One of my first tasks as a planner for the City of Yuma was to create a user-friendly map to showcase Yuma's network of bikeways. The Community Development Department developed the map to encourage and educate people on the wonderful opportunities for cycling that we have here in Yuma. The Planning Division, of which I am part, maintains several long-range plans for different departments of the City, one of those being a master plan for bikeways. The free map is a great way to share the vision for bikeways throughout the city with all residents. Download a PDF version on the City of Yuma Website, pick up a free copy around town, or map your bike route using the Google Maps Bicycling feature.
The talented team over at Media & Public Affairs put together a great video about the bikeways.
My dear friend recently opened her dream business - Sweet Peas Flower Farm. The name itself is charming and instantly brings to mind images of a lovely quaint little farm, but wait until you see Cecily's incredible designs! She is an absolute genius at all things flowers - wedding arrangements, live baskets, seasonal installations, AND she grows all the flowers herself! To sum it up, Sweet Peas is a "farmer florist sowing, reaping, and designing fresh cut flowers in Central Indiana."
I had the task of creating a logo that evoked all the beauty and charm of this flowering business. We took inspiration from turn of the century vintage seed catalogs by incorporating detailed hand-drawn flowers, sticking to a minimal color scheme, and using fonts with a vintage feel. This logo came together rather quickly; as a designer herself, Cecily clearly knew the message she wanted the design to send and how it should look. The final logo is classic and sophisticated without being pretentious, and the vintage vibe relates to the tried and true way Sweet Peas grows its flowers and does business.
Be sure to check out the Sweet Peas website to see all of Cec's amazing creations. Keep scrolling down to see what is only a small sampling of her incredible designs. She also sells bouquets at local farmers markets, so if you're in the Indianapolis area, keep your eye out!
Very excited to share a design I completed a few months ago -- a logo for SnapHope, a non-profit on a mission to improve the lives of orphans around the world. I met the owner, Claudia, in Japan, although we have since both moved back stateside. She is one inspiring lady who is following her heart by starting this new endeavor. She says it best in her own words: "I ought to proactively, fearlessly, and relentlessly be the change I yearn to see in this world." That's pretty awesome, huh?
Claudia's organization needed an equally inspired logo. So that's what she got: there's a lot of symbolism wrapped up in this one little graphic. There's the camera of course, to symbolize the core purpose of the organization: celebrating hope and bringing attention to the poor and orphaned through the art of photography. Then there's the cross, to emphasize the Christian mission of the organization, which is in sharp focus in the center of the camera's shutter. And, finally, there's a little anchor tucked into the loop of the "S". Anchors are an ancient symbol of Christianity and they hold a particularly special personal meaning to Claudia.
The logo looks great in black & white, when layered over images, and in many different colors. It is also made up of versatile pieces; the font portion can be used independent from the camera form and the cross & shutter make a great icon. We also figured out a way to incorporate the organization's tag line, without making it feel too cluttered.
As always, I started brainstorming with some quick sketches. I played with the different symbols Claudia and I had identified in our initial meeting -- anchors, doves, cameras, and crosses. It was pretty clear from the beginning which concept was the winner -- we both gravitated toward Option 4 immediately!
Sakura season is just around the corner! Iwakuni's Kintai Bridge and surrounding Kikko Park is (in my slightly biased opinion) one of the most lovely spots in all of Japan to view the cherry blossoms and have a hanami picnic. Over the past three years, I have come to love Kikko Park and all the quirky, yet charming attractions it has to offer, so I was thrilled to have the chance to write and illustrate a travel article about it in the latest edition of GetHiroshima (view the entire Spring 2015 issue here).
Looking forward to enjoying a few hanami picnics during our final spring while stationed in Japan! So excited that my mom will be visiting during this most beautiful season in the land of the rising sun.
