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  • Writer's pictureShie

Hello world!

It's such an overwhelming feeling to be able to create my first ever blog post. I have a lot of things on my mind that I jotted down on my small notebook which I'm excited to share with you. This creative journey has been such a rollercoaster ride of emotions, sleepless nights, creative bursts and blackouts as well as exploration of the present for the future. First things first, here's my little workspace where I'm always glued for a big chunk of my 24 hours, 7 days a week (well, almost!).

A clean and simple look

I specifically envisioned a white-dominated workspace near the window. I feel that with a white background, I am able to focus more on color selection as well as during brainstorming sessions.

"White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection.

White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning." (1)

My workspace buddies

Within my workspace, I would like to share as well the "buddies" that make my creative area more aesthetic, more valuable and more effective. To begin with, I have a multitude of office supplies (some bought & some were gifted by friends) that I am currently keeping in a clear box container and since I only have a small workspace, I just brought out the most important stuff needed on a daily basis. Here they are along with the devices I normally use throughout my design process:

Paints & papers

Aside from my workspace valuables, I have accumulated a number of paints and watercolor papers which have been beneficial to my growth as a designer-illustrator over the years. All these have become part of my ever evolving process of exploring various painting techniques in which trial and error has always been my greatest teacher - and I'd like to share most of them with you.

These are my current array of paints & palettes:

1. Winsor & Newton Cotman

2. Royal Talens Van Gogh

3. Sakura KOI

4. London Gifties (custom palette)

5. Viviva colorsheets

6. Dr. Ph Martin's

7. Finetec metallic palette 1

8. Finetec metallic palette 2

9. Finetec metallic palette 3

10. Pebeo watercolor mixing palette

11. Winsor & Newton Masking fluid

12. Foldable water container

13. Generic watercolor mixing palette

Continuing the list are the watercolor pads that I usually use:

14. Strathmore 400 series (watercolor pad, cold-pressed, 300 gsm)

15. Daler & Rowney The Langton (watercolor pad, cold-pressed, 425 gsm)

16. Arches (watercolor pad, rough grain, 300 gsm)

17. Daler & Rowney The Langton Prestige (watercolor block, cold-pressed, 300 gsm)

18. Sennelier (watercolor block, cold-pressed, 300 gsm)


Additional materials I recently purchased (some were gifted) which are not in the photos:

1. Arches (watercolor pad, cold-pressed, 300 gsm)

2. Winsor & Newton Designer’s gouache

3. Alwan (Qatar brand) (gouache pad, 150 gsm)

4. iPhone 11 Pro Max

5. Canson Heritage (watercolor pad, cold-pressed, 300 gsm)

6. London Gifties 2019 Advent handmade watercolor palette

7. Apple M1 Macbook Pro

Brushes galore

With brushes, what I love most are the round, synthetic, full ones. I'm not very much particular with it as long as I feel that it holds enough water and paint together and marries well when applied on paper. I'd love to hoard lots of different brands and try them but I feel that I'm more comfortable on what I'm already using (even if it is generic and old). I would normally use a locally bought synthetic brush that is normally seen on my Instagram posts but I also have a few brushes here that are from some very well-known brands such Princeton Elite, Winsor & Newton Cotman, Grumbacher and Daler & Rowney. *UPDATE: currently using basic brushes from The Craft Central

A glimpse of my design process (wink wink!)

When I take on a design commission, I usually jot down the important details on my small notebook wherever I go every time I receive an email notification from my phone.

During conceptualization phase, I digitally sketch an overall look using the iPad along with a color palette to match. Then comes the design stage when all the magic happens! It's painting time! I listen to my favorite songs in my laptop while painting my time away. It is during this phase when I feel lost in paradise - it is my ME time! I then take photos of the progress using my iPhone and transfer them directly to the laptop for the finalization stage.

The last stages of my design process involves a good amount of digitizing using my ever helpful Wacom tablet along with the help of valuable Adobe programs on my laptop. I then send the drafts to my clients for review and approval. The process is all the same for each design commission and because I have a standardized list of things to do for each step of the way, everything becomes "easier" as time goes by because I've gotten used to it.

Tip: Creating a well-organized design process as well as a good filing system for both original paintings and designs transferred on the laptop makes everything breezy for a busy bee like me (and also for you!). More so, I believe that aside from creating a well-thought process that is tailored fit for you and your personal schedule (especially for moms like me who also has a full time schedule with my family at home), backing up all files should be one of the most important steps that I suggest you "should" do at the end of every single design day (or night) making sure all is accounted for.

My workspace as well as a brief summary of my design process are some of the many things I'm happy to show and share. I'm looking forward to sharing more about this creative journey in my next post!

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