Braved the Manila Christmas gridlock to catch a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi last Thursday. A year after her death, I am still mourning Carrie Fisher. There was only one way to deal with all these sads that I’ve been sitting on for over a year, of course.
So I spent most of my Saturday drawing my feelings. I would have finished it in one sitting too, if I didn’t have a Christmas dinner to get to in the evening.
The tablet still frustrates me, mostly because I’ve been trying to paint the same way I do traditionally and that isn’t working out for me. I have to unlearn to learn, but I think this came out pretty well regardless.
My tablet arrived early this week, so I’ve been spending a few hours a day trying to get used to it. Drawing while looking at the monitor instead of your hands is such a bizarre sensation to get used to.
While I’m still not completely sold on it, it does make some things easier. I’m generally terrible at planning out my drawings. My biggest problem is almost always running out of space, so being able to move the sketch layer around when that happens is amazing. It’s been great not having to adjust colours and shit too, because editing photos of my watercolour pieces for printing and posting online is such a nightmare.
I’ve been managing with the pencil brushes because I can get away with a lot of short strokes, but the inking brushes are still giving me grief. I also still haven’t found a brush I like painting with. The tablet came with Corel Painter but learning a new program on top of everything seems like the quickest route to a stroke, so I’m holding off.
It took me three days to finish my first attempt at an all-digital piece. I think I’m going to need another three days to recover because this shit was hard.
The catalyst being some illustrations I had to do for work in June. I had been stubbornly holding on to doing things traditionally, but it really didn’t fit the project brief and I had to learn on the fly.
I’ve been mostly dicking around with colouring on Photoshop whenever I’m feeling too lazy to set up for painting, but I had another rush illustration project recently and screaming at my mouse every 15 minutes just reinforced that it’s time for me to fully join the 21st century.
I was thinking of getting myself a Kindle for Christmas, but I have instead ordered my first graphics tablet. I should be able to pick it up next week and while I’m sure it will be a thoroughly frustrating process to get used to a new medium, I’m excited.
Between the rush for preparations and my anxiety, I totally forgot to post an announcement here but I was at Komiket a few weekends ago!
Shared a table with the totally rad ICEBOX, Nagi, and Corn. Komiket was my first time peddling my wares at a con. Super tiring, but a lot of fun. Shoutout to friends who dropped by our booth and bought my prints. I’m super touched, guys. ❤
“We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn.”
I still haven’t quite gotten the knack of brush pens, but they sure make a world of difference in making line art look finished haha!
Pistol Packin’ Mamas:
I’ve been working on my water colour game for a few months now, and it wasn’t til recently that I realised what I missing in terms of depth. I think I’ve gotten the basics of it down in my most recent pieces of my favourite retro gals, Peggy and Phryne. I’m excited to see where I can go from here.
“Peggy”, 7″x9″, Watercolour and graphite, 2017
“Phryne”, 7″x9″, Watercolour and graphite, 2017
This has been a really disjointed update, I’m sorry, but my brain just doesn’t seem to want to words today.
This show was such a huge part of my childhood. Girls with super powers kicking ass? It had 10-year-old me LIVING.
I don’t think I would have started thinking of a career in visual arts had I not started drawing Sailor Moon fanart as a kid. It’s what got me started not only drawing human figures, but also drawing regularly. So am I exaggerating when I say Sailor Moon got me into art school? I don’t think so.
I’d been sitting on doing a Senshi series for a while and I’m stoked I finally finished it. This was originally only supposed to be the inner senshi (because I didn’t want to draw Chibiusa), but I included Neptune and Uranus due to public (read: a few friends) demand haha!
Some of my older paintings will be on exhibit at the Art Elements Asian Gallery from August 17 to September 12, 2017. The gallery is on the 3rd level of SM Aura Premiere, Bonifacio Global City. Hope you can drop by! 🙂
Now back to our not-so-regularly scheduled obligatory art dump post, with feelings:
I used to hate being told to, “Just keep making stuff,” because I never wanted to start anything unless everything was just *so*. Unless I could get it perfectly on the first go. But I get it now. In my reacquaintance to fanart, I’ve also reacquainted myself with, “just making stuff.”
I’ve started sketching again whenever I found my mind too busy, or my hands too idle. Regardless of whether it was something I could get perfectly. While none of these are anything I could sell or exhibit, drawing feels more comfortable now, in a way that it hasn’t in a long time.
I’ve been beating myself up because I fucked up three pieces from the sketch to the actual painting (including the portrait of Ninth /sobs hysterically), and while I am still really mad, it’s not as hard to try again as it used to be. So sometimes — just sometimes — it’s quantity over quality.
I’ve been a little Pinterest-happy because I had an idea for a tattoo on my forearm. As majority of my pieces are on my back or front torso, I (obvi) don’t get to look at them often and I wanted a piece I could actually see without a mirror. The other afternoon, I took a timed photo so I could see what my back pieces looked like together and posted it online on impulse. I would never have had the chutzpah to do that when I was younger.
I’m not petite by Asian girl standards and I felt this acutely growing up. Medical physical exams would send me down an anxiety spiral. I was self-conscious of my heavy cheeks, my big ass, my cellulite, my jiggly arms, my pudgy belly, and teenagers have a tendency to be cruel.
In 2010, I got my first tattoo. It was one of scariest decisions I’ve ever made, not because of the commitment, or the pain, but because of my deeply religious extended family. I managed to hide my first few tattoos for over a year, but when I stopped, it was a big deal for a very long time. My mother cried, aunts and uncles would make snide, passive-aggressive comments, but I really couldn’t regret anything less.
