DIY Bookbag Design à la Sharpie

Sharpie fanatics would agree: give someone a Sharpie and expect  INKspiration! Read how Miriah Garnett created a stylish design on her sister’s bookbag (that got the sister seal of approval), her other Sharpie uses, and her advice to other young artists…

Tell me about yourself:

I’m Miriah Garnett, an International Baccalaureate student at North Hagerstown High School. I love to listen to music. It’s a big part of my life. Along with music, I enjoy painting, decorating, doing my nails, scrap booking, reading, texting, and of course shopping.  I am a big fan of R&B, hip-hop, pop, and old school music. I’m a fan of M&Ms, especially the new pretzel kind. I’m a huge Twilight fan. I have read all the books and I am anxiously awaiting the premier of the 4th movie, Breaking Dawn. Some things I don’t like are: stinkbugs (they’re really gross), country music and gory horror movies.

What year in school are you?  Any favorite classes?  Extra-curriculars?

I am in the Eleventh grade. My favorite class is Biology, because I really enjoy sciences and plan to go into the medical field when I’m older. I am involved in the art and scrap-booking clubs at my school.

What inspired you to design a book bag for your sister?

In Kindergarten, it has been a sort of tradition to decorate your tote bag for school, which is something I even did as a kid. So, my little sister Armani (being the girlie girl that she is) wanted a cute design for her book bag. To get some ideas, we went to our local fabric store to look for some pretty prints or designs for some inspiration. We found one that was pink with doodles. Using this design, I incorporated my own twist to it and went all out decorating the whole book bag in this manner.

Of all art supplies, why Sharpie?  What made you choose to customize the backpack with Sharpie markers?

I chose Sharpie because, since my mom is an art teacher, we have always trusted Sharpies to have precise lines and long lasting effects. Sharpies have also always had bright and vibrant colors that I love.

Miriah's finished bookbag design for Armani

Have you customized any other school supplies or accessories?

I use Sharpies to label school supplies and clothes, make card designs, when organizing, to color Shrinky Dinks, to sign t-shirts, and to draw temporary tattoos.

What goes into designing a backpack? How long does it take?

Designing a book bag is actually a very simple, easy, and creative way to design something by adding your own unique touch. In order to design one, all you need to know is what you want to create on your book bag and what Sharpie colors you would like to use. Depending on how intricate the design is will determine how long it will take to finish the book bag. The designs could range from flower patterns, to a drawing of your favorite sports team’s logo. The possibilities are limitless.

How did your sister react to your Sharpie masterpiece?

My sister absolutely ♥loved the book bag. It was cute and girlie and was everything she was hoping for. It was definitely something we would not have found in the store.

Dad, Mom, and Armani show off her new, stylish bookbag

Top 5 essenti al items that are always in your book bag:

  1. Books (I’ve never gone home from school without books—ever!)
  2. My huge, graphing display calculator
  3. Different colored pens and pencils, including my Sharpies
  4. Portable hole punch
  5. USB flash drive

Aside from customizing some really cool backpacks, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time?

As I said before , I love listening to music. I am also a big fan of shopping for shoes. Even just shopping in general “floats my boat.” I also love to design and paint my own nails. It’s something I have started doing for a year or two and really enjoy. It’s a different way of expressing yourself.

Are you a fan of Glee or High School Musical? What character do you relate to the most & of all the cast members, who would you most want to design a backpack for?!

a fan of High School Musical! My obsession phase is very much over, but I can still sing any song by heart :D. I would have to say that of all the characters, I relate to Gabriella Montez the most because of having to transfer to a new school and meet different people. I can also relate to her “nerdy” side because of being part of the IB program. If I could design a backpack for someone, it would have to Sharpay Evans because of her bold and unique style—it is a style within itself.

Classic soda or pop question here… Do you say “backpack” or “book bag” ?

In general, I think I use both interchangeably, but say “book bag” the most. I think I say this because my book bag is a messenger bag, therefore, a bag that carries books. Whereas, most backpacks are actually a bag you carry on your back.

Motto to live by:

You were born a work of art, don’t die a copy.

Got any advice for other young artists like yourself?

My advice is to express yourself, be creative, and set no limits. With this mindset, you will be able to do anything you set your mind to. As cliché as it sounds, it’s a realization you have to come to, eventually.

Sharpies are great for any kind of project, except for when your little sister uses them to express her creativity on the walls!

