How I make shrink plastic charms for accessories & other stuff

Even before my BGC Art Mart day, I had a feeling I would get a lot of questions about what the kitty accessories I’m selling are made of and how I make them so I put a tutorial together and had it on display in a frame on my table. (You can see part of it in @firehailtree’s instagram photo.). It turned out to be a good idea because my customers were able to understand how much care was placed into each item.  Some even asked if I sold shrink plastic because they’d like to try it out themselves! 😀

Anyway, I’d also like to share the how-tos with you. 🙂
shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-1

1. I draw the illustrations individually on sheets of shrink plastic, mindful of the fact that the colors will darken and the drawings will shrink down to about 1/3 of its original size. This particular sheet is glossy so I roughened the surface with sandpaper so that I could draw on it with colored pencils.

2. I cut them to shape with a pair of scissors.

shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-2

3. I shrink the pieces individually using a heat gun. This is best for complicated shapes that you want to have more control over. Otherwise you can use a toaster oven to bake multiple pieces at a time.

4. Ta-dah! The piece is now smaller, thicker, and harder than it was. After it’s cooled down, I would usually spray it with a fixative to “fix” the colored pencil drawings, after which I would apply a glaze coating.

Here’s one of my cat pins in action:

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

* You may order these from my store. 😀

UPDATE (Oct.27, 2015)

I’ll be having a Shrink Plastic Crafting Workshop at Hey Kessy (Quezon City) on November 21! Please visit this link to sign up and reserve a slot.

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Life After Breakfast’s Watercolor Playdate + my shop is now open

I was recently invited to join a watercolor-themed craft soiree organized by crafter / designer Alessa Lanot, the brains and talent behind the very popular Life After Breakfast Blog, and it was quite an exhilarating experience.

LABWatercolorSwap2015
(photo from LAB)

In her invitation, Alessa said she wanted to gather some of Manila’s top female watercolor artists for a little swap and playdate. It’s been so long since I’ve actually painted along with other artists (not counting my husband of course, teehee) so naturally I was game. I was actually *floored* when I saw the works of the girls in the final list a few days before the event. Very proud to have been among this talented bunch.

We had to bring enough artworks for the swap so I brought prints of these new illustrations. The bottom two look familiar because they are re-creations of the colored pencil illustrations I did sometime ago. 🙂

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

And below is my art haul from the girls. So precious. <3 You can tap on the image on Instagram to see who made the artworks.

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

That’s not even half of it. We also took home vegan goodies from Alessa & her husband’s restaurant Pipino (and also got treated to a full course meal off their new menu!), a mug, notebook and magazine from Herschel, art supplies from Craft Carrot, washi tapes from Hey Kessy, non-toxic brush cleaners from Messy Bessy, and cute journals from The Lunch Break Project, to name a few. The gifts just kept on coming — it felt like Christmas came early. 🙂

Most importantly it was awesome exchanging stories about our watercolor journeys with the other girls. Everyone was nice and sweet and I especially got to bond with Lorra Elena Angbue-Te, Arlene Sy, June Digan, Megan Dino, and Frannie Wei-lookalike Fran Alvarez who even brought her “Fruitcake” book for me to sign. 😉 Also happy that I got to see an old friend, Pierra Labrador, and finally meet Macy Alcaraz whom I’ve known online since the early blogging days!

I know I should devote more space to the event but I’m running out of time at the moment… Meanwhile you can check out Life After Breakfast for even more details.

EDIT (May 3, 2015) — you can check out this CandyMag.com article for a list + links to the Instagram accounts of everyone in the swap. Yay!

***
1-Shop Images

I also wanted to share that my online shop is NOW (FINALLY) OPEN. *deep intake of breath* It’s my first time to have an actual self-operated online store (as opposed to the ones I have that are hosted on Zazzle, etc) so please bear with kinks and all. You can access it from the graphic above or from the “SHOP” link on the sidebar. 🙂

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Watercolor Review: Shin Han Professional Korean Watercolours

As a kid I actually learned to paint with tube watercolors, not with pans. When I was 7, my dad worked as a professor in Kyoto for a year and since then, his Japanese colleague would send my brother and me Sakura cray-pas and tube watercolor sets almost every school year until I was in high school. 

