It’s Surtex season for a lot of artists, illustrators, and surface designers all over! Surtex (SURface and TEXtile) is an annual trade show held in New York every May, and this year it happens this Sunday, May 18. It’s a B2B (business to business) trade show attracting wholesellers, manufacturers, and buyers to buy and license original art to put on products– journals, gift wrap, greeting cards, home decor, party plates, tabletop accessories, and other gift ware. My agents at Bright Art Licensing will be bringing my work to the show:
For lack of fresh blog content (I’ve been traveling these past few days), I’ll be re-posting an old interview the now-defunct Pixelbureau (a local design portal/online magazine) did with me in 2009. My About page references this interview and the link has been grayed out for the longest time, so now’s a good time to resurrect it.
I may have done this interview three years ago but my answers then still pretty much hold true even today. Some of my earlier work accompany the interview below.
1. Could you introduce yourself and share to us how you ended up in the design world as illustrator/graphic designer?
My name is Reg and I graduated from DLS-College of Saint Benilde with a Multimedia Arts degree in 2005. Before that though, I was already dabbling in Photoshop and webdesign in high school. I’ve always been interested in art ever since I was a kid and growing up in the age of technological advancements, it was only natural to shift to digital media. I got my first job right out of college as a motion graphics artist in a broadcasting company, but after three years I burned out and resigned to pursue freelance illustration and design. I don’t really have a background as an illustrator but I’m slowly building myself one.
2. What is the story behind your site www.wedgienet.net?
My real name is Regina and when I was in grade six, people started calling me Reggie. You know how kids are– some started attaching the word Wedgie to it just because it rhymes, so I became Reggie the Wedgie. Not because I always had wedgies (I didn’t), but just because it just goes together. And the name stuck. Some people still call me Wedgie up to now.
When I registered a domain for my website when I was in college, I decided to take on the Wedgie moniker. I haven’t bothered changing it because it’s easy to remember and it has become my handle online.
3. What is the inspiration behind your creativity?
No single thing, really. A line from a movie or a funny joke can spark an idea for a design. Sometimes I also draw things that have happened to me or to another person. Also, in my daily Internet travels, if I see a drawing or a photo I like, I save it on folders on my hard drive labelled “Inspiration-design” or “Inspiration-illustration.” When I’m feeling stuck on a brief, I browse through these saved pictures hoping for inspiration to strike. I single out bits and pieces I like (i.e. I like the font on this one, the color combination on the other one, etc.) and try to make my own version. But I try not to look at these pictures too long as I don’t want to start copying them subconsciously.
4. What sites do you frequently visit for design inspiration and challenges?
I read a lot of illustrators’ blogs and I have a lot of amazing Flickr illustration contacts whose work I keep myself updated on. One of my favorite design/illustration showcase sites is Illustrativo, a really simple photoblog with hardly any words, just pictures. There’s a nice variety of designs and illustrations there, ranging from cutesy to modern to morbid to fantasy. I also used to take on the weekly challenges on Illustration Friday but I haven’t had time to sit down and do that lately.
5. Who would you say greatly influenced you in your design style?
The thing is, I feel like I haven’t found my style just yet. It changes depending on my mood and medium (i.e. pencil, tablet, what software I’m using). I think that’s kinda nice because I’m the type of person who gets bored easily, so having the freedom to switch it up is good for my short attention span. Having said that, the people whose styles I look up to are greatly varied. I like Lucy Knisley‘s cartoony approach, Mall‘s very detailed fantasy-like paintings, Jannie Ho‘s clean lines and anthropomorphic animals, Gustavo Aimar‘s use of collage and mixed media, the retro visuals of Scott Hansen. The list goes on and on. I don’t really have a favorite style in particular.
6. What is your thought on the Philippine graphic design scene?
To be honest, I don’t really know much about the local design scene. I don’t attend design conferences and most of whom I follow are non-Filipinos. But for a casual observer like me, one thing that really stands out in the local design scene is the nationalistic pride emerging in design. We see it in Team Manila‘s t-shirt designs and they’ve helped boost hundreds of other Filipino designers proudly displaying Pinoy pride on their canvasses.
7. If you weren’t a designer, what do you see yourself to be?
Most of the work I do is fun and whimsical– jungle animals, cupcakes, funny kids running around, smiling people. So if I weren’t an illustrator/designer, I’d like to have an equally fun job. And I’ve thought of this before you even asked me this question: I’d love to work in a toy store because it’ll be like I’m getting paid to play with the toys.
But before I picked out Multimedia Arts (MMA) as my course in college, I was also interested in Interior Design and Architecture so I might’ve gone for that if MMA wasn’t an option. Or if I were any good at math.
8. What keeps you busy besides your passion for design?
I don’t really have any interests outside of design. It’s kind of sad. Haha. When I don’t have freelance work, I tend to my online shop on Etsy where I (used to -Reg, 2012 edit) sell my handmade illustrated paper goods. I make illustrations for notebooks, tumblers, stickers, and button pins and post them on Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods. I’ve made 90 sales in less than a year and I’ve shipped my stuff all over the US, Europe, and Asia. It’s a fun thing to do on the side– deadlines don’t exist and I can design whatever I want for myself, not for a client.
9. What would you advise a young aspiring designer (like you) who decides to take this career path?
I always advise my designer friends when they ask me how I get freelance work to put up their own website or at least get their work out there on the Internet. It’s a must! You can’t rely on just word of mouth alone to get design gigs. I have had the chance to work on projects from around the world from clients who see my work on my website. I also get work coming from visitors on my Flickr stream as well, so it doesn’t really matter if you have your own domain or not. What matters is getting your work out there and having a way for visitors to contact you. And generally, design gigs abroad pay better than local projects.
