Commission order process with ArtCorgi

Recently, I’ve had 2 commission art orders via ArtCorgi. <– My referral link.

artcorgi_homepage

If you’ve never heard of them much, that’s because they’ve recently launched this year. The idea behind it is to gather a network of artists together to do non-commercial and personal usage artwork, and it takes out the problem of finding someone who isn’t available. One of the biggest things the founders had problems with is finding artists who were still active in doing commissions. The style ranges are quite wide and price ranges range from $20-$100 and for highly detailed works go above $100.

So I’m pretty much in the network, and you can find me here. I’ve had the pleasure of completing two recent chibi avatars of Linda and her daughter, Alison.

My background: I started off doing these for myself, I only started doing it more often last year after I had shaved off half of my head some time in the summer of 2012. My mom didn’t like it when I came home like that in the beginning of 2013, so… to stop her annoying nagging, I grew out my hair. But I wanted to record the styles that I was going through with my hair, because having half your head being completely unsymmetrical was sort of hard to style sometimes — I wore my hair like a badge though. I think only eccentric, crazy, artsy girls like me do that — and it was definitely not because I was listening to Skrillex; I only began listening to dubstep after the fact. And then started doing some avatars for a few friends. I’ve actually been doing stylized portraits for awhile now. My beginnings with selling this though, started with Fiver.com, but then I realized, that $4 (customers pay $5, but $1 goes into Fiver, and the $4 goes to you) was not feasible. Especially when a typical caricature costs $20 on average from a street vendor. Maybe if I drew it in 15 minutes, but oftentimes, the terms and conditions required that the seller offer revisions. So that normally drives up the minutes, because you have to put in extra time to make revisions. I usually put in a good amount of effort. So takes me time to assess first, the reference photos and then personality. I’ve since moved on and have found out that sort of website is not for me because of the amount of work I put in and the quality that people got didn’t really translate into $5 so it didn’t make sense to stay. And then ArtCorgi found me, and I was very happy.

If you’re curious on how the process is like, it starts off like this:

1) Someone finds me on ArtCorgi because they like my style. They upload the references, and provide important details. In this case, the chibis need a quick personality bio. What kind of person are you? Upbeat, friendly, angry, shy? Etc… Reference photos need to have a full frontal head shot, side shots and 3/4 quarter views, and a full body shot. Also, important to include the type of clothing you’ll be wearing in your photos. I’m not your fashion stylist, unless you pay me and tell me that I am. Plus, clothing that we wear communicates another piece of personality, so I always ask if its not provided, otherwise, I assume its what is worn in the photos I’m given. However, I don’t mind someone telling me they want their head put on top of a manticore’s body. I’m just doing my job. Lol.

2) The email comes in, and Simone, the site admin and intermediary, gives me a basic rundown and expected deadline and other details, yada yada yada.

3) After reading the email, taking notes, and looking over the references, I set up my workspace. Always need 2 monitors. I put up all the references onto 1 monitor, and the main monitor with Photoshop up. As I would like to show a set up of this, but I don’t really want to have my clients photos uploaded online without their consent. But here is an example of what it may look like:

monitorworkspace

So many windows… Music is hidden…

4) Sketching begins.

linda_avatar_linesketch_weblinda_avatar_sketch_web

5) After sketching is complete, I send over what I got to Simone and Linda for feedback.

6) I get feedback. Mostly all right, the client says it looks like her, just need more blush, hair color, details in shoes, and minor body adjustments. Hair color was actually just a dark shade of blonde, but better to let me know first. The sketch phase here does not include the little details quite yet so don’t be scared, this is not the final outcome if you actually studied my style of art. I’m more of the sketchy inbetween artist — I do not waste time rendering in the beginning stages until I am sure the client tells me the sketch outline is good to go. My WIP almost always never turns out the like the final during reviewing.

7) Process. If you’re curious, I always put the first sketch into a 21% opacity, and draw new cleaner outline on top. But I like to keep the sketch underneath for added tones.

linda_avatar_process1_weblinda_avatar_process3_web

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Building up midtones.

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More details to face.

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Added highlights.

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Flower created with pen tool, with two shades of purple.

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Created white outline swirls, and set to 68%.

 

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Final results.

Here is another one with Alison the Bluebelle Fairy:

 

Final: alison_bluebellefairy_web

Closeup: alison_bluebellefairy_closeup

 

Interested in getting this commission? Please use my referral link: http://artcorgi.com?referral=23 and find Tannie Duong. :)

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Filed under Art, Commission, illustration, Painting, sketches

My Experience with Art College

I’ve been trying to write a post about this subject for a while now because its always on my mind, and I think that there’s been a lot of media coverage about the difficulties of attending college nowadays. It is so very costly, and I attest this is true since I went through it. I had written a couple of other drafts before this broaching the subject, and hopefully, this one will be much more succinct. I’m writing this because I had in mind to be helpful, and hopefully, I’ll have somehow helped an aspiring art student to also become aware of the situation. We can’t all be dreamy anymore and choose to go to our #1 school choice, but keep in mind that feeling inspired to pursue life purpose versus finding a job that pays, almost always, life purpose goals are much better even if the way is difficult. I firmly believe though, that sometimes we can have different pathways to get to the place we want in life. So if you have to take a job that you hate to pay and fund your way to your life goal, you should probably do it. That’s my belief anyway.

