I have a new book! It’s called ABC NYC and I guess you can imagine what is it about? 😉
This project was born while I was still living in NYC and finishing my previous book “It’s Always Wonderful At Central Park”.
I remember sometimes, just because I was tired or bored of continuing working on IAWACP, I would start drawing places I’ve been that I had enjoyed visiting. And that whimsical exploration turned, with time, into another book project!
Anyway. In the meantime, we moved to the West Coast, the pandemic started and our lives -like everyone else’s- changed.
One of those big changes in my life is that now I homeschool my kids, I’m on my 3rd year already and still love it! But having now very limited time, this project just took so much more to develop.
Anyway, now it’s part of this world and I’m very happy to share the news with you.
As you may noticed, these book has a different kind of illustrations. I wanted to explore a different approach, without using defined lines and playing more with color composition.
This project was possible with the help of other amazing humans like Victor, who helped me putting it all together with his fabulous design skills.
We celebrated our first reading of the published book with the kids reading it during a Tea Time Poetry session; our weekly gathering around the coffee table surrounded by decaf tea, treats and poetry books for kids.
If you get a chance to read my book, do let know your thoughts. I really hope you enjoy it ❤️
Even though, I’ve done some children’s picture book illustrations in the past, this is the first time ever that I wrote and illustrated one AND I also made the Modern Calligraphy that’s included in some words of each page! You can think as an early introduction to a cursive fun style!
It all started as a piece of a single rhyme in my head one day while I was rocking the stroller waiting for baby Luca to fall asleep.
Then another day, while I was literally trapped under my napping baby (yes, there was a time when we moved to NYC that Luca hated napping in his new space and the only thing that helped him was sleeping on top of me) that day, another sentence came to my mind. But this time, since I couldn’t go literally no where else, I grabbed my phone and started writing these sentences in a note on my iPhone.
Later that day, I showed it to my #1 fan, Victor, and he said to me that there was something interesting in it. That I should continue and make it a project, create my own illustrations for it and all. What a fan!
So that path I took. I started taking the kids to visit and explore all these places in and around Central Park that were listed in my story, took many pictures and came back to draw bit by bit, only during times my baby was asleep. (So it took quite a while, you can see).
Once I had all the pictures done, baby had to go thru a small surgery and the book project went on a break until he was fully recover by November 2019. After that, Victor helped me with the design of the book and we printed a first draft!
Marco was the first to read it at home and he loved it. Then, I showed it to Marco’s teachers at his school in NYC, they shared with me some great feedback, I worked again on it and then I got to read it aloud at Marco’s classroom and my book was also read aloud in another class. I was so proud!
The faces and expressions of these tiny New Yorkers while they were seeing many familiar places of their Park in the pictures and their excitement was such a joy to see!
After that first test, I went back to work and re-do some illustrations. Then we moved to California again, February 2020 and the pandemic started a few weeks later and everyone lives’ changed with it.
First there was no inspiration to continue working and I was overwhelmed with all that was happening in the world and adjusting to my new roles, saying goodbye for now to classes and events and between all that I had to change editors because of Covid too.
All in all, time passed, we continued working bit by bit in the little time that I had and in early December 2020 I had my new draft printed. Just one more change on the design layout that Victor quickly solved and we were ready to publish it!
I’m very happy with my first book. It kind of sparkled for me this part of creating stories and also dig deeper in the quest of finding my style in drawing.
So, with that quest in my creative heart, I’m working on another children’s book that I hope to bring it to life soon.
It’s a project that started while I was procrastinating this first book, and that with time, it kind of took its own wings. It’s a new world of inspiration and creation, this one of telling and drawing stories.
Stay safe, friends, stay weird and continue looking for something that brings you peace and joy ?
Some good days with extra energy, I like to draw just outlining with black marker or a pencil in my sketchbook so whenever I have a bad day that blocks my creativity, I still have something creative to do: coloring, it helps me tons to carry on through a difficult day.
With that same idea, I want to share today 3 free illustrations for you to print at home and just color on them.
These are two illustrations of some Bay Area signs that I love and one of the shop window from one of my favorite Bay Area shops: A Work Of Heart Art Studio.
