Category Archives: Sketchbook

I ❤️ Cats

I love cats so much.

When I was little, I wasn’t allowed to have cats.

Neither of my parents understood my intense need to have cute furry feline friends, and it was very sad.

We had a shiba inu, Alex, but he and I were never good friends.

So I thought about cats pretty much 24/7.

I’d check where the neighborhood cats hang out on my way to and from school every day.

I fantasized many scenarios where a kitty would show up at our doorstep and my parents would magically OK me keeping it.

As I got a little older, my parents finally understood it was ok to have a cat, and I’d adopt cats from my friends or just off the street throughout my early teenage years.

My parents had a strict “No Pets in The House” policy (except for our giant gold fish. Seriously, those things grew to be 9 inches long!), so the cats had to live outside, and none of them lasted longer than a few years, sadly 😿

Fast forward 15 years, I adopted two cats with my ex, and we (cats and I) had a nice, long-term relationship until a few years ago.

lulu & sheppie respectively

I haven’t had any kitty of my own since then, but I do make a point to visit friends with cats from time to time and get the refill on some kitty love.

Cats also inspire my creativity a lot. Surprise!

Many cat-themed drawings were made during my Happiness Is 365 day project back in 2014-2015
Kitty doodle in my sketchbook

And, here are some of my fan favorite kitty designs in my shop.

This is my ideal birthday party!
You did it!
oldie but a goldie
Works for pet sympathy or every day
winter kitties

Do you love cats, too??

In case you didn’t know, I have an entire Cat Lover’s collection😽 in my shop that you’ll love.

In addition to these adorable cards, you’ll find prints, wrapping paper, and ceramics, too!

Meow 🐾


From the Sketchbook: being here and now

Since I went to the Vipassana 10-day meditation retreat in June, I’ve been working on staying mindful and practice meditation daily.

It has helped me to lower my stress and anxiety about the work and the unknowns of the future. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed about what may happen, I can bring my focus back to my breathing and notice how I’m feeling in my body now.

It allows me to know on a very fundamental level that whatever I’m worried about isn’t actually happening right now. Even if it lasts only for a split second, it calms my mind.

I started making new drawings to express my appreciation and to encourage myself to continue with the practice.

Though it was not my intention to create a series at first, more ideas kept popping in my head. And creating these drawings is sort of meditative, too!

live like you have everything you need meditation watercolor drawing
Live like you have everything you need.
All-beings-be-happy-meditation watercolor illustration
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and liberated.
I'd rather be here and now meditation illustration
I’d rather be here and now.

Last year I had a lot of fun making a wall calendar, and perhaps this could be my new calendar design for 2017?

I personally would like to have this hanging on the wall to remind me to breathe 🙂 Wouldn’t you?

p.s. You can follow me on Instagram to see more works from my sketchbook!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot



From the sketchbook: flowers, kitties & house plants!

Hello, hello!

I haven’t shared my drawings from the sketchbook for a while, so I want to do that today. (By the way, I share my drawings often on Instagram if you want to see my artwork more regularly :))

But I have to confess first. I haven’t been making a lot of art for fun lately… 😦

I had a client commission work that took a lot of my time and energy before I left for my 10-day silent meditation retreat, and before that all I did was marketing and promotion for my business!!

I know they’re all necessary and important to grow my business. And I’m learning that things come in waves and phases, so some days I do more marketing and other days I do more creative things.

I get hard on myself when I spend more time on business-y stuff and don’t make time for personal creative work regularly.

It makes me question, “What am I doing?? Why am I not making art all the time??” But that’s just how it is sometimes especially when you’re at the beginning stage of building a business, running the show by yourself. I try to be more patient with myself and try to enjoy the learning process of making my dream come true.

Anyway, I did manage to create some fun drawings and hope you enjoy them!

Peonies from the farmer’s market ❤ Watercolor & Pigma Micron pen.
Calathea house plant drawing, Pigma Micron pen & Sakura Koi brush pens.
Heart Leaf Philodendron house plant drawing, Pigma Micron pen & Sakura Koi brush pens
Pink & purple poppies, Sakura Koi brush pens & Gellyroll pens.
Cat faces! Pigma Professional brush pens.

By the way, out of the cat face doodles came the cat dad Father’s Day card below 🙂

Cat dad card ❤

Along with the lack of personal creative time and energy, I was feeling kind of discouraged about my creative business – wondering if I was cut out for it and if I would see any success – making a living doing what you love is really hard!!

I <3 Lisa.
I ❤ Lisa.

And then I went to see Lisa Congdon at her Joy of Swimming book reading in Seattle at the end of May and was totally inspired by her talk ❤ I came home with renewed energy and more confidence to keep working towards my big goal. So I doodled this the next day.

I can do this. Pigma Micron pen & Sakura Koi brush pen.

