Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Drizzly Summer

Rainy Day

Another grey day and another digital drawing. Maybe it’s because I live in the Pacific Northwest, but I really enjoy drawing clouds and raindrops. It’s chilly and un-summery outside, but I’ve got my trusty cafe au lait beside me and I’m admiring the many tattooed hipsters flowing in and out of the coffee shop. I’ve never had any desire to get inked myself but I actually love tattoos.

If I were to get one, what would it be? There might have to be some stripes (I do love me some stripes!), and I think I would avoid color. I remember seeing a woman with an earth tattoo on her belly, and as her pregnancy progressed, the earth grew. It was a bit disconcerting and very cool at the same time. The elephant above looks rather inked itself, no?



Lovely client

I used to create little promotional fliers for a small boutique called Mapel until I went back to work full-time. Because they had a very small budget, they offered trade for my illustrations. This meant that I got fancy designer jeans and cute trendy tops — totally worth it, in my opinion!

It was a sweet and stylish shop and the women who ran the business were fantastic. I found one of my favorite illustrations for a Fall promo they had, and was reminded of how much I enjoyed drawing digitally. Must find my Wacom tablet!

Fall Illustration

Running through Rice Fields

Every so often, I would get on an exercise kick while living in Japan. I would don my roomiest t-shirt, snap on my headphones, lug my enormous Sony Walkman and head out the door. The year was 1996.

I would run along rice paddies, spotting a heron or two as the sun started to descend. With Natalie Merchant blaring from my headphones, I would start vigorously enough, only to peter out about half a mile into the run.

It was peaceful among those rice fields. Crickets and frogs would snicker and bleat, and I felt strangely connected to the world as I wiped away imaginary sweat. I would walk for another hour or so, emptying my anxious thoughts and worries. Sometimes I wish I could meander through rice paddy mazes again, without a care in the world, transported to a place of possibilities.

A birthday, chalkboard wall & conversations with K

Happy Birthday M! It’s a big one (forty!), but he wants an understated celebration with minimal hullabaloo so we’ll keep it simple: a little sushi dinner, some cake, a date night.

A few weeks ago, I made one of our kitchen walls into a chalkboard and we have been loving it.


I use it to write to-do lists, M scrawled his life goals, and K doodles away. At first, M called it the “wall of death” and it’s true – the shiny blackness seemed to darken the already tiny kitchen and was rather oppressive. Now, I love the convenience of writing down grocery items as soon as I think of it and it’s like having a humongous sketchpad for ideas and drawings. We’ll have to update the wall with a pithy birthday wish today.

This morning I had a few memorable exchanges with my almost-six-year-old:

K: Mama?

Me: Yes, sweetie?

K: Do boys poop standing up?

Me: No honey, but that’s a good question.

K: Yeah, I wanted to make sure.


Me: {Singing some random song}

K: Mama, can you stop singing?

Me: {Pause} Why, honey?

K: You’re embarrassing me.

Me: Oh, OK.


K: {Starts singing at full-blast and totally off-key}


K: Mommy, did you know that you snore?

Me: I do? Am I loud?

K: Yes…but I love you just the way you are.


It’s not serious…

i'm married but it's not serious

M and I got married almost seven years ago, but for the last six years, date nights have been few and far between due to a little bundle of joy who is now a first-grader.

So when we were on vacation in Michigan, we jumped at the chance to have coffee alone while the grandparents, cousins and auntie kept our daughter fully entertained.

We went to a quaint little gift shop/candy store/cafe in Leland. I browsed through the merchandise and took in the faux vintage metal airplane decoration, the brightly patterned pillows, the silver jewelry. Then I noticed various etched signs with cheeky messages like “If you don’t behave, I’ll give your child espresso” or “I’d rather be on my yacht”. The one that stuck out most, though, was “I’m married but it’s not serious”.

Hmmm. Where would you hang that? In the man cave? Do you haul it with you on a business trip and casually prop it up in your hotel room after inviting an attractive stranger?

Can you imagine buying it? Awkward. M and I had a good laugh over that one, and maybe that was the point.


Gouache sketches

guache sketches


It started in college. I was buying my text books for the fall quarter of my freshman year, and I saw a small, blue spiral-bound notebook emblazoned with the school logo. On a whim, I decided to buy the notebook and wandered over to the campus cafe. I was eighteen and felt so grown-up ordering a cup of coffee and a croissant. Balancing my drink and pastry and books and shiny new notebook, I settled into a seat — the murmurs of other students and the lilt of background music felt…just right.

I opened the notebook. It was too early in the school year to start studying and I wasn’t sure what to do. I doodled a bit and without thinking too much about it, I started writing. I don’t have that notebook anymore and I don’t know what I wrote that first day, but I have continued to write in small notebooks in coffee shops, occasionally doodling along the margins. Many were spiral bound, some were not, all were crammed with my teeny tiny writing. And almost always, I had a cup of coffee and croissant beside my notebook.

I rarely wrote in the comfort of my home; there was something about the bustle of a coffee shop that I loved and craved. My friends and family thought it was a funny quirk and often strangers would come up to me to tell me of their own aspirations to write a novel. I sought out cafes in Los Angeles, Japan, Indonesia, Europe, San Francisco and Seattle. I think there’s something magical about coffee shops and I feel lucky to live in a city that seems to have an endless supply.

What did I write about in these notebooks of mine? I wasn’t, alas, creating the next Harry Potter, though there was plenty of fantasy involved. I wrote whatever came to mind, whether it was what I ate, who I was crushing on, my latest foible, my inability to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing in this life.

Now I’m going digital and virtual and all bloggy with my habit. Welcome to my online notebook.