Tag: watercolor

Pens Through the Years

Fountain Pen Network Philippines will  be joining the celebration of Fountain Pen Day on the first weekend of November. I was invited to submit some artwork along with other fellow members of FPN-P. I’m usually really shy about showing people my art in person, but I figured that it might be a fun way to give back to the community and meet other artists as well.

I kind of agonized over what to submit, what paper to use, etc. I redid this a few times because I had some details wrong (plating color of a clip here, nib color there). But last night I was able to finish my final pieces.


Overall, I enjoyed the process of making these two pieces a lot. Using fountain pen ink in the washes is challenging because it gets absorbed by the paper almost as soon as you brush it on. Mixing it with a lot of water helps. It’s also very fascinating to read about the pens again and see the tiny little details that make each pen unique. These two are collection of pens from Sheaffer and Parker through the years. There’s a lot of different kinds of pens to choose from, so I picked several that were made in different decades. It was really so much fun, and it reminded me again why I love vintage pens, especially Parker pens (I’m a Parker gal). They don’t make ’em like they used to.

This year’s Fountain Pen Day celebration will be on November 5-6, at the 3rd floor Atrium of SM Aura. Aside from the art exhibit, there will be other activities like calligraphy demonstrations for adults and kids, and pop up stores for fountain pen/calligraphy fans.

Food for the Soul


These past few days have been a flurry of food painting in my journal. Not because all I do is eat, haha, but because I’m fascinated with the colors, textures, and the suggestion of taste of food illustrations. There’s a lot of color and details involved, which means there’s a lot of layering needed. It’s not easy on Tomoe River paper because it’s so smooth. It’s much easier on Khadi paper because of all that interesting texture.


It’s been an adventure for me so far. Food illustrations have always been out of my comfort zone, but I guess the more you try it, the closer it inches towards that zone. I think that it’s important to accept your mistakes as part of the process too, to grow and learn what looks good to you at the same time to constantly educate your eyes. I guess it’s important that we be forgiving of our pace, because we all start somewhere.


It’s so interesting to discover how to denote proportions and even how to show viscosity. It’s really been quite a fun journey so far. 🙂 I must say that these Escoda Reserva brushes are so wonderful. They hold lots of water, is easy to control even in really small paintings like this one below. It’s a bit hard to illustrate texture and small details in a constrained space, but it’s a lot more fun if you have brushes that hold water and can also hold a point for painting the details. That’s really a lot of fun to do.


Also, that’s a homage to the three cheese grilled cheese sandwich at L’usine. The grilled cheese sandwich equivalent of a soulmate. 🙂 Yum. Hope y’all have a good week! I’m off to a good start. 🙂

Khadi Papers Book Block First Impressions

I’m quite new to watercolor, I’ve always been partial to pen and ink drawings. I find watercolor a bit hard to control. I always enjoy looking at journals of urban sketchers, and I like how loose the drawings are and how layers of watercolor create textures and shadows that are just so beautiful. So I’m really coming from a blank slate of a background when it comes to watercolor and everything about it. I was looking for good (and affordable) watercolor journals where I can put my first attempts at urban sketching. I came across Khadi Papers at ArtWhale and thought that since it’s relatively more affordable compared to other good watercolor paper, I’ll try it out. I bought a small book block and my brother-in-law gave me a medium book block as a birthday gift.

Khadi Papers

The first impression I had was that it didn’t seem thick, even if it’s 40 pages of watercolor paper. I can easily bring either book in my bag without problems. It’s light and easy to carry around. I haven’t tried that many watercolor paper, but I must say that this is my favorite so far.

They don’t have the hardbound version so this one has stitch binding and no hard cover.

Khadi Papers

It has deckled edges which (for me) looks really great. I’m kinda inlove with it. It has this really raw, almost organic look and feel.

Khadi Papers

Khadi makes smooth and rough paper, and this one’s the rough kind. There’s very obvious texture on the surface, which I immediately thought would make washes look really interesting. It’s handmade from India, 210 gsm, acid-free, and 100% cotton. I think the binding will hold up pretty well, although I’ll need to use it a bit longer to know for sure.

I tried out my new Prima Confections on my first page, and I was a bit disappointed at first because I thought it would warp afterwards, but the page went back to laying almost flat after the watercolor had dried. I tried to paint on most of the surface of the next pages, and it warped a bit at first, but when it dried, it went back to being nearly flat, almost like it was before I painted on it. It means I can fill up the book with paintings and it won’t look like an ugly sheaf of warped paper.


