LESSONS I’VE LEARNT FROM ‘You are a badass at making money’ by Jen Sincero

 
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Today, let’s talk about money. I’ve recently binge-watched the whole two seasons of la casa de papel (money heist @lacasadepapeltv) on @netflix and read the book, ‘You are a badass at making money’ by Jen Sincero (@jensincero).

Here’s what I’ve learnt -

1. This is muy importante - money is just a piece of paper. It represents an exchange of fixed value. Tear it up, and it’s worthless. Relationships matter more, they’re priceless. (Ps. I learnt point 1 from watching La Casa De Papel, and is the only exception here. The rest of the points below are what I learn from the book.)

2. Faith and belief are more powerful than you think. They subconsciously guide your actions and you can choose to be a victim of your situation or own up to how you perceive em.

3. You’ve a gift and purpose that’s waiting to be discovered. There’s a road map for you to get there. You just have to keep walking and try not to get lost.

4. They say you’re a result of the 5 people you spend most with. And the person you spend the most time with is you.

5. This is too iconic, I just have to quote Jen Sincero straight up - ‘Badassery badassifies’. (*Brb I’m adding these to my vocabulary)

6. You have to risk looking stupid and discomfort is good for you. 

7. People who had it harder than you have done miraculous things with their lives. Success is not about where you’re at, it’s about where and who you decide you’re going to be. 

8. How you think of yourself matters more than what others think of you. 

Hopefully these helped you in some way - whether it's clarity or affirmation, you do you! Lemme know your thoughts, I’m always open for a chat ✨

Much love,
Leah

 

How-To Tutorial: Handlettering on an Unconventional Canvas

 

If you’re up to experiment on other surfaces other than paper, read on! There are a ton of other items and surfaces that can be your canvas – think: mugs, tote bags, shirts and even walls. In this case, I’ve chose to draw on my denim outerwear.

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Materials You’ll Need:

1. Any pencils you’ve on hand 

2. Tracing paper

3. Carbon/ graphite/ transfer paper 

4. Your favourite brand of acrylic/ fabric maker – for me, I chose Molotow’s Pump Markers as my weapon of choice

5. Masking tape (optional)

6. An unconventional canvas 

7. Your favourite Spotify playlist

Here’s How:

1. Create a design around your favourite quote/ phrase – bonus points if it’s relevant to your canvas for that *conceptual flair*

In this case, I came up with “dressed and depressed” (inspired by my monstrous mood swings during the time of the month) It’s related to apparel and I’m loving the rhyme going on. You’ll notice I switched out “and” with “n” so that the two will flow and line up better when stacked.

2. If you’ve done step 1 on a piece of paper, place your tracing paper above your sketch and trace it.

3. Place the carbon paper above the surface area of your canvas, followed by your tracing paper above the carbon paper. Make sure to lay the carbon paper with carbon side down. Tape them down to secure.

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4. Trace around your design with any pencil. This process transfers any markings made by the pressure applied by the pencil. Remember to check back to see if the design has transferred evenly. If not, my dear, you’re too gentle!

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5. You should have your final design transferred on your canvas. Now, turn up the music, it’s time to ink! Depending on the size of your canvas, you can opt for a more fine-tip marker (e.g. 1.5mm Molotow Marker) to outline and a 4mm Molotow Marker for the fills.

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6. Wait for the ink to be permanently dry, 24 hours’ best. To ensure washability, remember to heat set it using an iron. Same for mugs too if you’re drawing on ceramics.

Congrats, you did it! Now go rock that style.

Much Love,
Leah

 

How to DIY a Wall Tapestry/ Banner | Tips and Tricks

 
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I recently did a Wall Tapestry/ Banner for a marriage proposal and I thought I'll share with you my process, along with some tips and tricks. 

For this project, I made a "Will You Marry Me" Wall Tapestry and 2 other smaller scale banners with wooden dowels for the proposal set-up. 

Let's get started.


First thing first - cloth.

