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Sketchbook Doodles

Posted on April 03, 2015 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

Just wanted to share a few sketchbook doodles from the past few months:

 

 

 

Posted in Illustrations, Random Doodles

New Product: The Hooby Groovy Kitten Carrier

Posted on June 23, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

After months of research, prototyping, tweaking and testing, I'm extremely excited to finally be ready to introduce Hooby Groovy's latest design: The Hooby Groovy Kitten Carrier! I'd like to give a little back story and context to the history of this design. It all started with rescuing 2 little kittens who eventually came to be known as Rongkus Sumcrust and Sergio Rasputin. We were sharing the foster care of both kittens across 2 households and we knew that eventually when they were old enough, they would be separated and we would keep one while the other would be with my brother-in-law and his fiancee. Rongkus now lives with us and visits his brother Sergio all the time. My brother-in-law lives close to my workshop so we've been able to have play-dates almost daily and the kittens love playing together. 

Rongkus and Sergio 3 days after rescue. They've really grown since then!

When they were wee little kittens, a big cardboard box was sufficient for car rides but they very quickly outgrew those and I was wary of driving by myself with kittens jumping around in the car. I started researching carriers and kitten behaviours when it came to car rides and carriers. One advice that was mentioned a lot was to leave the carrier out for a couple of days before a road trip so the kitten could familiarise itself with the carrier so it wouldn't be such a scary shock to be locked up in the carrier while dealing with a moving car. I looked around for carriers and could not find any that I would feel happy leaving out in our home every single day. They all looked, well like mean, evil cages! 

That became my main motivation for creating a kitten carrier for Rongkus and Sergio. I wanted to have it comfy and cosy so that a kitten would actually want to be in it and probably use it as their regular bed or house. Meaning that when it came to travel time, they would be essentially travelling in their comfy bed and feel safe, familiar and secure. Which meant that I wanted the carrier to look pretty enough to blend into the home decor and not be an eyesore. And of course it had to function well as a kitten carrier. 

I went through about 5 iterations of this design before finally getting all the details right. As it needed to house a kitten who might be upset, hyperactive or a damn good escape artist, there were many tweaks that had to be done. I saw that our kittens liked caves and boxes and cosy hidey holes. So the carrier had to be cosy and a little cave-like so they could feel like they would hide inside. At the same time, they were curious about everything and did not like to be fully shut up. So from the start, my design incorporated the small cat-shaped windows. As I began to learn just how good kittens are at getting through holes, the sizes of these windows got smaller until I realised that there might as well not be windows at all because they could get through ANYTHING! So the bigger windows made a comeback and I utilised fly screen to keep them in while still giving them a view of the outside world. 

Fly-screen windows to keep a curious kitty satisfied but secure. Personalised name tag so kitty can proudly lay claim to its comfy carrier. 

My first iteration had a cardboard reinforcement for the walls. Even with our tiny, tiny kittens at that time, as soon as they got the courage to try jumping on the carrier, it was all over for the carrier! So I upgraded to a proper wooden frame. And so it was with each new iteration, the carrier would be tested with Rongkus or Sergio and little refinements and improvements tweaked to make the design better for the kitten, the owner and also for me to construct. Construction methods had to be figured out as each little change was made and as it was new territory for me, it was all trial and error. I have learnt so much about carpentry and I learnt even more than ever about the felt that I already work extensively with. 

The door flap is held close with a magnet closure tab. Straps are made of felt and heavy duty belting. 
The carrier can be dismantled to be flat-packed to save on space during shipping and storage. When setting up, all it takes is to clip each the 3 pieces together with snap fasteners. 

 

I'm really happy to report that Rongkus and Sergio both love their Hooby Groovy Kitten Carriers. Car rides are a breeze, Rongkus feels comfy and safe and usually takes a peaceful nap in his carrier, even when I have the flap door open. And best of all, he even loves using it as one of his many beds while at home. 

 

The Hooby Groovy Kitten Carrier is now available online at www.hoobygroovy.com and Hooby Groovy's Etsy Shop, don't forget to let me know what your kitten's name is so I can embroider its name onto the personalised tag. 

Hope you like my Hooby Groovy Kitten Carrier design, let me know what you think in the comments below! And as always, have a lovely day! :)

Posted in Design, Products, Updates

Bespoke Creations: BMO 3DS XL Case

Posted on June 12, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 2 Comments

The same customer that requested the Jake and Rainicorn A4 Compendium also asked for a BMO case for her Nintendo 3DS XL. The design for this was easy, BMO being the perfect shape for a case. :) The challenge to this particular creation was construction and assembly. 

