Wednesday, August 23, 2017


During the Summer of 2017, approximately a month after my spinal fusion surgery concluded, my parents decided to celebrate the new masterpiece form of my back by traveling to the island of Maui in the Hawaiian islands. Previously, my parents had taken me there when I was only 6-months-old, and we decided to revisit the island to give me a fresh opportunity to see the landscape and recall it better. In addition, we planned on bringing along my older cousin, Jorge from Mexico City to join us on our Summer trip. In his next semester, he will be attending Warwick University in Coventry, England near Stratford. We thought it would be fun for him to join us to pass the time in Maui before he moves on with his classes. Just like me, Jorge had a surgery on his appendix due to a dead tissue a couple years ago when he was 16-years-old, around my age (15) when I had my spinal fusion surgery. My parents thought the surgery made my back look "stronger than titanium but flexible" like the magic invincible tree in our imaginary roofless greenhouse garden with the power to regenerate injured forests. And I believe Jorge is just the same. 
Maui was a sight to see! We first docked in Honolulu, Oahu, where me and my cousin each bought leis made from real flowers. We had a drink, and from there we proceeded to the island of Maui on a plane. There, we rented a condo in Lahaina with a balcony view facing the ocean and the islands of Molokai and Lanai on the horizon. In the mornings and evenings, we would have our daily meals on our balcony as we watched to sun set and rise each day. We also saw rainbows every now and then casting celestial light on the water. The condo also included a swimming pool. 
We also had some remarkable unforgettable visits and sights. The stuff we did during our stay included snorkeling in the ocean where I saw sea turtles up close for the first time. We ate fresh fruit, such as the tropical dragon fruit, and other local foods and drinks. We tried out various restaurants, watched luau dances where I was aloud to join the dance along with other kids, and we listened to concerts. They even sold albums for free, so we brought one as a little souvenir. Along the way, we stopped by many beaches where I would play in the waves, as long as I went easy on my back after its surgical operation. Jorge also taught me how to skip stones, although I'm still improving on that skill.
We even drove along the country side, checking out the diverse landscapes of the island. We saw the church and cemetery where war hero aviator, Charles Lindberg (a.k.a. "Lucky Lindy") is buried. We passed by several vistas to and from Hana, such as a dried lava formation on the rocky shores called the Dark Side of the Moon. We hiked rural mountains with waterfalls and vegetation grew in abundance, just like in my magic roofless greenhouse. We also saw buddhist monasteries and all kinds of sights, including Iao Valley, an area with Asian architecture and tropical plantation where it usually rains. And above all, we visited my favorite part of the whole trip, Haleakala National Park. Haleakala is a volcanic crater for hikes. The area looks like a Martian terrain. The views there are phenomenal, and what's cool is the canyon goes 10,000 ft above sea level. That's even higher than the clouds, so when you're touching the rooftop of the clouds, you feel as if you're on top of the world! Of course I had to go easy on my hikes due to my surgery. Yet, I hardly felt any pain at all! Instead I was free! 
Returning home, we brought a couple souvenirs to go with our free album, such as two tikis, a wooden bead necklace and bracelet for me (the bracelet beads were fashioned to look like skulls), and a couple head bands for me and Jorge, which made us look like pirates. They also sold really cool T-shirts in Maui, like the one with Darth Vader clutching a surfboard and the quote; May the Surf be with You. It was a gorgeous paradise! After our trip, mom published a book titled Maui Tiki Tiki. She named it after a Hawaiian god. The book is full of photos of our trip. I look forwards to sharing it with my others. In the years that follow, I'll be seeing new countries and I'll have boatloads stories to tell! And it's all thanks to my surgery which made me turn into what I was destined to become, a powerful tree stronger than titanium but flexible!


- Hiking in Haleakala National Park

-The Road to Hana

As we passed Hana, we stopped at Hamoa Beach where I tried to float a piece of driftwood I found out to sea, but the tide kept bringing it back in.

My mom, cousin and I pose together for a picture at Hamoa Beach.

A bit farther on, we came across a cliff facing the ocean.

Mom, cousin Jorge and I together stand on that very cliff as we face the ocean breeze.

