Brown Paper Sketches

December 23, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Posted in doodles | Leave a comment





I haven’t much to say today.

20 Easy Handmade Gift Ideas

December 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm | Posted in holidays, social | 2 Comments
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I can’t believe Christmas is so close already. To an extent, I enjoy the adrenaline pump– it’s stressful but it’s been a part of the fun since I was 15. In high school, I used rush around, drawing all of my friends and family and teachers Christmas cards. I miss the tradition. Buying gifts, to me at least, just isn’t as fulfilling.

Many people have told me that they admire that I’m handmaking all my gifts this year. They wish they could do it too but they “just aren’t creative” or don’t know what they could possibly do.

So here’s a list of ideas from my own little notebook:

  1. 20 Things I Love About You For one of my friends, I write these things on little pieces of paper, rolled them up, and put them in a decorated jar I got for a dollar. Inexpensive, yet thoughtful; I got to mention things I never get the chance to mention and show my appreciation.
  2. Favors & Services These could include helping out with chores, running an errand for them, helping them on a project, helping out with homework– the possibilities are endless. πŸ™‚
  3. Baked Goods Everyone loves cookies & cupcakes!
  4. Crafts Okay, broad subject. πŸ˜› But anything can be customized. All you need are paint or markers or what-have-you and customize shirts, shoes, bags, boxes, jars, scarves, coasters, mugs, whatever. What if you’re not the artistic type? Paint a monogram, decoupage something, or use their favorite color. Check out my diy tag on Delicious for tutorials & ideas.
  5. Framed Photo Pick out a good photo of the two of you and put it in a classy or cute frame.
  6. Or photo-edit a photo of the two of you if you’re into Photoshop. See some great tutorials here.
  7. Write a poem I wrote a silly poem about another friend of mine and fashioned it into a storybook.
  8. Write a short composition piece if you’re musically inclined.
  9. Play or remake their favorite music piece
  10. Mix CDs Haha, my online friends and I used to always send each other mixed CDs and included explanations why we picked each track. For me, it opened myself up to a lot of different artists and genres. Writing your thoughts about each track is the fun part.
  11. Website One of the absolute best presents I even recieved was a website my friend Sammi made for my birthday. She set up an account on a free webhost, and compiled a small site. On it, she wrote about our friendship, included a page of my favorite anime & cartoon characters, posted favorite memories, and it was one of the most touching gifts. I couldn’t believe she worked so hard on it; it was so unexpected. πŸ™‚
  12. Message In A Bottle For my fiance one anniversary, I distressed a piece of paper by singeing it, crumpling it, and staining it and then I wrote a long love letter on it. I rolled it up, put it in a glass bottle and left it in his room. He loved it.
  13. Post “Thank you for …” stickies all over their room, even in obscure places so they can run into them later in the year.
  14. Gather famous quotes (or movie quotesΒ  if they’re movie geeks, hehe), print them on pretty or colorful paper ad cut them out. Voila! Inspiration to post around the room.
  15. Bookmarks For your bookworm friends! I drew a set of bookmarks for a friend and mounted them onto thick scrapbook papers.
  16. Buy something simple, yet thoughtful I remember reading a comment on my Facebook status update that a friend of mine liked Banana Bread Oatmeal (mmm…) so I bought him a box. When he opened it, he was thrilled and asked, “How did you know?” I told him, “I remember you mentioned it in a comment on Facebook.” He seemed flattered that I remembered such a small detail. I find that gifts based on small details like that tend to work better than details they publicize often, especially whenit comes to small, frugal gifts.
  17. Basket of comfort get a basket and fill it with things like cozy socks, fleece blankets, spa stuff (lotions, bath beads). Everyone loves a little pampering.
  18. Print out a tutorial for a craft, buy the materials, and arrange them in a basket. This is a good one for artists or people who want to get into crafts.
  19. List of favorite memories that you had together. Arrnage them on a piece of scrapbook paper or frame it.
  20. Refashion a shirt they would like or a shirt that’s gotten too big for them. You can do a bit of t-shirt surgery or make it into a pillow!

The keys to these handmade gifts are thoughtfulness and presentation. Don’t skimp on the gift-wrapping on these gifts– go the whole nine yards: bows, ribbons, tisse paper, and tags. πŸ™‚ Hope you foudn the lsit helpful! if you have other ideas, just leave a tip in the comments!

Happy for Growth!

December 16, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Posted in doodles, social | 2 Comments
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I am so pleased with how many people are coming to this blog. πŸ™‚ It’s a modest number but it’s growing! And I’ve already gotten a couple project offers from this blog! Thanks to those who are passing the link on!

I decided to spice up my doodles with some color in Photoshop this time. Tell me if I should do this for future doodles or if I should keep them black and white.



I started this page sketching a guy in this new style and ended up drawing a couple. I would love to do a couple commission this way.


My good friend Jared and I were at the local Starbucks, chatting and drawing. For artists who are extremely busy and needing to stop being a hermit, do a doodle jam with a friend. It’s great to be able to just draw without obligation and it’s good creative aerobics. πŸ˜‰


Again, from our coffeehouse drawing jam. I even drew a barista! Off to the right, I was trying to do Jared’s name in cool graffiti lettering.


Vanity Girl, Emo Whale, and Freedom Bird. LOL. This will not be the last of Emo Whale! Look how sad he is. 😦


These are my characters, Heart-chan and Liz. Liz doesn’t look too happy …


Incredibly random doodles from a night of sitting my my brother’s room and watching anime clips. And why yes …


… those most certainly are Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton! I started drawing Lincoln but didn’t like how he turned out. I will have to try again in the future!