I like the texture of the paper a lot. It really adds that depth and detail to the washes especially when layered. Here’s a first attempt at a quick sketch. It’s much prettier in person, and really pleasant to touch. You can also draw and paint at the  back of the pages, so you can have paintings on  both sides. That’s a huge plus for me.


I like how the colors pop on the pages and how vibrant even the ink from the fineliner looks like. I really enjoyed using this paper. Anyway, these are only my first impressions and I’m hoping to post more about it as I use it more often. Overall, I’m very pleased with it.



Last week, my friends, my husband and I tried this new cafe in BF Homes, L’uisine. It’s along Elizalde St., just a few meters away from Concha Cruz. It wasn’t completely open yet, much of the place was still being fixed up. But there’s a part out front that was already set up to receive a few customers.

We really enjoyed everything that we ordered (I couldn’t fit in my cup of latte in my journal, though). This is what I really like about smaller cafes. The owner really knows her coffee, it seems, and they take great pride in every step of the process from sourcing the beans to pulling the shots, to thinking of great food to pair their coffee with. Everything’s done with great love, not lost in the impersonal approach of many commercialized coffee places. We’ll return to Lusine soon and I’ll remember to bring my camera this time, so I can take proper photos.

Manila Chinatown Pages

I was thinking of what to do for my birthday week and I decided to do something my husband and I haven’t done before. Before we moved to the south, we loved going to Chinatown on photowalks. What we didn’t really explore too much was the local food scene. So as part of my birthday celebration, we checked in to a hotel and spent the weekend just walking around Chinatown, tasting different things from different stalls and restaurants. It was quite fun, actually. I remember back in college, the first time we ever went to Chinatown, we really just wanted to find somewhere we can eat a proper serving of siomai and a good bowl of mami. So we went there with the intention to get lost in unfamiliar streets and hopefully be home before dark. Both of us loved humble, simple food, especially street food. When we got older, and especially when we moved to the south, we just kind of lost touch with our street food-eating ways.

Here are a few pages from my journal about the weekend.

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Manila Chinatown’s food scene is quite fascinating. I think I’ve never tasted siomai and dumplings as good as the ones I ate here. There’s always a flurry of people everywhere, and restaurants are always busy. The flow of people in food establishments is quite hectic. You don’t go there for the ambiance, but really for the quality of food. It’s no-frills, humble, simple, Chinese food. It’s a place where noodles are hand-pulled and made fresh daily. Dumpling wrappers are handmade, too. I took some photos which I’ll upload in GastroPop soon, maybe when I get back home next week. The vibe of Chinatown is like the polar opposite of the south, where things are quite slow and laid back, and malls make spaces for people to stay and sit for a while. In Chinatown, not many people stay and linger to read or write even in cafes. There’s always a flurry of movement. Tables are vacated as soon as you finish eating to accommodate other diners.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend. Lots of memories were relived, and many new ones were made. Looking forward to this coming week, as we close my birthday month. ^_^

First Impressions on Sennelier Aqua Mini

My husband and I have very different hobbies, although we take much pleasure in indulging each other’s interests. I’m a relative newbie in watercolor, I really just recently discovered that not all watercolors come in tubes haha. I discovered Japanese watercolor (loved those!), and now I want to try other brands. I want to try small tins of watercolor pans just so that I can test them if I like them first, without buying a bigger, more expensive set. I also like to integrate little sketches in my journal entries, so having a tiny little watercolor set to bring along anywhere would be pretty great. My husband bought me the Sennelier Aqua-mini watercolor set which I think is just perfectly what I wanted. It’s my first time to try this brand so I’m completely unsure what to expect.

I think it’s really cute, though. I mean, look at it.

Sennelier Aqua Mini

Sennelier Aqua Mini

Eight colors in a tiny tin. I’ve never had a watercolor set this small. And there’s a teeny-tiny little brush in that middle slot. More on that brush later. A newly-opened, pristine watercolor set is beautiful, but of course that’s gonna get pretty messy real quick.

