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. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Creative Week in Davao

One thing I love about Davao is how laid back every thing and every one is.

The second thing I love about it is how the beach is so near the city!!

I spent a week of work + play with old + new friends. :)

Kat, Anna, Brandie (with Josh & little Joshua), and I took a daytrip to Mati. We were greeted by the ice-colored waves and salty wind.

The sky was my view for the most part, because after a crazy workshop weekend, this is all I wanted to do:

Feasted on amazing quinoa & chickpeas by Kat on this super windy day.

PJ arrived that evening, and we spent the next couple of days at the Floating House in Maxima, Samal Island.

I think I swam for about 3 hours in the sea :P For some reason, I didn't feel tired at all!

I guess it was because of all the delicious food!

My plate of greens

PJ, me, Josh, Brandie, and Kat

I carved stamp-souvenirs of Davao and printed patterns with them on local handmade banana paper.

Happy I was able to share this addicting craft with some creative folk in Davao. In one weekend, I taught four workshops: Pattern Design and Rubberstamp Carving at Sea Green Cafe, and White & Gold Calligraphy, and Watercolored Type at Cafe El Gato.

Each student got to take home a specially curated workshop kit. We used Craftdoodle waterbrushes to turn our sketches to watercolored works at the Pattern Design Workshop. I think these Craftdoodle brushes are some of the best brushes for painting/crafts because the tips are really sharp, but the bristles remain soft for coloring, and they easily spring back to their original form.

Square Repeat & Layout Patterns by the students!

All students got to take home a canvas pouch from Anna of Fabienne Trends Unlimited. You can order custom canvas bags and pouches from them! I already placed my order to give away at the upcoming workshops!:) My friend Kat of Artsyfunshop also gave out her marbled notebooks as prizes for our little workshop contests.

Love the natural light of Sea Green Cafe! In the afternoon, we did Rubberstamp Carving.

Super fun stamps by this awesome class. Everyone got to stamp on their totebags and pouches. The stamp ink I use is pigment ink, so they're permanent on fabric.

Made a seashell stamp for Sea Green Cafe (I hope they get to use it!:P) as a thank you for hosting our workshops.

Day 2 was for Calligraphy and Watercolor. Participants got to take home these beautiful resin carrot nib holders made by The Curious Artisan.

Intense afternoon as everyone was super focused on the strokes!

Thanks to everyone who came to the workshops! Really excited that there are so many craft lovers in Davao :)

And many thanks to Kat for having me over, and for taking us, and showing us more things to love about Davao!

On the plane ride home, the seatbelt sign was already turned off, but the tip of Mt. Apo was still peeking thru the clouds. What am amazing sight to end our week.

We brought over 100kg of art materials to Davao (craaazy!), and shared the crafts that I love at four intensive workshops, but I feel that the memories and good times we went home with weighed so much more. Hoping to be back sometime this year for another round of classes! Click here if you'd like to join the next workshops in Davao.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All The White Things

What. Am. I. Doing. Clumsy me just bought a bunch of superwhite stuff. With all the ink and paint that I work with every day, is this a disaster waiting to happen?? Aaack. But, white is pretty! Haha. Well, at the very least, wearing all these white things is teaching me to be more conscious of my movements, and less of a klutz (so far!!).

I just realized that in the past 3 years, I've bought more sneakers than heels! Says so much of what my work requires: standing all afternoon (sometimes all day!) at my workshops. And since the beginning of 2016--in all 10 weeks of it, haha-- I've already conducted 30 workshops! Crazy, I know, but I'm really happy that more and more people are spending time away from their screens and focusing more on moving their hands and making beautiful things.

My newest pair in rotation are these Reptile Stan Smiths. It's so interesting how the pattern is created by the cutout leather & suede. Textured white was love at first sight. :P

Ordered these online in the States (because, really, who has time for mall shopping? Buti ka pa.) and had them shipped straight to my door via Shipping Cart. Sign up for free, and you'll get your own Shipping Cart account holder's US address! You can track and consolidate your items when you shop from different online stores, and you get a report once they arrive at your US address.

You can can choose to consolidate or have the items shipped immediately, and the packages will be forwarded to your selected delivery address. There are no surprising fees upon arrival--Shipping Cart includes all shipping and customs taxes into the delivery fee. You'll see what you need to pay for even before shipping.

Been using my white bucket bag for over a week now, too! :) I know it looks tiny, but it actually fits everything I need. Trying not to carry big bags anymore because I tend to dump in so much stuff.

Here's the secret to keeping white things white: Collonil Carbon Pro Waterproofer! Sprayed 3 coats all around, and soaked it with the waterproofing spray. Now I don't have to worry about getting my bag dirty! I swear, it really repels off the liquid.

Visit to order and waterproof everrrythaaaang! :P