Luca is here!

Hello folks! Luca Francisco is here! He was born on a rainy spring night, on April 7th at 1:32am. Weight: 8.15 lbs Height: 20.5 inches || 4.055kg / 52 cm.

It was a the night of the “Pineapple Express” -a storm coming from Hawaii- and after 3hs of labor at home, we arrived at Labor and Delivery at 1:10am.
Our own little Pineapple Express arrived just 22 minutes and about 6 pushes later! (I even had to be admitted at the hospital after given birth since everything went so fast we couldn’t do it before!).
We were surrounded by so much love and care and we’re so thankful that such special, kind, lovely people like my mother in law and Katie Heredia my doula were there with us during this extraordinary moment of our lives.

My baby and I are doing great and this now family of 4 is happy, healthy and thankful to God for all the joys and blessings that He has given us.

As you may all know, I’m still on my maternity leave but I wanted to pop here and say hi and share a little pic of my newest addition.
Here’s Luca 1 day old on a blanket that I created specially for him.

This project started with a pointed pen, paper an ink and after digitizing it on Photoshop, I printed it on a soft blanket made in the USA.

marco 5 days old – pic by quianna marie photography

Isn’t it amazing how many things we can create from words on a paper? I’m still fascinated by this beautiful art folks, I cannot lie!

See you soon!

 

Sheets available on Roostery

You might remember the sheets that I created for Luca some weeks ago.

Well, after receiving some requests, I created a fabric pattern with just the “Buenos días/Buenas Noches” (that’s good morning/good night -without the Luca name part). That fabric is available on my shop at Spoonflower. I have to be honest, I don’t love Spoonflower. Yes, the quality of the fabric is great; the shipping and customer service is very good too and those are the reasons why I keep my fabric design shop there. But it only pays 10% to us artists… But if it is the way that I can offer my designs to the world, I’ll take it for now.

There were two people that asked me for sheets already sewn. That’s how I got to create a shop on Roostery.

So this week I wanted to share with you that you can get sheets with the hand-lettered “Buenos Días Buenas Noches” at Roostery. Just follow this link.

I think Roostery is still kind of expensive (especially if you compare what they charge to the customer and what they pay the artist; again sorry for the rant!) but for now is the only option I have to offer this product.

Anyway. I love the pattern

Waiting for Luca

Hi folks!
So here we’re, still waiting for Luca but patiently. I think the fact that this will be my last pregnancy makes it a less anxious waiting. Also it helps a lot that I’ve been feeling very good -specially considering that I’m over 40 weeks pregnant now!- so that has been a huge relief.

In the meantime, since I’m mostly at home waiting and handling all my home-related tasks, I took some time to play on Procreate with the few “bump pics” that I took during this pregnancy.

I did some lettering using different styles and brushes and thought of sharing these with you this week.

What do you think? I hope you like them!

picture by Quianna Marie Photography

From week 4 that I found out that I was pregnant until week 22, my pregnancy was a super tough ride, as you might already know. I lost a lot of weight and couldn’t do anything besides laying on the couch or running to the toilet. So… I wasn’t in the mood for any pictures. This one is the first one I have and it was on week 18!

Slowly starting to feel a little better. This is one day working in my studio at 19 weeks.

By week 26 I was feeling much much better! And you can notice on my smile 😀

Getting bigger 🙂

And here’s the last one from last weekend!

My due date was April 1st… We’ll see when this little one decides to come to this world! Will I have news next week?

Remember you can follow my most updated posts on Instagram and Facebook.

See you soon!

Another favorite marker

Hi folks,

This week I‘ve been working on Luca’s pregnancy journal while I wait for his arrival any moment now since I’m almost 40 weeks pregnant!

To be honest, I couldn’t keep it updated during this pregnancy since it has been a tough ride for me, specially since I had so much nausea and couldn’t keep my food down until week 20. I barely have any energy and it was hard even getting out of bed each morning. It was rough, but I’m thankful we’re getting to the last days of pregnancy.

I thought of sharing this other Molotow marker favorite of mine.

It’s a masking marker that you can use to write for instance on watercolor paper, then paint with over it and when the painting is dried (super important step!) you can finally remove the masking to uncover your “hidden” message.

It’s a fun technique for art-journaling and also for cards or table place-cards using watercolors and hand-lettering!

I leave you a short time-lapse video showing how I created this page on my pregnancy journal.

See you soon folks and hopefully with some baby news! 🙂

Luca’s nursery

Hi folks!

This week I want to share something very special, my little one’s nursery decor.

Luca will share our bedroom and in the first months he’ll also sleep next to me so his crib is more ornamental at the moment but that didn’t stop my nesting syndrome to create a little space for him.

There’re three important things that I created for his space. One is the hand-lettered crib sheets and the other two are the art prints on the wall. Here’s a quick pic of his space with a predominancy of black and white (besides the brown walls that are part of our master bedroom).

For the sheets, I used my monoline style and a digital brush lettering style and created this pattern that says in Spanish “Buenos Días Luca Buenas Noches Luca” which means “Good morning Luca Good night Luca”.

After printing my fabric I did a little bit of sewing and created the sheets for the crib.

Since some people asked me for this pattern, I went ahead and put a similar one on my Fabric Shop but without the Luca part, just the “Buenos Días Buenas noches“. You can also buy sheets set already done here (crib size not available though).

Now, for the walls, I created a peaceful sleepy moon and a moody cloud and framed them using some black frames.

I love this sleepy moon and the moody cloud so much, I think it added the perfect detail for his little space.

