Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice!

The beginning of this post may be a little cliche, but yes, the 21st December 2012 has arrived and it seems to be going pretty well so far!

Do I see fireballs shoot down from the sky? Nope.  According to the Mayans, its not the end of the world in physical form but more of an end to a spiritual age, and a beginning of a new one.  It's quite interesting.  I am a little skeptic about these mystical beliefs, since childhood but who knows.

I remember reading a book by James van Pragh (psychic medium) who helped out with the writing of Ghost Whisperer.  He talked about spirits, how we all have guardian angels watching out for us and that our past lives affect the relationships we have today.  Very curious.  Not quite sure what to believe though.

I remember being a kid, and believing in everything mystical and magical.  It made my childhood what it was.  Maybe that's why I feel nostalgic a lot.  As a child, there is that innocence that lets you believe that anything can happen.  You don't know the truth yet, so you can forever be dreaming.  Friendly magical beings that vouch for the underdog.  Portals to other worlds.  Fairytales with happy endings.  Of course, it isn't very realistic to think that way forever.  Well, my inner child can still have the job of being in dreamland!  Live through movies and cartoons and escape to a magical land where you can just float away on a cloud.

Hmm, I must have gone on a tangent!

Well that was the good side of the magical things.  Unfortunately, there's also the bad side of believing in magical things, such as monsters, demons and apolocalyptic prophecies.  In the stories, its always the good that defeats the evil.  Back to the Mayan calendar and the new spiritual beginning, there's the belief that if even only 20% of people in the world thinking positively about things and being grateful, there can be hope for a change in the world that will overtake the 80% of negative thinking people.  So, its that powerful?

Well without the concern for the global spiritual health, positive thinking is good for personal wellbeing too.  (With a bit of realism too of course)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Virtual Learning

I am so glad I subscribed to!  It took me a while to decide whether or not to fork out US$25 for a month of this online service, because there are a lot of free resources out there.  The main reason I was finally seriously considering the purchase was cos we finally had an ample amount of bandwidth to be able to withstand the streaming usage of the site.  I watched a few of the free videos they had available every now and then, including the story of how the whole business started up, as well as the beginning of the Simone Legno documentary and they were really good.  It looks like the people at really work hard on bringing quality, comprehensive content to its users.  Each course is also split into categories and sub-categories, so you don't have to watch the whole course at once.

(Applying Legno's workflow to my own sketch)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Weekend

I feel like I want to blog more often!  〆(・∀・@) The interval between all my posts are like, a month apart and there needs to be more activity.  Ahaha, in a way I want to document these moments in my life because I know in the future this blog will be like a time capsule.  I know that's what it feels like when I read my posts from the teenage years.  And oh boy, was there some second hand embarrassment there!  But fun to look back on how I have grown too.

Quite a busy Easter Weekend was to be had last week.  Spent some time with Lunatarius while he was studying, and cooked meals together (⌒▽⌒)☆.  I will be looking forward to next week, when he can relax a little bit more than usual.  Though its good to be able to spend any time with him really.  We ended up watching Beastly as well, and gotta say it isn't the best movie.  It could almost lie around the realms of Twilight if you are thinking about QUALITY films.  (Sorry to all those sparkling vampire fans out there)  Everything happened so fast, not to mention without proper context and I expected so much more from this prior to watching.  Rotten Tomatoes was right this time, unfortunately.  But they were so wrong about Hilary Duff movies *shotshot*  I will always love Cinderella Story and The Lizzie McGuire Movie ahaha...

On Monday, I went to Beebeesquee's house for our cosplay photoshoot.  I didn't feel like crossplaying that day (cos that's honestly all I have atm and Trucy is missing *sadface*), so I ended up dressing Lolita-esque.  It's fun to dress up!  Noxnoctis was the pro make-up artist of the day and man, even just observing her teaching Beebeesquee about tips and techniques was quite helpful in gaining knowledge about the craft.  It was taking quite a while, so I ended up taking advantage of Bee's tablet and doodled random stuff on Clip Paint Lab.  After lots of chilling at her house and pigging out on snacks and pizza, we went down to the Meadowbank Wetlands (I think?) with Pongo as our photographer.  It was a fun day, hanging out with fellow people who have enjoyment in cosplay and japanese pop culture.  I almost feel like a little kid again, doing all this dress-up stuff!  Never would I imagine you could do all this stuff as an adult as well, because I suppose its not the typical thing you would be expected to be doing at this age.  I'm glad I can!  And, I will continue to.

Speaking of cosplay, still need to figure out who I want to dress up as at Overload this year ^p^.
A girl this time, for sure!