Talking about AWOH, I wanted to let you know that even though they had to close right now, you can still shop art supplies from them and they’d deliver for free to your home in the Bay Area (15 miles distance).
So if you need any art supplies, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org -It’s a good way to help a local small biz through these difficult times.
Don’t forget to share your colored pages! Use the hashtag #ColorTheBayArea so we can all see it!
Last. Are you a Bay Area Artist that would like to join this #ColorTheBayArea movement? Get in touch! Send me a message with your links to share so we can all see them and start coloring the Bay.
Art heals, art helps.
Stay safe, friends! ❤️
PS: What do you think of doing a live online coloring session?
Moving with kids in school age is not an easy task, it’s in fact a big change in their life, and even though kids are very resilient and they adapt better than a lot of grown ups I know (ehem, hello ? that is for me, I know!) I think it’s always a huge and fabulous help to guide them in that process.
We’ve done a lot of work helping our oldest to feel he’s part of the team making this decision for our family, thinking what we’d win, making list of “pros” (we try to focus more on the things he’d gain, on the positive side of things and let him to come with the “cons” so it’s more about this feelings and not putting ours on that list). I think it really helps to know what to expect and more.
Part of that process is watching videos, pictures, movies. Like when we were moving to NYC, we watched many movies that showed the city and we also watch “NYC tour guides” for kids (we found some on Prime videos). We also showed him other kids living in the city (so many mom bloggers post this kind of content).
This time that we are moving to a place where we already lived, we looked back on our iPhones for all the videos of our ordinary life there. That made easy to bring back lovely memories of friends, things and places we no longer had in NYC. And brought a warm idea of moving as an exciting new adventure.
After telling the teachers and them sharing that our kid was moving we organized a little farewell treat for everyone with our family email address so they could give it to their parents and keep in touch.
I also created this illustration that, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it printed in time for the last day. But it was an idea of a brownstone (a very NYC thing) illustration where each kid could leave a stamp with their fingerprint as a balloon. The phrase is from the beautiful movie UP from Pixar.
So I wanted to share this printable for free with you in case you want to use it.
I enjoyed New York City practically every day of these 14 months here. Now, we’ve received an invitation to change our lives once again and after we did what we do every time we are confronted with a situation like this (lots of thinking, spreadsheets, lists of pros and cons and of course, a bit of listening to our hearts) we decided to accept this new change and… WE ARE MOVING TO THE BAY AREA (again)!!! ???
As a family, we leave New York very happy with our time here: we made new friends, found great doctors when we needed, we did many activities in the city, visited lots of inspiring places and ate too many delicious meals (more details in my NYC Instagram highlights stories).
In my particular case, I leave NYC with an *almost* ready Children’s Picture Book! ?
This city inspired me to create a rhyming story that came to my mind while trapped underneath my baby napping during one of many complicated nap times.
Once the dust settles after this move, I need to re-do one paragraph and send it again to my editor (hence the blank area on this pic) and after his review then… it will be ready for publishing? Yes, please! ?
In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of one if its pages and YES, it has some Modern Calligraphy in it! ? I hope to finish it soon!
And to my Cali friends: CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU! ❤️ ? Pic of me at the Oak Bridge in Central Park with an illustration of the Oak Bridge ? for my upcoming Children’s Book. Thanks @tanrenzu for the pic! It was so windy and cold last weekend ?
We did lists with pros and cons, we did spreadsheets to check all our numbers and our budget, we compared everything, what we’d win, what we’d lose and we even went on a road trip to explore if other places like Portland, OR; Seattle, WA or Vancouver, Canada were possible options. But nothing beat it. We had NYC in our hearts and our minds.
We missed the city lifestyle, we craved the cultural debauchery that NY offered. The possibility of living in a city that feels like you’re living in every country of the world at the same time and place. We even missed the public transportation and not needing a car to go everywhere!
So we decided to embark on this adventure. To prepare our kids for it, we talked a lot about it, we watched many NY movies, we saw pics from our previous life in NYC and played games (ticket to ride NY!).
