Creative rut

I’m in a creative rut, and have been for the past several months.

creativerut

It’s the reason why I’ve missed uploading two of my monthly wallpapers this year and frankly, I don’t foresee myself posting the rest of the wallpapers for 2015. I’ll have to rethink my wallpaper strategy, sorry. I’ve been uploading wallpapers monthly for two years now and I think I’ll stop. I might start up the wallpapers again in 2016. Maybe, maybe not.

I haven’t been doing personal art for several months now. I’m going through creative brain drain. I’m just… stuck, I guess. For a long time now, client work has been dominating and perhaps I forgot how to “art.” I haven’t been in the mood to do anything creative at all.

I guess I’ll just have to wait out this rut until I feel like picking up a pencil/brush again. Who knows when that will be.

In creative exile

For personal reasons, I’ve been on leave from all my work for a month. Without client work to fill up my days, I’ve been using the time to organize my closet and studio, to read books, and to do things I never had the time for, like my personal art. I’ve been so busy on work projects and hitting deadlines (sometimes working on three at a time) that I’ve neglected simply playing around and doing art for art’s sake, like I used to do.

So in the month I’ve been off work, I’ve done the following:

Made shrink plastic art:

shrinkplastic

shrinkplastic2

Worked on my travel journal:

journal1

journal2

journal3

Painted:

painting

Carved rubber stamps:

stamps

Written letters to friends (#oldschool):

letterwriting

Doodled:

drawing

Worked on my #365DoodledNotestoSelf project on Instagram:

doodlednotestoself

I’ve been enjoying my leave doing random art stuff. And look, I even set aside time to write in this neglected blog. I hope to make writing in this blog more of a habit.

Book find: Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever

Recently, I was at a mall I don’t usually frequent and having gotten lost trying to find a restaurant I was supposed to be at for a Christmas get-together, I chanced upon a secondhand bookstore. I went in to browse mindlessly, not looking for anything in particular.

I was at the children’s section and I was made aware of a thought and a feeling; like a gut instinct kicking in: that I was going to find something special. I didn’t know what, but a few minutes I later, I spotted a 1970 edition of a Richard Scarry book. Bingo!

1

When we were kids, my brother was given a large, hardbound copy of Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy World.

 

It was a book about animals who lived in different parts of the world. I loved that book and often borrowed it from my brother to read and look at the pictures. Richard Scarry’s illustrations were rich and dynamic and his characters were so fun and quirky. I spent hours looking at the pictures more than reading what was written for the pictures told stories independent of the words written on the page. That was the only exposure I had to Richard Scarry’s work, but he’s made an impression and an impact on my own work as an illustrator ever since. Why do you think I often draw animals wearing clothes?

From The Big, Busy World of Richard Scarry:

“Another positive aspect of the titles is his use of animals. While they are certainly cute, they also serve to be much more enjoyable and identifiable to children. One of the reasons his books have done so well throughout the world is the fact that animals do not have racial characteristics, which allow all children to connect with the little girl bunny or little boy cat. He explained “children can identify more closely with pictures of animals than they can with pictures of another child. They see an illustration of a blond girl or a dark-haired boy, who they know is somebody other than themselves, and competition creeps in. With imagination — and children all have marvelous imagination — they can easily identify with an anteater who is a painter or a goat who is an Indian.” (source)

Unfortunately, we don’t have a copy of my brother’s book anymore. Maybe it was misplaced or given away by mistake, but if I ever happen to chance upon a vintage edition of that book at a secondhand bookshop somewhere, you can be sure I’ll buy it right then and there (there are a few copies on eBay but they’re too expensive (one is $200+ USD!) and besides, part of the fun is coming across it randomly at a secondhand bookstore or at a neighbor’s garage sale). In the meantime, I have my P178 (around $4 USD) copy of Best Mother Goose Ever to ogle at and enjoy:

A review: Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells

Blog entry: Make Art That Sells Week 1: Paper

This post is for those who have read my previous blog entries about Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells e-course and are wondering if it’s worth it.

From my posts, it probably sounds as if we were just given five assignments and that’s it– bam!— you now know how to draw. But this is NOT (entirely) an illustration course, and it’s not as simple as it looks and sounds. Contrary to the course title, it is not just about the physical act of making and drawing. The course goes into a lot of detail about WHAT makes commercial art sellable, what manufacturers look for in buying artwork to put on their products, what steps you can take to not just make great art but HOW to get that art on the market, and how to spot emerging trends so you can act accordingly and ride the trend wave (leading to sales for your work). Personally, I’d say this course is 90% about the business side of art, and 10% making art according to what you learned about the business side of it.