Since the seventh grade, it's been a life goal of mine to travel to every country in the world. Slowly but surely, I'm checking countries off the list and the most recent was number thirty-four, Laos. I was lucky enough to have two adventurous friends join me on a hiking, biking, and kayaking tour through the outskirts of World Heritage city Luang Prabang. Because of our somewhat short timeframe we decided to book an organized tour through Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventures, and we were definitely not disappointed. We got to visit temples, ride elephants, hike through the stunningly beautiful mountains, and drink our fill of Beer Lao!
The highlight of the trip was the evening spent in the small village of Fouyfy (spelling varies). As we hiked into the village, we passed through a forest of rubber trees, one of the village's main sources of income. Another major income producer for the town became apparent as we walked through the village gate; we spotted clumps of tiger grass drying on roofs, front stoops, and on the neatly swept dirt ground. The dried tiger grass is used to make brooms that are sold mainly to China. Since 2000, the village has welcomed tourists into their homes as part of a responsible tourism movement in rural places in Laos. Although we couldn't communicate much with any of the locals, we enjoyed waving and saying hello to the little children, and our hosts provided a delicious meal of vegetables, fried noodles, pork, homemade Lao whiskey and a local delicacy - fried buffalo skin.
With no electricity or running water, there wasn't much to do after dark except drink Beer Lao, so we turned in early in preparation for the next day's 20 kilometer hike through the mountains. We slept in a small bamboo hut with mats on the floor and surrounded by mosquito netting. The walls were constructed on woven bamboo, so you could hear every baby's cry, every rooster's crow (every hour on the hour it seemed), and every footstep. After a somewhat restless night, we enjoyed our breakfast of eggs, French bread, and Lao coffee (yumm!) and headed out for a day of hiking in the mountains.
We arrived back in Luang Prabang via kayak and very ready for a shower and electricity to charge our very dead cell phones. After cleaning up, we headed back out in town for dinner overlooking the Mekong River, another trip to the night market, and a massage. The night market was crowded will treasures and treasure hunters. Colorful textiles, jewelry, trinkets, clothing - there was something for everyone. One of my favorite souvenirs (besides these gorgeous bracelets shown below), were the bottle openers and keychains made from scrap metal salvaged from bombs that were dropped on Laos by America in the 1960s & 70s. Known as the peaceBOMB project, the transformation of bombs into trinkets that serve as a reminder of peace now provides income for rural villagers.
One last Christmas present to unveil... a customized version of the Iwakuni map! The client wanted a unique gift for her special someone to remember all the good times here in Iwakuni. Small sketches of all the special places, foods, and things create a border around the map.
Contact me if you're interested in creating your own custom version of the Iwakuni map!
It's been a few years since I've sat down to do a real oil painting, so when a friend commissioned me to do a painting of his dog, Delta, as a gift for his wife, I was a bit apprehensive. I started by sketching out a quick outline in pencil, and then waited a couple days before getting all my paints out to start the real work. Once I started, it came together much quicker than expected. Within a few hours, Delta had appeared on the canvas!
Think a custom painting of your pet would be pretty cool? Contact me for a quote.
A friend who is also stationed here in Japan had the wonderful idea for this illustration of her family as kokeshi dolls. Didn't it turn out cute?! Each member of the family is pictured wearing or holding something that represents their personality. The son who loves marine animals has a shark shirt, the daughter who loves dressing up like a princess is seen in her dress-up outfit, and the little guy who is always getting bumps and bruises has a Band-Aid on his knee. Mom has a home-schooling text in her arm, and dad is in his flight suit. What a sweet keepsake to remind them of their years in Japan!
Order your own custom version from my Shop!
The photos below show a bit of my process, along with a few more of the final illustration. Happy New Year, everyone!
Happy Holidays from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni! The base commanding officer and his wife commissioned me to create their 2014 Christmas cards featuring a sketch of their house, known as Quarters One. In addition to a winter rendering of the home, we also included a brief history of MCAS Iwakuni. I created two versions of the sketch, the winter scene as well as an everyday scene for use on notecards.
A huge thank you to Julie - this was such a fun project to work on with you!
