My name is Pia, some of my friends still call me Sherm from my days as a graffiti artist. I live & work in Los Angeles, CA. This is my corner on the world wide web to post my art, writings, etc. More about me here.
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If what you are really passionate about became your job, would you still love it?
Would you still feel the creative fire, or would it be replaced with feelings of obligation? Feeling stagnant and uninspired will also likely soon to follow.
I always wonder about this because well…I will use my ongoing situation as an example:
I work 9 to 5 doing graphics, web design/development & marketing. Though I’m not an expert at any particular thing, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing a little bit of everything; enough to do what’s required of me and to see desired results. I’m a jack of all trades, master of none kind of person.
But my true passion lies in creating art, my personal style of art. I would love to just create art all freakin day, instead I am creating because I get paid to do so. It’s not a complaint, just stating a fact.
Then it dawned on me: what if I actually had to create my art for a living – to eat, pay bills, have a roof over my head, to make sure I don’t go broke. Will I succumb to creating art that “just pays the bills”, instead of it being a true expression from my soul?
If you are some kind of creative, where are you with this and how do you find time to do creative stuff for yourself, the kind of stuff that makes your soul glow? Haha, hope you got the Coming To America movie reference…
So what makes your soul glow?
1. Using Photoshop, make a new document: 800 x 400 pixels RGB
2. With your Type tool selected, type “How To”. Click the Move Tool and then Command J to duplicate text layer. Position your duplicated text under “How To” so you can see it
3. Type “Make An” using the duplicate text layer you just made from Step 2.
4. Click the Move Tool and hit Command J again to create a third text layer. Position your text under “Make An” so you can see it.
5. Type in “Animated GIF” into your third text layer.
Really you can type in whatever you want as long as you have 3 separate text layers. Don’t forget to save.
6. Go to your Window menu and choose Timeline if it’s not open yet. This is where you create your GIF animation, frame by frame.
7. Turn off all text layers by clicking the eyeballs next to each text layer, so you only have the background turned on.
8. Now in your timeline, click the button “Create Frame Animation”
A thumbnail with the caption “0 sec” appears in place.
9. Don’t forget to save.
10. In your timeline layer, click the icon that looks like a folder piece of paper. You will duplicate that first frame and so now you should have 2 thumbnails. In your Layers, go ahead & turn on the text layer “How To”
11. Repeat the previous step by creating a duplicate of that 2nd frame. You should now have 3 thumbnails. Now turn on your text layer “Make An”.
12. Repeat the previous step by creating a duplicate of that 3rd frame. You should now have 4 thumbnails. Now turn on your text layer “Animated GIF”.
13. In the animation timeline, if you click on the tab that says “Once” with an arrow next to it, choose the “Forever” option, hit your spacebar to start or stop the animation; you will see that your animated GIF will repeat at a very fast pace.
14. In order to slow this animation down and be able to read the text (which is important), select the first frame in your Timeline and shift click to select the others. All 4 frames should be selected. There’s a little down arrow next to the caption “0 sec.”, click on one and select 1.0. All 4 of your thumbnails should now say “1 sec” underneath.
Now your animation will play at a speed of 1 second per frame. Hit the spacebar to see it play.
So basically, you’re pretty much done!!
15. When you’re done, you can go to File menu > Export > Save for Web (Legacy) with GIF, Perceptual and No Dither as the settings.
16. Perhaps the first frame is a little boring since we left it blank, so I added a text bubble shape with “Photoshop Tutorial” in it.
Doing this will actually mess up your frame animation, so you will have to repeat the process of turning layers on and off on your Layers and Timeline panel to make it right again. This shouldn’t be too difficult since you only have 4 frames of animation.
So always make sure that in order to edit a frame in the animation timeline, make sure you have it selected first. Then go to your Layers and turn on or off the layer that you want to be visible. Repeat with each frame until you’re happy with the results.
Other times you might have to just delete the frame you’re trying to edit and start from scratch.
17. I snazzed it up by adding a yellow / lime green gradient. I also changed the last frame to 2 sec. so there’s a 1 sec pause before the animation repeats again.
