When In Manila: A Visit to Art Bar PH

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

A trip to Art Bar PH should definitely be on your list when you’re visiting Manila, Philippines. First, you can immerse yourself in art books and hoard art supplies. Second, there are so many things to see, eat and do around the area. Did I say eat? Yup, but that’s another story.

I was in my hometown of Manila recently, and I’m telling you, every time I step foot in its familiar soil, I always find something new. One of them is Art Bar PH at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City (more commonly known to locals as simply ‘BGC’). It was boarded up the last time I was there, but in its place now stood a smallish yet eye-catching arts and crafts supply store.

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

There are quite a lot of pens to choose from, and they’re actually carrying Palomino Blackwing pencils! Near the staircase and one of the shelves on the first level are a few calligraphy supplies. It’s a modest selection, but still adequate for those starting out. There are different brush pens stacked in one of the shelves as well.

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

For those looking for different pads, be it for watercolour or calligraphy, there is a wide selection of local products. As far as I know, you won’t find these in Singapore.

The highlight is on the second level! Oh, I loved the sunlight streaming onto the book shelves. There are huge glass display cabinets with Winsor and Newton products. They also have Arches watercolour paper in blocks.

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

I saw quite a lot of art books here, from hand-lettering to interior design. They also carry locally-printed titles and books by Filipino artists. Surrounded by the arched bookshelf is a cozy work table meant for workshops. I imagine it to be a great venue for a calligraphy or brush lettering class.

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

I can stay up on the second level for hours, browsing through the books. Aside from that, I checked out the paint brushes and got myself my first Princeton brush. There are a few other paintbrush brands as well.

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

Visiting Art Bar PH Manila via Happy Hands Project

So I went home with a bunch of pads and a Princeton paint brush. I’ll let you in on the pads I got next time. Overall, I’d say Art Bar PH is worth your while when you’re in Manila. You don’t really need to hoard tons of supplies—I got myself a pretty decent haul even if it’s not much. The best part is I left feeling exhilarated and inspired and looking forward to start doing something creative again.

See you again soon, Art Bar!

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Watercolour and Lettering Goods on Creative Market

Creative Market Shop via Happy Hands Project

Hey everyone! I’ve been busy last month setting up shop over at Creative Market, and it’s still an ongoing process. CM is a great source of design inspiration, and a very busy marketplace for creatives. There are tons of graphic design elements that one can use for a myriad of design projects. Oh, and did I say that thay have a bazillion calligraphy fonts (like this one right here) available as well?

I got acquainted with Creative Market when they featured the Happy Hands Project last year on their article 5 Calligraphers To Follow On Instagram—thanks, guys!

As a designer and artist, I was thinking of ways to make other designers’ lives easier—and that is by supplying digital artworks that they can use for their own designs. Finally, I found the time to open up a shop and paint and paint and paint, and turn those watercolours into digital backgrounds (not easy!).

Insider Tip: You get 6 free product downloads every week. That’s where I get most of my free fonts and patterns. You need to be a member to access the free goodies, and signing up is easy peasy. Just click the Sign Up button on the top right.

I know my shop is still quite sparse, and I’ve got a looooong way to go before I can fill it to the brim. But let me share with you 3 quality products that I have so far—hope you like ‘em!

The Hand-Lettering Blog Kit

Hand-Lettered Blog Kit via Happy Hands Project

Hand-Lettered Blog Kit via Happy Hands Project

Give your website a dose of personality with these custom illustrated brush lettering elements. Build your brand by using these hand-lettered goodies on your marketing collateral. Use these as buttons and headers on your blog, or as overlays on your photos.

Check out the kit here.

Bright Watercolour Backgrounds

Watercolour Backgrounds via Happy Hands Project

All hand-painted in rich watercolour which is perfect for your marketing, stationery, branding and personal projects. Use each background on its own, or put 2 or 3 together for a different effect — the possibilities are endless and it’s all up to you!

Get some watercolour goodness here.

Ombré Watercolour Backgrounds

Faded Watercolour Backgrounds via Happy Hands Project

Here’s a dreamy watercolour kit for weddings, branding, invitations, brochures, posters, calligraphy backgrounds, packaging, websites, posters and a whole lot more. My personal favourite.

Check out the ombre backgrounds here.

I have a few more products that I’m working on, and will update you all here when a new item’s up. Spread the love!