On Tuesday Bobo, Momo, xraiko, Japgem, Hoi Yang and I ate lunch and went to see The Hunger Games together.  The place we went to eat was called Kanda.  It was a Japanese Buffet place, and was it filling, or what!  They had you fill out a sheet, which had all the options of food you could pick.  You'd write down the number of each item you want, give the sheet to the waiter, and voila just wait for the dishes to come to you!  The price was a bit more expensive than the usual places we would dine out at, but for a buffet it's pretty good.  I probably got sick of all the sushi afterwards, cos when we passed St. Pierres on the way to New World, I felt it all in my stomach OTL.  But om nom nom!  So gooood.  Wouldn't say Kanda could appeal much to vegetarians though.  It's a pretty meaty menu.  The Hunger Games was an epic movie!  I think I finally understand why everything is so hyped about it.  It is sorta reminiscent to Battle Royale in the sense since that they are both contests where they have to kill until there's one left.  The brutality is quite interesting, but I'm hoping this never ever happens in real life.  Unlikely, but I had to say it ^p^.  It was heartbreaking seeing the kids die one by one.  Makes me want to join the bandwagon of reading the books now.  Joining the brigade of people who read books after the movie.  *shotshot*  I'm guessing there would be a bit of elitism with this sort of thing.  In the fandom anyway.  But, meh.  Anyways it was great catching up with my friends again, and I think xraiko and Momo are making me tempted to buy a PSP sometime in the future.  Dammit, those cool games!  D>  I shouldn't get ahead of myself though, since there are already plenty games on my list that need to be completed first.

(●⌒∇⌒●) Oh, oh and great news!

I received my precious RAM upgrade in the mail! ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

I'm so happy that my computer runs so smoothly now uwahhh~

I can now open as many tabs as I want, and open more than one Adobe program at the same time without that evil lag, while playing iTunes in the background toooo!  Wheeee~

Loving my computer even more now.

Okay, signing off.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gesture Drawing

Started working through Glen Vilppu's Drawing Manual last week!  I've only read the first two exercises so far, but I can already see some results.  He warned us in his written word that people may be tempted to skip all those basic steps that he teaches because it looks so easy and pointless, but it honestly helps.  If only I had been patient earlier instead of flipping through the pages, and go "pshh that seems easy enough".  It was good to finally sit down and go through the book.  I find when I rewrite notes from books into shorter form, I tend to grasp the information better and am discouraged to just skim through parts that might be important.

The first exercise was the jot down the overall gesture line of the body, arms and legs.  Not necessarily copying the outer shape of the body but feeling the movement and letting your pencil capture that shape.

The second exercise was to play around with spheres, and how different the lines can communicate to the person looking at an image depending on how its drawn.  Just the way you place a line can determine whether the shape is in front, behind or twisted in relation to another shape.  I like how I can get a more logical take on drawing.

I guess I would usually depend on my artistic instinct (whatever I have anyways), but I feel that starting to learn the fundamentals properly is allowing me to make sense of it all.  Part of me thinks that I should have focussed on this earlier, but better late than never right?

Okies, gotta keep trucking with these gestures from posemaniacs everyday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

All-You-Can-Eat Chocolate Madness

It was a lot of fun yesterday hanging out in the city with Lunatarius! We watched Despicable Me (only the cutest movie ever ;3; ) and then hopped over to Giapo to meet up with his friends for the All You Can Eat Chocolate Ice-cream Day. Also saw cousin, Tree, Lonehana and co too and caught up with them briefly, which was nice.

It's the first time I went, so it was a new experience for me. Together, we acquired Hazelnut Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Sorbet with Nuts, Raspberry White Chocolate, White Chocolate with Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate with Macarons and Coconut, Wasabi Chocolate, and some other two flavours that I can't recall at this time.


Man, overloaded with all the chocolate or what! The word is not making any sense to me anymore. Guess there's only enough chocolate I can stand in one day. I'm more of a savoury-loving person by default. But temporary NOM anyhow ahaha. If it was a All-You-Can-Eat Vanilla day, it probably would have been a tad more tolerable.

Today, Mum took me out driving for a bit. It had been a while since I had been behind the wheel, so it took some fiddling to remember what I had to do. Driving a van seems different to a sedan. There's a lot more distance to judge, and the controls are in different places. But it was a good experience doing this again. Gotta give myself a refresher on the rules and stuff though.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Books 2012

Let's see if I can get to at least fifty this year!
Challenge accepted.

I will update whenever I get to finishing a book.
Mostly newly read ones, but am including ones I will re-read from younger years as well.

1) Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami
2) A Zoo in Winter, by Juro Taniguchi
3) An Unexpected Life, by Debra Chwast
4) Black Jack Vol.1, by Osamu Tezuka
5) Mozart and the Whale: An Asperger's Love Story, by Jerry and Mary Newport
6) Genkaku Picasso Vol.1, by Usamaru Furuya
7) Genkaku Picasso Vol.2, by Usamaru Furuya
8) Genkaku Picasso Vol.3, by Usamaru Furuya
9) Wandering Son Vol.1, by Shimura Takako
10) Ace Attorney Vol.3, by Kenji Kuroda and Kazuo Maekawa
11) Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons For Making It Work, by Tim Gunn
12) Girls In Love, by Jacqueline Wilson
13) Girls Under Pressure, by Jacqueline Wilson
14) Girls In Tears, by Jacqueline Wilson
15) Lola Rose, by Jacqueline Wilson
16) Jacky Daydream, by Jacqueline Wilson
17) Cliffhanger, by Jacqueline Wilson
18) Buried Alive, by Jacqueline Wilson
19) The Little Prince (Graphic Novel adaption), by Joann Sfar
20) My Sister Jodie, by Jacqueline Wilson
21) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
22) Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
23) Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
24) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
25) New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer (16/08)
26) Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer (25/08)
27) Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer (29/08)
28) The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold (01/09)
29) Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld (09/09)
30) Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld
31) The $100 Start Up, by Chris Guillebeau (25/09)
32) Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian, by John Elder Robison (01/10)
33) Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks
34) Otomen Vol. 1, by Aya Kanno
35) Otomen Vol. 2, by Aya Kanno
36) Wilson, by Daniel Clowes
37) The Complete Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka
38) Barbara, by Osamu Tezuka
39) The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, by David Niven
40) Be Happy! by Robert Holden

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Autumn is here!

I've been waiting for Autumn to come along for ages! And I'm glad its here. Pity it had to begin with a wild interchanging "weather bomb". When I went out to catch the bus today, the wind was blowing so wildly. It was like I had to fight the wind head-on to walk onwards. Herp derp. Oh well. Much better than the heat waves that make you sweat bullets. YAY FOR AUTUMN! Not too hot. Not too cold. No pollen. CRUNCHY LEAVES~ It's awesome!

Though WIND, don't be so strong every day, okay?
You might be too strong to walk against someday :T

Today went well. I tried to make the most of my job today, and made efforts to talk louder and appear more perky/happy while talking to the customers. It sure is tiring keeping up such energy especially being the introvert I am. By the end of the day I pretty much died and so did my voice. But hah, guess putting positive thoughts into practice really helps, and it also elevates the mood too! Expressing yourself externally somehow helps lower the stress somehow, because some negative thoughts end up being countered. The highlight of the day was seeing Lunatarius, even if it was for a little while. He was in the area, and we ended up having a short but sweet dinner together. It's always good spending time with him. Tomorrow, we're gonna go have all-you-can-eat chocolate Giapo with his friends. Never been to one of those before .. wonder if my stomach is prepared for this madness *shot*.

K gotta sleep!
I wanna be able to wake up on time ehehe

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creativity Exercises

They say that to keep yourself motivated and on your feet with creativity and the process of designing, is to do some short exercises to get yourself in the mood. I thought it would be a good idea to compile them all to one place so I could refer to them whenever I needed the boost.

1) Logo Design
Go to a crowdsourcing website, find a brief, and timebox each step of making a logo. You have twenty minutes to think of as many ideas as possible relating to the brief. Shoot and go!

2) Typography
Design a quote you like with typography and timebox it. You can use different typefaces, styles, and colours. Illustration is optional. (Instead of quotes, interesting facts can also be used)

3) Photomanipulation
Choose a photo from royalty free sites, and manipulate it in two different ways. Again, timebox for twenty minutes! You can change composition, add to it, subtract from it,

4) Album Cover Exercise
I've seen this floating around the web somewhere, and have attempted it myself a few times. First, generate a random article from Wikipedia. This will be the NAME of your band. Second, go to Quotations Page and take the last 4/5 words from the last quote of the page. This will be the TITLE of the album. Lastly, go to Flickr and the third picture on that page will be the main image. Put these altogether on Photoshop, and arrange it how you like.

5) Seamless Patterns
Make seamless patterns in illustrator, using type and illustrations of different elements. Follow a particular colour scheme if you like. Again, give yourself a twenty minute timebox.

>Using quick thumbnails on paper to determine the different compositions helps before moving to digital media.
>Timebox every step! It's really amazing how effectively this works if you do it properly. Though I gotta train myself to do this better >o<

The first two could ultimately become finished pieces, if you complete the exercise in the timeframe and then later decide to develop them further. In fact, if any of these exercises turn out better than initially thought, they could be building blocks for a more advanced design.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stargazing Dog

It's really nice reading in the morning.

So peaceful, and its the time when no one is raising their voice beyond limits I can comprehend.

