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?"
I've said time and time again that if there's something I love more than making art (and food), it's books. In 2013, armed with colored pens (my medium of choice then) and my limited lettering and sketching skills, I decided to draw every book I'd read that year. I ended up doing only about seven book portraits, but I definitely read more than that! Here are three of them.
I am one of those people who work in bursts of creativity; one moment I am so energized by an idea but once that concept sees fruition, I tend to take a rest and recharge until its time to execute another idea. This makes me prone to the "blank canvas effect" (I am sure there is a better name for this somewhere), which means the longer the time I spend away from making, the harder it is for me to actually start working on something again. To prevent impending creative blocks, I keep myself busy by doing other things to keep the inspiration going and to make it easier to get the ball rolling once new projects come in. Here are some of my techniques:
I must admit, I started my Taipei trip on the wrong foot. I did no planning whatsoever, so I arrived on the night of March 7th expecting what I've read on several blogs--that it was like a tiny version of Japan. It's not that I was disappointed with what I've seen; it was more like my experiences of Taipei were tainted by my memories of Tokyo. I kept comparing the sights, the food, and the activities that I failed to appreciate Taipei's charm. Totally my fault. Around the beginning of my third day there, I decided to reset my expectations and really see Taipei independently of what I've read about its Japanese influences, and that was when this city started to grow on me. I flew back to Manila last Monday already thinking of things I wanted to see and do there the next time I visit.
Albert Camus once said, "life is the sum of all your choices." The second part of my list includes more abstract lessons I've learned about life and making deliberate choices to make sure I live it with a clear conscience and a grateful heart.
I am turning 27 this week, and whenever my birthday is coming up I tend to feel extra introspective. I used to dread this time of the year, because to me birthdays are reminders that I am getting older and I have less time to do what I want to do in life. In short, I see birthdays as deadlines. Not a very healthy opinion to have. This year is a bit different, though. I've been reading a lot about gratitude and well-being, and instead of thinking about things that are lacking in my life, I want to share 26 things I've learned so far. This is the first half of my list, all of which are lessons on making art and sustaining a creative business. Let's start?
So you want to make art. It's going to be a long road ahead, and I hope that what I am about to say will give you some perspective.
As I write this, I am surrounded by stacks of books, clothes and other items that must either be donated or discarded. Come to think of it, this major clean-up process is symbolic of how my 2015 has been.
Disclaimer: I don't want to be a Grinch and ruin everyone's happy vibes this Christmas. I promise there is a positive nugget somewhere within the next lines. :)
So...this is how it feels like to be ripped off. Whenever I see creatives ranting online about how hard it is to develop their style only to see other people copy them, I can never relate. At least not until yesterday. I don't even have the words to describe the feeling. Hurt? Betrayed? Panicked? I could not concentrate on emotions because what was running across my head was this: my small business is going down the drain. When my core product gets copied by a giant corporation, who am I to compete?
I don't take a lot of photos when I travel (I am very unlucky with cameras when out of town--a story for another time), so to remember what I did and where I went I draw pictures.
I have over 20 lettering books in my collection, but the first one I ever got was Reinventing Lettering, edited by Emily Gregory. This is also available as Little Book of Lettering.
I am not very good with technology, and that extends even to my work habits. I've been a letterer for around a year already before I started using Photoshop. Before that, I was resizing all my images in MS Paint and...MS Word. No joke.
To stop my perfectionist streak and to motivate me to start working on my personal projects (hopefully), I've put this site live. Yay!
There's still a lot of work to be done, though: 1) make work that's actually portfolio-worthy, 2) check grammar and composition, 3) connect other accounts, and so on. I am no techie, but figuring out all the backend stuff is both challenging and fun. I can't wait to fill up this space with nice things! (And I'm sure there will be not-so-nice things once in a while, just managing expectations here, haha.)
So, yeah, have a look around and welcome to my new online home! :)
Reading is one of my top hobbies. Hoarding books is another, but I'll save that story for later. The material I choose is heavily dependent on my mood at the moment, so I tend to have phases when it comes to selecting books to read.
So it's a day early for Throwback Thursday, but I'd like to share one of my most favorite personal lettering projects I've ever done. One night in January 2013, I was listening to Coldplay's "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" and decided to doodle the song lyrics. After 3 weeks of working every night on a segment, I finished the project using only blank index cards and black gel pens.