I paint the underside of them

The Scorpion sake cup (2012)

Many of the cups are related to a tabletop RPG game a friend of mine runs in the L5R universe. On one of his trips to the annual Kotei tournament, he brought back a traditional sake cup for me. Since he typically plays a Scorpion character when not GMing, I felt it fitting to paint a Scorpion mon on the underside of the cup.

I started with a printout of the clan mon shrunk down to the correct size on paper, then used a combination of tracing and freehanding the design onto the cup in pencil. From there, I filled in the clan mon with black model paint, picking up a drop of paint and putting it on the cup, then pushing it around with a toothpick. Any minor errors could be erased with a clean toothpick tip if caught quickly enough. It came out amazingly well, and I pull it out often when we're gaming :).
The Heroes of Rokugan teacup set (2013)

This set of teacups came sometime after the Scorpion sake cup, towards the end of my friends and I playing the Heroes of Rokugan series of L5R modules.

My friend, the aforementioned GM, asked if it would be possible for me to paint a cup for each of the party members that we had towards the climax of the series. More cups had been obtained on his at-the-time most recent trip to Kotei, and I set out painting them in the same manner as the first. Our party consisted of four Unicorn, two Scorpion, and two Crab (I was a Crab). I was careful as possible to get all the details correct, and put as much detail as I could into the space I had. All in all, it came out amazingly well. The cup material took the paint wonderfully, and it was really fun to paint :).
The Kuraido Family mon teacup set (2015)

At one point after several years of gaming, one of my characters, Kaiu Kuraido had accomplished enough in the campaign to have his name recognized as a new Kuraido family, having several others named to his new family in the process.

In celebration and recognition of this, I designed a Kuraido family mon based on Kraid (the stencil version designed by Cptn Dave, after whom the character was named. Unfortunately, one of the Kuraido mons has an extra tooth in it. I almost re-sanded it down and started from scratch, but in the end decided that it's fittingly Kraid-like for one of them to be a little bit derpy. Also, one of the four is a Shadowlands mon, because headgames :P.
The randomized sake cup set (2016)

This cup set changed form a few times in my mind before I reached the present painting. I had a set of four small, plain white sake cups, and felt that they would be a perfect canvas to work with. I decided right from the start that I wanted them to be a sequential set. It started in my head fairly geometric, having each cup being based off 3, 4, 5, and 6 vectors. Using adequate measuring methods, I made a made marks on the rim of the base of the cup equal distance apart.

Then it went random. I have 4 cups, and 7 model paint colours mixed up in an opaque bag. Shuffle the cups and pick one, stir the bag and pick a colour, touch the colour to the cup with a toothpick at one of the vectors, and then just... keep going. No thinking ahead, no pre-drawing it, just see what shape forms in my head as I push the paint forwards. Once one shape was done, I rotated the cup clockwise, grabbed another colour from the bag, and touched it to the next vector. They seem to be connected, in my head at least. On the 6-vector cup, I added the seventh colour as stars in the background.

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