You can animate photos, shapes, text, etc.
I couldn’t come up with a better title for this post, so this will do. I’ve been wanting to blog, but I’ve run out of things to talk about. Truth be told, I really don’t have a whole lot to say other than life is good and all is well in my world. And I really don’t want to force it either; perhaps sometime soon, more ideas will come through that will be worth blogging about.
In the meantime please continue to pursue peace, love and happiness for yourselves; continue to sparkle and shine on no matter what’s happening around you. You deserve to live a stress-free life. Don’t feel guilty that others are miserable, remember that you are only responsible for YOU.
Maybe I will write a tutorial on how I created the animated gif above. We shall see!
I was trying to get this GIF to loop seamlessly in After Effects. Haha, it’s a 10.4 MB file, original drawing on my Instagram.
I started off with a drawing that I did today, took a picture of it and sent it to my email. I then separated the stem from the flower in Photoshop into 2 parts so I can animate it in After Effects. I also had to fill in the gaps on the stem – so when I rotate & scaled the flower, the top of the stem doesn’t disappear.
Trippy Monday, life is good.
If you are feeling uninspired and aren’t finding the perfect image or background, use your own photos to create a flyer for your event or to promote your offerings & services. Everyday we are taking photos and posting it to our social media accounts; there’s lots of things to take photos of – the sky for example, you can take a picture of a flower, the grass, the road, a wall, a piece of wood and use that as background texture. Remember, inspiration and beauty is everywhere!
A perfect photo to use has a lot of space for text, so try not to use an overly busy photo. For this tutorial, I am using a photo that I took of the sunset when hiking at Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, CA around dusk.
I am using Adobe Photoshop CC on a Mac. Beginners can follow along.
Tip: always duplicate your photo, and use that duplicate for your project. You never want to overwrite or use the original – then you would’ve lost your awesome photo forever. Sadface.
This saves your photo as a Photoshop document also known as PSD. PSD is the raw version of your file where you can edit, create your text and layers, etc.
It’s always important to Save (Command S, Windows/Start Key on PC). People tend to overlook this most basic step, especially when you’re in the zone. So always remember to save often if you don’t want to redo all the work that you did.
Tip: if the photo you want to use is on your phone, email the photo to yourself from another email address. From there you can check your email from your computer and download the photo.
You want to resize your file if you’re going to use this for internet / social media use. You don’t want your final file to be too big. Go ahead and go to Image menu > Image Size…
Type 600 as your Width and hit OK.
Make sure you turn your Background layer in your Layers panel into a layer by double-clicking on it. Now you can add text.
The font I am using is OPTI Cashew Bold, it’s one of my favorite fonts to use.
You can stick with one font as long as it’s easy to read. If you need to add a lot of information, then it would probably be a good idea to change the font. Helvetica is always a good choice. In this tutorial, I am sticking to using one font.
So for the most part, we’re actually done here. If you’re satisfied go ahead and go to File menu > Save for Web > use JPEG, High, Quality: 60 for your settings. Make sure you have ‘Optimized’ checked on. You now have a flyer that you can post on Instagram, Facebook, etc.
Maybe the information isn’t standing out enough. Let’s add a shape behind the text ‘WHERE, WHEN & WHAT TO BRING?’…then make the text white.
Reversing the color of things always helps when all the text looks the same.
Click and hold the Custom Shape Tool (Star-looking icon on your toolbar) and click Custom Shape Tool. On your top bar where it says Shape (might be located on your far right), click and hold the little arrow; Photoshop comes with custom shapes that are ready to use for your project. Pick the one called Banner 4 (when you hover your mouse over the shapes, a label for the shape will pop up) and make your shape over the text ‘WHERE’.
Hit Command J to duplicate the shapes and place them over ‘WHEN’ and ‘WHAT TO BRING’. Resize the shape over ‘WHAT TO BRING’ since that one has longer text.
At this point, your shapes are on top of your text. In your Layers panel, move the shapes under your text and change the color of your text.
Don’t forget to hit Save.
I did more tweaks to mine, like change the colons to question marks. Added an exclamation mark to ‘City!’ This didn’t take long at all, probably less than 30 minutes…an hour for me because I was creating the flyer AND typing this tutorial up.
