Fun things in February

February – the rebellious month that chooses to have 28 days instead of 30 or 31 days. Go, February! You should be admired for your bravery in going against the social norm!

Here are some interesting things from this month:

Washing the dishes – Sometimes, I’m annoyed. Sometimes, I understand that it’s important that I do some giving from the “give and take” phrase. At the end of the day, I always decide that feeling good about washing the dishes is way more important than anything else. Extrinsic vs. intrinsic factors, and intrinsic wins most of the time. At least I spend more time away from the computer, right?

Pumping the gas – I feel amazing. I feel that this has been a very big step for me into ‘adulthood’ (a very different opinion of being adult, I know). I mean, what could be more amazing than standing beside gas pumps like all the other old dudes and middle-aged women?

Answering a question… and getting it wrong – I was so convinced that I was right that I put up my hand and answered a question. College in an American town can be quite intimidating, especially when your accent sticks out. Anyway, I’m proud even if I got it wrong because at least I tried…?

Hoarding almond cookies – Lunar New Year away from home is strange. It’s the best time to gain weight and laugh it away (I’m joking). Cookies aren’t even a big thing here, so you can imagine what happened when we saw some at the local Asian supermarket. And somehow we’re always the youngest people who are actually really doing grocery shopping at the store because the young children are always running around and the teens are always trying to look cool (heads up, not helping your parents is not cool).

CHEMISTRY – Yet again, we have taken our love for Japanese culture to another step. (read more here). It’s dramatic, but I’ve never felt this way about singers in a long time. It’s like their music can do no wrong. Every song we stumble upon is effortlessly beautiful. Their voices compliment each other’s so well, and they sound really impressive when they hit high notes. They are on hiatus right now (cries) because both of them have decided to pursue their own singing careers. I don’t really mind Dochin’s (The Unfading Dream We Have is so good, so raw and beautiful) or Kaname’s (Starship is my jam, yo) music, but I wouldn’t spend a single cent on their albums. If When they get back together as a duo, however, I’d be skipping meals to save up (okay, not that extreme, but you get what I mean).

Collecting our speakers – We braved the cold in our shorts to get the speakers we have been waiting for. When ‘old man’ speakers arrived, we were really impressed by the sound quality despite reviews by young people which claimed that there was little to no bass. ‘Old man’, because the reviews that said the speakers were beyond awesome were written by “Ages: 65 and older”. “It’s a good deal!!” is all I can tell you.

Inspiration/Motivation – (a) I struggle with art more than anything these days. It’s difficult, constantly staring and erasing my pencil lines. My tugging heartstrings continue to encourage me to attain the skills to draw whatever I want. But I think I’ll be taking a break from art for a while. (b) Congratulations, I like to try to do a lot of things at once, so I have added ‘guitars’ to my list. I was struck with temporary inspiration that day… Whether I sustain that interest is another story.

I should’ve named this post “accomplishments” or something… Oh well. February was filled with pleasant and fun things that I can’t seem to think of when I sit down to write a post.

Happy 28th of February! It’s time to get organized for March!

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June in Review

Hey friends. I know we’ve been missing a lot these few weeks. June has been a weird month for us.

juneinrev

1. We lost our grandfather this month. He was easily one of the most carefree people I’ll ever know. It’s funny how I’ve been remembering the tiniest details about him ever since. Sometimes I just find it so hard to believe that he’s gone. We weren’t super close or anything but he was still a prominent figure while I was growing up.

He drove us to and from school for a few years and my, were those days quite the adventure. His driving was reckless and his cussing quite sailor-like but he would tell us, your grandfather has been driving for over 40 years, so trust me. I don’t think I ever once felt unsafe in his car, haha. Sometimes he would forget to close the trunk and it would slam shut when he hit a pothole and I would worry that our bags had flown out onto the road. Then I would think, haha wouldn’t it be great to go to school and tell the teacher that I can’t hand in my homework because my bag flew out the trunk?

