Updates! Matryoshka auction, 2014 planner illustration, animation, and a holiday mailer

Hello! Just a few updates πŸ™‚

Katha Magazine‘s auction for a cause has been extended until November 30 due to public request. That means you still have a couple more days left to bid for one-of-a-kind art to benefit the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines πŸ™‚

Tres Marias: art up for auction for the benefit of the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan
Tres Marias


The current highest bid (as of November 28) for my handpainted matryoshka dolls with a Filipino twist is Php 7,000 or $160~ USD. Thank you, mystery bidders! Whoever wins the dolls at the end of the auction will get a few extra art goodies from me as well πŸ™‚

Think you can top the current bid? It’s for charity, after all! πŸ™‚ Learn more about my process in making these dolls here, and place your bid here: http://bit.ly/katha-padayon/

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Muni and Moonleaf Tea Shop has come out with their 2014 planner! I’m one of twelve Filipino artists who illustrated a spread for the inside pages.

This is my work– Make Someone’s Day. Spreading positive vibes by passing on your good deeds to others!

Make Someone's Day


The planner will be available soon in all branches of Moonleaf Tea Shop (they have over 30 branches all over the Philippines!), but you can pre-order yours on the Muni shop! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my copies– there will be a giveaway then πŸ˜‰

Read about the planner and see photos of the other artwork and planner inside pages here.

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This is a little snippet of a short animation I made for a testimonial video for Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells class. I am ever so grateful to have learned animation at my first job– I now get to fuse it with illustration! I doubt it’s something I’ll be doing often or even offering as part of my illustration services (animating things is a huge time-suck and a different focus altogether… and I’m not up to date with current animation standards and industry practices), but it’s a nice skill to have if needed, nevertheless.

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Holiday postcard mailer, 2013!

This is one of two designs I sent off to the printer for my 2013 holiday postcard mailer (to send to clients). It’s a revised version of the card I didn’t submit for Week 1 of my Make Art That Sells class. Speaking of which, I’ve yet to post about the last week of the class, but in the meantime, you can read about the four other weeks of MATS class here πŸ™‚

Make Art That Sells, Week 4: Editorial

I was excited for Week 4 of Lilla RogersMake Art That Sells class– Editorial week. Prior to this class, I wasn’t really sure what editorial illustration is. It turns out it’s illustration for magazines, newspapers, books– anything editorial that has a need for an accompanying illustrated piece to depict the concept or content of a written article.

Our assignment for editorial week was to make a map of the town or city you live in. Maps are constantly being commissioned, especially for magazines, so this is a lucrative market to make art for.

Making an illustrated map has long been on my long list of to-do’s for my portfolio. I’ve already made one before (Manila: Do as the Locals Do) but that was a couple of years ago and I’m not happy with it anymore:


I did that in 2011 for They Draw and Travel as an entry for a contest they were having. I had a fulltime job then, but I squeezed this into my schedule, giving up sleep and doing this entire map in less than 24 hours (and to me, it shows!). It ended up being one of the top 11 entries and the funny thing is, Lilla Rogers was the guest judge for that contest.


I was flipping out then that LILLA “really liked” MY map… LILLA, who runs an agency I hoped to be part of one day! Little did I know that two years later, I’d be here, taking her class πŸ˜› I didn’t win that contest but the thrill of being part of Lilla’s 11 was a good consolation prize πŸ˜›

But back to present. The editorial map assignment was a chance to revise and update my map to be in tune with my current style now. I decided to make a map of Metro Manila (composed of 17 cities) instead of focusing on just ParaΓ±aque City (where I live– still within Metro Manila), to cover more interesting points. My 2011 map for They Draw and Travel concentrated more on the local tourism aspect of Manila, but this time, I wanted a more personal map.

To guide me about what to include in my map, I asked myself, “If a friend from another country came to visit me, which parts of Metro Manila do I point out and talk about?” I ended up with a long list covering tourist spots, places I had a connection to (where I worked, where I went to school), and where all the good shopping is.

I started with research, using Google Maps as a starting point. Lilla points out we have it easy now, thanks to technology. In the “olden days,” they actually had to go to the library and do actual research. Eww. So thank you for your wonderful, wonderful technology, Google.