I’m very happy with all the little projects that I’ve been creating for my baby, I’m thankful for being able to use my creativity and skills to prepare these things for him. It filled my heart with happiness, specially since this pregnancy was so rough until the week 22. So, connecting with my baby through art projects and enjoying this last part of pregnancy -even with the difficulties of a third trimester- has been a blessing, a spark of joy!

For those interested, sleepy moon is now also be available as a 8×10 art print on my etsy shop.

Now friends, I’m about to turn 39weeks pregnant so if you get to see that I don’t write next week is because baby arrived!

Anyway, have a wonderful week!


PS: You might want to check also Marco’s nursery or these crib sheets.

Big news!

Hello friends!

I’m beyond happy to share the big news: my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Course is available online here!This online course is perfect for beginners. You don’t need to have any artistic experience nor a good hand-writing; I’ll guide you step by step with all the details of Modern Calligraphy so that you’ll be able to create at home the thin and thick lines so characteristic of this art using a straight pen holder and a professional nib.

During the course besides all the technical details of this art, a detailed video instruction with warm-up exercises and an alphabet sample, I’ll also give you all the tips on the best tools and materials which is just so important. When I first started, I had to pretty much discovered them by myself, buying, trying and deciding. It was a big waste of time (and money!) so I added these details on my online course since it was something that I really would have wanted to have from the beginning (plus, it would have saved me also so much frustration!).

Now let me tell you a little bit of the “behind the scenes“.

First of all, Victor -my husband- has always been the one that encouraged and supported my artistic journey and to whom I owe so much of the joy that I’ve discovered by being able to now work doing something I love! And he was the one telling me for about forever to create courses and offer them online.

On my side, I also started thinking about this possibility after having some people interested in attending my workshops but they didn’t live in the area. Like many of my friends in New York and Argentina.

So, in January this year, we started filming in my studio in San Jose and now, after all the editing and the online platform is ready, we are sharing  my course with the world!

I’ll still continue to teach my in-person workshops in San Jose but that will re-start after my maternity leave, in the summer. I’ll keep you posted about that as soon as I have the dates set.

That’s it for this week, and what an amazing week it is!

As always, thanks for reading folks and thanks for sharing and recommend my work to your friends and family! I’m always thankful for all of my clients, my students, all the people that have worked with me and recommend me to their friends and family.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! So much love to all of you!! <3

Have a great week, friends!

From Modern Calligraphy to Embroidery

Hi friends!
I’m 36 weeks pregnant and the nesting syndrome has kicked in with all his power. I’ve been trying to finish a lot of projects that this baby inspired me but my energy is so low that is a bad combo having so many things to do with so little time and energy.

Anyway, as one of my favorite Lisa Congdon’s poster says, I had to begin anyhow.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already seen a few weeks ago that I posted this picture of the name of my baby that I wrote using my own Modern Calligraphy.

I wrote it using a Tachikawa T40 pen-holder and a Nikko G nib. After that and using a light pad, I traced over a piece of fabric the names using this pen.

This pen is MAGICAL, I love it because it’s a gel pen with a fine point but its ink is erasable! Yes, you’re reading this! You can trace over fabric and then just use a warm iron over your illustration or lettering like in this case and it will disappear!

Now, let’s go to the second part. I used a 7 inches wooden embroidery hoop and some Singer black cotton thread.

Then, of course, the hard work started. I chose the very basic, simplest stitch since I didn’t want the stitch to take much attention from the composition of my lettering; it was also going to be faster (remember the first part of this blog post… I’m running out of time and my nesting syndrome is at full steam!) and finally… it has been a thousand years since the last time I did some embroidery! So, the simpler, the better.

I used tighter stitches that were closer together to fill in the thicker lines.

After I finished, I used a warm iron over my design to erase the lines of my pilot pen tracing.

Then, I put it back in the wooden embroidery hoop and cut a little bit of the extra fabric on the sides and hanged it on one of the walls of Luca’s nursery (which at the time is a little space in our bedroom).

Of course I can see some imperfections here and there but still I’m very happy with the result, specially considering that I hadn’t done any embroidery since my Catholic elementary school years!

It was a nice project and it looks super cute on the wall next to the crib.

I hope the info about the erasable pen is useful for you too and let me know if you decide to try to transfer your hand-lettering or modern calligraphy designs to other surfaces and mediums, like fabric and embroidery. I’d love to know about it!

See you next week, friends!

Marco’s 5th birthday party

This week I decided to blog about Marco’s 5th birthday so I can finally be up to date with his celebrations and all the DIY that I created for his parties.

This time was all about Legos. Well, kinda. Because like 4 days before he started saying that he wanted an “army theme” for his birthday. And I was like “There’s no way we’re changing your birthday party theme”. But this is how I resolved that: with a one dollar “lego” tank that I found on the dollar tree store and I used on top of his mini cake (the one that we have at home).

The celebration at home was very simple this time. I just added some balloons, the mini cake and some party hats. It was a weekday and he had to be at school by 7:30am so… Not a lot of time!

My sweet BIRTHDAY boy

But we celebrated with a little party with his friends the day after, and it was so much fun!

First, let me share with you the invitations that I created using some Modern Calligraphy with actual pen and ink and then digitized with Photoshop and some single line lego bricks illustrations.

Now let’s talk about the most important part of any birthday celebration. The cake. Of course 😛

I used this recipe again but this time I filled my cake using an Argentinean dulce de leche. Simple but oh oh oh, out of this world.

If you’re using Dulce de Leche to fill to a cake, be sure to get a “repostero” one which is thicker and won’t melt in your cake. It’s a special Dulce de Leche for patisserie.