Ideally, try to go for fabric that has a higher thread count, which is most likely to be less porous. A fabric like 100% cotton is easy for the paint to glide on due to how tightly threaded it is. Essentially, any type of fabric is good to go, but when the fabric is loosely threaded or woven, be prepared to use more paint than you should because you will need to do several coatings of paint for the design to show true and vibrant. (Imagine this analogy of a sponge vs glass - sponge is porous, while glass is non-porous. So if you were to paint on these surfaces, the paint is bound to be on the surface of the glass, but more likely to seep through the sponge.) 

To tell whether or not a fabric is good to paint on, simply look at the intricate threads making up the fabric. If you can see the individual threads used, means it's more porous! 

Another thing - some fabric do shrink after washing. So you might wanna wash your fabric first to get the right sizing! Washing will also help to remove any stiffener in the fabric, which hinders paint or ink to adhere to the fibres.  

 
 Photo by  russn_fckr  on  Unsplash

Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash

Next - paint, or in my case, sharpies.

I love me some good ol' sharpies! So those were what I went for in this project, especially when I wanted the crisp and thin hairlines in the upstrokes of my letterforms. Because sharpies are alcohol-based markers, they tend to bleed through the fabric, so make sure you go for a heavier weight fabric if it's within your budget. 

If paint and brushes are right up your alley, definitely go for that! Plus, if you need a variety of colours in various shades, this is probably a wiser option. When I went to an art shop last year, I talked a bunch with the storekeepers there about the best paints to use for fabrics and what not, so let me share with you what I had learnt from them and other things I've read about over the year.

Fabric or textile paint/ markers fair best because they adhere to fabric better than acrylic paints for instance, which are more likely to "sit" on the fabric instead of "in" the fibres, hence easier to fade or peel off. Then again, depending on your project, acrylic paints can be good enough. They will crack in time so make sure you add a fabric agent/ medium to thin the paint so that it is easier for application and this step also helps in rendering the paint "softer" on the fabric; in other words, less likely to get all crackly. One thing to note though, the thinner the paint, the longer it takes to dry. So definitely try to find a balance there, especially if you're tight on deadlines with your project. If you're painting with intention to wear it or say, its likely for your work to get wet, heat-setting your work may be something you want to think about, so that it can be machine-wash ready for future repeated uses and also, more weather-proof.

 

Lastly - brushes.

If you're doing very detailed work, go for brushes that can hold a fine point well. If you need a good line integrity or consistency, I find that broad-edge brushes fair better as you can use the flat side of the brush and hold a consistent line weight that way. Round brushes kinda vary in line weight depending on the amount of pressure you apply. So be mindful of the brushes you use for different aspects! 

Say you're using paint that has high viscosity (thick and less fluid), perhaps opt for synthetic brushes as they have stiffer bristles/ brush hairs that can hold up heavy body paints better. Natural brushes (made from animal hairs) tend to do better for more fluid paints such as watercolours. 

 

some tips on - the painting/ inking process

Now that the materials are outta the way, let's talk about the fun part - inking/ painting! Ideally, you should do a mock up of your design on the fabric, especially if you've many blocks of information to put down. For me, it was pretty straightforward in terms of design, with the two key phrases - the lucky girl, "Serena Vu" and "Will You Marry Me?". I didn't have a projector on hand, so free-handing the pencil sketch was an absolute pain in the ass but I'd rather do that than ruin the fabric and repurchase another! 

Some tips for this step:

1. Iron your entire fabric first, to rid the various haywire creases, but leave the main pre-folds lightly visible. Otherwise, you can make light folds on the fabric by folding it into half and then quarters and further sub-quarters to create a grid system to guide your lettering. I self-discovered this helpful trick while figuring out how to draft up my design effectively for the project and am so glad my head was in a thinking state that day. Now, I don't have to draw in any pencil baselines to guide me, I can just use the folds! How cool is that. 

2. If you're painting/ inking on the floor or wall, add some newspaper or cardboard behind your project. I nearly inked my white wall black, I can tell ya that much. 

3. If you want to draft out some pencil line work for your letterforms, but made a couple of mistakes, don't use a normal eraser to erase them -  use a kneadable eraser. Not only can it get into various tiny nooks and crannies, it also doesn't leave any rubber dust which would otherwise catch on the fabric fibres (tho you can salvage this by running a razor over, but let's save ourselves some effort here, shall we!)