Every day in my first and second grade, he would wait outside my class to help me carry my bag down the stairs (no idea why my bag was so heavy) and my friends would be jealous of me. Oh, then more than once he went to confront the kids who bullied me in school. Once, after school, there were these two boys who pushed me. I fell and scraped my knee on the road. It bled. I probably cried. When I reached my grandpa’s car, he was shocked to find my knee bleeding and demanded to know who had pushed me. He went to confront the two boys and gave them a scolding then he took me to wash my knee. Yeah, I felt pretty badass after that. Like, y’all I have a bodyguard.

Then there were the days when we used to go over to his house every single weekend. Thinking back, it was fun. We would just sit around while the adults chatted but it was still fun. Then recently in the last few years, he would go to the mall every.single.day. either by himself or with a bunch of good friends. And they would just walk around or find a place to sit and chat for a couple of hours. And he was there so often that the staff began to treat him like their best friend.

So we would often run into him at the mall and we’d chat for a bit. Haha, yeah, the mall is kind of like our second home. A couple of times while I was out with friends, I bumped into him and I would call out to him. I would tell my friends later on, my grandpa hangs out around here a lot and he’s friends with the staff all while feeling some kind of swell of pride lol. I guess maybe that’s the kid in me. Well, those are just some of the good memories I have of my grandfather.

Now when we drive past the places he used to hang out at really often, I still have to stop myself and think, oh, he’s gone. And then I don’t know whether to feel sad or not. It’s such a weird feeling. While I want to feel sad because he’s no longer a drive or phone call away, I’m also glad he’s not in pain anymore. Haha while I’m writing this I’m sobbing and trying not to let my sister see me crying.

Okay I’m a big sobbing mess and I seem to have forgotten what else I meant to say…

I guess I meant to say, I wish all of you could have known my grandfather. He was pretty awesome all the way.

2. My phone died. If you’re wondering, it’s a Nexus 5. Before this I rarely ever updated my phone or the apps. Well, at least until the app expired and forced me to update it. Other than that, I’m usually always wary of updates that supposedly ‘fix bugs’ but sometimes cause even more problems. But somehow this time when I saw a system update, I thought, what the heck I’ll just update it. Yup, wrong move. It was fine after the system update… for 5-6 hours then while I was playing Fruit Ninja, the screen went blank and it hasn’t been able to revive since then. You may now say EFFFFFFFFFFF!

I would send it in for repair but yeah, I have my reasons not to at the moment. We’ll see if I somehow manage to get it to revive again. I’m sad for the data in my phone. All my lovely useful apps and photos that I didn’t manage to upload recently D: Oh well. Moral of the story: DON’T UPDATE YO PHONES. Also, don’t get a Nexus 5 unless you have the patience/strength/ability to pry the fricking back lid off. I broke a nail trying to pry it open so yeah. The design is so stupid omg.

P.S: This also means that my Instagram account is pretty much frozen for now since I don’t have a phone.

3. Oh yeah. Work. Work sucks. I have posts about work coming. Stay tuned.

4. I’ve been having lunch with a high school friend these few weeks since her university is near my work place. It’s been pretty fun. The number of uni friends I managed to make in Vancouver came to a grand total of zero (lol amazing right) so my social life was pretty much nil. And no wonder I began to feel depressed. So it’s been nice to have lunch with friends. We talked quite a bit over chicken rice, pasta and more pasta.

5. I also somehow managed to strike up a conversation with another high school classmate and after talking to him, remembered how nice he was to me in school and how nice it is to just have a conversation with a friend. Dunno about you but having guy friends after elementary school isn’t exactly easy here because if your ‘friends’ happen to see you chatting with the same guy for an ‘unusually long time’ or multiple times, they’re likely to accuse both of you of liking each other. ??? Okay. It took me a while to catch on to this but when I figured it out, I thought it was stupid. Like, why would you accuse someone of ‘dating’ just because two people happen to have similar interests and talk on more than one occasion? How is it dating???