I covered it with this chocolate ganache and some chocolate sprinkles that I got at a Brazilian place where I bought everything to do brigadeiros… But that’s another story.

Since it was all lego themed, I played with some old duplos that we didn’t use and built some stuff for decor.

Then of course, my little kid has an Argentiniean mom so… Chipas and Empanadas were part of the menu! Get my chipa recipe here.

Some fast, almost last-minute signs for the food with brush lettering.

I used the same colors all the time, red, green and blue.

I found some lego figurines on Amazon that I added for his party favors and used a free template of a lego background, then used the same digitized calligraphy on top and that was the “card” for the party favors on paper bags.

Finally, I created a chalkboard sign (the night before!) for his cake table.

It was such a special moment for all of us! He had a great time with his buddies and I was as happy as I could be watching my kid grow to be 5 years old and enjoying so much his special day!

That’s it for this week folks! See you next week with no more birthday reviews for a while! Haha! Have fun!

a long time ago, marco turned 4 years old

Hi there!

For those of you who have been following the different facets of this blog, you know that I’ve posted in the past a lot of my cooking recipes and some of my motherhood experiences and all the things I create for my kid’s birthdays besides all my calligraphy adventures.

So today, I decided to do a #TBT to Marco’s 4th bday party which I hadn’t shared here.

First. let’s talk about the theme. My kid wants to be a Race Car Driver and he’s a totally fan of anything with a motor and wheels. So, there we went. A Hot Wheels celebration! 

I made him two cakes, one mini cake for home and one bigger to bring to his preschool. This time I tried an amazing chocolate cake that I found here. What I like the most  about this one is that it doesn’t have any coffee on it and -truth to be told- I think it’s a little bit easier than the most amazing chocolate cake I did the year before that.

It’s a very thin batter but no worries, it comes out so moist and soft… delicious! I filled the bigger cake with slices of organic strawberries and organic heavy whipping cream that I previously mixed with some organic powdered sugar (kind of a Chantilly cream) and a green food colorant.

For the decoration, I covered it with the same heavy whipping cream and I used a piece of black fondant to create kind of a route and the rocks where made out of chocolate! I got these here.

The smaller cake, I filled it with organic raspberries and this chocolate ganache. Out of this world. Love this combination!

I covered it with the black fondant, added some of the chocolate rocks and a Grave Digger Monster Truck (this is a Hot wheels party, remember, cars and monster trucks are allowed!)

I got some hot wheels cups and plates for the school party so we used three of those in our intimate celebration. I found this piece of black “chalkboard paper” at Target and it was a great addition to the decor! I used it as a route on our table.

I got to play with a simple hand-lettering using a chalk-board marker on the paper (this was June 2016, amazing how much my lettering has improved!).

I also did some small tags for the goody bags for his school. For these, I did use a straight pen-holder and nib.

Here’s how everything looked in the morning!

Black and white paper straws and the race flags picks were cute ideas to add and of course… balloons! I did the tassel garland with black crepe paper for a big white balloon that doesn’t appear in the pic!

Someone was super happy when he woke up to see this surprise!

Well, that’s it for this week. Next week, I’ll be sharing more about his 5th birthday! Stay tuned!

PS: You can also check when he turned 3 years for another kind of cars and trucks celebration and the 2 years bday party, when everything was about trains.

Brush-lettering: Valentine’s photo-shoot backdrop

Hi there!

Besides being an artist, you also know that I’m a mom, and one of the things I enjoy a lot is when I get to use my artistic skills to help at my kid’s classroom or in general with his school.

I’m also one of the room parents for his class so I get to be involved in the organization of the events that we plan. It’s a nice experience for me also because since I didn’t go to school in America, I get to learn a lot about how this whole thing works here.

Now. This week I want to share a simple brush lettering idea that I used for the Kinder’s Valentines Party.

Materials:

  • Pink paper (Dollar Tree)
  • Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed-proof White Ink (already thinned with water)
  • Water-color brush, round (I use these from Winsor and Newton)

This backdrop is super easy. It doesn’t require you to have a nice hand-lettering since you’re just going to write XOXO using print uppercase letters and doodle some heart shapes.

But even something so easy, can turn out super cute!

We used some photo props like mustaches and silly glasses and I also created a white frame using a foam-board to re-create the frame of the Polaroids/Mini films.

For that frame, project you’ll need:

  • White foam board (I got this one)
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Markers (I used pink molotow and sharpie gold oil based)

Using your ruler measure then trace with the pencil a rectangle shape on the back of the foam board. Remember to leave a bigger space at the bottom, resembling the frame of a polaroid/mini film. Cut it with the X-acto knife being very careful.

Then use your markers to write the phrase of your choice at the front-bottom part of the frame-board. I wrote “I love you” but the pink didn’t show as much in the final pictures, just the word LOVE really popped.

I think this idea is a super easy DIY backdrop for photoshoots and you could even try it for other holidays! From St. Patrick’s to birthday parties!

Now, to finish this post…Here’s a time-lapse video of the brush lettering process in my garage.

See you next week friends! Happy Valentine’s Day!

***More brush-lettering ideas here.

 

 

Introducing new printable for all the mamas-to-be like me

Since about June last year, I decided that I wanted to slowly start creating more art that were meaningful to me and take less custom-orders.

Then, I got pregnant and I was super sick until week 20 and I barely created anything. But still I kept working in that direction. That’s how the “This Too Shall Pass” foil print came to life for instance.

Well, now that I was pregnant I wanted to have a registry of the moment but truth is I’ve never loved being pregnant. I don’t have a romantic view of pregnancy. Yes, of course nature is amazing and experiencing making and nurturing a little human being is out of this world. But that’s it. It’s not my favorite part of my life and that doesn’t change at all the fact that I adore my children.