I wish I could show you some of the crafts I’ve been working on lately but alas, they are all Christmas gifts. 😦 I’ll have a showcase blog afterwards, I guess!

Statuses on Current Projects and More Doodles!

December 12, 2008 at 1:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I am really pleased with my sudden explosion of projects. πŸ™‚ It’ll give me something to do the next few weeks. My status on current projects at the moment:

1. Poster design for Elite Body Fitness: Some preliminary sketches, gathered a few stock photos to play with, now deciding on color scheme
2. Poster design for Blank Stage Productions: Waiting for images
3. Flyer design for Diva Extensions: Started preliminary sketches
4. Banner artwork for a health & beauty blog: N/A
5. Otter’s commission: Sketch is 90% done, will start inking soon
6. Silverkun’s commission: N/A
7. Maddy’s commission: Sketch is done, needs to be inked
8. India’s badge: N/A
9. Mom’s book cover: Needs a bit revamping

On to some more doodles from the sketchbook …


LOL I like my Crazy Love Guy. Just silly doodles I did in class.


Weird hairstyle sketches.


Lacy is a Maxim model, perhaps? I drew a lot of influence from Chris Sanders here.


Haven’t come up with a name for her yet but she’s a devil-may-care, crazy schizophrenic crook. I came up with her trying to create a character the complete opposite of myself.

My blog and I were mentioned on my friend Rob’s blog! πŸ™‚ His blog documents his journey and lessons learned as an entrepreneur; go check it out! You may get something from it. I definitely do.

Doodles from the Weekend: Graffiti Experimentation

December 9, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I study tip I wish I was aware of before the end of the semester:

Making flashcards -before- you read the chapter.

I don’t know why, but it’s a lot more helpful. Guess I have an attack plan for next semester.

It’s been so nice to just stay in and draw and do crafts. I wanted to share some of my recent doodles from the weekend:



I love the graffiti look. Whenever I get the chance to browse through graffiti galleries, I am just stunned. There is so much creativity in reinventing the shapes of letters and playing with colors and using bold, dynamic lines to convey statements or imagery. I’m in love with the style but I’ve never been able to dabble in it; the range of styles was just too overwhelming.

I came across this incredibly simple lettering tutorial one day and just ran with it. I’ve been trying out new ways to write my name and initials ever since. πŸ™‚


I liked the little singer in the lower right so much that I drew her again:



I drew a little chibi version of myself~! In the upper right corner is a little character I created some time ago, Heart-chan, and the rest are random little doodles.


I usually draw a lot of anime but I’ve been trying out a new, more cartoony and caricature-esque style lately. It’s nice to step out of my usual zone and test out a new style. I like that I have a wider range of shapes to play with. I named this one “bikini contest.” I was experimenting with different body shapes.


More doodles I did while watching Will & Grace. By the way, the little figure towards the lower left is the beginnings of a squid before I decided I didn’t want to draw the tentacles, nothing else. LOL Don’t ask me why I randomly drew a US Government logo …


More chibi-me. πŸ™‚ And there I am wielding my color medium of choice: the Prismamarker!

That’s all I have for today. πŸ™‚ I love all this free time, though. I’m going to have to make sure it’s being put to good use!

By the way, I found a really useful web tool today: Remindr. So glad someone came up with this! ❀

Why Writing Christmas Cards Warms Me Up

December 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Posted in holidays, social, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Photo taken by krisdecurtis @ Flickr

Photo taken by krisdecurtis @ Flickr

My favorite part of the holidays is writing Christmas and holiday cards. πŸ™‚ Even with Facebook and email and all these methods of keeping in contact, this remains the time of year I can reach out to the people that have touched my life in some way. I write to everyone:Β  old professors, current professors, distant friends, new acquaintances, friends’ parents, old co-workers, old employers, family, friends, business contacts, and even the bank tellers and baristas I make small talk with on a regular basis.

Writing these Christmas cards allow me to slow down and focus on each individual and acknowledge them, thank them, and appreciate them. I write these cards to close distances that grow between friends and me, to thank people who have helped and/or influenced me, and to rebuild any bridges that have been burnt down between us. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in being completely sentimental without feeling like a goof. Sitting down to write these cards, I always feel a strange but strong urge to just be completely open and honest in my words. It feels so good to get them off my chest.

I hope that the recipients of my Christmas cards take pleasure in them as well. I recommend writing a card to everyone you know, especially those whom you’ve lost touch with; it is oddly liberating. πŸ™‚

Photoshop Play

December 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was playing around in Photoshop last night with a bunch of tutorials and tried out some new effects. πŸ™‚







I also updated my gallery, go look! πŸ™‚

Upcoming projects.

December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving was a pleasant one. πŸ™‚ My sister and I mainly wrapped ourselves in blankets and watched Will & Grace all day. Dinner was probably one of the best Thanksgiving dinners we’ve had. ❀

With the semester ending, I’m going to be able to focus on some of my projects. For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to release a few videos on Youtube but I’ve either been self-conscious about talking in front of a camera or simply succumbed to procrastination. I’ll probably just start with a couple of drawing vids to try to get the ball rolling.

I also want to start building my portfolio by doing some pro-bono flyers for interested organizations and events. I’ll post a couple of flyers on my Deviantart this week and post an ad on Craigslist.

My mom’s commissioned me to do a cover for her book– this I’m really excited about because she’s a big name author in the Vietnamese community. I want to do a good job; maybe I’ll get more commissions from Vietnamese authors. πŸ™‚

I’m happy Christmas is finally here, though. Better get crackin’ on those cards and gifts now!

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