But anyway, yeah, this guy friend is the okay sort. Our conversation wasn’t awkward or anything which was actually really nice. Here’s the thing though. Me, being lovely awkward me, was scrolling through the Fb emoticon list and accidentally clicked on the cat emoticon with the pink heart twirling above its head. O-M-G, MORTIFYING. Yes, so me. A part of me wondered if he would freak out even after I apologized and explained that it was an honest mistake. But he just laughed it off and sent me a huge smiley. Haha, yeah. ==

6. Anime wise, we’re slow on catching up with the shows that we’ve been watching because most of the time I’m tired after work and by the time we feel like watching, it’s late and I have to sleep because I have to get up early for work. Meh. But we finished Kamigami no Asobi (ah-mazing) and Kingdom (doubly amazing) and we’re thoroughly enjoying Haikyuu!! Lots of summer anime coming next month. We gotta gear up for that and watch them all even if we have to wake up at 5am to watch them. Okay, maybe not that extreme… 😛

7. Movie wise (yeah, English), How to Train Your Dragon 2 was good. I enjoyed it. I don’t think Skye enjoyed it as much. I cried in most of the scenes with Hiccup’s mom and (spoiler alert) pretty much couldn’t handle it when they killed his father off. WHY would they do that? Gah, so frustrating. Still, it was better than expected and better than Frozen (don’t hate).

Nonstop was also good. Liam Neeson, y’all. He’s so great. I just adore his movies. I mean, his movies give new meaning to the thriller genre. A+! Bravo!

I can’t remember if we watched X-Men this month or the last but it oddly enough it wasn’t that bad. I have watched two other X-Men movies before but remember them only vaguely so I went into the cinema not knowing what to expect. If you have never watched a single X-Men movie in your life, definitely go into Days of Future Past without worrying that you won’t know what’s going on. It’s easy enough to understand and I give it a solid 7/10.

Right, we watched Spiderman 2 last month. What a bore. Jeez.

8. In other small random pieces of news, I’ve been drawing quite a bit this month and been quite happy with my drawings (when I’m not erasing the drawing 50 times because I can’t get the mouth right). As for learning Japanese, it has stalled again. Because of work. But I don’t want work to be an excuse because I really want to get going with our Japanese progress so I gotta put more effort into making time to learn new words and stuff. I have also been painting my nails and using my tools, yay. With my phone kaput, pictures are lacking though.

I have quite a few other things to say but somehow I don’t feel like they fit into this post. I deeply apologize for being missing on your blogs. I gotta take things one step at a time and prioritize. :/

Well, that’s it for now. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Raine
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Adventures with art #21

Why artists shouldn’t get drawing tablets before mastering traditional art:

1. It appears to inspire, but does not inspire

I’ve read about many artists who feel disheartened after getting brand new tablets. A good number of them believe that getting a tablet would improve their skills in art. Unfortunately, like many things in art, skills do not just happen. Getting a tablet does not immediately mean that beginners turn into professionals. There are many other aspects to consider such as honing Photoshop skills. And then when one becomes disheartened, they might just abandon the tablet and that would just be a waste of money…

2. The easy way out

Owning tablet would mean owning a graphics editing program which would also mean things are a lot more easier. For example, let’s say Photoshop since I’m not familiar with SAI, Gimp and such – you can flip images (to check for mistakes whereas drawing traditionally you would have to use a mirror or sunlight), edit layers separately (something you cannot do on pen and paper) and press undo as many times as you want (and that would probably screw up someone’s confidence when they’re drawing on paper).

3. Are you ready, guys?

Okay, so a tablet is a tablet and you don’t really have to psyche yourself up for one because you’ll probably be too excited that you just can’t think of anything else but art… However! I think most people make excuses to buy tablets (i.e ‘it’ll make me a better artist’, ‘it’ll put an end to my art block’, ‘everyone owns one’). A better alternative would be to ask yourself if you really need one (hey, it’s just like shopping for basic needs!). That way, maybe one could become more inspired to improve to master a certain type of art media before moving on to the next and maybe one would appreciate the tablet more in the future.

If you’re wondering if I have a tablet (and if you didn’t read my adventures), I don’t! I’ve mentioned getting a tablet several times this year, but I realized that there are plenty of amazing artists out there who don’t own one and can still create beautiful pieces. I have a lot more to learn about art, so I think I will just focus on traditional art before I move on. At the moment, buying a tablet is not within my college budget. Boo.

Also, the title of point #3 may or may not be an anime reference.