Armani and Miriah enjoy some "girl time"

5 Tips from a Social Media/PR Intern


Nerd, dweeb, dork, geek—why am I just now being labeled? Not that I mind, I rather enjoy my new titles. Being branded as a Social Media nerd means that I am improving my communication skills and ability to adapt to new social sites, tools and software. However, since Social Media is constantly changing and evolving, I knew that this internship with Sharpie would keep me on my toes. I still have plenty of ideas to brainstorm, blogs to create, and innovations to adapt to during the next few months. I have learned lots by immersing myself in the social media-verse these past two weeks. Several things have changed my outlook on the social realm and will benefit me in the future. These five notions are key takeaways that can help hopefuls looking for Social Media internships:


1. RELAX! Perfectionists are not perfect, and neither are you.
Internships help us learn and grow asprofessionals. Expecting mistakes and asking questions will help you get the most out of your internship. I am still struggling to break out of the perfectionist mold, but I will take away more from the experience if do.

Photo credit to Namaste Holistic Therapy

2. Blog like there’s no tomorrow. Frequent blog posts help you engage and interact with your audiences, while also sharpening and refining your writing skills. Blog about your experiences, ideas, questions, and concerns. Spice up your blog’s appearance with themes and widgets that benefit your content (ex: display your Twitter handle, links to other social sites.) If your creativity is limited by the hosted blog service, consider paying to host your own blog. is a great, FREE site for creating a blog.

Photo credit to Michigan Attorney Blog

3. Work independently, as well as diligently.
Do not expect your boss to direct your every move—more often, YOU need to come up with the big ideas. Research, keep up with the latest trends, follow/network with important “tweeples,” monitor Facebook comments, etc. Your employers are looking for future leaders and it starts by proving you can lead yourself.

4. Embrace the social geek within!
Establish your presence in the “social-sphere.” Being active on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will showcase your abilities and what you could bring to the table. Be prepared and think of ideas for organizations to utilize social sites/tools in new, creative ways.

Photo credit to Matt Hamm

5. Personal vs. Professional
Determine what information is career-related and what is not. Do not disclose anything personal that could potentially damage your future. This seems like common sense, but it still amazes me how many Facebook users’ profiles contain content that risk their employment opportunities. Good rule of thumb: if you have to question the photo, post, or tweet, delete it.

I am sure everyone has their own ideas and tips for other aspiring social media and/or PR gurus. These are just a few insights I have taken away from my experience thus far. Ironically, I am still working on each one (especially toning down the perfectionism, ahem 😉 ) Remember, when offering advice, we all need to practice what we preach!

What advice would you offer those looking for Social Media internships???

A Question to Ponder

Today kicks off the month of October; more importantly, a month dedicated to the research of breast cancer.  Now, I am not going to get into the fact that this is a very important month, devoted to a worthy cause.  This is something that has all the press that it needs and deserves. 

My question is why isn’t there another month that gets the press and recognition as the “pink” month of October?  I know that there is the daffodil month of April; one that is dedicated to cancer research as a whole.  But why isn’t there another month specific to a type of cancer research?

Do not get me wrong, I believe whole-heartedly in cancer research and the spread of cancer research, but I find it interesting that the other more prevalent types of cancer, ones that do not have as high of a success rate, such as lung, skin and prostate cancer.  I am NOT saying that we should disregard breast cancer research.  I have a lot of people close to me that are survivors because of breast cancer awareness and I am NOT saying that we should stop the breast cancer month of October.

Breast cancer charities created this month back in 1985, and it has slowly grown into what it is today.  They created the month to gain awareness of the effects and treatments of breast cancer.  This has obviously been a tremendous success and deservingly so.  With this proven method of success, why haven’t the other charities devoted to other forms of cancer research tried to create a month devoted to raising money for their specific cause?  There are plenty of months to choose from.  It could be a number of different reasons that are way too scientific/businessy for me to understand, but I feel as though the question should be raised.  I believe that the other forms of cancer research should get the national publicity that the month of October does for breast cancer.

As always, when you uncap what’s inside, you never know what kind of questions will be raised.

Chris Spencer Interview

 Chris Spencer, an artist who relishes in exploring new techniques as well as bringing pop culture into some of his works.  His love for the San Diego Chargers, surfing, and Mix Martial Arts (MMA) can be seen in some of his works.  He is not afraid to draw anything that comes to mind.

