Playing with watercolor pens.

I couldn’t sleep last night, so after watching Jurassic World and fangirling over Chris Pratt’s badassery, I decided to revisit my watercolor pens. It’s been a while since I played with them and I got a wee bit inspired by a random desktop wallpaper of Pixar’s Up, so I thought, why not translate that inspiration on paper? :)

1

You prolly heard me say this before, but I want to reiterate it: I suck at colors. I rarely work with colors because they’re my weakness. I dived into color pens, watercolors, and now, watercolor pens. I’m terrible at all of them. But part of every person’s journey through art is sucking at something. That doesn’t mean we should let it stop us, yeah? #inspiration

2

First thing I did was draw a draft of the house with pencil, then put my watercolor pens to work. The darker shades were meant to be “shadows” when I blend them with water later. As you would see on the next photo, it didn’t come out the way I wanted…

3

The shadow effect I was aiming for was barely noticeable. :( Either I had to really rub the color in or I was doing the brush strokes wrong, hence it didn’t blend properly.

I added the finishing touches to the house and the aesthetics improved a tiny bit. Aw man, I had to compensate for this. The solution: add a handlettered quote.

So here’s the finished piece! I think I did a good job with the balloons though LOL. :D

5

Hey, if you have any tips for me on how to use watercolor pens, I would really appreciate if you can share it! Thanks in advance, whoever you are! ^_^

Iphoneography photo dump.

Iphoneography became a legit term back in 2008 with the quick rise of iOS photo filter apps, i.e. Hipstamatic. With the iPhone’s camera getting more and more powerful every year, iPhoneography has come a long way since.

img_8095

I am not an “iPhoneographer” in the sense that I don’t use my phone’s camera the same way I’d use a DSLR. But when I do get in the mood to capture something in an artsy partsy sort of way, I know I can rely on my phone to do so. After all, the medium is only as good as the one who uses it. :)

img_6262

It was back in 2009 when I first became fascinated with photography. I bought a DSLR and, truth be told, no amount of fancy technology slapped at the back of the most high-end mobile phone can replace the feel of looking through a camera’s viewfinder.

img_6180

But if there’s one thing I learned about photography, no matter what medium we use, it’s this: like any other kind of art, it is SUBJECTIVE. A technically accurate photo does not always translate to a great photo if it does not evoke any kind of response from its audience.

batch_img_9042

Because mobile phones are literally just “point and shoot,” people focus more on the overall feel / mood / story in a photo, which is usually measured by only one thing: is it Instagrammable? If not, probably best not to post it LOL. ;)

batch_img_8685

I follow several Instagram accounts that take great photos, but not all of them is a photography account. Some are fashion posts, lifestyle, flatlays, etc. Their photos stand out because they shoot with a theme. And I’m on the process of learning that so I could curate my feed as well. :)

batch_img_9094

I no longer have a DSLR, not in the past 5 years. I have no plans on getting one anytime soon, so I have to make do with my phone for now. Well, turned out it actually isn’t so bad. :)

Processed with Snapseed.

All photos were taken using iPhone 5C and post-processed in iOS app Snapseed and/or Instagram.

September lettering goal.

There are many things I’d like to say about how my lettering journey is these days, but I’ll start with this:

I haven’t been feeling the “lettering high” lately.

There, I said it. That’s the reason why I’m not posting on Instagram and Facebook as much as I used to. I don’t get giddy with new pens, I don’t get inspired by all the amazing works on my IG feed. It’s like the artist part of me switched off and I couldn’t care less even when my followers dwindle by 1 or 2 every other day.

But the world won’t stop for me. While I’m lazing around wondering where my passion went, the rest of the creative community are creating, and I’m being left behind. :(

This procrastination has to stop. I’ve known it all along, of course, but I haven’t actively done anything to change it. So today, I decided to put my goal in writing and publish it for the world wide web to see. It’s one way I thought of making myself accountable for whatever goal I’ll set.

Since I’m coming from a sort of hiatus/artist block, I want to take it slow and focus only on a single goal instead of several bulleted ones. And for the month of September, it’s going to be all about producing content — regular content in my online accounts (Instagram, Facebook and WordPress) at least once a week. Two or three is great, but one per week is the minimum. Ergo, by the end of September, I should have four posts published.

So yeah, maybe that’s not much, but it’s a start. And when you’re setting a goal, starting is the hardest part; therefore, starting is everything.

