Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Book Cover Design

Posted 27 July 2014 at 8:35 PM | Comments (1)

When author Sieni A.M. approached me about designing the book cover for her second novel, Scar of the Bamboo Leaf, she pointed me toward her library of visual inspiration on Pinterest. I spent some time looking at the images and almost immediately knew how to approach the design. I knew it had to be illustrated by hand, because the novel’s main character, Kiva, is an artist, and her story is told with beautiful and detailed descriptions of her art.

I also knew it had to include an image of Kiva, but because the story spans years, her image should be approached in a way that wouldn’t be too telling of her age. Neutralizing her age was also important because it would widen the audience of readers. So I decided to go with a silhouetted profile. (And then I put a bun in her hair because A.M.’s Pinterest board hinted at pretty buns.)

The silhouette, on its own, was okay but felt too simple for a girl with a creative spirit; I gave her a crown of bamboo leaves, but still it seemed stale. A.M. suggested adding flowers, and leaves blowing around her head, and it added just the amount of energy that Kiva’s profile needed.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Kiva Silhouette Illustration by Mojan Sami

When I got started on the title, I went through typeface after typeface, unable to find anything that complemented the image of Kiva and her bamboo-leaf crown. So I decided to draw the title by hand as well. It took time, but the result was worth it. Custom type almost always pays off.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Title Design by Mojan Sami

Then, the cover went through so many iterations that it would be crazy to post them all, but all of the rough drafts were wilder than the final design we chose, and most of them were blue. Early on, we thought blue would be the right choice for the cover.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Cover Design Drafts in Blue

When we finally came to a decision, both the author and I agreed that this design was the right one. The warm color and the more simple silhouette were a better choice for this magnificent story.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Book Cover Design by Mojan Sami

Here’s a low-resolution view of the full cover, front and back. Notice the lemon-lime color on the spine and back—I thought it injected more life into the design and alluded to the tropical setting where the story takes place.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Book Cover Design by Mojan Sami

Of course, there have been other social-media promo pieces, like these for the author’s Facebook page.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Facebook Profile and Cover Photos

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. is now available at Amazon. It’s a story you will never forget. Buy it now.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Now Available at Amazon

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Coming Soon

Posted 10 July 2014 at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

One of the most rewarding projects I’ve been working on is the book cover for Sieni A.M.’s second novel, Scar of the Bamboo Leaf. Here’s the promo. I can’t wait to show you the finished cover!

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. Coming Soon

*Bamboo watercolor by KO Studio Art.

No, No Kimono

Posted 9 July 2014 at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

Advertising is creepily powerful. Even though I have zero interest in flowing kimono jackets, super-cropped tops, and wide-brimmed hats, the styling of this photo is so good that I feel like I need this outfit, now. I’m not even doing a good job of talking myself out of it—every time I look at the model’s smooth skin and perfect eyebrows, I have to ask myself, “Wait, why don’t I want a kimono?”

Urban Outfitters Ecote Crinkle Square Kimono Jacket 2014

Well played, Urban Outfitters.

I Want Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014

Posted 8 July 2014 at 9:33 PM | Comments (0)

If I had to choose a favorite fashion designer—and I’m not sure that I could—it would probably be Alberta Ferretti. Her collections are always colorful, feminine, and simply make me happy. Her spring line was no exception. Before the show, Ferretti herself cited, “Positive energy, the joy of living.” This attitude probably has everything to do with why her clothes resonate with me.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014 Runway Collection

I just want to pull one of these dresses off a hanger and wear it to a fabulous summer party, complete with cascading braid, swinging earrings, and bright orange shoes.

Chicago : Mexico City Wallpaper

Posted 7 July 2014 at 9:28 PM | Comments (0)

I only recently discovered Grow House Grow, a Brooklyn-based company that designs wallpaper and more. For their Chicago : Mexico City wallpaper, they combined notable design motifs from these two sister cities—Midwestern Prairie School meets geometric Aztec. The result is stellar and would look awesome in an Art Deco-inspired bathroom or entryway.

Chicago : Mexico City Wallpaper from Grow House Grow

Simple Office with Pale Blue Walls, Both Traditional and Contemporary

Posted 6 July 2014 at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

My parents’ 1976 house has been, for lack of a better word, unmaintained. Though they have earnestly displayed all of their trinkets and treasures from around the world, the outdated backdrop imparts a sense of melancholy from wall to wall.

It has been an ongoing dream of mine to take it all down and start over, and the upstairs office has always seemed like a decent place to start.

Because the room is south-facing, the afternoon light is brilliant. Even on gray days, the room fills with light, more than other rooms in the house. I like pale blue walls in a room like that, because a south-facing room can handle cooler colors.

My mom likes a certain softness in décor. She has always been partial to pastels, lace, and florals. Picture frames are gold and ornate, and rugs are always traditional.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to decorate her office for her taste, while keeping it in this decade. It goes something like this:

Office with Light Blue Walls, Clean, Simple, and Transitional Decor

I like how the light fixture adds a little ‘70s flair while the daybed and throw pillows are more modern. Still, everything works together. So… who wants to help me tear down the laminate-paneled walls?

Spunky, Short Hairstyle for Women

Posted 5 July 2014 at 6:53 PM | Comments (0)

I love this spunky, short hairstyle I grabbed from I have always wanted to try short hair, but every hairstylist of my past and present has strongly advised against it. Apparently it doesn’t match my face? Sigh! Round cheeks sure do get in the way of spontaneous hair-chopping.

Spunky Short Hairstyle from

Lake Austin Spa Resort

Posted 4 July 2014 at 6:45 PM | Comments (0)

These images from the June 2014 issue of Lonny really blow me away. They have a kind of rustic-outdoors thing going, but with elegance. And the combination of cognac-colored furnishings with azure accents is pretty magnificent.

The Lake Room at Lake Austin Spa Resort, Lonny Magazine June 2014

The Blue Room at Lake Austin Spa Resort, Lonny Magazine June 2014


From Lonny: “In keeping with the restful mood, interiors feel residential rather than commercial, with period antiques, designer fabrics, and artwork curated in collaboration with Dallas designer Julio Quiñones. ‘Someone once told me that it felt like visiting an old aunt’s lake house—and that’s exactly what we were going for,’ says McAdams.”

Pretty Lavender Bridal Shower Invitation

Posted 3 July 2014 at 5:14 PM | Comments (0)

When it was *Natalie’s turn to tie the knot, we took a completely different approach from her sister’s. For Natalie, we went softer, prettier, and used the lavender plant as our theme. I like how it turned out. Design doesn’t always have to elaborate to be good.

Pretty Lavender-Theme Bridal Shower Invitation

*Names have been changed.

Anna Kendrick on the Cover of Elle

Posted 2 July 2014 at 4:50 PM | Comments (0)

Yowza. Anna Kendrick, who is everyone’s favorite celebrity on social media, killed it in this poolside photo for the July 2014 cover of Elle. Smart, hilarious, and gorgeous? You bet.

Anna Kendrick on the July 2014 Cover of Elle