Collab: Customized desktop wallpaper for Allie, The Four-Eyed Wonder

I was asked by my good friend Allie to create a desktop wallpaper for her lovely blog and I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored! Thank for this really great opportunity, Allie!

When thinking of what to paint, I thought of a feminist princess and her pet merbird in a fantasy garden. I hope it makes you smile, because I certainly had a great time making it.

Here’s what I came up with:

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Download it from the blog of Allie, The Four-Eyed Wonder. Hope you like it!

P.S. My friends and I have been working on a super-special project that’s really exciting! Check it out here. 🙂

DIY: Ombre canvas tote bag

Being stuck at home yesterday (hope everyone’s safe and dry!) means more time to do household chores and craft! I chose to craft first, heh. I saw a photo of a similar ombre tote bag featuring three colors: pink, blue and violet in instagram. It was just a photo though, so I decided to try and make a bag inspired by summery tones. In my first attempt, I was inspired by mint ice cream, and the sea.

What you’ll need:
– A canvas tote bag
– Acrylic paint
– Mixing surface. I used the plastic cover of a microwaveable container
– A foam roller brush (got mine from National, only Php30 I think)
– Masking tape or plain plastic tape (My paper tape ran out in the middle of my second tote so I used sparkly plastic tape from National)
– Lots of newspaper and a cardboard (optional) to protect the other side of the bag
– A palette knife for mixing the paint

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HOW TO DO IT:

Cover the areas that you want covered with the tape. For my first attempt, I just made a simple alternating stripey pattern. Place some newspapers inside the bag, and some cardboard if you have some, to protect the other side of the bag from paint stains that would probably seep through. Keep in mind that it has to be flat, or you’ll have a hard time rolling your brush on top of the bag and it will result in uneven coloring.

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Cover the top and bottom of the bag too, if you wish.

Prepare your paint mixture. Since we’re going to make an ombre effect, start with the lightest shade. I opted to add more color instead of adding white paint since I planned on making it darker at the bottom. You could also start with the darkest shade and then add white after every few stripes. Mix it thoroughly using the palette knife. Work quickly since acrylic’s prone to drying up quickly too! But you can make it last longer by adding a few drops of water and remixing it every now and then.

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Roll your roller brush into the paint, you can use the palette knife to spread clumpy paint.

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Start rolling! Roll from left to right, top to bottom, but stop in the middle area of the bag, since you’ll be adding the other color to the right side.

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When you’re halfway near the bottom, time to change the color. Add more paint (what I did) or more white, if you went for the dark to light ombre route. When you’re near the bottom, change the color again by adding paint or white.

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After you’re done with the first color, do the same with the other color. Do it from the right side of the bag to the left. When you reach the part where they’re supposed to blend, use your fingers to blend them. I think having a spray bottle with water would work too, but I didn’t have one, so finger-blend it is. Like what you did with the first color, add a darker shade when you’re in the middle, and another darker shade when you’re near the bottom.

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When you’re satisfied with the colors, remove the tape!

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Tadah!

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Inspired by our glorious sunsets, I made another one, this time with the colors from light pink morphing to a dusky peach. I arranged the tape in a criss-cross pattern, and colored from left to right from one edge of the bag to the other end. Then I built up the intensity of the hue by adding more orange this time.

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Have fun trying out various patterns: Chevrons, mimic embroidery stitches, cut the tape into waves and enjoy making your unique ombre tote bag!

 

Artsycraftsy exploration: 98B Saturday X Future Market

Another item ticked off my bucket list! I’m glad I braved the wild downpour this afternoon to reach Escolta–it was worth it! Met old and new friends, befriended a kitty, got some freebies (heh, heh) and lots of keys to the doors of possibilities (naks haha).

Things I learned from this adventure: How the world is a small place with a friend in every corner, how friendships are quickly and easily formed when the heart is willing, how cool smoke inside resin is, how technology is so perfect when used properly, how wearing waterproof shoes during heavy rainfall can give you peace of mind, how ice cream is better when you have great company, how I really want a cat of my own.

Can’t wait for the next one!

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DIY: Quick, cheap, and easy monotype prints

The other night I made some monotype prints. A monotype is a print that’s made by pressing paper against an inked or painted surface.

It’s slightly different from a monoprint. Basically a monotype uses a featureless plate that would result in one unique print, while a monoprint uses a plate with permanent features like texture or lines that will persist in each print, depending on how the plate was inked before the printing process. This link explains it in more detail.

Since I have little patience and even less moolah, I’ve revised the usual way of doing monotype print (meaning it usually involves a brayer and a glass sheet/plexiglass which I don’t have). I’m sharing my quick, easy, and cheap monotype tutorial with you!

What you’ll need:

– Watercolor paint in tubes. Or if you want it to not dry up so fast, try oil paint.

