Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Black Swan

Today I watched Black Swan with a friend, and I was absolutely blown away. It left me in cold sweat, gasping at the end. I couldn't stop thinking about it, yet I couldn't bring myself to find the words to talk about it. Barring perhaps Toy Story 3, Black Swan is the best movie I've seen this year.

Now, if you've seen the movie already (or just don't care for spoilers), feel free to click below the cut to read my thoughts. If not, go see it the next chance you get. I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shoes, too?!

Today while my parents and I were sorting through old shoes to figure out what to keep and what to donate to the Salvation Army, we came across a Vans box, with a brand new pair of Vans in it!

I tried them on, and surprisingly, they fit very well and actually feel quite comfortable. I've never had a pair of Vans slip-ons before, so I decided to keep them. Because nobody has ever bought these, I thought they had come from the Philippines. My dad used to go to the Philippines a lot, and sometimes he'd come home with shoes—most of them very convincing knock-offs of popular brands, like Converse. He doesn't remember ever getting these, but I'm still convinced that they are grade-A Filipino shoes. Other evidence that it came from the Philippines? It has Minnie Mouse all over it, but the name "Millay" is written below her. Every single time. Sure looks like a fob shoe to me, and a damn good copy too XD

Can anybody guess what I'm about to say next?

I'm going to repaint these shoes!

Not that the Minnie Mouse pattern and, uh, "Millay" aren't cute, but c'mon—free canvas shoes? I can't not paint on them. That would be ludicrous. 

This project is much more likely to happen than the snowboard one, at least in terms of time. I can totally paint over this during winter break. But the big question is: what should I paint on it?

I've thought of a few themes:
  • Space (black, purple and blue with stars and nebulas and stuff)
  • Adventure Time (with Jake the doooog and Finn the human!)
  • Octopus (oh you know)
  • Elephants 
  • CMYK or some other really cliché designer thing
  • Avatar: the Last Airbender
  • Some kind of nice abstract pattern with colors I don't really have for shoes right now
Right now probably the last one, ha.
If ya'll have any awesome ideas or even more awesome tips on painting these shoes, hit me up with a comment!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Making paper, making paper, lalala!

I've started the 365 Photos project on Facebook, and basically you take one photo every day for a year, to show other people what your life is like. Well, 3 out of the 10 I have so far are of papers that I made in papermaking class just drying out at my house XD This is my life.

I put it on my car!!! And that amused me to no end! Now I know I've gone mad.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I'm a blog junkie.

I love reading through endless streams of blogs on productivity, "life hacks," design tips, zen habits, and other things that could potentially make my life better, if I just did them instead of read them! In the day and age of sharing, where the individual and the community is almost one and the same over the internet, it's interesting to see how different people operate—particularly creative people.

Creative people are an odd bunch. Being creative, in and of itself, just means that you're able to see things and make connections in ways nobody else does. Being creative is being clever, and everybody can be creative. But being a creative professional is another story entirely. Suddenly, this phenomenon known as "creativity," which we Americans have grown up to believe is something magical like a visit from a unicorn, must be harnessed, saddled up, tamed, trained, and put to work on a day-to-day basis. And for most people, that's when it gets hard. The clashing of creativity, long believed to be something that just came to you like a bolt of lightning, with the grind of routine is so irritating that it leaves a lot of people (students in particular!) feeling stuck, lost, and alone. That's why I read so many damn help-blogs and not do a damn thing about it.

So when I saw an article titled The 1-Step Plan for Super-Productivity, you bet I had to read it! To sum it up, the one step is simply getting up early.

I don't like getting up early. I am a self-professed and long-proven night owl, and I can be most productive at night! That's when all the ideas come! Sort of! Besides, I can be more productive without distractions, no matter what time of the day!

And then it hit me why waking up early is such a good idea.

Even though I tend to get my ideas late at night and that's when my mind tends to race, that's when everybody else is up, too. I'm a night owl among night owls, and with IMs pinging left and right I can hardly get anything done. And it's not like I pull myself away from it, either. I will fully own up to my weakness of talking to everybody on the internet! So despite my great distaste, I guess I'll try waking up earlier.

I can already see the benefits. Nothing but sleep comes before waking up early, and if I give myself enough time between sleeping and having to go to class, my mind will be empty enough to concentrate on things I need to do, like write a term paper or finalize the concept for my final project. Then, later on, when I've had all my experiences of the day and there are lots of things to distract me, I can start on the easier aspects of a project, like building it if it's physical, or moving it around in InDesign or Illustrator or what have you. Just don't make me concentrate when I've got all the internets goin' on, nothing will happen, I know this, and I'm going to work with it instead of against it.

It is not 1:10 AM. At the rate I'm going at, I'll be asleep by 2AM. I'll try to be up at 8AM. I can't guarantee a damn thing, but I can try?

I can try!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

All Downhill from Here

I haven't blogged here in... wow, just over a month. It's the same old song and dance: projects, studying, bits of social life, projects, projects, projects. But now the semester is winding to an end as the holiday season picks up speed, and you know what the holiday season brings? Snowboarding season.

I had the pain pleasure of experiencing snowboarding for the first time this year, way back in February, and after I came out loving it, I'm getting pumped for the new season. I bought some new snow pants (they're a little tight, but they'll do for now) at Ski-dazzle yesterday, and my dad dug up an old snowboard he bought off my uncle years ago and now it's mine.

I'm very grateful for this... I mean, free snowboard! Wow! That was easily going to be the most expensive thing since I'm starting to get my own gear. Luckily it's also just my size (it reaches my nose). There's only one small issue I have with it.

The design is ugly.

It's just... for real? Really? Yeah, not really my cup of tea.

However, I am still keeping the board, and I very much intend to use it on the slopes come January. But after the season is done, I am going to make it my personal project to completely redesign the board. It's not going to be easy, since there's a lot more prepping and protection going on aside from the paint because it has to be able to withstand the elements. I think it'll be a fun and useful project for me, and by doing it throughout the year instead of during my winter break, I'll be giving myself lots of time to finish. During the break I'll be focusing on my portfolio.

So yeah, there's that!