Truth is pregnancies are hard for me, almost since the beginning I start feeling all the symptoms. And this pregnancy specially has been really hard with severe morning sickness, losing a lot of weight, barely eating… It was super difficult until week 20. Then it got better, I can now eat and keep my food down but of course… a lot of other symptoms came along!

Anyway. The thing that I want to share is that besides all of this I wanted to take some pictures of me and my little bump growing (slowly slowly) but never felt like to, never had the energy or a decent face to take a picture. There was no way I could do a weekly bump picture because I didn’t feel good.

That’s how I had the idea of this printable. I decided I wanted to do 3 cards for milestones of the pregnancy, I knew I wasn’t going to take the weekly bump but I could take 3 good ones in 40 weeks! That would be enough.

So, I started working in this “First, Second and Third Trimester Printable Cards

It took me longer than expected so when I had it finished, I was already in the third trimester! But I know that there must be other mamas like me in this world who would appreciate this cards too!

These printable cards are available on my etsy shop. It includes 3 (three) JPEG files (one for each trimester) and 1 (one) PDF file with the three cards. You can print them in smaller sizes (like the one I’m holding in the picture below which is 4.5inx6.5in) or even go bigger like a letter size. Maybe even framing it can be a great idea to give it a fancier look to all the beautiful flourishing!

As always, the words in the printable cards where created using my own Modern Calligraphy skills with a straight pen holder, a nikko G nib and sumie ink. Later digitized in Photoshop.

I hope you like my new product! See you next week folks!

A tip for your Modern Calligraphy practice

Hi folks,

This week I want to share a tip that has helped me to be more consistent with my Modern Calligraphy practice.

If you attended one of my workshops, you already know that I always say that calligraphy takes time and it requires a lot of practice. As any other art, building the habit of practice helps to improve it.

But with calligraphy is not only that, but also the fact that we use a special pen holder and a nib, tools that are new for us, that we need to learn to handle, to “apply pressure and release that pressure”.

It’s a lot, and a lot of new.

Now, life happens. We are too busy, we all have schedules, work, family… How to find time to “unwrap” and practice this art that not only requires time but also space for our inks, nibs and cleaning supplies and a steady table? Well, not always we’ll have those two. But if you have time, or better saying, if you can make time for your practice, don’t feel discourage if you are not in the proper place or don’t have the calligraphy tools with you.

Think of the easiest choice. A pencil and a paper.

I can see your face reading this, like what? How can I practice calligraphy with just a pencil? Well, in fact you can practice the shape of your letters, the consistency, the spacing and even play with the flourishing that you’ll like to add to it.

Later on, when you get to meet those two “time” and “calligraphy tools” at the same place, you could ink that sketch or recreate it using your actual pen-holder and favorite nib. But in the meantime, a pencil could be super useful!

So, next time you have 15 minutes while waiting at the coffee shop for your friend to arrive or even while binge-watching your favorite TV show, grab a pencil and start sketching. Start writing, soon you’ll notice you’ll be… drawing letters!

Stay healthy, friends, and have a lovely week!

 

Special National Handwriting Day: Practice Sheets

Today is National Handwriting Day in America!
A fantastic day for us, pen and ink enthusiasts, to remember and celebrate this old but -yet- not forgotten art.

Fun fact about this day, did you know that it’s celebrated on this day since it’s closer to John Hancock’s birthday and he was the first one to sign the US Declaration of Independence?

Take a look at his signature! So beautifully hand-written in the middle… “I guess King George will be able to read that!” right?

United States Declaration of Independence – Image by Wikipedia

So, I thought that National Handwriting Day was be the best one to tell you about the last adition to my Etsy Shop: Printable Modern Calligraphy Practice Sheets!

Yes! That means that now you can get buy and print these practice sheets at home! It’s a PDF file that includes some calligraphy warm-up exercises, an uppercase and a lowercase alphabet plus numbers for your calligraphy practice.

I want to give you a suggestion on which paper to use to print and direct-use this guide right away. Definitely choose HP Premium Choice laser jet paper. This paper it’s not expensive and it’s good for practice since the sumie ink will not bleed on it like it will on a regular printing paper.

Now, If you’ve taken a workshop with me before, take a look at your mailbox this week, I’ll be sharing a special offer, stay tuned!

And those of you that want to learn this magical art of pointed-pen, join me on February 4th for my last workshop before my Maternity leave. Register here.

Enjoy the week, folks! And Happy National Handwriting Day!

Last workshop coming in February!

Hi friends!

January is going so fast! Maybe I feel that because I have so many things I want to do before Luca arrives to our lives and I’ve been so extremely busy with that or maybe because time feels that it goes faster when you’re doing something you enjoy…

Either way, there’s only one more Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop coming early in February and then I’m taking some time off until I’m back from Maternity leave.

My idea for now is to be back teaching around May/June but we’ll see how life goes by that time 🙂

In the meantime, I want to share some pics of yesterday’s class at A Work Of Heart Studio in San Jose, CA. I had a smaller group this time, with 5 (students) but we had a great time learning all about this beautiful art.

I have to tell you, I always try to keep my groups on the smaller side, no more than 12 students, so I can have some time with each one of them to answer to all of the doubts and questions, go over all the details on how to properly grab their pen holders and be able to get these thin and thick lines characteristic of this art. That special 1:1 time is so valuable when you’re learning this art!

For this session, I chose some Manuscript marbled/gold pen holders for their Calligraphy kits. These pen holders are just so pretty!

