Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Friday

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This Monkey's Gone to Heaven

I quit my job at Paul Frank.

The one I've had for 7 years.

Don't worry, I got a new one and it's going to be bitchin'! But let's talk about Paul Frank.

The main reason I'm leaving is because Paul Frank Industries was purchased in 2010 by Saban Brands (the people who own Power Rangers). Paul Frank is based in Costa Mesa, and Saban Brands is based in Los Angeles. After 2 years, they've finally decided that everything needs to be under one roof, so they are moving Paul Frank up to LA. Moving is not an option. Commuting to and from LA from where I live could take up to 2 hours each way, and those are Zoey hours. I would be a weekend-only mom. Not only would I never see my daughter, but then Kyle would carry the burden of dropping her off, picking her up, bath time, bed time, etc. The way we do things now it's pretty 50/50 and I just don't think it would be fair to him either.

But that's just the thing that got me moving. The reality is that it's just time for me to move on to my next thing and grow as a designer.

I started as an intern, still in college, and worked my way up from making less than someone who works at In 'N' Out (that's California-speak for burger joint) to becoming the Senior Graphic Designer in charge of all girls/juniors/womens graphics. I've designed tees, sportswear prints, pajama prints, bikes, watches, headphones, bedding, you name it. If you told me on day 1 that I would survive 2 rounds of massive layoffs in which really great designers got let go, but for some reason I did not, I would have thought you were taking crazy pills. If you would have told me on day 1 all the things I would eventually come to know and be responsible for, I might have freaked out and questioned myself. But now I can high five myself for what I've accomplished. (Would high fiving yourself technically be clapping?)

I am so lucky to have worked at Paul Frank. I think the designers I've worked with over the years at Paul Frank are the best of the best. I learned more during my first year at Paul Frank than I did in my entire college career. Each one of them taught me something. You probably won't know who any of these people are, but I'm going to write about them anyway because I owe a tribute to these people and this is the best place to give it. I will entertain you with silly pictures of Paul Frank life along the way.

Ben taught me the most. He taught me how to be organized and efficient, and if he had me do something a certain way, he always explained why. My second year, he had me go to Magic (a fashion tradeshow) with him to set up our booth. He thought it was important for me to experience setting up the booth (I say booth, but it was more like a house), and he thought it was important for me to experience the tradeshows. It always boosted my confidence as an employee knowing that Ben wanted me to know things. I took it as a definite sign that someone saw long term potential in me. Ben is my friend, and even though we haven't worked together for a while now I still view him as a mentor-type. He went on to work for Disney, and now he has a company called C-Preme. They make these neat Raskullz helmets you may have seen in Target and Toys R Us.

(Above: Ben in action at one of our many Paul Frank dodgeball tournaments.)

(Above: One year we formed a dodgeball team called A Flock of Seagals. We all dressed up like Steven Seagal.)

(Above: That time everyone in the company got a Paul Frank bike for Christmas.)

Parker, who went on to do great things like Yo Gabba Gabba and The Aquabats Supershow, is still one of my all time favorite people. He taught me to add the "conflict" in a character scene, a kind of secondary thing happening that makes it more interesting. He also taught me that if you need to make a circle, don't just make a boring old circle, tweak it a little and make it a circle that's just a bit off. I learned more from him, but I used those two bits of advice the most. Fun fact about Parker: He was a child actor who played Kevin Arnold's friend "Turtle" on The Wonder Years. That always cracks me up.

(Above: Ben and Parker during one of our annual mustache contests.)

(Above: When Parker won the mustache contest.)

(Above: When Parker left to go start work on Yo Gabba Gabba, the PF art department took a field trip to go visit him on set while they filmed the first season!)

Debbie was the art department hottie and her technical skill with Illustrator always amazed me. She drew shapes and letters with purpose. It really helped me to look at her work because I could see how my own lines were wishy-washy and her work set a great example for me. Technical skill aside, Debbie was admirably compassionate and sensitive. This fascinated me because I am quite the opposite. I generally don't like emotions (from other people, or expressing them myself) so it was impressive to see that kind of stuff come so easily from Debbie. We became great friends and I really don't see her enough anymore now that life is different. One great thing about Debbie is her friends. I was invited many times to hang out with her and her friends outside of work, and even though they were such a close knit group they were always so welcoming and had a way of making me feel like I wasn't the new guy at the party. A lot of people could take a lesson from Debbie and her friends.