First off, the 3DS XL is pretty, well 3D. I usually work with tablets which are pretty flat so a sleeve is suitable. However, the 3DS is quite thick, so a sleeve would not suffice. It would have looked really ugly and the material would bulge all over as it would need to accommodate for the added thickness. So I had to figure out a way to make a holder. But first, I needed a model to test that my holder would work. I've got a Nintendo DS but that's way, way smaller so I ended up building my own 3DS:

The inside holder part of the case was the next part I tackled. My customer also wanted a few pockets for game cartridges, so here's what I came up with:

After this was done, I started on the cover. I decided to embroider the entire cover on. The main reason for this was because I couldn't find any felt that was the colour of BMO and it would have taken a LOT of dye to get a colour that deep on felt. 

This was by far the most intense embroidery session for my machine! And it was still just recovering from Rainicorn :). 

Well here's the finished piece. I'm actually really, really pleased with the way it turned out. I think it has that Adventure Time cartoon drawing feeling to it. 

 

Hope you like my bespoke BMO case! And as always, if you would like me to create a bespoke creation for you, just email me at eeleng@hoobygroovy.com! :)

Posted in Bespoke, Creations, Design

Illustration: Elsa from Frozen

Posted on June 06, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

I told my oldest sister that I wanted to make a picture and asked her what I should draw and she replied with "Olaf, Elsa and Anna". My nieces are Frozen crazy at the moment. :) I have a video of a niece singing Let It Go, not one word was wrong and best of all, she even had all the props and actions down pat. Like a glove to take off at the right time in the song, and a sarong wrapped around her as a cloak, also to be released at the right time. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a good subject to practice my Illustrator skills so I created Elsa in Illustrator. Specifically I was learning up how to use gradients to colour up a character, especially to get shadows and makeup right for faces. After finishing Elsa, I wanted to take a break from Illustrator so I decided to paint a background for her in Photoshop. I found a picture reference of the mountain that her castle was on and decided to use it to practice my Photoshop painting skills. The background was quite a speedy job as I wanted to finish this up quickly. 

Here's my picture:

I learnt a lot doing this piece, specifically about faces and shapes of facial features. It was fun to work on, though ended up feeling quite sombre and solemn. And cold but that's what I was going for. ;)

I desaturated Elsa down a fair bit in the final piece so she would fit into the cold blue background more but here's how she was originally:

Hope you like my Elsa piece and have a wonderful Friday! :)

Posted in Illustrations

Bespoke Creation: Rainicorn and Jake A4 Compendium

Posted on May 30, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

I was pretty excited when I received a request for an A4 compendium based on Adventure Time's Jake and Rainicorn. I love Adventure Time, it's so quirky and funny.

My customer had requested for a compendium to hold an A4 notebook, pockets for cards, another notebook, her phone and a pen holder. So the design for the inside part of the compendium wasn't too hard, it took a little of experimenting to put it all together but it was quite straightforward. The cover was where the challenge lay. The challenge of course being that Rainicorn is so very, very loooooong! 

I thought it would be cool to have Rainicorn wrapping around the back of the compendium and thus using her as the closure tab. My customer was happy with this suggestion and I went ahead with designing it. 

Then came the second challenge: Rainicorn was way too loooooong! I had at first envisioned that she would wrap around the back and end up with her feet in the front. But when I was trying to turn this into an embroidery file, I realised that she was way too long for my machine. So I had to make her shorter which actually worked out quite well because it kept the front of the compendium neater and more focus would be on Jake and Rainicorn's head, instead of having her feet randomly floating about. Even so, she still had to be embroidered in 2 pieces: her head and her body. 

I had at first envisioned the front cover to be a solid grey colour for the background but my customer requested for a green or blue background. I suggested maybe having hills and a sky and she was happy with that. I'm so happy that she requested for a non-grey background, because it definitely brightened up the design and made it feel very Adventure Time!

Anyway, here's the Rainicorn and Jake A4 Compendium:

 

Overall, this was probably one of my more complex creations but I'm happy with the way it turned out. I anticipated many things would go wrong but happily this was one of those magical times when everything just came together and there were no major mishaps. 

If you would like me to create a bespoke creation for you, email me at eeleng@hoobygroovy.com and let me know what you have in mind!

 

Posted in Bespoke, Creations

Illustration: Tales of Snakes by The Grimm Brothers

Posted on May 24, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

I love flipping through my book of fairytales by The Grimm Brothers and randomly picking a story or two to read. And whilst I do like the more traditional Grimm stories like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, I absolutely love their short stories that leave me thinking "What the..." 
Here's one that I decided to draw into a little comic strip, it was one of the little stories that came under the title Tales of Snakes.
Who needs princes and glass slippers when you can have a materialistic, suicidal snake? :D I'd like to watch the Disney take on this one please!
 

Posted in Illustrations

The Fine Line Between

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

Just wanted to share my latest artwork on my Hooby Groovy Red Bubble shop:

This piece is available at Red Bubble as cards, prints, posters and pillows. 

 

Hope you like this piece! :)

Posted in Creations, Design, Illustrations

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