Luckily, it helped that everyone in our family was not completely satisfied with our life in the Bay Area so that also helped made this decision easier in some way.
After a lot of preparation and paperwork (changing schools, doctors, car, house, apartment) in little time (less than 2 months!) we were taking our flight and arriving in our beloved NYC although this time we were not living in Brooklyn but the Upper West Side.
Now. We’re very happy that we’re here and we’re working hard to make things happen for us in the city!
For me that meant taking the leap of faith and being totally in charge of my workshops! That’s right. Now I am teaching my classes at a venue that I rent, I organize the ticket sales and registration. It’s more work of course but it’s a big step for my brand as well. It’s not going to be easy but after these years of practice with more than 200 students I feel confident that I have learned all that’s necessary for this step. Anyway, send some good energy my way you know I appreciate the good vibes friends!
That’s the news for now! ‘Til next post!
New Modern Calligraphy Classes in Upper West Side, NYC
Last Sunday I hosted my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop at A Work Of Heart in San Jose again after a short break for my maternity leave.
We had a few last minute additions plus I messed up with the alarm at the shop when I got there so my whole morning before the workshop got a little chaotic! Yes, as crazy as it sounds I made the alarm went on and even some neighbors came to see what was happening but everything was ok! Thank Goodness Andrea -owner of the studio- arrived just then and solved the crazy situation! I was imagining myself trying to explain everything to the cops, that would have been some even crazier anecdote to share!
Anyway, I had to set up and organized everything faster than expected so I run out of time and I couldn’t do live videos or take more pictures of the behind the scenes.
But I tell you a little bit about it now and you’ll just have to believe me and imagine some things because… not many pictures!
Since it’s almost July, I thought about doing a “summery” theme and what says more summer than the sea, right? So I got some turquoise pen holders, I wrote the name of the students on shells and I brought a decor fishing net and even more shells to decorate the table. F or snacks, this time I brought some pastries as usual plus watermelon… THE fruit for the summer, right? And even though I never recommend to drink caffeinated beverages before doing calligraphy, I went against my own advice and brought some cold frapuccinos for my students. Guys, it was like a great addition for this “summer Sunday morning” theme.
I also gave them some map paper, which is also in the summer/travel theme and I found these little glass bottles with cork stoppers for the ink that was like a “message in a bottle” kind of thing. Super cute!
This week we had the first Artists Moms Meet Up in San Jose, CA and I wanted to share with you a little bit about it.
We were three moms with babies less than a year old and each one of us, somehow, got to create a little something! I had a great time, enjoying a conversation with fellow moms plus being able to do some lettering for this post.
I’ve received a few messages of moms in WA state and another mom in Canada asking me if I knew of a group like this in their cities. So you can see, there’s an interest out there! I’d love to know if there’s an artist/creative mom’s group in your city and how are their meetings!
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there’s another meeting coming soon and you can register for it here.
‘Til next week folks!
Baby wipes and a matcha latte, bare necessities for this mom 😛
This school year went by so fast for me that everything kind of took me for surprise, like, last day of school!
I waited too long to get a present for the teachers and then I had to magically arrange something kind of last minute gift… the day before!
So I thought, what would I want to do if I were a teacher and classes are ending? RELAX I guess! So I decided to get them some bath salts and a body cream all with chamomile (relaxing effect) and luckily I found some chamomile flowers at my local Whole Foods so I added this as a little detail.
I did a little lettering on vellum paper and used it to wrap the flowers. Since I was in a rush, I used one of my markers and not an actual pointed pen and nib, but after doing this I thought how cool of a project to make this when you’re just starting doing calligraphy! You could also re-use practice paper but it makes it more special writing the name of the person that will receive this gift and maybe even a message, in this case I wrote “Thank you Mrs Laura” all over.
For all the wrapping I added a little beauty to plain IKEA rolling paper with some lettering using also a Tombow marker.
I thought of sharing these since they can be fun projects where you can use your calligraphy skills. I hope you like these ideas and let me know if you try it!
You can imagine that having a brand new little one makes time for ourselves practically non-existant.
