Saturday, September 17, 2011

In Progress: Paper Dolls

Well, it seems I've totally neglected my blog for awhile. But I'm looking forward to updating more regularly. If you notice a lack of updates, please, send me a scolding email.

I'm working on a fun side project that I've been thinking about doing for some time— illustrating/crafting a set of paper dolls. Recently got it started, after joining The Designer Co-op. Here's a little background...

I was always a crafty kid. Way beyond the easy-bake oven or paint-by-numbers level, if I might say so myself. Jewelry making kits were one of my strongest early skill sets. The photo of my first day of 3rd grade showcasing my giant neon painted clay earrings is proof of this.

There is one particular childhood project that stands out to me, mostly because I remember how excited I was about it. I think it was 4th grade. I was in the elementary school library, flipping through the American Girl magazine, and came across a craft article called “Pen Pals”. They were basically ball point pens wrapped in embroidery thread made to look like dolls. I was so excited about this that as soon as I got home from school that day I asked my Mom to take me to get supplies.

I was a pen-pal-making-machine for weeks, months even. I soon got bored with the basics of hair, shirt, pants, and toothpicks as arms. I started creating new accessories and refining the details…. customized clothing, earmuffs, scarves, pom poms for my cheerleader edition, and even different hairstyles. Here’s a photo of my prized collection, thanks to my Mom’s cell phone photography skills.


The point of this post isn’t to relive arts and crafts time… well, actually it somewhat is. My point is that working on personal creative projects shouldn’t feel any different than silly childhood crafts, at least in some regard. You should be oozing with the same excitement to work on your own projects as you were to build a model airplane or make a turkey out of construction paper hands.

Aside from reminiscing about my childhood craft days, part of my inspiration for this project is from a set of paper dolls that I was given as a child. A sweet old woman from my church, Jean, hand-made my sister and I each a set of illustrated paper dolls. They were awesome. At the time, I didn’t appreciate them for their artistic value. I just knew that it was freaking cool to have a paper doll with a cowgirl outfit complete with boots and a lasso. I’m sure we tore those dolls to shreds and now they no longer exist. But I remember them vividly.

Paper dolls seem like a logical and also exciting outlet for my love of watercolor and recent interest in fashion illustration. It will also get me away from a computer.

I started making look-alikes of my family members and giving them as gifts. I couldn’t wait to work on those pens each day after school. I even entered them into the 4-H county fair, taking home a blue ribbon. I was a craft nerd.

Here’s a collection of some visual inspiration for the project. I'm thinking it would be fun to mix in some realistic photo textures with the watercolor elements.

I recently received a Bloomingdale's look book in the mail, so I've been using it as a starting place. Here's some sketches I've been doing to experiment with different fabrics and textures. More updates to come soon.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ZarBee's Cough Syrup

Remember the awful taste of cough medicine when you were a kid? You can probably relate to these ZarBee's commercials. As an intern at studioCase, I helped out with the design of the title images. You can view the whole series here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Clean Water

As many bloggers do, I've struggled with posting regularly. Partly because I'm never sure if what I have to say or share is important or relevant at all. Well, not today. Today is Blog Action Day 2010, an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Their aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. Water is a health issue, a human rights issue, a global issue. It's so encouraging to see so many voices speaking out about the same issue.

The image above was created following a tutorial I found on VecTips, posted for the purpose of promoting the clean water issue for Blog Action Day.

I recently moved into an apartment in Brooklyn. When I went to check out the place for the first time, the lady showed me the bathroom. She said, "There's no bathroom sink. But you'll get used to it. It's kind of a Brooklyn thing." Since I had been through a very annoying week of looking at apartments and people beating me to the deal, I didn't care. It was an apartment.

After living in the apartment for a couple weeks and using the kitchen sink for all my needs, I quickly realized what a hassle it was to not have a bathroom sink. I had to brush my teeth next to dirty dishes, wash my face and put in contacts without a mirror, and share sink time with two other roommates between all of our personal hygiene and cooking time.

Now, I've gotten used to it, just as the lady promised. But I still find myself complaining every once in awhile. Today, I stop and think just how lucky I am to have that one sink. Not only do I have that sink, but I have clean water coming out of it. Well, questionably clean, but thank goodness for Brita filters. Nearly 1 in 8 people have NO ACCESS to clean water. 38,000 children die per week because of waterborne illness. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. And I'm in Brooklyn saying what a hassle my lack of a bathroom sink is? This is ridiculous.

What's sad is that the majority of people in the United States have this disconnect with the world outside of their own little sphere. We see the pictures of children with bottles filled with brown water, we read the facts, but we never do anything. That's why the water crisis isn't solved yet.

Perhaps Blog Action Day is a start. At least people are talking about it.

Read more about the water crisis and what you can do to help at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Sometimes I get the urge to do something a little cutesy.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I admire those who constantly sketch, and especially those who make it look easy. For some, sketching is a part of their daily life. For others, even some great designers, sketching isn't something they depend on to create great work. Either way, every designer should be great at it regardless of whether they choose to use it or not. Sketches are fast, powerful tools of communication, so as a designer when I don't utilize this tool I get frustrated with myself. In an effort to make sketching come more naturally to me, I've committed to start practicing more. I found a great website called idsketching. Check it out if you haven't already. There's some great tutorials, tips, and contests. Here's a tutorial on using contour lines to quickly communicate form. Below are some snapshots of the tutorial.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hair dryer ergonomics

Ever wonder why the shape of a hair dryer was so common, but yet so inconvenient. No one uses it the way it was designed, so why not redesign it? Check out Ariane Prin's concept for the Air Hair Machine and her study of ergonomics for the hair dryer. Her process is very inspiring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Holly. That's my name. Just wanted to try out Daily Drop Cap Gorgeus.