Sennelier Aqua Mini

To give you an idea how tiny it is, it’s just a little over 3.5 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide. It fits right in my pocket. Not that I’d carry it in my pocket. ^_^ The slots for the different colors are pretty closely spaced so if you use a big brush, it’s easy for the plastic holder to get pretty messy. I often just paint little things in my journal so I just use a small brush. It doesn’t get very messy as you can see below.

Sennelier Aqua Mini

It’s still looking pretty neat, I’d say. That teeny brush didn’t look very functional when I first saw it. I mean, it is so small. I was kinda resigned to just leaving that unused. But then the brush felt nice when I tried it. It’s pretty firm and I can use it for tiny details. Also, it’s a lot of fun to use for letters.

Sennelier Aqua Mini

Sennelier Aqua Mini

For a small brush, it gives me a lot of control with the strokes. I really enjoyed using it for brush calligraphy, which I only tried with watercolor once, if I remember correctly. I like it a lot. It made practicing my alibata characters a lot more fun.

The texture of the cakes are more soft, thick, and creamy than the Japanese watercolor that I’m used to. They’re nicely saturated and they’re easy to integrate with water and mix together.

Sennelier Aqua Mini

Sennelier Aqua Mini

Overall, I love everything about it. Small and compact, the brush is pretty nifty, and the colors are smooth and vibrant. I look forward to using it more often. 🙂

My hubby got this from ArtNebulaPh.

Why Calligraphy?


I joined a group of calligraphy enthusiasts on FB, Calligraphy Spot. It’s a fun group. Everybody’s nice and accommodating, you learn a lot from the other members, and there are weekly calligraphy themes. This week’s theme is “Why Calligraphy?”, which made me wonder at my fascination with it, even if I have a love-hate relationship with it. My answer was because I love words. I like how stringing letters together make words, and stringing words together make up phrases and sentences that mean something. A physical manifestation of something as abstract as thoughts.

I really want to learn copperplate or Spencerian calligraphy, but I’m afraid that I’ve stopped and started this several times because I feel like it goes against my natural hand. I am more at ease with uncial calligraphy, block lettering, and the only kind of dikit-dikit calligraphy that I can manage through brush pens. In any case, I enjoy my attempts at calligraphy and I enjoy looking at other people’s works. I appreciate how people can make words aesthetically pleasing in many different ways using different tools.

“Family Portrait”


Here’s something I did for my brother and sister-in-law. I wanted to give them something with a personal touch when they go home from their vacation. It’s their wedding anniversary and my husband and I are babysitting for a week. Being childless, nothing could have prepared us for the chaos of being responsible for three little kids. It’s a flurry of baby hugs, kisses, kicks, running around, picking up toys, stepping on toys, crying, laughing, etcetera etcetera. They follow us around everywhere. Like, even in the toilet. I had to learn the hard way never to close the bathroom door on a toddler.

My brother and sister-in-law are coming home tomorrow, and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed at the routines they’ve established for the children. With the very demanding careers they both have, they’re giving it their best shot.

This was a fun card to make. I should make some more for practice. ^_^ I wanted to write a quote or greeting in the middle using my brush pens but I’m too chicken. I didn’t want to redo it haha.

Meeting the Water Brush

I’ve always been curious about water brushes since I was able to try one at a pen meet last year. My friend uses it for pen and ink washes, though. I always see other calligraphers using it for brush calligraphy and I got curious so I bought one.

Waterbrush Calligraphy

I didn’t realize how much fun it is to use until now. I used watercolor for the letters and washes. I’m still finding my way around it as a calligraphy tool, it’s pretty hard to control watercolor and I guess that’s what makes it beautiful. It pools around in places and goes wherever it wants to. It’s a little unpredictable. Also…Bulbasaaauuuurrr! Rawr!

Waterbrush Calligraphy

It just goes to show that you won’t know if you like something unless you try it. I see myself using this tool and exploring it more in the coming days.

Last week was incredibly hectic. I consider myself very blessed to find the time to collect my thoughts and do something with my hands that isn’t related to work. Here’s hoping this coming week is a bit more forgiving.

Year 6


Yesterday’s journal entry was in memory of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Year 6, 99 arrests made out of almost 200 suspects, 3 witnesses killed, zero convictions. 🙁


I’ve been drawing things with the oblique holder I got from The Curious Artisan and I must say, it’s really enjoyable to use for line art. I’m still trying to get a hang of it, but I love how varied the line widths can be and I like using Sumi ink. It’s a vibrant kind of black. Not waterproof, though.