No. / 34

Golden Illustrious Icons

I’m trying something new with the illustrious icons.  These woman crush wednesday illustrations are done in pencil and then I highlight around the face with a cluster of metallic gold hearts or stars. It’s quite meditative when I’m drawing the hearts or stars and it can be quite soothing. During this “golden zen” part of the illustration, I can reflect on their courageous hearts and how they make me want to be a better human being. These pencil drawings are a nice break from the markers and it actually breaks up my IG feed a bit with a calming dash of gold.  Poorna Malavath, Lizzie Velasquez and Grace Lee Boggs are my golden illustrious icons.

Follow me on Instagram for daily illustrations (before they’re posted in detail on the blog), Tumblr for works in progress and Facebook for updates if you’re not on Instagram or Tumblr.  Merci! xox

Karen, the illustrienne


No. / 33

Illustrious Icons

Can’t believe I haven’t posted here in two months! I have a really good reason and evidence. If you’ve been following me on IG, then you know why. Check out my Instagram feed for my daily illustrations. Right after Viola Davis won the Emmy, I pulled out my Chartpak AD markers that I stored away for 15 years. I haven’t used them since my fashion school days and shockingly the markers still work like a charm. I was compelled to use them to illustrate Viola instead of gouache. Ét voila! I was pleased with the result, so I kept going. I definitely illustrate faster with the markers which helps if I’m going to be illustrating at least one sketch a day. So began my love affair with my fashion school markers. The only setback are the fumes but keeping the windows open for ventilation definitely helps. In order to bring structure to my illustrating schedule, I’ve created themes for each day. A few examples would be Meow Meow Monday, Tuesday Crew Day, Woman Crush Wednesday, Thursday Do Good Day, Fleur Day Friday, Saturday Scribble Day and Sunday Swoon Day. They change each week except for Woman Crush Wednesday and Thursday Do Good Day. I’m constantly inspired by the news and those designated days are when I illustrate them into a fashion sketch or icons. Viola Davis and Malala Yousafzai are definitely illustrious icons.

Follow me on Instagram for daily illustrations (before they’re posted in detail on the blog), Tumblr for works in progress and Facebook for updates if you’re not on Instagram or Tumblr.  Thank you! xox

Karen, the illustrienne


No. / 32

NYFW Dreams

Bon Voyage

When I worked as a fashion designer in NYC, I never got to attend any of the fashion shows.  That statement may seem odd to some people and it feels awfully strange to write that.  But the reality of the fashion industry is deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines.  When I worked at Ralph Lauren, the possibility of even going to the fashion show to help dress a model was between slim and none.  Dressing models doesn’t sound glamorous but it’s better than sitting at my desk browsing through the runway photos on  Now I’m back in my native Los Angeles, eagerly waiting to see the Spring 2016 season by my favorite designers at New York Fashion Week (known as NYFW for those in the industry).  And once again, I’ll be viewing the shows from my laptop.  Woe is me.

That is until my friend introduced me to TRINE, an experience boutique agency.  They curate memorable experiences around the world in the areas of art, fashion, sports and entertainment for special events and all one has to do is just show up for their luxury package.  Sounds like a lustworthy experience to me!  Once I was introduced to Abigail, TRINE’s Director of Marketing, I knew I could totally trust her for all fashion insider needs.  Abigail and her team of experts would ensure the best possible schedule in NYC.  From backstage access complete with designer meet & greets, to private shopping experiences at top designers showrooms and private homes.  TRINE’s NYFW itinerary for their clients is more than lustworthy, its on my bucket list now!