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Awake

seesaw1

Me on the kiddies seesaw. Life has its ups and downs alright.

So much to get done. If you read my previous post, you know that I’m down in the dumps and in need of some serious cheering up (preferably in the form of a functional bathroom, a room with A/C on full-blast, gallons of ice water and a truckload of chocolate).

It’s also Thursday – or is it Friday – I need to reset my clocks and readjust to this time zone. I barely know what time it is nor what day or temperature it is. Anyway, it’s probably too late to get onto the Weekly Wishes train so I’ll just dump my goals (long-term and short-term) into this post and try to hold myself accountable to all this:

1. CLEAN. No, really. If I could bold this five times, I would.

2. Look up what is needed to get access to the public library. I haven’t been reading. Maybe that’s why my writing has sucked lately. I just miss reading so much.

3. Get a haircut. I have grown my hair out but in this crazy hot weather, at least a few inches needs to be lopped off.

4. Draw. It is so therapeutic, I tell you. It makes me wonder why I always procrastinate when it comes to drawing.

5. Learn something new. What’s your favorite thing to do? Tell me, I’d like to try learning something new. I’ve always been adventurous but my adventurous streak has faded over the last few years. I miss the old me.

6. Finalize school stuff.

7. Start posting again. I have so many pictures, so many stories, so many things in general to talk about but I just never really had the mood to blog while I was there.

8. Continue learning kanji. Again, our language progress has been stalled and that just really sucks.

9. Unpack my nail polish.

10. Calm down. Pray more. Hold it together. I would really just appreciate it if you could dump a load of motivational quotes into our comment box. Any bit of moral support is greatly appreciated.

In other aka happier news, I got an A for my Astronomy class. I am over the moon (pun freakin’ intended). I feel like I’ve learned so much from my Astronomy class. I regret not attending the stargazing night that was held early in the semester. Had I known that the only other stargazing night would be AFTER the semester ended, I would have gone. I didn’t realize how much I actually enjoyed those Astronomy classes until the end of the semester. It’s always been my dream to take an Astronomy class so you can say ‘dream come true’. 🙂

What have you been up to?

Raine
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Adventures with art #20

Since this is my twentieth art adventure (sort of) (not that anyone is keeping up with the numbers), it’s about getting my first real criticism about my art from an outsider. From a pro, no less! She’s an aspiring illustrator for children’s books, so I think that her comments are genuinely worth listening to.

First (wow, I sound like I’m writing an essay ~_~), let me just say that no one given me true criticism in a long while. It was a little bit about self-esteem and confidence, but I generally hated negative comments (who does, actually?) because I would end up hating what I did for days. It’s stupid, I know. Why would I let someone else stop me from doing what I loved? If there was something I could tell my younger self, it’s definitely that. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten a whole lot better in accepting criticism. Naturally.

So, anyways, my art was said to be “generic” and “does not stand out”. I thought it was fair because most of my drawings are fan art and none of the poses were made up by me… and that was last year (wait ’til you see my current art, heh heh, nothing has changed actually).

I also realized the true value of criticism after checking out this artist’s dA page. Many people were commenting on her page, saying that she hadn’t improved. She called them ‘trolls’ and rejected all of them by choosing not to respond. I imagine she must’ve been terribly hurt because she was talking about how she had improved. However, I admire her willpower because clearly it didn’t deter her from creating more art. She continued to do so for the next few years – draw from her imagination. Inevitably, the improvement was little to nothing. Let’s leave her story open-ended, shall we, since those kind of stories are the most interesting?

What I learned was, throwing away all advice isn’t the right thing to do. Being hurt is one thing, but at least consider some of the things others say.

These few weeks have been tough for me in terms of grades, eyesight and nasty people, so admittedly, there was a cushion for said illustrator’s comment, and as I said, the comment was very fair. I’m actually kinda hungry for more opinions now. If it makes me a stronger person, hey, why not, right? (That’s my angry shonen mode on!)

