Motivational, My Life Story, Products

Find Beauty Among the Ruins

Last summer, I went on a journey to explore the beautiful country of Greece. Little did I know that I would be overwhelmed with how seamlessly ancient ruins could weave itself beautifully into the fabric of modern Greek society.

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The majestic temple of Zeus standing tall and proud in the heart of Athens. Just look at how those columns have stood the test of time. Imagine how every piece have been put together by the ancient Greeks. It never ceases to amaze me.

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At Syntagma Square with these hungry pigeons.This first stop was followed by a magnificent trip to learn the history of the Acropolis Stadium. This was just my first glimpse of Greece.

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We were walking around the city of Athens during the first day and I couldn’t help asking: “What’s that structure on top of the hill?” My question was answered the next day when we climbed up to see that what is there is so much more than what I had expected.

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Seen from the city is Acropolis, the highest point of Athens. Beautiful isn’t it?

Sometimes in life, you can’t see the breathtaking view until you muster the courage to climb the mountain.

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During our day-trip, we ventured on a boat ride to see the different islands surrounding Greece. One of them is this quaint island called Hydra. This little island is a town in itself, with little shops and cafes near the water. What’s fascinating is that the townspeople here have donkeys to get around, nope, no cars!

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This breathtaking view where the sky meets the beautiful Greek dome-shaped architecture was taken from the island of Santorini. We stayed here a couple of days, and if I could, I would’ve stayed much longer. There were numerous mini-shops greeting passersby along the alley, from nifty book nooks to one-of-a-kind trinket stores.

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The town of Nafplio. Bustling with life through it’s diversity in art, music and delicacies.

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I love the bliss whenever I draw my adventures on my journal. It helps me remember not only the place, but also the little memories that come with my travels. When I look back, it’s the little moments that touch my heart to this day. Such as the time my mom and I shared a large Greek pretzel-like dessert, the ice cream cone I had in Athens despite the biting cold winds or the fact that not a day goes by without a serving of delicious Greek yogurt (yummy!), and the time when I looked down from the highest peak of Greece and thought to myself:

“All these man-made bricks, statues and temples  are truly majestic, but nothing compares to the beauty of nature that my God has surrounded it all with”.

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I am often asked how I find time to draw during these trips. Despite the hustle and bustle during the morning tours, I try to find time to relax in a cafe as a short pit-stop to write down the events that happened during the day. Always remember to write down the important details, you can sketch them later in the evening (if you aren’t too tired!)IMG_4458

The Greeks have a habit of drinking Frappe every now and then. I find that I also belong to this place where it is bursting with art, history, culture…and yes, coffee!

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The mystical trail of Delphi, after a hike atop the mountains of Greece.

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The Dyonisus Theater. It’s size and design is jaw-droppingly (if that is even a word) – incredible! It may be huge, but dropping a coin or stomping your feet at the center circle of the theater can be heard throughout the entire stadium.

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For those who are wondering, what is Greek food like? Three words. Fresh, Simple, Flavorful. This is my favorite, which I have learned to make at home. The Traditional Greek Salad. (Bell Peppers, Onions, Lettuce, Olives, EVOO, Tomatoes and Cucumbers, Generously topped with Feta Cheese!)

Aside from the Greek Salad, I have enjoyed the Greek Yogurt, to which none can compare. Not a day passed in Greece without us having a portion of this!

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Travelling is a perfect opportunity to experience something new. I give myself time to think when I travel, knowing that the adventure that lies ahead is so much greater than what I have left behind. It’s such a memorable experience when you put your thoughts and emotions down on paper, because every step of the journey is an adventure.

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I’m opening classes once more for a basic lettering workshop, and since vacation is just around the corner, I thought a travel journal would be perfect! If you’d like to learn the art of handlettering and how to start your own travel journal, you can

Register for the workshop here:

2015 TRAVEL JOURNAL WORKSHOP

Hope to see you soon!

