Monday, February 28, 2011

New ID

Feliz cumple Gatocasero

This I drew last night for my friend Tatiana Cordoba whose birthday is today. She's a friend I made via deviantArt--she possess a very unique, colorful and whimsical style that I hope you get a chance to observe when you have a chance. This is her gallery!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Hey Blogger,
meet my new friend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fixing and Tom Riddling and such

So it's been a tough week so far. But the upside is that I've been thinking a lot about art. I'm trying to get my Independent Study project going and I've been hammering out ideas in my sketchbook while poring through art books from the library. Um um um, also I began adjusting the colors of a lot of pieces in my dA gallery because I recently realized that the formatting from PSD to JPG and uploading washes out so much of the original color that everything looks dull and muted. On top of that, I started to make the corrections that I've been meaning to do for a while, like the Amelie pic below.

And then this Tom Riddle pic (below, left)... this was actually one of the first drawings I ever did on photoshop, and this was the first lineless drawing that I ever attempted. I've been meaning to update it with a new version, so I guess I started that process today (below, right). You can probably tell that my latest impression of Tom has been strongly influenced by the movie's rendition. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Play!

Today, I finished this promotional illustration for Ryan & Chels' RandCPlay gaming video channel. I wish I could say more but right now I'm exhausted. I'll update perhaps tomorrow. You can visit their site and watch their gaming commentary here at their site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sentimental Heart

Cried all night 'til there was nothin' more
What use am I as a heap on the floor?
Heaving devotion but it's just no good
Taking it hard just like you knew I would

O-o-old habits die hard when you got,
When you got a sentimental heart
Piece of the puzzle, you're my missing part
Oh what can you do with a sentimental heart?

"Sentimental Heart"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Art studies

Hello Blogger! It's been a while! I feel obligated to provide an extensive update but unfortunately it's already past 1am and I really must be getting to sleep. So I share this illustration, which kinda gives you a glimpse of what I've been up to.

As I mentioned briefly last year, I'm doing an independent study of art this semester (an incomplete, actually, from 5 semesters ago... 8/) with Arie. Long story short, I'm basically dividing this semester into three units, the first in which I'm doing my own research and study/sketches/explorations with design, influenced by Japanese, Native American, Islamic and Neoclassical styles, particularly line work and ornamental motifs. So it's not as though I've stopped drawing... I've actually been doing a lot of it, but in traditional media in my sketchbook, which unfortunately I can't upload since I don't have a scanner handy at the moment--I'll find a way to post them up here, though. The second unit will most likely be focusing on illustrating organisms, particularly human anatomy, animals and marine lifeforms. The third will focus on landscape drawing, mainly painting/airbrushing in Photoshop. I'll go deeper into all of that later, but right now I really gotta sleep! 

Oh and this picture... I really have no explanation, other than I just did it 40 minutes ago and completely at random. I've been looking at a lot of Japanese woodblock prints and sumie so... most likely it was influenced by that? And anime style or whatev lol. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Zelda and Black Swan

Well I finally finished the picture of Link! It took long enough! I've recently obtained a fascination for Native American line work as well as European floral motifs. So I wanted to try out some designs here. I'm honestly quite happy with the turn out and I think I've got a whole new direction to explore. I've also begun to pinpoint my habits and tendencies that derail me from creative compositions so I can work on mastering that aspect this semester. More on that later.

click to enlarge

Also, I watched Black Swan on Sunday night, which was... beyond words. For the first time in my life, I was literally breathless when they began rolling credits. In the eloquent words of my dear friend Andy Perez, "WHUT. A. MINDF*CK." In the theater, Hiroko, Andy and I were just tripping out. Gosh, Natalie Portman was most definitely phenomenal in this film and utterly worthy of the best actress Oscar  for which she was nominated. I really can't do the film any justice with my poor commentary so I'll leave it to you to watch. Please do! If not the synopsis, the choreography will at least blow your mind. Here's a little doodle I did earlier based on the movie. 

click to enlarge

In other news, school started on Monday! c:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brush and brush and brush my hair

Thank you for your generous and heartfelt comments on the previous post! I appreciate your support and encouragement, and I'm impressed that you took the time to read through such a long post. No doubt you possess a kind of patience that is unknown to me.

So as I promised, a Tangled post with fan art! It was cute; it was pretty; it was whimsical; it was Disney. Mandy Moore has such a princess voice--her songs were absolutely gorgeous and I'm a little bashful to reveal how many times I've been replaying "Healing Incantation," "When Will My Life Begin" and "I See the Light" on YouTube. 

I can't say it was utterly creative, like How to Train Your Dragon. The creators basically meshed a bunch of things young girls ogle over--like crafty indoor activities, a really good looking dude to the rescue, gorgeous scenery speckled with floating lanterns, cute, ditsy, magical, talented and athletic heroin heroine (thanks Mom), an omnipresent pet etc--and used their most talented animators to produce a picture-perfect princess film. Again, it was Disney.

