Category Archives: Illustration

Happy Friday + Randomness


It’s been quiet around here, which means things are bustling in the background. I have much to share, but one of the highlights of last week was a Little Kunoichi event. It was my last scheduled event and was held at a beautiful Japanese gift shop/gallery called KOBO. There may be some more events in the future, but that particular book reading capped what I considered the launch season. My book has been out for almost five months, can you believe it? I just found out that someone’s seen it in Madagascar!!! What??

At any rate, I’ve learned some notable tidbits from doing these events:

1. I am the worst promoter ever – I actually ran into some friends right before the event and didn’t even invite them because I was so timid about it. I’ve been tsk-tsking myself for days.

2. And when you don’t promote your own events, not many people show up (average number of attendees: 5, not including my own family members). Cozy and intimate events, these are. I was all gung ho and invited everyone and their distant second cousins to the launch party back in May, and about 100 people showed up for that event — just goes to show you that I can do it if I set my mind to it.

3. And when not many people show up, you don’t sell very many books.

I’m going to have to work on this. I’m much more comfortable in front of people now, which has been a lovely side bonus from the series of book readings I’ve done, and I’ve really beefed up my illustrating-on-the-fly skills (I offered custom illos for some of the events). I can whip up a watercolor dolphin in five minutes flat. I really love creating little paintings, especially for kids.

I’ve also been including a fun presentation about how the book came to fruition, and the part that seems to make people perk up is the cover options we went through. I’ve collaged together the versions that I presented up there, and the one of the lower left corner was the winner, but with a caveat: the colors needed to be brighter. The background and ninja uniform then went through various hue iterations, and it was fascinating to see the business side of developing a cover. It is, despite the general pleas to never judge a book by its cover, the most important element. Everyone took it very seriously. Which is pretty funny when talking about ninja girls and pet bunnies.

Alright, must go focus on the elusive sorcery that is book-making. Will be back some time next week!!

How do these weeks zoom?
Could’ve sworn it was Monday
but no, weekend time…

Happy Friday, and happy weekend to all!


Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! Lately, I’ve been spending a few minutes every morning with my watercolors, painting whatever comes to mind. As a way to chronicle my daily paintbrush musings, I’ve been posting them on instagram, and it fills me with tiny bubbles of joy to have this little ritual (don’t roll your eyes!). There’s really no rhyme or reason to what I paint and I don’t know how long I’ll continue this.

As I’m wont to do, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole “follower” culture that’s the norm these days. On Wednesday, I had to block an IG follower with a provocative profile image of a male appendage front and center, and then realized that a slew of my so-called followers are spammers of similar ilk. It’s sad.

Not because I don’t have as many followers as I’d initially thought — that doesn’t bother me in the least, but because it taints my experience of something I was genuinely enjoying. On Pinterest, I have over 20,000 followers, but I’m sure most of them are in the business involving handcuffs and poles and disco lighting. And then there’s the whole insecurity-inducing aspect of the popularity contest…yet we can’t forget the astronomical benefits of the connectivity and access social media promotes. I wonder what the next phase is? Curiouser and curiouser.

“It takes more courage to be nice and happy,” M told me the other day. Do you think that’s true? Is human nature really prone to baseness and gloom? Perhaps. I recently heard a Buddhist reference, which went something along the lines of how our minds are naturally pure and radiant but are frequently visited by unpleasant and unwanted thoughts and emotions like greed, jealousy, anger, hate…I like to think that we’re all basically good, and I definitely prefer the Buddhist outlook. Then again, in my world, bears ride bikes while sporting grins, so I may not be a trusted source.


I am truly and earnestly burrowing into the final, final phase of book #2, and I want to give it the fullest attention that I can. As such, I’m going to cut myself some slack again and post less frequently here over the next three weeks. Once a week, that’s my aim…Have a wonderful weekend, all!


Good to shake things up
Quality trumps quantity
That’s what I say, yo*

*K likes to make up raps and I’m easily influenced.