Say yes to new adventures. 🙂

*All photos taken with an iPhone5

XO,

stamp design

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Products, Tips and Tricks

Tools of the Trade (Features and Reviews)

Hello everyone!

I’ve been having a lot of inquiries regarding the materials I use for my art and lettering. This has inspired me to create a blog post for the materials I’ve tried throughout my journey. These pens, inks and watercolors are truly portable little rainbows that have brought much color into my life!


 

PENS

FILED NEOFINE FINELINER

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Review:

The Filed NeoFine Fineliner Set is truly a box of rainbows. Here is an artwork I made with the fineliners. The tip of these pens (0.40mm) enabled smooth writing and doodling. However because these pens are water based, make sure you don’t keep coloring / shading on the same areas as the ink will seep through the back of the paper (I used 80gsm paper). Using thicker surfaces such as vellum and 100+gsm might work better with this water-based pen. Overall, it’s perfect for note-taking in class. I’m sure I’d write with this in school to keep my notes fun and colorful!

 


 

BRUSH PENS

TOKYO FINDS BRUSH PEN

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Review:

These bright-colored pens are dual-tipped. It’s versatility makes it the perfect go-to for calligraphy and lettering.The two tips give an advantage for shading in large areas (brush tip) and for creating details too (slim tip). The ink is bright and not too thick that it would seep through the paper.

Shop: TOKYO FINDS

MARVY LE PLUME BRUSH PEN

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Review:

The Le Plume brush pen possesses a lighter hue compared to others. The ink is pretty thick and more water-based than most, it will seep through thin paper. Though I love the way it slides through the paper smoothly, and how closely it resembles the feel of using an actual brush.


MARKERS

SHARPIE FINE POINT

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Review:

One of my favorite brands! The all-around marker! These markers provide bold and bright colors, perfect for the creative at heart. Best to use thicker boards or paper, and all other non-porous surfaces when using Sharpie.

DONG-A PLAYON

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Review:

Although not the typical artist go-to, I love the black (twin tip) marker of Dong-A. I used this one for outlining and for shading, more often than not for my watercolor illustrations and lettering works.

ZEBRA MILDLINER

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Review:

This one is meant to be a highlighter, but I always find a different purpose for my coloring materials. I bought mine from Japan.


WATERCOLORS

KOI WATERCOLOR

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Review:

I love, love, love my koi watecolor set. Although it’s a bit more costly, it’s a purchase I didn’t regret. The colors are bold and bright, just the way I like my palette. The watercolors are concentrated as well, use sparingly for softer tones.

KURETAKE GANSAI TAMBI

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Review:

I knew I should’ve bought myself a set of these during my trip to Japan last year! Luckily my boyfriend got this for me as a birthday surprise. The palette is very concentrated, meaning you can use just a little and have a solid texture.

PRANG WATERCOLOR

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Review:

The most affordable and has found it’s way to be called the “sweet” watercolor. Why sweet? It’s thick consistency makes the colors bold and bright. The watercolor has a syrupy thickness when added with a little water. Most people say that ants keep finding their way to their Prang palettes. Despite all that, yes, it’s also an artist’s must-have.

Shop: National Bookstore


FOUNTAIN PENS

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Review:

My first ever fountain pen. Also a gift from my boyfriend when he came back from Germany almost a year ago. I love that they have branches here in the Philippines so you could simply buy the refills (it comes in lots of different colors too! Next time I’ll try the neon yellow!).

PILOT PETIT

Review:

Very handy and writes smoothly. The tip is smaller than the usual fountain pen, but it’s the perfect travel fountain pen. I got mine from Japan and took home a couple of refills too, just in case I don’t get to visit Japan anytime soon!


For a complete list of tech-pens that I use, you can visit my other blog post about them here:

TOOLS OF THE TRADE (Part 1)


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Motivational, Random, Thoughts, Uncategorized

SnapperDoodles Studio

 

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Whew February has been such a whirlwind of adventures!

