Monday, December 29, 2008

Zakka Designer : Shinzi Katoh


What is "zakka"? You hear the word everywhere, especially when you buy a DIY Japan books in sewing adn crafting. Why do they call it Zakka style? Zakka design? What is zakka?

Wikipedia describe "zakka" as a fashion and design phenomenon that has spread from Japan throughout Asia. The term refers to everything and anything that improves your home, life and outlook. It is often based on household items from the West that are regarded as kitsch in their countries of origin. Kitsch, eh? You know what kitsch mean, right?

I like the version of Shinzi Katoh's description in his website, though; "It's the things that make people happy and exist like a comfortable air. That is why we always keep in our heart when we create new design." Oh, how lovely! Don't you think? Now you know what zakka means, who is Sinzi Katoh?


Shinzi Katoh is an artist, designer, and illustrator. He had 3 children books published in Japanese and 3 more to come. As a zakka designer, it's obvious that his mediums of artsitry are not far from everday life. His tote bags, stationary, and kitchen utensils are among the popular ones. He has now products for sale, to name at least one, at the MoMA shop in San Fransisco. Of course you can find his products in Zakka shop everywhere. He also has done oil paintings which are currently exhibited in New York City.

Now, here's to you art elite! When you think only gruesome, self torturing, undeniably pervert paintings and performances can make it to the art galleries and museums, what do you say about a "zakka" designer like Shinzi Katoh? Art and design should make you smile, even in the form of everyday life items. Heck, they work best in everyday life items, not untouchable expensive paintings!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last Minute Christmas Treats

I know I am not much of a baker or a pastry maker, I am actually would set a kitchen on fire in an attempt to make a batch of simplest cookie. But I am sharing this idea with all of you who have love cooking and baking, and this idea seems not too hard to try, I guess, even for me. Or for those who just need an inspiration in decorating and/or packaging treats they made. Or just for the rest of us trying to impress our holiday guests.

Simply follow this link. It's in Japanese, but the pictures have told us much about everything.




Nonno X Hello Kitty 2009 Calendar


I've been obsessed with calendars lately. Well, who wouldn't in the start of the new year?
Especially when the calendar is painstakingly cute and free!
Take a look at this Hello Kitty calendar, a freebies from December Nonno magazine. Nonno is a Japanese fashion magazine targeting young women as their primary readers.

And Hello Kitty seem to collaborate with the magazine's models. For each month, there is a feature quote from Nonno girl.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Other Sketchbook


Introducing: my mini sketchbook! The one I am used to bring along in my bag. The "big" sketchbook's purpose is for serious sketching, i.e. when I sketch for works to be or when I need to scan my sketches. This mini one is more for a field trip. Well, not that I go to some forest and sketch some trees or leaves in it, I live in a city, anyway. The mini sketchbook accompany me when I wait for someone in public spaces. I hate looking unoccupied, alone, in a coffee shop, even in a dentist's waiting room. That's when this book come in handy. I doodle and sketch whatever comes in my mind.

I have longed for a moleskine for a mini skecth book. But this one, purchased in Italy (in a tourist's street stall) is good enough for me. It has thick off-white papers inside, about 80-100 gsm, maybe, thread binding, and...wait....I am a freak when it comes to stationary, I could go on an on talking about a notebook. ( I even like to talk about the smell of papers!) I guess I should stop now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Paper Craft Calendar!

I have always been a huge admirer of Canon Creative Park. It's a site mentioned in every design, paper craft and, craft blog, and so, I wasn't so thrilled to write about it since looks like everyone has talked about it.

But then I came across this lovely 2009 calendar you can assembly yourself on daily visit to the park. It's very simple you won't even need to sign up to the site. Just click download, print, and snap snap, you're done!

Wow. Isn't it? Wait. There's more. If you're a keen photographer you can even take a picture of a town from the calendar. Just level your camera to the houses, click, and you get a town view. Great for blog's title image, I guess.

And don't forget to browse the whole site. Lots of cool stuff not to be missed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Three Cheers for Lotta Bruhn





I fell in love with Lotta! Her illustrations and design remind me of Dick Bruna's.
Just visit her on her blog and feast your senses. Make sure you grab her printable sticker too.
It's free download.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2009 Calendar under $10.00

Don't you just love calendars. They keep track of your daily life while looking good themselves. Thank God you don't have to spend a fortune to buy them these days. Here are my picks of amazingly cheap and chic ones to start a new year.
RedDoorStudio's 2009 Printable Vintage Calendar $5.oo each.
Two Years of the Youniverse from Little Otsu. $9.00.
Littlebownpen's Southern Hemisphere printable calendar for $5.00.

