people who is injecting some creativity into home-based activities to boost people’s productivity is renowned local artist, designer, and illustrator Robert Alejandro.
Launched on Sunday, March 15, 2020, Alejandro announced that he’ll be doing free online drawing classes open for everyone — from little kids to established professionals — on Facebook Live at 10AM. The response from the whole art community, and even those who are just dipping their toes into the unfamiliar waters, have been immense since his first class. Those who participated in his class would often send photos of their child’s or their own creations, and at the end of each class, Kuya Robert would post an album compiling all of them.
The one-hour streaming classes focus on his pen and paper as he draws in real-time some adorable safety reminders, and comic-like animals sharing some friendly moments together. He also shows how random shapes, letters, and words can be the foundation of a beautiful picture, highlighting the unique vision he has when it comes to art and illustrations.
Aside from these drawing lessons, he also held arts & craft workshops online on his March 16 class where he demonstrated how different owl designs can come out from a used-up toilet paper roll.
This is not the first time that Robert Alejandro, now commonly known as “Kuya Robert”, has ventured into hosting art classes in front of a screen. Back in 2002, a TV program created to teach children how to draw and promote the arts to a younger crowd, aired on national television with Kuya Robert as the host. Entitled “Art Is-Kool”, a play on words between art is cool and art school, the program went on until 2004. By then, it has already been a widely appreciated show for kids that has also received multiple awards such as the PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Children Show Host, and PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Children Show.
The online series primarily intended to provide entertainment and comfort for those stuck at home has now grown into a regular program the art community looks forward to every morning. Kuya Robert’s latest update is that the class will return tomorrow, March 18, 2020 at 10AM once again.