DIY Custom Kicks

Activity featured in ILLUSTORIA Issue 2: Canvas, Art by Elizabeth Haidle.

Activity featured in ILLUSTORIA Issue 2: Canvas, Art by Elizabeth Haidle.

Have you always dreamed of customizing your own pair of sneakers? It’s way easier than you ever thought. In honor of #Inktober, we thought we’d share a favorite DIY activity from ILLUSTORIA Issue #2: Canvas. Check it out!


-pair of canvas sneakers (or a piece of fabric if you don’t want to draw on your shoes)

-sharpie, fabric paint, or stamps with an ink pad
-brush, if you’re using fabric paint
-scrap piece of paper and pencil

  1. Ask for your parent’s permission before decking out a design on a fresh pair of shoes!

  2. Sketch out your shoe design on a piece of paper. Challenge yourself to come up with your very own logo or catch phrase!

  3. Once you’ve settled on a design, grab a sharpie, fabric paint + brush, or stamps and ink and doodle to your heart’s content.

  4. All done? Now it’s time to show em’ off! Head outside and display your awesome new kicks to the world.

Activity featured in ILLUSTORIA Issue 2: Canvas, Art by Elizabeth Haidle.

Activity featured in ILLUSTORIA Issue 2: Canvas, Art by Elizabeth Haidle.

Loved this DIY activity? ILLUSTORIA #1—7 are filled with even more rad do-it-yourself art projects, recipes and story telling activities from fabric painting to delicious cherry almond bars. Take a look here, and happy drawing.


DIY: Drawing in Reverse

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

For days when you feel like you're in an art rut, simply out of ideas or just plain bored, here's a rad, instantly inspiring DIY drawing project to keep in your back pocket. Have you ever tried drawing.... in reverse? Sounds strange and even a little intimidating, but it's actually a fantastic way to spark your imagination without breaking a sweat. By using an eraser to draw instead of a pencil or pen, your page suddenly becomes a playground for zany, totally original ideas, doodles, and experimental drawings. Grab your eraser and get ready to look at the world in a whole new way!

What you need:

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  • Graphite Powder (get at an art supply store or online)
  • Erasers - large, small, all shapes
  • Paper - cardstock, watercolor or multi-media…anything thicker than printer paper
  • Larger placemat, newspaper, or something under your project…it can be a tad messy!
© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 


1. Using a crumpled up paper towel or tissue, dip into the jar of graphite powder and coat one side, then rub in circular motions across your page until an even tone of grey appears. (Don’t be afraid to press down quite a bit!)

2. Lightly brush any excess powder away by whisking another tissue across the surface. The graphite should be kind of ‘scrubbed into’ the paper, like a stain.

3. With a pencil, sketch in a few lines to show which shapes you intend to make lighter (might be the area around a shape, as in this case!) Erase with a giant eraser or kneaded eraser (my fav)

4. When you have the shape you’d like, fill in details with a finer eraser, the end of a pencil, or one of those refillable cartridge erasers (these can apply a decent amount of pressure)

5. Now add finishing details in pencil or pen. You can even overlay thin watercolor washes on top of the erased spaces or the graphite-tone parts, just be aware that the moment you put water down, it’ll fix your image on the page in a permanent way—no longer erasable.

Here are other images made using this method:

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

And a process vid, to see it in action:

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

© Elizabeth Haidle 2018. 

Love this DIY project? Check out our Instagram Giveaway to win Elizabeth Haidle's completed piece from the DIY video (pictured above) ! More details on the giveaway can be found here. And stay tuned for more black-and-white themed DIY projects in our next ILLUSTORIA Issue #8: Black and White, coming oh-so-soon. 



Announcing #5: THE MOTION ISSUE

Cover art by  Yuliya Gwilym

Cover art by Yuliya Gwilym


We are thrilled to present issue #5 of ILLUSTORIA, The Motion Issue. This issue is currently at the printer and will be delivered in the coming weeks so be on the lookout! 

Color proofs of  The Motion Issue

Color proofs of The Motion Issue


The Motion issue is bursting with invigorating stories and comics that will get your brain humming and your feet gearing up for action. We asked writers, artists, and makers to explore motion in all different forms, and the result is a meditation in movement in the form of sea creatures at the aquarium, the gallop of horses, journeys into space and fantastical worlds, the capturing of motion through art and photography, and even the progressive, forward-movement of trailblazers and activists. 

Start off the school year inspired and energized through interviews with writer/activist Kate Schatz and visionary artist Miriam Klein Stahl of the bestseller Rad Women Wordwide.

