Andrea Cervantes is Beruna Girl, designer & illustrator from Laguna, Philippines.
Needless to say I am still surprised that this blog is still alive.
But things did happen! And most of the time I am busy with work (Yes! Still employed while freelancing and sewing notebooks! A miracle, right?), and I just have to catch up on sleep (else, I might go insane). I am old, guys, and I can’t stay up even if I’d really want to.
(No, really, I tried going without sleep for 2 days this year. I thought I was gonna die. 5 years ago I would still be running on adrenaline on day 3, and can walk around.)
Will try to document the process as much as I can, but here are some notable things that happened:
I was planning some visual information design razzmatazz, but I still haven’t been taking notes. Maybe later? Right now, how about a riot grrl/angry girl rock playlist?
I don’t know how to feel about me turning 30. On one hand, I’m glad for everything so far, even if things never go as I expect them (especially this year, what), I am still surprised about what everyday brings. On the other hand, doom: have I done anything remotely useful for humanity? If not, isn’t that embarrassing? What is the point of going past 30? Are things going to get better?
But enough existential drama. Busy tayo. Until the next post! (I swear I will write more!)
At the start of this year, I was in the mood to revisit some of the things I did last year. This site’s new look is a result of that, but it took me quite a long time to actually sit down and do it. Some other projects got delayed because of work, and believe me, I really want to finish all of them while working if it wouldn’t cost me time to focus on everything at once.
But some little things got through, and when I look at them I get a little hopeful, especially on really bad days: there is hope for you yet, young unworthy padawan. I am actually improving on things! Here are some of them.
Remember that image on the first entry of this blog? The one that started all of these? Apparently, a lot of LOTR fans loved it on tumblr. Somebody even told me that if the How To Succeed In Business… musical and The Hobbit had a kid, it would be that image. Thank you, tumblr peeps! You are so nice when you’re not super sensitive.
When I was starting to make notebooks, I thought, “hey I need that Bilbo Baggins print on one!” I dug into my old files for the PSD/AI file and I found… NOTHING. Turned out I didn’t save it. It was well past 12am and I was feeling so sad about it, so decided that I didn’t have any choice but to do it all over again.
And after some hours, hey I pulled off something nice!
I retained some shapes and orientation, but there’s definitely an improvement. You see, I was still hesitant to try out typography and lettering at the start of last year. I have really horrible handwriting, and I didn’t study letter anatomy, kerning, weights, etc. And I was pretty bad at choosing fonts when I was younger (I skipped Bleeding Cowboys though, so YAY) so I didn’t believe in my skills. But while working on many things last year, I realized that studying type was important, and this was the result of reading and practising after a year.
I had more breathing space! A sense of balance! And the typefaces relate to each other! And they are more readable! If life was composed of little victories, this would be one of them. Or at least that’s how it feels like whenever I look at these two side-by-side.
If you follow me in social media sites, you know I always post references to Daenerys Targaryen. She’s one of my favorite characters in A Song of Ice and Fire (and OK sure, Game of Thrones), especially on the first three books (if you’ve read books 4-5 you’ll understand how mad I am at how her story and Tyrion’s went crashing down into Boringsphere AMIRITE NERDS GEORGE WHY, oops sorry about the rant), and I love drawing her.
I drew a vector portrait of her one tiring night after a whole day sourcing at Divisoria because WHY NOT? I was pretty pleased with myself (“drew this using a trackpad with minimal sleep after a day of walking in a hot, crowded marketplace and bargaining with really noisy people!!!”) when I posted this on tumblr but after a while I really, really wanted to delete it.
So I went ahead and redid it because again, why not?
I guess I have a lot to improve on when it comes to drawing realistic stuff. Both of the images aren’t dynamic to me (I tried in the second one). I have been struggling on a style for years, and I’m really afraid to lose the things I learned to like when I take refresher courses. (I am doing an Andrew Loomis refresher, but barely!) I am in constant struggle with myself, and this comparison reminds me that I have to work on a lot of things, even though they can pass off as good enough to other people.
I hope to see more improvement on my work the coming years ahead. I guess I’m pretty confident of them now: I’m selling the Bilbo Baggins Says notebook at my store and the Khaleesi print (and iPhone case, laptop skin, pilow, card, etc.!) on Society6 (free shipping until Sunday, wee!). But still. My underlying philosophy that works most of the time is: everything can suck and I must outrun the suck. Pretty negative, but hey, I could outrun some things, it seems.
