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Let’s Doodle!

Doodle Workshop at Kitsch!

If you missed the last Doodle Workshop, here is another chance to come doodle with me! I’ll be teaching another Doodle Workshop this weekend at Kitsch in Norfolk, VA.

We’ll be doodling the morning away while we munch on coffee and donuts.

If you’re interested in attending, stop by Kitsch or call 757-961-9855 to register

Get more info here.

Here are some pics from the last one, which was tons of fun!

Doodle Workshop
Doodle Workshop
Doodle Workshop
Doodle Workshop

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Mini Print!

Since printing my doodle zine (which I will post a follow up about soon) I’ve been pretty enamored with my risograph so I decided to make a little mini print to give away with any orders! So if you order anything from the shop between now and the end of June you’ll get a little riso mini print of this little weirdo doggy.

May / June Freebie

Mini prints are great to display OR you can write on the back, pop them in a little A2 envelope and send them to your favorite person!

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Oodles of Doodles, A doodling workshop

Oodles of Doodles

I’m partnering up with AIGA Hampton Roads this Saturday and teaching a little doodling workshop at Hatch in Norfolk! If you are feeling a bit stuck in a rut, want to learn some new doodling exercises or just feel like doodling your Saturday morning away and you happen to be in the Hampton Roads area, you should definitely come.

I promise to make you feel like a kid again. (Which really is how doodling should make you feel!)

If you come doodle with me you will go home with a nifty little doodle zine I have been working on (it’s my first ever zine so I am a bit excited about it). You’ll even get to pick your color.

Doodle Books
Doodle Books

Here’s the blurb from the AIGA site:

Zara Gonzalez Hoang of Manka, a compulsive doodler, will lead a workshop on using daily doodles to jumpstart your creativity. The workshop will start with a short lecture and a bit of show and tell, then we’ll dive headlong into the art of doodling. Workshop participants will go through a series of warm-ups Zara uses to get her brain going then do a series of doodle “challenges” that should get everyone thinking about doodling as more than just a mindless exercise. So bring your pens, pencils, markers and crayons and get ready to doodle.

What we’ll cover:

• Doodle Warm-ups to help get your brain going
• Tricks for getting creative when you can’t think of what to draw
• Ways to take your doodles farther than just mindlessness
• Ideas for how to start a daily practice and stick to it.

About Zara:
Zara was born and raised in a little bungalow in South Minneapolis, MN. Her childhood was colorful and loud and filled with a number of interesting characters which exposed her to different viewpoints, ideas, and cultures early in life and instilled in her a curiosity that continues to drive her passion to learn, explore and experiment. Zara has worked in advertising and for start ups as a designer, illustrator and creative director around the country. With her recent move to Norfolk, VA, she started a new creative studio for herself called Manka which allowed her to focus more on her passion for illustration and design both for her own products and for other brands. Her work mixes digital and traditional media and is influenced by her lifelong love of fairytales and mythology, nature, food and travel. – See more at:

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Manka (well, Zara) in Paris!

I vélib I can fly

I’m super thrilled to share that I will be participating in a show in Paris put on by my friends at ARTCRANK in partnership with the City of Paris’ bike sharing program, Vélib. The show will be opening in early April in Paris and will continue on through mid-May. I’m one of 19 international artists with pieces in the show and I think one of 3 americans.

I was totally honored (still am) to be approached to be part of the show – especially since it celebrates the joy of riding a bike, something I am super excited to start doing again (and sharing with my boy!) now that I am not pregnant and it is not freezing out anymore.

Creating my poster was a ton of fun, after sharing a couple concepts with the folks at Vélib and ARTCRANK, I got to create a poster that involved some of my favorite things. Bikes, Monsters, and Paris. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I am excited to see it when I go to Paris next month.

"Sunday in the City"
“Sunday in the City”

Since I am still sadly lacking in a screen printing set up in my house (hopefully to be remedied in a few months), the awesome folks at Itty Bitty Press printed this one up for me. They did a fantastic job, the poster looks even better in person.

More information about the show and all the details about the event are in the press release, which you can peruse here.

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Badger in training

Every once in awhile a friend of mine will send me an email asking if I can do a quick little illo for them. If I have the time I usually say yes because it’s a fun way to spend an hour or two. My friend Erin is running Crazylegs this year and wanted to make a little shirt for her little one so she asked me to give it a go. After some messy sketches and a quick round of revisions, we came up with something simple and fun.