As you may know, each one of my students gets 2 (two) different nibs and two small jars with professional calligraphy ink in black and white, a lesson handout and some papers/envelopes/tags in assorted color and sizes.

Plus, there’s always a “special something”. For this occasion, it was a hand-lettered pouch with different phrases for each one of them.

Last, don’t forget that besides all of that, snacks and beverages are included when you register to my workshop!

This Sunday we enjoyed some blueberry muffins, raspberry chocolate brownies (so yummy!), organic bananas and Italian sodas.

Want to join the next one? Don’t miss the opportunity!

Register now here, remember the class is for 12 students max.

I hope to see you then!

Your weakness is your strength, Sharpie water based marker

Hi friends!

You might remember last week, I told you about my favorite marker to letter on wood.

This week I want to tell you something that will sound a little bit funny actually, because that same weakness that I mentioned last week about the Sharpie Water Based became a strength for this project and it made me choose the Sharpie marker over the Molotow one.

First, let me tell you more about this project.

So, I had to write 20 signs on black paper 8*11 in. These signs were going to be used as props in a photo-shoot at a school in San Jose, CA.

They wanted this idea of black backdrop/white ink kind of a chalkboard thing but didn’t want to use actual chalkboards (better buying paper vs. buying 20 chalkboards) so I thought that the best tool for this project could actually be the Sharpie Water Based!

Why? You already know it! The Sharpie acrylic water based marker isn’t very uniform, it’s also not as opaque as the Molotow and it is even a little bit transparent/watery sometimes. All of those reasons helped to actually give a similar appearance as the regular chalk. 

You see? There’s no ONE marker for all of the projects, no ONE marker that magically works with all of them (although, there is the a ring to rule them all 😛 remember I’m a little bit of a LOTR fan).

There are projects and tools. And we’ll need to find what’s the best union for each one.

Have a nice week folks!

More about wood signs

A few weeks ago, I’ve shared with you a lot about my process when I create a wood sign.

Today I want to share my favorite marker to letter on wood.

Sometimes, after the wooden piece is sanded, stained and ready to be lettered, I start by lettering first using regular chalk and after the sketch is done, I start the inking process with my markers.

At the end, I just use a wet cotton swab to erase the chalk.

Other times, I just go free-handed and start lettering directly using my marker. Depends on the day and the design mostly.

Now, to the most important part of this post! Yes, as you can see in the next picture, my favorite marker for this kind of work is the MOLOTOW One4All Acrylic Pen Marker.

The main reason why they are my favorites is that they are quite opaque.

The kind of transparent white ink on the upper part of the filling inside the letter “d” was made using a Sharpie Water Based. The bottom part, was filled using the Molotow marker.

Can you see the difference?

The lettering really stands out when the ink is opaque and not translucent.

Photo: Quianna Marie Photography

Which one is your favorite marker? Let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely week and stay warm <3

A gift wrapping paper story

Last week I was preparing handmade presentsand I wanted to wrap them in a special way.

Of course, hand-lettering is the answer to anything that comes to my mind when I think about creating something “pretty” or “special”. So I decided to write on Kraft paper using a watercolor brush and Dr. Ph. Martins Bleed-proof White Ink.

Now, since the kids that were going to receive these presents have Venezuelan parents (either their moms or dads), I thought that it could be a cool idea to use the lyrics of an “aguinaldo” which is a Christmas carol from Venezuela.

I particularly like the one I chose for this project, I think it’s called (if Google doesn’t fail me) “El Niño Criollo” because it tells the story of what would have happened if the Virgin Mary were from the Andes and St. Joseph from the plains lands of Venezuela. Then baby Jesus would have been Venezuelan, would have slept in a “chinchorro“(a hand-knit hammock), he would have dark brown eyes, etc. The songs continues given all these examples and I find it very sweet and I like it a lot.

Maybe also because I always like to think alternatives to the reality we’re in now, kind of a “What if?”. It gives me the reminder that reality is something that we build each day, is not something naturally given, it’s a human construction. Ok, enough of the old psychologist in me! 😛

Now, here are some pictures of the final piece…

And the afterwards, once the paper was cut and I wrapped the presents with it…

What do you think of this idea? I’d love to know!

PS: Want to see other DIY gift wrapping paper ideas? Check this one… or this one that is even older!

This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to my This Too Shall Pass gold foil print.

Now, I want to tell you a little bit of the story about how I created this piece and my creative process.

Ever since I heard the popular story about a king asking the wise men for some advice to have in mind for bad times and the “This too shall pass” phrase as that piece of wisdom to remember in bad but also in good times, it kind of always stayed with me.

This popular saying has helped navigate some difficult moments in my life, to put things in perspective; but it has also helped me to be more aware of my present and really try to enjoy it what I’m living at the moment I’m living it.

That’s pretty much why I decided that I wanted to have this saying hanging on one of the walls of my studio, a beautiful reminder for my life.

So I started this project with my sakura pencil on my sketchbook. And from then on, I started doodling different ideas. After I got one concept that I liked, I decided it was time to start the inking process.

But I wasn’t sure on the medium, so I tried pretty much all I had! I tried with microns, with a water-brush, watercolor brush, brush markers, Pentel brush marker… But I still didn’t like the results.

From left to right: First sketches to the final one. The bigger pieces are water brush and pentel brush

Then it was like they say in Lost in Translation: “sometimes you have to go halfway around the world to come full circle…”

So I went back to my first love in Modern Calligraphy: my favorite “beginner” nib, a Nikko G, and my Tachikawa n40 straight pen holder.