– Palette knife (optional-you can also use a chopstick, a straw, a blunt knife, old credit cards or old call cards, ballpen cap, matches, or none at all, since I primarily used my fingers heh)

– Flat plastic packaging (recycle! I used the plastic from the art paper but if you have extra plastic cover that will also probably work), use only one side, so for the plastic packaging, cut it so that you’ll have two plastic sheets

– Sturdy tape (I used strong paper tape which I got from Daiso)

– Paper for making prints (I used plain oslo paper, and neon construction paper)

– Newspaper for the mess

– Brush (optional)

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HOW TO DO IT:
1. You’ll be using the plastic sheet as your pseudo-plexiglass surface. This is your printing plate. Stick it to the newspaper and stick it again to a smooth surface using your tape. Or not. I stuck mine to the newspaper atop my yoga mat since that’s where I craft (and eat and do yoga but that’s another story)
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2. Squeeze your paint directly onto your plastic sheet. Or you can mix up the colors that you want first, but this is how I did mine:

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I squeezed all the colors I wanted here onto the plastic sheet:

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3. Now the fun begins! Using the palette knife or whatever tool you want), move the paint around the plastic sheet to make your design. Work fast, or the paint might dry! I just made random swirls. Imagine you’re the great artist Rafael Pacheco and try finger painting, which is what I did. Highly enjoyable and relaxing as well. I like the feeling of making a creative mess with my hands:

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Interlude: My messy hands:

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The top of my paper tape was waxy, so that’s what I used as a makeshift mixing plate:

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4. When you’re happy with your design, it’s time to create your print! They often said that the paper should be damp, but I didn’t have a spray bottle for the water or a huge flat pan so I used dry paper. Try working with damp paper next time, and make sure you pat it into a semi-dry state using a towel, so it’s not that drippy. In printmaking class, we sandwiched the dripping paper between a folded towel. You can try that if you want, experiment and see which technique you like best.

I used dry oslo paper. It helps if you hold the two diagonal corners while pressing it down to your design so that there are no air bubbles. Work quickly, before the watercolor paint dries! Which is what happened to me, oops. Press the paper against the paint with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon or a brayer if you have one, but what I did was to use my body weight for less effort. Meaning: I stomped on top of the paper (but to be more effective, you must walk slowly in every area of the paper. Careful not to drag the paper accidentally!). I read about this technique from this wonderful printmaking book called “Hand Printing from Nature: Create Unique Prints for Fabric, Paper, and Other Surfaces Using Natural and Found Materials” by Laura Donnelly Bethmann. A must-read if you’re interested in creating your own prints!

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5. You now have your finished one-of-a-kind print! What’s great about the monotype technique is that the results are wonderfully unpredictable, so if you like surprise artworks, you’d definitely like experimenting with this printing technique. 🙂 If you’re using watercolor paint, you have to keep in mind that you have to work pretty fast or else the paint will dry up in the plastic sheet. Some details did not appear since they were already dry, but that’s okay.

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Here’s my first attempt. I did abstract works for now, but am looking forward to making monotype merbirds in the near future!

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P.S.
I poured a lot of water atop the plastic sheet and pressed paper against it and loved the wash I got:
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Take a peek at my other tutorials here. 🙂

Read more about my printmaking adventures here.

Film photos: Tales from the city

While mourning the death of my Vivitar camera, I remembered how I was given a basic point and shoot camera as a birthday gift when I was a young girl. I wasn’t able to use it that much since I had no budget for film back then. I still have no budget now, haha, but I am blessed with generous friends (Thanks D and G!) who share their film rolls with me. I wish I could have unlimited film and free film developing. However, since it’s more pricey than digital photos, I like how it forces you to commit to a memory, and fast: What would I love remembering–this moment before I blow the candles on my cake with all my guests expectantly grinning at me, the moment of the actual candle-blowing with the singing on the background, the pleasant taste of the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted?

I find myself budgeting my shots and forgetting about my film rolls. In an effort to save, I stash my used film rolls in a bag somewhere, with the goal of having the lot (cheaper in bulk) developed and delivered to me by my beloved Digiprint. Alas, Digiprint is no more, and I am left with undeveloped rolls and a bit of regret about the wasted time.

However! Fuijifilm still develops film, and even if they cost more than what Digiprint used to charge, I still feel happy that my memories could return to me with all the dreamy haze that only a film photo could provide.

Here, then, are snapshots from my beloved Manila, a slice of everyday:

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P.S. I find myself loving oil pastels more and more. In an attempt to challenge myself further, I’ve made my very first pastel portrait painting.
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…and some dreamscape collages!
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Artsycraftsy interview: Andrea Cervantes of Berunagirl

I first saw the lovely artwork of Andrea in a Heima design talk event, a long time ago. Artists were tasked to create artworks using MT washi tape and her papercut art was one of my faves. Since I couldn’t forget it, I tracked her down and discovered how talented and creative she is (she’s also super nice in person, btw!). It’s also interesting how she is able to incorporate her fave shows/movies into her artworks–She makes quirky notebooks called Fandom Jots (I have my eye on that one featuring Tolkien, heh).

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your art/craft.

I’m Andrea, and I love creating things with paper and pixels. Right now I work as a packaging designer during the day and starting as a freelance artist/designer/crafter/notebook maker at night.

