Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leaving for Dragon*Con~

Will be back next week, hopefully a better person like after every worthwhile trip~~ Sometimes I feel like there are so many ideas and feelings I would like to share, but somehow I find myself holding back. Sometimes it is a fear of speaking too soon, but most of the time it is a question of how much and exactly what is appropriate to disclose. Appropriate in what sense, even?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pre-Otakon WIP

Will try to finish this for Otakon. Even got special paper for the prints, so fancy~~
This is an idea that's been floating around in my mind for a little while and I decided now was the right time to finally execute it. I'm a bit disappointed with my progress since last year's Otakon, but that's not really the point, just a small additional factor that is forcing me to work right now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CMT Adventures So Far

Need to keep getting ready for Otakon instead of blabbing on here, but I feel like I owe an update--

I haven’t really uploaded any new art in a while; part of the reason is that pretty much right before leaving for AM2, I decided to start participating on Sasha had told me about the website a couple of months prior, but I didn’t start participating right away. Since joining, I’ve won a few contests and lost a few. The way I approach the entire venture is: even if I don’t win, the time I invest will pay off in the form of a more complete portfolio. For a while, I’ve really been considering getting into tattooing. It started with people at conventions either inquiring about tattoo design commissions or commenting that my style would work well for tattoos; these comments increased in frequency until the question “Why not?” implanted itself in my mind. Instead of just drawing up designs, however, I would ideally like to find a really good apprenticeship. While I am still not sure what my plans concerning the JET program for next year are, I figure for now I’ll get as much practice in as I can and keep working on the very constant and very general goal of further developing my style.

These are a bit different from designs I would normally take on, but it is a necessary compromise, so to say. And I’m glad to be using my collection of FW inks a lot more now, haha~~

The rest can be seen on my actual CMT account page:

The principles I have been trying to follow so far: (1) paying very careful attention to what the client/commissioner/contest holder wants, and (2) knowing the extent and limits of my own style and abilities, so as to better gauge which challenges to take on. Sometimes I judge accurately, sometimes not so much~

There is an interesting sense of responsibility that comes along with designing a tattoo. The realization that I am drafting something that will permanently go on someone’s body—the first time I experienced it was when I was working on [this design]. People change; their relationships with ideas and past experiences change as well. One of the things I can hope for is that my designs will not eventually become cause for regret.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

ANARCHRIST; thoughts & progress

Above anything else, this drawing was inspired by Kien’s song “ANARCHRIST.” When I first listened to the song, the composition itself and the title intertwined in my mind to create the prototype idea for this project. Naturally, willingly, it glided up to me from within the chaos of the song. Guided by the effect it produced within me, I wanted to create something that could capture the qualities of the music itself. It took a while before I felt like it was the right time to work on this, but it came earlier in the year. Up until this point, music-related/inspired drawings I have worked on have been heavily based on references of band members and/or song lyrics. This is especially true if I think back to the GDS collaboration stage (already writing my own history book, it seems), during which Alex and I spliced together lyrics and screen-capped references to create something very collage-like. I wanted this to be different, I wanted it to stem from the music itself.

If I think about it, I am not used to listening to vocal-less music. I am often charmed by the vocalist’s voice—its intensity, its message. Not having words layered over the music track, however, allowed me to take a different approach. I paid attention to what otherwise might have been muted from my field of hearing, and it was from the structure and atmosphere of the track that I worked.

Chaos, repetition, progression. A sense of spiraling further into something uncontrollable. Multi-layered complexity, aggressive determination, something beautifully savage, almost offensive.

As I’ve written before, I am not a supporter of clear, precise definitions within my drawings. In fact, I do not really want to address the symbols I have included directly, partially because it would amount to a list of potential interpretations that in the end may be completely irrelevant. I should point out that there are certain themes I worked with; namely, the arbitrary meanings we embed into symbols and gestures, the power they hold in various contexts—politics, religion, personal affairs. The circular form as a vehicle inherent in human history, in cultures across the world. And of course, I could not refrain from the grim notes of mayfly symbolism.

To address a personal issue than will inevitably rise from this, I will say only this: I cannot help but go along with whatever calls to me, whatever inspires me at the moment and lifts me out of myself. To be more straightforward:

Alex, I am sorry if this somehow hurts you; that was honestly never my intention, and I hope you understand.

Kien, I hope this does some justice to your composition. Please continue writing music, I’m always looking forward to hearing more.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Philly Comic Con & NYC

I would like to say that I feel somehow more awakened, but I think it may be just the desire for an awakening that is propelling me. I think that what I feel instead is a heightened sense of urgency about my life and am not quite sure what to do about it.

My trip to Philly Comic Con and NYC is a very bittersweet kind of experience. In a way, it is an epitome of “a mixed experience” that I seem to have so often when I travel to cons—a mix of good and bad that, in the end, all forms into one complete experience that I would never give up.