During the start of the year, I was itching to blog about stuff that happened last year. I have a lot of backlog right after I got out of the hospital. But whenever I open the site, I can’t help but notice things and re-evaluate. Do I need an intro page like that? My About page is so long, lulz. I don’t feel like clicking the Portfolio page, eh. Internally, WordPress’s gallery was tiring to maintain – it was too cluttered and powerful for what I need.
Also, I was starting to use my logo into forms, invoices, and other media, and I noticed that the asymmetrical shape makes it hard to layout. I tried modifying it a bit… but it’s still not it.
So I decided that I needed a complete overhaul, which was good but tiring. Pretty soon, instead of updating my blog, I just sit and nitpick about things I didn’t like about it. That’s it, blog layout, I love you but I need to move on.
It took me a really long time to start, and to figure out what to do – it was what I was doing site-wise during that long downtime. I grabbed little bursts of free time to work on the things I wanted to change, mainly my logo, colors, and layout.
I modified my logo first. There were too many loops and elements in the old one, so I decided to tame it down a bit.
Also, I’ve been reading more on grids in design, so I used grids FINALLY after forgetting all about it. GRIDS, THEY ARE IMPORTANT. Now this variation has the personality of the old one, but more structured. LOVE IT.
After the logo, I wanted to define elements I want to use around the blog. Initially, I just wanted to make do with my ribbons and make a pretty “inspiration board” post. But I found Braizen‘s branding boards and realized that I needed to sort out my site stuff with that kind of clarity.
This got me really excited about diving in and doing a complete layout overhaul. I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at various WordPress templates and themes, but I never found what I really wanted. I got overwhelmed while working on Em’s website too, so I developed this love-hate relationship with WordPress.
Fortunately, I found Stacey App CMS from Tin & Ed’s and Kara Villaseran‘s sites. Reading through it sounds complicated, but I figured out things by looking at templates. It’s easy! I found out that I can still churn out a decent website from scratch (still, please don’t hire me), and use it on Stacey. (It’s kind of a throwback to that time in my life when I made (really bad) websites, haha.) WordPress does lots of things for you and sometimes you can’t keep track of files you want to modify – but with Stacey I know where all my files are going! Genius.
WordPress is still great at blogs though, so I chose the simplest theme to modify and made a seamless blog page.
I was so addicted to making my site from scratch, I spent my birthday doing it! No really: it was Election Day and I couldn’t go outside after voting, so I chose to do this instead.
I’ve still have lots of work to upload! But here’s the site for now. This means I can finally go on with my life, work properly, ship orders and
watch Hannibal episodes on repeat do more productive things.
So onwards to another update! I’ve been happily balancing things around my life, and although it takes a toll on me on some nights (aka I didn’t notice I was asleep for 12 hours!!!), I’m just glad I’ve been really creative and driven. Or at least I’ve been planning things. 🙂
But I digress, here’s the rest of March and April! (Also, I’ve been adding “yo” to everything because I’ve been watching too much Breaking Bad, sorry!)
You know this was coming, guys who follow me on Tumblr. Bong and Rossy of Heima Store just opened their newest branch at 3 Brixton St., Pasig City, and commissioned me to make another set of Paper Club Prints for the opening, based on my typography exercises and my notebooks. They gave me free reign of what I can do, and sometimes too much freedom can be nerve-wrecking. But I love working with the Heima team because they give me so much inspiration, that I whipped most of these pretty quickly!
Keeping with the tradition of offering uplifting design prints (since the Keep Calm posters they introduced at Cubao X), the team gave me various words of wisdom to interpret. I picked out my favorites among them, and tried incorporating them to the new store’s aesthetics, which is industrial/masculine but still very Heima. Here are the results:
They liked it so much that they gave me another project to work on, which was to design merchandise for The Brixton Block Party – their opening event AND the vinyl soundtrack launch of Marie Jamora’s film Ang Nawawala.
Of course I was so excited to be part of it – I may not be the target audience of this film, but I think it looks so good, it’s on a right step ahead for Filipino films, plus the soundtrack is great (I like to listen to it in the morning). And I remember spazzing out when I found out that Cynthia Bauzon-Arre made the illustrations for the cover!