Some days, just being able of completing daily grooming habits and eat an actual meal (not just leftovers or snacks) for unless once a day feels like winning the first place in a marathon.
On the other hand, I love to connect with others, specially with fellow creatives at heart.
So I thought. I want to meet other artists moms! There should be some around the Bay Area, right? ?
So I reached out to Andrea from my favorite studio in San Jose -A Work Of Heart- and told her my idea: I want to host a meet up for creative moms with babies in your studio. Is this doable?
And the answer was… yes!
So, this is a calling for all those moms in the Bay Area with their babies (0-12months). A calling for all those Moms who love painting, drawing, crafting… moms who find joy in a creative life (even if that means coloring books!).
We’re going to meet -bring your baby,they are included in this plan- and spend an hour together, enjoying a nice conversation while attempting to create something.
And the best part is, we just pay the studio hour and we can use also the materials available there! That means we don’t need to bring art supplies, and thank goodness because to be honest, the ones we have are already occupied carrying a baby, diaper bag, car seat, stroller, etc etc. Ah! And cellphones of course!
So fellow creative moms, let’s meet at A Work Of Heart with our babies on Tuesday June 19th at 10 am. Remember: We are moms who share a creative interest. We won’t freak out if a baby cries or if you, like me, have a messy bun and the last t-shirt you had in the closet. Life with a baby is hard and we know it!
Are you coming? I want to meet you and your little one!
So it’s set. I’m coming back to teach my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy at A Work Of Heart in San Jose in June 24th.
I’m super happy about this. I’ve been thinking, I’d even say “day-dreaming”, for the theme and colors for the next one and now I’m starting to buy all the supplies. It’s going to be so beautiful!
You know, I want to make every class a special moment for you, not only to learn to create thin and thick lines with a pointed pen, but also to have an enjoyable moment to remember.
That’s why I put so much energy and love to prepare each workshop. Folks, I love doing this. What can I say?!
So, are you ready to give Modern Calligraphy a try? This is the real-thing, it’s learning to write with a straight pen-holder, using professional calligraphy ink. But nothing to worry, because I’ll guide you through this adventure and you know what else? Your Beginner’s Calligraphy Kit is included and it’s yours to keep. Cool, right? Now, don’t miss it and grab your spot here.
If you cannot make it in June, there’s another opportunity in July. Read more about it and register for 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hi folks, weekly post here and today with more good news!
Last year I had the amazing opportunity to create some beautiful calligraphy pieces for the Styled Pop Up Series Workshop; by the way, if you’re a beginner lifestyle photographer or are curious about lifestyle photography, you need to check it out!
Welcome sign that I created for the workshop
Now this week, I have the joy to tell you that the Styled Pop Up Series has been PUBLISHED by Borrowed & Blue!
What an amazing opportunity that was!
modern calligraphy wedding invitation suite
I’m so happy that this Romantic Winery Styled Shoot’s wedding will be featured front and center on their San Francisco home page!
In love with this beautiful state that I call now home: California
Click in the image below to see all the pictures from this Styled Series Pop Up with an amazing winery theme wedding inspiration!
Yo aún siento que su primer año de vida fue súper despacio; luego entre el primer año y los dos años fue un poquito más rápido pero entre los dos y los tres… ¡Guau! ¡El tiempo pasó volando!
Todavía somos nuevitos en San Jose, California como para hacer una fiesta de cumpleaños con invitados, así que decidimos celebrarlo entre nosotros solamente, decorar la casa y preparar una torta especial.
El tema de su cumpleaños fue: Autos y Camiones.
Preparé toda la decoración la noche anterior para que Marco despertara con una linda sorpresa de su “mesa de cumpleaños”.
Diseñé estos cartelitos graciosos para pegarlos a los jugos y a los autos.
Si les gustó la idea, se los doy gratis para descargarlos e imprimirlos directamente. Los carteles amarillos en español lo descargan en este link Yellow Sign y los carteles de la Interestatal 3 genéricos que creé lo descargan en este link Interstate 3 Sign.
El trencito de madera con su nombre de su fiesta de 2do cumpleaños me sirvió también para la mesa pero le quité la locomotora y el vagón trasero.
