For the first of my ten year anniversary posts, I thought it would be fun to compare how my style has changed and improved since I started Asking For Trouble. I picked out ten early products that still exist today so you can compare them. I haven’t edited the original photos so you can enjoy my horrendous product photography.
Bunny & Panda Card
Bunny & Panda were two of my earliest original characters, created as mascots for our Super Cute Kawaii blog. This greeting card shows that they haven’t changed much but my illustration style has. The outlines are gone, the colours are brighter and I’ve learned to avoid trendy fonts for something simpler.
Tokyo Shopping Guide
I’ve been making zines since I was a teenager and they were always black and white and photocopied. My first Tokyo Shopping Guide was pocket sized and 12 pages long. The 2017 edition has 50 pages in full colour and is available only as a digital PDF or ebook so it can updated easily. How times have changed!
Bears Badge Set
To begin with, all my characters were hand-drawn and I only made the smallest edits before digitally colouring them in. While they have a lot of charm, it’s quite restrictive for product design. Vector illustrations mean I can use the characters at any size and can make matching groups – the new bears in this badge set are all based on the same template which ties them together nicely.
Jammie Dodger Mug
In the early days, getting products manufactured was completely out of my budget. I used to hand-draw these mugs and bake them in the oven and then deal with the hassle of packaging them for the mail. Nowadays, I don’t sell anything that won’t fit through the postbox and outsource all my fun products to my on-demand partners, who can handle more than three colours.
Sun Fabric Purse
When I first started designing fabric patterns, they were basic repeats and often on a white background. If I wanted to make them into something, it involved hand sewing (the clasp purse was made by the lovely Sarah Martin). Pattern design has become one of my favourite thigns to do and my repeats are ever more complicated and colourful. My new coin purses are still handmade (by my mum) but I also sell cut and sew versions so people can sew one up themselves.
My first forays into laser cutting were pretty successful and my wooden Bread Slices and acrylic Ghosts haven’t changed at all. I have always wanted to make more colourful and detailed pieces though. I tried making bunnies with bead eyes, hand-drawn mouths and sticker barrettes but it was too much work and not likely to hold up to regular use. My new printed wooden brooches have solved all those problems and are just as cute.
Fruity Gift Wrap Set
Another set of characters that changed from hand-drawn to digital and became even cuter. My original gift wrap sets involved tags that needed to be cut, punched and strung by hand. It was my number one most-hated task so it was such a relief when I replaced them with folded mini card tags instead.
Ghost Badge Set
When I was doodling in my sketchbook on a ferry to Mull, I never imagined it was the start of my most popular character. These spooky little ghosts soon reappeared in a much rounder, happier style and took over everyone’s hearts.
I used to have quite a few grumpy and sad characters but they just don’t sell. This Volcano is much happier these days and more popular too.
My circular Look Around characters were a turning point for Asking For Trouble as they gave me a recognisable style. If you compare my two birthday calendars, which one looks more consistent?
I hope you enjoyed that as I much as I did. Do you remember any of the old characters?