First off, tell me about yourself! 

I am 27 years old, born and raised on the small Island of Guam. I grew up with a deep connection to the ocean and this passion is reflected in my art. I moved to San Diego in high school and fell in love with surfing. When I am not drawing, I enjoy going to the beach, watching Charger games, or exploring the zoo with my family.

What kind of artist do you consider yourself?

I am most recognized for my use of black ink and intricate patterns, however I feel like claiming a certain style or medium places a limitation on my art. I prefer to keep myself open and not box myself in to being one kind of artist.

How did you get started as an artist?  Are you professionally trained or did this develop as more of a hobby?

I guess it all started in high school; I would use a sharpie and would sketch and draw while in class. It started with simple patterns and quickly turned into full pages of art. I have a BA in history but spent many hours drawing. I have not had any professional training.

Your work is extremely detailed!  You obviously put a lot of time and effort in each piece.  How much patience do you need to complete one project?

I do put a lot of time and effort into each piece. Unless I have a deadline, I usually do my art at night and stretch it out over a week. Sometimes I get hyped about a certain piece or idea and I will not stop until I finish the whole piece. I only work when I am in the mood. I try not to force it, but it seems like I’m always in the mood for art.

Your work is unlike others that I’ve seen.  The detailing is incredible and I often find myself looking deeper, almost searching for a hidden meaning… How would you describe your personal style? Where do you draw inspiration from?

            I mostly work with black ink on a white surface in intricate patterns, with some glimpses of bright colors. I weave in ocean themes and my inspiration comes from my love of the ocean, but my main approach starts with one simple concept and I construct the rest of the piece around that main idea. I just keep adding on, I never get the full picture of what I want to draw it always comes to me while I’m working.

What audience are you trying to reach with your art?

I am not trying to reach a certain type of audience when it comes to my art. I love to make art and if it connects with others, it’s a great thing.  One lesson I have learned is that for myself there is no such thing as good art or bad art, there is only art!

Your choice of canvas varies incredibly!  From paddles to large murals, t-shirts to masks… what makes you venture out from the traditional?

             I am constantly looking for new things to draw on. I try and push myself. Just recently, I drew on some Stand Up Surfing Paddles as an award for the C4 waterman surf contest for Duke Kahanamoku Oceanfest In Hawaii, with paddles it really pushes my art there are no second chances if I make a mistake on paper I can start over, but when someone hands you a paddle and says do your work I get pumped up. I really have to step my game up and let my pen flow.  Some of my favorite pieces are framed and backlit, highlighting specific details.

With all of these different platforms & canvases, is there any one in particular that would you like to concentrate on if you could?  Clothing line? Murals?

            I am passionate about creating one-of-a-kind pieces that are special and made specifically for the client. Recently, I have been exploring clothing design. I am currently designing some great pieces for a clothing line, and would like to start making hats and shirts of my own.

I see that you tend to incorporate pop culture images into your drawings.  Is there a hidden message behind this?

No hidden messages. I am intrigued by the blend of pop-culture images with my personal, more organic, style.

Why do you incorporate athletes, especially San Diego Chargers, into some of your work?

Well I love football and MMA (mixed martial arts) so I guess it was a natural fit that I worked those elements into my art. I was able to get in touch with one of my all-time favorite  NFL players, Kassim Osgood. I created a piece for him, he loved it, so it led me to more and more  pieces of art with the Chargers in it. I also did a piece for UFC president Dana White, and I did a drawing of Lil Wayne and sent it to him in Jail.

Favorite Sharpie?  Why?

            I would have to say Extra Fine Black Sharpies are my favorite. I love that the tip is fine enough that I can draw intricate patterns in small spaces and it still be detailed enough to look good.

You obviously love the black and white combination.  What do you find most appealing about this pairing?  In some pieces though, you add pops of color, what is it about this method that intrigues you?

I think black and white looks very elegant, but there are instances where I want to give special attention to something and I will add a little color to make it stand out a little more.

What is your next project and can you tell us about it?

I am currently working with a company on some art work for their clothing line, and I am really excited to do a piece on a big sheet of glass that I bought for myself.

Do you have any advice for other artists like yourself?

I would say stick with it, and understand that with art some people are not going to enjoy your work where other people may love it.  As long as you enjoy what you’re making then you should be fine. Be open to trying new things.