My reference maps


Manila is dirty, grimy, chaotic, and polluted. I can say those things without public backlash because I’m not Dan Brown… and because it’s the truth. But more than being just dirty or polluted, Manila is also lively, bustling with activity, quirky, vivid, and INTERESTING. I sort of felt bad for my classmates who live in small, “nothing” towns (their words) as they admitted they were having a hard time with their map as there was “nothing interesting” or that the main attraction of their town was “a Bed, Bath and Beyond.” I mean, they probably like living where they do, despite the lack of interesting things going on. But lucky me, I thought. I may live in the third world but it’s an always interesting third world and I never would want to live anywhere else. Just don’t remind me how we get 20 typhoons a year and our fair share of floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

I wanted my map to exude a raw, organic vibe as I felt it was fitting for Manila’s character. These class assignments are a good opportunity for experimentation where you please only yourself and not a client, so I decided to try traditional media to capture some of that raw vibe. I drew the city names and the icons in colored pencil and gouache.



I scanned them in, digitally collaged the scanned elements in Photoshop, and wrote in little annotations directly using my drawing tablet. I gave the land mass a slight, earthy texture for that raw, unclean look. Because Manila is unclean. LOL. I think I managed to capture Metro Manila’s vibe in this map. The uneven and dynamic lettering, the casualness of the handwritten notes, and the organic look the icons painted in gouache gave to the piece all contributed towards the look I was aiming for.

Reg_Silva_ManilaPhilippines_1B_Week 4
Yep, we sure do have a lot of malls. Click on the image to view bigger.


I’m pleased with how this map turned out as I managed to translate and capture on paper/computer what I was imagining in my head, and that doesn’t happen all the time.

Making maps is hard work (a lot of my classmates bailed on the assignment as it’s a lot of work. I almost did, too. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to “represent my country!” LOL), but the amount of time you put into it and seeing the end result makes it worthwhile. If I had all the time in the world, I could go on and on making more localized and specific maps for the more interesting parts of the city (downtown Manila!) or the Philippines (all the tourist spots!), but this is a good start. I’ll just add those other map-making plans to my long list of to-do’s.

Next up is Week 5, the final week (aww!): Party Paper.

Read about my Make Art That Sells series of blog posts
Week 1: Paper
Week 2: Baby Apparel
Week 3: Scrapbooking
Week 4: Editorial
Week 5: Party Paper
Bonus: Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells: a review

Tres Marias: art up for auction for the benefit of the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’ve probably seen me posting progress pictures of a matryoshka doll set I’ve been painting for the past few weeks.

In 2012, I bought a set of black chalkboard matryoshka dolls from Muji.


I love Muji’s stuff– I always think their “blank” products are perfect for customising (see the Muji colored pencil tube I turned into a kokeshi doll). Their matryoshka dolls aren’t any different. These chalkboard nesting dolls came in a set of five with white chalk included (I’m trying to look for a product link online but Muji seems to have discontinued producing these dolls). I bought the dolls knowing I would paint something on them, someday, somehow… eventually.

Last September, Katha Magazine asked me, along with other local artists, to contribute original art to be auctioned off to raise funds for an event by Paint Some Happy, a non-profit initiative that aims to brighten up the walls of underprivileged kids’ surroundings with hope-inspiring art. However, in light of the recent disaster Super Typhoon Haiyan caused in Philippines, Katha has decided to redirect 100% of the proceeds from the auction to the ongoing relief efforts via The Philippine Red Cross.

By then the blank Muji dolls had been sitting on my shelf for more than a year, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. This then became the perfect opportunity to do something with the dolls, and for a worthwhile cause to boot.

For someone who doesn’t really paint (I took a couple of (not very successful) oil/watercolor painting lessons as a kid, but that’s it), it was pretty ambitious of me to pledge doing something that was way outside of my comfort zone (painting a curved surface, painting with acrylic paints, and just painting in general), but it was a welcome challenge and a chance for me to do something different from my usual digital work.