Still, I woke up two days in a row with an insatiable urge to weave a flower garland and twirl in a shimmery dress and express my dire emotions through song accompanied by birds and squirrels. Who says dreaming to be a princess is limited to five year olds? Man, I want a real man in my life--one mounted on a legit steed plzkthx. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wow, I had a really good day (Minowa, 2011).

Before anything, I should share this: this summer, I will be spending a little over a month and half in Europe. The first month, I'm going to be taking French classes intensively in Normandy, France. For three or so weeks afterward I'm planning to backpack alone to a number of countries using the Eurail. Though I went to study abroad for five months in Ecuador a year ago, I've never really traveled completely alone on my own itinerary and all. So this is kind of a big thing for me and it's something I have dreamt of doing for many years. I am fortunate because my mother has been generous to offer me any kind of financial support I need to make this happen.

Today, I had three main things on my agenda: (1) To establish basic plans for this trip; (2) to go watch "Tangled"; (3) to do the MC for the World Peace Prayer at the community center in Santa Ana.

The morning began well. I got up refreshed before my alarm went off and showered. Cut my bangs impromptu, and then had a slow, easy breakfast in the cafeteria with friends. I brought back breakfast for a sick friend and when I returned to my room I chanted for a good 45 minutes. My mind may have been unfocused but at least it was "raw" in the sense that I was in tune with myself. I chanted with the determination that no matter what, I'm going to have a good day, and that somehow by bedtime I will have "won."

So Tangled.  Since everyone and their moms and their hairdressers and their first grade daughters all have seen it, I reeaaally wanted to see it before it was out of theaters. But I texted a hoard of people and everyone was busy. So I said, "I am going to watch a movie in a theater on my own!" I'd never done it before and I had always associated movie-outings to social bonding opportunities. But you know, Amelie does it. And because Amelie does it, it's always been a kind of wonder to me. I saw through myself and knew that the hesitation to go to a theater alone is my insecurity acting up and breaking through this is a step toward my solo backpacking in Europe.

VICTORY NUMBER ONE: NOT BEING CRESTFALLEN BY UNPRECEDENTED EVENTS said that there was a 12:50 showing so I took the 12:30 shuttle to Edwards Cinema, only to find out that no, the movie began at 12:20. See, usually, this kinda mishap totally throws me off and my initial reaction is always to give it up and go home. But I've recently been repeatedly preached to "always have a backup plan!" (-Mom). Well I wasn't going to pay $10 for a movie 30 minutes in. So I bought the next showing at 3:25. This would mean I wouldn't have a ride back to campus since the shuttle wouldn't be in service by the time the movie's over. Plus I'm not sure if I can get back in time to prepare for the meeting tonight. Oh, there were so many things that could go wrong. But I stopped myself and my tendency to think negatively. And I decided: no, this will be a minor adventure. Let's see what I can do with this new situation.

Well now I had 2.5 hours to kill. If I had internet I could begin researching travel plans. But aha! There's a Barnes & Noble in the Town Center! So I went there and burrowed into the travel section. I had a wonderful book at hand, Europe by Rail, which provided precisely the information and advice I needed. By the end of an hour's reading, I had my basic route selected. From southern France to Switzerland, Austria, crawl northward to Germany and head back westward to Belgium with a possible flight over to Turkey. Having built the foundation to a potential itinerary, I finally felt a hint of ownership to what could become a wonderful project for myself--not only an educational adventure but an experience that may very well polish my character and independence. In the words of Elizabeth Bennet: "It is a small kind of accomplishment, I suppose."

I still had an hour and a half to kill. I was getting hungry since I skipped lunch. So I grabbed a bite at a Greek cafe (I had just read a chapter on Greek food and I was craving pita bread). The waiter was a tall, friendly guy who wore black framed glasses and spoke Greek. I ate as I read the first few chapters of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. After that I treated myself to a Coldstone "Savory Strawberry" shake--like it size, of course. 3:20 came in no time and I felt like a giddy little schoolboy in the Smithsonian as I walked into the theater--alone! Ha! Theater 6 was mainly empty aside from a couple parents with their 5 year old kids, a young couple and a creepy man on the phone in the back row corner. The movie was pretty darn adorable and I'll elaborate on that in a later post (probably with some fan art, too). But Flynn is definitely a better name that Eugene IMHO. Things also worked out with my ride back because I got my friend Natalia, who conveniently needed to go to her car anyway, to swiftly pick me up. That was the end of a surprisingly marvelous afternoon in the good ol' Town Center.

I got back to my room in time for a quick change of outfits before heading off to the meeting. I faced the Gohonzon again and chanted briefly with a mind set on a successful meeting. When we arrived my co-MC and I had only 15 minutes to go through the agenda and plan things out. I felt nervous for the first time in a while. I had always seen the role of an MC to be crucial to setting the tone and direction of a meeting--I get irritated when I see MCs lacking energy or engagement. So now that the responsibility was bestowed upon us, you can understand that I had set pretty high standards for myself. As I felt myself blanking out, I reassured myself that it all comes down to enthusiasm.