What do you hope for in the future?

I hope that in the future art classes in schools would be a little more prevalent than they are now. And I hope that people keep enjoying my art, it’s a great feeling when I make a piece for someone and they really enjoy all the time and effort I put in my work.

Thank you to Chris Spencer for taking the time to be interviewed.  Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisLspencer.  And as always, Uncap What’s Inside!

Drawing in class…gone wrong

You can never do too much drawing. (Tintoretto)

 That quote proves true.  Ever remember sitting in class and drawing a stupid picture of your teacher in a tutu or some embarrassing, ridiculous fashion?  I moved on from being the one drawing the picture because I had a terrible moment happen in my life. 

 I used to be the “artist” of the embarrassing drawing of the teacher.  I used to be cool and then pass it around such as you would in a movie.  Sometimes it was caught with someone else and sometimes it lasted the whole class and nothing happened.  Obviously, my class was enjoying making fun of the teacher while he thought we were smiling because we enjoyed learning cursive (which is ridiculous that we had to learn that dying form of writing).  I took out my Sharpie markers and started drawing.  My teacher was an old man, sort of “Mark Twainesque.”  He had the long, flowing, dirty white hair and mustache that looked like he should be teaching college rather than grade school. 

 I drew him with an enormous head, teeth that looked like they should be on a beaver, a typical humiliating picture of the teacher.  Well, while I was finishing my masterpiece, my attention was lost in the class and that was noticed by Mr. Harrison.  Now, when I say I was finishing my drawing, I mean I was using about six different colors of Sharpie markers; this was going to be a work of art.  Mr. Harrison slowly makes his way towards my desk and my newly created Michelangelo piece of work.  I feel like I was in a movie because he was standing immediately over me while I was drawing, clearly not paying attention to anything. 

 Mr. Harrison grabs my creation out from my desk and takes a look; my face is beat red.  He starts to laugh, which I take as a good thing…wrong.  It wasn’t that he was angry at me; he just started making fun of my drawing.  He said it was the worst drawing he had ever seen; keep in mind I am only in 4th grade.  Then he gets a little angry.  He starts swearing as though he was 6 deep at a dive bar rather than a 4th grade classroom.  Meanwhile, I am sitting there, my bladder is becoming weak and my eyes are slowing becoming Niagara Falls. 

 On her morning stroll, the principle, Ms. Heedy, overhears Mr. Harrison ripping me apart and enters the classroom.  She takes him into the hall and I have no idea the conversation that went on, but I could not fix what just happened to me.  I could not bring myself to create another work of genius for years.  I could have been the next Van Gogh, without the whole ear thing.

 I guess what I am trying to say is… don’t be afraid to draw, don’t worry what other people think because art is how you see the world.  Maybe don’t draw in a classroom while the teacher is standing over you, watching you…or don’t get caught.

Back to School Already?

Well, it seems as though that time of the year has come again.  Students all over the country are dreading the road back to school.  From listening to teachers lecture, those cheesy school videos, and who can forget the cheerful teachers that make you want to puke on Monday mornings.  Who gets excited that it’s Monday at 7 am…not too many people.

But thankfully Sharpie has some products to help get you through the school year.  Now, one might think that by purchasing a Sharpie product, one is just succumbing to the fact that school is starting.  But in reality, school is starting whether you like it or not.  It’s a fact.

Fortunately, Sharpie has come to the rescue.  With over forty different colors of markers, their highlighter, and the Sharpie Pen, there are plenty of things that you can draw while you are in class.  First off, everyone doodles.  I even doodle at times (my drawings look like that of a three year old girl) and believe it or not, I color inside the lines.  I know; you’re impressed.  With a Sharpie Pen, my doodles come to fruition.  The execution is flawless and my “toddleresque” drawings go right on my refrigerator when I get home.

School is starting, but there is no need to panic.  Everyone gets through the year and weekends come before you know it.  Enjoy the school year: doodle something or create a poster for a football game with Sharpie Markers.  You never know what you will discover about yourself this year.

