Category: Illustration

(Painting) Shoes Shoes Shoes

As a woman, there is some stereotypes in our culture about women loving shoes. I like shoes. I don’t think I like shoes an inordinate amount for any old human being. That said, I’ve been obsessed with shoes lately.


Not just wearing them (I like the wearing) but really, I love painting them. Making fun shoes up. Wearing silly shoes that make my feel look like zombies because… well, because I can.

So here are a few shoes I’ve painted lately. Some for me, some for gifts, some for three giggly kiddos who really wanted silly painted shoes.

My cousin wanted Peruvian shoes for her birthday because, well, she’s Peruvian 🙂

Painting Shoes |

I saw some zombie feet on Pinterest and then later found out that even Vans had Zombie feet kids’ shoes so I took an old pair of shoes and painted them into turquoise zombies. Right now, these are my favorite to wear!
Painting Shoes |

Another cousin just had a baby and she has an older little kiddo as well so I made matching kid shoes and a matching tote for mom 🙂 I briefly considered keeping the tote for myself and making another for her… but finally just mailed them off before I started using it.
Painting Shoes |


My littlest kiddo decided he wanted dinosaur feet… so dino feet it was.
Painting Shoes |

This set of shoes I painted for my eldest kiddo who dislikes skulls and zombies and crazy feet, etc. and is a gentler soul prone to loving flowers:

Painting Shoes |

I’ve made a couple more as well but failed to photograph them well and now they are… let’s just say they’ve been worn a lot and loved a lot!

So I have two other pairs of blank shoes (one me-sized and one middle kiddo sized) so I’ll probably be painting more.

Every So Often… I Get a Day Off

Ardenwood A |

It’s true that bentos are my main form of art at the moment. It’s a pragmatic choice to work with a medium I’m forced to use anyhow (I have to pack lunches, so why not enjoy doing it?) but sometimes, more often than I admit, I miss sketching and drawing. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so sketching tends to be part of my routine anyhow, but it’s often rushed and on post-its. Sitting with a detailed drawing takes delicate and delicious time, which I sorely lack between a houseful of kiddos and a job (although my job as a graphic design instructor is awesome because I get to talk design all day long, I am usually helping others with their work). Anyhow, every so often I get a day off. I took the kids to school this morning with the intent of having breakfast with friends and then spending precious hours sketching at my most favorite place, Ardenwood Historic Farm. We go there often, practically every week, but with toddlers underfoot it’s difficult to take time to soak it in. So today, I had every intention.

Except I forgot it closes on Mondays. Epic fail.

Regardless, I spread a blanket out on my lawn, took out my instruments and drew. And drew and drew. For a good three hours. And my Ardenwood “A,” instead of being a result of watching the eucalyptus trees for reference, was referenced by pictures I’d taken instead. The best laid plans…

What I learned was that it was nice to sit in my own home, by myself, grass under me with tiny insects occasionally trudging across my page. Felt nice to have the luxury of time and the quiet of the day. I finished a thought. It was good.

Today I used: Scotch Modern Swash Italic for its beautiful reference to 19th century typography, and in reference to the fact that Ardenwood Farm was created around the same time.

A Hand Lettered Year




This year, I’ve resolved to learn more that could help me professionally (in graphic design) and specifically focus on typography and layout. One of the things I’ve been really wanting to learn was hand lettering, so I looked around for some quick classes to get me started. I decided on Skillshare*, which offers classes taught by industry professionals in all kinds of subjects like branding, lettering, digital illustration, photography, etc (they also teach classes in software like Adobe Creative Suite, in case anyone is interested!)

My class is about beginning hand lettering. We were to choose a quote to develop into a hand lettered piece. The photo above is just a beginning exploration and my initial sketches as well as a tight thumbnail sketch (on top). I’ll probably be going in a different direction with this but I wanted to put this idea to paper just to get it out of my head.  I’m hoping that once I create a full piece, I might offer it as a letter-pressed poster through my etsy shop. My quote? “More Wine & Less Whine.” I’m sure many parents can agree with the sentiment, lol.

Why am I posting this? I’d like to be able to keep track of my progress of hand lettering to see where I get at the end of the year. Hopefully, I’ll see some progress!

*Referral link; I get $10 and you get $10 off your first class!


A Collaboration with Two Up-and-Coming Artists



Having recently been inspired by a couple of artists whose work was a collaboration between themselves and their children, I decided a fun morning activity for the holiday would be to do some collaborations. So I let the kiddos draw whatever they wanted and then I took over from them and this is what resulted.

A Silhouette


I made this for my preschool kiddo’s birthday. Ok, so her birthday was in August but we were in Italy and I didn’t want to haul a project along that I was only going to be bringing back in its same state (also, I didn’t want the glass in the frame to break). It’s similar to her sister’s but instead I decided to go with a slightly different approach as I was really inspired by silhouettes cut by hand that they do at Disneyland. I am not as skilled to do it in minutes but I did free-hand cut it from a picture of my kiddo. Took me about 20 minutes to cut and refine. I think another good way of doing it might be taking a picture of the profile on cardstock and then using it as a template to cut in your black paper. Or easier yet, just paint the back of the profile picture in black! Easy as pie, but I really wanted to learn from the manual technique so I did it old school. I also took the matt out of the frame in order to doodle on it and just basically did whatever came to me. It was calming and fun and I think a whole other look to portraits 🙂

More sketching…

My mornings, I spend bento-ing. My nights are a little more for myself 🙂 Here are a few nights’ work:

I love Doctor Who. And I love sketching… bring them together and you have a pretty-fied cyberman! 😀



So inspired by tattoo art lately:



And my little roboty-guy just for fun:



The last thing I made was a sketch for the kiddo’s sixth birthday. I wanted her to have something special I made just for her. When I’m long gone and she’s old and grey, I hope she looks back on this and remembers me.


Field Trip Day!

Today the Kindergarten Kiddo had her very first field trip, for which I was chaperoning. Although they didn’t have to bring a bag lunch, they were required to carry their lunch bags with them all day long and I knew that was just asking for it to get lost. So I made a special lunch bag to take on the field trip with everything being disposable, from the plastic container (a re-used deli meat container) to the paper cupcake cups (which actually were not very good at keeping the food apart this time, but the pistachios and the crackers were dry so it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if the kiddo hadn’t accidentally dropped water into the container! Oops.) And I thought to keep it simple since it was such an exciting day already. I did take my creative impulse out on the lunch bag but alas, she didn’t notice the bag really– too much excitement from her first ride on a school bus and being at a zoo with her school friends. Ahh well. Here is our simple lunch:


And here is the lunch bag. I admit I was inspired by this guy; I just did it my own way.

Sandwich Almond Butter and Jam (we’re getting fancy!) cut with a butterfly cutter.
Sides Goldfish crackers and pistachios; little box of raisins.

Today I used:


In another life, before star shaped sandwiches and knitted baby beanies, I was a graphic designer. After the kids are grown, I’d like to get back to that. Because I’ve become more interested in illustration and becoming more proficient in my drawing skills (and because it is actually something to do with jobs I’ve had in the past and an aspect of design that I’m interested in pursuing), I’ve started doodling more! I think eventually if I really get into it, I’ll make them into prints but until then, I’m just practicing. I made my mom a Mother’s Day card:

and last night, I really wanted to draw a turtle, for some reason, so I did a sort of turtle pattern “sampler.”


All just sharpie drawings (despite the “better” illustration pens out there, I actually really love the feel of sharpies).

Many more to come 🙂