The Reinvented Sketchbook Project

November 28, 2012 / Inspiration / 0 Comments

I received an e-newsletter from Art House Co-op this morning with exciting news about the reinvented Sketchbook Project.

Since The Sketchbook Project was started six years ago, people from over 135 countries participated and the Art House Co-op staff has traveled almost 50,000 miles to share their collection of sketchbooks with others all over the United States.  With the ever-growing number of participants and sketchbooks, the staff wanted “something that would be more accessible and easier for them to visit more cities and reach more people”.  As a result, The Mobile Library was created.  The Mobile Library is a custom built 16-foot trailer that will travel the back roads of America year-round hoping to reach as many as 45 cities a year.  It already has a schedule of 20 cities in 2013.

Do you love to draw and share your creations with others? Well, it’s never too late to participate in The Sketchbook Project.

One of the perks of the new Sketchbook Project is the rolling submission.  Sign-ups for The Sketchbook Project are not just once a year anymore.  Now you can sign up any time throughout the year and you can even have endless time to work on your sketchbook.

In the past, once you signed up for The Sketchbook Project, you had to send it back to The Art House Co-op by a set deadline.  For example, when you signed up for The Sketchbook Project 2012, your sketchbook had to be postmarked by January 31, 2012 in order for it to be part of The Sketchbook Project Tour 2012.  If your sketchbook wasn’t postmarked by then, you had to sign up for the next project in 2013 and start filling up a brand new sketchbook.  With the rolling submission, you can now spend as much time on your sketchbook as you need before sending it back.

Image from

Unique LA Spring Show 2012: Photo Galore

May 24, 2012 / Design, Inspiration / 0 Comments

On Saturday, May 12, I went to UNIQUE LA Spring Show and I had a blast!  The show was filled with over 325 talented designers and artists who make their products locally.

The admission ticket was only $10 and it included free drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), an exclusive UNIQUE LA tote bag, free DIY workshops, and other fun stuff.

UNIQUE partners with a non-profit for every show and donates 10% of ticket sales to the organization.  What a great way to support local business and community!

UNIQUE LA show is by far the best independent design show I’ve ever been to.  I not only had a great time checking out locally-made products by so many talented designers and artists but also was very inspired by the stories behind each vendor. There will be another UNIQUE LA Show in July and December 2012.  If you live in or around LA, make sure to attend at least one of them.  If you are a designer or artist yourself, this is a great opportunity to meet fellow designers and network!

Scroll down to see photos of some of the vendors I really liked.  View more photos of the show on UNIQUE Flickr page!


I just love the bright colors Rochelle chose for her suede clutches and bags!  All of her suede products are hand-cut and hand-sewn with love right in Los Angelens.  She also had Artist Series Bag #7 that I recently worked on.

Rochelle Pellicer is the owner and designer of R.pellicer.  She’s my good friend and former colleague.  Rochelle is one busy lady.  She works full-time as an in-house designer while maintaining and designing for R.pellicer.  Click here or here to check out R.pellicer products.


I probably spent at least 20 minutes or so, sniffing too-cute-to-burn candles by Kokocandles and talking to the owner and designer, Paoling.  If I remember it right, Paoling has been making candles for over 10 years as a hobby and started selling them through her online shop and show/events such as UNIQUE LA a few years ago.

I grabbed a couple of soy candles in Wonderland and Hazelnut Latte for Mother’s Day.  On my way back home, my car was just filled with scents of Kokocandles and it smelled much better than when I have a car freshener.


Aren’t these soooooooooooo cute?  I bought a mustache-printed oven mitt and now I can bake and cook in style.  (I loved all of Collisionware’s products that I had a hard time picking one to buy.)  Angie, the owner and designer, hand-picks all fabrics.  Everything, including her colorful vinyl wallets, are hand-made by Angie.

Angie recently quit her 9-5 job to follow her dream of making a living, selling her hand-made products.

Stacey Winters

Stacey Winters is a talented freelance photographer in San Diego, California.  She enjoys capturing images of people, pets, nature, and vintage items.  Stacey not only takes photos but also creates and sells products with her photographs such as prints, cards, and garlands.  At UNIQUE LA Spring Show, she was also selling little stud earrings — which you can see in the photo above — using her photographed images.

belVita Breakfast animation by Paperfashion

February 22, 2012 / Illustration, Inspiration / 0 Comments

Katie Rodgers aka Paperfashion recently worked on a short illustrated stop motion for belVita Breakfast.

I love how she used her watercolor illustration cut-outs to create this fun, colorful animation. It sounds like this was the very first stop motion Katie worked on and I think she did a great job!

Don’t forget to check out Katie’s fashion illustration on her Paperfashion blog.

Image from Paperfashion.

Steve Jobs: 1955 – 2011

October 10, 2011 / Inspiration / 0 Comments

“For the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’  And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

“Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

-Steve Jobs during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005

RIP, Steve Jobs.