Sorry I haven't been on. I'll try to update again after finals, maybe show off some of my projects. I don't know who actually reads this anymore, so I don't really know who to apologize to. Oh well!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Straightening up

The past few weeks have been really rough on me. I've had too little sleep and too many projects with too many problems and, "Well, you see, professor, this happened..." too many tears, too many pent up frustrations that led to too many other negative feelings that I know too little about how to deal with them.

But it's getting easier. It always does.

I'm feeling a lot better, which takes away a lot of problems concerning not being able to do work. See, when I'm sad, I can't do anything. I can't draw, I can't design, I certainly can't sit down and crank out something good. But now I've been getting on the ball again. Sure, I've got a lot going on and classes are hard, but if I just take things one at a time and apply focus to all that I do, I will be fine.

Today at the end of advertising class, our professor asked us if there was anything left to discuss. He said he was open to anything at all, that he was here to help. Some of the people applying to the BFA program for Graphic Design started expressing their worries and concerns for the program: how it's changing, how they now only have one shot, how they've been shafted when it comes to getting classes they needed, how they've been told by the VCDA (design club) not to bother professors for help, etc. It sure seemed difficult, and eventually the subject steered towards the BA program.

I'm going to graduate with a BA in Studio Art, Emphasis in Graphic Design. A lot of the BFA-to-be kids were expressing their distaste for that route, complaining that they'd have to take more "pointless" classes like art history, wood, metals, and fiber. I hadn't joined the discussion, but at that point I had to chime in.

I actually really like that. I'm taking metals and fiber (bookmaking) right now, and they're some of the best art classes I've ever taken. I've thought of ways to apply these skills to design projects and frankly, I love it. I think it's all about what you take out of it. Some of the students said they want more design classes, and while that's undoubtedly helpful for any fledgling designer, I think getting out there and learning other things is just as essential. After all, what is the point of being stuck in the design world? From where will you pull your inspiration? Other designers? Design concepts? To me, design has always been more connected to the world than simply how to kern letters and arrange images and pictures and layouts and whatnot. To me, it's so much more than that. It's about injecting meaning into anything and everything you can find, making art and giving it a function as well as a form, digging into the minds of the people and finding out what makes them tick. You need to know culture, politics, language, and so much more than just design to really know how to design.

I've heard talk like this coming from designers older and more seasoned than I, but I don't feel like I'm just parroting what they're saying. I suppose I'm validating my choices and my way of doing things. Now I don't regret graduating sooner instead of going for the BFA. For all of my life, I've never been one to sit still—I flit from topic to topic, and in design, I can make this work for me. I have hundreds of different knowledges and interests from which to pull ideas and inspiration from, I can make more connections than somebody immersed totally in design. I'm not trying to put down anybody, like I said, I'm validating myself right now. This is a blog, isn't it?

There are people I know who are on a sure track to success. 5-year bachelor and master's degree, BFA programs, ROTC. They have it all set for them, and for the longest time I felt jealous and alone because I was different in this aspect. Now I have to stop wallowing and embrace that difference, find a way to succeed and shoot for it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stream of Consciousness?

D&D collab with Kelly, book art for both Lauren and Heidi's NaNoWriMo novels, collabs galore on hitRECord, gettin' into the scene with ¡Vaya! zine, workin' with clients, Foppish Gentlemen comic calling me from the corner of the room... all in addition to advertising assignments (we're on headlines now), the double-band ring for metals (and the first project I still need to finish), the book-a-week grind of bookmaking class and passively studying for art history and business. As if I didn't already have enough to do, right?

There is a sort of comfort in being busy with things other than school... I feel like I have a life. My past dictates that I'll take these and shove them aside, allowing them to give me the temporary ego boost I need to not fall into the "I'm worthless as an artist" phase again. That new show Raising Hope is on. I'm not even watching it and it's distracting me. I can't even stay focused on this blog post. Where was I going with this?

I would say, look at me, I have all this stuff to do! I'm so proud of myself, I'm worth something! And then I'll do virtually nothing about it. I talk about it more than I do it. That's how it's been in the past and that's what I think about now, when I look at my growing projects list with a grin and a nod. But I really want to do these things, now. I want physical manifestations of my excitement for these things. It's all about time management and I know it. After this post I'm going to go brainstorm my next book project. Goal: finish it at least 2 days before it's due!

I can't remember when I decided not to go for the BFA Graphic Design program. Did I ever decide at all? I think my parents didn't want me to... why spend such a long time in school? You won't be under your scholarship anymore, etc etc. That didn't stop the others. Did I ever want it? Seeing my peers apply—Rendell, Hasan, Chris, Rachel, Mark—makes me want to apply, too. I feel like I'm missing out on a camaraderie that only comes with being accepted into the BFA Graphic Design program. See how important that sounds? The BFA Graphic Design program. There's a disappointed look on their faces when I tell them that I'm not applying. "Why not?" "I think you'd make it!" "How come?" "So you're just getting the BA?" Yes, I am just getting the BA. What can I tell them? My parents didn't let me and I just never questioned that?

Either way, I never felt ready. I wouldn't be ready now or next year. It's better this way. I tell everybody that I want to start working, to build up experience so that I can apply to a graduate program in the future. This is true. But a part of me wants to be right there with them, slaving away over portfolio projects and bonding over coffee (that I don't drink) and late nights in the lab, complaining about how this design didn't work and how nervous we all are and what we think the teachers will say about our work. But maybe I'm romanticizing.

I don't know how to end this. The post has been slightly melancholy, but I'm fine, really. I'm not tearing myself apart over my poor time management or not going for the BFA. These are just things I've been thinking about, and I want to keep them here, possibly look back on them.

I'm rambling.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

México: The Place You Thought You Knew

I consider myself an avid traveller forever stuck with wanderlust. I've been to plenty of countries around the world thanks to my military upbringing, and I've got plenty more on my list. Mexico has never been on that list until now.

