My current leather sketchbook. The refined sketch to the first jacket I did (Leather Jacket No. 1). On the left page you can see a photo of the original post-it note sketch I did 3 years ago.
I used to be very bad at keeping a proper sketchbook. I’d often have piles of unfinished books, buying new ones to add to the pile at least once a year. They’d end up in a box on a sidewalk tagged “FREE” during a round of Spring cleaning.
This has changed mostly in part to the realization that none of my sketches, my process, needs to be perfect. Or even relevant for today, or next month (or next season, or next year).
A doodle I did during a lecture class at Parsons. The shirt I ended up doing in collaboration with my friend Rachel Nina Schwartznearly 4 years later.
Going through my old sketches revealed that a lot of the work I am proud of were a result of breaks. Sketching and doodling in-between what I thought were important brainstorm sessions. Post-it notes, in the deep crevice of a sketchbook, the margins of a spreadsheet.
This doesn’t mean any of these were results of serendipity. What you don’t see here are the 100 other sketches that became nothing. Or haven’t become anything yet. They are the results of consistent working, on anything, as long as I put something down. Designs for t-shirts, jackets, furniture, coffee mugs, tables, movie ideas.
My main leather sketchbook has enough work to produce for the next 4 years, but the truth is not all will be sampled and become a retail product. That’s not the goal, the goal is to rewire my brain to constantly be on and not lose momentum, because inspiration is for amateurs.
Initial scribble of my first men’s jacket (coming soon), inside the crevice of a sketch for a room layout.
I use a lined Moleskine and three pens: pilot g-2, Muji .7 red gel pen and a bic highlighter.
Here’s how I do it: Open up two pages, on the left side I write the date and a list of things to do. I always write coffee first and cross it off with the red pen, as I’m usually sitting down with a cup before I start. This helps me begin with a feeling of accomplishment.
I decide which are the three most important tasks for the day and highlight them. They can be anything, from a meeting with my manufacturer to simply taking a walk outside for an hour. No matter what happens today, I must get those three done. Everything else can be done after or be shuffled to another day. This prevents me from feeling like the day is a failure if I didn’t complete my entire list. The right hand page is reserved for any notes I need to take for the day. You might find that you can highlight 5 items on your list to do, for me I’ve found 3 to be my sweet spot.
2. The internet is basically one huge school with infinite resources. You could spend your time at the library on topics that you’ve been curious about, or in shop class getting schooled in a hands-on craft. Or you can hang around in the back at the self appointed cool kids table in the corners, gossiping about other students in the school. What’s your place in this?
3. Most things that pass for news, news publications and journalism now are mostly useless. Unless the news is local or affects a large part of humanity, it’s better to ignore it.
4. Speaking of which, avoid people that know and talk more about other people’s lives (celebrities or otherwise) than their own.
5. “Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. Exceptions to the rule means there are no rules.
7. Omission is not lying. And can be just as strong of a statement. This is how your one month stint as a professional coffee-getter turns into an “internship” on your resume. And how “no comment” is one of the worst (or best) things you can respond with.
8. Take a break. If you’re working 15 hours a day, you’re doing something wrong. Learn some shortcuts. Communicate better. Delegate. It’s easier to do so if you hire and work with people that are smarter than you.
10. Frugality can only work so much. Create financial leaps. Freelance work. Negotiate a raise. Seek a higher paying job. Create a side business. It’s like a hot summer day. You can only take so much clothes off before there’s nothing left to work with. An air conditioner changes the game.
Never one to do something ordinary, this week Kanye unveiled his new music video to “Bound 2” from Yeezus. Featuring horses, waterfalls and Kim Kardashian on a motorbike, it caused a stir on the interweb. Here’s why everyone so far has missed the point…
My 2nd business, an online retail shop selling designer goods, was going through a dip. It was stressing me out. In one of my daily phone calls home to my mom I was complaining about how slow my business was. I told her it was annoyingly hard.
She responded the only way a mother knows how, by making me feel like shit.
"I came to the United States with $2 dollars. I spoke no english. I raised 7 kids and put you through college. You can figure it out."
Let me expand on her story a little bit.
My mother gave birth to my sister on the plane here from Vietnam. With $2, she flipped it doing odd jobs into $50 to buy a car to find a better job. She saved up and opened a video store with my dad, then started another company assisting new immigrants with citizenship. She’s in her early 60s now, recently battled cancer and is still working to provide for my two brothers with medical conditions.
And here I was complaining about how some of my t-shirts weren’t selling, which meant I probably had to cook at home this week.
I was being an asshole. I was gassing myself up.
In my mom’s generation, they didn’t wear the struggle like a badge of honor.
She did it because she had to. Because she had no other choice. In the 30 years of my existence, I’ve never heard her complain once.
“How much difference really is there between McDonald’s super-processed food and molecular gastronomy? … If you put a Cheeto on a big white plate in a formal restaurant and serve it with chopsticks and say something like “It is a cornmeal quenelle, extruded at a high speed, and so the extrusion heats the cornmeal ‘polenta’ and flash-cooks it, trapping air and giving it a crispy texture with a striking lightness. It is then dusted with an ‘umami powder’ glutamate and evaporated-dairy-solids blend.” People would go just nuts for that.”—This article is the most sophisticated example of stoner talk I’ve ever read. (via coketalk)