Admittedly, I haven’t had much time to create new lettering artworks nowadays, so I figured I might post something different!

Recently, in an interview, I’ve been asked about what it’s like working in a “different” setting. It gave me an idea to give a quick tour around here! Oh! Just in case you were wondering, it’s not a legit “studio”, it’s just my happy place, my work space a.k.a the attic.

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When I began the design for the studio, I couldn’t stick with one theme        for my room. I wanted something modern, yet I also tend to go for a        more rustic feel. I have a thing for florals and pastels, but white seemed        to be a “cleaner” alternative. There are so many things I wanted for a      space to call my own, but because of my indecisiveness, eventually I    stopped thinking about how to do it, and just let the room transform     itself.

Being the DIY-er that I am, I wanted to repaint my boring black swivel   chair. I chose bright yellow as it matches my closet (not shown in photos).     I thought it might look cute with a little “drippy” ice cream effect on the    top.

 

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When we started renovating the house, my old room was turned into an office so I had to share a room with my siblings. It took half a year before the portion of the attic was completed. For the longest time, I’ve always wanted  white wall where I could stick colorful postcards and artworks. Here it finally is, my own inspiration wall. 🙂 The best part about it is how it began as a bare, white wall and is constantly growing into a colorful mosaic of memories.

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My work space pretty much looks like this on most days. Notebooks scattered everywhere. I have several notebooks that I use on a daily basis: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Planner, Muji notebook and a To-Do List Notebook. I’m such an OC freak, I don’t think I can survive working without planners, post-it’s, calendars and lists!

Music. My work area is never complete without some tunes. Nope, my bluetooth speaker isn’t top of the line or anything, but I’m happy with what I’ve got. Spotify is another creative workplace staple.

Why do I have so many pen holders? I segregate my brushes, tech pens and colored pens. I’m OC that way. Haha!

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Aside from the notebooks I use everyday, I have some lined up on my table, too.

From left to right: Unlined Floral Notebook (Paper St. Ph), Pink Daycraft Notebook, Unlined Journal (Sketchnotes), Dotted Spring Notebook (Muji), Eiffel Tower Travel Notebook (Gift) and Floral Hardbound Journal (Gift).

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I saw the tiny macaron photo holder while browsing through a store the other day. It was pricey for such a little thing, but it was so cute, I couldn’t resist!

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I designed this shelf myself, its construction took a while, but it was definitely worth the wait. I just wanted a place where I could store little, yet significant mementos. The little cat figurines are from my recent trip to Japan. The blue Eiffel Tower on the upper shelf is from Paris.  The porcelain cupcake is a memory from my first job after graduation. Next to this is a mini canvas which I bought from Guam, the brown bracelet hanging from it is a handmade craft from Istorya. Last but not the least, the Instax on the topmost shelf was a gift from someone close to my heart.

My attic isn’t the best “studio” there is, but it’s what I’ve got and it’s my own happy place. It took a while to bring together, but it made me learn to value the PROCESS that had brought it to its completion. When life seems like a bare, white wall, trust the process and see how things will unfold in His perfect time. Life has been teaching me the value of PATIENCE these days, but I’ll save that for a different post. 🙂

There is no such thing as a messy workplace. If that is where you are comfortable, where you feel most free to be yourself and to spread your wings, that is YOUR creative space, let no one take that freedom from you.

Related article:

10 Messy Desks of Successful People

 

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Motivational, My Life Story, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Letter to My Future Valentine

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Dear Valentine,

It’s a bright Saturday morning on February 14. I sit here at the park, watching as couples take their leisurely stroll. I see they twinkle in their eyes as they look at each other as if it’s the first time they met. There is so much love around today and I  can’t help but wonder… “Where are you, my other half? What’s taking you so long?”