Growing up in the Philippines, Okinawa and Germany left me with little to no exposure to anything Mexican. Living in Southern California for about 9 years now didn't really change that, even though there's a large Mexican population here. All I knew about Mexico was Tijuana, tacos, and burritos, and not even the good kind. I feel like plenty of people down here feel the same sort of jaded disinterest in anything Mexican, so when I saw the new México: The Place You Thought You Knew ad campaign, I was pleasantly surprised.

(via Flickr)

I started seeing these ads on billboards, and frankly I think they're brilliant. Each one has a stunning image accompanied by a surprising fact about Mexico, like the above "Trees? 100 feet underwater?" or "A cave that could fit the Statue of Liberty?" I really couldn't help but repeat it to myself.

The ad campaign is brilliant. The use of facts in the form of questions echoes how most people (myself included!) would react to learning about this stuff. And to be honest, it does make me want to visit Mexico. I want to see the underwater trees!!

The logo is also very, very nice. 


I absolutely love the font choice, and the lowercase "é" amongst the uppercase letters gives a sense of playfulness, also given by the choice of color. The little patterns inside are a very nice touch, very personal and human. They want you to visit Mexico because Mexico is fun, colorful, and has lots of culture. The logo conveys that clearly, and fits really well with the ads.

In addition to print ads, there have been commercial spots. They take what the ad started and expand on it, romanticizing the adventure and essence of travelling and the unique experiences that comes with it—specifically the one-of-a-kind experiences you can get if you go to Mexico!

The dialogue highlights things that you would've missed out on if you had gone anywhere else. The images actually makes me think of other places like Hawaii or the Caribbean Islands, even though they provide subtitles telling you where these places are. Then they hit you with the Mexico logo and slogan. In the world of commercial ads, I don't feel like it's too especially unique—there are others that are as feel-good and nice as this—but the print ads are quite powerful and effective.

I thought I had more to say when I set out to write this post. I can't say much more than I have: the campaign works, it wowed me, and definitely reached its goal with me: I want to visit Mexico. Prior to this I've never been interested, and now I am. Mexican Tourism Board, I tip my hat to you!

Here are more of the ads for your enjoyment.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How clever is this logo?

Just look at this logo and tell me it doesn't just kill you with cleverness.

The 11th Hour

Graphic for my good friend Lauren's NaNoWriMo '10 novel, The 11th Hour.
Even though November is still 2 months away, I've heard what the story is about and read some of the character bios (available on her blog, Limitless Ramblings) and it sounds like it's going to be reeeeeaaally good :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For every other major that thinks art students have it easy

Because we don't have to buy $100-dollar books or study long hours...

Approx. $130 worth of supplies for two classes, to start—not counting the ~$50 I'll have to spend on more supplies down the road. Each class is 2.75 hours long, with 2 sessions per week. It takes at least 5 extra hours to complete work outside of class.

I think it evens out.

Also, this is nowhere near the $250 I spent on just my painting class last year XD

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Looking through older sketchbooks, and I realized a few things

  1. One particular drawing really struck me and gave me inspiration for a logo design I'm working on
  2. The older the sketchbook, the more drawings and doodles there are
  3. ...and the newer the sketchbook, the more written notes there are (rather than doodles)
  4. I used to draw a lot more
  5. and I used to be better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

...Now What?

I created a new deviantArt account for these reasons:
  • To separate work I did back then, from work I do now (as I'm under the impression that I am a different artist now than I was back then)
  • To utilize deviantArt's new Portfolio feature as my professional graphic design portfolio
  • To claim "theJollity" name on that site—it's my handle everywhere else, gotta stay consistent ;)
I could have easily used the Portfolio feature on my old account, but I didn't want it attached to such an old name (midniteBLAZE) with such old art. At the same time, I enjoyed that account that I've had for 6 years, so I'm not just going to flat out delete the work there, or the account itself. It is still there!

Anyway, I'm looking at my blank deviantArt account now, and it's making me want to draw something really, really nice so I can slap it up there. I'm looking back at my older account, at my older drawings, wondering how I was able to draw all that back then. Lately it seems like it takes so much for me just to pick up a pencil and sketch.

So... now what?

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Greatest Mistake

The greatest mistake I've made as an artist is ceasing to invest in myself. I used to be very obsessed with how I presented myself and my work—making sure my blog layouts were impeccable, keeping my deviantArt account up to date with my latest and greatest, making sure everything I did was in tip top shape. Somewhere down the line I lost a lot of confidence in myself and thought it was pointless to invest so much time trying to promote myself when I had nothing worth promoting. I'm sure I felt that way at the time, but I regret thinking that way, nonetheless. I stopped posting to my dA account. I stopped drawing because I was too afraid to start, for fear that it wouldn't be good, or afraid of not knowing what to do. I know now that all this can just be solved by just doing it, but I haven't been.

I'm slowly trying to break out of this rut. It's been too long.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Still Riding that High

Ever since my dad told me about the opportunity to learn how to fly in the Philippines I haven't stopped thinking about flying again. It was exhilarating the first time, but will the next time be full of self-doubt and second guesses? I sure hope not... I hope the feeling is still the same as that time I flew 5 years ago, feeling like I'm at home.

The forces of the Universe must really want me to fly, because yesterday I happened upon an article by Davin Coburn on his experience of earning a pilot's license within a week.


The rundown is that, based on the Federal Aviation Administration's Sport Pilot Initiative, anybody could get a pilot's license for way cheaper, and in way less time than normal. Coburn got his in a week. There are certain restrictions: with a Sport Pilot License, you are only allowed to fly certain lightweight aircrafts, in certain areas, during the day. However, the entire thing would cost $3,500 or less, and you're only required to complete 20 hours of flight time.

Even though the aircraft is a little different, it's still flight, and in my position, I think this option would be best for me. Obviously I'm not going to go sign up right now, but I am going to start saving up for it. Even though the school in the Philippines will give me a legitimate Private/Commercial Pilot License, I would hate myself for dropping $20,000 and not committing to doing this for a job... and right now, and probably at least 2 more years in the future, I'm not sure that I want to do that. With a Sport Pilot License, I'll fulfill my desire for flight in a way that's considerably less expensive, and it'll help me decide if flying is what I want to do as a career.

It's amazing how I just completely forget about graphic design and art when I start thinking about this.