I decided to paint just three of the five dolls. Matryoshka dolls are Russian in origin, but I wanted to paint Filipino faces on the dolls instead. I started with some rough sketches, drawing typical, everyday Filipinas:


The happy tindera selling fish at the market, your ΓΌber religious, rosary-clutching lola, and the young schoolgirl with big hopes and dreams.


I knew I needed to use high-quality acrylic for this project to make sure the paint won’t peel or crack long after the pieces have been completed. The cheap acrylic paint (*coughReevescough*) I use for general crafts just won’t cut it. So off I went to buy my first tubes of artist-grade acrylic paint. I’ve always wanted to try artist-grade paints (high quality, and more expensive, too) but couldn’t justify buying them when I don’t have a lot of experience painting in the first place. I never had a reason to make a purchase, until now.


I prepared my painting surface first by priming (with white gesso paint) and sanding down the Muji chalkboard dolls so that the paint adheres better to its surface.


I molded half a circle of hardening clay to serve as lola‘s hair bun and placed it on top of the biggest doll. Then I started sketching and painting.

Continue reading “Tres Marias: art up for auction for the benefit of the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan”

Make Art That Sells, Week 3: Scrapbooking

I’m going to be honest here. I don’t like scrapbooking. Neither do a lot of my classmates from my Make Art That Sells class (side note: I was surprised to learn that a lot of my British/European classmates aren’t even the least bit familiar with what scrapbooking is. Apparently, it’s an American thing). I get scrapbooking’s appeal but personally, it’s not for me. Most of the scrapbooking work I see is just pre-made creativity (templates) collaged together looking like… pre-made work. Of course, there are standout scrapbookers who manage to create and manipulate these templates to really come up with work that looks beyond templated, but they seem to be far and few in between.

Scrapbooking has a tendency to be… hokey. And kitschy. I think those are the main reasons why this assignment for Week 3 of Make Art That Sells threw a lot of us off. I wasn’t feeling this market. Our brief was to make a camera and typewriter-themed scrapbooking collection, and I wasn’t hot about the theme either. I thought those two subjects were way overdone (thanks, hipsters) and I personally don’t like going along with whatever everyone else is into (um, like Speculoos Cookie Butter and ramen places mushrooming in Metro Manila) just because it’s trendy. But if you’re in a trend-driven industry like illustration, you have to be in tune with and work with trends or you get left out of the competition. Notice how the retail market is currently flooded with products with moustaches, hipster glasses, owls, and YOLO on them? The companies selling these products are making money because they jumped on a trend.


So cameras and typewriters it is! I thought hard about how I was going to interpret this theme and assignment. If I were to preserve pictures and memories into a scrapbook, what kind of memories would I like to go in there? The answer was easy– travel. In 2011, I resigned from my fulltime design day job and one of the things I wanted to do with my newfound freedom was to go out and travel, especially since I had spent the last two years working from home on night shift. I traveled alone, traveled with friends, traveled with family. I like how travel is good for your soul, mind (especially for creatives!), and spirit. I didn’t travel as much this 2013 as I spent my travel funds instead on taking this e-course (HAHA– but money well spent, nonetheless) but if you’re young and can afford it, I advocate traveling to broaden your mind and expand your horizons.

On my solo trip to Seoul, South Korea last year, I picked up a lot of VERY cute paper products. Seoul has them in abundance (maybe one day I’ll get a post up on all the adorable paper merchandise in Seoul… one day! Ten years from now!), and cheap, too! I bought a lot of stickers, notebooks, postcards, journals, sticky notes. “For research and inspiration,” I said (to no one who asked).

Korean stickers for inspiration
That’s Tiger a year ago, sitting on my stationery loot from Seoul. Tiger’s bigger and fatter now!


They proved to be inspiration I was able to draw from when I was making my scrapbooking collection. There’s a lot of simple, naive-style, hand-drawn art on Korean stationery and I wanted to emulate that look, while at the same time staying true to my style.

These are some of the icons I came up with in my attempt to fuse cameras, typewriters, and travel in one theme.