Jorge and I explore the jungles located near the cliff.

Our next stop from there was Lucky Lindy's Grave.

A front view of the church in Lindy's Grave.

On the freeway, we passed somebody's shack.

The Dark Side of the Moon.

-Rural Landscapes

My family and I visiting the Upcountry.

One day, we went for a little drive to visit the mountains of Waihee Valley Trail. From there, we took a hike.

I climbed to the summit of Waihee Trails. Dad suggested I'd better not go any further and turn back, because he was concerned about me inadvertently damaging the surgical residue on my spine. The man who scheduled my surgery earlier before, Dr. Newton, would kill me if he found out about this.

Together, the three of us pose in front of a landmark in Iao Valley. This picture was photographed by my dad.

-In the Deep Blue Ocean

Cousin and I walk along the shores at Big Beach.

Here in Baby Beach, we watched the sun set.

At Kaanapali Beach, I walked along the sand and carelessly took a dive into the waves. 
I was later accompanied by my cousin, Jorge. The two of us drifted on the surface for
several minutes, until mom and dad came by.

-Exploring the Culture

During another day at Kaanapali Beach, we watched a luau dance. The best part was being
aloud on stage with other kids. We followed the moves demonstrated by the hula dancers.
Mom and Dad thought my dance moves among all the other kids was the best! 

After we left the luau that evening, we checked out a gallery displayed there. The pictures
showed generations of hula dancers. Here is a sample we photographed.

Here we are visiting a buddhist monastery at Baby Beach. My dad took a picture of myself,
mom and cousin Jorge posing together with a buddha statue in the background. It's some
funny coincidence that the beach where this monastery is located at is called Baby Beach,
because at 6-months-old during my previous trip to Maui, dad helped me pose in front of this
very statue.

Here we stand by a temple at the same buddhist monastery.

Here in one of the local towns, we sat to listen to a concert play. They also offered us an album
for free.

Cousin Jorge and I sit together in rocking chairs next to the Whaler's Village in Kaanapali Beach.

-Views from our Condo Balcony

The morning air felt fresh outdoors.

Every evening we'd watch the sunset from our condo balcony. 
It was beautiful!
The afternoon gave the skies and ocean a charming blue.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Sunday, March 5, 2017

A scene from Matt de la Peña's book Mexican Whiteboy

At Ideate High I am reading Matt de la Peña's book Mexican Whiteboy with two other classmates. I did this drawing last night of an intense scene where Danny and his sister Julia meet their mother Wendy's boyfriend for the first time. He tells them she is moving for the summer to San Francisco to live with him and brother and sister are shocked. Randy lives on Russian Hill with a view out his window to Alcatraz. Danny refuses to go and wants to try to find his real Dad who is living in Mexico so he stays with cousins in National City. Julia decides to go to San Francisco but is heartbroken and they hold hands to comfort each other.

My first pastel portraits

After life drawing that one time I decided I wanted to try portraits using pastels. The one on top is for a school assignment and the other two were for fun.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life Drawing

This past Friday I had my first experience with life drawing at a workshop for our high school at San Diego City College with an amazing drawing teacher Wayne Hulgin. These are my quick 1 minute gesture drawings and one where we had a 10 minutes. It was fun and I want to do this again and learn more about the human figure.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Letter to George Lucas

George Lucas, I am astonished by your epic Star Wars saga, and am excited to be sending these three images via blog email of a new character I created. Make sure to read the story just below the images as well. I hope you enjoy my story. In fact, I had the idea if you included my character and integrating every detail of his inventions into Episodes VIII and IX. If there are any details your studio have planned in Episode VIII that do not relate to my story, why don’t you change them and make the story line a little different then what your crew have in mind. Do not let anything that contradicts to this character's story be in the next episode. Thinking of what you read, tell your crew my requirements before they release the following chapter next year in December. You don't necessarily have to include him, just make sure to edit whatever detail that is not in my story. Perhaps even include certain aspects that relate with this person. I would be glad if this character were established into the next upcoming films to become known by various people. Feel free to leave a comment. After all, I am a fan of your most famous filmography.

