If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably heard me talk more than once about wanting to sign with an agent. That was one of my biggest goals in the next year or two. Late last year I signed up for an online class bundle at Make Art That Sells, which included entry to the annual Global Talent Search. Think Project Runway, but instead of a slot at New York Fashion Week, you get representation from Lilla Rogers Studio, a top-notch illustration agency. (Excuse the TV reference, I love reality shows!)
And just like that, we're halfway through the year! The second quarter was such a whirlwind for me, with almost no time to take a breather. No complaints, though; the last three months were filled with lots of adventures and opportunities for stretching myself.
Three years ago, I achieved my biggest dream--to work for myself. I slowly built a stationery business while working a full-time job, and after two years of tired days and sleepless nights, I thought it was time to take the leap. I left the security of a job I liked because I wanted to pursue a path that promised opportunities and possibilities.
The ecstasy did not last long.
It's amazing what can happen in a week.
Last Sunday, in my regular Instagram Stories Q&A series, I answered a question about portfolios and how to craft one that will get you the jobs you want to get. While I typed up my response I kept thinking if my portfolio reflected the advice I was giving. It was updated and it housed projects that I loved working on for the past couple of years, but somehow it was still not up to par. I posted my answer in the morning, and after lunch I was already so engrossed in a spontaneous portfolio revamp. All I really wanted to do was to see if another theme would look good with my content, but once I found a new theme, I couldn't stop.
I was supposed to do some admin work this morning, but then I saw my website backend window and thought, "hmm maybe it's a good time to update this space" (very much inspired by my friend Kat's recent blog adventures). So if you're new here, hello! If you're an old friend, welcome back.
My last active post was dated February 2017, and even though I wrote some things after that, I felt like they're not what I wanted to express in this journal, so off to the archives they went. Housekeeping, I'd like to call it.
I love writing, but this blogging thing isn't really...well, my thing. Believe me, I tried making a schedule for it so I make sure it's updated, brainstormed and listed down topics to write about, but to no avail. I figured being an introvert could have something to do with my apprehension--it felt so unlike me to share (or overshare?) online. Clicking the "publish" button on posts made me anxious in the past, and being an overthinker certainly didn't help. Did my post make sense? Would people misinterpret what I wrote? Did I say something offensive? Aaaaah!
I still want to continue writing, and I hope to do that by starting a TinyLetter account. I feel like having this platform to converse and exchange ideas will be more beneficial than an outdated blog. I will still post announcements and news here, but if you want to get a behind-the-scenes look at my process or access to unfiltered thoughts, I invite you to sign up.
P.S. I promise not to spam you, as I can only commit to writing one letter a week.
2016 was the year that seemed to fly by quickly yet drag on endlessly at the same time. For the most part I hated it because of what was happening all around me, but when I take into account all the wonderful things that did make their way into my life, it's not such a bad year after all. I cannot possibly list down everything I am grateful for, but here's a rundown of things/events/people/opportunities that made the biggest creative impact on me this year.
#RealTalkTambay is a pet project that is slowly taking over my life. It started out as an item on my to-do list, something new to try. I'd like to think that it was an idea triggered by a random post on Instagram, but in reality the seeds for it were planted as early as last year.
Ever since the second #RealTalkTambay wrapped up (you don't have to remind me that I need to write about that!), I haven't been making as much as I would have liked, and that usually means something's bothering me. I'd say 30% of the time I am worrying about an upcoming trip, 20% of the time I am feeling the pressure to come up with new products for the holidays, and 50% of the time I am thinking about some things that I haven't had the time to think about for the past two months. That's what busyness does to me; I forget about the things that usually keep me up at night. But thanks to a couple of art tambays I had with friends last week, these issues have found their way back to the surface. One of them is art style.
This has got to be one of my most favorite mural projects so far. When my friend Erika contacted me on a Sunday night about meeting for a mural project, I did not know I would be working on it the very next day. A new restaurant, Providore, was opening in SM Aura in three days, and they needed stuff written on walls. I said yes, even though at that moment I might have known I had bitten off more than I can chew. I was already waist-deep in commission work with several personal projects on the side, but I dragged my sister with me to Taguig and made it happen.
Today is one of those days when I feel generally content with the art I produce. Believe me, these days do not come often. Usually I feel terribly insecure about my work, and most of my insecurities are because of age. I am twenty-seven, and that's still fairly young, but there are moments when I feel like I am too old to be making cute-sy stuff, too old to be clueless about long-term plans for my art, too old to still be struggling with basic techniques. I know that I am putting undue stress on myself by thinking about all these things, but I cannot help it; I am a serial overthinker.
I am sorry for neglecting this space for too long. Life does get in the way sometimes, but I assure you, May 2016 was a good kind of crazy. It was a month of stepping out of comfort zones, and even though I am entirely pleased with my output, I've learned a lot about my process, artistic direction, and motivation.
As a workshop teacher, I've noticed that one of the things students have difficulty applying to their lettering work is proper layout. Unfortunately, no matter how comprehensive I make my worksheets, this topic cannot be fully covered in a three-hour session because it takes months, or even years, to understand what works and what doesn't. Below I share with you some of the guidelines I've learned over time.
I love patterns and am curious about how they are made. Many of my art idols have had extensive pattern design experience, and looking at their work heightened my interest in the area even more. Luckily, there are several Skillshare classes on this subject, so learning the basics was fairly easy. I am also taking Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells class where one of our requirements involved patterns, and below I outlined my drafting process for my class assignment.
I tend to be very hard on myself, which goes against every practical advice on art or life I've ever received. I can go on hypercritical mode, and when I am in this frame of mind, I can never get anything done because nothing's good enough. But what is "good enough?" And haven't we been taught that "good" is never enough and we should strive for "great?"