Class work
My five weeks worth of work from the class

 

So, given all that, is it worth it then?

For me, a resounding YES.

The two-part course costs £798, or £399 each part. That’s approx. $600 USD, or Php 26,600 for just one part of the course. I signed up for the course (Part B only) earlier this year and if I remember right, I got an early bird discount so I got a few thousand Pesos off the price. It’s still pretty expensive (I gave up a trip outside the country and spent my travel funds on this course instead), but if you’re DEAD SERIOUS about illustration as a career and you know you can make a profit off your work, I think you’ll agree with me when I say that the course price is merely a drop in the bucket in the long run, especially when you consider the value this course brings.

Here is my personal list of things I liked the most about the class and why they’re important:

Continue reading “A review: Lilla Rogers’ Make Art That Sells”

Sunday Snippets: New work sneak peeks + 2013 holiday gift tags in action

I’ve been busy– busy behind the scenes and working on new stuff and collections for 2014. Let me show you a few sneak peeks 🙂

New work for 2014 - sneak peek

New work for 2014 - sneak peek

New work for 2014 - sneak peek

New work for 2014 - sneak peek

* * *

Check out some of my 2013 holiday gift tags in action! This is how I did my Christmas wrapping this year:

My Christmas 2013 gift tags in action

I used brown paper, red and blue printed ribbon, and my 2013 gift tags printed on matte photo paper.

I used PhotoLast Professional Matte Photo Paper which I randomly came across a few years ago in Office Warehouse:

photolast

I cannot rave enough about this paper. It’s priced reasonably (P250~? Maybe less) and the quality is amayyyyyzing. I print on it using an inkjet printer and the colors always come out so vivid, crisp, and saturated, regardless of whether I’m using an photo printer (6 inks) or my parents’ office-quality printer (4 inks). I used to make button pins for my now-defunct Etsy shop and this is the paper I printed my graphics on. If you’re near an Office Warehouse, it’s worth checking out (if they still have it– I bought this pack years ago). You won’t be sorry. And this is not a sponsored post; I really just think it’s an inexpensive and good quality photo paper 🙂

Check out how other people used their Wedgienet 2013 gift tags 😀 They kindly gave me permission to share these with you.

airees
by Airees – Visit her on Instagram
You can’t go wrong with Kraft paper and bakers twine!

ea
by Ea – Visit her on Instagram
Light blue and white makes for a very classy and minimal look 🙂

van
by Vanya – Visit her on Tumblr
You don’t even have to wrap your gift– just use festive gift tags and some Christmas string or ribbon and you’re done!

 

I’m tickled pink (hoohoohaha! *monkey sounds*) when people actually use my stuff in real life– my gift tags, my monthly calendars, and other downloadables. I’m working hard to get my stuff out into the real, physical world, beyond just digital illustrations you see on the other side of your screens. I’m making it happen in 2014. Huzzah! Thank you and happy holidays! 🙂

I’m hoping to get one more post in before the new year. Check back soon? There’ll be a giveaway, I hear 😛

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 NOT MINE
Photo: AP/BBC News Asia

 

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

A Society6 review: what do their products look like in real life?

Some time ago, I ordered some of the stuff I sell on Society6 to check out the quality of the merchandise. If that sounds weird to you, it’s only because I don’t actually have any of my products on hand– I just upload the designs and Society6 produces and ships them on demand from their US production facilities (I get a portion of every sale). Just clarifying this as some people think I produce and ship the merchandise myself.

iPhone case, $35 USD

I first ordered my Kitty Pattern phone case for my iPhone 4S late last year (2012), I think. I took advantage of a free shipping promo going on at the time and had my case shipped to my Philippine address. It took a little less than a week and half to arrive which was surprisingly fast as most international mail reaches me in 2-4 weeks. I’ve already thrown out the package the case came in but its origins looked like it was from a shipping center in Muntinlupa City. Either Society6 reroutes their packages from their US facility to Muntinlupa or they have a case production/shipping facility there. Which is funny because I live 15 minutes away from Muntinlupa.