Super quick and messy sketches.
Super quick and messy sketches.
Tried side view first but turned him to face the front to make him feel a bit more like baby Bucky
Tried side view first but turned him to face the front to make him feel a bit more like baby Bucky



Khoi modeling the final design.
Khoi modeling the final design.
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Aaaaand it only took me a few weeks to post this. Whoops. Here it is. I had a blast working on it. The timeline was super tight and at some points I felt like kicking myself for choosing to do this when I had less than a week to exectute it but I am super happy with how it turned out. The show was really fun too. Wish it had been more than one night!

And here’s an obligatory “Artist next to her piece” picture. My master framing plan didn’t work out so I went with something simple but sometimes simple works well enough.

Skullbeasts & Zara

The poster was an edition of 5 and there are 2 left if anyone is interested. You can grab it in the shop if you are.

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D A R K  M A T T E R S

One of the neatest things about moving to Norfolk is the Art Scene that is starting to pop up downtown. Alchemy NFK is at the center of a lot of the growth and they have been continually doing fun things to bring people downtown to interact with the arts.

Next Friday (January 30th) they are hosting a little one-night pop up exhibition at a building on Granby street that was recently purchased and gutted by my husband’s boss. It’ll be a little bit creepy, a little bit weird and it should be a whole lot of fun.

Also, I have a new piece in the show and I’m pretty excited about how it turned out. What’s even cooler is if all goes as planned it should be sporting a spiffy frame by the uber-talented Randy of Nest Home. Kind of excited about that.

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may have seen a little peek of the piece but you’ll have to come to the show to see the whole thing. Just kidding, I’ll post a full shot after the show!

Anyway if you are near Norfolk next Friday come on down and check it out, it should be a good time. Here are the details:

D A R K  M A T T E R S
Friday, January 30th, 2015 8-11pm
433 Granby Street, Norfolk

RSVP on Facebook

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Manka Goals for 2015


I love the start of the year because I love to set goals. I don’t like the word resolution, seems too prone to failure, but goals I can get behind. And, since accountability is always good, I’ve decided to share my goals here and (if I am on the ball) check in periodically to talk about how they’re going.

2014 was a year of transition and change. I quit my job, moved across the country, bought a 100 year old house, launched Manka and had a baby. In other words, it was a bit of a blur. This year, now that I’m somewhat settled, I’d like to focus on building and growing.

My work time is limited in ways it has never been before, so I need to get the most out of my day. Hopefully, by writing down tangible goals I’ll have an easier time working towards them instead of meandering down other paths as I am prone to do. With that in mind here are my modest(?) goals for 2015.

Finish illustrating the Children’s Book I’ve been neglecting
A good friend of mine asked me to illustrate a children’s book that he wrote and with the move and the baby and all of life’s busy-ness it’s been languishing a bit. I’m recommitting to finishing it this year.

Create a more complete card offering
I’ve enjoyed creating some greeting cards but my approach has been a little haphazard. This year I’m going to concentrate on creating a more cohesive offering that includes General Everyday Cards, Happy Birthday, Thank you, Congratulations, etc. Basically the big non-seasonal categories. Seasonal may be a goal for next year, but this year I’m sticking to the non time-sensitive groups.

Double my online sales compared to 2014
I put this site/shop up but then didn’t do much at all with it last year. I sold some things through the shop but the majority of my sales came from other places. I want to up my game this year and see if I can get my site out there a little more.

Participate in one craft fair each season
I had so much fun participating in Handmade Holiday in December that I am hoping to make it a more regular thing. There are a few Craft Fairs coming up that I am hoping I’ll be able to participate in.

Dedicate time each week to work on a special project
There are a bunch of special projects and collaborations I’ve been meaning to work on/start but other things get in the way. This year I’d like to dedicate a particular time each week to focus on them. Even an hour or two a week will get them moving in the right direction and give me something fun to look forward to each week!

And of course to continue to do awesome work for my clients who give me fabulous projects to work on that also happen to be enormously fun.

So here we go 2015! These are probably more ambitious than I think they are but I like a challenge. I’m excited for the next 12 months and what they hold. Hopefully by throwing my intentions out there into the ether, good things will come.