Better than the Average Tat

     We all have idols in which we think we would do anything for, right? How about having their name permanently signed on your skin? Well Rose Ann Belluso did just that. Belluso is a huge Sir Paul McCartney fan, and was in attendance at his Philadelphia concert. Sitting just a few rows back from the stage, Belluso made her mark on McCartney, and then he made his on her. She noted on a sign that she was armed with a Sharpie and a tattoo artist and wanted the Beatle’s autograph on her back. Belluso’s sign was noticed by McCartney, she was brought on stage, and he made her dream come true. I wonder if her husband is upset that his wife has another man’s name tattooed on her. I’m sure he would understand this one.

     Now I’m a fan of Sir Paul McCartney and I am also a fan of tattoos, but I cannot say that I would go as far as to mix the two together on myself. I am far from calling this woman crazy though. Why do most people get autographs? To show off to their friends about how they got the opportunity to meet a person they admire. People get baseballs and shirts signed then keep them on display for the rest of their lives, so how is this any different. After reading this article, I scrolled down to read the comments. People gave their two cents about how she will regret it. I say more power to Belluso. I wonder if the autograph were to give her body more value as it would a baseball (That was obviously a joke. I do not condone the selling of one’s body).  Any who, I would like to point out how a life was enhanced with the help of a Sharpie permanent marker. Just making lives better one legend at a time:).

Fight for your right…to Highlight

Football season is soon to begin, the Sunday papers are over flowing with office supplies deals, and the kids are yanking their parents’ arm to get to the store and get the coolest accessories before someone can say they had it first. Ah, back-to-school season is here. This means See-yah-later-money-I-worked-all-summer-for season is also here.

Being a college student myself I understand full and well the nauseating feeling experienced as you’re standing in line at the school bookstore and the grand total of your text books is lit up on the screen. You wonder to yourself why you spend $200 on a book that you will later sell back (because you will have no future use for it) for $20. As you slump your shoulders and fork over the $700, you envision all the fun nights on the town also being passed to the other side of the counter.

Paying for books is indeed an experience that every college student dreads. When I heard about Sharpie Highlighter’s Right to Highlight Sweepstakes, my first thought was sign me up. All you have to do is “Like” Sharpie Permanent Markers on, submit an entry form, and you and two friends have a chance to win free text books or a Sharpie Back to School Prize Pack. I would love to have a year off from sitting in my room and sulking about how much money I was just set back, so I am heading over and entering myself in the sweepstakes now. I bid you farewell and good luck my friends.

In the similar words of Ryan Seacrest, “Intern- Out!”

That Sappy Blog Post


It seems to me that once the calendar says July, the time flies by more quickly than ever. I have now been doing this internship for a little over two weeks and it feels as though it has only been a couple days. When I started, I figured it would be a great way to jazz up my resume and help me in my future career search. Well it is that and so much more. The opportunities I have gotten in just these couple weeks are so much more than I could have ever hoped for. I have had the chance to work with great people who are awesome at what they do. My area of study is currently communications and social media, so to be able to work with people who do what I hope to do one day is amazing. I have gotten the experience working in the corporate world-answering phone calls, attending and leading meetings, going on conference calls building reports. I am learning from mistakes I make now, so I will not have to make them in my career. The knowledge that I have received and will continue receiving will make me great in the future. I have gotten an opportunity that many college students would die for. With that being said, I wanted this post to be my thank you to the people I have gotten a chance to work for or with, for all the help you have offered thus far, and the faith you have had in me to excel. I have just over a week left and I’m going to make it count!

Unique Showing of Art

There are a lot of things that can be drawn on today, from floors to art easels to rocks.  The possibilities are endless for the use of Sharpie Markers.  People look to express themselves everyday in their own ways; ways that show off their individuality.

Artwork on shoes has become increasingly popular.  Everyone wants to feel as though they are the original of a certain fashion style (or at least women do) and the artwork created on shoes is a method that will prove to be original.  Creating this kind of art establishes to be unique and allows the artist to put his/her personality onto their shoes. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that art today is not like the classic art that people think about such as Da Vinci or Picasso or Renoir.  It is something more; people are able to express themselves on many different platforms and their art is not necessarily for others to ohh and ahh about, but for the artist to express themselves in a way that feels comfortable to them.  The ability to create a piece of art on something that it worn almost everyday allows the individual to show off what they have created.

The word artist can be defined as “a person who expresses themselves through a medium.”  Sharpie Markers provide artists with the capability to create art on many different mediums.  Shoes are one way that people can become artists and show their individuality.  Overall, through Sharpie, artists are able to express themselves and Uncap What’s Inside.