My kitty case looks like this on the site:

Kitty Pattern iPhone case

And it looks like this in real life:

Kitty Pattern iPhone

It’s a hard shell plastic case that snaps on the back and sides of your phone. It’s a Casemate case and the logo is tastefully and subtly debossed at the bottom face of the case. I like the case itself– it’s thin, fits like a glove, and doesn’t add any bulk on your phone. The case’s colors didn’t come out as bright or as saturated as it looks like on the website, but it’s something I can live with (I’m flexible. Or flaky. Color reproduction might be an issue for others who are more particular, though).

Kitty Pattern iPhone

It looks as if the design was printed flat initially then stretched to wrap around the case’s edges– the kitties’ heads and bodies elongated a bit to conform to the case’s contours. Not an issue with this particular design but I suppose if your design has text wrapping around the edges, it could possibly look a bit off.

Society6 cases cost $35 USD– a considerably pricey amount here in the third world as for the same amount, I can get SIX different iPhone cases in Greenhills or other tiangges/bazaars. One could argue that for $35 you’re paying for a custom design, but still… it’s a “first world price” and it’s for this reason that I don’t actively promote my Society6 iPhone cases for my local followers because I don’t think it’s worth the price, at least in the context of the third world 😛

It’s worth checking out this other Society6 iPhone case review I found– she reviews the new case Society6 now uses (what I have is the old version): (link)

Small art print (13 x 17), $21 (price varies depending on artist)

Taking advantage of another free shipping promo (something Society6 offers pretty regularly), I ordered a small art print of my Play design. It took 4 weeks to arrive to my Philippine address, this time coming from a US facility/address (sorry, I forget where exactly). It came securely packaged, rolled inside a sturdy poster tube.

This is what the design looks like on the website:

Play poster

And this is what it looks like in real life:

My Play poster
On my wall

 

Play poster
On a person!

 

I’m very pleased with the quality of the print. It’s a “Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks” which means nothing to me. All I know is that the colors are very bright and saturated, the lines are crisp, and the print looks exactly like it does on my screen (it doesn’t show that in my photos, I guess). Is this real life?! It’s like a retina screen on paper, for lack of a better description. VERY HAPPY.

Play poster close up

Play poster close up

Play poster close up

Tiger
Tiger gives her stamp of approval.

Canvas tote bag, $18

Next (and last), I ordered a canvas tote of my best-selling design on Society6, French Fries. I had this one shipped to a friend in the US for her to ship to me in Manila (they’re trying out a US-PH mail forwarding business).

French Fries tote bag

At $18, it’s priced reasonably, even for the third world. The price becomes even more reasonable when you see how big and roomy this tote is!

French Fries tote bag
A bit big for my 5’4 Asian frame?

My cat fits inside!

My cat in a bag

Yes, its dimensions are listed on the website (13.5″ x 15.5″) but I am numerically-challenged and numbers are an abstract concept to me (that’s why I’m in an art field, heh). The product mockup on the site doesn’t place the bag in a visual context so I was pleasantly surprised when I got the tote and realized just how big it was. It looks very well-made, with strong stitching, a thick but soft material (“100% post-industrial recycled cotton, making it environmentally and socially responsible”), and an inner pocket inside. The bag’s bottom also lies flat. I did notice the bag had a slight, funky smell though. Not bad, just… weird. Maybe from the ink used to print the design? It smells sort of sweet, like food, or spices. It might be worth mentioning that the bag is manufactured in India (according to the tag). All in all, it’s a very good quality tote bag. HAPPY.

That’s all the Society6 products I’ve ordered so far. I’m looking to order a shirt or a throw pillow cover next, when I get the chance. I’ll put up a review then. I like to see the quality of the stuff I’m selling. If these three products are an indication of the quality of the rest of their merchandise though, I’m pretty confident the others are of good quality as well.

In the meantime, check out my other designs on other Society6 products:

 

I also have a couple of more “grown up” designs (with no animals and smiling faces):

Crazy Squares pattern
Crazy Squares: throw pillow ($20), iPhone case ($35)

 

Organic Triangles pattern
Organic Triangles (really, I suck at titles): iPhone case ($35), throw pillow ($20)

 

Like my Facebook page to be updated whenever a free shipping promotion is available on my Society6 products: http://facebook.com/wedgienet.net

BONUS: Get $10 OFF your first purchase on Society6 when you use this link to sign up: https://share.society6.com/x/PsuQfh
Valid for new customers with a minimum purchase of $40 🙂

See more of my work:
My illustration portfolio: http://www.wedgienet.net
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