It's even more amazing that... I don't feel guilty at all because of it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When Dreams Rise from the Dead

Today my dad asked me if I still wanted to be a pilot and I just froze in my seat. Instead of answering, I asked him why, and he asked me again because he wanted to "make sure." And then he told me about this flight school in the Philippines that costs about 1/4th the price of flight schools in the US. It's internationally recognized, and people from around the world attend this school to become private and commercial pilots, and many of them go on to fly for airlines like Lufthansa. To make it all better, the school is located 20 minutes away from the condo my parents own in the Philippines.

When I heard all this, I think my heart might've stopped a bit XD

This is... whoa. Talk about an opportunity. This opportunity basically encompasses two dreams that I had given up on: becoming a pilot, and studying/living abroad. Wow. Wow shmow zow.

Of course I'm ecstatic! Of course the first thing I did is squeal, and then  started day dreaming about my time living in the Philippines, learning the language and learning how to fly like I've always wanted to. And then I started doubting everything :\

Okay, so it's less expensive than the normal amount in the States, but it's still pretty expensive. Why do I want to do this, anyway? Is my aim to become a commercial pilot? It must be, because it's a hugely expensive hobby to have, one I doubt I can support on a graphic designer's salary. Would it be purely selfish of me to go out there and spend that time and money (most of which will probably not be my own) on something I can only say I just... enjoy? How do I justify that? How do I justify going abroad and learning how to fly if I'm not going to do anything with it later, huh? HUH?!

I started thinking about how things happen to people that have "followed their hearts/dreams," particularly my friends. Friends like Brent and Brendel have done things just because they love to do it, and they've found opportunity to put what they love to use, whether it's learning Russian or riding motorcycles. Did any of them expect to get the opportunities they did, like actually going to Russia or being a stunt biker in a music video? Nope. They didn't start off expecting that.

Why do I feel like I have to?

Why is everything so complicated with me?!
I try to tell myself to see so far into the future, but the truth is, I can't even see that far. Literally and metaphorically.

The only reason why the idea of going to flight school still excites me is because I haven't forgotten the feeling I had when I piloted my first airplane... the feeling that there was nothing better, that I could put my whole being into this and just be happy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Day of Mixed Feelings

Today was the last day of summer class for me, and the reason why I couldn't go with my family up to San José for the past few days. Mika and my parents are up there so Mika can attend her freshman orientation at SJSU. How exciting! Bummer that I had to miss out. Now I'm all alone.

Anyway, I woke up pretty frazzled and excited. The night before, I had gotten an email from a prospective design client stating that he thought my portfolio was great and was interested in hiring me. Then he asked for my rate, to which I silently said, "Uuuuuuuhhhh...?"

I went to my art history class to turn in my final exam (it was a take-home) and go through some of the designs we had to pick that were our favorites. It was pretty interesting, but the real interesting part came AFTER that. When everybody had left, my professor agreed to look at my portfolio. I prepared about 12 pieces—things that sucked, things that didn't, and everything in between, because that's what I thought he wanted. Turns out he only wanted to see what I considered my "best" XD So I showed him what I got and... and he said it was just all right. To be honest, I was pretty much expecting that. He seemed to like my Muse spread the best, despite the glaring flaw that Matthew Bellamy is landed straight in the gutter. He actually recommended turning it into a poster because the image was already so good! He wasn't too crazy about my ReefGeek identity, and he hated my Team Fortress 2 package!

It was very different getting critique from him than it was getting it from my other professor, Stephanie. Everything she liked and appreciated, he shot down and said to do something else. Admittedly, on some parts I agreed with him, but it was so topsy-turvy I was getting confused. He said that generally, my work looks like it's been done before. There's not enough creativity and play in it, like I'm thinking too "real world" and not exploring any new ideas—just going with what's safe. He was Simon Cowell, telling me that the songs I chose were too safe. I understand. I'm glad somebody is telling me to push it to the limit.

At the end of it, he told me that I can send him pdfs of more things I've done and that I should stop by his office hours during the school year. :D He said he likes my enthusiasm! Hurray!

So that was sorta mixed feelings. After that, I got a call from an assistant graphic design job I applied for saying that they wanted to interview me! GASP! I'm being interviewed this Friday morning!!! GASP!! I'm both happy, excited and terrified! I haven't put together my print portfolio yet! Gah! And especially after Byrom's critique, I'm not sure that I want to...! I'm pretty terrified now.

And then on-and-off studying while catching the World Cup Semifinals... Germany lost... I was so sad, like I've never been sadder for a sporting event but I was so sad I could hardly concentrate. That didn't stop me from finishing my exam first though, heh.

So yeah, mixed feelings abound. Blah.

Maybe I should cancel/reschedule my interview...?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I love older designers

Particularly the professors that are at least 40 years old or so, because they still talk to us about how they learned design back in their day—how they used T-squares, rulers and French curves to meticulously copy and design letterforms for typography, the way they learned the true ins and outs of the printing process, the way everything was so much more hands-on and manual than it is today.

While I'm grateful for the technology that enables current designers to spend more time conceptualizing rather than producing, I'm still a big process junkie and I love getting my hands into things. There's something so unromantic about just saying, "Yeah, I did this on Illustrator for about a week and sent it off to a printer." I want to be able to say that I handpicked these pages, I bound this book myself. That's one reason why I love school, we get to be the producers.

I think that learning the production process is inspiring to me, when it comes to designing. I'm not sure what it is—maybe just keeping the project in mind and being able to visualize how it'll be made—that makes me so seduced by it. I want to draw my type (ha!) and make a poster on a letterpress machine, I want to bind my own sketchbooks!

At school, the graphic design classes are largely taught whilst seated in front of a computer. This summer I'm going to take the initiative however I can to go back in time a little and get my hands on some hands-on graphic designing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A little rusty

I told myself that my life drawing skills were getting rusty, so I drew my reflection.
Why I didn't think to put my head and body together is beyond me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Differences, differences

The illustrator in me loves the way this stretched layout gives my drawings enough space to show off,
but the designer in me hates the way text lines get ridiculously long.