Perhaps you need to make a flyer and can’t seem to find that perfect background. Why not make your own? I notice that the time it takes for me to search for a background, could’ve been used as time spent making one. It really doesn’t take that long, if anything you will end up spending more time creating your background because it’s a lot of fun and you will literally get lost in the creating process.
This Photoshop tutorial is aimed towards intermediate users (those who aren’t new to Photoshop and use it regularly), but I think semi-beginners can do this as well. I am on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.
Mine is 800×800 pixels, 72 resolution, RGB mode. Perfect to use for Instagram.
I picked a gray color (#666666) and hit Option (Alt for PC) and the Delete key. This fills your current white background with the gray or whatever color you choose.
Click the U key on your keyboard or go to your Toolbar to click and hold the icon with the circle – a dropdown menu appears to give you other shape options. I am going to keep it simple and do an elipse…a magenta elipse.
I am now going to call it a circle instead of an elipse because it’s just easier to say.
With your circle layer still selected, hit Command (Windows/Start on a PC) Key and J and now you have another circle. Option + Delete Key to fill it with a new color and move it around. I picked a darker magenta.
This is the fun part, the part where you can get lost and play for a bit because it’s endless. Select both circles in your Layers panel (Shift + Click to select more than one item) and hit Command J again. You should now have 2 other sets of circles, 4 total). Move them around, make them smaller or bigger if you want; deselect and then select one of them and choose Color Dodge in the Blending Modes dropdown menu right above your Layers. The circle “blends” in and now you can see the other circles underneath.
Select your circles by Shift + Clicking on each one until you have all of them selected, then hit Command G to group them. Doing this creates a folder for your circles.
Hit Command J again to duplicate that folder you just created. Now you have a 2nd folder full of circles and you can move the entire folder around, maybe even rotate it to create an interesting composition. Play around with this until you are satisfied.
So let’s say you’re satisfied with what you made, but the image you created is still too bright to add text over it. You can add a Levels layer to make it darker or brighter depending on your needs.
In addition to the Levels (which made mine darker), what I also did is create a new layer, and made a gradient over this, hit G on your Toolbar. Hold and drag your mouse over this new layer and it should create a gradient with the 2 colors you have as Foreground & Background. I gave it a Multiply Blending Mode to make it darker. It adds depth to your background and now you can put light colored text over it.
Go ahead and add some text to this image.
Here is the PSD that I used for this tutorial that you can download for reference. The font I used for the main headline is a Google font called Ultra.
Usually when I find that something in Photoshop isn’t working, it’s probably because you didn’t select your layer in the Layers panel, and then you also have to target your image.
So always remember: in order to change something, you must select it first – the layer itself and then click to the image area.
This is a new marker drawing that I made today. Most of my artwork is usually feminine in nature so I wanted to channel in some masculine energy. I also promised to type up a tutorial so here goes!
Here’s a simple technique that I like to use for my drawings. Beginners new to Photoshop can follow along 🙂
I am using Adobe Photoshop 2015 by the way and the key commands I use are for Mac. Control key is the equivalent of the Command key on a PC.
1. I scan the drawing at 300dpi and it gives me this large TIFF file. You can take a pic with your phone, email it to yourself and download it from there but I find that the resolution isn’t high enough. I could be wrong though, feel free to try it.
2. My scanner software (Image Capture) is kinda janky so when it scans, it gives me a washed out scan. To fix this, I usually hit Command Shift L or Auto Levels in Photoshop. Or I adjust the Levels and Curves until I’m happy with it. In Adobe Photoshop CC 2015, it’s now called Auto Tone in the Image menu.
3. I want to add a cosmic background to the blacked out area of the drawing. It would be good to find a background that’s about the same size of your scanned image. In your layers panel, double click to turn your locked background image to a layer so that it can be edited. It’s going to become Layer 0.
4. Hit W on your keyboard to select the Quick Selection Wand tool, third tool on your toolbar.
5. With your Layer 0 still selected, on your image click the area you want to select and see how much it covers. You will see a selection (some people call it marching ants). If you need to select more additional areas, hold down the Shift key and click another area. The more solid the area is, the better your selection will come out.
