The Creative Process behind building Borge Aloba’s Portfolio

I met Borge in one of Photoshoots I produce. He is one of the most sought after hairstylists in the country so working on his portfolio was such a treat.

Yes, I also fix professional portfolios. 🙂

Borge needed to compile his work. Like all the other portfolios, he wanted to showcase his best work. He had quite a number of photos and tear sheets, so we had to filter them with these tips in mind.

Tip number 1: Know the purpose of your portfolio. Borge knew from the moment he called me up what his portfolio was for. “I need to present to (insert company here). He’s not based here so he doesn’t know local celebrities.” So with that I had these in mind: Lessen celebrity photos, showcase variety and FOCUS ON HAIR. Average photo with great hair > Amazing photo with so-so hair.

Tip number 2: Less is more. Like most readers, our attention span (mine too) is slowly decreasing. Weed out all the photos that seem to be redundant or too similar.

Tip number 3: Categorize. Borge wanted something different for his portfolio. He didn’t want the regular categories like: Print, Tear Sheets, Celebrities, Avant Garde, etc. Instead, he wanted to use words that describe the feeling one will invoke when looking at the photos. Pretty deep stuff, but it makes a whole lot of difference.

Tip number 4: Put variety. Put the strong photos at the first, middle and last. Like any good story/movie, there should be an establishing point, scenes that lead to the climax, climax and end. The eyes tend to get overwhelmed when you showcase one strong photo/item after the other. Parang BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM! Masakit sa mata.

Tip number 5: Know your medium and use it to your advantage. This really helps with the layout of the photo. I used a free HTML5 web builder called Wix and used the barest template to give me the most creative freedom. Since the strongest photo is Ornussa’s blonde afro, we decided to make it the focal point in the middle.

The result is a clean, simple and easy to navigate website where the photos represent the talent that Borge has. And what’s better news is the clients loved his presentation, website included. 🙂

Congratulations, Borge! So proud of you! Check out his portfolio at

Here's a screen grab of Borge's site.

Here’s a screen grab from Borge’s site.

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Pen Tool Practice Results

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been practicing on my pen tool as part of my skills training. Here are some of what I’ve done so far.

1/3 done. Of course I practice my name first!

1/3 done. Of course I practice my name first!

After some tweaking and editing, here's the finished product!

After some tweaking and editing, here’s the finished product!

Just a little bit of freehand hello. I didn't put a scanned sketch under.

Just a little bit of freehand hello. I didn’t put a scanned sketch under.

The last but not the least is this face! I used the Width Tool (shift+w) for the hair!

The last but not the least is this face! I used the Width Tool (shift+w) for the hair!

Have you been practicing? Email me your work at Yay!

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The Pen Tool on Illustrator

Ugly confession: I’ve been using Illustrator for years now but never really got the hang of using the pen tool. I never took classes so I just learned as I went along the way. I would cringe whenever someone would suggest I use the pen tool to illustrate or make typography.

Learning it is long overdue. The need for me to learn this skill was 5 years ago. I needed to learn fast.

Luckily, I found Philippa Berry Smith’s youtube channel  containing links on how to use the pen tool. Out of the dozens (?) of videos I saw, hers are the ones that I found most informative and useful.

Find them here.

Will post my practice pieces in a bit. In the meantime, enjoy!

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The Difference between Art and Craft

My friend Missy chanced upon this video and she shared this with me. What a great educational video! Thanks TED-Ed for posting videos like these! Happy watching!


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Arvin’s Photo Journals

It was a privilege to make journals for Arvin to give away as his Christmas gifts. He wanted something unique to give to his colleagues and employees, and since everyone knows he’s an avid photographer, I thought it best to design journals that would highlight his skill.

I pitched the idea of using his photographs as part of the cover of the journals. I had long wanted to try this design to collaborate with photographers who want to showcase their photos and place them in a practical canvas that’s easy to transport and easy to hand around.

Here are the finished products. Photos taken by Arvin Yason.

Here are the finished products. Photos taken by Arvin Yason.

Arvin’s photo, despite them being black and white, are very nostalgic. The photos he took were designed by his 5 and 7 year old sons. The boys dropped food coloring on bottles filled with water. It was a beautiful experiment captured and translated into art. (Segue: These photos also hang in their home.)

I asked Arvin to prepare 3 photos for each journal. One of the 3 photos is placed on the frame-like cover, while the other two are placed in an inside back pocket.

The sheets are dotted making it more unique than the regular lined sheets.

The inside cover of the journal is a back pocket containing the other images taken by Arvin.

The inside cover of the journal is a back pocket containing the other images taken by Arvin.

It took a lot of trial and error to get the journals right, but I’m glad I did. 🙂

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