I need to learn how to code or something XD

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dreams Lead to Butterfly Knives

If you've been following my blog for a while, or at least read some archived entries, you'll probably know that most of my dreams are violent. If you asked me what I dreamed of just a year ago, I'd most likely say that I was either being pursued or attacked and that I was unable to do anything about it. My limbs would go weak like noodles or too stiff to move, stuff like that. Lately I've been having a concentration of dreams in which I'm attacked, but I get to fight back. I can practically feel it, and it feels great, I'm always beating up the bad guys.
I'm not entirely sure what it means. Could it mean that I'm slowly learning how to fight back on all the things I struggle with? That I want to get back into training with José? That my inner badass is coming out?

I'm leading all this up to a dream I had just last night.
I was playing with a big, black dog when his owner comes up and tells me not to mess with it (even though the dog was so cute and friendly). I tell him all right, I didn't want any trouble. Then he moves forward, trying to mug or attack me or whatever, and in self defense I throw a punch right to his face. I turn to run away, but he grabs me and stabs me in the arm with a knife.

Not so powerful now, huh?

I woke up with the strangest urge to learn how to use the balisong, or as it's commonly called, the butterfly knife.

Mind you, I used to be terrified of knives when I was small. But looking up YouTube videos of people goin' at it with the knife got me more and more excited. I wanted to carry one for self
defense! Show it off like a party trick! Intimidate muggers by doing it before lashing out at their harmful asses!

I knew my dad had one, so I called him up and we started talking about it. In California, balisongs are illegal to conceal and carry, but legal to own as long as the blade doesn't exceed 2 inches in length and it's dull. My dad told me that the knife he had in the office was an original Filipino handmade balisong that he got from the Philippines, around when I was born. The knife's about as old as I am (it was meant to be!). Filipino handmade also means that they don't give a flying fork about dullness, that baby would still be sharp. I told him that I knew to always hold the safe side while opening it and doing tricks, and that when practicing I'll tape down the sharp side of the blade and wear shoes. While talking to Jason about it, I also realized something my mom would undoubtedly bring up once she finds out I'm doing knife tricks: that I could harm my hands! My career depends on the use and skill of my hands, namely for drawing and painting and designing! How could I be so reckless! So even with the safe side, taping the sharp side and other precautions, I decided to learn how to use it with my left hand... mainly because it isn't my drawing hand. I'm fairly ambidextrous, and this is a "new" skill, so it shouldn't make too much of a difference. If it sucks, I'll switch over to the right. I mean, how much damage could it be? If the sharp side lands on me, I drop it, maybe a small cut, but nothing horrible like tears.

Well, I found my dad's old balisong and sure enough, its tiiiny! Looks way tinier than the crazy Benchmade ones in the videos! The handle is wooden and the blade is actually pretty dull, and dirty, too. I joked with my dad, "What did you use this as, a letter opener?!" It's small so it's not overwhelming to my own small hands. I'm pretty happy with it, I tried flipping it open and manage to do it quite slowly. I wish I could carry it around for self defense, but I'd get in more trouble by just doing that (and being caught). I mean, José's teaching me eskrima, right? Filipinos used these knives for that! Just tryin'a maintain solidarity here :P

Anyway, there's my random skill to learn for the year. Butterfly knives.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

TF2 Hilarity with Nick and Me

Droppin' Team Fortress 2 lines like a BAWSS

Nick: NO
Me: whoa whoa whoa that did not come out right

Nick: That's what I told the Scout's mom last night B-)


Nick: NO

Friday, April 30, 2010

I used to be so bright

and full of ambitions.

As the years went on, one by one those ambitions were crushed. Put away for another day, and then forgotten. I told myself not to dream and not to think: it's not going to happen. Not now. Just focus on what's happening now.

I almost lost the ability to dream amazing things. I still have it, it's just lying dormant. Hopes, dreams, ambitions... where are they? Can I recall them at all? The only dreams I have nowadays are violent ones. Struggles. Always struggling.

Maybe that's why I haven't been so creative lately.

And damn it José, I miss you already.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Safe to say that I failed

To think I had such high hopes for putting out a sketch per day on this blog. I gotta hand it to me though, I did keep it up for about 2 months. Then it started to intimidate me. I thought more about the quality of my sketches, and obviously I can't churn out something amazing every single day. I know that's the point of the whole exercise/challenge, but I'm just not mentally ready for it.

Nowadays I actually do sketch more often than I used to, and without the obligation of posting it. Probably because of school heh, but now I don't feel like a mild anxiety attack coming on when I put pen to paper. Now I just need to work on the same thing for computer art. Baby steps.

5 classes this semester, 3 of them studio arts. It's kind of killing me. I can feel that I'm only doing a mediocre job in all of them. This isn't going to be an all-A's semester (I guess I shouldn't have gotten used to those 2 glorious semesters it did happen). After all this, my mom still wants me to fill my class load to the brim with 6 classes next semester. All I gotta say is heeeeeellll no, not this time. I'm going to drop out of one of the art classes, because I'm tired of mediocrity.

I really hope my life will be better after college. I feel like it's "just okay" right now, that all the good stuff is just around the corner, beyond a door I can't open yet. You know when that happens like in Zelda games? You have to get the giant key so you can get another heart container or something? It's like that.

Only thing is, I don't know what the key is, and I don't know what's beyond the door.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't even say it—

Here's another comic done for the student paper, The Union.
Since the last one was a little rushed in both the art AND the naming of the comic (Cephalopoda? Really?), I decided to both step up my game a little and make the comic relevant to the title. Doesn't have to be, but I thought it'd be cool.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mad Dogs

Here's a comic I drew for my school's student-run paper, The Union.
Newspaper comic debut! Huzzah!
It's pretty rushed and I'm retarded when it comes to shading, so please forgive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Illusion of Snowboarding

Top: What you imagine will happen
Bottom: What actually happens 90% of the time

I do love snowboarding :P

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Super sketch dump

Hey guys. I know I haven't been posting sketches every day like I said I would, and I totally failed that whole thing. That happens to me a lot: I'm good at starting things, crap at following through or finishing. Story of my life. Anyway, here are a bunch of sketches and I hope it can at least make up for the days I missed in April.

