In the Sketchbook: ChiChai@Empire

– by ChiChai@Empire –

In the Sketchbook is a new #MyEmpireInTheAir series that dives, well, in the sketchbook! Here we feature artists, their works-in-progress, and glimpses of how their creative minds work.

I’m bringing you guys to a personal place  to kick off In the Sketchbook: my sketchbook!

My creative process includes exploring and surrounding myself with things that I inspire me. I will take you guys around my sketchbook and in it so you can get idea of what those inspirations entail.

The Sketchbook: a Pow!Wow!Hawaii! x Moleskine
If you’re a longtime reader, you may know that I’m a fangirl of Pow!Wow!Worldwide! — the worldwide congregation of artists to beautify neighborhoods with murals. (You can read about my Pow!Wow!Hawaii! experience here) Drawing in their sketchbook makes me feel a bit part of the movement.

The Nook
If I’m not traveling, I do most of my drawing at my desk. My roommate (aka Chris@Empire) and I recently moved to an apartment that conveniently came with this office nook! It consists of used up sketchbooks, never-been-touched sketchbooks, and hella toys and artwork from various artists. The bulletin board is home to in-progress projects.

Shout-outs to: DJ Rox the Beat for the “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m going…” piece,  to Abigail Dela Cruz who illustrated the Tagalog Goddess of Love piece, JToddo who made the fun canvas on the left, Vanessa for turning the Empire hibiscus earrings into large decor, and Ann@Empire for my “name placard.”

Strong Women
I mostly draw women…. which you can probably tell from the Empire in the Air apparel. Women are strong, beautiful, loving… There are so much women in my life that have all of those characteristics and then some– how can I not draw inspiration from them?

Mother Nature’s Creatures
Fun facts: when I was a toddler, I lived next to a farm  and had seven German shepherds. Also, from elementary school to high school, I lived by the ocean. In other words,  I grew up basking in Mother Nature’s beauty and her creatures. I’m fascinated by how animals’ purity allows them to be in-tuned with the earth.

I like to bring my sketchbook with me everywhere, especially when I’m traveling. I admire the aesthetics of different people and cultures and want to soak it all in the best way I know how.

Here are some sketches from my week in Bangkok last summer:

Work & Empire Work
Majority of my sketchbook pages are drafts of the same concept over and over again for my 9-5 job and for Empire. Here’s a snippet of what my design process looks like for various projects.

Works in Progress
My upcoming art collection intertwines my love for strong women and nature. I don’t want to get in it too much but let’s just say you may or may not be able to see some of these doodles on my bulletin board.

I hope you enjoyed the first of In the Sketchbook! We have some visionaries lined up for the following ones!

In the meantime, if you would like to be featured or want to recommend someone, feel free to contact me at

– ChiChai@Empire

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