How I Started

burberry_christinUnlike a lot of artists I personally know and know of, I didn’t draw a lot when I was young. My earliest memory was in 3rd grade when I won 2nd place at a drawing competition. I do remember that I loved colouring. I still recall the biggest set of Crayola crayons (that had a built-in sharpener!) my mom gave me. It was easily one of my favourite things. Art part aside, what I remember most about my life so far was my passion. I have an incessant thirst to know, experience and learn new things. There is just so much to this life to discover and I’m always happy to partake.

Hmmm… Now where should I start my story… I guess I should start with my two and a half year stint in the corporate world. It was one of those things I “needed” to experience. Besides, I had dreams of becoming an expatriate, getting sent to places for training and/or knowledge transfers. All I can say about this is: it’s funny how people’s perspective change given some time. Hah! (And you can bet that it will go on for the rest of our lives.) I’m definitely NOT saying my experience was bad. Not at all. I had fun – learned a lot of new things and met a slew of different people. I just realized halfway through my stay that corporate was not for me. My job, un-fun as it had become, already took a major chunk of my waking time. The free time I had left was a struggle to distribute amongst family, friends and myself. Oh, did I mention that a good percentage was spent on catching up on sleep? I remember going to Boracay with my sisters and slept probably half the vacation off. Who does that??!?!? Nope, I didn’t want to be that person. Not anymore – which means my dreams of traveling business class to places near and far just went down the drain. Just like that. My life, as I knew it, was “over” and – instigated the question of purpose and meaning.

So, I quit a stable and secure job for the “uncertain” and actively went on a journey to “self-discovery” – where I reflected on my interests, my values, my purpose. What was it that was going to make me feel whole? What was it that was going to make me truly happy? It led me to multiple rewarding pursuits that didn’t quite last as I had expected which left me confused, lost and on the brink of losing my sanity. That passion that I always thought I had was slipping through my fingers….

Come year 2012, as I was lazily browsing through the amazing world of Pinterest like I often did (and still do!), I came across some beautiful works of art. So much talent which made me feel so envious – my normal reaction even when I meet people who turn out to be artists. But, what really caught me were the fashion illustrations*. I felt a ‘tug in my heart’ and I knew I had to try (at the very least) to create such beauty in my sad life. This was coming from a person who never imagined it was possible for her to draw more than just stick figures. It was crazy talk! So crazy that when I shared my newfound interest to my family, they practically laughed at my face. It was pretty hilarious. But the moment I decided that I was going to see it through, I was brought back to life.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take up Fine Arts or anything design related back in college. Such a shame. So, I scoured the amazing World Wide Web for tutorials and lessons (free and paid), purchasing books here and there, (update* attended workshops of different artists) and just kept drawing. At the beginning, my work was so bad I didn’t know if I should go on. I often felt depressed after looking at the monstrosities I had created and second guessed my stupid decision of trying at all! What was I thinking?! I don’t know how many times I thought about giving up – feeling like a complete failure. But my heart stayed strong. I went from depressed to happy (“I can do this!”), from happy to depressed (“I’m never going to be good enough”) – an everyday struggle where making art always won by a slim margin.

It’s been quite a journey and I am faaar from the finish line reaching my goals. Questions and doubts continue to race through my head. BUT, I’m still here finally living a purposeful life. 🙂

It would be a delight if you would join me in my adventures (or misadventures) to enjoying the everyday and to becoming a full-fledged artist.

Thanks for reading!

* I should probably share what it was that drew me to fashion illustration specifically. I wouldn’t exactly call myself “fashionable” nor am I updated with the ongoing trends in fashion. But, I like seeing beautiful clothes. I admire the many artistic ways of clothing a person that compliments his/her body shape. I admire how one’s style can be used as a medium to show his/her personality. It’s pretty cool, don’t you think?

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2 thoughts on “How I Started

  1. …oh my! I can so much relate to you! Thank you for inspiring me to push my interest in arts moreso in fashion illustration as well. Can you recommend online sites for free tutorials that are easy to follow? More power! – Tina

    1. Ah that’s nice to hear. Thanks Tina!

      When I started out, I focused on human anatomy. I like Sycra’s mode of teaching as well as Proko’s. Both available on YouTube.

      It is also helpful to research on the artists you admire and kind of use their art as inspiration or reference as you find your own style. One of my biggest influences is Katie Rodgers. She has available classes on Skillshare. I believe if you haven’t tried it, you will get a period of time where you can take as many classes as you want for free! So do check it out. I also enjoyed Yao Cheng’s style of watercolour. You can find her classes on Creativebug.

      As for paid resources, I attended Valerie Chua’s workshops – the 6 day one and a few others. Highly recommended.

      Lastly, I found the book, Illustrating Fashion by Steven Stipelman very helpful.

      That’s about it! If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Enjoy your journey Tina!

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