Arts and Calligraphy: Oceanchelle
Summer is the best time to engage in hobbies and new interests so we made sure to have at least one feature that will serve to inspire. We ask Richelle Macapagal to tell us her story so that our readers (or listeners who are also our readers) will have a starting point in thinking about what kind of extra curricular activities they want to throw in to keep them creative.
Have you always been interested in the Arts?
Yes, but it was always something I did in my spare time (or while I was supposed to be doing something else. It was my favorite form of procrastination/stress relief after reading). Art class was always fun. Home Economics was fun during the quarters we did crafty things like sewing.
Did you always tinker around coloring materials, papers and a scissor when you were young or you only discovered this passion later on in life?
Yes. I've always been an art supply junkie. I know the layouts of several branches of National Bookstore by heart. As a kid, I looked forward to new crayons and pens every school year and collected stationery and stickers (WOW I AM REALLY DATING MYSELF HERE) while in grade school. As an adult, I'd go to the art supply section to buy things I couldnt afford to get as a child. You know those color changing Crayola markers that were popular back in the day? I own a set now. :D
While in school, I wasn't the best at drawing and painting (despite joining contests in school and all that. ) but I was pretty good at "hacking" or putting things together from scratch. I'd see something and figure out a way to DIY it. So I ended up making a lot of costumes and props for plays, (school level production design haha) and invitations for events. I also had a lot of Japanese classmates in grade school, so I learned a lot of origami from them.
I've always been that person who had too many pens and cutters in her pencil case, and later on in life, purse. I carry around extra pens no matter what - I take color coded notes and I doodle on paper placemats while waiting for
meals to be served.
Which different kinds of art did you get hooked in through the years?
Doodling, origami, gift-wrapping, photography, calligraphy, stamp-making, paper-cutting, washi-taping everything I own (does that count?), and scrapbooking. I think it is safe to say that if it involves sharp or pointy objects and paper - I've probably tried it or may want to try it.
I've been a doodler for as long as I can remember - but I liked doodling words because my drawing skills were not that great, and I just really love words. I have a great appreciation for words that have been put together almost perfectly. I have a file on my phone with random quotes and song lyrics. I bring it out whenever I have to practice writing something.
How did you get into watercolor calligraphy?
I went to a copperplate calligraphy workshop held by Fozzy Castro-Dayrit in late 2012 and I've been hooked on calligraphy since then. It's lovely how calligraphy makes even the most boring words (e.g. legal provisions) look beautiful. Anyway, nibs and other supplies were not that easy to find back in 2012. Buying nibs required a trip to SM North Edsa or ordering from websites such as PaperInkArts and JohnNeal and then waiting for your package to arrive. So I started doing my drills with brush pens / markers - P80 and easy to hoard from Daiso and Saizen.
Watercolor has always been my waterloo. (See what I did there?) but practicing calligraphy with watercolor and gouache allowed me to work with an gazillion more colors. It was much more cost effective than buying a bottle of ink to cover all the colors in the rainbow. I started out using watercolors with a pointed pen, then moved on to watercolor brush calligraphy. I have a lot of fun mixing colors and making gradients. I think it's a lot easier than painting realistic objects and landscapes. I'm still very much a newbie at that sort of watercolor work.
Why did you decide to organise workshops?
It's fun to teach what you know and get people into something you love.
Tell us more about your workshops.
I teach basic pointed pen calligraphy, and brush calligraphy.
In my basic pointed pen calligraphy class (4-5 hours) I teach students calligraphy (usually formal script, and then some modern freehand) using the dip pen and flexible nibs.
I teach 2 kinds of brush calligraphy classes - the crash course (2 hours) where I teach calligraphy and lettering with brush pens and brush markers, and the workshop (5 hours) where I teach watercolor basics as well as calligraphy and lettering using the medium.
Do you have an ideal student or can anyone just join in?
Anyone can join, as long as they can write. It's a basics class. If you've got zero arts skills and zero calligraphy experience you're absolutely welcome. Even kids can join my workshops - I've had students as young as 10 and 11 year old. As for an ideal student, Chris Evans would be fun -hahaha. Seriously, anyone willing to try makes a good student. I try to keep the workshops fun, so there's no pressure to be absolutely awesome right away. Learning takes time.
What can one expect if he or she signs up for your workshop?
Seriously, they can expect to have fun. I really try my best to make the workshop as fun as possible. They can also expect enough materials and instruction to pick up the hobby. Every student in my class gets a complete starter kit, and then some.
As I said, I'm a huge materials junkie, and this is sort of obvious in my classes (even the private ones). I bring my entire arsenal of paints and inks to each workshop, and make my students try whatever they want. I also answer questions about each item (where to buy, what's the difference, etc...) So when they decide to go shopping, they can make informed choices. (In other words, I kind of BI them into buying art materials by letting them try stuff hahaha.)
What is your goal as an artist?
The word ARTIST carries so much weight, I think I'm more of a huge fan of and participant in art than a legitimate artist at this point.
My goals are to keep learning new things and to keep practicing and evolving my script styles, to find new and interesting places to apply my love for words, letterforms, and calligraphy, and of course to keep roping other people into the black hole of calligraphy, and doodling. (Sharing is caring!)
Is it to become an entrepreneur or is this more of a hobby?
Well, I take calligraphy (doing and teaching it) serious enough to call it a "job", but it's not the kind of job that I wake up dreading to do. It's something I really enjoy and love, and am lucky enough to make money doing.
What is your ultimate dream as an artist?
I guess my ultimate dream is for my design and calligraphy work to take me places. Whether it be through my work or output, sharing of skills, or even just flat out income - I would love for it to take me around the world :)