asking for trouble

Blog Hop

Today's #ctmonthinthelife photo. My branding is based around my kawaii characters, particularly Cakeify, who gets to be part of the logo.

I was tagged by Jules at The Awkward Niche to take part in a blog hop about how we create. I’ve got a few questions to answer and then I’ll tag some creative folks I’d like to answer them too.

1. What am I working on?

Far too many things! I really need to make a list of everything I am doing, and am supposed to be doing, so I can prioritise. But here’s what I’m actually working on (plus client stuff):

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.33.26

Asking For Trouble shop redesign
I did promise this in a week or two, about six weeks ago, but I still have stuff to do. I wasted a lot of time fixing page content rather than slightly more important things like putting the cart and search back in…

Today's #ctmonthinthelife photo. I'm currently working on some new SCK friends for Bunny. How about a koala?

Super Cute Kawaii site redesign
I’m relaunching Super Cute Kawaii in September so I’ve been coming up with some new animal characters and updates to the site design. I need to stop working on this though, until I finish more urgent things.

Finished bargello long stitch

Bargello Longstitch Cushion
I finished the stitching, but I’m still working on sewing the cushion cover together. (Update – I have actually just finished this – pics soon!)

Just ordered a test of next year's 5 Year Diary! No prizes for guessing the theme.

Next Year’s 5 Year Diary
Thanks to all your nagging, it’s going to be a space design! I have actually finished the main diary and sent off for a test copy, but I still need to do the spiral bound version. You can sign up to hear when they’re ready.

This choice of colours may not be making my next tapestry project look very exciting , but it will be!

Another Tapestry
I shouldn’t really be working on this, when I still have things on my Crafts Amnesty list, but I needed something to stitch while watching the Commonwealth Games. I’m not saying any more, but it’s Zelda related.

Designs for a new on-demand partner
You’re going to like this one when I get to tell you about it.

An exciting new product!
Is it stickers? It might be stickers. (it’s stickers!)


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think about this a lot. I think what sets me apart is that I only draw and write about things that mean something to me and fit with my style. That means Japan and food and astronomy and ghosts and snowmen. Maybe I could make more money drawing cats and dogs or designing products for kids, but that’s not me. Another way is that most of my characters originate as actual drawings, which gives them a certain quirk that you can’t get from purely digital work. My use of colour is another one – it’s often commented on. I also think my work as a web and graphic designer affects my artistic background in an interesting way, and vice versa.

say hello to the solar system

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Honest answer: because I need the money! My RSI means I can’t work in an office full time so I have to make this work in order to pay my bills. Luckily, I’m also doing something I love, and that I would be trying to fit in if I had a more normal job too. I think because I create happy characters, it feels like they have a life of their own and seeing them cut out of wood or decorating dog beds or gallivanting around the globe on a stranger’s lapel makes me happy every day. As for writing and blogging, I do those partly because I like to share all the cool stuff I discover, but mostly as a record for myself. It’s so amazing being able to look back on about 15 years worth of blog posts and photos and remember what I was doing. You think you’ll always remember certain moments and events but it’s all too easy to forget.


Some of my favourite licensed products

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

I do a lot of it in my head first. I have hundreds of ideas floating around at any time, mostly from things I read in books and blogs, see in shops and in real life, or that just come out of nowhere. I take notes sometimes and bookmark/pin useful links and inspirations, but I mostly keep them in the back of my mind until it’s the right time for them. That can be discovering a new supplier, a style of craft or technique, an email from the perfect collaborator, or just having some spare time or cash. If it’s a design or character, I’ll doodle in my sketchbook or draw directly in Illustrator. If it’s something brand new to me, I might do some googling or read up on the options. Depending on how it goes, I can finish the whole process in a day or still be working on it a year later. Similarly with writing, I have tons of drafts of blog posts and zine ideas and I revisit those occasionally until I get inspired to finish them off.


Some of my sketchbook doodles that turned into characters – who do you recognise?

Who I’m Tagging

Claire, who just retired from her stitchy life as The Bellwether, and soon as my SCK panda chum, but still has her own blog. I’m tagging her because she never really writes about why or how she creates and I would be really interested to hear!

Laura, who blogs at Dropstitch and sometimes sells things on Etsy. She is always introducing me to interesting things, whether it’s places she’s visited, Etsy shops or the stories behind her gocco prints. I’ve been hearing the odd hint that she’s working on new things and I’d like to hear more about it!

Go check out their blogs and look out for their answers in the next week or so.


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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All text, photos and illustrations are © Marceline Smith 2007-2024 unless credited otherwise. You may repost my images with full credit and link. However, do not reproduce full posts without my permission or use my images or writing for commercial purposes. Thank you!


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