Illustrated Cypress Trees Birth Announcement

Posted 8 July 2016 at 9:24 PM | Comments (0)

I’ve mentioned before how much I love illustrated projects. When a client actually wants me to spend my time doing Photoshop brushstrokes, you can bet that I am in project bliss. So I guess you could say that baby Angelina* was introduced to the world with bliss from all sides—from her family, obviously, but even from this stranger, who pretends to be an artist from time to time.

Illustrated Cypress Trees Birth Announcement

*Names and details have been changed.

“We Need to Talk About Your Flair”

Posted 14 September 2015 at 8:20 PM | Comments (0)

I’ve fully converted to the flared leg. I don’t even like my skinnies anymore. In fact, I kind of want every pair of my skinnies to die (unless I buy a pair of over-the-knee boots, in which case they can live to see another season).

I love how my flares give everything a more relaxed, Bohemian vibe, unlike my skinnies, which give a sleeker, rocker look. I am finally ready to welcome this sartorial transition. Bring on the flares and wide-legs! It’s time!

Black Flared Jeans with Burgundy Fringe-Sleeved Top

Today I’m wearing my black flared jeans from Forever 21 and burgundy fringe-sleeved top from Piperlime (RIP). Notice the gray hairs around my temples. They weren’t included the last time I drew myself.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Book Cover Design

Posted 27 July 2014 at 8:35 PM | Comments (0)

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

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.

The Ballerina Dress of My Dreams

Posted 1 July 2014 at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

I’ve been fantasizing about a dress like this over the last couple of days. Soft, stretchy bodice with long, lean sleeves, and a band across the low-cut front. In contrast, the tulle skirt is big and wild and begs for a twirl! I want it in my closet for a fancy night out.

Low-Cut Bodysuit Top with Black Tulle Ballerina Skirt

Wow, it’s been almost two years since I last posted one of these. Shame, since designs are floating in my head constantly.

Mediterranean Mosaic Wedding Invitation

Posted 25 May 2014 at 9:03 PM | Comments (1)

This may be my favorite wedding invitation I’ve ever done. No, it’s definitely my favorite.

I don’t know how it happened. Conversation with my clients just flowed. They were getting married in Catalonia and wanted the region to inspire their design.

Initially they asked me to incorporate “castellers” in the design, the Catalan tradition of building human towers. We looked at the concept together, and I considered it very seriously, but I was skeptical. I liked the idea—people working in unity to build something strong and beautiful—but didn’t know how to make it elegant and suitable for a wedding.

So I pushed back a little, asking if there was anything else that was very Catalan that they would be happy with. We looked at pictures of the mountains, which still didn’t feel quite right. Church windows, interesting enough. And then it just clicked.


Gaudí, the Spanish Catalan architect whose distinctive style influences not only the entire region, but the entire world. We specifically thought about his intricate mosaic work in Barcelona’s Park Güell. The couple was mostly interested in nature themes, and the groom wanted me to incorporate a sun, so I thought, “Why not paint an entirely mosaic scene?”

So I did.

Mediterranean Mosaic Save the Date by Mojan Sami

It was exactly what we all wanted. I couldn’t believe it came together quite so perfectly. It really felt like late spring in Barcelona—or at least the storybook version.

Here’s the invitation, which was self-enclosing. You can kind of see the address on the back and their initials on the flap.

Mediterranean Mosaic Wedding Invitation by Mojan Sami

And here’s a closer view of the inside.

Mediterranean Mosaic Wedding Invitation by Mojan Sami

We decided to use the initials as their personal logo, so the couple was able to use it in multiple ways, most importantly on their wedding website.

Mediterranean Mosaic Wedding Monogram by Mojan Sami

And the sun and flower elements also showed up in various places, including their ceremony program. Eventually I’ll offer these individual illustrations on Etsy so you’ll be able to use them as clip art!

Mediterranean Mosaic Illustrations by Mojan Sami

*Names and dates were changed.

Aubergine and Gold Floral Brocade Wedding Invitations

Posted 9 November 2013 at 9:08 PM | Comments (0)

I’m a huge fan of the elegant simplicity that Elena and Freddy* requested for their wedding. Their exact request: elegant, clean, simple, and modern.

We hit the ball out of the park on the first try. They loved the hint of floral brocade on the side while the clean type took center stage.

Aubergine and Gold Floral Brocade Wedding Invitations

It was easy to apply their design to the rest of their materials, which was a good thing since their wedding planning was super abbreviated and we, literally, had days to finish it all.

Aubergine and Gold Floral Brocade Wedding Invitations

*Names will always be changed.

Bird on a Vine Wedding Invitation

Posted 22 March 2013 at 8:15 PM | Comments (0)

I realize that I’m always bragging about satisfying the client on the first try. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes I’m way, way off.

Like in the case of this wedding invitation for Lori and Derek*. They came to me with numerous images of bird silhouettes and swirly vines, and I was inspired to go in this direction. It looks like a title page from a vintage book, doesn’t it? It would look so good if it was letterpressed.

Birds on a Vine Wedding Invitation Inspired by Vintage Books

Well, vintage title page or not, it wasn’t this couple’s cup of tea. They wanted something warmer, friendlier, more textured and layered. Something more like this.

Bird on a Vine Textured and Layered Wedding Invitation

My work may not always happen so magically, but I’m thankful for clients who stick with me through the creative process, confident that I can bring their vision to life.

*Names will always be changed.

Fun Retro-Bus Themed Party

Posted 7 February 2013 at 5:31 PM | Comments (0)

It was so much fun coming up with a theme for a neighborhood family fair. Of course, no one expected a “theme”—they expected a flyer! But I wanted to come up with a concept that could be translated into… well, into possibility.

So I came up with this idea of a purple bus filled with balloons. It’s a little weird but just cute and fun enough to excite the kids. Then the idea totally lent itself to a psychedelic sky, so there’s that.

Fun Retro-Bus Themed Party Flyer

There are so many more printed components, but since I don’t like to leave original details on my blog, it would have been too much text to change. However there is one more thing I want to show you. Check out this bus “photo booth” that some creative folks made from my flyer. They e-mailed me this photo so I could see my design translated into 3-D, which is exactly the kind of possibility I was hoping for!

Fun Retro-Bus Themed Party Photo Booth

Hip Hop Boy Loves Afghani Girl

Posted 4 February 2013 at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

I was asked to create a tongue-in-cheek silhouette image of a couple for their wedding day. It was supposed to be literal, but I was certain it was overdone and that I’d be asked to try again.

It turns out it was exactly what my client wanted. She was ecstatic about the result and couldn’t wait to show the couple. But, unfortunately, the groom wasn’t all that thrilled. He also thought it was too literal and just wasn’t feeling the caricature of himself.

This happens in my work sometimes. I’ll feel apprehensive about what a client is asking and try to push back (if it seems appropriate), but if that fails I do my best to deliver.

But what’s interesting about those projects is that, 90% of the time, the client’s apprehension eventually meets mine and the idea gets scrapped completely.

So here’s my most recent scrap.

Hip Hop Boy and Afghani Girl Silhouette Clip Art