2. What are your favorite tools in creating art and why do you love them?

I’ve been cutting things with X-acto knives since I was in grade school, and I’ve never been able to put them down! I can’t explain why I like them – my dad bought a set for himself but I ended up using them on paper like pencils.

3. Can you tell us about your daily routine or your artistic process?

I go to work in the morning – my job at the packaging factory is more engineering than design, and it enables the logical side of my brain to work. It helps a lot because I can approach a freelance design work at a different angle. I walk home during the afternoons, and this is where I get inspired the most – I work at one of the industrial zones near Mt. Makiling, and it’s SUPER refreshing to be in an environment with less pollution and more nature. I work on design things at night, and although there are disadvantages (I can’t take pretty pics of my work, and sometimes I fall asleep on the job) I get things done.

I learned having a design workflow in college (brief, research, studies, critique, approval, execution, feedback); I like spending more time in research though.

4. What inspires you? What makes you excited?

I’ve missed out a lot on most things – I rarely go to design events because I don’t live in the city – so what inspires me is catching up on all the things I’ve missed.

I have lots of things to learn about crafting, graphic design, typography, and figure drawing, because until recently I was very hesitant to develop my skills. I’ve been drawing, crafting, and doing these kinds of work ever since I can remember, but I stopped doing all these when I forced myself into industrial design for the sake of “deserving” a degree in it… so it’s about catching up, skills-wise, too. I have a list of things that I’d like to try out – treatments, styles, or a new technique from Pinterest, tumblr, Behance, and the blogs I follow – and those drive me a lot.

Catching up on all those things is very frustrating at times but I get so happy when I finally try things out.

I also love reading things, watching movies and documentaries, and following TV series. I like narratives. I can spend my whole day in a library or in front of my laptop, reading and watching random things, and some of the things I read and watch go into what I make. Some of my works are fanart because I’m so inspired by the show/movie and fascinated by the community/fandom interaction in general.

5. Who are the local and foreign artists you admire the most?

Right now? There are lots of design studios opening in the Philippines now and I’m so excited for them, you have no idea. I’ve been following studios like And A Half Design Studio, Plus63 Design Co., Heima Home and Lifestyle, and VGrafiks Design. I love what they do to Filipino design as a contribution to global design, and I love that the Pinoy thing comes out naturally and not overtly expressed. I love collaborations with small groups. They’re doing things I wanted to do since college.

I love the new crop of Filipino graphic designers and illustrators – those I meet in tumblr and Behance, and the self-taught ones. Suddenly, I want to call myself a graphic designer. If I had tumblr and Behance back in the day and met friends like these online when I was unsure and starting out, things might have been clearer for me.

I’ll always be awed by Art Nouveau, and I’m not afraid to share that to anyone.

6. Most inspiring place in the Philippines?

Walking around the UP Diliman and UPLB campuses inspires me a lot. I see these students walking under huge, decades-old trees, and I tell myself that the world is OK.

7. If you were stuck in an island and could only bring one art/craft tool with you, what would it be and why?

Definitely my X-acto knife.

8. Favorite snack/s while creating art?

Agh, my mom trained us not to eat while working on our desks since we were kids so I don’t eat while I work and I take breaks in the kitchen instead! (I like drinking milk during breaks though.)

9. Earliest childhood memory related to arts/crafts?

My relatives exposing me to church and folk art in Malolos, Bulacan, where my mom grew up. I loved going to old houses and churches and looking at local paintings and old furniture, although I didn’t understand why I was fascinated by all of it until I went to college.

10. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Never answered this question when I was a kid! When asked, I’d look up at my teacher and say “shh, wait, can’t you see I’m drawing?”

11. What’s your current job now?

Still drawing while making boxes. CONSISTENCY hahahaha!

12. Favorite books and/or movies?

I CAN’T LIST EVERYTHING, I AM SORRY. But: I credit Jessica Zafra and Kurt Vonnegut for my absurd outlook in life, Terry Gilliam for challenging me to make impossible leaps, and C. S. Lewis for my imagination.

13. What is your philosophy when creating/making art?

The constant thing that happens in life (especially in mine) is mistakes. Never forget that most of them can be undone, and can be improved. Don’t be afraid of “panget,” things will sort itself out accordingly.

BONUS question:
The Universe starts from scratch and you’re given the chance to be reincarnated as a famous artist. Which artist would you choose and why?

I’ve been thinking about a lot of painters and illustrators whose skills I want to have, but I have to say I’d want to be filmmaker/artist/designer/Python Terry Gilliam. He does everything and he’s not afraid of anything.

Where can we see your awesome work? What are you working on right now?

I am rebuilding my site at berunagirl.net, so you can add me at berunagirl.tumblr.com for some updates. I also sell handmade notebooks at etsy.com/shop/berunagirlpapers.

Recently, I made some wall prints for Heima’s Brixton store, you can check them out there or in their website. 🙂

Thanks Andrea! 🙂

All images are from Andrea’s site.