My first tattoo took about six hours to do. That was six hours of me in a bandeau bra, my shirt bunched up around my waist– the longest I’d been in any state of undress in front of other people. And that was when I genuinely stopped giving a fuck that my body wasn’t what I’d been conditioned to think it should be. I’d gone from, “Don’t look at me,” to, “LET ME RIP OFF MY SHIRT AND SHOW YOU THE AWESOME WORK MY TATTOO ARTIST DID.”
I now have five tattoos and I am so ridiculously proud of every single one that I forget to be self-conscious. While I’m sure we could list all the practical things the money could have gone to instead, it’s money well spent. I don’t see a body that isn’t perfect, I see a body that is a gallery of amazing art. Not to mention a body that has been able to collectively withstand twenty-something hours sitting in a tattoo artist’s chair, because fuck yeah, that’s why.
In a moment of insanity, I accepted a friend’s invitation to share a table at October Komiket. I also spent the next few days curbing a full-blown anxiety attack, because I’ve never been great at getting my work out there. I’ve been reintroducing myself to making fanart, something I haven’t done since college, since my most recent paintings are from 2015-2016.
Ngl, I’ve been having a lot of fun. Whenever I’m having a stressful day at work, I paint for about an hour or so after to decompress. It works for the most part, although I still feel like throwing up whenever I think about the con.
I actually feel more pressure for the con than I do for exhibits. Mainly because my goal for exhibits is exposure. Selling prints at a con is quantifiable. I will go home knowing exactly how much or how little my art has sold, and that shit is terrifying.
A particularly big set of waves brought me to the impact zone which led me to take a bad tumble along the shore break, which led to this. My board’s gonna need some intensive repair and my heart is breaking.
Tempted to just wait til North Swell before getting back into the water because South Swell’s always so fucking wild in Zambales and I am low-key traumatised and paranoid that I’m gonna break another board if I borrow while mine’s out of commission.
On the upside, I’ve learned that the 30-minute workouts I’ve been trying to do everyday have paid off quite a bit in the water. Endurance is still my waterloo though, because I hate cardio with a passion.
As of July 7, I will have been cosplaying for sixteen years. Damn, son.
My induction into cosplay started out as an accident. I attended my first convention in 2000, as a PA/handler for a friend who was cosplaying. The same friend shoved his Kenshin costume at me at a con the year after (this was when conventions only happened once a year, y’all), and the next thing I knew, I had joined my first cosplay competition.
I’ve attempted to retire from cosplay a few times over the years, but I just can’t seem to quit. Because the thing is, I really enjoy it. While I may not do the actual sewing, and am still hopelessly awkward in front of a camera, I enjoy the rest of the process. I like picking out fabric, constructing props, styling and doing makeup. I have a tendency to hyperfixate, and cosplay just feels like the ultimate love letter to a fandom.
It’s only fitting, I suppose. To celebrate my cosplay sweet sixteen by cosplaying twice at this year’s ToyCon, with the amazing ladies I’ve been cosplaying with for over 10 years. I’ve never really done multiple days in costume at a con before because of the hassle, but Leng and I decided to make a thing of it this year and booked an Airbnb near the convention centre.
Day 1 – Viktuuri Poodle Skirts
This was something Leng and I had planned for YoiCon last March, but didn’t have time to finish. The idea for it came from our mutual love of vintage fashion, and the need to cosplay something from Yuri on Ice. Neither of us can really pull off cosplaying a dude very well, and while I love Katsuki Mari with all my heart, her outfits on the show aren’t really something I was interested in working on.
Leng sewed our skirts and petticoats (and did such a fantastic job too), while I took care of the Vicchan and Makkachin appliqués and did our makeup and styling. Styling wigs is the worst, but I think they turned out pretty well.
Day Two – Filipiniana Sailor Senshi / Mandirigmang Mandaragat
The #TitasofCosplay and I have been talking about doing a group again for the past couple of years now, but our fandoms just never seemed to align. Until Sailor Moon came up at one of our Stitch n’ Bitch dinners last year. Based on the Filipino Traje de Mestiza/Maria Clara, this is probably my most research-intensive costume to date. Sheila commissioned a fashion illustrator friend of hers to draw it up for us, because we were bogged down by so much research, we were having trouble visualising a final look. 😛
The original plan was to have the baro and the panuelo made, but we found the perfect ones in the colours that we needed during our fabric run. While most of the group can sew, we also had the skirts made for uniformity haha.
Photography by Erving Go
Photography by Erving Go
Photography by Erving Go
Photography by Erving Go
Photography by Erving Go
Photography by Erving Go
Suffice it to say, that weekend was fun, but exhausting. I may refuse to accept that probably I’m too old to be cavorting around in costumes, but I am certainly too old to be doing so on multiple days in succession.
While we’re on my current hyperfixations, here’s another sports title!
I’ve been following Check, Please for a couple of years, but it’s been occupying a lot of my head space recently because I got gifted with Year One and Year Two. Between re-reading them multiple times over and the latest update, I am dead. THAT LATEST UPDATE OMG BURY ME NOW
Check, Please is a bi-monthly webcomic by Ngozi Ukazu that follows Eric “Bitty” Bittle — vlogger, baker, former competitive figure skater — as he begins his freshman year on the Samwell University Men’s Hockey team. Each update, or episode, is usually framed as an episode of Bitty’s vlog.
It’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this comic. Check, Please deals with varsity and college life, as well as heavier themes like mental illness and homophobia, wrapped up in a loveable package that has so, so much heart.
So lovable, you guys. There isn’t a character I dislike. Yes, even Parse. I will fight you on Parse.
I find it hilarious that I never really got the whole sports anime thing when I was younger, and now here I am, obsessed with three sports titles. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, if I suddenly take up ballroom dancing, figure skating, and hockey simultaneously one of these days, it should come as a surprise to no one.