(Above: A piece from the limited edition run of hand painted and silkscreened monotypes, featuring Paul Frank's Julius, by artist Thomas Campbell. One of my favorite collaborations. We have one of these hanging in our living room and it's one of my favorite possessions.)

Alex just recently left Paul Frank in March 2012 and he's pretty much a badass. If I were to take something from the way Alex worked, it would be that he took his time really finessing his graphics and it shows because his work might be the best I've seen from anyone at PF over the years. He was already immersed in the local art scene as a painter, and thanks to him I got to be involved in some art shows, which I had never done before. But more than anything, Alex cracked me up on a daily basis. He has a filthy mind, and his story-telling skills are unmatched.

(Above: That time we had the craziest company holiday party on the top level of a parking structure and Wolfmother played...)

(...and there was a camel.)

I didn't work with Kevin for very long, but I have always admired his ability to start over. He left Paul Frank less than a year after I started working there and moved to Austin, Texas with his wife and baby (who is now a kid!) and now he is this super cool Austin art dude. I am really glad we've kept in touch.

Todd wasn't a graphic designer. He was our men's merchandiser and later became our men's designer. He went on to start Toddland. That's enough of an inspiration right there. Actually, I might as well lump Paul (Meshreky, not Frank) into this because for a while there we were really a trio. We called ourselves "the Voltron of design" because whenever we were all together, something that would start out as a wacky idea from one of us would get bounced around back and forth between us until it became an actual thing. You might even say that Toddland itself is one of those things. They were my work BFFs.

(Above: In our old building, we always had musicians, actors, and other celebrities coming in for tours and to get free stuff. Of course, my favorite person to come in was Leslie Hall. My second favorite person to come in was Elijah Wood. He was quiet and seemed kind of nervous, like he was on our turf. I found it endearing. I did not care much for Christian Bale, although his wife was lovely.)

Mike (code name: Sonny Skyes) is the hardest working guy I know. He really flexes his brain muscles when a design problem emerges, and he always has a concept behind what he does. Plus he's just the coolest dude who keeps up with all the latest bands and art gallery openings and shows and stuff. He is currently the Creative Director for Paul Frank, and I was so glad when he got that position because he really deserved it. I hope he goes on to become a VP of something.

(Above: In March 2009, this was all that was left of the Paul Frank art department. Mike, Alex, and me. Eventually we brought back Paul Meshreky, and hired a brand new person - Jsong.)

(Above: The time Mike Perry and Anna Wolf came to our office and I made a super sweet face.)

Jsong and Juanita - none of us would have ever signed up for the Patchwork craft shows or opened our Etsy shops if we hadn't all done it together.

Ryan Heuser was one of the founders and president of the company. I was really intimidated by him at first. When we changed from a company of 150 employees to 15 employees and moved into a smaller office, I got to know him better and came to love "busting his balls" a little. Despite making fun of him for listening to John Mayer in his office, I hold his opinion very highly. So highly that I still have an email saved that he sent me in 2006 that told me I was doing a great job. I was pretty new back then, so getting an email from the president/owner of the company was a big deal! His wife Melissa is one of the sweetest people I know, and she is the brains behind Invent-a-Tale and Chipper.

These people and so many more made Paul Frank the greatest place to work. I bet anyone who worked there could write the same types of things about the people in their department. Sometimes I wonder how all the most amazing people could end up under one roof. I suspect witchcraft.

Some notable things I did as an employee (things I'm proud of):
  • I really pushed the idea of rendering characters in different ways - hand drawing, ink, watercolor, switching up colors, and doing more fashion-y layouts. 
  • I designed 2 seasons worth of graphics and prints at the same time while I was pregnant, so that my coworkers wouldn't be bogged down with extra work while I was on maternity leave. This was at a time when the output was massive and I can't believe I pulled that one off!

Some fond memories:
  • The year I was a centaur for Halloween and I battled a dragon in the costume contest.
  • Every party. Ain't no party like a Paul Frank party.
  • That time Parker decided it was finally time to realize his dream of eating a pancake burger - a cheeseburger with pancakes for buns. A big group of us went over to TK Burgers at lunch time, where luckily they served breakfast all day. Several people ordered pancake burgers, and they actually made them. The joy on Parker's face as he poured syrup all over his burger still haunts me.
  • Birthday cakes from Todd that just got crazier each year.
  • Several Paul Frank employees becoming gym rats together. For a solid 2 years we were all really hot. One of us even went on to become a certified Crossfit trainer.
  • "Pupusa Thursdays"...we ate pupusas every Thursday.
  • Being flown to Chicago to attend Lollapalooza 3 times. My job was to paint kids' faces with our characters at Kidzapalooza. How amazing is it that they sent art department people to do this, instead of just hiring Chicago-based face painters? We were officially off duty at 4pm and we had these crazy passes to the "Lolla Lounge" where there was free everything - food, drink, massages, etc.
  • Specifically, watching Radiohead at Lollapalooza from the Lolla Lounge. This was shortly after "In Rainbows" came out, which is my favorite album of theirs. I felt like I was transported to another dimension while I watched them.