A spread from our interview with rad women Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl of  Rad Women Worldwide  and  Rad American Women A-Z

A spread from our interview with rad women Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z

Learn how to make your own Victorian-era animated thaumatrope with a DIY activity by our creative director, Elizabeth Haidle.

DIY Victorian-era thaumatrope activity

DIY Victorian-era thaumatrope activity

Become a color detective when you read a brief history of vermilion by pigment and watercolor expert Alexis Joseph of Case for Making and master watercolorist Lindsay Stripling.

A Brief History of Vermilion by Alexis Joseph and Lindsay Victoria Lee, for issue #5: Motion

A Brief History of Vermilion by Alexis Joseph and Lindsay Victoria Lee, for issue #5: Motion

Fall in love with heroes of art history through eye-opening comics on Eadweard Muybridge, Madeline L'Engle, and Henri Matisse, and enjoy so much more in the form of comics, illustrated stories, book recommendations, a playlist and recipe, coloring pages, and activities.

Photographing Motion: Eadweard Muybridge, by Marlowe Dobbe for issue #5: Motion

Photographing Motion: Eadweard Muybridge, by Marlowe Dobbe for issue #5: Motion

 Spread from Literary Giants as Kids: Madeleine L'Engle, by Elizabeth Haidle for issue #5: Motion

 Spread from Literary Giants as Kids: Madeleine L'Engle, by Elizabeth Haidle for issue #5: Motion

So get moving and pre-order your copy of The Motion Issue on our shop page or at your local favorite shop, newsstand, or bookstore

DIY: Paper Maché Succulent Garden


Does the wilting monstera plant in the corner of your living room keep you up at night? Is photosynthesis your least favorite word in the dictionary? Has your green thumb been ignoring your calls for the past year and a half? If the answer is yes, don't despair, your days of dying plants are over! With a beautiful, super easy to make DIY paper maché succulent garden, you may never have to touch a watering can again. (That is unless you're recycling into a cool found object sculpture...for instance as a pot for your new paper plants!) We featured this in issue #4: The Grow Issue. Just for you, we've expanded the steps in full, glorious, step-by-step photographic detail. Enjoy!

Paper Maché Succulent Garden

Here's everything you need: 
-stack of old newspapers
-mod podge (or your own paper maché glue recipe!) 
-a large bowl
-masking tape
-aluminum foil
-colorful paper
-paint brushes
-acrylic or tempera paint
-terra cotta pots, or any kind of small container for your plants
-tissue paper
-a tablecloth or more newspapers to keep your table clean, this project is messy! 
-optional: blow dryer, for faster drying time!

Step 1 - Mold the aluminum foil into plant like shapes. The masking tape can be helpful for keeping your sculpture in place. 


Step 2 - Cut your newspaper into 1 - 2 inch strips. You're going to need a lot of it, so don't be afraid to cut up a whole stack! (Just make sure everyone is done reading it first!) 


Step 3 - Dip a newspaper strip into the mod podge. Use two fingers to squeeze off the extra glue. Pro tip: You just want to cover your entire strip in a thin layer of 'podge. If you're strips are too wet, you're sculpture will be very soggy and won't hold up. Too little, and it won't stick to the aluminum. 

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Step 4 - Tightly wrap the newspaper strips around your aluminum shapes. The tighter you wrap around, the more your sculpture will stay true to it's original form and not get too lumpy. Cover your shapes completely three times around.

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Step 5 - Lay out your wet, wrapped shapes on a piece of newspaper to dry overnight or simply blow dry!


Step 6 - Once dry, paint your succulents and pots to your heart's content! You can also glue on bits of paper for embellishments. I used Sakura's Pen Touch Markers to add on details, they're so much fun to use. 


Step 7- Put your plants in your pots with some tissue paper as "dirt" to keep them in place. And voilà, it's your own paper maché garden! At long last, your green thumb can come out of hiding. 

This DIY activity is featured in Illustoria's Issue 4 — The Grow Issue! This issue is chalk full of amazing projects, stories, and comics and it's available at your local bookstore or our online store





Heath Newsstand Launch Party

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Get out your party hats and come celebrate with us on June 3rd, 2017 for the launch of Heath Newsstand, a new gorgeously curated space of printed publications at Heath Ceramics!  From 10 AM1 PM, we'll be hosting a craft table where kiddos & grownups alike can color, write, and make their very own books and zines. While you create, there will be delicious pastries provided by Tartine Manufactory and free juice samples from the Juice Shop truck. But wait there's more—we'll be giving away adorable limited-edition pins, stickers, temporary tattoos and postcards. What could be more delightful?

In addition to crafts, we'll be showing off our newly released Issue 4: The Grow Issue along with our past issues 1–3. 