After Abigail and I discussed the access TRINE would be providing for their clients, I knew I had to capture this NYC experience in an illustration complete with NYC landmarks and icons.  I’ve handpicked illustworthy goodies from the various designers they are working with and captured it all on the runway. My favorite part of this illustration was being inspired by Lie Sang Bong’s butterfly runway background. With his Spring 15 collection, he wanted to “share the positivity that is brought on by the beginning of spring and the promise of a new day.”  I was definitely feeling the energy and the promise of a new day in NYC as I painted circles with colors inspired by his background.  I can’t wait to see his Spring 2016 collection along with what he has in store for the walls of his runway.  In the illustration, Abigail is NYFW’s social butterfly and Tommy Ton, the iconic street style photographer is ready to take a picture of her!

Misha Nonoo:  This Little Black Monique Ribbon Dress is perfect for any island.  Manhattan or Hawaiian.  It’s Island Time in the City!
Gigi Burris:  I’m in love with this Grand Peony Comb and reminds me of how I used to love flowers in my hair when I lived in Hawaii.  Now anyone can wear a statement flower in their hair in the city.  But don’t expect to be a wall flower with this beauty!
Lizzie Fortunato:  This Excess and Elegance necklace reminds me of a mini Hawaiian lei and this will help to enhance this city island look.  I absolutely adore the Port of Call Clutch in Palm and this is essential to complete any NYC islander-about-town outfit.
Giulietta:  Abigail sent me a photo of this fabulous pair that she loves and I can’t help but to smile just thinking how perfect this NYC Islander style is complete with colorful sparklers on her toes.
Now, if I could get away from my little boys for a week and ask my husband for an early birthday present, I may be able to swing this trip.  Or not.  A girl can dream!
Make sure to follow TRINE on Instagram and Twitter as they will capture NYFW live from the runways!
Please follow me on Instagram and Tumblr for updates or to see what I’m working on long before they are posted on the blog.
The Illustrienne


No. / 31

La Vie Bohème


This past month just flew by!  My sister, nephew and brother-in-law were in town and we had such a wonderful time!  I miss them and can’t wait for our trip to the east coast at the end of this month.  I’ve been enjoying this time off from the corporate world, but I do miss challenging my brain!  As a remedy, I’m planning on starting a little something of my own, separate from this illustration blog.  I’ll let you know more details once I have actual samples in my hand.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my “bohemian” lifestyle now but the only thing missing are these fabulous wanderlusty dresses in my wardrobe.  From left to right, here are the designers:  Chloe, Burberry, Valentino, Tory Burch and Lanvin.  Ahhh… I can see myself twirling around the hills (like Maria) until my little boys run over and snag the fine, delicate fabrics.  C’est la vie!

In the meantime, follow me on instagram and tumblr for a preview of what’s to come on the blog. Merci!



No. / 30

Slipping into Island Time


Finally, I’m able to imagine myself in a slip dress!  I lost most of the baby weight that I gained with my two little ones and now I’m actually looking at dresses without sleeves.  The other day, I wore a sleeveless dress to Disneyland and ended up with red shoulders as I forgot to put sunblock on my arms as I’m not used to exposing them.  I learned my lesson.  Next time, I definitely won’t forget to slather on the sunblock, when I slip into island time!

1.  Gucci Aviators:  Classic Gucci bamboo is the perfect way to top these aviators.

2.  Ferragamo Slip Dress:  Love the colors and the color blocking.  Oooh, I wish I can put this dress on now!

3.  Carolina Herrera:  Falling Jasmine necklace is the perfect way to accent a summer slip dress.  Love the smell of jasmine.

4.  Mansur Gavriel:  I may not wear pink, but I will carry a pink bag.  This chic lady bag is big enough for my goods and my little boys’ ninja turtles, legos and a ton of bribeworthy snacks for the kids.  Looks like there might be room for a water bottle!

5.  Celine:  Ballerina/ Jiffy Heel.  I know.  White shoes?  With chunky heels?  With gold hardware?  Why?  Because it’s Celine. And Phoebe Philo’s midas touch.  For those reasons, I need them.  Or at least I need to illustrate them.

Follow me on Instagram and Tumblr because it’s been taking me a while to post here.  Merci! xox