Digitizing Your Calligraphy: Adding Seamless Patterns

Adding Digital Patterns to Your Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

So you’ve digitized your gorgeous calligraphy. It’s pretty. You can print as many pieces as you want to give to friends and family. But have you ever wondered what’s the next step to scanning your calligraphy and adjusting the contrast in Photoshop? Well, I got news for y’all, and it’s something I’ve only done recently. How about adding (digitally) some seamless patterns on your calligraphy?

This requires some basic knowledge in either Photoshop or Illustrator, but once you get the hang of it, this will make your calligraphy extra pretty. The digital version of the above calligraphy piece was all done in 10 minutes, tops, excluding the writing part which takes waaaaayyy longer.

This is really easy-peasy, take a look at the steps below. Please note that a working knowledge on Adobe Illustrator is required to be able to follow the tutorial. We will be using a pre-made vector pattern downloaded from the internet. I got mine from here. First thing you need to do is have your seamless pattern open in AI (this will be in either .eps or .ai format).

1 :: Copy and paste your vector pattern on a new file. I used an A4 sized art board. If the graphic’s too big, use the Free Transform tool from the left tool bar to scale to your desired size.

Adding Digital Patterns to Your Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

2 :: Make the vector graphic into a pattern. Click on the Object pull-down menu from the top, select Pattern, and click on Make.

Adding Digital Patterns to Your Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

3 :: Save your pattern. Click OK, and delete the existing graphics from your art board. This will give you a clean slate.

Adding Digital Patterns to Your Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

4 :: Create a full background using your newly-created pattern. Wee!

Adding Digital Patterns to Your Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

Now this background is ready for use! For the Elizabeth Gilbert quote I’ve written, I just placed a black rectangle over the background, pasted and live-traced the jpeg scan of my calligraphy, did a bit of clean up, and saved it as an A4-sized poster. There are so many possibilities with patterns and I cannot wait to try them out!

Hope you’ll have as much fun as I have! Here are some of my favourite premium patterns from Creative Market:

Full disclosure: I've recently become part of Creative Market's Partner Program, and I get commissions for purchases made through the links below.

Patterns via Creative Market

Patterns via Creative Market

Patterns via Creative Market

Happy digitizing!

FREE PRINTABLE MODERN CALLIGRAPHY ALPHABET

Modern Calligraphy Exemplar via Happy Hands Project

I was messing around with my guidelines and tracing paper, thinking of writing in another freehand style of modern calligraphy. Since I’ve become comfortable with my own style, it’s become difficult for me to try to come up with an entirely different way of writing the alphabet.

After a few tries, I came up with an entrance stroke that was pretty simple but all new to me. I wrote the uppercase letters in a similar style, but did not use my usual slant. Instead, I wrote this in a slightly upright manner, and that is how I came up with The Eloise Exemplar.

Modern Calligraphy Exemplar via Happy Hands Project

So why did I explore this other style? Well, I’m not planning on using this type of freehand in any of my calligraphy pieces, but it was a good exercise. I am very comfortable with my own calligraphy handwriting so coming up with a different way of writing letters (and eventually an entire alphabet!) was a challenge. But I’m telling ya, it was super fun.

So how about if I share this exemplar to my lovely readers? Yes? Modern calligraphy beginners, this will serve as a good alphabet guide that you can print out and copy. Having an alphabet guide in front of you while practicing will help you familiarise yourselves with the letter forms. This will also show you which stroke should be an upstroke (thin) and which should be a downstroke (thick). Once you are comfortable with writing each letter, then you can explore different styles and eventually come up with your own. How cool is that?

So get your dotted pad, ink, holder and Nikko G nib ready and print this exemplar on an A4 sized card stock. Happy writing! And remember — practice makes pretty!

 

Season’s Greetings Clear Stamps from Mama Elephant

I learned from the ladies of Mama Elephant that it’s never too early for Christmas. Just recently, they posted the ‘First Looks’ of the soon-to-be-released Christmas stamps with my brush lettering. How exciting! It’s still hard for me to believe that my hand-lettering has been transformed into these clear stamps. I think it’s really awesome.

I may not have a knack for designing greeting cards using Mama Elephant stamps yet, but I need to take the plunge soon. One of the things I’m going to work on before the year ends! Here are a couple of ‘First Looks’ from their blog, and you can read the full post over here.

Mama Elephant Christmas Stamps via Happy Hands Project

They ship these goodies internationally, too!