Later on I got acquainted with Prang and so I grew to love the convenience of not having to open tubes while painting.

I haven’t worked with tubed watercolor for years but a few weeks ago I stumbled upon local online art store  Art Whale while Instagram-hopping. They carry beautiful paints like Korea-based Nicker fine art gouache (a.k.a. the brand that Ghibli Animation Studio uses), Japan-based  Turner Colour Works Acryl Gouache,Peerless Watercolors (a vintage American brand known for bright colors in sheet form), and Shin Han Art Korean Watercolours. I was attracted to the latter the most so I immediately ordered seven tubes with some of my Art Mart earnings. 😉  I resisted from getting the set of 12 because I never use black and white anyway so I had to think hard about which ones I’ll get the most use out of.

TIP: If you’re planning on working with a limited palette too, consider getting primary and secondary colors since you can mix them to come up with other colors you’ll need. However, if you need a good starter set, I recommend getting the box of 12 or 24. You’ll get a lot for your money’s worth.

shin han art professional korean watercolors

After placing my order, the tubes were delivered to my doorstep the very next morning by ArtWhale’s fabulous Kuki herself! How’s that for service? 🙂 She even gave me a very useful tip from her own experience — the binder of Korean colors is made from natural glue (the East’s equivalent of gum arabic) so don’t seal the tubes’ caps on too tightly because they will be difficult to reopen. Just close them tight enough so that they won’t spill.

Right after I got the colors I quickly made the painting above. Coming from working with pan colors, my first impression of Shin Han was that the colors were very intense which shocked me at first. I haven’t tried but I think they can be 100% opaque when applied thickly… I’ll get back to you on that.

So I made a mental note to squirt just a bit of paint into the palette which I proceeded to dilute with lots of water to get the consistency I needed. As you can see in the painting above and below, bright color + transparent effects can be achieved with just a teeny bit of paint. Very economical. 😀

shin han art watercolor review

I made this illustration (a portrait of Aoi Miyazaki) because I still had a lot of leftover Shin Han paint on my palette… and for portrait-painting practice. 🙂

Same reason for this next one below.

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

Most of the pigments in these paints are lightfast as well  — the PDF guide in the Korean Shin Han site has lightfastness ratings beside the colors if you need help deciding which ones to choose. They also blend beautifully so employing the wet-on-wet technique is a joy with these paints. I posted a video on my Instagram where I’m using Shin Han so you can check it out to see it in action.

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“Split Screen” – a little wordless comic I made in 2004

Way back in 2004, Arnold and I were part of a Yahoo Group called “Hey! Comics” led by our good friend Ramon de Veyra. It consisted of a bunch of (mainly) non-mainstream-comic readers which made the mailing list a convenient outlet for friendly discussion about recent reads.

Since there were writers & artists in the group, Ramon thought of putting out an anthology of *our own* works. I had never drawn & written a comic before save for a cheesy application letter to an ad agency after graduation.1.  I wanted to leave that expertise to Arnold but Ramon insisted that I try too. Arn encouraged me as well and advised me that perhaps I should draw from personal experience. So I came up with “Split Screen.” I don’t want to reveal too much but it’s basically a story about finding closure and moving on from a painful past. (In other words, #hugot) 🙂

split screen comic by cynthia bauzon arre

It’s only 3 pages long and it has no dialogue so you can click on the image if you’d like to view it in full. I do hope you can let me know what you think of it. 🙂

* By the way, I found Ramon’s blog entry about the comic’s launch from July 2004. Reading it felt like traveling back in time…

** This was previously uploaded in Multiply but since that site is now gone, I thought I’d place it in my portfolio in time for Free Comic Book Day on May 2. )

  1. That company DID NOT hire me, by the way lol[ back]
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Playing shopkeeper at BGC Art Mart 2015

I have renewed respect for everyone who stands all day at a job — they are the bees knees. 😎 As I’ve said before, I joined this year’s Art Mart in Bonifacio Global City on a whim at my friend’s encouragement. Drawing is my first love, graphic design was a career choice. I figured that if I want to reboot my career as an illustrator, I need to get my work out there in the open. I didn’t know what to expect but I thought it would be a good chance to find out which of my products sell the best before I place them for sale online, right?

