Excuse me while I blow the dust off this blog.

Is that better?

I admit, I’ve been fooling around with another blog. (Don’t tell, but I think I enjoy this art one more. I mean, I can write about anything I want, from emojis to succulents.)

I’m here with news of a new pin drop. Two actually.


Two pins on a floral cloth background. The first is shaped like a bottle and reads "White Woman Tears." The second is a fortune cookie with the message "Wrong Asian Try Again!"


These designs are a little less universal than my usual work (aka plants). As I share these designs, I’ve realized not everyone gets it. This is fine with me. But if you’re confused and wanting to learn more, I want to you to be able to do that. These pin designs are me starting the conversation. You can choose to engage, or not. And if this isn’t enough, there’s always Google.

The design I’ll talk about first is Wrong Asian.


Fortune cookie-shaped pin on spotted green begonia leaves


First, I have to give a shout-out to designer Linh-Yen Hoang. Her pin was the first time I saw this idea expressed on a pin (and I hope it won’t be the last!) If you haven’t seen her design, check it out! Last I checked, it was back in stock.


So What Does “Wrong Asian” Mean?

Wrong Asian is the more self-explanatory pin of the two. But again, I’ve realized I can’t just assume. Plus, there’s a lot of background to this pin and I like talking about it. This is a fun moment for me where my interests in art and sociology merge nicely. Get ready while I geek out for a bit.


Wrong Asian pin in front of a pair of brown and blue plastic frame glasses


Being a racial minority in America means you stand out. And when you live in a predominantly white neighborhood or go to predominantly white schools, your appearance can feel like a permanent spotlight.

Asians occupy an interesting place in America. Although Asian-Americans are often seen as having “made it” – into good schools, better paying-jobs and higher income brackets than their Black and Latino counterparts – they also face the stereotype that they are always foreign. Asian Americans may be considered a “model minority” (a myth btw) but they are also “perpetual foreigners.” This is clear in cases when second- or third-generation Americans of Asian descent are still asked “where are you from?”, expected to speak a foreign (Asian) language, and are asked for stories about “their country.”

But being seen as distinct and foreign doesn’t mean individuals are seen as distinct.

Non-Asian Americans often mix up Asian Americans, regardless of actual appearance. Even when this mix-up is a mistake, it can still be hurtful to realize that others see you primarily by your race. But there’s a reason we tend to mix up people of different races or ethnicities than our own.


Multiple Wrong Asian fortune cookies lined up in rows


The Brain Science Behind Mix-ups

People who grow up in neighborhoods with a large Asian population are better at distinguishing Asian faces, regardless of their own race. The same is true for individuals who have spent a lot of time around Blacks. Or whites. The difference is that white faces in America are everywhere, from our politicians to comedians to lead actors to picture books. Even if we don’t live in predominantly white neighborhoods, Americans are constantly exposed to white faces.

But because we often have less exposure to people of other races, we aren’t as good as distinguishing between them. Researchers have called this the cross-race effect and it’s been very well-documented.

The good news is, even though the tendency to call on the “wrong Asian” is backed up by “science,” we aren’t stuck with this problem. People can get better. Spending time around people with different racial and ethnic backgrounds than your own improves your ability to distinguish between Black, Latino, or Asian faces. Even if you don’t live near or in diverse communities, one study finds that putting more effort into distinguishing between individuals improves facial recognition across race. Specifically, focusing on an individual instead of allowing our brains to simply place them into a category reduces the cross-race effect.

In other words, the human brain is smart. We can learn. We can do better.


Wrong Asian pin set on a pile of books including "On Writing" by Stephen King, "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich, and "Writing Life Stories"


Extra Reading

I’m far from the only person who has written about this. If you’re interested in reading more, here are a couple pieces I recommend:

Renea Goddard: “Mistaken Identities: Being the ‘Wrong’ Asian Girl

Jenée Desmond-Harris: “No, Neither Asians Nor Blacks All Look Alike


Wrong Asian pin placed into wooden drawing mannequin's arms
Quickstarter Shorty Squad Title Image


There’s a new crowdfunding method in town and its name is Quickstarter. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Or maybe the title had you wondering what in the world is that? Either way, you’ve come to the right place.


What is a Quickstarter?

A Quickstarter is…*drumroll please*…a very short Kickstarter. That’s all. It’s not a new platform at all. But before you leave with a “psshaw!”, you should know Quickstarters are an actual thing that the Kickstarter team acknowledges and encourages.

Kickstarter had humble beginnings, intended to support small creative projects. But now you can find anything from art zines to large-scale corporate endeavors. Companies and startups are using Kickstarter to fund everything from robots to ramen.

Giant, large-scale Kickstarter projects take on a different look. Most include press releases, endorsements from big names in their respective industries, and several “stretch goal” extensions.

To give you an idea of the scale of these projects, here are some highlights:

While impressive, these projects are a vast departure from what Kickstarter founders Peter Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler intended. While Kickstarter’s mission is focused on creative projects, the most revenue has come from their games, design, and technology categories.

In response, they’ve launched the “Quickstarter,” described on their site as “an invitation to create small projects.” The idea is credited to Oscar Lhermitte, a designer based in London.


What’s Considered a Quickstarter?

