Postcard-worthy? I tried making flora and fauna-inspired postcards at Fully Booked

Ally De Leon

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Postcard-worthy? I tried making flora and fauna-inspired postcards at Fully Booked
Even for a newbie, it was a fun and immersive art experience led by planner designer and artist Raxenne Maniquiz!

MANILA, Philippines – As a child, I had quite a fleeting interest in art. I spent one summer learning how to paint in watercolor, often looking to flowers and nature for inspiration. Since then, I barely got to tap into my visual creativity. I’m not the go-to graphic designer for my internships or orgs, nor am I a fan-artist in my respective fandoms. 

My choice of creative outlet often revolves around words and writing, but that hasn’t stopped me from harboring a deep admiration for people who knew how to make art visually. A part of me has always wanted to learn more about doing visual arts myself, so when an opportunity from Fully Booked allowed me to do just this arose, I was happy to take it.

In full bloom

In partnership with Fully Booked and International Fine Paper Exchange, designer and artist Raxenne Maniquiz held a postcard-making workshop last Saturday, November 18.

Prior to the workshop, I looked up Raxenne’s work and was immediately interested in her craft, seeing her niche in drawing and designing flowers and other elements of nature native to the Philippines. She shared that her affinity towards drawing botany stems from her living in her grandfather’s farm in Bulacan — showing her deeper relationship with what inspires her art.

MAPPING AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY. Raxenne Maniquiz cites maps as her initial inspiration for creation. Fully Booked

Raxenne also discussed how she found herself at the intersection of art and business — something I’ve always been interested in — through the brands that have enlisted her help in making art for their campaigns. She’s worked for the likes of MAC and Nike Jordans, as well as organizations such as UP’s Association of Biology Majors and Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society.

Given her impressive background as well as the highly creative ambience of Fully Booked’s The Studio, I expected to go through an afternoon of rigorous art challenges. However, I was pleasantly mistaken!

Drawing closer to the point

Raxenne had us draw two illustrations found in her planners from the upcoming collection The Flora and Fauna of the Philippines 2024: a monarch butterfly and an orchid. There was a plethora of art supplies for our free perusal, which was something that highly excited me! Art materials, especially calligraphy pens, have always piqued my interest, but given the wide variety, I did not know where to start. The opportunity to sample Winsor and Newton’s range of drawing materials definitely made my art experience more fun.

MAKING A MARK. Markers and pencils from Winsor and Newton were used for drawing. Fully Booked

We drew the monarch butterfly first. My main takeaway for this segment of the workshop was that basic shapes such as rectangles and trapezoids were essential elements in making more complex illustrations. I appreciated the building-block approach Raxenne took for the workshop, which did a great job in accommodating beginner artists like myself and the other participants. 

ALL NATURAL. Drawing nature with an organic Mediterranean bowl on the side. Ally De Leon/Rappler

Admittedly, the walkthrough for the butterfly illustration was still quite challenging because it was difficult to replicate Raxenne’s intricacies in her art! She noticed this halfway through the workshop and treated it as a lighthearted and comedic moment, even poking fun at herself by asking if she was really the one who drew the illustration she was asking us to copy. A part of me slightly gave up on copying the butterfly once I had the basic structure down because only then did I realize that I didn’t like the look and feel of colored pencils for drawing. This led me to doodle one of my own on a separate postcard using marker pens instead.

Since the butterfly was difficult for a lot of us to copy, Raxenne moved onto the orchid simulation, which she promised would be easier. This promise wasn’t in vain: I had a good time copying the orchid even in my own style! Shapes were used as building blocks for the illustration at large once again, granting a fun and easy-to-follow process. 

TOODLES, DOODLES! Random doodles I made inspired by the workshop. Ally De Leon/Rappler

Raxenne’s workshop was relaxed and pressure-free — she even compared it to an Art Attack session. Because of this conducive mood, I found myself doodling illustrations of my own as well outside of the workshop demos. I drew a simpler butterfly, a mango (that’s quite uncanny to a lemon), and two kinds of flowers. Having this creative freedom was the most enjoyable part of the workshop for me because I could feel myself applying what I’ve learned through means of my own!

Blossoming anew

I left the workshop feeling enthused and in need of more creative outlets. While we still have a month and a half left of 2023, I already see myself making an active pursuit of art and creativity one of my goals or resolutions for 2024. 

This workshop is the main reason I’m able to think that far ahead! Prior to our art-making, we received planners and calendars from Raxenne’s 2024 Flora and Fauna collection. With two notebook planners, a desk pad calendar planner, and a desk calendar for the year ahead, I have no excuse to go into 2024 unprepared! And since it’s also the season of gifting, the floral gift wrappers I received will be of great use for all my holiday needs.

A WOMAN WITH A PLAN(T). Botany-themed planners and calendars from Raxenne Maniquiz’s 2024 collection. Fully Booked.

More than the functionality of the products we received, I found myself appreciating the artistry behind Raxenne’s work once more. Beyond the aesthetic value of her illustrated flowers, plants, and animals, there’s a certain depth in the artist’s commitment to documenting endemic botany. As I attempt to go deeper into my personal artistic and creative journeys, I also hope to find a constant sense of inspiration that allows me to make my creative pursuits more intentional and meaningful. – Rappler.com

Ally De Leon is a Rappler intern.

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