6. Now that you have a selection, hit Command Shift I or go to Select menu > Inverse. This changes your selection. You won’t see it until you put a mask on it.
7. With your selection still active and your layer 0 still selected, at the bottom of your layers panel, click the Add Layer Mask tool, third one from the left. This masks or hides the area that you selected.
8. Now you can bring in your cosmic background by dragging the file right into your Photoshop document from wherever it’s located. It will place the file right smack in the front so once you’ve adjusted it to your liking (size and position), hit enter or return; now you can move that cosmic background layer to the bottom of your layer stack.
9. Make sure to hit Command S to save your work! Save often if you’re doing a lot of edits.
10. I like to play with the blending modes in the Layers panel, the tab that says Normal but has a dropdown menu. I added another layer and played with gradients and changed the blending modes on there too.
If you want to practice with the files I used, you can download them here.
I have an affinity for handpainted lettering and typography – gothic, script, ornamental, etc. Basically the hard-to-read ones that aren’t normally used in advertising – because although they’re lovely to look at, they’re kind of hard to read.
I drew this up a few years ago. I find that when I’m annoyed with something or someone, it tends to fuel some of my artwork on a subconscious level. I don’t even remember who it was in particular, it could’ve been a few random people who I just stumbled upon on internetland. I guess it bugs me when people hella show off or try too hard – they’re either screaming “hey look at me, I’m doing something” or “hey look at me, I post nothing but bullshit…but I want you to think it’s NOT bullshit”. So at the time I made this, that’s what staying relevant meant to me: people who just do useless things in order to remain in the minds of the general public, like celebrities who are famous – you don’t even know what they’re famous for.
Well fast forward to now. Being a jill-of-all-trades in content marketing and design, I’m starting to understand what staying relevant means from this angle:
Don’t get it twisted, I’m not a fan of the last bullet point. I don’t like having to keep up with any of it, especially anything that’s cool and trendy. But since we’re in a global market now, meaning everyone is either buying or selling something whether it’s their art, music, creative services – we could all stand to stay relevant somehow by learning something new everyday and applying it to ourselves.
Keep your mind open to possibilities and opportunity, no matter what age you are.
At some point in life, one has to rebuild or reinvent themselves. Maybe even more than once, but a few times in a span of a lifetime.
Your past no longer defines who you are now at this present moment.
I imagine this is how musicians must feel when fans are attached to their more popular songs; people keep wanting to hear you play those same songs over and over but you (the artist) have been ready to move on for sometime now.
But I have to admit, Purple Rain is Prince’s best album. EVER. RIP
I understand this because I have been in the process of doing just that, making others aware of me but from a different view.
It’s not easy, but it can be done. Your past friends might not ‘get’ you anymore, or you might have just drifted apart with those you used to be tight with. It happens.
And yes, there are a ton of artists, writers, makers, creators out there who want to be noticed for their work too but don’t be discouraged if you feel as if no one is paying attention to you and what you have to offer.
You must keep trying, but not in a way that makes you look thirsty (that’s a whole another topic in itself). It is better to make an effort than to be in a defeated mindset and say outloud “no one’s gonna buy my stuff” or “no one’s gonna give me the time of day”.
“No one likes my art.”
“No one likes my music.”
“No one reads my blog.”
“I’m not good at this.”
How do you know that? How do you know what people like or don’t like? You DON’T know.
As far as not being good at it, then you must practice. It’s the only way to get good at something. Even those who are naturally gifted have to practice their craft; it may come easier for them because of their talent – but practice and consistency is involved in any endeavor.
Here’s a personal example: I don’t think I am very good at writing. I am good at blogging about personal shit…as a matter of fact I am an EXPERT at it (haha); but writing for an actual audience – being helpful, making it interesting and to the point? That’s definitely a challenge for me. But I am making the effort with this blog post, I am practicing more and more.
Continue to create for yourself. Act like nobody’s watching.
So I hope this blog post motivates you a little. I know, I know…there’s already a FUCK TON of motivational quotes, words from ‘influencers’, experts, gurus, etcetera out there.
