Sunday, October 4, 2015

New Series

In other news, I'd thought I'd touch upon the increasing difficulties of being a modern day illustrator and designer. In a world where commissioned custom work is compensated via pennies, while the demand for quality is still there, it becomes increasingly harder to make a living as an independent contractor illustrating for someone else. This was corroborated to me recently, when a long time, successful freelance illustrator friend, who was not merely an illustrator, but also a talented hand letterer, graphic designer AND illustrator (like myself, but he is WAAAAY more talented, and many others who now HAVE to wear multiple hats), decided to take a more stable route with the unicorn that is an in-house, well-paying, illustrator job. The ole, stable, W-2. Although I'd argue the well-paying part when the inflation of living costs take up all the paycheck. No one can blame him and he is wise to take the opportunity when that unicorn arises if that's what he'd like. I, for one, get bored too quickly and would be itching to do other creative stuff. However, it does touch upon an issue that I don't think educators are recognizing to begin with - that all young people, regardless of if you're in the arts or not, are at the mercy of someone else granting us our "big break" for our numerous skills that the employer doesn't necessarily value or respect, or least of all, pay a decent and fair living wage for. I think it's so refreshing to see the younger generations take the bull by the horns and create something that others have to SEEK THEM OUT for. That is how I'd like to approach my illustration and career.

I like being able to decide how to art direct my product and test its response. Of course, no one's commissioning me to do it outright and upfront, but I also don't have to deal with the often unpleasant experience of dealing with difficult clients. Best of all, I can reap the longer term financial benefits that a non-work-for-hire piece can fetch. Of course, this is not without its cons. I have been blessed in that many mass market chains, companies, and other similar market, home decor and art places have expressed interest in licensing and carrying my work, but then you hear their terms of how little they want to give you for it. It really can crush you. On one hand, it's wonderful to feel validated and know that they think of your work highly enough to want to take that chance on you and offer it to the masses. On the other hand, you wrestle with the idea that you are inherently devaluing your work when you allow it to be sold for so cheaply in some of these mass market places....especially when they are offering you so little, relatively speaking, to do so. Sure, this nice chunk of change upfront is great, but now your name is synonymous with that price point, and that chunk of change is a one time deal that will have ripple effects on your long term career as an illustrator. Is it selling out? What does that even mean? This is where the work-for-hire illustrators have it better as they can get away with doing one-off illustrations for let's say, the big company's ad campaign, but don't necessarily have to contend with being carried in-store, having to sell directly to the public. Last I heard, there hasn't really been someone successfully straddling multiple consumer markets without devaluing their own work. People want exclusivity. I guess the way one could contend with that is to offer a separate line, under a different name - kinda like how fashion designers have their normal high-end line, then their exclusive lower-end line with Target. If any one has any ideas, please do enlighten me. At the end of the day, I'm all for passive income that frees up my own time to do more self-directed, active pursuits.

In the meantime. I have started a new series of illustrating "art that's smart" that is both functional, useful, visually appealing, and will hopefully fit in with a lot of people's home interior style. In other words, I hope it's appealing enough to people to want to support me and purchase it! I also get the added benefit that I get to choose how and what to draw so brownie points for it being fun for me too. More often than not, illustrating for others loses the fun aspect and just becomes another job - albeit, often not a decent paying one at that. If that's the case, I'd rather not have fun, as "real" jobs aren't necessarily supposed to, and try to get paid more :). I'm not quite ready yet to sacrifice fun and will just find creative ways to make $ that is still fun! Stay tuned for what's to come! :)

Thanks for your feedback and as always, your continued support.

Another one!

Excuse the crappy quality camera phone photo, but this is the first of a new series with Feriae, which was touched upon in my last post. I believe I am the only artist on this one, so I am a bit bummed I don't get to see the other artists' amazing work, but I am very grateful that the client chose me to continue working with them. This was a really fun and challenging long-term project for me to work on. It's a bit bittersweet that this project has come to an end but I can only hope they will keep me in mind for the future, and in the meantime. enjoy the break as I look forward to new projects. My point-of-contact person, Nari, was an absolute sweetheart to work with and I only wish all clients were as professional, and respectful as the Japanese!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Latest Feriae Package: Brazil Carnival

The last of 2014 Feriae Festival packages got released! My final theme was Rio De Janeiro Carnival, alongside the other talented artist's themes of Venice Carneval and Quebec Winter Carnival.