Last weekend I went to the San Diego Zoo with my family and took my recycled-paper sketchbook with me. I drew animals whenever I could, but they're not that detailed since we didn't stay at any one exhibit for too long.

This is a polar bear's head, just in case you couldn't really tell. He was sleeping right up against the glass! Aww!

And then I drew these today while I was sitting in the café at Borders. I didn't plan on sketching a bunch of people, but it just happened. I'm glad it did. I feel a little bit better now.

I particularly like the last two people I sketched. They didn't move around as much, which was good, although I observed them putting their hands up to cover their faces, and it made me wonder if they know I was drawing them XD

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to Sans Raison again

I think I've tried a little too hard to make this blog "something," be it a hub for impressive, opinion+analysis type articles or daily sketches. When José told me that he doesn't see the point in broadcasting personal diary-like entries on online blogs, that it was kind of self-important, I got a little bit self conscious and didn't want to do it. I also read a lot of blogs every day and I like their specialization, so I've always tried to do the same. Right now, I really don't care. I don't care who reads this, I'm writing this for myself.

I have failed to do my daily sketches. Once you've skipped enough days, it becomes all too easy to keep forgetting. I let my classes and projects take over, I said yes to more gigs than I should have, and I honestly do not have the time management to handle it all. I always thought that biting off more than I could chew would eventually help me swallow it, but I end up reverting back to the good ol' habit of procrastination.

I have a rather endless cycle of perfectionism+procrastination: I want it to be the best it can be the very first time, so I don't start until I'm sure I can do it. Then I don't.

I recently read in a blog that it's okay to be 'good enough,' especially the first time. Because if it's just mediocre at first, then at least you have time to make it better. If you just let it fester in your head 'til the last minute, it'll come out mediocre anyway, but by then it'll be your final draft. I don't know why it's so hard for me to practice this.

On the Future

José is graduating soon, and seeing him prepare himself for his future is making me think about mine. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do. I could go to graduate school, I could join the Peace Corps, the military, I could do an entry-level job at some small time graphics design company, I could go travelling, the possibilities really are endless. I could stay here and keep living with my parents—God I hope not. I'd love to be out there on my own for once.

I'm also still doubting my choice in career. It's not as strong as before, but sometimes I'll wonder if I should have done something else, especially when I find out that I could still be a pilot in the Air Force, or when my mechanical engineer friend says that the math isn't that bad and that it's mostly all physics. I know I'm thinking like my college education is the end of it all, but right now I feel so obligated to do something relevant to it, demonizing any other passions I may want to pursue. I'm so unsure. I don't even have a job. I don't quite feel good enough in graphic design yet, and if this perfectionism+procrastination thing keeps going, I never will be.

This song pretty much describes how I feel:

I just feel like my situation is going to last for a while: college student, worrying only about my grades, getting money from parents and what few gigs I could land, living at home, having fun with friends. I'm graduating in a year. Things are going to change, and I don't want to be the one left in the dust of my own future. I want things to change, but I'm afraid of it. I'm not ready, and I'm scared that I never will be.

Anyway, I don't know if there's anybody out there who may care, but to you few, I'm sorry that I haven't posted my sketches. It's totally not enough to say that I haven't been "feeling it," but the truth is, I haven't. One of these days I'll haul my ass up hard enough to muster up a crappy little some-some.

One of these days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I love snowboarding!

And I've only been twice!

Yesterday's snowboarding trip was way better than my first. I didn't have as many bad falls and I actually got to get on some really nice powdery snow!

I know I don't normally do personal posts about my days anymore, but I haven't been able to stop talking or thinking about snowboarding all day, so I'm just going to get it all out here.

I went with José, Chad, Brendel, Rachel, Rachel's friend Andrew and Andrew's girlfriend (I didn't catch her name). We woke up in the wee hours and left for Snow Valley at around 6AM, had a fun mountain drive (curvy roads!) and got there just as it opened at 8:30! After we suited up we got our tickets. We bought ours online at 50% off and then collected them at the ticket window. Awesome! It was a full day, too!

All right, so we went on slope 6 first, which was the bunny slope. José helped me regain my footing, and I was actually practicing going down vertical! I got more comfortable that way, but keeping balanced was still hard. After about an hour and a half of runs, we went back to the cars and had snacks.

Bringing bread and peanut butter was an excellent idea, they made great snacks XD We just sat around, drank beer (them) and Sprite+Malibu (me), relaxed a little, shed some clothes (it got HOT up there), then hit the slopes again.

I swear, I was trying really hard to like snowboarding, but it was becoming increasingly hard to. José left to ride the higher slopes and I kept practicing on the bunny slope. I really wanted to like it, but it was pissing me off! :( José came by again to teach me how to control the board with my toes and do a J-stop, and I was getting the hang of it but my body was too tired, so we met up with the rest for more snacks.

When we got back, I was ready to be defeated again. The rest were getting pumped to all go on slope 1, an intermediate slope that was way, way up the mountain. I told them I'd stick to the bunny slopes and slope 13, another beginner slope. I was in line by myself when José came back over and said, "Hey, you're coming with us on slope 1." I refused and refused but in the end, I came with.

Halfway up the lift ride I started to cry—it was so high up, and the ride didn't seem to end, and we were dangling, and the seat was so narrow, and the slope looked so steep and I didn't think I could go down it without breaking something. José held me and comforted me the best he could and said he'd stay with me the entire time. When we got up, I got off the lift fine and strapped up. I was still crying, but everybody there was glad to see me. I'm happy they were really supportive. I went down the slope...

It was fantastic. It felt much, much better than the bunny slope. I was breaking just fine, I was doing the falling leaf for a while and sometimes I was even comfortable enough to go vertical. There was a run called Bubblegum Run that wrapped around a little hill and it had a few trees and rocks. I went through it quite fine :D Rachel, José and I stuck together and sometimes met up with Chad and Brendel whenever we took breaks, so that was cool. They kept encouraging me, which really helped, I was happy :) That run really allowed me to enjoy it more, so I went back up again and tried applying some things I learned and observed when it came to snowboarding.