But I am just like you, I am trying too. I want to put more effort into this blog, I want to get better at writing quality blog posts on topics that I can discuss. I want to keep pumping out new drawings to go along with these blog posts.
Here are some new rough drawings from my sketchbook. I kinda like coloring with office supplies, hi-liters in particular :]
Do you live by the Wu Tang code of Cash Rules Everything Around Me? Then this 16″x20″ acrylic painting is for you. This is a painting of the letters inspired by the rap song “C.R.E.A.M” by the world famous Wu Tang Clan.
This is not really a rant, but more of an observation…
but it seems that those who either grew up in LA or have lived here for a long time can’t afford to buy a house. You either have to move really far away or suck it up; and by suck it up I mean you continue to rent the house or apartment you live in so you could have an easy commute to work and be close to the places you enjoy frequenting. It all boils down to comfort, convenience and sentimental value – you just love that area and don’t see yourself living anywhere else.
But everyone always says it’s better to buy than to rent. My parents were drilling this into my head before I even understood the concept.
Now that I’m a little bit older, I’ve been thinking more and more about buying a house. I’ve talked to others around my age (the 35-45 something crowd) and they want to buy a home too, but none of us can afford it. The prices of homes in certain neighborhoods are going up and a lot of these homes are really just somewhat average.
It’s as if locals are getting pushed out farther and farther out.
I’ve been thinking about how far do I want to live just to have the house I want. But other factors fall in too like will I like the area/neighborhood, how far am I willing to commute to work, etc.
In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful contemporary house I saw during one of my hikes/walks a while back. A bitch can dream, right?
If you grew up sometime between the 1980’s and 1990’s, were influenced by gang culture and watched “Mi Vida Loca”, then this mixed media drawing would be the end result. This is pretty much a throwback to those times.
Echo Park wasn’t a safe place back then. I’m sort of amazed at how much the city of Los Angeles has changed, for better or for worse.
I’m pretty sure the photographer who shot this (Aaron Huey), emailed me the same, awesome photo more than 10 years ago. It’s so surreal when things resurface. Anyway, this was posted on Nat Geo’s Instagram today! So crazy.
I want to let people know who saw this photo in their feed that I wasn’t the only one on that wall; top left is ATLAS and bottom left is VOX. They were my crew mates from WGS (We Got Skills) Crew.
[At the time this was written] I was forced to make a lifestyle change 4 months ago – I went and got a physical and was told that I was prediabetic and had high blood pressure too. Fuckin a, bummer. Being Filipino doesn’t help, either.
If I was still a few years younger, I would’ve probably ignored it and kept on eating the way I did (I did ignore my first warning actually). But this time around, it was different. I paid attention this time and commited myself to reversing this.
So long story short, I’ve been eating better. I’ve also been exercising and exploring LA like I never have before. I am learning to appreciate nature a whole lot more. Admittedly I’ve lived in LA for a long time now, but never explored it’s natural environment.
Here is a list of places I have hiked at so far, this list is just for my own record.
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Coldwater Canyon Park
Stough Canyon Nature Center
Temescal Canyon Gateway Park
Wildwood Canyon Park
Stough Canyon Nature Center
I have posted this before but as a static image. I was digging through my old files when the idea came to me to post this as an animated gif, unfolding itself like a flower.
Most girls grow up loving unicorns when they were young, I was definitely one of them. I had an insane collection of My Little Ponies and She-Ra’s unicorn.
As I learn more about spirituality, metaphysics and symbolism – I’ve come to realize that the unicorn is not just a mythical creature to be adored but also a symbol of magic – a symbol that you can meditate and draw upon when you need some imagination and creativity in your life.
The unicorn is synonymous with imagination, dreams, fantasy, magical things, otherworldly realms, thinking of the impossible. And I totally get it now.
Here is an old drawing that I made into a GIF.
So today, dare to dream. Dare to imagine that anything you can think of is possible.
This is the last thing I painted with my good friend, Femme9.
I don’t have much of an interest in painting graffiti these days, but I still admire it.
