If the image hasn't tipped you off yet, there's no need to panic - my belongings are all accounted for. The truth is, I appear to have a brand new item on my desk. It's a ceramic coffee mug featuring a cartoon depiction of moi. Quite strange... How did that get there?

It all started when I thought of making personalized “me” mugs for my friends. I like coming up with creative gifts, especially if it’s creating something I’ve never tried to do before. Mugs? Cartoons? I’ve dabbled in both, but never this particular way. It sounded like a fun project.

My first challenge was to effectively capture the facial characteristics and expressions that encapsulated individual personalities. Previous projects had taught me that even the slightest changes in size, shape and position of facial features make a major difference. One by one, individual personalities began to emerge. Once the faces of my friends were staring back at me from beyond my computer screen, it was time to illustrate clothing, props and details that made it crystal clear who was who. With all the pieces in place, my cluster of cartoons were ready for mugification.

I have used product printing services before, and there are a number of places I think do a decent job for a reasonable cost. I chose Zazzle for the mugs, since they offered an option to colorize the interior. This added an extra opportunity to make each mug unique to the individual.

It was a happy day when I got the finished mugs in the mail. They printed decently well. The edges were a bit blurry, which I expected. The good news was that all the details printed clearly and the colors came out great! I lined up all the mugs and had a roll call. All “me” mugs were present and accounted for.

I thought it would be too repetitive to have a cartoon character on both sides of each mug, so I had decided to use one of the sides for something else. On some, I placed quotes of things that my friends would say time and again. On others, I placed graphics representing some aspect of the person. For my friends in the film group Blue Duck Studios, I placed a specially made Blue Duck seal. Hey, maybe they’ll open up a coffee shop in their studio space one day.

Everyone enjoyed receiving their own personalized "me" mugs. It was fun to watch them figure out all the little things I did to create their cartoon selves. Are you at all interested in your own personal "me" mug? Contact me, and let's see what we can work out!