Whenever José tried to help me, I couldn't really get it right—I tried extremely hard to do simple things like steer and go forward without faceplanting but it was hard. He kept telling me to use my heels, use my heels, but it was hard, damnit! My calves were aching and no matter how hard I dug in I either kept drifting the other way or falling over. Then José told me that Chad said to kind of lead with the elbow, so I did, and... it worked :D I suppose it's just one of those tricks that makes your body shift its weight in a way that makes the snowboard respond to you. When we were heading down slope 1, Rachel was complaining that her thighs were cramping up. I thought that was weird, because my calves were the ones cramping. She'd been snowboarding since middle school, so next I tried breaking and controlling my speed using my thighs. It made my knees bend the right way and my center of gravity situated correctly so that when I went down it felt much better and more like I was in control, instead of constantly wobbling! I was amazed at my own finds.

We snowboarded until 4 and then packed up. I let my butt dry in the sun coz I got snow in my undies XD We headed back to Garden Grove and ate at a restaurant called The Boiling Crab, which was pretty good. I'm not a fan of crab, but the restaurant was quite an experience!

Anyway, I'd love to go snowboarding at least one more time this season, to really cement the fun I've been having. I hope I don't end up forgetting everything by next season XD

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bento Boxes!

To take a break from the art and sketch posts, I'm going to talk about bento boxes!

For those who are unfamiliar, a bento box is just Japanese meal-in-a-box. The most familiar kinds are the ones people bring to school or work, but there are some made for art and some made for home.

I've been looking into bento boxes as a solution to my healthy eating dilemma, especially at school.

Back in January/February I told myself that I would eat healthier: less meat, more fruits and veggies, smarter choices regarding everything else, making everything I eat really count. I went vegetarian for a week and continued snacking healthily for a while, but when I got hit by 3 huge art projects, it didn't matter anymore: all that mattered was spending as much time on the projects as possible, and maybe eat when I remembered. And boy, was it easy to forget.

It's hardest on Mondays and Wednesdays. I basically run a 12-hour school day, and if I rushed out in the morning and forgot to grab snacks, then I'm stuck starving myself so I could save money by buying only one thing, usually a Subway sandwich, before my night class. I end up exhausted, irritated, and so very hungry. When I'm feeling especially cheap, that Subway sandwich often turns into chips and $1 chicken sandwiches from Carl's Jr. I feel disgusted that this happens a LOT these days.

I started to think about how I can make this better for myself, when I was struck by a distant memory of my mom packing me lunches in little bento boxes for me back when we used to live in Okinawa. Granted, we lived on a U.S. air base and I wasn't carrying bentos every day, but she liked implementing bits from the native culture into our daily lives. It hit me: bento boxes! Of course!

Now, of course I have little tupperware boxes to put stuff in, which easily works as a bento box. So why focus on the specificities of bento boxes? Well, it's not about the box, but the artistry behind it. Like everything else the Japanese do, there is an art behind bento box making, involving portion-controlling and meal planning. The Japanese are well known for their healthy eating lifestyles and this goes for their bento box lunches as well.

I came across a website called Just Bento that has been extremely helpful in my bento-making endeavours. The best part about it is that it contains recipes for bento boxes–which is important, since bento box lunches are often meant to be eaten at room temperature (perfect for the college kid with no access to a refrigerator!).

Although I know full well that I could just say, "put a balanced meal in a Tupperware box," focusing specifically on bento boxes helps me out more by giving me something specific to plunge into. Bento box making is an art finely crafted by the Japanese, and if I start from there, then I figure I should be good to go. I'll need to devote more time and effort than normal, but hey, I'm willing to do that if it means avoiding having to constantly eat those $1 chicken sandwiches.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who's that actor?

I know at least one person who will squeal due to this picture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grandpa Glasses

He was wearing his glasses that I love so much and a fur lined jacket which is another big turn on in a male for me. Yes, I am very attracted to the things that a guy wears. I probably wouldn't be attracted to this guy if it weren't for the glasses anyways.

via 365 Scribbles

I'm sorry Jenny, it's so incredibly late and you deserve better, but I mustered up grandpa glasses today @_@ I spent a while trying to get a right look down, heh. Arrrgblarg I'll do better!

It's not your fault and you've been good to me

Just lately I've been feeling like I don't belong

Like the ground is not mine to walk upon.

Yeah anatomy boo leg receding back into space boo.

On the bright side, I received my order of George Bridgman's Constructive Anatomy today! That makes four Bridgman books and let's hope I improve.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Young Hopefuls

Hello Medic again, and hello to Brendel (left) and José (right).
Can you feel the Schadenfreude?!

When I look at the way I drew Brendel/José all I can think of is "Young Hopefuls," hence the title, hehe. I only really included the Medic again because I couldn't properly crop the boys without getting Medic's quote in the way, and that bothered me lol

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Medic and a Girl Scout

So because my latest assignment has gotten me all crazy about Team Fortress 2 I decided to sketch some, let out that energy, heh. Somehow the Medic always struck me as looking incredibly menacing, even moreso than the Demoman... Demoman's more psychotic than menacing, I think XD

I also drew a female version of the Scout, as many have done before me. Would you believe that I drew half of her while sitting through traffic? It's true! It was just that bad. Mika said she kinda looks like a chola, and I'm not quite sure how to take that XDD

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What it is to be an Artist

I guest-posted this on my buddy Justin's blog and decided to share it here too.
Hope ya'll like it! And don't forget to visit Justin's blog, Random Ramblings! He has a bunch of new content up literally every day!


I am an artist. I draw, I paint, I love to create. Hell, I'm currently challenging myself to sketch something (and hopefully post it) for every day of the year, the progress of which you can see on my own blog.

As an artist, I constantly hear the phrase, "Wow, I could never draw like that!" and "I tried to draw, but I just got so discouraged!" Though they may seem like testimonies to my skill, all I can really do is shake my head and give a small thanks. It's hard to see my creations as works of genius, difficult to separate them from the time and toil spent. I am so very often discouraged by the unsatisfactory quality of my own art that frankly, I'm surprised I didn't quit a long time ago.