Wish me luck, guys! I really appreciate everyone’s words of encouragement and support. :)

Work space makeover. :)

I recently gave my study table a “makeover” — and by makeover, I mean wiping the dust off and adding bits and pieces of decor here and there, hoping that all those stuff would trigger my creativity a little more often. (I badly need it, huhuhu!)

I don’t have “before” photos so I’m jumping straight to the “after” ones instead. :)

IMGP2035

For starters, moving my table against the window made a huge difference in lighting. This is to take advantage of “natural light” whenever I take photos of my lettering pieces.

IMGP2038

Just for a bit of flair, I pinned some of my early works on a jute string as a visual reminder of why I started and how much I have learned since then.

IMGP2041

My favorite decor, though, are the three letters of my nickname, made from very light cardboard. I bought it at Dapitan, Manila. I usually spell my nickname as O-D-E-E, but O-D-Y was the original spelling based off of my real name. If having your name on your table is not the epitome of personalizing, then I don’t know what is.

Do you have any photos of your work space or creativity nook? I bet yours looks better than mine! If you have any advice on how I can make it look better, or maybe some organizing tips for keeping clutter at bay, I’d love to hear all about it. :)

Chalkboard Lettering For The First Time.

Two weeks ago, I worked on a chalkboard lettering design for a client’s daughter’s first birthday. I have never done chalk lettering before, but it was a timely project because The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering I ordered from Amazon just arrived a few days prior. I am not an expert by any means, having just completed one project for this particular medium, but I want to share my process and the things I have learned. Hopefully, one of you guys out there is going to find it useful if ever you get asked to work on a same piece. :)

SKETCH YOUR IDEA ON A PIECE OF PAPER.

1
This was the rough draft I sent for the client approval.

It all starts with a pencil and paper, as most drawing and design works are. I didn’t have to come up with a super unique idea, though, because the client — let’s call her Miss R — already checked out a few chalkboard design pegs online. Similar to the samples she saw, she also wanted the board to contain random facts about her daughter. What I had to do next was figure out how to put all the details she gave into a design layout that’s visually appealing and readable. 

BUYING THE MATERIALS.

Logically, chalkboard design should be made on, well, a chalkboard — you know, the thick and sturdy ones we use at school. Lame luck, though, because the local bookstore had no available chalkboard when I bought my materials. As an alternative, I opted for a 1/2-sized illustration board because design had so many details I had to squeeze in. I also bought a 12-color chalk and a ruler.

DRAW BORDER LINES FOR THE MARGIN.

border lines

One of the first things I learned from The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering is you should always start by drawing border lines so you can keep the margin and avoid “bleeding out” or getting your lettering and/or design at the edge of the, unless it’s your intention to do so. We’ll erase these lines later so just use a light-colored chalk and keep the pressure light.

USING A LIGHT-COLORED CHALK, SKETCH YOUR DESIGN ON THE BOARD.

3

I think of it as the pencil draft so I know where to put the elements on the board and make it identical to the design I submitted to the client. With a light-colored chalk and very light pressure — because again, we’re going to erase this later — I started working on the black side of the illustration board.

ADD DETAILS WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY ERASING THE SKETCH MARKS.

4

Because I already have my rough sketch underneath, all I had to do was trace the letters and drawings, sometimes making spacing adjustments to make sure it would fit but won’t look too crowded. I also vary the pressure and thickness of some elements I wanted to standout for emphasis and variety.

When it comes to erasing, a slightly damp cloth for big areas and Q-tips for smaller areas are the perfect companion for a chalkboard. On an illustration board, however, those tricks won’t work. Rubbing a damp cloth or Q-tip on an area over and over would wear out the surface of the board and mess it up. Some areas of the board were already worn out by the time I realized this. Instead, I used a very slightly damp cloth to erase the first time, then I lightly rubbed it with rubber eraser (I used the one I got from Muji, but Stabilo’s black Exam Grade eraser is also good.)

For smaller details, I used this mechanical eraser, a Mitsubishi E-Knock I bought from Fully Booked.

5

It took me almost the entire afternoon to complete the board. More than half of the chalks were snapped and my family couldn’t walk around the living room because I occupied most of the space. Come night time, this was how the completed board looked:

8

It was the right decision to use a 1/2-sized board, after all. I delivered it to the client a week before June 24th. After seeing this photo from the birthday party, I felt happy and certain that all the work I did have paid off. :)

6
Photo by the client. Used with permission.

Yes, I exactly know what you’re thinking — the table setup is lovely, isn’t it? ^_^