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Adventures with art #19

So I just finished drawing Hijikata Toshiro of Gintama. High five, anyone? As I was drawing, I noticed a few mistakes I was making and I figured that those mistakes could be common misconceptions some people may have about art. It’s always good to help another fellow artist who might happen to stumble across this strange genre-less blog, right? And if you’re wondering about the validity of my art suggestions/advice, I can confidently tell you that I have been reading all kinds of art tutorials for four years without fail. Of course that would also be hard to prove in this virtual world, but – WHO CARES, ANYWAY?

Ways you are limiting your fluidity of art:

1. Drawing from top to bottom

What, you have this problem too? Yeah, me too! Just because books are read from top to bottom and left to right (except for manga, lol), it doesn’t mean that drawing has to be that way. You are an artist, even if you can only draw a stickman. Do whatever you want. No one is there to judge whether you draw the head or eyes first. This also applies to the process of drawing eyes then nose then mouth. Try doing the opposite of what you have been drawing first. I tried this method the other day and it was pretty useful. I drew the mouth before the nose and I think it has helped me make better art judgments.

2. Keeping the paper straight

Oh my god, please, people: Feel free to turn your paper left and right, ’round and ’round when you’re drawing. I’m not used to this at all and I tend to forget this a lot, but it’s actually pretty useful, especially when drawing hair! Not moving your paper makes your hand feel stiff when drawing because you’re limiting the wonderful angles you can bend your elbow and wrist. Ultimately your arm controls how fluid and dynamic your art looks.

3. Holding the pencil in only ONE way

At first, it’s comfortable because it’s the way you would usually hold your pencil. Sure, it feels smooth and everything. Then, what happens when you get to adding little details? You tighten your grip and cramp your fingers together. Nope. Why not try holding it in a different way? If you always rest the pencil on your middle finger, try different ways of holding a pencil (i.e resting the pencil on other fingers). It’ll also help stretch your finger muscles even if you’re just moving a little.

4. Squares, cubes, pyramids, spheres, circles

If you understand perspective with 3D shapes (unlike me), you’re on the way to the amazing land of creating beautiful art because you can basically turn any shape in a 3-dimensional object. So do it! Some examples are shown near the bottom of this super duper helpful tutorial!

Also, I just decided that I’m going to draw teacups tomorrow because “it is easier to draw a teacup than a person” (Read that post I just linked there < because it was what inspired one of my previous posts and it will definitely inspire you and it is SO freaking important, I cannot even begin to tell you).

I hope this was helpful. Happy drawing, folks! (:

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Adventures with art #18

“By the way, do you want to become an artist?” my professor asks the boy who looks like Troy Baker as he doodles some abstract art on his book cover.

“Um, no. I wish, though,” he answers.

I smile because it reminds me of the times I have been acknowledged for my art. Those are my favorite memories because it was in the past when I didn’t know how seriously my future self would take art. I mean, I look back on my kindergarten work and see that ‘Artist’ is written in the ambition section. Like, what??

In elementary school, I remember a girl named Serena telling me that my art was way better than *Forest. The funny thing was, Forest was the one who inspired me to draw graffiti art at that time. That’s so simple… and it’s beautiful, was what I thought as I watched him add detail to the 3D block letters he was sketching. Anyways, me being me, because Serena made that comment in front of other classmates, was all like…

Another time was in science class when I least expected it. My teacher told everyone to copy the diagram. You know, beakers, test tubes and stuff. So there I was, using my ruler to draw the sides of beaker when my teacher said, “Do you want to be an artist?”

I was like, “Huh?! Uh. Um. Er. Eh.” *looks at girl sitting opposite who is smiling and staring at me* My heart was racing and I was thinking, If I say yes, everyone will know that I draw and they’ll start comparing others with me and I will hate being compared so much that I will hate art and no one will believe me because all I do is do/stare at my homework all day long, so………

“No.”

“Ah.”

And after that I never ask my teacher why she asked that. It wasn’t like my science diagram drawings were excellent. I just made sure they looked neat and everything, but they were nowhere as perfect as my classmates’. I wish I had asked her because now I never know why. However, I am thankful for the acknowledgement and I hope she knows that even if I said no to being an artist, I meant that yes to other art-loving stuff, and that what my mind (despite my really serious face) was really doing when she asked me that question was:

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