Marceline blogs about illustration, Japan, crafts and the freelance life. Asking For Trouble is a collection of stationery, accessories and gifts featuring my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I often take a photo of the view when I walk along the seafront. Only the prettiest photos get much interest as presumably people follow me for my cute characters and Japan trips.
The obvious thing to do was start another Instagram account. I can post views as often as I like and the 30-ish people who enjoy them can follow me there. If you like nice views, you can find me at @averyquietstreet. I walk along the seafront at least three times a week, and much more often in the summer, so it should be fun to see how the view changes. I’m also finding I go out for walks more now if it looks like there will be a nice view.
I’ll also be using it to share photos when I’m travelling as I can post more there without boring people. It’s kind of sad that Instagram and its users prefer you to be consistent and predictable, and not post too often, but at least there’s Stories to have fun with.
@marcelinesmith is still both a personal and business account though so it won’t all be products. I will keep sharing the creative parts of my life there, and the occasional view if it’s really nice out. I will also be taking part in March Meet The Maker again.
If you wish it was Halloween all year round*, you’re going to love my newest stockist! October31st is a UK-based online store dedicated to everything spooky so you can get your Halloween fix without waiting until October.
They’ve just relaunched their website and it includes quite a few of my Little Ghosts! The range includes cards, badges, brooches, stamps and patches, plus some sticker sets that I no longer have for sale myself.
There’s lots of other spooky cuteness too, including these cute cat coasters! Check it all out at October31st.co.uk.
*Personally, I would prefer 6 months of Easter and 6 months of Halloween.
I haven’t been sharing much of what I’ve been drawing in Procreate recently with my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil. I’ve got a post of tips coming up next week but first here’s a recent drawing and timelapse so you can see how I work now.
Once me and Nicolette announced we were planning another sister trip to Japan our family have been helping out with our savings. I drew this thank you card to send out after Christmas of us wearing our current favourite outfits.
You may recognise me from my current avatar! Note the tiny space shuttle necklace. I didn’t plan to draw us for the card, but I had so much fun doing me and I knew it would make for a nice keepsake.
Here’s a timelapse from Procreate of me drawing Nicolette. It starts with my own face, since we are sisters. It goes past so quickly but my general process is as follows:
Sketch out the rough shapes with a brown pencil. This one was easier because I had the figure template that I had previously drawn in Illustrator. Otherwise, there can be a lot more erasing and redrawing.
Use that as a guide to draw the real outline with a black pen. What you don’t see in these timelapses is all the draw line / erase / try again / erase / over and over until I get it just right.
With symmetrical things like the arms, legs and dress I draw one half, duplicate the layer, flip it and then join them together.
Colouring! I like to use a big charcoal brush and then erase back to the lines. It’s just easier on my wrists. If I’m using a light colour, I add a strong background so I don’t miss anything that might show up on another layer on in a transparent background.
Reference. For something like the dress pattern, I pasted in a photo from Nic’s Instagram. That helps me get the pattern and colours right. Obviously, I simplified it a lot (see below). I did the same for my necklace and trainers.
Repeat pattern. Since I do a lot of pattern design, it was easy for me to create a rough repeat area and then duplicate the layers to cover the dress. You can see in the video that I left too big a gap first time and had to go back and try again!
After I’d done both of us, I hid the backgrounds and imported us into a new file. The Japan background was just done with watercolour brushes and the text with the script calligraphy pen. I had them printed by Funky Pigeon (forgive me) so they could be sent directly, since we couldn’t both sign it personally.
I hope you enjoyed that! I’ll try to share more Procreate timelapses soon but I always have to edit them as often they have a whole other drawing first because I duplicated a previous drawing.
I love designing (and collecting!) enamel pins so I’ve been excited for two new ones to arrive. Want to meet them?
Mt Fuji Hugs
A lot of people missed out on the original Mt Fuji pin so I made a new one that’s even friendlier. He just wants a hug!
Not one of your 5 a day, but this little cutie will cheer up any outfit. I really like the packaging for this one.
I’ve also added the option to include a secure locking back. These can’t be pulled off the pin so are much safer if you wear your pins outdoors. Choose to add one for 50p in the dropdown of any enamel pin product, or buy a pack of 3 for £1.
My pins are quite a little gang now. Check them all out in the enamel pins section of my shop.
I recently fulfilled a life long dream and now have a PO Box! UK/EU laws require me to publish my address all over the place and it was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. It also opens up opportunities for fun! By which I mean SURPRISE MAIL SWAP.
I love sending and receiving surprise mail, but it’s not really that much of a surprise when you have to ask for the address. I’ve always wanted to revive the Summer Postcard Club so this is a good replacement and runs all year round. You don’t need to restrict yourself to postcards either.
