Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ampersand April

Random challenge: chose 4 of my fave ampersands, and did this no-pencil watercolor lettering exercise. Used gray ecoline ink and a 20/0 brush. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Notes To Self at DesignWeekPH

I'm looking at my photo stream, to try to prepare a new blog post, and I'm so overwhelmed with how the photos jump from one theme/event to another. So many things are happening all at once, and I'm reminded exactly why I need this "filing" time. Yes, as in a photo filing system, because one minute I am painting, and the next moment I am taking photos of food at the restos, and then later on, speaking at an event. Conversation last night with one of my best friends Muffin last night (thank you to you and your baby bump for staying up late with me, and allowing me to share my "freelancer" thoughts :P)  made me realize that I mustn't complain, because this pace, this life, is what I chose--and things are actually working in my favor (so far). And that every job, no matter what it is, always comes with challenges.

This wall is a part of my pop-up exhibit in Casa Manila Intramuros for Design Week Philippines :)

If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's.

I love that quote. It makes every stumbling block that you have faced/are experiencing totally valid and worth it. It makes you realize that if things are going too easy and working too much in your favor, then it's probably not revolutionary. It's so convenient to just go with the flow. To do things because everyone is already doing it.

Last week, my friends Abbey, Tippy, Mansy and I gave talks at Design Week Philippines. It was such a fun afternoon, and so many people came, even if we had it on a random Tuesday afternoon!

Tippy, Abbey, Me and PJ (thank your for hosting, love!) So grateful for these ladies aka my occasional officemates. Sometimes, we have to get out of our shells and connect with other creatives :P (photo from Abbey)

I gave a talk on creativity entitled Notes To Self because the creativity tips that I shared are actually things I write to remind myself to stay on the creative path. Again, being a freelancer can sometimes get lonely, and as a designer, you're always thinking, "Is this where I am supposed to be???" (Wassup with all the existentialism, right?! Does staring at the computer screen too much cause that?:P) So these Notes to Self are some little reminders to guide you on your creative path.

A couple of my slides covered that topic about (not) going with the flow. Are you carving your own path? What we see on Instagram and Pinterest can easily influence us. When it comes to finding inspiration, don't get it online! Do your own thing. Find inspiration from your own real experiences.

If it's online, it's already been done.

When you aren't sure if what you're doing is right, remember to have the courage to be yourself. Honor your own experiences. Unique ideas spring from unique connections.

I turned my slides into a zine so that participants at the talk could take them home. I still have some extras. E-mail me at if you want one. Selling them for P150 each. :)

Been living in these super comfy Zoe sandals by Toms. Absolutely love how comfy they are. Wearing my chambray & tan leather uniform even on my feet. :P

These creative talks were in partnership with Design Week Philippines, where we also held a bunch of workshops. I gave a Floral Sketching workshop while Mikko taught Weaving Basics.

My kits included Pitt Artist Pens and Watercolour Pencils from Faber Castell, a Waterbrush from Craftdoodle, and paper from IFEX Ph. We made floral doodles & patterns!

On the second day, I conducted a Botanical Watercolor workshop, also at Barbara's in Casa Manila Intramuros.

We also made stamps for all the partners of Design Week.

And I joined in on the Slab Pottery + Stamp Design workshop of Mansy and Nica. I'm in love with slab pottery! Can't wait to paint on the pieces that I made.

Here's an example of a plate I painted before--which is now on current use in the kitchen, and here topped with some ricotta ensaymada from Breakfast and Pies. A happy note to end an awesome week.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Gouache and Calligraphy

Been thinking a lot about the process of creation and finding inspiration. It's so easy to get stuck in the online world, scrolling through beautiful photos on your news feed. I get a lot of e-mails from people asking for advice on creating posts that are Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy. I always say that your project brief should not be determined whether it will look good in a square photo. To be pinned or liked should NOT be the purpose of creating something. The final project should always be bigger than the photos you take along the way. Make stuff to make stuff.

When it comes to finding inspiration, make an effort to go offline, and to absorb the world around you. Be inspired by people, events, things, places, conversations. Connect what you experience outside to what it makes you feel inside, and then create from there. Your work will surely have more meaning, and that meaning is solely yours.

The other afternoon, I walked around UP Village (instead of taking the trike) to meet up with PJ. Apart from the restaurants and establishments on the main roads, there's not much to see there, since it's mostly a residential area. As I was walking, I had to keep weaving along the sidewalk because of the "obstacles" (parked cars, thorny bushes). That's when I noticed the shrubs of bougainvillea popping through the front yards of the houses.

I love how these thorny flowers serve a double purpose of beautifying and protecting. It really is a great example of strength and beauty. 

I always carry around an extra totebag with my art materials. Decided to use some gouache with my calligraphy nib, but instead of writing words, I decided to doodle. I used a G nib (one of the toughest nibs) to create these smooth and dainty curves. It's funny how my choice of materials coincidentally matched my subject's theme. 

I mixed the gouache with some water until I got the consistency of whole milk. Used a waterbrush (from to apply the paint onto the nib. It's convenient to use a waterbrush for this because I needed to keep brushing the nib with water, since the gouache dries up so fast (see nib below).

Still unsure of what pattern to make with these doodles. Thinking of making a repeat pattern with it and burning it on a screen. For bedsheets and pillowcases maybe? We'll see. :)