In New York, I got to stay with Sasha for a couple of days. The McQueen exhibit at the Met completely overwhelmed me—overloaded my mind and dissolved my insides. I allowed myself to be dissipated, to melt into it, whatever “it” is. If I think of the right public words, I will describe my experience there.

Over this past week, something broke down and gave way to something else. I don’t know the specifics, but I can feel it. Whether it grows into a cankerous monster or a beautiful leafy tree (is there a combination of both?)  is up to me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shame on me

What a horrendous lack of updates. A couple of new things coming soon~

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More sketches from work

For the first time in a long while, I want to do something in colored pencil:

 Some kind of jellyfish creature:

Re-hatching of an old idea:

C2E2: Brief Notes

I’m not going to write a novel about this, but C2E2 was a completely different type of show for me. Setting up my grid cube display on Friday morning, I felt very out of place. That feeling lasted throughout the whole day; doing everything solo and running on one hour of sleep of course did not help, but a good night of sleep led into a very good day on Saturday. I couldn’t help but be a little sad every time someone bought one of the two bestseller pieces (both about five years old by now), but I also couldn’t really complain.

Because I was running the table alone, I couldn’t really leave to walk around the Artist Alley, which ended up being my biggest (maybe the only) regret. I felt bad that I wasn’t at all familiar with the big names in the world of comics, but just being aware that I was in the same space as some pretty renowned artists was very humbling and encouraging at the same time.
The crowd as a whole seemed to care more about art and actually had a budget for it. I am used to people asking for smaller versions of prints. Not here. Here the question was: “How big does it come?” More than a few times, people told me to just keep the change. It felt surreal, in a very pleasant way. The general demographic was a bit older, a bit more mature.

I also took on a few sketch commissions; a couple that were super quick (more like doodles) and also a couple that were a bit more involved. The people who wanted quick sketches just told me to draw whatever (Friday); the ones that took a little longer were of original characters (Saturday). I normally never ever do con commissions. The closest I’ve come to it in the past was doing a couple of art trades with Coey at Youmacon, but I had never actually done paid at-con commissions before C2E2. This time around, I decided, “Why not?” I think part of it was linked to having developed my own style a bit more, to knowing my abilities and limits a bit better as well as being comfortable with them. Also, of course, there were more people looking for sketches from artists. I still feel a bit iffy about taking on larger commissions from other people unless they completely resonate with me, but to put it simply, doing sketches for people can be a fun way to pass the time.

Definitely not as many costumes as at anime cons. I felt overdressed even in my very casual clothes with my very casual hair and make-up. Also, there didn’t seem to be nearly as many girls in the Artist Alley. A lot of guys in jeans and T-shirts, very serious business. *__*
All in all, I felt very, very lucky to have been presented with this last-minute opportunity; hopefully, I can participate again next year. And even though I came to the con by myself, I got to hang out with a few people I don’t get to see that often, which was pretty nice. :)

A doodle from Saturday morning:

Touched up a drawing from one of my sketchbooks, to be inked later:

Finally got around to drawing this silly thing for Jim:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sketches from work

Getting ready for C2E2 last minute is not the most awesome experience, and I kind of need a break, so I'll make this bs post, which I actually meant to make a few days ago. :\

I decided to start bringing paper with me to one of my jobs just in case things get slow, and I think it was a pretty good decision---one that saved me a great deal of boredom last week. :P

The first three sketches are from last Thursday--I drew them on Strathmore wet media paper, which feels pretty thin to me, so I'm not sure how well it will actually handle washes, but I guess we'll see~ The last sketch is from Sunday. Would've drawn more that day, but I remember my brain hit some kind of mental wall.

This all feels like recycled imagery to me, but I might return to these later~

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Innocent Bullet" & significance in art

On paper, the human form becomes malleable. To be able to sever limbs, split open mouths, stretch the delicate features without consequence—a privilege that exists within this two-dimensional plane but is not transferable to the realm of actual human flesh.

Finally finished this:

It’s one of the few things I sketched out during the AUSA 2010 weekend—a pretty nostalgic time. :) After finishing a bigger piece, smaller drawings like this are almost a refreshing breeze even though they sometimes seem to sit around forever on the back burner. There’s an empowering realization of: “well, if I finished that project in time, something like this should take no time at all.” There might always be obstacles, big or small, practical or mental—but after a while, you learn the small tricks and triggers that seem to help.

The idea/mental picture I originally got was of an onion-like (or matreshka-like? XD)  contraption, with alternating layers of visually pleasing and gross faces split down the middle, one layer revealing another. As I started drawing, it turned into something a little different than what I originally pictured.
I hope this is not taken the wrong way, but this is kind of a bs drawing. XD What I mean by that is: it carries no inherent meaning that originally sparked the drawing, even if it could be interpreted that way.