Bong liked my Pond Feels notebooks, and decided them to be the main inspiration.
Took some playing around with the colors, balance and the arrangement.
I particularly like this one, because it wasn’t as predictable as the last ones, plus I saw a connection between the twin characters here: Gibson is a little bit earth-bound while Jamie is on a different plane, but they still have a connection.
Turns out that Marie and I were on the same train of thought! She told me later that she liked it because “Jamie’s coming out of Gibson’s head!” which is how it is in the movie!
Took us a couple of days exchanging emails with almost everybody and the final design was DONE. 😀
Afterwards, I was invited to the party! And let me tell you, it was so much fun – but not as fun as I’ve expected! I met the Heima team (all the bubbly people), Marie (I love her energy), Jess and Jill from my old office, Eldzs and the Thursday Room people, met Valerie on the way home, and had another spazzed-out moment when I saw Cynthia (I am so sorry for freaking you outttttt!!!). I went with my blockmate forever, Boombee, and we had a little heart attack when we were reunited with Pat and Rik of Proudrace! College friends! I MISS YOU! <3
We were by far older than the rest of the people (and we didn’t know most of them haha), and to paraphrase my brother, “that was so hipster of you,” but it didn’t stop us from having a great time with friends. 🙂
My friend Tintin just graduated from BFA Information Design, so go congratulate her! I helped her out by illustrating a story for her thesis, The Kwento Project, which encourages families to read Filipino folk stories together, through old (print) and new (tablets) ways.
I got a challenging one from her, a story from Bicol called Monkeys and Dragonflies.
The challenge was to reinterpret these stories in your own way but would suit the narrative. Being somebody who believes that she lived in the turn of the century until the 1930’s, I thought about The Godfather (think Part II, with De Niro)! Gangsters! Art Nouevau and Art Deco! Let’s do this!
Check out more stories and more illustrations from friends and other artists on The Kwento Project website!
I’ve been meeting really lovely, talented, and awkward people around for quite some time, and we got together as fans of BBC’s Sherlock. We call ourselves #friendless, and until we come out, we can’t divulge our secrets to anyone.
But I think I can tell everyone that our secret society enjoys our meetups, that we are currently loving Subspace Coffee House‘s Taro Coffee (with Doctor Who coffee art!!!), and that we’re gonna launch something big soon.
And I can let it slip that we’re currently obsessed with NBC’s Hannibal.
Aaaand… that was the Months That Were! I’m just so happy to get those stories out in my blog. I hope you come back for more, and by then I’ve taken the huge step into revamping this site. It has been a year, wow it has been a year! 😀
Hey guys! I know, I’m pretty much delayed with updating this blog! Believe me when I say I really, really, REALLY want to update… but because I started out the year with fixing my friend’s site up, I’ve been itching to update this site. Plans have been at the back of my mind and I really want to sit down and do this well… and until I do, I just don’t want to see this old layout. I’m suddenly so impatient with this!
But really good things have happened these past few months, I’ve been bursting with stories to tell!
“Busy” is an understatement during those days. I’ve been designing giveaways and bundling them up by myself at work, we’ve been visiting relatives and it’s pretty hard to do while commuting, and I’ve been trying to start a small store.
Because of my former jobs in graphics, I get dibs on designing stuff for company events. When you think about it, internal company events can run with things designed in MS Powerpoint (I hate Powerpoint with a passion, guys) and get away with it. I tried so hard to go against it, even if I’m given a really short deadline and a last-minute brief. So I’ve been making event tarps, shirts, and what-have-you’s ever since I got this job.
Here are some things that we did during the holidays, minus the usual Christmas cards (I didn’t take a picture of those because once I was done I was SO TIRED):
CAT CALENDAR. Bask in the cuteness of these felines, while keeping with the dates. I had SO MANY CLIENTS requesting for these when people were giving them out, which was good for the company… but I was the only one assembling the stuff so YAY ARMY OF CATS. :O
Cut-out Christmas tree that we gave away with the cats. And… our only photo of the truck that we dressed up as Santa Claus for the annual CSR Christmas outreach program, because after we finished this we all passed out. This was A PAIN TO DECORATE, as it is a huge-ass 20-wheeler truck. Thankful that I didn’t have do this by myself ! *high-fives D&T team*
And… after this I just go directly to bed. Good times?
