I Totally Sketched Custom Portraits for Kate Spade NY (Pinch Me!)

Did I tell you about that time I sketched pretty custom portraits LIVE for the reopening of Kate Spade NY here in Panama? It was one of the scariest + funnest things I’ve ever done.

Meet all these gorgeous humans I hand-drew with my 10 little fingers. Afterwards, I totally took a 3 day nap, or something like that. It was A-MA-ZING thou. And so worth the social anxiety.

I made a mini movie in case you couldn’t be there.

Sketch Artist: @mayicarles
Creative Cocktails: Mixologist
Yummy Catering: @cuquitacookita
Music: @georgespaulinedon and Analida Lewis
Videographer: @marilakis


The Evolution of the Life is Messy Kitchen Cover

I’ve been making + talking about Life is Messy Kitchen for quite some time now. It truly feels like forever. Thanks for been with me through the ups + the downs + the in betweens. I could have never pulled this off without your encouragement. I mean it!

Today, I wanted to share with you a little sneak peek behind the making of the cover – front + back + bind + flaps + inside jacket. It was messy. And it was beautiful.

I’ll walk you through the evolution of the cover with images, cuz it’s the best way I know to show this collaborative project’s progression.

Life is Messy Kitchen Cover test_4

Photo for the cover
LIMK copy

LIMK Cover copy 2

TinyGrab Screen Shot 10-22-14, 4.58.06 AM


And that was just the cover for the digital launch. Then came ze REAL BOOK!!!


Back Cover copy

Back Cover-mockupv1.jpeg

Flap Back

Cover 1

Pattern copy

Cover 2

Cover 3

A standing ovation to Marbel Canseco, my mad hatter designer for bringing this baby to life. And a special thanks to my super talented photographer Marcela Macias, for making me drool each time I look at my cover. It’s everything I dreamed + more!

Fun facts:

  • This was truly a team effort – we’ve got Marcela’s photos + Marbel’s wicked design moved + my illustrations and hand-writing. Talk about a triple threat!
  • The original photo that was shot for the cover, didn’t make it.
  • One of the first things I told Marcela upon hiring her as the official photographer for this mission was: “I want NO HANDS in the pictures. I repeat, NO HANDS.”
  • The only picture Marcela sent with hands was the photo that made the cover.
  • When Marcela found out I had picked that picture for the cover she laughed.
  • Then she nearly killed me because she worried her nails weren’t cover ready.
  • Marbel came to the rescue with a pink French manicure. Marcela loved it. I nearly had a hard attack. I hate French manicure.
  • Marbel had to find a compromise between natural nails + fancy nails to make us both happy. Reason #483 why we love her.
  • One of the first things I told Marbel upon hiring her as the official designer for this mission was: “I want FEW TYPES + ONE PANTONE GRAY. I repeat, FEW TYPES + ONE PANTONE GRAY.”
  • I have never been happier with disobedience.
  • I learned that when you hire freaking PROs + learn to let go of perfectionism (ahem ahem which is often camouflaged as “micro-managing”), you don’t always get what you want. You get something BETTER. Much BETTAH!!!
  • All the illustrations for the cover (and book) where sketched by hand with a 0.5 mechanical pencil + painted with Americana acrylic paints + scanned with a CanonScan LiDE210 + retouched in Photoshop + vectorized in Illustrator.
  • The internal jacket is the very first time I’ve taken a stab at pattern-making. I think I did pretty good.
  • It was Marbel’s idea to incorporate some “uncolored illustrations” elements within the jacket pattern. She’s a genius, isn’t she?
  • The pattern background was originally gonna be white. We went with an vintage wedding white instead. Made everything pop!
  • I posted a lil’ glimpse of the internal jacket pattern on Instagram (you can follow me @mayicarles) a couple of weeks back. As a result, a cool company contacted me + I’m now working on a secret project I can’t wait to tell you about. (Hint: It involves kids + mess, a lot of mess).

Update: We are a little backed up with the shipment of the book, but I just got a confirmation from the printers that the boxes filled with Life is Messy Kitchen books will be in my studio Tuesday, March 17. And of course I start shipping them out the next day. Pre-order your copy today, unless you like paying full price for things.

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