Coming Back Home
I have always looooved practicing my penmanship. I would practice my cursive and get super creative with my letters. When I learned how to draw that capital "S" by connecting six lines, it blew my mind! In fourth grade, I would write my lowercase "F" italicized and with curled ends. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Handly, told me to fix my "F's" and start writing them correctly. Whatever.
In sixth grade, instead of covering my notebook with a boy's name, I would write my name (my very long Filipino name) over and over again: trying out different ways of writing the letter V, how long I wanted the cross of the T, and the length of the tail on the A. I would even change up the axis of the letters depending on the mood I was in! At that time I was also inspired by graffiti artists, but I felt that I had to hide my love for the urban art because it was criminalized. I came up with my own tag and once was challenged by a boy that he could do better than me. We had a drawing battle and our classmates chose the winner. I'm pretty sure I won. I got even more creative with my penmanship in high school when my friends and I would write super cute folded-up notes to each other.
I'm writing all this because I've been looking back at my past to see the seeds of creativity that were planted. I started university as a graphic design major. When I took typography it was the end of my graphic designing pursuits. It killed my creativity! After that semester, I found a bunch of my drawings from high school and, long story short, finished university with a BFA in illustration.
Darling Magazine just rebranded and I love the type of their new logo (that comma! OMG!). When creating this beauty portrait I had the crazy urge to draw out that word. I dug out my typography assignments, perhaps to remind myself that I wasn't so great at hand lettering, therefore the idea to draw out the logo on my beautiful illustration was ridiculous. I perused my B minus assignments (a B- with nothing but critiques might as well be a fail), laughed at them and then proceeded with my plan. I freehanded "Darling," in the type of their logo, lightly erased it and then in my own handwriting, wrote out "Darling," Upon completely this painting, I realized that this was symbolic of my feelings during my typography studies: I just wanted to do my own thing!
I recently listened to the Creative Pep Talk episode where Andy Miller interviews illustrator Chris Piascik. Chris's story is a lot like mine: he drew a lot as a kid, but studied graphic design because someone else suggested it. Eventually working as a designer brought him back to his passion, illustration. Likewise, creating this piece was a revelation that I didn't need to throw out my childhood love for typography and hand lettering because I "failed" at design. Andy says that the creative journey always brings us back home.
This illustration was done on a heavy weight Crescent illustration board. It is created with watercolor, gouache, Rembrandt soft patels, pencil, and sumi ink.