Jake is one of my blockmates in engineering, and I’m pretty flattered when they remember that I design things, because these engineering people are not to be messed with. CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRIES, YO. Anyway, he got married last January so I’ve worked on his and his wife Joy’s wedding invitations.
I tried to design an invitation for another couple in the past, but I guess I didn’t capture the bride’s tastes, and I learned early on that it’s a very important thing; otherwise, let another artist do it. I was hesitant to make another one (“maybe I’m not really for weddings, huhuhuhuhu”), but I love how Joy sent me her inspiration board that I got into her state of mind pretty quickly!
At first they wanted to change the typefaces and add some accents to an existing design
And then they told me that they like mine so much that I should consider a redesign!
The final thing!
Things were so hectic and problematic that day that I didn’t make it to their wedding (Who loses her stuff on a jeep? Me.) and I’ve yet to see the invite printed out, but I’m so glad I made two beautiful people happy!
I confess: I was eager to have this giveaway last October, partly because I wanted to know how to ship out stuff abroad to clients. The experiment turned out to be a success because I learned how to send stuff internationally!
I signed up for Etsy a long time ago, just in case my friends and I revive our accessory business. Seeing the demand and the feedback I got from the Tumblr community, I plucked out the courage to use that account and try selling stuff! And this is how my Etsy shop, Beruna Girl Papers was born!
Right now I’ve been thinking of expanding to other fandoms and geek-related activities, as well as putting out some badass quotes and drawings in the future, as well as new bindings and materials. Gonna experiment with cards, posters, and other stationery too! Right now, here are the new things! 🙂
I’ve also added a small widget of my Etsy Store on the right side of the blog, check it out! 😀
To celebrate Fringe’s final season, Gallery 1988 at LA held Fringe Benefits, a show featuring gorgeous Fringe-inspired artworks and posters. When Wired Underwire featured the exhibit, they went out of their way to feature Fringe fanart from around the world… and they picked one of mine!
My friend Em, who collaborated with me here, asked me to revive her portfolio site. Being Em, I know she loves minimalism and clean working spaces because her works are so colorful and playful, that they don’t need any additional accents.
Now, here is a study in humility: I failed to deliver on time because I realized I couldn’t code fast enough. I am so glad that Em still accepted my work, and we’re still talking, but there should be no excuses. I realized that I am pretty rusty on coding, and that I should always have a backup when things go wrong! When things were going wrong, this piece by Jessica Hische came into mind. I stepped onto the challenge because Em had been a great friend and I thought I could muster something as easily as I did some years ago, but I keep on forgetting that I chose to develop and enrich another talent – that I can’t do everything.
But I step back, and I thought I did pretty well!
Lots of lessons learned, and I’m glad that things got to be better. Also folks, don’t give me coding jobs yet!
Well. This is a long post, it needs a part 2! Will come up shortly!
Happy 2013 – wait, it’s MARCH already?
Sorry for the lack of updates, guys! I’ve been super busy the past few months – I’ve been in charge of all Christmas/New Year stuff at work (lone artist at work, lulz!) and we’ve had so many projects. I’ve been busy with freelance work too, and right now I’ve just been catching up on sleep. (Thank you holidays!!!!)
Onwards, though. Remember the goals I’ve encircled last year? Here’s a look back on some of those. I didn’t do some of them, and some of my plans and personal projects have been shelved, but I’ve managed to fulfill more and still learn new things this year.
Tried keeping it simple this time. 🙂
Anyway, I’ve got a lot of stories to tell about my new projects. I’ve been more active in tumblr, and after erasing my initial account (created for following people, deleted when I decided to give up on mobile photo-taking), I reopened my Instagram account this month (trying to make use of my new camera phone: photo quality is still cringe-inducing but hmm, let’s give it a chance).
The past few months turned out to be challenging but fun! I hope it stays that way, although I don’t mind some vacations in between. <3
Because Tumblr is great and my followers are the best, I’m giving away free stuff! I’ve printed out some of my Fringe covers that I made and some exciting notebooks (more about them later!), and decided to give them away to 3 lucky people.
