This year, I decided to do something special for my 25th birthday. Instead of receiving gifts, I carried around a small black all-media sketchbook and some Sharpie pens so people would draw for me.
Someone thought I was super non-materialistic for requesting drawings instead of presents. Little did he know, I HELLA enjoy it when people give me doodles and I find some sadistic pleasure in how nervous others get when they’re drawing in front of me. #hehe
Above: This was on the first page. Excuse my chicken scratch. Some guidelines just in case but no one X’d any page, which is awesome!
Mike decided to draw me some turtles since I got him Pop! Vinyl figurines of all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (his childhood favorite) for his birthday last year. He told me he hasn’t drawn in many years so his hand was shaking as he tried his best to recreate the turtles he used to be an expert in cartooning when he was younger.
He personally disliked what he drew but I love it and I love how hard he tried anyway for the sake of giving me something thoughtful as a gift. I also think for someone who’s a bit rusty, his drawing skills are still tops. People who flipped through the sketchbook oo‘d and ah‘d when they came across his sketch because it’s just that good.
Christina M., famous for her tiny-ass handwriting, drew her tiny-ass drawing with a mechanical pencil when we were at a gelato shop. A few days later, she drew over the sketch with a Sharpie pen and wrote down the various “awesome” aspects of me. She was so focused both times, her nose was practically pressed up against the sketchbook. She drew me and I super adore it! :^D She really nailed down all the details of me: how I’d often wear a pencil skirt, boots, tights, and this casual green plaid dress shirt. My ever-present cup of coffee and how I’d always grasp it with both hands. She even got my layered hairstyle right!
She was so (hilariously) offended when I stopped by her workplace and her coworkers, who saw her tiny drawing, commented on the ’emaciated figure.’
[More under the cut.]
I was at Arun’s place when he drew his page for me. He was sitting on his living room floor bent over the sketchbook, switching various times into funny seated positions. You knew he was getting down to business when he ties back his hair and has one knee propped up.
He told me he used to make a ton of sketches of eyeballs within eyeballs and other body parts, such as mouths and nostrils. I was delighted by how creepy, morose, and detailed his drawing was.
Sharde took three pages! She was over at my studio space for our first ‘Art Thots’ meeting to do a collaborative painting using random instructions (which I’ll post up about it soon). I thought her comic, “The Adventures of Question Cat!”, was adorable and well-done considering how quickly she came up with it on the fly.
Diana, who’s been taking beginner’s classical guitar lessons, drew a fun doodle of herself and her guitar. I’m so proud of her for taking on these lessons and I know how quickly she’s been progressing in the last few months. She strummed a couple of children’s songs she learned in my studio for me and looked like a total badass playing them.
I have a few former coworkers make drawings for me when I came to visit the office on my birthday. Chunli drew this cute birthday cake and was so determined to get it right, she did a preliminary sketch on a separate piece of paper beforehand.
Since I drew a dog (a corgi!) on a Post-It for Rome, he decided to draw one for me too. But this dog is special because it’s standing on its hind legs. Since it’s my birthday, the dog is also accompanied by a wrapped present.
I walked away with the sketchbook after thanking him then quickly walked back when I noticed it looked like he wrote “Happy Birthday Rome.” He laughed and added the “From” next to his name to avoid confusion.
Walter didn’t want to draw but I told him it was okay if he wanted to write something in it for me instead. Thanks Walter!
Jason had an idea of drawing me a ghost with a mountainous backdrop but it became a “tooth” when other people, who gathered around him in the office, kept saying it was. The tooth is not only sarcastic (“Happy, happy birthday…”) but also murderous as it has a teardrop tattoo. And there’s also a distant spaceship! Very unique.
I couldn’t stop laughing as he was doodling because everyone was just ripping into him.
It was so nice to see Jon again and poke fun at him. He spent a lot of time on his page and was a good sport for putting up with my snarking during it. But I was so confused when he gave me back the sketchbook and wanted me to figure out the meaning behind his drawing. I ‘phoned a friend’ at one point and handed it to Christina M., who couldn’t figure it either. It doesn’t have anything to do with rock climbing or Scientology (his name “Jon Beck” looked a lot like “Join Beck” — Beck being the name of a singer, who is also a Scientologist). I’m going to just blame his handwriting because I didn’t realize the jumble of letters in the corner spelled out “HOLLYWOOD.”
But the meaning turned out to be incredibly sweet when I was told it. He said Los Angeles, where I live now, should celebrate my birthday by adding in the giant number “25” where the Hollywood sign would be and the giant letters would be helicoptered off in a plastic hefty bag. Aww.
I giggled when I saw Christina W.‘s. So much happening on one page; she drew it during my birthday dinner when the sketchbook was passed around. There’s a happy antlered bear with an ice cream cone and a multi-colored balloon; it’s also wearing stylish blue flats. It was lovely of her to have a tiny drawing of me and Mike living together in LA, “The land of Magic,” with a gigantic rose shooting out of the ground next to our house.
I’m so impressed by Julio‘s! There’s a hat-wearing guy relaxing under a tree, next to a talking flower, who’s screaming out a birthday greeting to me. The diagram above is just in case you’ve mistaken the shape in his hands for anything other than a book.
I really like Jenny‘s; there are so many elements, so many random details. I know she didn’t want to draw but I’m happy she drew anyway for me. The “NEVER STOP BEING YOU!” is very encouraging. There’s a happy, smiling, bespectacled sun I’m going to pretend is her.
I also love that she not only misspelled “AMAZING” (and crossed it out) but also the word “misspelling.” :^D
Christine, Christina W.’s colleague, came along for my birthday dinner and, even though she didn’t have to, drew a charming cupcake for me.
Cindy did 3 drawings during the course of my birthday night, from the boba shop to the restaurant to when we were bar-hopping. The first one above is so awesome and all-over-the-place. As she was doodling, in her cute teacher voice, she came up with an elaborate story about how a sneaker-wearing alien (which she isn’t sure if it’s from a cartoon she saw somewhere, hence the “No copyright infringement intended…” disclaimer at the bottom) came down to Earth on a hula hoop to greet a giraffe. She said the alien can only speak in ‘giraffe’ and it’s discovered that giraffes, when translated, speak with an accent, thus why a regular hello would actually be a “Shello!”
Cindy held up the sketchbook at the restaurant and told me to sit still as she did her best sketch of me. Pretty good, eh? She definitely got my side-part right.
I laughed when she finished this last page at a bar because of far she went with it. I am quite taken by the sad teary clown, the triple balloons, and super cool floral decor of the giant cake.
I will treasure these drawings. None of you have any idea how happy it made me to receive these pages for my birthday. Thank you everyone!!!!!!!!!