Have a wonderful week, my friend!!!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot


From the Sketchbook

Happy April! Wow how time flies! I hope you’re adjusting to the seasonal changes OK!

I’ve said this before but when I quit my day job last summer, I thought I was going to have all the time I wanted to make art every day. It turns out there are so many other business-y things I needed to take care of, and sadly making art for the sake of making art had taken a back seat in my life.

I was feeling a little burnt out leading up to my last sabbatical and was worried I was losing my sparks.

So during my sabbatical, I was determined to just relax and make whatever, whenever I felt like it. As a result, I felt rested and spacious. I got to rediscover the joy of making art as a way of relaxation and self-care.

After all, that is what art was to me in the beginning – something that fed my soul, and it can still be that if I created a space for it. I was definitely losing touch with that aspect of art making as I was buried deep in the day-to-day, trying to make my creative business happen. And I really wanted to have it again in my everyday living.

I realize it’s nearly impossible to create art just for fun any more. I’m always thinking about what’s next for my business and how even my fun, “non-work” art can help me achieve my goal.

But I’ve been attempting to restore the balance and making art as part of my daily relaxation practice as well. I’ve been taking time off from my business/admin stuff mid-day or at the end of the day to draw something fun and joyful. Some of them will be part of my portfolio or my future work, and others will just live in my sketchbook.

It’s been so nice to have that space in my life again. I didn’t realize how much I craved it and how good it is for me personally and professionally.

Here are some of my recent drawings from my sketch book! Enjoy 🙂

Asparagus, watercolor and micron pen
Things to Do on a Rainy Day, Sakura koi pens & micron pen
Watercolor Wheels, watercolor, gouache, and micron pen
Blue Cookware, Sakura koi pens
Blue Kitchenware, Sakura koi pens
Easter Eggs, watercolor, gouache, and micron pen
Flower Clock, watercolor, gouache, micron pen, and gellyroll pen

Have a wonderful day!

xo Yuko


My Updated Portfolio!

Yuko's portfolio screen shot

Do you have a task or two (or five) that you’ve been putting off? You just can’t get motivated to get started for whatever reasons. Maybe it’s too overwhelming, or maybe it’s a boring and time consuming task that you hate.

For me, updating my art and illustration portfolio is one of those things. Which is terrible considering that’s very important to my work!!!

I created my online portfolio 2 years ago in my Graphic Design certificate program at a local college. It was a requirement to put one together to graduate from the program.

I got a domain name “” (glad it was still available!) and used the same WordPress template I use for my blog (Twenty Thirteen theme) to create one.

At that time, I was still thinking I wanted to be a designer rather than an artist/illustrator because I didn’t think being the latter was a viable option for me. I believed being a working artist was something reserved for only super talented and special people. I didn’t think I was that person.

But then in my very last class after my portfolio presentation, my instructor saw that art and illustration was my true passion and encouraged me to follow my passion rather than settling to pursue design, which I sort of liked but not really. And just like that, I decided I’d pursue art and illustration more seriously!

So anyway, my portfolio had a bunch of work that were more focused on design projects from school. I’d worked very hard to put it together and was kind of over it when it was done. And left it alone for the past 2 years!! Yikes.

Needless to say, my work has changed since then. But my portfolio still had a bunch of old logo designs and wedding invitation designs which I didn’t really want to do any more.

Because I was feeling kind of embarrassed about my outdated portfolio, I hid it deep inside my website and didn’t really promote it for a long time.

I was making more work but did’t bother to update my portfolio for so long. I would post my new work on my social media so I figured, people can just find my work there, right? Or go to my Etsy store to see my new products, yes?

I also didn’t like the fact that my website and portfolio (and my blog for that matter) all lived at a different place – my website is self-hosted  vs. my portfolio and blog are hosted on I do my own design for the website (html and css all the way!) but use the template for WordPress for blog and portfolio because my coding skills are pretty limited.

I’ve been wanting to do an overhaul and get everything on one platform and thought that would be a good time for me to update the portfolio all together. But that’s a huge task and I haven’t gotten around to it. And when I realized I didn’t have a clear timeline for it, I just didn’t want to wait any longer.

So the other day, I went into my portfolio site and spent a couple hours getting rid of old categories and pages and just made one simple page where you can see a bunch of my new work.

I kept the same WordPress theme (Twenty Thirteen, same as this blog) to keep a somewhat consistent look. And I used their portfolio feature with square grid to organize the page to keep it clean and simple.

I chose pieces that show my current style and focused on work that I’d like to do more of. It’s a place for people to find more curated work of mine rather than seeing different bits and pieces on social media.

It’s still work in progress but at least my work is fresh and I don’t feel so embarrassed about it any more 😀 Since I got rid of a bunch of pages and categories, adding new work will be a lot easier, too, and that should make it easier for me to keep it updated!