This is exclusively for people who have tumblr blogs but I’m feeling really generous, so if you happen to scroll through this blog and have a tumblr blog, you have 2 more days to like and reblog my post! Visit my tumblr for the rules and prizes, reblog and like, and cross your fingers for good luck! <3
Hey guys! I have an ongoing collaboration with my friend, makeup artist and photographer Em Smith.
Em Smith is a makeup artist and photographer based in Houston, Texas. She grew up in Marinduque and Manila, Philippines, and I met her when we were both artists for a local fashion brand. I’m always floored by her photos and her conceptual and “no-makeup” makeup, so it’s an honor to be working with her! So excited for the next ones!
Hello everybody! I’m still alive, hahaha! Also, like a good fan, I can’t stop myself from posting a pic of September from Fringe this month.
Work and weekend trips dominated my August and early September, but it’s not as dramatic or emotionally-wrenching like July, so everything is good. Right now I’m focusing more on losing weight, which I’m happy to report that I am doing successfully but slowly! I didn’t think that I can cut down on the sweets and eliminate the chips and other junk food like I did before, but now I stopped craving. I just got back into the habit of exercising too, so I hope rains or really bad weather wouldn’t get in the way or I have to fight my way with the bros and work out with our EA Active 2 on the PS3.
It was Fringe‘s anniversary last September 9, and although I am really, really sad that my favorite show had to go, I’m so happy being a fan of it and I certainly won’t forget this show long after it ends. As a tribute, I collected all my Fringe covers into one page here:
It looks so good in the iPad (also, we have an official office iPad, because my boss is awesome)! So glad that people in the fandom love them, and I’m glad that most of my friends started tuning in because of my covers. I just wish that there would be a season or two more to enjoy.
I’ve been doing a lot of fan work, like wallpapers and gifs, these past few months. I guess working on a field entirely different from graphic design had made me miss Photoshop and Illustrator, and I’ve been enjoying them as a mental and creative activity. Although it’s pretty much a short-attention-span, instant-gratification thing and I don’t get to own some rights, it’s still a productive activity which I enjoy immensely.
But then I had an opportunity to design something for a very strange client this month, something I’ve been dreaming of doing ever since! So excited to share it with you, and although the final art wasn’t really my most favorite of what I did, I see it as a foot in the door and a start of a great adventure.
So how are you doing? How’s September (the month – although tell me asap if you’ve seen Observers around)?
Some of you may not know that I don’t really have a proper training in graphic design. You see, I am an Industrial Design graduate, and although we share the same foundation classes with the VisCom students, we focused on different things – and we didn’t focus on graphic design. Back then I would watch my VisCom friends do their plates and think that I’d rather make those than my plates (which were mostly engineering drawings).
Also this was the early 00’s, when going online was a relatively new thing (Friendster, anyone?) and owning your blog or posting in LJ was supposed to be really cool. I had delusions that I could write really well, so I started a blog (it was full of angst, no, ANGST). I noticed that most users have very different layouts from the ones offered by LJ, and they were very popular. How did they do it? I wanted my blog to look as pretty as those!
So I studied HTML, Photoshop, and soon CSS by myself. I spent about half of my weekly allowance on computer rental every week, just to figure out how they worked. We didn’t have laptops or wifi back then. ( If you were staying in the dorms like me and you’d want to go online, you’d go to the University Shopping Center to rent a PC.) Pretty soon someone gave me a domain name (andreavenge.happy-dagger.net! I know, so cheesy!) and I started making websites from scratch.
Here are some samples of what I did in Livejournal, happy-dagger, and Multiply. I did so many in the span of 6 years (in 2010 I stopped blogging altogether). These are not examples of good design, lol. Some are even just trendy at the time and altogether really bad, but I’m posting them so you can see how I was back then.
This was my last blog design. I am happiest with this, but then I stopped writing and pretty soon Multiply was replaced by Facebook.
And I guess I learned graphic design this way. I wasn’t even keen on being the Next Big Thing or even looking for work; I just wanted to have a pretty blog. I got to learn how to use these programs and codes this way, and this in turn helped me in making projects and presentations. What I learned from all of these, I applied in school, and soon, at work. I didn’t even think that all of these would land me a job, or lead me to pursue graphic design. Back then I wasn’t aware that I was learning at all – I just thought it was a hobby that I was really passionate about. And if you think about it, learning should be kind of like this.