Travel + writing icons

I don’t know about you but they remind me of planner/diary deco stickers, which is exactly the look I was going for. Or LINE (a Japanese instant messaging app) stickers, another source I drew inspiration from. And the girl looks Korean, doesn’t she? In my mind, her name is Ji Hae. Hehehe. Annyeong haseyo!

We were to present our work on a page as scrapbooking embellishments, brads, stickers, labels, and other stuff you might find as part of a scrapbooking collection. I presented my work as a scrapbooking kit with journaling tags and coordinating papers, too.



I thought the kit looked like something a pre-teen or a teenager might be drawn to, so I branded and packaged it as such to appeal to their teenybopper tendencies (do people still say teenybopper?): heart doodles, cheesy declarations I would never say myself (“adventure awaits!”), and the title of Little Miss Adventurer to drive home a sense of adventure and false independence. Hahaha. Parang Dora the Explorer.

Out of all the assignments we have had for this class (I’m writing this post a little late– we’ve just finished the fifth and final week), this is the assignment I enjoyed the least. I mean, it’s ok, but this won’t be going into my portfolio– not like this, at least. I will need to tweak it (probably for a different market) as the vibe I’m getting from this is that this is something you’ll see being sold in mass-market retail stores– like Claire’s (accessories for tweens and teens), perhaps? It’s a little kitschy, a little hokey… just like scrapbooking. So despite my initial aversion to this market and the theme, the end product seems to have achieved its purpose!

Next up is Week 4, Editorial. I’m excited to show you the work I did for Editorial week, as unlike this assignment, it tackles a theme and subject matter close to my heart <3 πŸ™‚

Read about my Make Art That Sells series of blog posts
Week 1: Paper
Week 2: Baby Apparel
Week 3: Scrapbooking
Week 4: Editorial
Week 5: Party Paper
Bonus: Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells: a review

Art for Muni x Moonleaf’s annual planner – sneak peek and planner launch!

You might remember I collaborated with Muni PH a few months ago for their #CutTheCrap anti-cigarette butt litter campaign.

#CutTheCrap #NoMoreButts campaign poster

Now I’ve collaborated with Muni again to produce artwork for Moonleaf Tea Shop‘s annual planner πŸ˜€

I’m one of several Filipino artists who contributed artwork for the planner, which will be launched on November 16th at Moonleaf Maginhawa (that’s in the faraway land of Quezon City… says this Southerner).

Sneak peek: illustration for Muni x Moonleaf's annual planner
Don’t worry, my final art isn’t this ugly. This is just my initial sketch.


Everyone’s invited to the planner launch, aptly called “Not Another Coffee Shop Planner (we’re a tea shop!): THE LAUNCH.” Hahahahaha.

Moonleaf posted a sneak peek of my final illustration on their Facebook page:

Sneak peek: illustration for Muni x Moonleaf's annual planner

I’ll post the whole piece after the launch, or see it for yourself on November 16.


Not Another Coffee Shop Planner (we’re a tea shop!): THE LAUNCH
16 November 2013, 2PM onwards
@ Moonleaf Maginhawa
103 Maginhawa street, UP Teacher’s Village, 1101 Diliman, Quezon City

What to expect:
– Pop-up shops by Muni.com.ph, Punchdrunk Panda, Cubism Family, and the Moonleaf 2014 Planner!
– Upcycled craft workshop by Katha Magazine
– Design talk by artist collaborator Rob Cham
– Musical performances by Gentle Universe / Musiko Imbento
..and more!!!

And in light of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Muni is organising The Better Closet.


Sometimes victims of disasters are inundated with more donated clothes than they need, so the clothes end up in piles, unused. In my opinion, it’s better to donate money which agencies and charitable organisations ON THE GROUND of the disaster will know how to direct towards supplies the victims need the most (clean water, food, medicine). The money The Better Closet will make from selling the clothes on November 16 will go to the typhoon victims. So donate your NICE, pre-loved clothes, drop by, and shop for a cause. Email Muni PH at the email address listed above or tweet them at @Muni_PH for more details. You can also read about The Better Closet here.

See you on November 16 for the planner launch! Jen from Muni says 50% of planner sales on that day will go towards relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, so more reason to go. I’m going, even I’m from faraway ParaΓ±aque. Let me know if you’re planning to drop by– it’s a rare chance to see me out in the wild (as I work from home and don’t go out much. LOLOL).

