If you’ve ever asked me how I make all of my 6º of Hapa swag, you know I could go on for hours about my process if given the chance. So getting a little video about my artistic process down to 40 seconds was really tough for me, but it was a challenge I was willing to take on because the Northern California Cherry Blossom Arts & Crafts Committee asked me to!
For the month of April 2020, NCCBF is hosting a Virtual Arts & Crafts Marketplace to help support their artisans virtually while we all shelter-in-place for public health and safety. Thank you to NCCBF for all of the care and love that goes into the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival every year and I can’t wait to be back in 2021!
Behind the scenes: Cherry blossom season is a favorite time of year for me and with it comes one of my favorite treats: sakura mochi. Initially, my idea began as a hand-drawn sketch that I actually got out of bed to draw at 1am because I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
A few days later, I began from scratch in Adobe Illustrator with my hand-drawn sketch as a reference sitting on my desk next to me. My Sakura Mochi vector art illustration at first glance may look simple, but when deconstructed you can see the many “pieces” it took to create this illustration.
I think of illustrating with vector art as a combination of sketching and sculpting. I’m self-taught in Adobe Illustrator and don’t always know the fanciest moves and short cuts, but that’s never stopped me, it’s always really satisfying working through challenges, like getting a shiso leaf to look like it’s perfectly wrapped around a rice ball!
When I first had my Sakura Mochi idea in mind, I knew that I wanted to create vinyl stickers with it. To get from hand-drawn sketch to my “finished swag,” I spend a lot of time figuring out dimensions, colors, placement, and what blanks I’d like to use for my apparel if I am going to make apparel out of it. Since starting 6º of Hapa, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into figuring out the best methods for creating my swag and how to get my art to translate well onto tees, caps, fabric, etc. I’m also very picky about my apparel/accessory blanks because I want them all to be comfortable to wear or use and I want them to be durable. It makes me so happy when people tell me that their 6º of Hapa swag they bought years ago is still going strong!
For my Sakura Mochi Vinyl Sticker, I printed out my vector art in various sizes to determine the “perfect” sticker size.
I decided on the middle size because I wanted something just a little smaller than what a real sakura mochi would be like—and here’s the finished version, made in the USA!
The reason I taught myself Adobe Illustrator and vector art to begin with was because it’s one of the easiest ways to create art that can be turned into many different things. In the case of my Sakura Mochi, I decided that it would make for a fun addition to my 6 Degrees of Hapa Threadless Artist Shop where it’s easy to upload vector art and add it as a bunch of different gear, like these cute little zip pouches!
One thing I love to do with my vector art is to “reuse” pieces from other designs, in this case, I created my Sakura pattern in 2016 for use on apparel and have added it as little details to my Sakura Mochi illustration. You can see little elements like this throughout my art.
As you can probably tell, a lot of time and love goes into everything I create! You can find my 6º of Hapa swag at 6degreesofhapa.com, where I carry all of the products and art you’ll find at one of my physical pop-up shops and all orders are fulfilled by me, and at my Threadless Artist Shop, which is run and fulfilled through Threadless and I earn a decent commission on every item you purchase!
Thanks for taking the time to learn about my art and design process, and an extra big thank you for supporting my art and small business!
Shop with me and all of my friends and fellow artisans of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival here!