So, a promise! If you send something to my PO Box, I promise I will send you something in return, even internationally. It may take a while but it will happen.
You can find the address on my Contact page so I look forward to hearing from you and will be stalking the postman even more than usual.
I’ve scheduled in one of these posts for every month this year so I’ll remember to share all the fun stuff I buy. I sensibly put all my Christmas money in my Japan savings account so I didn’t buy that much in January.
I did stalk Eva Stalinski on Instagram waiting for her to reopen her shop so I could buy one of these sad keys for my keyring. As soon as I saw it, I had to have one. My keys are pretty boring (and both for my front door) so this is perfect to add some cuteness.
I bought some enamel pins from my wish list as well. I’ve had my eye on the ghosts from Northern Spells and then couldn’t resist a snow bunny too.
Some of these pins were bigger than I expected so my board is running out of space. I already have a bigger one but I need to paint it first.
To help my goal of listening to more new music, I bought a Bluetooth speaker. I didn’t realise quite how life changing this would be, but the sound is much better than my laptop speakers and I can easily carry it around the house for packing orders, cooking or cleaning.
And finally, pens! I have bought quite a lot of stuff for my journal, but I already showed you most of it. These Twin Tip Sharpies have become my favourite pens for journalling – both tips are great for writing, they don’t bleed and the colours are perfect. The light blue and navy blue are my favourites.
I also got some Rainbow Mail from Rainbowholic but you can read more about that in my post with Natasja at Super Cute Kawaii.
Valentine’s Day is coming up very soon! If you’re looking for cards or gifts for your sweetheart, best friend or just yourself, here’s some ideas featuring my cute characters.
Valentine’s Day Cards
However you feel, I’ve got a cute card to help you express it. All of these designs – and more! – are also available from my Zazzle store including blank versions to personalise with your own text. Zazzle ship locally in the US so you’ll have a better chance of getting a card in time if you order there.
I have lots of paired characters that are perfect for couples and BFFs. Are you a Bunny & Panda? Or maybe an ice cream & ice lolly, sun & planet, Fuji & onigiri or bee & sunflower? Something else? Create your own pairing with my pick and mix badges.
Valentine’s Day Gifts On-Demand
Lots of my cute characters and patterns are available on fun gifts at Society6 & Redbubble with everything from homeware and stationery to clothing and gadget cases.
I just added a pink version of my Bunny & Panda pattern and today there’s 25% off everything at Society6 and 20% off everything at Redbubble, so what are you waiting for?
Repeat customer offer: 15% off the Valentine’s Day collection! Just login and check the cart page for the code. (How do you become one? Place an order in my shop and you’ll have the option to create a customer account for exclusive monthly offers.)
I was really pleased to discover the founder of Get Rich Slowly has bought the site back. Some blogs just don’t work without their original voice. There’s loads of helpful, non-judgmental, advice about money on there and it’s well worth following again.
Need some book recs? My li.st pal Rachel read 174 books in 2017! Quite a few of my recent favourites came via her lists and this is a fun round-up.
It’s the last week to take advantage of my Price Freeze before I raise some of my prices on February 1st. I have updated my overly complex spreadsheet with all the current costs and it affected less products than I expected but here’s what’s changing.
Cards – now £2, will be £3
I’ve kept my cards range at £2 for a long time but printing prices have gone up (thanks, Brexit) and I have no choice. Single cards will be £3 each but you’ll still be able to save by buying any 2 cards for £5.
Seasonal Fruit & Vegetables Postcards – now £1.25, will be £2
One of my most popular products is another victim of rising printing prices. These postcards will soon be £2 each or a set of 2 for £3.50 and I will use the money to take a better product photo!
Banana Brooches- now £4, will be £5
These Bananas take more time to make than my Ghosts, thanks to the hand coloured stalk and tiny mouths that need removing with a pin (this is my silliest task for sure) but will still be a bargain at £5.
Gift Wrap Sets – now £3, will be £4
My wrapping paper is staying the same price but gift tags are more expensive. That means gift wrap sets with tags and stickers are going up to £4 and packs of gift tags will be double the price.
Badges & Badge Sets
It’s not all bad news for badges. Sets of 4 are actually going down 5p! Single badges and sets of 5 will stay the same, but sets of 2, 3 and 10 will be going up to £2, £3 and £8 respectively.
I only added fridge magnets due to a customer request but they have turned out to be really popular! Now that I have a better idea of what I need to make them and how much time they take, prices are quite a bit higher. A single magnet will be £1.50, a set of 2 £2.90 and 4 for £5.
Fabric Pencil Cases- now £7, will be £10
And the biggest rise of the lot. Materials costs have risen quite a bit and these pencil cases are all sewn by hand so I think £10 is reasonable. You can always make your own instead!
You can see all these products in the Going Up collection so get your order in by Thursday.