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! There’s been a lot of painting going on lately, and I’m also raring to dive into sewing — five more days until K is back in school, and I will have gloriously large swaths of time to devote to personal projects. Can’t wait!! I’ve been wading through my massive stash, trying not to get overcome by the vast number of choices.

For now, I’m savoring the last moments of summer and am hosting a lot of playdates.


M and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary yesterday. We are on a strict, strict budget right now, so we opted to hold off on anything that smacks even remotely of opulence, so we had a simple, unglamorous outing involving cheap food and a movie. Time to chat, reflect on a decades’ worth of memories, and marvel at how the years melt away. I painted a little card for him. It’s the “10 years” illo up there and I put it in a frame. He’s the “1” (get it?) and I’m the zero (not in the negative sense, of course — maybe we’ll interpret it as me being the circle of life).


My favorite K quote of the week: “Mama, you smell like puffy white clouds.” Apparently, the scent is a mixture of airy, clean and pretty.


Have a wonderful weekend, friends! Are you as happy as I am that it’s almost Fall?

The air is crisper
Back-to-school around the bend
Reset, refresh, go!

P.S. The giveaway winner is Jill, congrats!

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! So, yesterday marked the third year of this little virtual notebook/sketchbook of mine. Three years that whisked right on by, full of surreal and life-altering changes, the whole nine yards. My thoughts are still very much aligned with what I pondered for my second “blogiversary” here (why, oh why are there so many unpalatable words associated with blogs, including the word “blog”??)

I’ve decided to do something different and will take two weeks off from here. My mom is coming on Sunday, I’ve got a huge deadline on August 3rd, two birthday parties to plan (M’s and K’s), and I want to spend some time away from here to see what ideas bubble up as I ease into the fourth year of blogging. It’s my summer vacation from all things online to reconnect with people and tactile, physical stuff.

I will, of course, miss you and will be sorely tempted to post something because I’m an incorrigible creature of habit, but this feels like a good thing to do. I have visions of a recharged, refueled, much more relaxed me.


Bon voyage, adieu
Wish you a lovely two weeks
Back on August third

P.S. I will post two months’ worth of income information the week I return…

P.P.S. Furoku #5 will go out as scheduled at the end of the month-ish, and if I get my act together, I’ll finally get the sign-up button on the sidebar!

Happy Friday + Randomness


Ah, summer vacation…it’s finally here. We’ve flitted from one end-of-the-school-year party to another these past few days, and we have consumed frightening amounts of ice cream and watermelon, sometimes together. I’m in full anticipation mode for the upcoming aimless, schedule-less moments until the camps kick in. I was pretty on the ball this year and have K signed up for a number of half-day camps, and I’m particularly excited about coding (yes, computer programming) camp that she specifically requested. How are your summers looking so far?


I have much sewing and photo-taking to do, and am keeping it short for today. Have a wonderful weekend, all!

An outing with friends
Tea parties and starfish*:
a winning combo

*K and I went to one of the prettiest parks in Seattle called Carkeek with friends yesterday. It’s a vast recreational area with open fields, a play area (which includes a salmon-shaped slide) and a beach. The plan was to have a tea party for our girls and to then let them roam around and splash about on the beach; I was not expecting my friend to be so prepared — she brought a small table and an impressive array of afternoon tea paraphernalia. We plunked the table down in the middle of the field and had a proper tea party rivaling the one from Alice in Wonderland. The kids then zoomed off and found dozens of starfish in the tide pools. It feels like summer.

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! I had such a lovely time yesterday at the University Book Store storytime. The staff was warm and welcoming, and a sweet group of toddlers and adults gathered around a circular kids’ table as I read aloud Little Kunoichi. We followed up with a simple origami craft (samurai hats!) and I also created a little coloring sheet to go with the origami activity. This whole putting-a-book-out-in-the-world process continues to be surreal, and one of my favorite parts has been the charming, funny, and downright amazing stories people have shared with me. At the reading, a woman named Erin asked if I would sign the Little Kunoichi copies she’d brought from home, and as I scrawled away, she recounted her daughter’s reaction to the book and I was — as per usual — in tears (the daughter’s reaction was positive, thank goodness, and the tears were grateful ones). I was so moved that a real-life little girl struggling with school felt a kinship with the book and was encouraged to keep trying. Erin had serendipitously just written about it here. Thank you, Erin, I am deeply humbled.


