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Like honey to the bee

Young at art: Children’s storybook illustrator and graphic artist Frances Alvarez made this month’s YStyle logo.

MANILA, Philippines - Frances Alvarez, like most graphic designers and illustrators her age, shows most of her works on her blog, No Bees No Honey, when she isn’t joining group exhibits. Having graduated from Ateneo de Manila in 2010 with a BFA in information design and an award for graphic design from the Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts, she is also a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, the Philippines’ first and only organization of illustrators for children. In the midst of moving her current blog to its new home,, she took the time to create YStyle’s new nature-inspired logo for this month.

YSTYLE: Which projects do you feel you are most known for?

FRANCES ALVAREZ: A lot of personal work on my blog, I think, and some pieces I’ve made for group exhibits the past year. I’ve focused on working as a graphic designer since getting out of college and didn’t really focus on drawing, so now I’m still inching my way to getting my work out there as an illustrator. Kumbaga sa artista, “introducing” palang!

When you hear YStyle, what kind of images or ideas does your mind conjure up?

From Renata Liwska’s The Loud Book: Spilling your marbles in the library’s kind of loud.

What was your concept for the new YStyle logo?

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The colors that plants and flowers are under the sun.

Were you listening to music while you were designing it? What song? On purpose or on shuffle?

I’ve had folk rock group The Staves’ Dead and Born and Grown album on loop the whole week! My favorite song is Wisely and Slow.

Who/what inspires your art?

Mostly nature. Plants, especially. I like drawing imagined trees and flowers. I get really excited by new plant species discoveries; it amazes me how there’s still always something entirely new the planet surprises us with. 

Who/what inspires your personal fashion sense?

On a very basic level, the weather (ha ha). I’m pretty laid-back with fashion. I do like vintage hand-me-downs from my mother and my aunts, though.

2012 just ended — how did you spend it?

Eating cream puffs and helping a seven-year old cousin overcome her fear of sparklers.

What upcoming projects do you have?

I am currently working on the illustrations for my first children’s book project, getting ready for Art in the Park, and trying to come up with an exhibit piece for Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan’s first group show of the year. Pretty big cookies to chew but I’m excited.

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