It could be simply a freaky-looking monster, a nightmarish apparition, or it could be something representing the different masks we wear as human beings, the different facades we put up, the use of the innocent as a shield or defense tool, the shedding of disguises, etc etc. Take it whichever way you will—to me it doesn’t really matter. Not with this one, and not with many of my other drawings. Meaning is often so ambivalent, so ambiguous—sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense to label or stamp.

In the past, I’ve been stumped when people have asked: “What does this mean?” or “What’s your inspiration?” The latter of the two questions is much less frustrating (as much as I hate trying to find an answer to it when put on the spot), but the former is almost too straightforward. Straightforward without being really penetrating. An “outsider” question. There doesn’t have to be explicit meaning or symbolism in something in order for it to be significant. Significance can be drawn from the aura, the atmosphere, the emotion, the different elements that may potentially form some kind of meaning, but do not dictate it.

While I don’t want my drawings to be absolutely meaningless, I also don’t want every piece to embody something specific. A picture book of symbolism is not what I’m out to develop, and neither is a collection of illustrations devoid of any real personality or soul. Ideally, I’d like to be able to strike a good balance between the visual qualities of the work (“horizontal” significance) and the possible interpretations it carries (“vertical” meaning). It’s something I’ve been paying more attention to recently, at least with the slightly larger projects I start.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Sundays are usually pretty slow, so I doodled this on the back of a specials card. *__* Thinking of adding some quick whites to it with ink and uploading it... Bringing art supplies every time from now on. :P

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DPAL happenings; project for March

Getting a bit bogged down by some small things recently, it seems. Luckily, my brain knows better, even though my emotions/energy level are being pulled downward. :P

Last week, I went in to model for a class at the DuPage Art League, and I will be going back for a second session tonight. During the five-minute breaks, I would go out of the room to walk around the main gallery—to check out other people’s entries for the February exhibition as well as to look through the teachers’ portfolio binder that was set out by the entrance.  As I was making my way around the darkened gallery, the space being lit up mostly by the light flowing out through the classroom door, some sort of heavy feeling sunk into me. I was struck by how literally the other submissions seemed to address the theme, by how straightforward their interpretations seemed to be. I also noticed that close to (maybe even over) half of the entries had gotten some sort of ribbon (DPAL gives out a few small prizes and some merit ribbons for every exhibition). Not having a ribbon seemed to be the exception, the minority, and my two wood panels were in that minority (at least they hung them together, unlike last month XD). That itself didn’t really matter, but it contributed to that feeling of isolation that was already creeping up on me. I felt like this was a world I wouldn’t ever belong to, and while I was thankful for that, it was still a lonely, miscast kind of feeling.

That said, doing something monthly for the DPAL is a good exercise. This month, I am finally getting to paint an original idea that I actually want to work on, as opposed to doing something that is either quick or a recreation of a previous work more for the sake of practice. The theme for March is “Green,” and once I thought about it for a bit, I realized that green is a color I almost never use. So I thought I would try to use it to symbolize/express a combination of envy, decay, and growth.

Currently, I’m just a little farther than this:

Next month, I’ll be sure to start working right away instead of waiting until the middle of the month. :P

Assignment 1...

Something that I said I would probably share once it was done is this:

When I visited Coey & Shy last month, I did some thinking about where I want to go with my art, most likely because I was confronted with two people whose work I admire so much. *__* I felt more strongly than before the pressure of needing to push myself artistically, to keep developing and moving forward. Shy and Jing had recently decided to do weekly assignments, in which they would take turns thinking of an art exercise for both of them to do within the span of the week. It seemed like a really good idea, especially because the other person could push you to draw things you might not otherwise tackle and help you develop skills that would otherwise remain undeveloped.  I thought that maybe Jackie and I could try something like that out, until I thought about it more realistically and realized that student teaching leaves her with no time for anything like that. :(( And then Coey offered to be my art buddy. XD ;__;;; ♥

So far, we’ve only had one assignment set—to redraw a still from a movie you like in your own style. At first, I thought of drawing something from one of the Alien movies, but I decided to postpone something like that until a bit later, when I could spend more time on it. After digging out a bunch of potential movies, I went with Strange Circus and worked from the following screencap:

Some progress shots:

In the end, I was kind of annoyed with the final product. I felt that I hadn’t “stylized” it enough and wished I had taken a bigger risk with stylizing the face in the background instead of trying to stick to the reference. D:> Somehow, the final product looked childish to me and I still get that impression when I look at it. XD I liked Yuuji’s almost completely silhouetted figure and the opaque effects of the bright blue ink, but felt like I had screwed up overall, oops. Learning experience. :P

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Crochet scarf!

Finished this for Jackie not too long ago~~