-Santiago R. Lopez

This is my original concept drawing of Baska.

My final photoshop rendering of Baska Kaglia wearing his inventions during a raid on Ruusan.
I compiled 9 different images to bring this character to life.

Baska Kaglia
a new Star Wars character

Here's my sketch of some of Baska's inventions
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

    Professor Baska Kaglia was born and raised on the planet Ruusan to a family of royal blacksmiths. He had always been intrigued by the weapons they crafted for the king, and got inspiration for creating his own weird and wonderful devices. 
     He first built a probe droid when he was only 5 years old. Then he tried it out during a blizzard, but the frost damaged it's circuits, and so he had to make improvements. He made it capable of resisting ice and water and gave it a remote controlled propeller. He could put it on auto-fly so he could take a break from controlling the buttons on the remote. Later he created a tracking device so the probe droid knew where to return and then reveal it's information to him. Thanks to him, probe droids have become a major industrial product and are commonly used by the Sith, though they are fashioned without propellers. 
     In the years that followed, Baska created many gadgets that have been used in the steampunk era and in our modern day technology. Once he built a cuckoo clock top hat for his father Peverus, which would be later passed down to him as he grew into adulthood and then be inherited to the next generation. The data from his remote control was then transported and contained inside an electronic bracelet with golden ornate designs and a plain silver cuff with a red button that would activate his flying probe droid. 
     When he was 12 years old, Baska invented the weapon of a Jedi Knight known as the lightsaber, and soon helped his father support the Jedi order in addition to the King of Ruusan. 
     At age 15, Baska had thought of transportation devices. He thought of many types of contraptions until he came to the conclusion that his idea of a transport would be a jetpack with wings similar to the ones on Leonardo Da Vinci's flying machine. He even wore sunglasses if the light from the rocket thrusters got to bright. Eventually the wings had been set ablaze by the thrusters on the jetpack. He then removed them from the model. They were not necessary since the machine was already capable of flying thanks to it's thrusters. Replicas of the jetpack have been manufactured by the Merr-Sonn Munitions Inc. who designed it without the wings. Two examples of the given number for jetpacks is JT-12 and Z-6. They have been used by bounty hunters Jango and Boba Fett respectively. 
     Baska has also assisted his father to form landmarks as a symbol of peace and justice whenever the galaxy is put in a crisis. When he was 20 years old the invasion on Naboo began. He put up a flag with a symbol of a phoenix. That symbol has been carried down and has had it's design simplified into the mark of the Rebel Alliance. The year when the battle of Naboo began, Baska was given the hat by his father. The people of Ruusan celebrated down the streets when Naboo was freed from the evil grasp of the Trade Federation. And so did the people of Naboo 
    Five years later, Baska married a woman called Katrina who eventually became his colleague in creating mechanisms. The happy pair lived their lives with Baska's family. 
     Another five years passed and the beginning of a new enemy had just started: the Clone Wars. The Jedi began to go extinct under the control of Order 66, who were hired by the Emperor, Palpatine. The Emperor had let the Sith take over the Republic and had a new apprentice named Anakin Skywalker who got his Sith name, Darth Vader. Then a raid began on Baska's home planet Ruusan. His brother was killed, but Baska stepped forth and joined the battle while wearing his inventions and bearing a lightsaber that he made just for himself. They somehow prevailed. When the Empire arose, Baska and his father put up  a statue of the great Jedi knight, Mace Windu, in memory of the Jedi. 
    And so over 20 years passed. There were times when the Rebels fought victoriously against the Empire and destroyed their Mega Weapon, the Death Star. Good news reached Ruusan that a new Jedi knight named Luke Skywalker, the son of Anakin, was already existing. There also came times when darkness fell upon the galaxy.
      One day, millers on Ruusan began manufacturing products to make fertile crops that were being planted for veterans fighting against the Empire. His father had assigned him to buy a component called tibinna gas which would keep the mill running. With his father's advice, Baska ventured in a spaceship to Cloud City, a gas mining colony floating in the atmosphere of the planet Bespin. He was able to buy the product with the money he had and also ordered a liquor beverage at the bar.
