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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

entry arrow2:25 PM | Miguel's Small World

I am endlessly fascinated by the small and miniature. When I was growing up, I fantasized there were tiny people living underneath my bed — all of them thumb-sized — and that they navigated our world into theirs via a tiny enchanted door somewhere along my bedroom wall. I was so convinced of this that I’d spend many nights on stakeouts, waiting for one of these magical creatures to open that door and give me a glimpse into their miniature lives in their miniature world. (I have a feeling this was induced by my childhood devotion to the TV show Fraggle Rock.) That this glimpse never materialised never fazed me. It was a kind of wonder that proved sustainable, and sometimes, even in the full reckoning of adulthood, I’d still think about that childhood fantasy and believe that one day I’d be granted entrance to that world, like Alice into Wonderland, like Dorothy into Oz.

This fascination has since blossomed to assorted other things of a similar nature. I am fond of the small. Like the haiku and other gnomic verses. The bonsai. Doll houses with their miniature furniture. Matchbox cars. Lego. And miniature art.

And so, when Miguel del Prado started an Instagram account [ @mig_doodle ] devoted entirely to miniature doodles, I was hooked instantly. That this impulse came from him was both a surprise and not a surprise. The first because I had never known him to be particularly expressive over overtly artistic endeavours, something that can truly be declared as part of the personalities of his siblings: Ramon is into animation, Gabby is into culinary arts, Anna is into theatre and dance, and Carmen is into documentary filmmaking. We know Miguel as exemplary hilot, a completely different sort of craft. But this hidden talent — at least to me — ultimately proves unsurprising — because artistry must truly run in the Del Prado blood, and these doodles are only another revelation of that.

In his doodles, Miguel makes the effort to partner his drawings — usually done in color pencil — with an everyday object of comparable size. A thumb. A coin. The tip of a pencil or pen. Beside these objects, we see the full resonance of the doodles’ miniature nature. The result is a kind of whimsy that brings out a merrier consideration of these works.

What I love about these drawings is the seeming ease of their execution — and that’s part of these doodles’ deceptive appeal. Truth to tell, these are not easy to make: to reduce the essence of the original inspiration — an ice cream cart, a bottle of Coke or beer, a violin, assorted animals, Dexter and his sister, a jeepney — to something the size of a 5-centavo coin is an achievement that requires great skill, a reality that I believe only poets can limn. And the poet Edith Tiempo did try in her wonderful poem, “Bonsai”: “It’s utter sublimation / A feat, this heart’s control / Moment to moment / To scale all love down / To a cupped hand’s size…”

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