Thursday, February 26, 2015

2-Week Canvas: A Project by The Artsy Craftsy for Malaysian Artists, Illustrators and Graphic Designers

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Artwork by Jean Lynn Chang . The first artwork featured on 2-Week Canvas

After running around for a week completing errands, work and commissioned wearable art, and healing from the flu bug that was going on around; in between I managed to squeeze in some time to launch my all new project- the 2-Week Canvas to feature and promote Malaysian independent artists, illustrators and graphic designers.

*Pats on back for still being able to come up with a project* Sometimes I wonder where I get the energy to do all these, especially when people ask me. Haha!

I am very excited about this new project of mine. I realized I was focusing alot on my Facebook audience engagement, and as a blogger, to be honest, it isn't easy to juggle with content creation + expanding to a blogger's online store. I've been getting a lot of questions before this, whether I make or sell any handmade merchandise since I blog solely about creativity. It got me thinking back to a couple years before I started this blog that I was already into the game, then I quit. Perhaps it was some kind of a sign from the universe that I am finally ready now to go out there again. I have been doing great, business is growing, and I hope to have more fun with it the further it gets.

That's the most important thing: Fun. To have fun in what you do best.

Which is why I also wanted to make sure that I have not strayed away from my blogging objectives, I have decided to come up with the 2-Week Canvas: A Project by The Artsy Craftsy.

This initiative is going to be an on-going project. It doesn't have a deadline of how long it will go on for, but of course, to continue this effort definitely rely on the number of active participation.

I'm very happy to share that we have already featured our first artist and her stunning artwork! (See above), and currently we are already on our second feature.

It is almost 10 years already being part of the creative community. As I watched it from then and now, the one thing that our local Malaysia creative community still need (not lack though) is more exposure, and more support.

When the word 'Art' is mentioned, we no longer limit ourselves to only think about Fine Arts artists. Today, creativity has become more than just an interest or a hobby. Art is:
share it!
To further support this idea, I would like to call out all Malaysian indie artists to be part of the 2-Week Canvas. Participation is really simple, plus all artists only need to prepare his or her part.

Why the name 2-Week Canvas? It is named after the duration each artist gets to promote their artwork on The Artsy Craftsy Facebook Cover Photo space. That's right! Since the only space on my Facebook that could really grab some attention (first impression is everything) is the cover photo space, I have decided to allow each artist to strut their stuff for 2 weeks.

If you are already interest, you want this chance, even if it is just for fun (no harm giving it a shot), refer to the image below for submission guidelines or go HERE

Looking forward to your participation! Join the bandwagon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How-to: An Easy Way to Make a Creative Mood Board Album

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I don't know about you, but I have this strange habit where I like to collect assorted paper materials and stuff. I usually would tell myself that perhaps one day I might be able to use it. Whenever I come across nice candy wrappers, I'd clean it and keep it aside until I find some use for it.

There's also another word for these "habit"- it is called "Hoarding". Haha! You can say that I am a hoarder, which I think so too (most creative people are anyways). It came to a point where I was a little fed up with myself, and started throwing them all away when I was spring cleaning.

However, it wasn't until I came across a word called 'Ephemera', and finally, I found a reason to resume my collecting hobby again. My fascination with paper cuttings, paper materials, wrappers and what not finally inspired me to start making my own creative mood board album.

When I was learning about fashion designing on my own, I picked up a thing or two about mood boards and how useful it can be for designing or creative planning. I personally think that making mood boards is a fun project; not only you are playing with colours, but you are also practicing your colour combo skills, plus you learn how to focus on little details.

Learning about mood boards was really fun! I learned how to observe and analyze colour combinations, and learned how to gather right images and colours and create my own mood board whether it is on a big mounting board or on a sketch book. It's basically like a collage project.

From then on, I learned how to use it for my craft projects, or design planning like a reference.

As I continue to collect all kinds of paper materials and things... the one thing I learned in mood board making is - Rule No.1 - Be Organized! By being organized will help you plan your projects better, plus, colours play an important part in a design work- it's good to have a clearer mind, or at least not be confused by the ample of paper stuff all over the place.

Over here, as you can see, I have lots of paper materials ranging from candy wrappers, random leaflets, fancy napkins, doilies...

 I even managed to find some old photos from an old photo album.

And some wrapping papers, clothing tags, pretty greeting cards and memorable postcards... ah yes! and a tarot card too (it came with some magazine that was supposed to be a collect-them-all thing.)

Mood boards are very useful once you have learned how to make full use of it; you never have to worry about running out of style or steering away from a colour combination or a design-theme that you have in mind.

What do I need to make a mood board album:
After practicing the mood board concept, eventually it evolved; from using mounting boards and sketch books, I discovered my own mood board making by using a large self-adhesive photo album.

Self-adhesive photo albums are very useful for mood board makings or storing your 'ephemeras', Each page comes with a 'sticky' surface and a plastic cover. You just need to remove it, stick your images or paper cuttings, or rearrange them whenever you feel like it, and then place the plastic cover back again.

If you are wondering where to get one, well, I got mine at Jaya Jusco, stationary section in Sunway Pyramid.

I like the idea that it is flexible; I can dedicate a page for each mood board idea, and rearrange or categorize all over again if I want to. Using a mounting board to do your collage mood board is just as good too. But I personally think that using a mounting board would be good for presentations or a proposal for a client if you are planning for a design work.

Other than, for organizing your mood board ideas as well as your ephemeras, a self-adhesive photo album would do just fine. So, now you know, don't throw away any paper materials especially if they are vintage. You can store them here and re-use them for scrapbooking or journalling purpose.

This is probably one of the easiest creative tip I have ever shared!