In the last weeks, I’ve been studying a little bit about creating patterns and today I want to share with you a new product that I have for sale: scarves! (a *must* for our Northern California weather!)
The illustration is a simple line drawing inspired in the summer deliciousness: cherries & strawberries.
I always enjoy learning how other people bears with their own life, since there’s not exclusively one way to live, and that’s might be the main reason why I love reading autobiographic novels.
Last week, I finished reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.
I enjoyed Cheryl’s adventure through the Pacific Coast Trail, all those thoughts and feelings she unravels with the challenges of every mile in the PCT.
Cheryl Strayed is a talented writer because, even though her life story is far from my own, she made me relate to hers and even feel like walking in her shoes.
Illustration inspired by Wild
I enjoyed this book and I’m certainly ready to watch the movie (huge fan of Reese Witherspoon here!).
Last, my #nowreading quote chosen from this book + design created for it:
Other memorable quotes from this book:
“I could only be who it seemed I had to be”
“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? (…) What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
During the lasts 2 months, I’ve been reading Sunset Park by Paul Auster.
It was my first book from this author. Unfortunately, this book become tough and sometimes even a little boring for me –sorry to disappoint you, definitely not a fan of Auster’s prose– but I liked that I could connect with the book through my dear Brooklyn.
The quote that I chose for this #nowreading is this one:
“It was the best thing that could have happened to him, it was the worst thing that could have happened to him”
Paul Auster – Sunset Park
That’s how wishes work, right? When a wish comes true, it’s so amazing but then… you have to really deal with that! Sometimes we found ourservelves thinking that that was it…. The mere realization as a result but then we really discover that the wish that came true is only the beginning of a new path.
Best and worst… I liked that.
If you want to know about other quotes that I liked from this book, let’s be friends on Goodreads!
I’m very happy to tell you that some of my designs are now available for sale as gift wrapping paper, wallpapers and fabric! You can buy it here.
Some of the designs are from the “cute animals: mommy and me” collection and there’s also the “milkshakes, sundaes and floats” design.
The cute animals collection makes me think of a nursery, sewing baby/toddler bed sheets with those fabrics and hang an art-print frame with a similar theme illustration on the wall. What do you think? In case you’re interested, I leave you this link so you can have FREE Worldwide Shipping on art-prints and more.
The sundaes, floats and milkshakes fabric inspire me to sew a blouse or a dress (this also reminds me that I need to improve my sewing skills! lol!).
I know that these are just the very few first steps, the beginning in fabric and gift wrapping paper design but I’m enjoying it so much and I just LOVE the idea of wearing what I draw. So, I know that I will do some more designs. I’ll keep you posted when I upload the new ones!
Thanks friends for the encouragement and the support. I really appreciate it <3
Sakura was asking their followers to upload a picture with their favorite quote and I accepted the proposal.
But, since choosing “a favorite quote” is such a difficult task, I decided to pick one of the book that I’m currently reading (as I posted before that I would do).
These months I’ve been reading “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” by Haruki Murakami; the 4th novel that I read from this author.
I liked this book, specially, those long moments of solitary thoughts but I didn’t go nuts for the story (that’s the reason why it took me so long!).
The quote that I chose from this book was: “Deep rivers run quiet“. But these are also others that I highlighted:
“Humans are immortal in their thought. Though strictly speakin’, not immortal, but endlessly, asymptotically close to immortal. That’s eternal life.”
“Eternity can actually be experienced” (this quote made me remember a how a person can describe a panic attack).
“I have a thing about losers. Flaws in oneself open you op to others with flaws”
“Everyone may be ordinary, but they’re not normal (…) But there’s normal and there’s normal. I mean the kind of normal that can sit down next to you on the train and you wouldn’t even notice. We eat food, drink beer–oh, by the way, the sandwiches were great!”
“Nobody got the keys to t’the elephant inside us. Freud and Jung and all the rest of them published their theories but all they did was t’invent a lot of jargon t’get people talkin'”
I think I’m going to take a break from Murakami, but I still really love his writing style and crazy stories.