Perhaps you have a little one that might enjoy a coloring sheet? Feel free to download it from here. And if you’re interested in making an origami samurai hat as well, instructions can be found here.



It’s been quite a week! Between the flurry of school activities that fill the end of the academic year and book shenanigans, I’m zipping to and fro, trying to keep up — I’m looking forward to a calm weekend. I hope yours is calm and fun.

Oh, it’s happening
One year older tomorrow*
I’m a June baby

*Each year seems to go faster and my birthdays are piling up. I can’t help but visualize calendar pages fluttering like a flip book. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idiom “in the fullness of time.” It used to be a common repartee, the equivalent of “whenever it’s ready”. I’m fond of that phrase. Despite the surface sense of rapidity, I feel like life events have been unfolding in the fullness of time…

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! A couple of days ago, I attended an event called “Young Author’s Day” at K’s school. It’s a big deal — the entire school participates and all the students are shuffled into groups of about 10 kids from various grades. Each student takes a turn reading a story he/she had written, and my favorite part is listening to the “About the Author” section. They all invariably include information about their family, a hobby and a totally random factoid like how they like to eat cereal for dinner or are completely opposed to school uniforms.

K’s group was exceptional. The fifth graders blew me away with their poetry (their haikus made me want to delete all of mine from here), and K recounted how M and I got engaged, which the teacher found hilarious. There was one girl who read a story about finding a lizard in the middle of the street and how she ended up keeping it as a pet (a true story).

The first grader who went last stole my heart, though. I saw how her hands trembled as she clutched her book with the green construction paper cover. Her cheeks blossomed into the color of the brightest of pink peonies, and her voice was so soft, barely a whisper, that all the kids tipped to their sides, cocking their ears to catch the small gasps of quickly strung together words. I remember being that little girl. The one who refused to go until there was no choice, the one who hoped that reading the story super fast would make it less frightening. I couldn’t quite hear the story in its entirety, but I saw her carefully drawn illustrations of a fox and clouds, and a little girl that looked very much like her. She beamed with relief and pride as the group enveloped her in applause and hands shot up to praise her efforts. What a beautiful, beautiful thing.


Have a delightful weekend, my friends! I am going to RELAX. So, so, so, so excited about this.

At Mockingbird Books
I’ll be doing a reading
I feel like that girl*

I’ll be doing a storytime reading of Little Kunoichi at one of our lovely local bookstore this weekend – there might be a little bit of trembling involved…

Joie de Vivre


Just a quick “Joie de Vivre” image today. It felt like I was continually on the go this past weekend and haven’t had much time to process Mother’s Day or the launch party or the author signing event I did at K’s school on Friday. I am wiped out, but joyful.

I’ll be back with updates on Wednesday. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

I was gaining momentum…


…and then my custom illustration output had to be put on hold as I re-examined my to-do list. Which is a shame because I really, really enjoy working on them.

Like this foxy guy.


They’re actually not entirely on hold, since I’m painting what I can here and there, but progress is slooooooooooooow. But mark my words, they will get done!

I’m loving all the various requests so much, I’ve scanned them all with a vague notion of showcasing them together at some point. So many plans, so many hopes. When will human cloning become a viable option?


Happy Easter + Randomness


Happy Friday! Do you have big Easter plans? Every year, we get together with our neighbors and have an epic egg hunt followed by brunch in our yard (weather permitting). We’re all transplants and it’s become a much-anticipated tradition. There are usually at least 10 kids running around, and it’s a madhouse in the best possible way. I keep wondering when K will be too old for egg hunts…I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’re still good for a couple more years.


Sometimes K stumps me with her questions:

Mama, would you rather be rich with one arm or poor with three arms?

It seems like it would be useful, but I’m trying to figure out how I would use three arms…


Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’m off to go prepare for the egg hunt/brunch!

Plastic eggs and sweets
Bacon, pancakes, food galore
Easter fun fun fun


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