Well, it worked out okay. As a matter of fact, the meeting was great. There was some fantastic encouragement and guidance from leaders and some very young members (two 9 and 12 year old sisters who have used their Buddhist practice to fight their inborn autism and lethal allergies) and my friend performed wonderfully singing with her acoustic guitar. At the end of the meeting I was surprised to receive many praises and felt doubly triumphant when they said my MCing to be "exemplary" and "uplifting."

It was past nine when I returned to campus. I was pretty drained from the long day and the persisting jet lag but a couple girlfriends and I had arranged to go out for boba so we drove to Cha for Tea at UCIrvine. I saw the friendly, Greek waiter guy from lunch today! We played a few games of rummy with my magical Harry Potter playing cards (they vanish!) and we drove back to SUA after an hour. I was cold and tired when I returned to my room but I wanted to write about this here before I closed the day. See, it may not have been too exciting or eventful to read--and I apologize if it's fairly anticlimactic and I thank you for even bothering to read this far--but it's been a long time since I've stepped out of my comfort zone or determined to accomplish something. I've been depressed for a long time and the rehabilitation period was equally long. I'm only just easing back into my old gym shoes but I'm also at the point of wanting to explore new facets and potential in my identity. Today could've been an average day, like yesterday and the many yesterdays before that which I spent clammed up in a sheltered cove where I hibernated for months to recover from depression. But the choice I made as I chanted in the morning led me down an unbeaten path. It may have been small--as small as going to watch Tangled alone in a movie theater can be--but at least today was not a repeat of yesterday. Today I had four small victories. Today, I won.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deathly Hallows doodles

Hello again! As I mentioned before, I've been re-reading Deathly Hallows this winter break and listening to Jim Dale's audiobook religiously. Here are just a few doodles I've done in between projects:

Sevvy, baby Sevvy, Grindelwald and Voldy

FYI, this is right when Ron returns and Hermione offers her warm welcome.

Luna Lovegood

Also, the nuclear disarmament illustration is le finished as I mentioned earlier. Here's what it looks like:

This illustration took up so much time! Goodness! I'm hungry for a fan art break. Speaking of break, I had a break; I had a KitKat. I had a Wasabi flavored KitKat. By far the most bizarre chocolate I have ever put into my mouth. 8/

New Layout!

I was getting kinda tired of the default background and plain header so I decided to refresh my blog with a new design. I'm still not completely satisfied with it but it will suffice for the time being. 

That's it for now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photo post of winter break Japan

Hello Blogspot! It's been a while since I last updated. I've been a little winded lately due to the sudden change of environment. As of Sunday I've been back at SUA in Orange County, and I'm simply waiting for the spring semester to commence. It's kinda nice arriving a little early so that I have this adjustment period to overcome my jet-lag.

I really haven't much to update, other than the fact that the Nuclear Disarmament illustration is done (last night), which is mainly what I've been investing my time on since arriving. It's a relief to get it off my shoulders at last. It was definitely the largest illustration I've ever worked on (13x10 inch in 300 dpi) and it took me all of winter break to do it. Unfortunately I can't feel too proud of it because I'm just not satisfied with the look and the overall design--I know that after a year's development I will look back at it and know exactly how to improve it. I'll share it here later once I get feedback from the client. 

Excuse me, but the rest I'll post in a sequence of bullets and photos. I'm not quite in the state to elaborate much and I fear I'll bore you to death. Here's a recap of the eventful things that happened during the last few days I was in Japan. By the end, I think you'll have a pretty vivid picture of just how mundane my life has been this winter break. lol:

To give you an idea, the picture on the left compares this tiny can to the average beer can.

Here is the tiny drink that I had from a tiny shot glass.
I put it next to the mandarin and chopsticks so you can compare the sizes.
I had about two gulps before I hit the bottom of the can. 

The cutest owl cake the world has ever seen. Hoot hoot! 
You can count on Japan to make the most adorable delectables. 
Note the cute angel pudding on the right. 

Also, Japanese comedian, Kanpei Hazama breaks the world record with his Earth Marathon, completing an entire lap around the globe in 2 years and a month. I was so moved and encouraged by this man, who even was diagnosed and overcame cancer during his journey. Amazing.

Then here are a few pics from my trip to Hakone hot springs. This is a seaside noodle restaurant where we had lunch on the way. The most beautiful and tranquil restaurant I have ever visited!

I had hot Aji no tempura soba (aji = horse mackerel) which was omgsogood and really filling!

Mom had this colorful assortment of veggies and crabs and fish on her soba noodles.

Since I can't share any photos of the hot springs (obviously cameras aren't permitted in the baths) here are a couple shots of the Hakone scenery we crossed during our road trip. That's the most of Mt.Fuji I we were able to catch. It's always cloudy at the foot of the mountain. 

And a big, pretty torii gate we drove under. 

Okay, this post seems to be long enough. Sorry to bombard you with photos. I hope to post a more meaningful and interesting blog next time. Uuuughhh jet lagggg x/