It's been 7 really rad years. I feel like I got to be a member of some exclusive club. And yet, I'm not really too sad about leaving. In fact, I'm actually pretty excited about the next chapter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Honeycomb Pots

See Hasami for more.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Illustration Love: Leah Duncan

One of my favorite things about Leah Duncan's work is that it looks like it all comes from the same place. Finding my "groove" and something that’s uniquely "me" is something that I've struggled with. When someone has a body of work like this where I just love everything they do and you can look at it all on a page together and it's all different, but so cohesive, it shows a confidence that I really admire. Check out her shop and I bet you will want one of everything too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This was taken at my desk at work.

Fawn prints, printed out and waiting to be cut.

This is just a rice cake with some goat cheese, but my Orla plates make all my food more exciting.

Our next door neighbor does roller derby! We went to go check it out and it was super fun to watch. Afterward we grabbed a burger at TK. It was a most excellent date night.

Z hasn't quite mastered the art of blowing bubbles, but she did figure out how to use the wind to her bubble-blowing advantage.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adorable designs from Littlephant

All products available at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Young Prisms

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One-eyed fawn prints - NEW at my Etsy shop!

I've added prints to my Etsy shop! The one-eyed fawn is available in 5"x7", 8"x10", and the ever elusive Ikea RIBBA 8.5"x11" frame. More prints to come!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Some things I like right now

A colorful kitchen and dining area, via La mason d'Anna G.

A friend of mine suggested that I start following Forage LA on Facebook for all the yummy-looking photos they post of their food. Their menu changes often, depending on what's in season and locally available. Even if I never make my way over there to eat, looking at the photos sure did inspire me to cook.

I just bought this green table from CB2! It was on sale, and we've been looking for a long and low table to go below the window in our living room. I was hesitant at first because I prefer wood over metal, but it is my favorite color! It will arrive next week some time.

This picnic photo by Jennifer Causey has me all excited to have picnics this summer. 

This one is a double whammy. Not only do I love all these knitted pieces by Emma Dime, but I LOVE her model's hair. Probably because it looks very similar to my own hair in color and cut, except that hers actually looks styled. So if I were willing to put in a little extra effort... I could maybe have this hair too? Please?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crafted at the Port of LA

On June 29th something awesome is happening. A new shopping concept is opening in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles. It will be called Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. The people behind Crafted (the team behind Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica) have taken over two 1940s warehouses near the water and are turning them into "a large-scale permanent craft marketplace that will showcase unique handmade goods." So if you love going to Patchwork, Renegade, Unique LA, etc, you will be delighted to know that there will be a place for you to get all the handmade and local goodies you love to shop for – every weekend! They will be open Friday through Sunday, year round.

According to their FAQ, when they are completely up and running, they will be able to house more than 500 artisans. They plan to open in 5 phases, introducing about 100 artisans per phase. Admission will be free, there will be convenient parking, real restrooms, ATMs, daily demonstrations, live music, and food.

One other neat new thing to do in the area is visit the USS Iowa, which just landed at the port last week, but won't be open to the public until July 7th. There is a park nearby too. Sounds like a fun day!

 Thanks to Raychel Huff of Fruition for telling me all about Crafted :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

King Tuff

Monday, June 4, 2012


Friday, June 1, 2012


My friend Kristine got my unicorn skull tattooed on her forearm! She also has "Let's Die Friends" tattooed above that, where the drippies are. I am a wusslord when it comes to tattoos. The commitment freaks me out. This picture was taken while it was still fresh.

My new star headband from Giant Dwarf was my Mother's Day gift. 

A new page in my sticker book. As I lovingly placed each sticker on the page, I thought to myself, "I am 31."

The curry chicken salad banh mi from East Borough is one of my favorite things to eat.

Staining wood hearts to make brooches

A cute little area behind The Lab in Costa Mesa.