You can visit my updated illustration portfolio here if you’re interested! I hope you enjoy what you see.

Thanks guys! Have a nice day 🙂

xo Yuko


From the Sketchbook

I like reviewing my sketchbook because it tells me how I was feeling and what I was interested in at that time. When I look at my old sketchbooks, I realize 1) my drawing was not as bad as I thought and 2) I’ve gotten better 🙂 It’s a great way to gauge where you were and how far you’ve come!

Also, it’s more playful and experimental. It’s so important for artists to not lose touch with our playful side and not be afraid to try something new. I get most of my product ideas from my casual drawings in my sketchbook by the way.

I want to share some of the recent drawings from my sketchbook today! Enjoy 🙂


As always, I enjoy drawing food! I’ve been interested in making more illustrated recipes lately. It’s a fun way to to combine my love of drawing, handlettering, and eating 🙂 This simple ginger tea is awesome on a cold day or if you’re having an upset stomach.


I made this lettering piece for one of the blog post. It’s such a simple message and drawing but makes me happy and inspired 🙂


Whenever I feel stuck creatively, I draw flowers. I just love them so much! I bought dahlias at the farmers’ market almost weekly this past summer. I just couldn’t get enough of them! I usually photograph them to draw/enjoy later 🙂 And I added this beautiful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Swoon!


It’s time for me to start designing new products for summer! I think it’s going to be veggie/summer garden themed 🙂 Some warm-up sketches to get my creative juice going. Excited to see where this will lead me.


Though I love simple pen & ink line drawings a lot, I was missing more colorful watercolor drawings the other day. Dave gave me beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day so I decided to make a painting of it to encapsulate their beauty 🙂 It’s always fun to make a loose painting with watercolor and brush.

And just in case you’re wondering what kind of sketchbook I use, my current favorite is this Canson Mix Media sketchbook! I like the thickness of the paper, and the size is great, too. I used to work in a much smaller sketchbook but wanted to challenge myself to work a little bigger. Granted this is not that big, I’m learning to expand my horizon a bit 🙂


I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into my sketchbook today! Have a great day 🙂

xo Yuko


Something exciting is happening on Instagram this week!

insta_icon_notext_loresAre you on Instagram? If so, check out Sakura of America‘s feed this coming week! I’ll be their guest Instagrammer 🙂 Woo hoo!

I’ve loved using their products for several years, especially the micron pen (I often use black micron size 01) and Koi Coloring Brush Pens. So I was super excited when they reached out to me and invited me to be their guest Instagrammer.

Looks like I'm not going to run out anytime soon...
Looks like I’m not going to run out anytime soon…

They first contacted me last summer after I competed my 365 Day Happiness Is drawing project from April 2014 to April 2015. When I say put your work out there consistently and the opportunities will come, I’m not kidding!


I’ll be posting new drawings on their feed every day this coming week 🙂 Hope you will follow along for daily inspirations!

xo Yuko



January #MakeWithMe Drawing Challenge Highlights

Hi friends!

I participated in the #MakeWithMe daily drawing challenge hosted by Janine Crum in January. This was my third time to join in the fun.

When I received the email about it in December, I thought about not participating because I felt my plate was already full. But then I remembered how fun and challenging it was last time I did it and thought what could be better than to start a new year with a consistent drawing practice?? So I told her I was in. And, of course I had a lot of fun again! 🙂

For those of you who are not familiar with how the challenge works – you receive a daily email with a prompt for drawing for a certain period of time (in this case, from January 1 to 31). You draw your interpretation of the prompt and post it on Instagram with the hashtag (#MakeWithMe for this one). It’s a great way to keep your motivation up and challenge yourself creatively in a fun, community environment.

To make it a little more challenging for myself, I decided to use just a black Micron pen (size 1) for the entire month. I did use color for a couple of them because they were just begging for it!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from the challenge here!


An Iceberg – I was really tempted to draw more details in but loved how it turned out.


A Kangaroo


A Matchbook – found a random matchbox from Peru


A Praying Mantis – I love their dramatic poses!


A Rooster – they’re so fancy-looking!


Sea Otters – what can I say? They’re SO adorable. I have this drawing as art prints in case you want to enjoy the sweetness of these cuddly creatures in your home!


Fury – the prompt was meant for an emotion, but Nick Fury from the Avengers movie popped in my head first… so here he is!


Sunflowers – It made me miss the sunshine in the summer 🙂


Things in My Pocket – gotta have something with cat eye laser on!


A Toucan – I had to add Dave in – this is from a snapshot at Kobe Flower and Bird Park when we visited Japan several years ago.

If you want to join in the fun in the future, be sure to subscribe to Janine’s list on her website!

You can also see more drawings from my sketchbook on my Instagram @honeyberrystudios if you’d like.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

xo Yuko