Ugmonk Celebrates Their 3rd Anniversary

August 28, 2011 / Design, Inspiration / 0 Comments


Ugmonk is one of the indie clothing brands that I love and find inspirational.  Ugmonk applies minimal, typography design to t-shirts, posters, tote bags, and mini sketchbooks.

Soon after Jeff Sheldon graduated from college with a B.S. in graphic design, he started a full-time design job and launched Ugmonk as “an outlet for his passion and entrepreneurial experiment”.  Ugmonk quickly grew.  Just in two years, Jeff was able to quit his job and go full-time with Ugmonk.  The story behind Ugmonk is truly inspirational and you should definitely read more about it.

What I really love about Ugmonk is that Ugmonk gives back to the community and that all of their products are made in the U.S.  Also, Jeff spends many hours brainstorming and sketching for each design he creates.  He sometimes even shares photos of his sketches or sneak peeks of upcoming designs on his blog.

Another pillar of Ugmonk is the desire to give back to those in need. Just a few months after opening shop, we decided to hold our first annual Ugmonk Gives Back charity drive – donating to children in need for each item sold during the holiday season. Each year we’ve partnered with Samaritan’s purse, and through three years we’ve been able to give over 2000 meals to needy children around the world. We are grateful for the support of our customers and the ability to share our success with those in need.

-Jeff Sheldon, founder and designer at Ugmonk

Ugmonk is now turning 3 and 3rd Anniversary Set was released last Friday to celebrate their 3rd birthday!  Only 200 of these sets are made and about half of them are already gone.  So you should go grab yours now before they are all gone for good.  Here are some of the images of Ugmonk 3rd Anniversary Set:

As a part of their 3rd anniversary, Ugmonk is also having 20%-off sale which ends on Monday, August 29 at 11:59 p.m.  This discount applies to everything in the shop including the 3rd Anniversary Set.

All images are from Ugmonk online shop.

Hello Kitty x Johnny Cupcakes

June 4, 2011 / Design, Inspiration / 0 Comments

Johnny Cupcakes just released their second collaboration work with Hello Kitty yesterday which could be exclusively purchased at all store locations, including London, and through their online shop. There are three t-shirts, one hooded sweatshirt, one tote bag, and two mug cup designs as well as a handful of pins and stickers.

When JC released their very first Hello Kitty collaboration products a while ago, they were all sold out before I even had a chance to take a look.  So when I found out about JC’s second collaboration with Hello Kitty through their e-newsletter a few days ago, I was very excited and determined to grab a JC x HK t-shirt this time!

The Johnny Cupcakes x Hello Kitty release has been such a hit that their website server crashed yesterday during the day.  So I thought maybe I should come back later at night and grab a t-shirt.  I checked JC’s online store 6-8 hours after the release just to find out that everything except for sweatshirts were sold out.  I’m sure the sweatshirts will be all gone soon as well.

Here are some images of the JC x HK products that were just released yesterday:

I really hope that there will be another JC x HK collaboration in near future.  Next time, I’m buying a JC x HK t-shirt as soon as they are up for sale no matter what!

So what’s Johnny Cupcakes?  No, they don’t sell cupcakes. They create and sell t-shirts with cupcakes on them and everything at JC is limited edition.  Also, almost all of their products are made in the U.S.

The first time I ever heard of Johnny Cupcakes was when he had a lecture at Laguna College of Art and Design years ago. My cousin was a student at the art school back then and told me that I would love the lecture since I’ve been very interested in t-shirt business for years. I had never heard of JC before and I wish I got to learn about this amazing brand and the story behind it sooner! Even if you are not a t-shirt person, you should definitely check out the story and find out how Johnny Cupcakes was all started and why so many loyal customers are in love with JC.

This may sound like a cliché but JC, founded by Johnny Earle, is not just a clothing brand. There are hundreds and thousands of customers all over the world who “like and appreciate the story and work ethic” behind Johnny’s brand.

Customers like and appreciate the story and work ethic behind my brand. I started this as a joke from the trunk of my beat up ’89 Toyota Camry. A college drop out with a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle, I never wasted my time going out and partying but instead focused only on brainstorming and sketching up my wacky ideas. I turned down investors and took countless risks like keeping my shirts out of chain stores.

-John Earle, Founder of Johnny Cupcakes

Johnny has managed to turn JC into a multi-million-dollar business without selling out.  He’s done it with no college education, no start-up loans, no investors, and little-to-no advertising.

Johnny also enjoys hanging out with customers.  He builds great memories with customers through in-store and outside-of-store events such as movie nights and suitcase tours.  He also donates a lot of his time for charities and encourages kids to stay away from drugs and alcohol so that the kids would have more time and money to spend on building and accomplishing their dreams.

In 2008 John Earle was even voted America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur of the year by Business Week magazine.

Many of JC’s regular customers love the brand so much that they even have Johnny Cupcakes tattoos.

I absolutely love Johnny Cupcakes.  I love the brand, the  story behind the brand, and everything that JC does for their customers and the community.  I can go on and on just talking about why JC is so awesome and why I love it so much but I will let you guys read everything about JC on their website — the story & F.A.Q.

All images in this post are from Johnny Cupcakes.