Step Into Illustrator Kerby Rosanes' Mesmerizing 'Imagimorphia'

Illustrator Kerby Rosanes will be at AsiaStore for a special live demonstration of his elaborate doodling style.  (Photo courtesy of Kerby Rosanes)

Though doodling may often be associated with sketches on restaurant napkins or chicken-scratch in the margins of a notebook, one Filipino artist has taken the practice to a new level: At just 25-years-old, illustrator Kerby Rosanes has amassed a large and loyal social media fan base and published five books of illustrations, all based on his talent for doodling.

Many of the deeply detailed illustrations in his popular book, Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge, draws inspiration from nature — an ode to his upbringing in the Philippines — and are incorporated with mechanical designs to achieve a "steam-punk" feel.  

Asia Society spoke to Rosanes ahead of his appearance at the AsiaStore. Some answers have been edited for clarity.

When did you first discover your artistic talent, and when did you realize it was something you could do for a living?

I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, and growing up I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I worked as a marketing specialist for two years, and during my break time at the office I doodled in my sketchbooks. I started sharing them in 2012. My work became viral and private commissions started coming in. In 2014, I quit on my day job and pursued my art career.


A video posted by Kerby Rosanes (@kerbyrosanes) on


Your drawings often mix natural elements with mechanical designs like gears and other geometric shapes. What drew you to this aesthetic?

In my hometown, our home was in the middle of a rice field, a nearby river, mountains, and a gorgeous volcano. I spent my childhood in a place very close to nature — that has inspired my work since. I use the geometric and mechanical aesthetic to depict a unique approach in showing contrast or conflict in most of my pieces.


A photo posted by Kerby Rosanes (@kerbyrosanes) on


Your work is mostly black and white and for the most part uses black ink on paper. Why did you choose this medium?

I have tried almost all types of media before, but it was the normal pen and ink which I liked the most. My work is mostly in black and white simply because I’m not good at coloring at all! 


A photo posted by Kerby Rosanes (@kerbyrosanes) on


You have a very popular blog, books of illustrations, and have designed the album art for a hip-hop artist. Where would you like to see your work next?

I want to try drawing on large scale — probably on walls of buildings or huge canvases.


A photo posted by Kerby Rosanes (@kerbyrosanes) on


What kind of art do you enjoy? Who are some other illustrators that you admire?

I enjoy animation — Hayao Miyazaki is a huge influence.


A photo posted by Kerby Rosanes (@kerbyrosanes) on