Muni: http://muni.com.ph
Moonleaf Tea Shop: http://moonleafteashop.com/
The Better Closet: http://muni.com.ph/thebettercloset

Super typhoon Haiyan: where to donate if you’re overseas


By now, most of my international followers have heard of the widespread destruction in the Philippines’ Visayas region, brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan). Yolanda, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, is the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall, and it left a wake of devastation in its path. Metro Manila (where I am) was largely unaffected, but Yolanda went “island-hopping” as it made landfall multiple times over several islands and provinces across the country, uprooting trees, tearing roofs off houses, destroying everything in its path, and causing storm surges (waves rising above sea level due to the wind blowing pressure on the water surface) as high as 15 feet crashing inland. It also affected Bohol and Cebu, two provinces just recovering from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck last October 15– less than a month ago.

Photo: AP/BBC News Asia


Continue reading “Super typhoon Haiyan: where to donate if you’re overseas”

My creative workspace on Katha magazine + a giveaway!

Want to see where I work?

Newly-launched Katha Magazine featured my creative space in their second issue released November 3rd. Have you seen Katha yet? It’s a bi-monthly creative resource for and about Filipino creatives and is filled with interesting articles, awesome photos and art direction, and great creative styling! I’m honored and flattered to be asked to be part of their second issue to share pictures of where I work πŸ™‚


Check out the article and read Katha FOR FREE here: http://bit.ly/katha-issue02
You can also download their first and second issue as a PDF here (free!): http://bitly.com/download-katha

I work from home, and home is my parents’ house in Paranaque (in Filipino/some Asian cultures, children typically still live with their parents until they get married). I can’t believe I’ve been working from home for five years already. Almost two years working from home fulltime and on night shift for an American company, and the rest as a freelancer.

My creative workspace on Katha magazine + a giveaway!

Working from home is not for everyone. I’ve always been a homebody and an introvert (bordering on anti-social!) even at a young age so working from home suits me. I’ve tried working in coffee shops (when I’m hit with a bout of cabin fever) but I don’t do that very often as I get distracted by people coming and going, coffee, and lemon squares. I far prefer working from home. It can get very isolated though especially with a “shut-in” career like illustration, so if you crave social interaction, or don’t have the discipline to work from home (“Oh, look! A bed! I’m just going to– zzzzz”), working in an office setting might be better.

My creative workspace on Katha magazine + a giveaway!
Read the Katha article here


I am very grateful I get to do my work from the comforts of home, especially when I get on Facebook and see people on my feed complaining about how they’re sitting in horrible traffic on the way to/from work, or how they had a hard time getting a ride home because it was raining and “walang masakyan.” I am most especially grateful that I’m in an industry where working from home is practically the norm (talk to other illustrators. Notice how we’re all socially awkward and aloof? That’s what very minimal social interaction does to ya!).


In collaboration with Katha Magazine, I’m giving away a set of Wedgienet loot! Woot, woot!

My creative workspace on Katha magazine + a giveaway!
All original stuff I made with my bare hands or zapped from my brain and into the computer!


Katha’s second issue is all about celebrating the spirit of giving and receiving. I’ve been blessed with a life and a career I love, and I think that shines through in my work– cheerful, bright, happy. And I’m passing on my work to one reader who can answer the following question: WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL WORKSPACE LIKE?

My creative workspace on Katha magazine + a giveaway!

Send in your answers here: http://bit.ly/katha-regsilva-giveaway . The deadline is on December 15th, 2013. I will only be able to check and see the answers after the deadline. Please note that this giveaway is open for Philippine residents only (aww!), but international readers (all two of you), don’t worry as I have another giveaway later this month that’s open to everyone πŸ™‚

Thank you to Katha, especially to Allie, for inviting me to be part of your fab second issue! I really appreciate it <3 You girls rock! πŸ˜€

Katha Magazine: http://kathamagazine.tumblr.com/
Katha Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/kathamagazineph
Read Katha’s second issue here: http://issuu.com/kathamagazine/docs/novdec2013