Friday, December 14, 2007

You're the Perfect Package!

This latest, and some say greatest, set of Hanna Stamps! was one of the most fun for me to design. Haha, well that's kind of funny since I loved illustrating every one of them. I hope that people use this set the way I conceptualized it, using boxes and bows to create fantastic looking little stamp packages. I'm already loving the sneak peeks that I am seeing on the design team blogs. The cluster stamp in this set is to die for! When it's lined up perfectly and twisted ever so slightly in a basket weave like pattern it creates an absolutely beautiful patch of spools and ribbons. It's my favorite of the bunch. Below is one of the tests that I always do before I ink. I line up the cluster sketch I've designed and repeat it until I fill a square so that I know exactly what it will look like if it's used as a repeating pattern. Only after I check it like this will I ink it and finish it up to send it off to become a stamp.

This Hanna Stamps! little beauty sitting on the floor wrapping, or unwrapping her gifts was originally a concept I sketched out while I was designing our 'Tis the Season set. As an artist you never know what great ideas you will come up when you're sketching up a storm, that's why it's important to always have a pencil handy!
It was really important to me to always create a cohesive stamp set. For ''Tis the season' I really wanted a versatile set, a lovely girly that could be decorating an outside tree or perhaps an indoor one with a blanket of snow that could easily become a tree skirt and so many options and choices. I know that all of the Hanna Stamps! customers are too talented to be tied to one of my ideas, so I try to come up with open ones that let them create their own.
This little eager gift opening/wrapping girl just didn't fit with any of the other concepts in the 'Tis the Season set. Now I'm glad she didn't! She makes the most perfect round the season gift giver! The DT is already using her for fantastic round' the year card ideas, everything from Valentines Day to birthdays and mother's day!
If you crop out the little box with the exploding broccoli-like bow on the gift tag you can easily fit the sentiment onto the tag. I had everything done and ribbons and bows and boxes crammed into every nook and cranny before I realized that we needed tape and scissors! That's always the hardest part of wrapping anything for me, finding a good pair of scissors in the house and enough scotch tape to hold it all together. I just couldn't let this little girly have as hard a time as I do! I thought we should help her out a bit ;) Kristi loved the idea of adding the tape and the scissors. Apparently we both have a hard time finding the tape!

Stalking the blogs and seeing what everyone is up to with these little girls that I've been sketching and developing since middle school is the best part of designing Hanna Stamps! I am so glad that I have had this opportunity to invent and create and to watch such talented people use my images. The entire experience has been such an honor. I cannot wait to see what everyone does with her. Happy Stamping, lovelies!

"You're the Perfect Package" can be purchased at

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sugar Frosted Goodness and a Traveling Sketchbook

I had the sublime opportunity and the heavy obligation of participating in the SFG blank book project a week or so ago. For those of you not in the know, the SFG Blank Book Project is a traveling sketchbook created collaboratively by Jeff Andrews and Steph Doyle .For approximately 500 days, the sketchbook is on the move! The blank sketchbook got its start in Washington D.C. and will slowly meander hither and thither to 50 illustrators around the world. Once the book arrives, each illustrator has 7 days to complete a sketch and send the book on to the next illustrator. The book will reach its final destination approximately mid-December, 2008. What a cool thing, huh?

It was a very hip and happening thing to do, but it was also a stressful pressure cooker. Luckily for artists following me I've eased up their experience by my complete lack of sketch planning. The book is beautiful and while I was only the tenth artist to touch pen to it, it was freaky knowing that every page had been slaved over by such talented people. I pity the artists who get it when it's 3/4 of the way through, talk about a psyche-out. I loved having it but I wasn't sorry to see it go! go! go! go sketchbook go! I cannot wait to see where the next forty artists take it from here. Check out what artists are doing with it and stalk its journey around the world here, at
Below you'll find an honest salute to life in Brooklyn. The sketchbook's theme is "Where I live."

At the top of one of my sketch pages you find a quick rendering outside the Brooklyn Museum of Art as seen in the torrential rain. If you look beneath the museum sketch and to your left you'll see one of my sneakiest and silliest habits. Sometimes I like drawing people the way I imagine they'd look in their underwear while on my daily commute to 23rd street on the F train. Word to the wise, make sure no one catches you cartooning them in their panties, otherwise you'll have a lot to explain. . . On your right, turned kinda topsy is the view from my lovely Brooklyn bedroom. Awww... Brooklyn, I'll love you forever.

Something Cute

Dear lovely blog stalkers, I'm off to London for a week of shopping and museum haunting! Before I go, I wanted to give you this little sneak peek. . . of a new and very exciting project that I'm in development on right now. Above you'll find one of our little ladies. She's a cutie, but this is just a taste of more to come. I'll be sketching up a storm this week to be sure. xo.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hanna Stamps! Tis the Season Set hits the Market!