In the meantime, give it a try! Share with me your thoughts on my Facebook page or just drop by to say Hello.

Monday, February 2, 2015

How Having a Creative Lifestyle Improved the Quality of My Life

Monday, February 2, 2015

5 years ago, after recovering from substance abuse and regaining confidence from being jobless, I joined a company and embarked on a journey that wasn't just filled with obstacles, but became the biggest transformation in my life.

When I was growing up, I was surrounded by both motivations and demotivations: It was either about me being a natural talent in art, or about me unable to find a future in art. Of course, eventually I grew up thinking that Art was not just a skill or an ability to create, but another form of money making. And back then, having the right career was very important (well, pretty much the same right now too), and it mattered where or which area you go into. As for me, I went into Advertising and after trying to pursue an Art career somewhere in between (as a fabric painting artist and a crafter), I became a copywriter eventually.

Work became mundane for me.

Everyday was pretty much the same, and then I'd finish my work and head off; we would either meet up with friends (mostly his friends not mine), or watch a movie, stare at the TV, eat, stuff like that. 

I'm not sure if you have felt this way before, but I once felt as if Life was meaningless, and definitely thought of myself as useless because all I do was just waste each day away doing nothing productive.

Hell, I couldn't even focus when I am reading a book, and I love to read!

I started to ask myself, "Is this really all there is?", "Am I only meant to do this? Work, pay the bills, debts and what not."... Funny thing was, at this time, this was my lowest point in my life. All sorts of memories started to come back, and I tried to recall everything about my childhood, but strangely, my mind was blank. It was as if I cannot remember what I used to love as a child. I couldn't even remember the child-like bliss that I used to have when things were simpler. 

After awhile I got very sick of this pattern and I started to ask myself, "What do I want?" "What do I enjoy doing most?" "What sort of things that gets me excited?"

I started to make a list of what I wanted to do.

And I used a lot of 'What If's to a good use; I made list of where I want to go if I could see the world. 

Or make lists of things I have never done before like going to a ballet performance, going to the zoo or exploring Malacca's town by myself...

And then the most important thing of all, was I wrote, "I want to paint again."

I never looked back ever since then, despite wanting to give up half way. The only reason why I only wanted to give up at that time was only because of inner-battles that I wasn't good enough and often looking back into the past.

Nevertheless, I continued to encourage myself to keep on going: I dabbled in all sorts of creative activities, whether it is taking photos with my digital camera, journalling, writing again, watching artsy movies to my liking, listening to music and to the lyrics, drawing...  I even made sure that everyday at my lunch hour, I will take some time off to be alone and draw. 

Me-time became important to me.

I wanted to improve myself. And deep down inside, I knew that the only way for me to improve my Life was not about changing others around me, but it was about me making a difference in my own well-being by finding a solution. There's a difference there you see, between trying to change yourself and making a difference.

As I rediscovered my way back into my creative passion, I also discovered a sense of renewal. 

The more I engaged in creative activities, the simplest to the most challenging one, I found myself learning how to love myself once again. It was like getting to know a friend, all over again; like bonding with someone that have drifted apart from your life for years and now that friend is back again- only thing is that friend is Me.

One of the most astounding experience that I never thought would change my life was Blogging. Call it magic or a miracle, whatever that works, a transformation definitely happened! There was a big difference in how I saw myself and what I think about myself too.

My creative passion of dabbling into little things here and there, found its way to my old blogspot account; I started revamping the page and next thing I know, there was I, blogging about my passion. Thus, the more I blogged, the more I self-reflected.

In a flash, the blog has already been active for 5 years. Still feels like yesterday when I was working on my first few art projects, finding local creative stories to blog about and learning about blogging on my own.  I watched my blog grow from what was just merely a tiny spark of passion to maintain my sanity everyday, to today, where it has helped me improve on how I view myself and how I appreciate the little things in life around me. 

It's been a remarkable self-discovery journey that's for sure! There and then, I found my aim in life, to not only promote Malaysia's creative community, but to inspire others who might be searching for answers in their lives.

You must be wondering why am I sharing this with you. Well, one, I hope that you too can experience the same joy.

Second, the thought came about when I expanded the blog and officially launched The Artsy Craftsy Shop just last month (and made a few sale already by the way. So happy!). There I was sitting in my new home, my little studio, preparing handmade merchandises while juggling with posting up photos, memories came back, and I thought to myself "I have come so far already!" I recollected back those troubled times, when I was at my lowest point in my life. I remembered how I picked myself up and finally told myself, 'enough is enough! it's time to make an improvement in my life and live a balanced lifestyle!'. 

I have become more perceptive of everything around me; the most important part was that having a creative lifestyle has made me a better, positive person. The best part, I was finally in touched with my inner-child again, my baggage has somewhat disappeared and I have become a simple-minded person. I learned to see the qualities of my life. I also remembered what used to make me happy as a child; whether it was a good or bad experience, I remember being that little girl with hopes and dreams and I tell myself now, it's time to make it happen.

"Art is a Way of Life for me."

If you are responding to this post by saying "but I don't have the time!" or "but I am not at all creative!"; let me tell you, my dear friend, that you don't need to be an artist expert to engage in creative activities. There's so much you can do, it doesn't have to be drawing. You can take photos (don't have to be a professional either), or it can even be as kiddy as can be like colouring, just download templates from online. Or you can even take initiative to visit your local creative centres and enrol in easy-to-do classes or visit your local art galleries or museums etc. Whatever that makes you comfortable...the sky's the limit!

Art is not just a skill or knowledge anymore. It's not just a subject. It's a way of life.

I wish you the best in your creative lifestyle journey and I assure you, you will see the difference in your life. All light, all love.