And finally, I was happy with a result! I still had to clean it a little but I had something I liked a lot, with a beautiful dance of thin and thick lines!

But I thought that I still could make this piece even prettier… That’s when the idea of making it a foil print appeared on my mind and this is the result!

Gold Foil on Black paper
Gold Foil on white paper

I’ve made this print available for sale on my etsy shop, so you can now order your favorite version (black or white paper) clicking here.

It will take 3-4 days to process your order and then it will be ready for shipping and more news… now also I can ship this print internationally!

Ok folks, as always, thanks for reading and let me know in the comments what you think about this foil print! I’d love to know!

Have a lovely week!

my “this too shall pass” on one of my studio walls

 

Free Christmas Printable

Hi friends!

This year, I found these marbled vellum envelopes and fell totally in love with them. I decided I had to get them and use them for a very special occasion. A hand-written note for the holidays to my special clients sounded like the perfect one!

That’s how I created that “Merry everything” card and then I thought that I also wanted to share it with you, my friends and followers who read me and always encourage me with your comments!

I made a slightly different version by adding the watercolors on the upper right corner and now, you can download this digital “Merry Everything” here.I hope you like it! Enjoy the season friends!

Gift idea for the holiday season

Hi friends! This week I’m writing to share with you that I’m introducing a Gift Certificate option for my upcoming workshops!

This year, you can surprise a special person in your life by giving the gift of learning the beautiful art of Modern Calligraphy by attending one of my workshops at A Work Of Heart, right here in the South Bay Area.

click here to get a Gift certificate! 

Be sure to follow the instructions and choose the “Option 6 $95” and if you have any trouble deciding, feel free call 669.292.5001 and someone at A Work Of Heart sure will help you out.

Choose something different this Holiday Season and give a thoughtful and beautiful gift… the gift of learning!

A little bit about wood signs

Hi folks!

Recently, I’ve been working lettering on wood signs for a special event organized by a local Catholic school.

As I shared the process on social media (Instagram stories), I received a lot of questions and comments from followers and friends that were surprised at how much work needs to be done in order to create one of these precious signs.

Wood requires a lot of work, a lot of preparation in order to create a good quality and beautiful piece.

Well, that’s mostly the reason why also custom-made wood signs are more expensive than acrylic or mirror signs. Besides the obvious part than it’s the material itself, a wood piece is of course more expensive than an acrylic one and sometimes even mirrors or chalkboards.

Also, this work can be dangerous and most specially if you’re allergic or pregnant since you’re working with hazardous materials.

Today I want to share what I use every time that I prepare a wood piece. Disclaimer alert: The materials and safety supplies listed in this blog post are the ones I use. I’m not a Safety and Health professional. Always check regulations and look for professional recommendations before working with hazardous materials.

I usually do this kind of work in my patio, since it’s an open space. Now if it’s raining, then I work in my garage BUT I keep the door of the garage completely open so it keeps the area well-ventilated. I also use garbage bags on the floor when I’m painting so I don’t leave any stains on the floor.

The first part of the process is sanding, it’s the one that requires most of the physical work of course. I always wear a good quality safety mask because breathing the particles of the sanding process can be very harmful.

After the sanding is done (time may vary according to how many pieces or how big is the piece I’m working on) I move to sealing/staining part.

I specially love the Olympia brand since it provides both purposes in one single pot. It is also a good paint/sealer for exteriors so it helps that in case it rains during the event and the wood sign is outdoors, it won’t start staining all over.

I usually give it 2-3 coats on each side (waiting in between coats until it is dried) until I get the color I was looking for. How many coats takes will also depend on the wood, each wood piece is different. Some absorb more some less. You see? It’s a lot of work and time!

After my piece is stained, sealed and totally dried (12-24 hours after the last coat of paint/sealer) I can start my lettering.

Now from this part, it could also vary. Sometimes I sketch on them first using a chalk pencil or regular chalk. Since I’m also allergic to chalk, I always use nitrile gloves for this part.

Then comes the inking process with my markers, again depending on the color chosen by the client, this will vary but my favorite pen of mass creation is the One4All from Molotow.

After that, 2-4 hours to dry and last, a coat of spray sealant with a matte finish. It will help the artwork and it will give a natural non-glossy
finish to the whole piece.

The wood sign is now ready to be delivered!You’ll have a beautiful piece that will stay the same color for many years and the ink won’t disappear if it gets to rain on the day of your event!

*All the wood signs created by yours truly 😉

**First & last pictures by Quianna Marie Photography

 

This is what happened yesterday

Hi friends!

I’m so happy that November is here! I have always loved fall but this year specially, since being pregnant made me also hate the sun and the hot weather. And San Jose is a very sunny/dry city! We only have an average of about 60 days of rain around here!That might be the part that makes me miss other cities where I’ve lived because, you know, I’m not a normal person and I’m proud of that 🙂 I crave rainy days, I love grey skies, I even get to find great enjoyment in a thunderstorm (like the ones we used to have in New York or Buenos Aires). 

Anyway. Here I am and I like being part of this community. Every time that I get to teach a new workshop and meet new local art enthusiasts, my heart fills with joy! Yesterday, I taught another of my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshops and we had -yet again!- a fabulous time. As always, two hours went by so fast while we talked and practice something I have found to love so much and enjoy, as I call Modern Calligraphy: drawing letters.

Class in session!

We also treat ourselves to some pastries, fruit, orange juice and Italian sodas. Because it’s all included, you know! All of this surrounded by a lovely bouquet of flowers and some delighting music at A Work Of Heart Studio. What a lovely Sunday morning!

