Love is a language all by itself, expressed in a variety of ways: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time. Whether it's a relationship between parent and child, among friends, or within a romantic relationship, love is best expressed in a manner the recipient will understand and appreciate.
Chinese-Canadian cartoonist Andrew Hou, or Joo, 35, knows this all too well. Describing himself as being "not very good with expressing myself through spoken words," he used his God-given talent at illustrating to send his girlfriend Kate (or HJ) sweet messages via SMS when they started dating in 2010. For Kate's birthday, he put all of his doodles together and uploaded them in a personal blog on Tumblr especially for her.
When Joo's illustrations hit socal media, people instantly felt a connection with Joo's experiences, and felt he was speaking for them, too. His Instagram account alone now has more than 85,000 followers who love Joo's simple yet sweet and honest messages.
Joo and Kate got married a year later on March 13, 2011, and their life together has just given them more insight--and more material--for their project.
Here are a few of our favorites:
With their account amassing a steady growth of fanbase, there was nothing for the couple to do but to keep doing what they're doing. Thus, they now have HJ Story book 1, which is a collection of their most romantic exchanges; HJ Story book 2, where the comedy happens; and HJ Story book 3, which dwells on the funny side of marriage. You can purchase them here.
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Kate and Joo are based in South Korea where their doodles have been turned into merchandise for their huge fan base.
Someone has made them into cake toppers.
Their alter egos have also appeared in calendars.
Keychains and lanyards
And a van for a friend's wedding planning business.
A number of couples have also commissioned them for their own caricatures:
Joo and Kate have no kids yet to date, but if ever they do, a book four might be on the way, too. As Joo told star2.com, “I’m not sure I’d be able to keep up the whole romantic thing…we might have to draw a whole new book just for my kids!”