It's been a while since I had immersed myself from cover to cover with proper books. Even though they are graphic novels. I like being lost in the worlds for that little while, and even better if there is some deep meaning behind the story. It makes you think. Though, gotta admit too much thinking can lead to distress sometimes. But I feel with these books, it leads to a reflection about certain things in life.

I love trips to the library. The Graphic Novels and Art shelves are the ones I like to shoot straight for when I enter. Next would probably be Crafts, Psychology and the 000 shelves. A lot of the time, I take books home and then don't even find the time to read half of them. Totally different from when I was a kid. I would read every single one of the thirty books I issued. I want to change that. It was a different time then, though. Uncanny how there was more time without a broadband connection. There's also the fact that the internet wasn't as valued that much then. It was more like a luxury. These days its crucial to have the internet. Almost everything is available on the internet to access, and I think it made me take the library books for granted. Truth to be said, there is lot of quality in books that you can't always access via the net. The one way to realise this is to sit down, unplugged and sit in peace with the bounded masterpiece.

Oh, these first world problems! Everything uses the computer these days, its hard to get away sometimes ahaha. Once there was a powercut, and I couldn't find anything to do so I finally sat down and read some books I had on my shelf. There are entertaining things outside of the electronic space. It's just that the computer feels so easy and accessible. But maybe its just getting too easy to entertain oneself these days. Not that I don't enjoy anything offline, either. Just that its easy to get lost in "black time" (as one of my lecturers said) when you open the browser. Doing things offline also feels more fulfilling. I just ate my words, derp.

Anyways, when did I start ranting on about computer and internet ...
I was going to write about some books I have read!

Yesterday, I read "Stargazing Dog" by Takashi Murakami (creator of Ghibli films). The first page is rather solemn, and begins with an image of an abandoned car and dead bodies. It's a story about a man and his dog. The narrative follows the dog's point of view beginning from how he became part of the family, and follows his adventures with "Daddy". At some point in the story, the man feels like the whole world is against him. He sets off on a journey to get away from everything and be free. The dog is the only one who sticks with him until the end. Murakami was sending the reader the message about the human condition, and how it in this society, its all about survival of the fittest with the "adapt or die" mentality. It makes you think. This guy wasn't totally bad but he didn't want to change and it limited him, which led him to his misery because of what people began to think of him. After he left, his reason for his happiness was his faithful companion who stayed by his side no matter what. Hah, must be a reason why they say a dog is a man's best friend. A theme that could be addressed is that you have to change with society to a degree to be able to live a satisfying life in this world. I don't like to believe in this too much, but I guess you have to learn to adapt a little to what is needed but not change your whole self to the point where you change your values and morals. Fuck no. Another theme which I think is much more prevalent than the previous one is that as long as you have a faithful friend, nothing else matters but the precious time you spend together. The man didn't have anyone else but the dog with him, but because the canine was by his side, he felt like the last days of his life were happy. Such a touching story, sob.


Dude, I want a dog now! *shot* But alas I am allergic to animals ... and afraid of going too close to animals in general. They are cute though oho *stares from far away*

Today, I read a book called "A Zoo in Winter" by Jiro Taniguchi. It's about this guy called Hamaguchi, who works in this textile company after graduating from art school. His dream is to become an artist, and he finally takes the leap when an incident at the zoo gets him in a bad position at work. So, he takes his friend's offer to go to Tokyo and visit the studios of a famous manga artist called Shiro Kondo. He is put to work right away, and starts living the city life and discovering the world of the artists. Well, don't wanna spoil this too much if you actually come across this blog and decide to read it too, hah. This story is a kinda autobiography of the beginning of the mangaka's life. It really gives a glimpse of what the beginnings of an art career could be like, and the social stigma it may have in regards of the people who are more familiar with a more secure career path. The themes in any story really capture my attention, though sometimes I end up thinking about them too much and get psytracked about how it can relate to my life then perhaps get to the point where I feel shitty. LOL I must be a masochist to even begin thinking about these things then! *shot* Unfortunately, it can't be helped sometimes. Anyways, one theme is that if you really give it your best shot at something you are passionate about, you are bound to get to good results, rather than if you didn't try at all. A variation of this is that if you dream it, and do everything in your capabilities to try and achieve that goal, you can do it! (Adding realism to Disney's quote) Hamaguchi went through a struggle phase, and he defeated this by working hard and taking inspiration from his life experiences. Books can teach a lot of things.

Cheers! Here's to reading more books.

That was one of my goals this year, after all.

Here's an inspiring quote that would be good to ponder about:
"The worse mistake anyone can make is being too afraid to make one"

Well, I think posting this is a mistake because I would never normally say this much out loud. It's rare that I share much of my thoughts in public, which is why it feels like a mistake. Even if its silly thoughts about the books I recently read.

But hey, my blog my rules! ^o^)v