I'm loving my freelance work lately. Above you'll find the new Hanna Stamps! 'Tis the Season' set. I loved creating the artwork for this Hanna Stamps! set. I actually like this more than the 'But I need it' shopping set artwork, although at the time I thought that the shopping set was tops. This set goes public today, October 26th, and you can buy it at Kristi Ferro's blog,

I'm thrilled to be the Hanna Stamps! artist because it's allowed me to bring two of my talents together. As a character developer and a product designer I couldn't be happier.

Kristi is the greatest client to work for because not only are we friends but she allows me almost complete creative freedom. Very early on she sent me about a million rubber stamps to try to bridge the gap in my knowledge of the medium. That package of stamps influenced my creative process in one very important way. I realised that all I personally wanted to do with stamps was make infinite repeating patterns. I loved stamping an entire sheet of paper by twisting and turning the stamps to make full pages of a repeat. It became really important to me for every set to have one stamp that really lent itself to that process. We call the repeat pattern stamp a 'cluster stamp' and every set has one. In this set the cluster is a smattering of stars and swirls under the mistletoe. Does it make you want to kiss it ?!

It seems like me and Hanna Stamps! are a perfect fit. I can't wait to see what those fab stamping ladies come up with for this set. I was blown away by the cards made with the last set and I simply cannot wait to see where they take the artwork this time around!
P.S. If you love this set. . . . you're going to go nuts for the next one! It's my favorite! Haha.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mexico Rocks

This is some new fun stuff from my latest project at my job-job. I really love the way this film turned out. Below are some of my favorite frame grabs from the whole movie. This one took forever, but it sure was fun. These aren't sketchy in the least, but it's been a long time since I've been able to get anything up, mainly because my life is consumed by freelance as of late, a nice and warm feeling :)

I'm slightly suspicious of this particular assignment, could it be that once again I'm being judged for my non-mexican-i-ness? I think perhaps it could! Why did I recieve this project over the other people in my department? Perhaps is it because they want me to connect to my roots? You will be happy to know that I learned a ton of stuff about Mexico this time around. For instance, do you know that Mexico is under the United States?! Get out! I'm actually joking about that one. However, I was disgusted by the responses I got when polling a group of third graders this past week. I kind of felt that we didn't need this shot above and that it would be more than ok to cut it. I mean, who doesn't know where Mexico is, right? My boss argued the fact that most kids DO not know where America is in the grand scheme of things, let alone where Mexico is in relation to the nation. I called her bluff and asked a posse of third graders on their way to a field trip on my morning commute. Out of the twenty-eight kids I polled on the subway platform only six knew that Mexico was beneath the United States, four of those kids were actually FROM Mexico. The most popular answers were "In Africa" and the winning, "In Spain." Needless to say, the shot stayed put. Sick, sick, sick. . .

Below we have a close up so that we can explain the compass rose to the kids and get them to start thinking about direction. This is our first movie where we really start to explain the concept of a map.

Do you know that Mexico has thirty-one states? I did not. I REALLY did not, not jokingly did not. I'm embarrassed to admit, I didn't even know that Mexico had states, I was under the loose impression that Mexico was made up of territories, herein lies one of the many gaps in the knowledge of my cultural heritage. . . .

Mexico is also made up of many different types of land mass, namely mountains, deserts, rainforests and beaches. Hum. . . yeah didn't know that either. It was my belief that Mexico was manly dirt, dirt and hot water. This stems from the root of most of my Mexican knowledge, oddly enough passed down from my mother, the gringo, and centering on the movie "The Three Amigos."

Yes, there are also Mexican volcanos. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for Mexico's sake) they are not the dramatic, fiery and spectacular volcanos like those you would find in Hawaii. I was very enthusiastic about including the volcanos as I read about them in the script. I did a complete storybord illustrating the dramatic scene with hot fiery lava and red blood firework like explosions. I was berated for my lack of Mexican knowledge and then forced to research them, upon which I found something akin to the illustration below. Now I am fully knowledgable of volcanos, dormant and otherwise in Mexico.

Below you'll find some shots of Tenochitilan, the ancient Aztec civilization that existed where modern day Mexico City now rests. Aha! Something I know about! I wasn't aware of the actual name of the city but I knew all about it, thanks to one crazy summer in middle school where my mom took it upon herself to continue our education by building her own little Aztec city in our livingroom. We learned all about Aztecs that summer, about their forms of government, their bartering system, their war rituals and their beliefs. Go mom! We even earned beans that summer in lieu of an allowence which, come to think of it, might have been the real reason for the Aztec summer school. . . .