As one gets older, priorities definitely change.
We sailed through endless skies
Stars shine like eyes
The black night sighs
The moon in silver trees
Falls down in tears
Light of the night
The earth, a purple blaze
Of sapphire haze in orbital ways
While down below the trees
Bathed in cool breeze
Silver starlight breaks dawn from night
And so we pass on by
The crimson eye of great god Mars
As we travel the universe
for putting up this website. Though it’s mostly a ghost town around here, through years of just writing out my thoughts I actually did learn how to blog/write better, be more clear with the written word. It’s actually become part of my job now, to write copy. I didn’t think I was capable but again, I’m glad that this website served some kind of purpose.
In the past, this website also served as a place for me to complain about (you guessed it)…work. At the time, it served a purpose. But now, it doesn’t. Things change, and I’ve decided to change the way I think about things. I’m learning everyday by letting go of struggling and just going with the flow.
What did I struggle with? That’s a long list, but one of the major issues I struggled with is making assumptions. Another one is taking things personally. There’s a fuckton of shit and I’ll probably save it for another blog post on another day.
For a long time I thought I screwed myself over by changing my site name from “SHERMGRAFIK” to “SAVE THE SAVAGES”. Deleting everything and putting it back up didn’t help either. If you view it from that perspective, I guess I kinda did; I lost visitors, I lost my spot on Google’s first page for search engine results and I really don’t have much of an internet / social media presence anymore. I basically lost my audience.
That you should stick to your ‘personal brand’ so people will remember you, that you should ‘build up an audience’ and ‘gain more followers’ …that you should do this or do that.
That’s all blah blah blah to me now, only because I’ve finally reached contentment, I have no desire to achieve those things. And I want to remove the phrase “I should” from my vocabulary forever and replace it with “I can”.
Being content is not the same as being complacent.
And after learning how to do this for my employer, I’ve come to realize that people can buy or even cheat their way into popularity and brand awareness – by stealing other people’s content or buying followers, just to name a few.
This sums it up for me, it’s a quote from what Cameron Crowe learned from David Bowie on Mashable:
Don’t get me wrong, branding is great – it gets your name out there. But for artists, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You don’t have to stick to a style of creating because the masses like it, you have to create because it’s what you’re born to do whether you have an audience for it or not.
And that’s my take on it.
I haven’t been drawing much, but I’m always creating (as we all are in one form or another) you just might not notice me as much. I prefer being a ghost anyway.
Although I’ve been paying attention to myself more, I haven’t really given this blog much thought. I hope to start posting stuff again, but I can’t promise it will be consistent either.
So here is my first drawing of 2016.
This was a drawing turned into a 16″x20″ 2 color screenprint created in 2008. The bunny dies a physical death and returns to its source. The guys who did this for me did a great job, the florescent pink pops. It’s bright and bold.
Personally, this is one of my favorite paintings. It’s dark & bright at the same time. This is one of those rare moments where I’m not thinking too hard about what I want to create, I just went with it.
She is you, you are her. Black is her choice of color – it hides, conceals, protects.
Dark, mysterious, intuitive; she will only reveal whatever it is you seek…
if you sit still in silence.
Both paintings are 24″x36″
Please inquire via email: pia [at] savethesavages [dot] com
Framed mixed media painting from 2012. This painting exudes a dark and erotic mood; it depicts a young nun with her boobs exposed, standing in an infinite hallway that is the convent. A lustful woman, whose thoughts are both perverse and sacred. The red roses represent her desire, the three eyes above represent the Holy Trinity.
This painting was part of a group art show titled VEXED: Tits, Tatts and Turmoil at 423 West Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.
Back to the old theme. No matter what, this is my favorite theme EVER even if it’s no longer being updated by its developers. Only thing is, the reaction buttons don’t work too well with it – I can’t get it to work the way I wanted it to before. Wah, whatever. I guess I won’t be able to gauge people’s reactions anymore.
So I’m starting over…AGAIN. Hopefully this will be the last time. Bare with me as I will attempt to put back the posts everybody liked. This time it will be mostly my artwork, my own content.
Sometimes I am insane and I obsess too much over this shit.