So I applied, slightly nervously because Arts at BGC had sooo many guidelines and requirements. Fortunately I passed but then I only had 14 days to prepare before the actual day so those two weeks were spent in panic mode.

My art prints have been ready for a while but I had to make many more pieces of shrink plastic accessories to justify my being in a craft fair. I limited it to just 10-20 pieces per design so that I could handcraft each one with care and inspect them for durability.

I also had to think about how to properly display my work. I found an old cassette tape crate — obviously not being used anymore 😆 — in my room at my parents’ which I re-purposed and used as my card display rack. I used cheap cork boards & little chalkboards from Saizen and propped them up on mini easels to display my shrinky dink necklaces, bracelets, and pins. The little wooden frames, bowls and basket were stuff we had on hand here at home. The green necklace stand is an old gift from my friend Chinggay, and the red “tablecloth” is unused fabric that I bought way back in 2004 in Nippori in Tokyo. (I was planning to have my friend Tippi turn it into a top when I bought it but it slipped my mind! Now it has a new purpose.)

Catch my ate twin Cynthia Bauzon Arre @arncyn’s #crafts today at Boni High street!!!

A photo posted by Quark Henares (@quarkhenares) on

What I didn’t expect:
1) The heat! Our tables were right in the middle of the activity center which has. no. roof. And oh my gosh there were no tents! 😯 The very nice organizer apologized profusely and said that she really fought for the tents but sadly, we were out under the scorching heat for five hours. Thankfully Arn and I had a small umbrella in the car but it didn’t help much — I’m as red as a lobster right now.
2) The wind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that there was a breeze at all but my display was in constant danger of falling apart.
3) The almost never-ending throng of buyers from 4-9pm and even beyond. Happy problem. Not complaining. 🙂

business booming at @arncyn’s booth here at #bgcartmart! they’re here ’til 9!

A photo posted by ramon (@ramondeveyra) on

Lessons learned for next time:
1) Bring lots of water in a cooler. There was very little chance to leave my table — besides, it was one of the rules that “the artist should always be present.” If not for a kind soul, Alexander de San Miguel, a comics scene friend, we would have dehydrated. Alexander pleasantly surprised us by bringing us drinks from time to time without us even asking him. 🙂
2) Bring sunblock!!! And an umbrella.
3) Wear breezy, comfortable clothing. My t-shirt was light-colored and thin enough so my upper body was okay but my skirt was made of somewhat heavy fabric. Next time remind me to wear linen.
4) Have more prints available. I ran out of some but at least now I know which of the drawings are the favorites.
5) Bring lots of small bills. Self-explanatory. 🙂
6) Take a few little breaks to go around and visit the other stores. I regret not being able to check out the amazing stuff in the market because I was glued to my booth. 🙁

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

Also very grateful for the support of Arnold who gamely stood there in the sun to help me out. <3 We were both exhausted at the end of the day but we were happy to have met so many people. I also loooove that we got to make friends with some customers and fellow artists/crafters. <3 If you were among those whom I talked to on Saturday, thank you so much for dropping by my booth. My smile that day was thisbig because of you. 🙂

shiba inu bgc art mart
By the way, remember the pet portraits I made of my friend April’s shiba inus before? Here is one of the dogs, Mya. 🙂

I would love to talk more about the experience but I’m sleepy now so I’ll just leave you with my photo album, here.

Will I do this again? Definitely! But maybe just twice a year at most. Right now what I need to focus on is making more illustrations and finally getting my locally-based shop up and running. It’s up! 🙂

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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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