I am working on a new series with Feriae, which I am so lucky to be a part of still. I'm not sure what they have planned for 2014, but I was asked to design the Netherlands Tulip Festival, which I am working on now, for a new box dimension and package. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue working in the near future with the amazing Japanese team at Gas As Interface! The one I am currently working on will mark the 5th package I've done for them thus far, and could not be more thrilled!!! Fingers crossed, I'll get more fun projects like this in the future!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Colorized Fashion Sketch

Here is the colorized version of the sketch in my last post. I am thinking I like the plain sketch more??? I'm still trying to work out how to finish these off. I just like the sketch part more, and I've often struggled with the final execution on how to make my sketches look like more polished and finished illustrations. I supposed that's why I have just loads of just pencil sketches and no colored/finished product! Practice makes perfect! Check back to see my progress :).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Boho Sketch

Another sketch. Truthfully, I've been quite burned out by computer and design work lately. I am so very grateful and am thrilled to know my computer and design skills are needed, but it's often nice to take a break from staring at a screen. I thank all my wonderful supporters for their patience! Look out for some more package design, and some new projects in the works for this year! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Girl for New Year 2015

It's been a while since I drew people and I am a bit rusty with the pencil, so decided to practice more. First image is the sketch. Second image is some markers and color pencils experimentation, Third image is what happened to the colors when I used the "Auto Tone" function in Photoshop. Hopefully, I can get a series of these going so I can exercise my drawing skills more!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Angry Black Woman and Give Yourself Permission to Be Yourself

This quote was given to me by a lovely customer to be handwritten into a calligraphy print that could be a gentle reminder, when one sees it on the wall.

This was never more true today. I always strive to make sure I am polite and treat others with respect, but sometimes, people so often find the need to express their unwarranted, nasty and genuinely mean opinion on you, without any trigger. Today I had the particularly unfortunate luck to come across a VERONICA BENEEYE CLARK from Seattle, or as she puts it "Black girl from Seattle," that seemed all too proud to perpetuate the nasty "Angry Black Woman" stereotype. Having grown up in the public school system in Long Beach, CA, I know all too well how to successfully befriend and make lasting friendships with people of all backgrounds and ethnicities, despite any pre-conceived, and often, false, stereotypes, so it really pains me that there are still so many out there perpetuating bad ones, as stereotypes don't just come out of nowhere.

This woman is not even a customer, and can only imagine if she were this much trouble now, how much she'd be as a real customer. She called me a "fraud" because she didn't agree with my pricing, and when I explained that by her logic and pricing, I'd actually be earning LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE, she actually used the words "Earning minimum wage can be very hectic, I'm sure on your part, as I can't relate because I'm a kept woman, only tending to the nest, for myself, and family." WHO THE F*** SAYS THAT?!?! Since when did women become proud that they are simply "kept!"

At this point, I would like to "Give Myself Permission to Be Myself" but what's the point? What I really wanna say is "you don't know me, yet you feel like you have the right to judge me, when all you are is an extremely fortunate woman, who knows nothing of the real world and of life, yet is not content to be happy with that, and have to call others names as well." I never EVER bring race into business, so I don't understand her need to be proud of being specifically a "black girl from Seattle", especially when you are now a bad example, representing your race, so to other sellers and those who know her, I wish you luck and


Luckily, all the black women in my life are NOT this stereotype! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Market Row

Join me for the first annual Market Row! Sorry for the late notice but as this is the first of its kind to Vegas, I found out about it only recently and am looking forward to seeing you there!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Latest at

I'm super excited to announce the latest Guest Artist - the amazing Shannon Freshwater! After a very successful run with the incredible Nick Lu, who just released his first illustrated book, the beautiful work of Shannon Freshwater is here to stay....for a limited time of course! Check out her amazing work HERE and take advantage of the chance to purchase her work at a fraction of what it costs in the high end galleries she shows at!
Also, the very popular handmade crochet boot cuffs, with real handmade wood buttons, are back in stock! Hurry and nab a pair before they're all gone! Shop NOW.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More stuff

Some girly typography practice and a variation of the combined buildings with all Northern European cities. I also did a little interview a while back. I give our local #TonyHsieh a shout-out. :)

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