Most people know me know about my sun worshipping tendancies. They know that my company logo on my website is actually the scientific shorthand for the sun and that I wear a gold sun around my neck more often than not. My obsession is part of what made my rendition of an ancient Aztec sun dial so fun, that and the fact that Aztecs knew how to make one wicked set of scuptures. This is my favorite thing I've ever had to do for my job and I've included a few close-ups. I like the women facing eachother best, but my coworkers like the monsters around the center.

We talk all about turquoise, which made for some fun research and a bit of retail therapy (oops.)

This illustrates a basketball-like Aztec sport with a horizontal ring and the same relative rules as soccer, except if you lost you were sacrificed in a bath of blood. We left that last fact out for the kiddies.

These final illustrations are all about Dios De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. My coworker did the background for a different project about migration and I stole it to put my dancing dead skeletons on. It's beautiful isn't it? The dancing skeletons were a blast to animate. My next movie is about Reading Maps in honor of National Geography day, so it looks like the memory of this fantastically fun movie that actually taught me a bit about my origins will have to last me a while. National Geography Day, sheesh, how many national days do we need?! Boo.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You Know You Want It.

Today's the day! Last night at 12am EST. the project I've been working on for the last few months went public! So I can FINALLY share what's been going on! Man, this secret has been hard to keep. I am the exclusive artist for Hanna Stamps! My new creations can now be bought at !!! Kristi Ferro and I have been working together to create Kristi's new rubber stamp company. She's done a dream at promoting and pimping and now they're out there for all the world to see. There has been such a frenzy for their actual release, I was afraid people were going to start banging down doors.

I've learned a lot about stampers in the last couple of months, they're a whole breed unto themselves. My mom says it's like Nascar for women. Ha. She's just about right. These women are so talented. It's such a strange experience to see artwork created with rubber stamps I've designed. They're using my art to create new art. It's like collaborating with dozens of artists and wow, is it fun to see what they come up with! More than anything I'm amazed at the versatility. These stamping ladies are doing things with Hanna Stamps! that I would never even think to do, and they're doing them beautifully. It's such fun to see what they'll come up with next! The links below will take you to their frantically fantastic cards. You'll be shocked at their sublime talent. I know I was :)

You can read all about Hanna Stamps! at Kristi Ferro's Kreations, right here:

I'm so excited! Go Hanna Stamps! Go!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Surtex or bust!

For the last few weeks I've been afraid my life might be on a turn down to 'a slightly better life than the average 25 year old' phase. In a very exciting turn of events - my life has just become more fabulous then it already was!
It's official, I'll be showing at Surtex 2008 at Manhattan's Javitz center!!
I'll be in booth 405** and the design frenzy starts today. . .
It's my goal to have 5 designs a week to add to my portfolio while I'm redesigning my website. I've decided to keep a Surtex folder on my desktop to upload five new designs to every Thursday night. I've promised myself I won't sleep on Thursdays until there's a new batch in there. Most of the designs have to have a 'top secret' air to them, but I think it will be fun to document my journey by posting at least one inspirational object or sketch that's fueling my week's stockpile.
As some of you know, I get fan mail from kids ages 5-10 at my job. As an artist the personal letters we get from the babes really help to fuel the projects I work on. My favorite is tacked next to my lightbox in my studio and it simply reads:
Hay people,
You better Draw mor pictchers in 3. . . 2. . . 1. . . NOWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!S
Your friend,
Alex P.

I feel like it was written especially for this grand occasion.

**Hi Everyone! There's been a change of plans. This year I'll be calling Surtex Booth #2518 "Home." Booth 2518 is in Hall 1E. Stop by for a temporary tattoo and a smile :)**

Thursday, September 06, 2007

SpinPin - Spin Away

I designed this pattern for one of my new favorite clients to licence . It's entitled 'SpinPin.' It has been growing on me in a very steady way for the last few days. Now I am ready to marry it. I thought the bunch of you would get a kick out of it. If you don't love it now, wait a couple of days.
Behold, My inspiration! I found this picture online and it fueled me.

This photo helped me pull back a bit. At first strike my color story for this was too dark, but it's always hard to realize that's the problem. I just new it wasn't working. When I found this I knew that I really liked the way the blue interacted with the purplish. I thought it'd be nice to post a bit of my thought process, since this 'SpinPin' pattern actually had a thought process :)

Most times it's hard to track the thought process for my work and explain it to other people. Most often it's just me in Gus-Gus mode. There's a lot of that "Ooooh . . . Beads!! Pretty beads! Pretty beads for Cinderelly," in me. That's the stuff that's better thrown into my art and not into my writing. *wink.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tomorrow I'm going to the Beach!

Happy Labor Day!

Girls With Pens Development Drawings

I've never posted nude sketches on my blog because very early on I received a few choice emails from parents who told me that my blog was big with their 5-10 year olds. Those letters greatly influence my decision to never post any of my life drawing work here for your innocent peeps.