4. You can either lay your fabric on the floor or upright like I did on the wall. I'd recommend on the wall because for large-scale work, it is a ton easier to do large arm movements for a smooth curve across a large area of the fabric. If your fabric is on the floor, you're limited to the space between your body and one arm length when you're in a seated position. When you're standing up, you can manoeuvre however you'd like across the entire fabric just by keeping your upper body straight while bending your knees for upward and downward movements and sidesteps for left and right movements. Small detail point here but big differences in output. Try it out!

5. For measurements, you can use a measuring tape or ruler. However, for me, I just use my palm size as a rouge gauge to mark out the spacings between my letterforms and whether or not they're consistent relative to the other letters.

6. This last tip is kind of random, but to put my fabric up on my wall, I used 3M's Removable Mounting Strips. They can hold heavy weight items well, and peels off nicely from the wall without leaving any marks or scratches.


That's about it for this how-to / tutorial. Artists gotta help other artists, so I hope you enjoyed this read and if you do ever try this out yourself as a personal project, share 'em with me! I'll be happy to answer any further questions you may have as well. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process.

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A time-lapse of the wall tapestry/ banner that I did will be up on my Instagram (@leahdesign), come find me!

P.s. She said yes!

Much love,
Leah

 

 

Be the Captain of Your Happiness, (Cause Why Wouldn't You?)

 

Let's dive right into some content I'd like to share with you. And that's this book right here.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

It's exactly what the title says and if any of these sound relatable to you

  1. Finding rejections and failures difficult to accept
  2. Overthinking situations/ interactions
  3. Getting mad over minute negative encounters during certain events or with people
  4. Prioritising external validation over internal belief,

I'd say definitely give this book a good read. It doesn't exactly provide structured learning content but the examples Mark provides and its accompanying insights will definitely help you shed light on how to improve your mental health and well-being.

I'd include some of my favourite takeaways to get you started. 

  1. The act of not caring doesn't imply being indifferent (that ignorance is plain rude btw), but the importance lies in being completely comfortable about being different.
  2. Yearning for more positive experiences, is in itself, a negative experience. Accepting negative experiences, (ironically) is in itself, a positive experience.
  3. We're not entitled to be happy all the time. It doesn't come on a silver platter! Happiness is a form of action; be the captain and stay responsible for steering your experiences from distasteful to delightful. 

Highly recommend this book - hope you enjoy this read! 

Much Love,
Leah

 

Everyone's a Creative

 
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Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Today, I'd love to share one book in particular with you.

I absolutely love this book. For all the creatives out there, this book is a must read - whether you're a designer, baker, ceramic artist or architect, I highly recommend this read. In fact, it's for anyone, really - I believe everyone's a creative at heart.

In primary school, I remember that my teacher wanted to prove a point: that everyone's different. I can't recall his name but he made each of us draw an umbrella on a piece of A4 paper. We aren't allowed to look at what others drew except work on our own umbrella drawing. As expected, everyone drew different things. For me however, the big revelation isn't that everyone's different - it is: everyone's creative. We all drew an umbrella as told without hesitation, we didn't say "But I can't draw", "I don't want to, cause it'll turn out bad" or "I'm not creative enough to do anything wildly remote to that". Thing is, that's what we say all the time when we get older.

What I'm trying to say is - We all have it in us; being confident in our abilities to execute creative thinking, it just so happens that perhaps "what we think are expected of us" or "what we expect ourselves to be" changed as we grew up. We become more aware of what others think and perhaps, fearful of being inadequate or not being "creative enough", which to be honest is an inevitable thought, no doubt. I mean, we are after all, human.

This is also why, I believe in the act of playing. It is paramount or as I would like to argue, an essential pre-requesite, to creative work. It engages in the power of the subconscious mind, which draws deeper than any conscious thought would. But before I ramble on with my other 101 branching thoughts, I guess I'll just leave you with a quote from the author. 

You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don't understand the outcome. 

- Elizabeth Gilbert

Again, highly recommend you check this book out if you haven't already. You'll gain tons of insights and be reaffirmed that sometimes not okay is perfectly okay.

Much love,
Leah