Like Monet, I must have flowers always, always, always

 

The next weekend, I’ll be teaching the Modern Calligraphy: Holiday Envelope Art only session and then just one more of the Introduction to Modern Calligraphy will be left for our 2017 edition!

HAND-LETTERED PENCIL POUCHES – Freebies for my students

What’s for 2018? Well, I’ll be offering two more of the Introduction Workshop, one in January and one in February because after that… I’ll be going on Maternity leave! I cannot even believe that as I’m writing it down in this blog post!

But let’s take little steps at a time. Baby steps ^^

Let’s appreciate that it’s still Mid-November, that we still have plenty of football and baking season ahead of us and enjoy this time.

See you soon friends!

Baby announcement idea using brush-lettering

Today I’m sharing a cute idea that you can use either for your baby announcement or as a baby gender reveal idea… Whichever your announcement, I think it’s a pretty cool idea and not a difficult one.

You’ll just need 3 simple materials:

Ready to see what’s this all about? Here’s the tutorial!

What do you think? Isn’t it simple yet fun and unique? And you don’t even need to have fancy hand-lettering skills!

Just some simple CAPITAL letters will work too! The magic is in the pigments moving through the water of the lettering and revealing the word.

That’s why I thought that you can either film the whole process (a time-lapse video would be amazing!) or just let it dry for 24 hours and use it as a prop for your special photo-shoot announcement.

That’s all for this week! See you soon!

 

 

 

Download your Halloween treat printable tags

Friends,

I hand-lettered this simple “Boo” and made it into a Halloween treat tag for each one of the treats that my kid is taking to his buddies at school.

So I thought about sharing it also with you! Just print it at home (or office), cut it through the lines and you’ll have these “scary” but cute tags ready for your treats!

Download the your FREE pdf file here:
2017-10 Halloween Tags by Andrea Casals

Here’s a quick video with the step by step process:

I hope you like it and… Happy Halloween!!

Holiday Envelope Art Session is coming soon!

Hi friends!

I’m so excited to let you know that I prepared a special class for this Holiday Season: Modern Calligraphy: Holiday Envelope Art Session! It will be a one day session only that will last 2 (two) hours.

If you’ve taken a Modern Calligraphy Workshop and want to try addressing your envelopes using your own Modern Calligraphy skills plus adding some art details, join me on November 19th at 10am at A Work Of Heart in San Jose, CA.

We’ll go over tips and tricks to letter envelopes; I’ll share with you info about the best tools to use when addressing envelopes while we enjoy some snacks and light beverages.

All of the above plus a shiny gold ink and some assorted colors/sizes envelopes are also included!

You’ll just need to either bring your own pen holder and nibs or buy those at A Work Of Heart.

Want to join? Just click here!

See you soon!

New workshop date!

Last weekend I had a new round of marvelous students attending my workshop at A Work Of Heart Studio in San Jose, CA.

The new location of A Work of Heart is just so good, it provides us with plenty of natural light, a big studio space where we can be comfortable while enjoying a time of making art together (while indulging with some fresh donuts!)

You already know that I like to prepare each workshop goodies and decor with a different “theme”. I kept the “kraft” color for this one since it’s the color of fall, which is in my favorite season.

I added those little pen boxes that were just too cute!

I always bring extra goodies; assorted samples of paper in different colors and sizes, tags, envelopes, you’ll always find something cool in those if you’re a paper nerd like me!)

Student at work!

For this occasion, I gave  to my students this hand-lettered tote bag with “autumn/fall” messages. Made by me of course, and I think they loved them!

Here’s a look at some of them…

This Thankful tote might be my favorite one…!
I love the Letter “F” in this one!
Ok, that grateful is also very pretty!
Do you want to try Modern Calligraphy?

The good news is that I’ve added a new date for November! Do you want to join us? I’m still working on the new decor so… surprise surprise!

You can register online here and I hope to see you at A Work Of Heart on November 12th!

Baby announcement!

After a long time wishing for this baby to come, he/she will be finally coming to our lives April 1st, 2018!

We’re so happy and tremendously thankful for this blessing!

Or course, being a lettering nerd I wanted to incorporate something of my art to make his announcement and since it is Fall, the best way to do for me was lettering on pumpkins!

For this project I bought real pumpkins at my local grocery store, wipe them clean with a wet cloth and then I dried them with a paper towel.

I tried lettering first with my favorite Molotow marker but the texture didn’t make it very opaque. Same thing happened with the Sharpies Acrylic Water based.. They just didn’t stick plus they created like a rough coat in some patches (you can still see those in the “bebé” littlest pumpkin).

So at the end, the best marker for this project for me was the Chalk Ink Chalk Marker. It sticked, it was opaque and it didn’t create layers of ink leaving a rough look. So, Chalk Ink Marker… Approved!

Also, little detail but the chisel tip is always great to create the thin and thick lines and give it more of a faux calligraphy look.

Enjoy the fall season friends!

I love you more than milkshakes

Today I want to share something a lot more personal 🙂

For those of you who have followed me for the last 10 years or more on my blog (I’ve started blogging in 2005!) you might already know how deeply my life has changed since I became a mom.

Not only because of the obvious… Became a mom, but also, I quit my job, moved countries and 2 years later also moved coasts (from NY to SF) and in the middle of that whirlpool, I had to learn and apply a lot of strategies during the first months and I didn’t have a lot of help considering we had no family around or many friends and besides all of that I went through postpartum depression.

Oh boy, it wasn’t easy but I had an amazing support from my husband which helped infinitely. And I’ll continue to go on because in my present life, there are much more wonderful moments that fill my life with purpose and happiness than there are times of sadness.