Okonomiyaki, a signature dish here in the Hiroshima area, is a savory pancake-like dish that includes a variety of ingredients like cabbage, onions, and meat or seafood. Warning: the "pancake" translation is a misleading one for most Westerners. It's nothing like the sweet breakfast treat that comes to mind. It's cooked on the griddle in front of you, always made to order, and watching the chefs at work is half the fun. First a thin layer of batter is poured on the grill, then an inordinate amount of shredded cabbage is piled on top, follow that with green onions, bacon, a scrambled egg, mayonnaise, seaweed flakes (aonori), bonito flakes (katsuobushi), and, if you're in Hiroshima, oysters. The final ingredient is the all-important sauce. The best is of course made by Otafuku, the client for this informative brochure about this special Japanese dish.
As it turns out, drawing people eating okonomiyaki is about as challenging as trying to explain the dish! Japanese people often eat okonomiyaki with a utensil called a hera, a small flat metal spatula. But since I've never actually used a hera, I was unfamiliar with the proper way to eat with one... so it took me a few (felt like hundreds!) drafts to get the hand position just right. I don't typically draw a lot of people, so this was a fun challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone and I'm pleased with the results!
The brochure outlines how okonomiyaki and related dishes, like monjayaki, yakisoba, and takoyaki, are made. Otafuku makes several types of sauces for all those various dishes. The brochure also highlights the distinct differences between the Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the dish. It's printed in English, Chinese, and Korean.
Thank you to the awesome graphic designers at NININBAORI for including me in this project!
The latest issue of GetHiroshima magazine is out around town! Grab a copy to see my illustrated article to learn, once and for all, how to tell the difference between shrines and temples. Japan has a seemingly endless number of shrines and temples. When we first moved here, I didn't know the difference and it drove me nuts! So I decided to do a little study of the differences, and create a quick illustrated guide so you can quickly recognize the elements that are found at temples versus shrines.
The most basic distinction is this: shrines (神社 or jinja) are places of worship in the Shinto faith, and temples (お寺 or o-tera) are Buddhist places of worship. In Japan the two faiths exist in harmony; they are not mutually exclusive and most Japanese people practice traditions of both Shinto and Buddhism, depending on the occasion. In general, Shinto traditions center on life, while Buddhist traditions deal with death. Generally speaking, there is one temple for every 500 homes and one shrine for every 1000 homes. They range in size from sprawling multi-building complexes to tiny structures tucked in a remote corner of the forest.
At a temple, you'll see the following: sanmon (main entry gate), statues and images of Buddha, bells, incense burners, pagodas, and cemeteries.
At shrines, you'll generally see the following: torii (entry gate, often orange), komainu (the guardian dogs), temizuya (purification trough), shimenawa & shide, ema (wooden plaques to write a wish/prayer on), and omikuji.
View the entire magazine online on ISSUU.
For the December issue of MCAS Iwakuni's Preview magazine, I put together a fun little article about New Year traditions in Japan. Shogatsu (Japanese New Year) is one of the most important holidays of the year, and there are lots of customs surrounding the holiday. One of my favorites are the kadomatsu bamboo arrangements seen around town this time of year -- the landscape architect in me can't resist a creative mix of plants. Another great tradition, one similar to our Christmas cards, the Japanese send nengajo (New Year postcards) to family, friends, and business acquaintances to arrive before January 1. The traditional New Year meal is osechi, a mix of preserved cuisine prepared in advance to be eaten on the first few days of the new year. Read the entire article on ISSUU, click to page 14 to see the article.
What a wonderful surprise to see my World Map print featured on the Condé Nast Traveler website today! My world map was included as part of a list of "9 Travel-Inspired Gifts for Future World Travelers". Who's the aspiring young adventurer on your list this Christmas? Click the image below to see the full gift guide curated by Lauren Kilberg.
The Beaufort Civic Master Plan recently received an Outstanding Planning Project Award from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association for "the innovation, quality and transferability" of the plan. I had the pleasure of being part of the Office of Civic Investment team in 2011 when we worked on the Civic Master Plan.
