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And so I draw more…

I always wanted to draw. I remember as a child, we had a big blackboard (the green one!) at home. My niece, who was three years younger than me, and I used to draw girls on the board. We enjoyed designing their clothes. I also enjoyed drawing clothes for my paper dolls. I looked for every inspiration from the television, drawing carefully and as much detail. I was around 6 years old.

But like every other wise Asian parents would say, drawing is not a proper profession. I should not stray away from the mainstream. By then I don’t remember drawing anything aside from a visual interpretation of a poem in high school where I drew a farmer plowing the field full of rice stalks. I had no idea! And then in dental school where we had to draw and learn by heart the dental anatomy. I was also told once when I drew a birthday card that why draw a card when there is hallmark!

And that was it – some sporadic moments when I had to draw. Other than that, I drew nothing until that day when I wanted to draw. This happened when Ari gave me an iPad mini 2 on my birthday in April 2014. I started drawing with a cheap stylus then later my niece in Canada gifted me a Pencil53. Then I just drew everyday. I have this idea that if I have learned to read and write, I can also learn to draw. Drawing became a way for me to relax. And it was fun to be featured by Paper53 on their web page. I was featured three times!

So while others say they have been drawing since the first time they held a pen (which I think we all did), I can honestly say I learned to draw later in life. Most of the time, I still think I don’t really know how to draw. I still believe I’m bad at it. And so I draw some more!

How is your drawing journey? I really want to know!

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The postman saved the day!

Looking forward to something keeps me going. Whether it is about a cool new project, a consultancy work, a training, travels or even to be sat at a charming café. This year, most of this looking forward to has been stamped out. There were barely any consultancy work or giving trainings for they mostly include travels and gathering of people. Even those relaxing moments at cafés became a source of uneasiness as thoughts wander off from laze to haze.

However, one person who hasn’t failed is the postman and the friends behind the mails. It’s always a joy to receive something from the postman (except for bills!) whether it’s a handwritten letter, a postcard, hand-drawn cards or adorable gifts. They sure light up the day!

Lately, I have been interested in recreating a childhood craze – stationery collecting. But this time, I made these stationeries myself. Please feel free to download them here, print them out and write someone a “real” letter. A handwritten letter will not fail to bring a smile to someone’s face. And it’s not actually corny! 🙂

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Visuals speak in the days of COVID-19

Everyone is talking about COVID-19. The disruption to the normal days is huge. Some people are understandably concerned about elderly or vulnerable relatives. Many entrepreneurs are worried about the financial consequences. Multiple work contracts are being cancelled at an alarming rate. The security of being fully booked over the next months has suddenly been replaced by great uncertainty about the future.

Some are looking on the positive side. They hope it might be a time of healing for the earth as there are less flight emissions and less air pollution from factories. Some even see it as an additional occasion to spend with the family, a moment for self-learning, for re-evaluation and even, an opportunity for the elusive, but much needed rest.

For me it brought multiple sides. Being an introvert and an entrepreneur who works mostly from home, the effect was subtle, almost difficult to describe. My small entrepreneur endeavour just turned a year old when the pandemic started. I was ready to apply what I learned over the past year and I was certain that this year will be better. My small business was being established. I had a line-up of work. And after all, Wuhan is far away from Helsinki.

By March, the borders were closed. Since most of my work involves travelling and the gathering of people, I knew that most of my work are cancelled. Any possibility of future work is now unforeseen. The present reality became overwhelming. I had to find the best way to manoeuvre in this new situation. However, as a visual practitioner, I know visuals have no borders. Visuals are not confined to the four corners of my flat. Visuals have spoken words. With these in mind, I created letterings with messages of hope. I drew fun illustrations to get to the lighter side of the pandemic. I made illustrations to portrait the heroism of the front-liners. I even drew hands to remind people of personal hygiene! Drawing each day gave me the peace and stability I needed. My illustrations gave me a way to communicate to the world.

Then I was asked to draw illustrations for COVID-19 prevention materials. Many resources are already published by international organisations but illustrations that will speak to the local context are needed to reach out to people who belong to the lesser known languages. These illustrations are now being used by different organisations as they produced COVID-19 materials for local languages.

In a very unexpectedly way, visual creation became my small contributions in times like this. Visuals speak in the days of COVID-19.

As a visual practitioner, what is your unique contribution in this time of crisis? How can your visuals reach out to others?

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Font creation

As a font creator, the making of every set of fonts is both fulfilling and relaxing. It is so much fun to use the fonts that I created in my work because it incorporates my entire self and gives a sense of uniqueness. My work becomes my whole being!

One of the difficulties in creating fonts is not knowing what to name them. So I decided to call them according to the song playing at the time of creation. I thought it was a cool solution!

Font creation also involves poster making to allow a quick presentation of how the fonts look like. Here are some of the fonts I’ve created lately. The link to these fonts for download is found here.

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Print on demand

How does it feel to wear a shirt that you know no one on earth has the same or even similar shirt to what you are wearing? Well to be honest, it feels totally amazing! The print on demand is really a great concept where things are made per order. It’s said that in the near future, production surplus will not be an issue anymore. Those storage full of unsold stuff will be a thing of the past. Offline shopping might even disappear. Things will only be made to order. And there’s a uniqueness to that. Soon the days will also be over where you might see someone wearing the same clothes as you. Furthermore, it will be the new normal for everyone. Think about it!