Sugary Sweet Eye Candy




I am proud to share the works of a friend, an artist from Indonesia, my hometown. I have adored pinkversusblack since we were in the same college, and now she has developed her style into something unbelievably more kawaii! And she doesn't seem like stopping

I just want stick my teeth into them. Here, vector, vector.. come to mama...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ABC and 123



Don't you miss the good old days when school is all about ABC and 123?
First grade the best and Binth's works are more than nostalgic. It's pretty too. Now, that wouldn't hurt.

My Poor Sketchbook

I need a new sketchbook. Seriously. The one I've been using is falling apart and all papers in it have been used, front and back. Even the covers of the book is filled with doodles. I'd like to have a nice clean sketchbook but I seem can't maintain the nice and clean look longer than a week.
I wonder how other artists can fill in their sketchbook with anything from watercolor, collage, and even pressed flowers without smearing the book with paint or glue or everyday grime and dust.



Or is it just me?

Paperpunch : The Truth



Ever wonder how does a paper punch work? Curious about the inside mechanic of a paper punch?
Fret no more, I have dissected a paper punch just for you!

Kidding. I was having fun with the paper punch when it exploded on my face. The huge spring really did jumped into my face.

Mental note: never push your paper punch into something so hard it can't ..err.. punch.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alternate Covers: Little Red Riding Hood





I don't think all red riding hoods here are all females. Nevermind though. I love alternate cover. It shows you the power of perception. You can buy the books here. It's not too late for filling up Christmas stocking yet.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This Little Birdie Sits on a Tree




I have a major weakness upon birds. Especially cute ones like these. Yumiyumi's style is overall simple, cute, but does not lack of interesting details and delicacy!

These are simply the things that you buy, wrap, and can't wait to hang on your wall. Adore, everyone.

The Ugly Little Bird #2



Trouble comes when the whole forest is on fire. Little birdie can't save himself, neither can his family. They say goodbye as little ugly bird lets his family go on without him. The family flee and they never see him again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Even More Japanese Stuff!




Can't get enough of them. Why can I think of these when I'm working?

More Japanese Stuff!

Did I mention that I am soooo envious with the Japanese kids? Not only they seem to be born with this draw-anything-it'll-some-up-cute-and/or-look good, they are also blessed with good to be true products! Wanna enjoy some of Japanese design goodies?




I'm not sure about shopping here, though, I can't even read the price.
ooo I'm in love with the stool box! You can actually sit on something cute!

Mippin Feed Validation Key= mfvkvfm3269

Mippin Feed Validation Key= mfvkvfm3269

Books for Christmas Presents

If your child is a bookworm and can get much happier this Christmas than pulling out a book from his/her stocking, here's a list of unconventional books I love.

Hope he/she'll scream in delight and love you more as a parent.

Clockwise from upper left : furry book that will teach them not to be afraid of monsters, but love them (Spiderbite's Nightmare Snatcher), vintage robots journal for little boys out for an adventure from Doublebooked, and seeing spots book for any kids who love too see things differently (600 Black Spots : a pop-up book)



*Note* Might not work with teenagers.

The Ugly Little Bird #1

It's from a book I illustrated and actually wrote myself. It's a simple fable with obvious good moral. I hope the children will like this. Done in watercolor on paper, scan, and put into a layout.
The text is in Indonesian.

Anyway..

The story is about a little bird who doesn't grow as well as his brothers, his feathers are short and dull, his wings not developing, shortly, he can't fly.
All and all, his family love him though.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Win Yourself a Bunch of Gifts this Christmas!


Modish is having a really huge give away! Really huge, if you know what I mean.
The whole package reaches a total of $2,161! Now, how do you beat a giveaway like this?

Unfortunately international reader (like myself) can't compete in this giveaway.
If you are a resident of the United States, what are you waiting for?

Just follow the rules here. And indulge!

This Week's Eyecandy




Nothing's cuter than small rubber stamp..It's great for stocking stuffer this Christmas too.

All stamps by Norajane.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Japanese Christmas Children Book

Oh how I love vintage Christmas books. Especially when it's in Japan. Not that I speak the language, I just adore how Japanese illustrate and design their stuff. I don't know how they do that but everything they design and illustrate always come out beautiful.

I have been a children book illustrator for 5 years and I am far beyond the Japanese's level in illustrating. Sigh.

Just see for yourself and enjoy.




You can find and buy these book here.