Tales of a Checkered Man Fan Art

This is a piece of fan art I did of Tales of a Checkered Man, a webcomic by Denver Brubaker. I met Denver back at the comics fundamentals worskshop I took at my local library this summer. Now there is a comic artists forum that meets every month, and Denver gave an inspiring presentation on his work there. I loved how he was very specific and described exactly what The Checkered Man wore, so it was easy and fun for me to come up with this fan art. I was also impressed by his discipline to stick with a schedule that comes along in doing a webcomic.

It has really pushed me along with my sketchbook project. I'm not sure what my future plans are with it, but I'm determined to finish it. And also I've been exploring traditional mediums again! Who would of thought. The smell of art stores are so nostalgic.

German Children's Books

I just came back from a great vacation with my girlfriends to Germany. A good friend moved there a few years ago and now live in Fehmarn, a beautiful island in the Baltic Sea that is about a hour and a half from Hamburg. I'm always fascinated by children's books in other countries so here are two books I picked up.
This mini, wordless book is very cute which follows people in a town for 12 months (12 spreads). It is very fun to flip through each spread and see what happens to the various people, with lots to details to find.
(one of the spreads)

And one of the books I'm working on right now consists of transportation so I picked up the other book for inspiration. Plus, look at all the cut out little cars! (they are also magnets!)

Inspiration from Tokyo- Part 3

One of the reasons why I love Japan is that there are illustrations everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE. It is not afraid of cute. It is a country where grown men have cute charms on their cell phones and its not a big deal.

Some fun graphics from the streets:
Even on drinks:
These toy packaging caught my eye- I love the design and illustrations on these:

and last but not least...
This is the ryokan (Japanese style inn) we stayed at in Tokyo (in Ueno.) I can not rave more about this place. We didn't want to stay in a generic western style hotel in the middle of a touristy area..so if you are a bit more adventurous, I highly recommend staying at Sawanoya Ryokan. It is family run and foreigner friendly...and possibly on the quaintest little street ever. We slept on futons and took baths in the gorgeous onsen (Japanese style bath) over looking a garden. It was inexpensive and Sawa-san and his family are great hosts.

And a few more links- through Ismoyo's blog and reading about her adventures in Tokyo a few months before mine, I found a very helpful Tokyo shopping guide link over at Asking for Trouble. The zine and guide was very helpful and I'll be using it again on my next trip back.

Thats all my posts related to my Tokyo trip. Now I'm plotting when I can go back...

Inspiration from Tokyo- Part 2

Storm Machine Graphics- Wow. I saw them at Design Festa and their table was absolutely amazing. My first thought was- "this is branding at its finest!" (My business side comes out!) They had so many merchandise but all the colors went together and I was just trying to absorb and learn from it. The ABC book is only about 3.75" x 3.75" with a cloth cover. They are probably my favorite find out of my whole trip. Check out their website!

Donut guy cup and "saucer"-those of you who may come to know my tastes probably know why I went nuts over this little guy, and only for 1000 yen! Another purchase from Design Festa but unfortunately I don't have information on the artist, I believe she was from Korea. (Lesson learned- put your name on EVERYTHING that you do!)

Cute creature in "Terrarium"-I believe the artist was there in part of a collective; there was a slight panic when they realized I didn't speak Japanese and they were trying to find someone who spoke English..it was actually quite endearing! There were a bunch of different creatures in bottles all together and it was very striking, so I had to adopt one.

Happy Birthday Pop-Up book from Sanrio Greetings- This mini book came with an envelope so you can send it out. I bought it at Itoya, a stationery store that is all over the place.

Matryoshka doll tea pot- I bought this at a store in Ginza. The bulkiest item I bought but thats why I went with a big suitcase! Look, even the box is cute with the illustrations.

There were other little things here and there but this is the majority of goodies I got. I'm going to write one more post on the trip in general, and hope to provide some tips and such, because I can't wait to go back!

Inspiration from Tokyo- Part 1

I brought a big suitcase with me to Tokyo and was ready to fill it up! But honestly I didn't end up buying as much as I thought I would. There were wonderful finds though, and I'm excited to share them!
Everything in Japan is shrink wrapped it seems. These books were a mystery to me since I can't read Japanese and know what the interiors were about, but I had to buy them anyways. Turns out they are activity books! I love this Rub A Dub Dub line. SO CUTE! Score!

I've never wanted a tray this much in my life. From Weles-Art by Naomi Tozaki. Check it this link for more goodies!

P714- they were at Design Festa and I had to buy a few little things- including the cutest post-it notes in the world. More on their website-ahhhhh!

Super cute pop-up birthday card that comes with sound.
The sound is a bottle opening, pouring, then two cute voices that says "kampai!" ("Cheers!" in Japanese.) Who...can...resist....

I have MORE goodies but for now I better get back to work instead of taking pics of everything I got. Hope you got your dose of kawaii for now.

**disclaimer: this post was filled with too much use of the word "cute," but I hope you understand.** :-)

Breaking into Freelance Illustration

Lately I've been getting quite a few emails asking for advice on becoming an illustrator. Sometimes I'm quite surprised (and flattered) that people want to ask ME for advice, when I'm still learning and finding my way everyday. However, I've realized that I've been doing this professionally and full time now for about 4 years. I've learned a thing or two along the way and would love to pass it along.

Thanks to Holly DeWolf, I got to contribute to her book, Breaking into Freelance Illustration. She sent me a comp copy back in December- with the holidays and traveling I didn't get a chance to blog about it here. It is a great read for people starting out and even professionals who sometimes need a reminder on a few things. Alot of familar names and blog friends are in it, be sure to check it out if you are interested in becoming a freelance illustrator.

I'm thinking of writing more posts on topics like this, such as what I've learned so far as an illustrator, and my journey of getting there. I feel like I need to pay it forward, as when I was starting out, I looked to bloggers like Keri Smith and Danny Gregory for encouragement and inspiration. So stay tuned.

**OTHER AWESOME NEWS** I'm so excited- I'm going to Japan in May! Just booked flights there for a vacation AND it will be the same week as DesignFesta- which I did purposely so I can attend that as well. It will be a heavy dose of creative inspiration...hope I don't OD! :-)