Yes, I admit I am envious. It’s the day of love and here I am, alone on a dusty old park bench holding a half-eaten turkey sandwich instead of my lover’s hand. So many thoughts drifted through my mind. “Did cupid forget about me?”, “Is there something I’m not doing right? Maybe I should learn to flirt better.”, “I’ve been single all my life, oh, what might people say?”, “Should I be more active in looking for my soul mate or should I just go with the flow?”, “I can’t stand going through another year alone.”

As much as I’d hate to admit it. Yes, I AM bitter on the sweetest day of the year.

But as I sat there (yes, with my sandwich keeping me company), I realized a handful of things that would help me hate Valentine’s Day a little less. And that is why I am writing this letter to you today…


 

My future valentine. Hello. I know we haven’t met yet, but I know you would love it when you read this letter someday.

Would it surprise you if I told you that each night as I lay my head down to sleep, I think about you? I wonder what you’re like and how we would meet. Sometimes during the clearest nights when the stars shine the brightest, I look at the moon and hope that across the miles, you are looking up at it too.

People say that love is all about timing. Do you think we’ve crossed paths already in the past? I’d love to think so, maybe when the time is right, we’ll find each other again. It took me a while before I realized the power of these simple words: “Why rush?”. True enough, why did I ever? I may not have you in my life yet, but I know that you are worth every second of the wait. I am no longer looking for a fling, I want something real. If waiting is what it takes to have it, then wait for you I shall.

I know that someday when the time is right, our paths will cross again, and for the first time in my life, I we would just KNOW. You will be the one who could give me the warmest hugs. I know your smile would still give me the butterflies no matter how long we’ve been together. You’ll be the one who would hold my hand through life’s toughest times. You will be the motivation for me to become a better version of myself each day. You will be my cheerleader whenever I feel frustrated. And I know that you are the only one who can love me unconditionally at my best and at my worst. As we grow older, I will still feel like the happiest kid when I’m with you. For a love like this, my valentine, I will not trade for anything so fleeting.

No, there is nothing I’m doing wrong and there is no need to pretend to be someone I’m not. I know you will love me and see me as beautiful even during no-makeup-days, sweatshirt-days and bad-hair-days. I admit I am weird in my own way, but I will fall deeper in love with you because that’s when you will say: “That’s great! Let’s be weird together.”

Valentine, it could take weeks, months or years before our paths meet. But I know when that day comes, we will both be ready for the best that is in store. I may not have you now for Valentine’s day, but it fills me with joy knowing that you are mine and I am yours since the beginning of time.

So then, my Valentine,

Until we meet.

 


Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

 

During my bazaar in DLSU (University Week, Feb 9-11) I heard dozens of passers-by dreading the arrival of February 14th. Nobody even dreaded the usual Friday the 13th. That’s why I thought of writing about what a single’s perspective would be like, and what it should rather be.

I wrote this blog post because I know how it feels like to be part of this fast-paced generation. I’ve been through the stage of peer pressure, when getting into a relationship seems like “fun” and helps one “fit-in” (though I’m not saying that’s the reason for most relationships). I can say that I’ve never had a boyfriend all my life, but have been through several “in-between” relationships that left me heartbroken (no words could explain the pain I went through). It is human nature to look for love, especially now, but sometimes it takes the most painful relationships to teach oneself to learn to wait.

Pray unceasingly. God has the best in store for you. 🙂

 

X,

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Motivational, Random, Thoughts

Life is an Adventure

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There aren’t many instances that got me speechless. Probably because I hardly left my comfort zone before June this year.

I always choose the safe side, where I am just plain-old, COMFORTABLE.

I am a pessimist, which brings me to over-think every situation. I can strike up a conversation, but I never tried to sustain one that actually lasts ten minutes. I can make artworks, but my fear to give more effort to create a masterpiece always gets the best of me. Deadlines? No problem, I can meet them, but I’m not sure I’m giving 101% in my work. I’ve maintained my weight but I’m not exercising enough to be physically fit. But amidst all this, I feel that something is still missing.

