Searching for a last-minute Christmas gift? Look no further than the Untapped New York shop. For a limited time, we’re offering a discount if you bundle our tote bag illustrated by Bernadette Moke with an autographed copy of Secret Brooklyn by our founder Michelle Young and CEO Augustin Pasquet. Printed in the USA, the tote bag is made of heavy duty black canvas with a three-inch gusset to help carry more items. Use the code BROOKLYN for free shipping.

Now without further ado, meet Bernadette Moke, aka the Downtown Doodler, the illustrator behind our tote bag featuring New York City landmarks like the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, the Guggenheim, Lincoln Center, and the Flatiron Building.

Untapped New York tote bag illustrated by Bernadette Moke

Untapped New York: Where did the nickname “Downtown Doodler” come from?

Bernadette Moke: Good question! I don’t remember… but I do remember my friend suggested Drawing Diva as I was brainstorming. But I preferred Downtown Doodler since I was doing more freeform doodles at the time, and Downtown was a nod to my architecture roots.

UNY: How did you discover your passion for drawing buildings?

BM: I started drawing houses in fifth or sixth grade. And when we were able to choose electives in high school I picked drafting and architecture. My teacher, Mr Donnelly, always made it fun and interesting. From there I wanted to be an architect. And finished 1.5 years at NJIT for architecture before switching to a major that had less construction and more design. 

UNY: Favorite NYC landmark?

BM: Another good question! Probably the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is so much to look at both inside and out. Grand Central Terminal, the Brooklyn Bridge and Jefferson Market Library are up there as well. If it’s Beaux Arts style, then it shoots up my list.

UNY: What’s your day job?

BM: For the past 12+ years I’ve been working as a senior digital designer at One Diversified. I do graphic design, motion graphics, UX/UI for interactive digital signage and apps, as well as creative consulting. Having that creative outlet and the opportunities it has provided has been enormously fulfilling.

UNY: How did you get involved with Untapped New York?

BM: Michelle Young found me! My doodled Starbucks cups went viral on Tumblr, (was viral a word when Tumblr was popular?), and she messaged me to see if there was a way to collaborate. The rest is history!

Next, read our 2021 holiday gift guide and check out 11 festive holiday events in NYC for 2021!