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A Stamp brush maker?

I never knew that making Stamp brushes for Procreate will become a natural part of me. I enjoy making them. I actually love the process. Very simple, such fun! My collection could easily be up to 50 designs now. I’m happily sharing the link here to access them. Although at the moment, there are only very few designs uploaded because I’m still testing the proper way to distribute them. In time, I will upload more.

Are there Stamp brushes that would be useful for you? Let me know. I’ll see if I can create them. My hope is to come up with a set of Stamp brushes that would be useful for our work as Visual Facilitators, designers, illustrators but also as hobbyist. This fabric design, for example, was made with Stamp brushes.

A Procreate Stamp Brush maker? Well, I’ve become that person!

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Yay! One year!

EV Facilitation and Visuals turned 1 year on the 5th of February 2020. Yay! On the 13th of February, a revamp was made. Changing its name to EV Visuals (Facilitation is really long), change of email address (elaine@ev-visuals.com) and this new website. It was also a time to celebrate (getting a real cupcake, for instance) and be thankful. Thanks to everyone who journeyed with us over the year!

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For the love of (your own) font

After drawing your letters like you mean it, it’s time to create your own font. Creating your own font is a quick and easy process once you know what works for you. I’ve been trying to create my fonts for some years now. But I’ve never really been very happy with them once they were generated. Nevertheless, I kept on going. Forming every letter has a very calming effect on me. All my illustrations are, in fact, handwritten.

But guess what? Font creation is never as easy with the iFontMaker App. I basically created a set of font in less than 15 minutes which I made available here called Pie font. More to come!

So have fun and start creating. If you have any questions about my process in making my fonts or how to use iFontMaker, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Please post the fonts you’ve created too. It will inspire many!

More fonts for download are available here: https://ev-visuals.com/fonts/

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Draw your letters like you mean it!

One of my most embarrassing moments as a facilitator has to do with handwriting. I was in front at the workshop, introducing to the participants what we were going to do over the next few days. My co-facilitator, with all good intention and the wisest brain, tried to summarise my introduction in a visual form. It was a great summary with a well-thought content but in terms of handwriting, it was totally unreadable. Although it was not my handwriting, this mortifying episode pierced deeply in my consciousness that I vowed to myself to work on improving my handwriting. This personal pledge even became fierce when I started working with another facilitator who has the most illegible handwriting ever.

I always had a good handwriting but I went astray when I started writing everything on the computer. Now, I try to practice writing by hand as much as I can. I try to draw my letters like I mean it! Within a few months, I’ve really seen how much improvement has happened.

People have been asking me tips on handwriting. Aside from telling them to draw letters with confidence and in the most beautiful way possible, it is also important to start with your own handwriting. For me, this is crucial because I find it important to show your character in your handwriting. I think it’s nice to be able to associate yourself with your handwriting, to be able to mark your letters as your own.

In one of my workshops, I gave the participants very cheap lined practice writing papers intended for third graders. You see, it doesn’t have to be special and expensive papers to get practicing. We practiced writing upper case and lower case letters, a mixture of upper and lower case letters, cursive and in any fonts they like. What was important was to draw each letter with the intention to make them look good and most especially, readable. It is also good to look at different fonts created by other people for learning and inspiration.

Any blank surface has the potential to be written on. Any pen is good than having no pen at all. So find time to practice. As one girl came up to me at the cafe to tell me how beautiful my handwriting is, one day you will be proud of yours too. That I can assure you!

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Who invented the Name Tags?

My closest colleagues know that I’m not a name tag lover. Of course, I understand the significance of name tags. Our individual names are very important and wearing name tags is another way of presenting ourselves, of silently introducing ourselves, of saying, “I’m here!”. Name tags are also important for facilitators. Facilitators don’t need to remember all the participants’ names by heart. The name tags will do it for the facilitators.

I know that a name tag is just a small thing that hangs around the neck. They are either in white, in blue or in another colour. But sometimes they are bigger than the nose and eyes put together. They also present no personality whatsoever. In an event, everyone will be wearing the same name tag. And so I love to draw hearts, to letter my name or to not wear the name tag at all. It’s just NOT so creative!

So it was quite a surprise for me when I entered the meeting room of the Creative Facilitation workshop by Partners for Youth Empowerment in Brussels. I was expecting a person sat by the desk armed with name tags, ready and eager to have the participants hang them excitedly around their necks. But no, I was greeted by three tables covered in art supplies. There were different kinds of pens, different colours of papers, stickers, glue, strings, scissors… It was time to create your very own name tag and I really love this idea.

And so I decided to adopt this to my workshops, the very first one was the Visualisation Workshop I facilitated in the Philippines. It was a success. Participants came in and created their own name tags. I sensed the eagerness in the air and all the creative juices flowing. It was fun. In the end, different name tag personalities emerged. It was so lovely to witness the process and to see the beautiful outcome. So let’s do it again!