Non-Script Font Combos For Your Wedding

I adore script fonts, which may probably be another reason why I took up the art of modern calligraphy. However, there are some couples who might want to go a different route with their wedding invitations – which means having non-script fonts. I’m a font addict myself, and I can attest to the fact that designing for your own wedding may be a gruelling task. Finding the right font may take hours – even days!

If you’re one of those couples who decide to have a non-script font for your wedding stationery, here are my current favourites. Do take note, though, that my current ‘favourites’ change rather regularly. I’m into serif and sans serif combinations right now, go take a look!

 

Non-Script Wedding Font Combos via Happy Hands Project

Direct font downloads:

Abraham Lincoln & Open Sans Light / Prata Regular & Source Sans Pro Extra Light / Abril Fatface & Bebas Neue Light

Font Fancy: Saissant by Magpie Paper Works

I’ve always had a soft spot for fonts from Magpie Paper Works. Today I’m sharing one of my favourite handmade fonts, Saissant. I just love its organic feel, and how natural each letter looked. Its style is way too different than my own handwriting, which probably explains why I am simply in love with it!

I just discovered another thing that goes well with this handwritten font – vintage botanical illustrations! So here’s a printable with all the lovely things you can think of– organic letters, botanicals, and Audrey Hepburn. You can download and print this in 2 sizes (they’re free for personal use, of course, but you know that already!).

Download your A4 printable here

Download your letter size printable here

‘Make A Wish’ Stamp Set Winner

First off, thank you to everyone who joined the giveaway. You were all amazing! Your kind and welcoming words were very heartwarming and I enjoyed reading through all your wishes. I just realised how cold it probably is on the other side of the planet – a lot of you were wishing for Spring! Just a week ago we were wishing for rain here in Singapore. It has become so dry, grass is turning brown, and forests were burning. We got our wish eventually and I’m sure all of us heaved a sigh of relief when the first drops of rain fell.

Now for the giveaway, I have chosen a winner! Making the decision was really tough because there were really quite a lot of touching and profound wishes. If only I could play Santa! So, drumroll please… congratulations Jenny Renee! Here’s the wish that will win your hearts:

 

“If I could have one wish today it would be to be given a complete day off from both of my jobs so that I can spend time with my kids. Being the sole provider can be tough and involves sacrifices, like not spending as much time with them as I would like.”

 

Jenny Renee, please send your full name and mailing address to pauline (at) happyhandsproject.com for your ‘Make A Wish‘ stamp set from Mama ElephantCurious as to what the ‘Make A Wish‘ stamp set looks like on handmade cards? I scoured 2 wonderful blogs and here are my favourites:

Happy Birthday Card via Happy Hands Project
Go On Celebrate Card via Happy Hands Project

Make A Wish Card via Happy Hands Project

 

I can’t thank you enough for all your responses. Another hand-lettered stamp set will be released soon so drop by soon for another update! You can also like The Happy Hands Project page on Facebook so you’ll be kept in the loop.

Mama Elephant Stamp Giveaway

Mama Elephant Make A Wish Giveaway via Happy Hands Project

I’m super, super excited to share this collaboration with you all! Last year I was commissioned by US-based Mama Elephant to design some lettering for their clear stamps. I seriously couldn’t wait how they’d turn out. To welcome the release of Make A Wish’, the first installment of my lettering for Mama Elephant, we are hosting a giveaway for you all! Along with Kryssi and Angela of ME, we are giving away a free set of the ‘Make A Wish’ clear stamp to celebrate this collaboration.

To have a chance to win this lovely set, comment below and tell us:

What do you wish for today?

This is open to anyone anywhere in the world! We will choose the best answer and I’ll announce the lucky one one on March 27, 2014. Just to be sure you’ll find out if you won, follow the Happy Hands Project on Facebook and Instagram. Why not drop by the ME Blog to get those creative juices running, too? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Make A Wish Stamp Set via Mama Elephant

Freebies: Calligraphy Valentine Desktops

Valentine Calligraphy Desktops via Happy Hands Project

Spreading some love this week with a couple of calligraphy desktops! I’ve been doodling last weekend and have been thinking of writing something about love and I came up with these two. Well, I do have another one on Instagram in reference to Love Actually (remember the time when Andrew Lincoln was this sweet guy and not the walker-killing Rick Grimes? I’m serious.) Anyway, have a wonderful Valentine week everyone! Spread some love to the people close to your heart!

Download the Winnie the Pooh quote here

Download Love is the Closest Thing to Magic here

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