Digital Artist Alben Tan creates a series of Illustrations depicting a post-apocalyptic Davao

“Life is here”, says an old description of Davao City, home of the spiky fruit Durian and the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines. But have you ever imagined a busy city turn into a lifeless ruins; or looking at a simple sari-sari store in an animated world?

In the eyes of Davao-based Alben Tan, it is called a concept art.

A concept art is a form of illustration used to convey an idea for use in a motion picture, video games, animation, comic books and other media platforms.

It is mostly done during the pre-production stage before putting ideas into a final product.

Tan, who is a graduate of Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Mindanao shared with how he fell in love with the art since childhood.

“Back in the day, I can still remember that I’m drawing characters from Dragon Ball non-stop everyday just to practice and get good. Since then, making art has been a big part of my life.”, he said.

While he loves doing artworks, Tan wanted to create something that people can relate to which made him decide to use Davao City often as a subject.

“Abandoned Sanggunian”
Concept Art / 3D / Matte Painting
Location: Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Dabaw

The Art of Alben Tan

Some of Alben’s fantastic artworks can be found on his personal platform in

From Davao City Hall to several busy streets, Chinatown, illustration of characters, classic video games among others, it’s not surprising how Alben fared with other artists during competition.

“Abandoned Magsaysay Park”
Concept Art / 3D / Matte Painting
Location: 5 R Magsaysay, Poblacion District, Davao City

Beyond passion

Alben’s artistry were also recognized in the international scene. He admitted that he used to join a lot of contests not mainly for the prize but to experience fun and excitement in embracing the art along with other people.

“Since February, I think I already entered seven contests and fortunately won three of them so far.”

Aside from joining contests, Alben is spending his time at the renowned CG Master Academy after enrolling for a two-month course.

For those who are wondering how he developed those skills despite pursuing a different path in college, here’s a little bit of trivia; Alben actually took advantage of architecture. “It helped especially when dealing with environment concept artworks. Because you’re dealing with space and design pa rin so iyung mga lessons from Architecture about standard measurements and spatial arrangements, nagamit pa rin”.

Makes sense, eh?

“Dacudao-Buhangin Fly-over”
Concept Art / 3D / Environment Painting
Location: Davao City

Ultimate goal

The love and appreciation from people motivates Alben to do more. It boosts his desire to put a lot of work in everything he does. Joining contests challenges himself to create and think outside the box. But his ultimate goal? “To be part of a big film or video game production as an environment concept artist”.

Everything starts from scratch. Whether it’s an ordinary drawing from a pad paper or banana leaf, what matters is for you to discover and develop your craft and talent. Once you find your passion, don’t be afraid to put everything on the line. After all, non-stop practicing is a road to perfection and at the end of the day, it is all worth it.

See more of Alben’s artworks here:

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