These little nudie cuties are just too sweet an innocent to offend anyone. After a lot of thought I've decided to show them off. This is a big day, a day for a little skin ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Alchemist

Jenny and I spent the day at Coney Island. It was a lovely day for hot dogs and sand and good times. We copped a squat next to a little girl who made me giggle with glee. She' is immortalised in my Moleskin in two dozen little sketches, the ones above are my choice pics. These were done with a ball point pen and a carefully rationed prismacolor marker. I love a prisma when it gets down to its last days of glory, somehow that's always when it does its best work.

Sketches on the Beach

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Return of the Cute Girls

Okay! I know, I know. I haven't posted in a stupidly long amount of time. I have an excuse though, honest! I'm actually so busy with freelance work at the moment. As I'm freelancing I really strive to keep my client's confidentiality. That way they're allowed to use a trade secret approach to any product or design I make for them. That client confidentiality goes right out the door the minute I flaunt the nuts and bolts on my blog while we're building stuff. So when there's not a lot of new work on my blog it usually means I'm busy working but that everything is under wraps.
However, one of my favorite projects I'm working on right now is just too fun for complete secrecy. These are a couple of the drawings that we decided to discard recently. I loved them too much to completely toss them aside. The products for this new client are going to be soooooooooo spiffy! I love my other freelance clients too. I've been really lucky lately, all my freelance clients have great stuff for me to do and work is totally exciting development-wise. Juggling it is hard sometimes, but it's more than worth it.
Since I'm such a nerd, in addition to my freelance work I'm chipping away at my independent stuff. I'm still working on my children's book. Hopefully I will have some pages to show off before too long. My biggest goal for the late summer and early fall is to redesign that website we all know and love so much, that's right - we'll be creating a new face for Please contain your excitement.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Growing Up Keats

These illustrations are all for a little movie I'm working on right now about the life of Ezra Jack Keats. I'm waiting to hear back from the lawyers of his estate. There's only so much we're allowed to do. We're allowed to use his original book covers but none of his original artwork. We also want to be "sensitive" about the subject. That's a word being thrown around a lot at the office this week. It's just plain weird having to create art about an artist. They don't want me to in anyway use his style of illustration and they have all these rules about the difference between "homage" and "satire." Hopefully these pass the test and I can move on to animation soon. I really think these are fun to do. I like the bold lines and while they're different from my typical stuff they're a closer marriage between the way I draw and the way the company's work looks. They've been great about giving me creative license and allowing me to make these stand away from our typical style at the studio.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Splish and Splashed - All done!

Here's that pattern I was working on. Here it's shown on an infinite repeat which is where the pay off comes. I'm pretty happy with the result but part of me can't decide if I like it better with the raindroops spread out the way they were last night or if I like them now that they're all squished together. I thought for the splish and the splash to make sense they'd need to be in a downpour. Now I'm not so sure.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Splish Splash

I love walking in the rain. . .but so do jungle animals! I love textile design, I love the math side. I think that's why I'm an animator, scientific principals and wild creativity always seem like the best marriage. This is a rough design. It still needs a lot of work. I had to do it in Photoshop as my version of Illustrator is acting all kooky. I hope when I open the illustrator files tomorrow at the Manhattan studio that everything works perfectly and I can turn this into a proper textile design and a fab repeat. Some of the raindrops still need to be moved for line up purposes and stuff like that. I'll post the final tomorrow! xo - Amber

Friday, July 13, 2007

So Many Fish In the Sea

Well, this particular project was great, due to the fact that it combined most of the loves of my life, namely, mermaids, Coney Island and creative freedom. I have a friend who's dusting off her party planning chops for the event of the Summer. As she sees it it's up to me to come up with advertising. It's a huge dating day, Brooklyn-style with a lot of young, single cuties. My only directions were, "Make our event look like the best thing you could ever hope to do with a Saturday!" Oh and I had to include the info too. I started by doing a google search for Coney Island (something I admit to doing all too often) I found this:

I REALLY liked this sign. It got me sketching. I came up with the lettering which started really detailed and had to be watered down and simplified. The neon thing is still slightly present, but it doesn't over power that lovely lady on the bottom. Of course, lately whenever I start sketching I end up with a pretty girl's face. There's only so much you can do when you've got a lovely girlie staring up at you from the pages of your sketchbook. . . . MERMAID. . .mermaid. . . MERMAID!!! The "fish in the sea" thing grew from there. Dating, Coney Island, fish in the sea!?! It's official I'm a genius. Now our mission has a slogan.

Oh to be a full-time mermaid artist, (by that I mean a mermaid who draws for a living). I guess I'm pretty much a full-time robot artist. I'm living a different kind of dream. . . a ten year old boy's dream. Not that I'm complaining. . . . I love my robot job. Besides I'm young, we'll work up to the mermaid gig.


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