This June, Marco turned 5 years old and I feel like he’s, of course, a big boy now. And before he starts Kindergarten this year and suddenly goes to college a few moments later (the days are long but the years go fast you know haha) so before all of that happens… I want to have something to remember this time in my life forever.

I always have in my mind this quote from Mary Poppins “a piece of beauty is a joy forever” and that’s how I thought that having some great photos would be an amazing way to capture these memories.

So I reached out to my favorite South Bay Photographer Quianna Marie Photography and I told her this idea that I wanted to have this photo shoot in an old fashioned diner that I’ve seen in Los Gatos, CA. 

For those who know me, the fact that I LOVE diners AND also milkshakes is not a surprise 😀

So today I want to share some of those pictures with you, my friends who have been always coming back to my blog to read some of my ideas; with those of you who have also shared with me the last 6 years of this crazy ride!

 

Marco, 5 years old

When you’re mom is a hand-lettering artist… She brings a prop

We were so lucky we found an old pick up truck just a block from the Diner! A great detail for this photo shoot!

Marco, My piece of beauty, my joy forever

<3

My 3 favorite projects for beginners

Let’s be honest. Being a beginner is tough and frustrating a lot of times and this is specially true if you’ve decided to give Modern Calligraphy a try.

During my first year with this beautiful but difficult art I struggle A LOT.

First, it was just trying to get that balance of thin and thick lines. Like, what’s happening? Why does it seem so simple when others do it but so difficult for me? Is it the pen, the nib, the pressure?Argh. This endeavor was hard.

After several hours of practice, it seemed that the weekly practice paid off helping my brain to connect to the dots between what I wanted to do and what my arm and my hand were actually doing.

And that’s when I had to face all the rest of the battles: creating a decent shape for each letter (OMG that was hard!); dealing with the ink bleeding on the paper (and then having to learn about paper and ink quality) to finally keeping kind of a straight line and attempt to create something of a composition.

For a moment, I felt like I was in the middle of The Two Towers in LOTR battling hordes and hordes of orcs (yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd… if you didn’t yet notice it!)

And then, when I somehow managed to have all of the above working… A huge blob of ink would ruin my project!

I tell you friends, the struggle is real!

But there was something that helped me to feel less frustrated. And that was being able to create some projects that were pretty enough for the level I was at that time, a beginner.

That’s why I want to share today 3 ideas of projects that you can create and who knows? They might also help you, as they helped me, to feel more encouraged about my art and not quitting at it.

1. Re-Use those sheets of PRACTICE!

After hours or practice you start to have several sheets of paper with alphabet samples, numbers or maybe calligraphy exercises.

They might not look pretty at all when you see them. For instance, take a look at this one:

After 1 month into Calligraphy

But what happens when you re-use it as a wrapping paper? Add a nice ribbon and, voilà! Something not pretty turned into something cute!

 Ohhh… What a little ribbon can do!

2. Create a simple quote for a wall decor

In this case I would say: keep it simple, keep it short and if you aim for a baby nursery or kids bedroom then it might be even better, since cute and imperfect sometimes is just what we are looking for in this kind of projects!

Quote for a baby nursery

Additional points: Frame it. Even with an IKEA frame. You’ll see how much of a difference it makes after it’s framed!

OHHH… WHAT An IKEA Frame CAN DO!

 

3. UPGRADE YOUR SNAIL MAIL ENVELOPES

It might seem simple but hey…! Who doesn’t love to receive some snail mail love?! I can assure you that not everyone knows how to write how you’re learning to so, feel confident enough to try it! Specially if it’s for a good friend who will appreciate your efforts to send something a little bit more special 🙂

Snail mail day is always a happy day for me!

 

Okay friends, I hope these ideas are as useful to you as they were to me! Keep on practicing and most important… enjoying that calligraphy practice because we all know: it’s all about the journey!

***

Ps: Want to join in this Modern Calligraphy adventure?

Sign up for my next Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop in San Jose, CA. Register here. Beginner kit, refreshments and treats included. Hope to see you there!

about handmade paper and a lesson learnt

Yesterday I was struggling to create a wedding invitation in a stunning handmade paper.

It had to be kind of an elegant/dreamy/romantic theme for the invite so I started sketching first.

When I had something that I was ok with, I started the inking process and following suggestions of other colleagues I attempted to use the Brause Rose Nib. And then, the struggle began.

It wasn’t that I was catching fibers of the paper or anything like that. It was just that I felt that it was too hideous to do it and it took me forever and even waste 2 pieces of that luxurious paper.

Anyhow, I did it. I created the wedding invitation and the RSVP.

Today, the final part came.

I had to finish the suite with a hand-drawn map. So I chose to go, for this project, with one of my favorites nibs: a Nikko G.

First I did my practicing sketch on pencil and just a regular US letter paper and then I started the inking process on the handmade paper.

I drew it all at once and in only 15 minutes. I was so surprised.

And then it hit me as a thunder. First, I was doing something that was totally out of my comfort zone (I was even trying a different lettering style, not one of my own) and that was what made it so uncomfortable and difficult.

But folks, we don’t need to stay in that uncomfortable place forever! Otherwise, life would suck!

I think that just trying new things, getting out of that safe place for a little while, leaves marks that will help create a bigger, richer, even more complex reality.

As in life we need time to be awake and time to rest, we also need to explore out of our comfort zone but then go back to our safe place in order to create with a wider vision after that experience.

But then of course, creative life doesn’t work this way but all together, like on a Möebius strip!

Now, a quick video from this morning sharing all of this on social media.