There are 9 qualifying “rules” for running a Quickstarter. Like the whole concept of a Quickstarter, these rules are informal and not enforced in any way. Following these “rules” is entirely up to the project creator:

  1. Planned in 3 months or less.
  2. Runs for 20 days or less.
  3. Goal is under $1000.
  4. Backer rewards are under $50.
  5. Video (if used) shot in a single day.
  6. No creator-initiated media or PR.
  7. No paid ads.
  8. No stretch goals.
  9. The term “Quickstarter” is in your project name.

The rules are simple. In short, Kickstarter is telling creators to think small, spend less, and do less. Maybe I’m not the target audience for this initiative since anything I would put on Kickstarter would meet most, if not all, of these rules. Or maybe this is a roundabout way of telling individual creators like myself that there’s still a place for my kind of project.


Quickstarter Examples

There are a surprising number of Quickstarter projects already. Some of the most popular ones that articles have mentioned are the envelope bag, which is just a really strong bag that’s foldable…



…and the lazy postcard, which are postcards with cutouts so you have an excuse to write a really short (or not) message.


As a writer, that’s not really my thing, but 141 people were into it.


Personally, I liked Stami Studios‘s Sleeping Luna Pin Quickstarter.

Screenshot of Stami's Sleeping Luna Pin Quickstarter



So Why Do a Quickstarter?

Are there any special benefits to running a Quickstarter? Is there a good reason for big companies to start trying smaller projects or for small businesses to jump on board and label their projects “Quickstarters”?

I have no idea.

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any particular benefit to running a Quickstarter over an ordinary Kickstarter. But I’m going to try one and here’s why:


It Can’t Hurt

I don’t know if there are any benefits to running a Quickstarter, but since the idea has been so highly promoted by Kickstarter, there can’t be any penalties either.


Rule Breaker? Not Me.

The project I’m drafting already meets all 9 Quickstarter rules. It’s a single enamel pin and I don’t plan to add any stretch goals. I suppose I can resist my urge to reach out to news outlets and my PR connections for this one.



If running a business on Instagram has taught me anything, it’s that there’s a LOT going on at the backend of any platform. Instagram is notorious for its confusing algorithm, which determines which posts you actually see on your feed.

So could jumping on the Quickstarter bandwagon get my project more traffic? Possibly. But I’m sure Kickstarter would never reveal if and how they prioritize projects on their platform, other than the blatant “Projects We Love” category.

Will running a Quickstarter get my campaign featured on the Quickstarter page? Again, it’s not clear. But currently, the most visible projects displayed are already listed as “Projects We Love.” You have to hit the “Load More” button several times to even see ordinary projects.


Still, I do think there are a couple reasons why “Quickstarter” is a nice thought:


  1. It communicates to creators that small projects are okay and relieves the pressure to promote your campaign like it’s a second job.
  2. It communicates to potential backers that this is a simple project with a quick turnaround.


In the end, I don’t expect much from running a Quickstarter, but I’m curious enough to try it.


My Quickstarter Plans

I’ll be holding a Quickstarter for *surprise surprise* an enamel pin! If you follow me on Instagram or this blog, you may know that I’ve been venturing into the world of fan art. I have two Ghibli pins up for sale now, but anyone could make Ghibli pins. Who doesn’t like Ghibli?

But the fandom I’m really obsessed with is Steven Universe. If you haven’t seen this cartoon, I’m sorry. I can’t even explain to you why it’s the best because that would take a 5-part blog series. Although if you’re interested, I could take a month to write about Steven. I’ll just say that in our currently-especially-crummy world, I fully endorse the use of uplifting cartoons as self-care.

But back to Quickstarter.

I’d love for my first Steven Universe pin to be this “Shorty Squad” design!

SU Shorty Squad Pin mockup

I absolutely love Shorty Squad and being vertically challenged, I can relate. Peridot is also my favorite.

I’ve never seen a Shorty Squad pin (but if you’re aware of one out there, please send a link my way!) so I would be thrilled to bring this cute crew to life.


Why a Kickstarter for One Pin?

SU Shorty Squad Pin Gold Mockup

I realize this is a single pin, so you might be wondering why I’m running a Kickstarter for it. The main issues are that this is pin has to be big enough to preserve all the details and has a lot of different colors to stay true to the characters.

Naturally, the larger and more detailed a pin is, the most costly it is to produce. A standard price for enamel pins usually includes 4 to 5 colors. This Shorty Squad pin would have 15 COLORS. Here are the specs I have planned so far:

  • hard enamel
  • gold plating
  • 2 inches wide
  • 15 colors
  • 2 pin posts
  • Monicartsy back stamp

There’s quite a bit going on for one pin. That’s why I’m launching a Quickstarter on July 15th. The campaign will last two weeks and end on July 29th.

The circumstances of this project are a bit different than my Seasonal Succulents Kickstarter. I was determined to make the entire set of four succulent pins even if the campaign didn’t cover all the costs. I successfully funded two of the pins and released the remaining pins later. But the Shorty Squad pin will truly be all-or-nothing.

If the pin isn’t fully funded through Kickstarter, I’ll take it as a sign that there isn’t enough interest in the design and leave it on the drawing board. I’ve rushed into some of my previous pin designs without gauging interest, so this time I’m trying to be more mindful of what people want and are actually willing to buy.

In personal news, I’ll be moving across the country to start graduate school soon. So unfortunately, I’ll need to buy boring things like furniture before producing new pins. Although I’m nervous and weirdly worried about failing with this Kickstarter, I’m looking forward to just giving it a shot!

I hope you look forward to seeing this project go live soon! Keep up with updates on my Instagram or Facebook page.

Shorty Squad Title Image for Kickstarter