10. Anything you want to add?
Thank you very much for the interview! 🙂
What happens when you have a plain cardboard canister and an afternoon of procrastinating?
I have a lot of personal projects brewing in my head all the time but I usually have no
time motivation to act on them… except when I’m procrastinating on more important tasks at hand.
Last year, I bought mini colored pencils from Muji, a Japanese lifestyle brand with beautiful, minimalist, and “unbranded” household/stationery/travel/furniture/clothing products. The colored pencils came in an unmarked brown Kraft tube– perfect for personalizing, I thought, as with everything else Muji sells. It took me a few months before I thought of what to do with it, and when I did, I used my Letraset Tria markers.
Three nibs in one marker!
What’s special about these markers is when used right, they blend very nicely and you can layer and mix colors and they’d come out looking like watercolors. I’ve had my eye on these markers since college, but couldn’t afford it with my college student allowance. I was only able to afford it when I started working, but then I had no time to do anything with the markers, so I held off on buying them. It was only early last year that I finally went and purchased them. Let me tell you, it’s a good feeling to be able to work for something you’ve wanted for a long time but couldn’t buy before with your own money 🙂
This is how I used those markers. I’m still trying to get the hang of working with this medium.
I thought I’d make a Japanese kokeshi doll since the stout canister shape was perfect for it and because the pencils are from a Japanese brand. Nice logic, no? Haha
Oops… that year under my name is supposed to be 2012, not 2011.
The coloring could be better/smoother, but for a first try, I don’t think it’s that bad 😛
This short tube of pencils is perfect for traveling and on-the-go drawing, which is why I purchased them in the first place. It holds 30+ pencils with room inside for a small sharpener (non-Muji, which I bought separately). I went back to Muji yesterday to maybe pick up a few more tubes of pencils I can dress up but unfortunately, the short tubes were out of stock. They had the tall canisters of 60, full-length colored pencils but they were too pricey at Php 1,000++. Better grab the short ones next time you see it in stores so you can also DIY and customize it 🙂
I have to admit that when I first learned I was going to Japan, the first thing that came to mind was not autumn foliage, Japanese culture, temples, or even sushi. I had only one thing in mind: WASHI TAPE!!!
I first came across washi tape on Etsy a couple of years ago. They’re decorative rice paper tape produced in a variety of designs and colors, used mostly for arts and crafts. Being a sucker for anything bright and colorful, I was immediately drawn to them. Unfortunately they were mostly only available in Japan where they are manufactured, and shipping cost an arm and leg. I had to content myself with just (wistfully) looking at pictures of them online.
Fast forward to November 2011, when I found myself in Shinsaibashisuji, a very long shopping street in the Osaka prefecture in Japan. Alarm bells sounded in my head and ¥ ¥ ¥ signs flashed in my eyes when I found rolls and rolls of colorful washi tape in Kawachi, a three-storey arts and crafts store just a couple of blocks away from our hotel. I (mentally) squealed! I grabbed a basket and started filling it with the tapes I liked best, although at the back of my head I knew I was probably racking up a huge bill as fast as I was filling up the basket. However, the voice of reason came through and said: HOW OFTEN ARE YOU IN JAPAN, WOMAN?! Hmm, good point.
My washi tape loot
I bought other stuff too– a water brush, stamps and ink pads, and watercolor pads (buy one take one!)
I did rack up quite a bill (I regret nothing!) but I thought it was all worth it for things I loved and can’t find in the Philippines. Or so I thought.
Back in Manila three weeks after my Japan trip, I found out that home & lifestyle store Heima was bringing MT washi tape to Philippine shores! Heima invited me (upon the suggestion of Jen Horn from Punchdrunk Panda– they licensed one of my illustrations for their footwear line back in 2009) and other illustrators/designers/crafters to demonstrate the uses of washi tape for their product launch last weekend at the LRI Design Plaza in Makati.
OMGGG look at all the tape @__@
After washi tape’s popularity surged in Japan and online, a number of washi tape manufacturers have since popped up, but the original is Kamoi, an industrial tape manufacturer that started making the MT washi tapes upon the suggestion of their customers to incorporate different colors and designs (read that charming little story here).
We were provided with rolls of MT tape and other supplies to make and decorate whatever we wanted to show how washi tape can be used.
Photo from Heima’s Facebook page.
After several hours in stationery and supplies heaven, our work was exhibited on the wall– Heima had an ongoing series of design discussions with several speakers (Kat Encanto, Dan Matutina, Fozzy Castro-Dayrit, Valerie Chua, Diego Mapa) that day and the place was packed.
by MJ and Rian from Heima. Cute!
by Reese Lansangan
by Nic Lim
And by some girl (haha. me). I decorated blank kraft notebooks and pencils with MT tape and scrapbooking paper.
I thought we had a good and varied mix of different styles– really showcased what one can do with washi tape, be it for art, embellishing found objects, collage, illustration, and just about anything you can think of.
Thank you to Bong and Rossy from Heima for having me and Jen Horn for inviting me. It was great to have met fellow designers and illustrators as well (coming from a night shift work-from-home job, my social life has been dead for the past two years). It was a good day of arts & crafts, design, and illustration.
MT washi tape is available at Heima starting at P150 (single rolls) which I think is a reasonable price. No need to spend on plane tickets to Japan just to get a roll! Prior to the MT tape launch, I was limiting my use of my personal tape stash, but knowing we readily have MT tape here, I think I’ll just go ahead and use washi tape to wrap my Christmas gifts ^___^
Follow me on TwitterMy Tweets
Free graphic design resources
Powered by Creative Market