After you've crafted to your heart's content, stick around to meet contributors from other local publications:

2–4 PM: Meet the team behind the National Magazine Award-winning publication The California Sunday Magazine. Full of ambitious true features and cinematic photography from across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America. Chat with Leo Jung, Creative Director, and Jacqueline Bates, Photography Director. And, don’t miss the free samples from San Francisco-based Original Grahams, graham crackers with quite the underground following in the city.

5–7 PM: Franchise will be presenting their newest issue and limited-edition print giveaways. It’s a global basketball print-only magazine full of vibrant photography, illustrations, interviews with designers and players, and covers locations from LA to Ghana. We’ll have beer from our friends at Fort Point Brewery along with bread and cheese from Tartine.

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Heath Newsstand is a democratic space for the local community and visitors alike, with a wide range of topics to explore: international design publications, hard-to-find printed matter from far-off cultures, food and lifestyle magazines, and your favorite daily newspapers. There’s also a sweet selection of classic candy, snacks, cold drinks, cards from our favorite printers, and flowers from La Fleuriste. Plus, bags and accessories from Heath Sews, perfect for work and travel. 

For more information about the event, check out:

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

What: Heath Newsstand Launch Party -- ILLUSTORIA DIY bookmaking & crafts

When: June 3rd, 2017

Time: We'll be there 101 PM, but the festivities continue until 7 PM!

Where: Heath Ceramics, 2900 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

RSVP here.

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

Photo courtesy Heath Newsstand

See you there! 


Oakland Book Festival 2017

Oakland Book Fest 2017.jpg

Don't miss the Oakland Book Festival this Sunday, May 21st, 2017, from 11am–6pm! ILLUSTORIA will be there with plenty of magazines--including the just-out issue 4: The Grow Issue -- and lotsa swag including temp tattoos, stickers, coloring pages, and pins. We'll be at booth 22 in the kids' activity area, where you and your creative little ones can color, craft, make zines and create your own custom bookmarks with us. Meet Joanne and Mark, the publisher and co-founders of Illustoria and craft and chat kids' lit with our team. We would love to meet you!

Check out the impressive list of authors at this not-to-be-missed annual event for literary lovers in the heart of downtown Oakland:

There are events and talks galore so check out all the happenings here. 

What: Oakland Book Festival

When: Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Time: 11am–6pm

Where: Oakland City Hall, Downtown Oakland

See you there!  

Indie Bookstore Day w/ ILLUSTORIA + DIESEL Oakland


Mark your calendars! April 29th is Independent Bookstore Day (2017) and you'll find Illustoria at one of our absolute fave local bookshops, Diesel in Oakland! The day will be full of events and activities catered to your literary (and little one's) heart's delight. Grownups with creative kids, come drop in from 1-2 pm for a craft session with Illustoria. We'll make easy-peasy and totally original bound books and zines with kids, and there will be stamps and coloring for all. Take home bookmarks, pins, and other cool swag. We'll even have a temp tattoo station!

WHEN:   Saturday, April 29th, 2017 / 1-2pm

WHAT:    Indie Bookstores Day
                Kids' Craft Time w/ ILLUSTORIA

WHERE:  Diesel, A Bookstore
                5433 College Ave
                Oakland, CA 94618

Also check out these happenings at Diesel Oakland throughout the day:

10am - noon: Big Kid / Little Kid Juice Stand. Mimosas for the adults, and OJ for the kiddies. Books for everybody.

1-2pm: Kids' Craft Time with Illustoria

4-5pm: Literary Happy Hour. Our featured item this year is the IBD limited-edition, A Literary Cocktail Party. Pouring their signature cocktails from the book will be, Edan Lepucki -- Tequila Negroni; Novella Carpenter -- Beet Kvass Shots; and Jacqueline Luckett -- Dirty Martini. Cheers!

We couldn't agree more with this testimony to the relevance of indie bookstores today, from the staff at Diesel:


"Bookstores are unique places in the chaos and hubbub of our modern times. They are places where you can come to disconnect, relax, and enjoy a moment of silence, yet simultaneously they are also places where you can feel more engaged with and informed about the world around you. Bookstores embody dichotomy: antiquated yet ever-more-relevant, sanctuaries of knowledge but purveyors of distraction, nerdy yet sophisticated, esoteric and yet always welcoming. Cities across the nation have seen the resurgence of these oh-so-vital centers of conscience and community, and we want to celebrate with you! So come out and enjoy a day of browsing, reading, and reveling in all things book-related."


Come surround yourself with great books and let's celebrate ideas, crafts, and curiosity together. Here's to our thriving literary community. Yay, Oakland! Yay, Indie Bookstores Day!