Based on a slew of reflective art and design articles I've been reading, as well as the testimonies of some of my design professors and lessons in art history, I've slowly come to accept a rather stark theory:

Artists are never happy.

If you choose to be an artist, you must accept the fact that you will never be satisfied with your work. Yes, you'll have flashes of brilliance and produce great works, but there will always be that nagging feeling that you could have done better. And next time, you will do better, then you'll wish you'd have done that better. It's an cycle without end, which makes a serious passion for art something not for the faint of heart. And yet as artists we keep putting out our works, showing it off to the world because perhaps on some level we are proud, if nothing else but for the hard work we've spent on it. Writing is rewriting, drafting is redrafting and painting is repainting over and over.

Despite the need to constantly improve upon a work of art in order to keep making it "better," artists do have to stop at some point. There is such thing as over-working a piece, and I've done this a couple times. It's more horrible a feeling than having a work never reach its potential, because it means I've missed the point. Artists need to stick together in order to validate each other's works and prevent such over-working. This is why we need critique: it's not praise, and it lets us know when to stop.

Let's skip over to a small art history lesson on Michelangelo.

Michelangelo's Pietà

Michelangelo is the epitome of the "tortured artist." He frequently expressed dislike of his paintings and sculptures, even though he is arguably the best artist of his time. He lamented over the labour and scorned the finished product. He never let anybody see his initial sketches and drafts, definitely not a big "process" guy so much as a "finished product" guy.

Anyway, Michelangelo was thought by his peers to possess a special spirit of God. His innate artistic talent was said to have come straight from God, and that for all of Michelangelo's life he would strive to match the beauty and divinity that so inspired him—but obviously he cannot, as he was but a mortal man and not actually God. This was a very interesting understanding of him, and it's easy to sympathize in a way, whether or not you buy into the whole spirituality bit.

It's what makes an artist an artist. The inherent determination and drive to not give up and to keep going no matter how much it hurts or sucks. If you truly stop doing something, then you were not meant to do it anyway. This goes for more than just art, or perhaps this marks everything as art. Once you find something you're willing to put up with through your suckiest moments as well as your most glorious, that's when you know you've found something worthwhile. And honestly, I think it's worth trying to find that thing or things. I think passion is definitely worth it.

Once we inject passion and drive into what we do, what we do becomes art, and we become its artists.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Polar bear, polar bear

What do you see?

He's sittin' kinda funny, but at least he's rockin' a cool 'do. Apostrophes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Was that NaBloPoMo?

I managed to drag myself out of it, into a whole year of doing the same damn thing. I missed a total of about 7 days (out of 31) for last month's NaBloPoMo, wow. I guess when it's sketching I'm just not as committed. I'll admit, you are not always going to see something pretty from me for the entire year. Some days I won't even sketch for the blog, I'll just throw something up that I sketched today for something else (like I'm doing right now).

These are 2 of 8 rough drafts I did for a Team Fortress 2 package redesign. That's my assignment in my graphic design class: to redesign an existing PC game or software. So I chose TF2! I almost picked Left 4 Dead 2, but I decided against it. My rough drafts for the package cover were due today, so here are two of my extremely rough sketches:

Yes yes, the typography leaves much to be desired but hey, they're hand-drawn roughs.

I'm supposed to be drawing one of Jenny's characters, and I sincerely apologize to her for slacking on it. This past weekend was not the best for me, and Mondays/Wednesdays are my longass days, but I promise you I will get it done soon!

Anyway, now that January's done, I'm wondering if I should still post my daily sketches in this blog. Back ot the sketch blog, eh? Or should I transfer my dailies to a tumblr or flickr account? Not quite sure there. Thoughts anyone? Where would you prefer to enjoy my sketches?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quit dreaming, quit thinking.

Start acting, start doing.

I found this on tumblr and just ahd to put it up here, as a reminder to myself and others who constantly struggle with motivation.

Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared before you do it.

It is your attitude of a task that determines success or failure.

Don’t wait until people are dead to give them flowers.

Don’t let your pride or lack of courage stand in the way of saying you’re sorry.

Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

It doesn’t take strength to hold a grudge; it takes strength to let go of one.

I would rather make my name than inherit it.

Measure your days by how the corners of your mouth turn.

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This Tiger ain't a Cheetah

Because I didn't trace, I used a reference image ;P

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Girl in Class

Similar to what Jenny was doing in her posts, I decided to draw a girl in one of my classes. She was dressed in such a peculiar way that I just had to: hugely giant oversized sweater with a smiley face on it, dark grey leggings and tan Uggs. To be honest it was kind of annoying, because I rather hate Uggs and she shuffled her feet when she walked as if she were trying to be cute.

But hey, I'm not judging :P

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sad Astronaut


Monday, January 25, 2010

No / More weapons?

I was getting ready to post a little ditty I sketched up in class today when I read a comment from Jenny stating that my characters so far are all wielding dangerous weapons.

This is the sketch I did today.

I'm totally not thinking about Left4Dead2 or anything, no... no. Maybe a little.
Maybe I like chainsaws?

But anyway, I realized the error of my ways and promptly drew this considerably tamer character just for Jenny:

Blah anatomy blah perspective blah shading. And hey, for all we know he could be immersing himself in a story about fighting off zombies with chainsaws!

So the first day of school was all right, rather tiring but just all right. I have 3 studio art classes and it's pretty much a 12 hour day. Yikes, I know. Due to budget cuts, classes and sections and teachers around the school are being cut so I have less chances of getting the classes I want. Because of that, I nabbed all the classes I could and gave a big F U to a comfortable schedule. At least I'm out at 12:15 on Tuesdays, teehee.

This semester I'm taking Beginning Illustration, Intermediate Typography and Intermediate Graphic Design. And those are just the art classes. The others are General Biology and Introduction to Management. The reason why all my studio arts are squished into one day is because I have a biology lab on Thursday and Thursday alone, which is long and overlaps all the times I could take other art classes. Labs are so retarded and they mess up your schedule. But I'll tough it out, I'll find a way to keep myself energized on those long Mondays and Wednesdays.

And still have time for daily sketchin's!