Congratulations to everyone on the team, and to the City of Beaufort for being such a forward-thinking small town! It is truly a wonderful place to live! Read more about the award in the press release here.
A few months back, I had the opportunity to create this charming little map for a destination wedding in the coastal town of Cayucos, CA. The couple wanted to highlight event locations in this walkable town, as well as give their guests an overview of the entire San Luis Obispo County region and all it has to offer. Working with the couple, we determined the best way to showcase the important spots would be to draw bird's eye view sketches of the buildings. Combined with the schedule of events listed to the left, the map gives the out of town visitors all the information they need to find their way around town and explore the region for the weekend.
Please visit my Shop or contact me at naomi[at]naomileeman.com to discuss your custom, hand-drawn map.
Last month, I had the pleasure of working with the MCCS Iwakuni marketing team to design and illustrate the feature article and cover for the August issue of the base monthly magazine, the Preview. I teamed up with Linda Cordes of the Iwakuni Foodie to create an article highlighting the most unique places to visit in Japan. There are so many attractions here that can truly only be found in Japan. From bridges made of wisteria vines, to monkeys relaxing in hot springs, to hundreds of different flavors of Kit-Kats (wasabi, anyone?), Japan sure does have a lot to offer! View the entire article on ISSUU.
Hello friends! I'll be taking my artwork to two events in September -- both are here in Yamaguchi Prefecture! Here are the details:
- Sunday, Sept. 7 | ON&ON Live Music & Market | Oshima Island | 10am
- Address: 周防大島町 屋代ダム公園 (Yashiro Dam Park)
- ￥500/person (elementary kids are free) - contact me for tickets!
- Live music all day, a variety of food booths, and handmade items!
- Saturday & Sunday, Sept.27-28 | Yamanonaka Art Fair | Shunan City | 10am-4pm
- Address: 永寿園芝生広場 (Eiju Garden)
- Artists from around Yamaguchi Prefecture will bring their handmade items to this countryside market in Shunan (about 45 minutes from Iwakuni).
Please leave a comment if you have any questions! Hope you can come!
This past weekend, Katie and I hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Megan. Since we live in Japan, what better theme for a baby girl than kokeshis -- the adorable wooden dolls that are so popular here in the land of the rising sun.
I designed a fun little invitation for the shower and I thought I'd give you a little insight into my design process. I started by sketching the cute little kokeshi that would become the focal point for the invitations. First, I did a rough sketch in my Moleskine sketchbook, then finished up all the details and exact colors on my Wacom tablet. After finishing the Photoshop file of the kokeshi, I moved into InDesign to do the graphic design for the invitation.
Last week, the Summer issue of GetHiroshima Mag came out! I'm very excited to see my illustrations in print for the first time! It was wonderful to work with the GetHiroshima design team to contribute to three different sections of this great new publication. Designed for the English speaker traveling to or living in Hiroshima, GetHiroshima.com has been providing local event and travel information for many years, but just this year launched a print version.
For this edition, I wrote and illustrated an article about Yanai, a charming little town about 30 minutes south of Iwakuni, famous for their paper goldfish lanterns. Every year in mid-August (this year on the 13th), the town hosts a Goldfish Lantern Festival (金魚ちょうちん祭り). The town is transformed with over 2,000 red and white goldfish lanterns strung along the streets. As twilight sets, the parade begins -- a lively mix of dancers, taiko drummers, and the main attraction, the giant versions of the goldfish lanterns that are paraded down the street as teams compete to spin them around.
The Hiroshima Carp, the local minor league baseball team, has a tradition during the 7th inning of each game -- everyone releases long red balloons in the air after singing the Carp son. This was a fun event to capture in a sketch!
I also contributed a sketch to accompany an editorial piece on Obon, the Japanese custom of gathering to honor and remember their ancestors. Traditionally, family members return to their hometowns to visit the graves of deceased relatives.
If you're in Hiroshima, be sure to pick up a free copy of GetHiroshima magazine! It was a pleasure working on these illustrations, and I look forward to working with the GetHiroshima team again in the future.