    As he was departing, he spotted an object falling through the air. Getting a closer look, he saw quite clearly that it was somebody's hand, a glossy steel cylinder clutched in it's fist. Putting the ship on auto-fly, he caught the hand from falling any further. He removed the hand and saw what the silver cylinder was. It had multiple buttons on it's side, and a blue plasma blade that shot out from one end if he triggered the main button. This was no ordinary cylinder, it was a device that he originally created; the hilt of a genuine lightsaber.
     Returning to Ruusan, Baska presented his discovery to his father, Peverus, who was working away on a mail chain armor and steel helmet for a knight who was well skilled in archery. Peverus was both astonished and impressed at the same time. He could sense an awakening in the Force. The midi-chlorians in his veins told him so. Baska, unaware of what to do next, asked his father what he could do about the lightsaber he had just found. His father suggested he'd deliver it to somebody with great wisdom. Peverus then gave him a solution that the person he thought of lived in the far reaches of the planet Takodana. And so Baska traveled there and at light speed as the lightsaber he now possessed was given to the space pirate and bar maid, Maz Kanata, who had been having visions of the current event and kept the lightsaber preserved inside a small wooden box in the cellar of her castle.
    Not long afterwards, the Empire had constructed a new Death Star. After it too got destroyed during the battle of Endor, and the force was finally in balance, Baska and his family put up a banner that read: Long live the Jedi. And so his people celebrated once again.
     30 years later, Baska had decided he needed someone to take care of the house when he and his family were away. He constructed a protocol droid similar to the one built by young Anakin known as C-3PO. This one he named FN-3PO. And so he spent about his days working on this new experiment. Finally he finished with the structure. He even gave it a false humanoid skin, making it a cyborg protocol. Little did he know that while the Empire had fallen, the First Order had just started.      
     A spy had stolen FN-3PO in the dead of night the day before Baska intended to power on his new invention. The droid was brought before the Sith lord, Kylo Ren, and had it's number changed from FN-3PO to FN-2187. They trained the cyborg to become a stormtrooper. But unlike the human stormtroopers, FN-2187 had no violence in his nature, and decided to resign from the First Order. And there you have it. This is how the character known as Finn came into the story.
     Now if you are curious of how certain things affected Finn which are not possible among cyborgs, well here are the answers. First of all, a lot of gasoline runs through Finn's hidden tank stored within his chest. He runs on two different types of gasolines. One that is transparent, the other that is blood red. Now across his fake skin are microscopic openings used to let in solar energy that powers his circuits. So when he crash landed on Jakku, the sweat on his face was actually transparent gasoline. Now from hiking across the sand dunes, he had lost a lot of his most important gasoline which was the transparent one. And whenever robots lose most of their gasoline, they ask for more before they power off. Finn himself felt that his gasoline tank was empty after leaking through the openings in his face, and sensed he needed some more. At the time however, he had no idea he was a cyborg. Now someone had once told him that people live on water to survive, and thus decided to have some when he instead needed more gasoline. And when he drank from the Happabore's trough, he cringed not because the water tasted disgusting, but he felt the water damage his machinery, and therefore, spat it out. After all, everyone knows that water and food can definitely affect the body of any droid. And during the snow fight, Finn cried in agony when Kylo Ren's lightsaber blade took contact with his body because the sparks from the blade touched the gasoline and could've set off a flame. As for the red liquid oozing out of his body afterwards, it was not blood at all, but more gasoline.
     Finn as you know, had his entire inner body made up of robotic parts. No organs exist at all whatsoever, except for a metallic brain and heart activated by electrical powers, making him capable of thinking and having emotions.
     Now back to our main topic about Baska. He has served in the army, formed many incredible landmarks, symbols and contraptions, and has been considered one of the best mechanics of all time. His greatest accomplishments in addition to ones already mentioned include, medical scientific reports, solar powered cargo carriers for veterans in a battle, and exercise machines made from parts of a spaceship's hyperdrive. They even have a statue of him in Ruusa. Thanks to him supporting the ones who suffer intense conditions and his intricate imagination, he still remains a memorable figure of helpful stature to this day.