Sure I might be doing good, but like they say, there is always an opportunity to be better than who I was yesterday.

I came to realize how “dead” most aspects of my life can be because I’ve been living in the security of COMFORT. I always think: “Yep. That’s good enough.” At work, in gatherings, my physical health, I have constantly been giving less than 100%. Recently during the Sunday service in CCF, Pastor Peter said: “In everything, do your BEST for the Lord.” From then on, I began the conscious effort to glorify God through SnapperDoodles art commissions by giving it my all.

Also, by being a wallflower, I have deprived myself of trying new things. This year God has blessed me with a friend to show me how much I was missing out on. There is a whole world to explore, many things to be ticked off the bucket list and thousands of things to learn; and none of it could be made possible by constantly saying “no”.

You can’t travel the world if you refuse to leave the doorstep.

Life should be an adventure. Live for the moments you can’t put into words.

I will take on this challenge this coming 2015, to live life out of the comfort zone and do my best in all things – for the Lord.

 

X,

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Motivational, My Life Story, Thoughts

Thoughts of a Full-Time Artist / Entrepreneur / Blogger

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10 Things I’ve learned after pursuing art full-time:

1. You can’t pursue your dream if you’re not ready to endure sleepless nights, countless failures, loss and opposition.

2. Sometimes when you lose one thing, you gain something better.

3. In life’s journey, a time comes when you just have to walk alone.

4. Every day is a new day to learn, to feel, to experience and to create.

5. You are born for a purpose, it’s never too early nor too late to figure out what that is.

6. Life is not a competition of who does it better than who.

7. Do all that you can with the time you’ve been given. Life is terribly short.

8. When God tells you to do something, just DO IT. Trust me, you’ll be surprised.

9. Miracles happen once you let go and let God.

10. Be that miracle.

 

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Motivational, Random, Thoughts

November’s Hourglass

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October for me has been a month to unwind and refocus. The time spent in Bicol has been filled with beautiful blue skies and cheerful mornings. The brief trip me realize a couple of things:

Being used to life in the big city, I am surprised at the slow-paced life in the province. The unhurried and undemanding life in the province gives people more time to think and moreover to appreciate and thank God for what they have, both big and small. Being a typhoon hotspot in the Philippines, waking up to a sunny day is already a blessing in itself. The people know how to be content, simple food, simple clothing, a hot cup of coffee (that isn’t even Starbucks) is enough to perk up their day. The way they stroll without an immediate need to reach their destination, how they smile widely at the strangers passing by, and how their life opens more windows to see and appreciate the simple things in life. Aside from the bounty of nature in the province, I can say that the hearts of the people there are just as beautiful.It’s true Bicol isn’t as advanced nor as sophisticated as Manila, the malls aren’t as luxurious, the food, not as fancy….but really though, maybe that’s a good thing?

I’ve been exposed to the “normal” life here in the city. The daily commute to the office is a constant race against time, pushing, shoving and squeezing on the train. The people flocking the elevator when the clock strikes 12PM. A quick lunch break in fast-food restaurants maybe? And of course the rush home to avoid hour-long traffic jams along the metro’s busiest roads. We are always on the go, always in a hurry to get someplace and to rushing to get something done.

I guess it’s a price for living in the big city.

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This photo was taken from the cemetery on November 1st. I realized how much I envy the people who have passed, how peaceful their “second” life is, it made me wonder what it must be like. After all the hustling and bustling, do we really have to wait until the next life to learn how to slow down?

 

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I visited my grandmother recently and at the sight of her, my thoughts were all jumbled up and no words can explain how painful it is to see life slowly being eaten away. Time, is not something we could hold on to. Every day s a step closer to our last. It’s a pretty glum thing to say, especially in a blog, but it’s the truth. It’s a thought that has helped me learn to appreciate my family, my friends, my work and my time…because everything is temporary.

We won’t know how much sand is left in the hourglass. But what do you do while you still have time?

Live like you’re dying.

 

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