I suppose you can say this is a follow up on the AAU vs. Art Center post I wrote up when I first started college. Well, now that I’ve graduated, here’s some of my thoughts.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering over the fact that, what would happen if I had not gone to art school? I was informed by many teachers, counselors, and adults in high school that college is an important thing to go through because you don’t want to end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Well, the fact of the matter is, most of us nowadays are stuck doing that anyway because we can’t get the job we graduated college for to begin with. I haven’t worked at a fast food chain, but working any sort of sales or retail is sort of a sad means. They pay you “minimum wage” but to be honest, minimum wage is not on-par with today’s high cost of living: rising cost of gas, food, and housing. I could go into economics and how bad the current economy is, but I think that’s a different topic altogether that I don’t really want to get into. I am trying to narrow the subject down.

So essentially, I have been puzzled since graduating about whether or not my choice in school was beneficial for me. It’s really a hit and miss, but quite frankly, with all the online schools popping up left and right, it’s left me in a state of envy. I wish all this was available in 2007 when I started. But I had no idea what I was doing. I had the belief that college was the answer to everything for my future. But if I could go back in time and teach myself the right way, I should have gone to a community college to learn important basic academic fundamentals. And then obtain an AA or something, by then, Conceptart.org probably would have set up a school that was by far cheaper than what I was paying for at the Academy. I remember this, and I had calculated the numbers. The only drawback is, would I be as good I am in my technical skills? I have problems with online teaching. My style of learning has always been to be immersed and to see (well, maybe that’s why I’m an artist!).

One thing that art school did do for me, was surround me with different minds — and these other minds helped me to open myself up more to different perspectives. I am much wiser than I was before. One of the things that kept me back was family and parents telling me what I should do. They probably didn’t know very much either as they only told me what other people seemed to have told them. One ability that I wished I could have built up earlier was people skills, and the ability to sell myself. This is most certainly NOT taught in schools. This is a life/street skill. And you need this if you want to become a professional. But going back to being surrounded by other people, I feel like this experience could just happen if I had gone out into the world and traveled to new areas like I initially wanted to. It was always a money issue for me, but quite frankly, when you graduate high school, you have no debts yet, and you can earn money by working part-time jobs, save up, and then go places.

One thing that I really adored was having mentors and instructors. 80% of them opened up my eyes to new possibilities, and I feel like good instructors like that are hard to come by. It’s the institution, however, that is the real enemy as they are the ones who are controlling everything else but your ability to learn. One thing I’m going to gripe a bit about is that the career section in our school was rather dismal. I grew tired of seeking help, emailing the representatives, and never getting replies back. If the counselors had problems with large amounts of email, maybe its time they hired more people to help??? I always wondered about this. Because as much as it is important to have an outstanding portfolio, one needs to also be quite literate. It is a little bit ridiculous, since the school teaches you mainly how to be someone else’s employee, so maybe they should be having more writing workshops for resumes and cover letters? There was some workshops, but it really was just one person talking in a limited time frame. I would have liked to attend a more hands-on type of workshop with one-on-one help.

My experience with freelance art is that, I had no idea what I was doing at first because the terms and words confused me. Sure, it was gone over in my portfolio senior class, but not everything was discussed. There were certain scenerios that left me confused, and the actual help that I needed was not from school or my instructor, it was from public forums on LinkedIn and reading lots and lots of blogs from other artists.

Here is also my experience with online classes at AAU:
Don’t do it. It baffled me after returning to normal on-campus classes how much more information you got from being in-person than being online. Its much harder to also connect with your classmates, and I personally believe that college is actually half for making connections and for networking, and the other half is for learning. So why exactly am I paying for full class tuition prices when I only get 65% of what I get on site? The year and half that I spent onsite made me realize that though I gained good attendance and grades, my artwork isn’t nearly as amazing as some of my other peers and that really depressed me, how far behind I felt. It took a lot of sleepless nights to get my skills levels to somewhat satisfactory. And don’t get me started on about why I should have started looking for internships sooner! There are flyers in the student lobby also that no online student can see but the only the course materials they have. I wish I could have formed better connections with my teachers too. It’s much harder to get letters of recommendation if you are an online student unless you are very aggressive at emailing…
http://www.vogue.de/blogs/suzy-menkes/crisis-in-college#galerie/NaN

I would alse like to point out that the article above is a bit maddening simply because AAU’s online programs aren’t impressive (as explained above), so don’t believe that you are getting quality education if you are at least in the illustration department. I most certainly can’t vouch for other departments. But one thing to note is, if you’re perhaps an older adult who only wants the course material, than I suppose its perfectly viable to attend an online course since its convenient.

Note that this is only for online schooling for AAU. If you are considering on pursuing a career in either illustration or visual development, or concept art, I would consider going to the online schools, listed below that are fundamentally cheaper to attend and the mentors are real people. So you’re basically, skipping the administration process, and being taught directly from actual working professionals who are passionate about teaching.

List of online learning:

School of Visual Storytelling

http://conceptdesignacad.storenvy.com/

Feng Zhu or better known as FZD school – for all things concept art, especially environments. Freeeee! And you can even take the dive and go to Singapore to attend his live classes.

Sycra videos – Freeee!

CGMA Academy

CGCookie – They offer tutorials for a subscription price.

Schoolism

Stephen Silver – also, Stephen has mentioned if you you follow him on Facebook, there is a possibility of getting some grant funding for his tuition, which is pretty cool. His school course link: silverdrawingacademy.com/

Chris Oatley Academy

Noah Bradley Art Camp

And even trying to find a way to get your hands on Gnomon Videos would be good.

I wish I could have added TAD on here, but as it seems, there has been some bad politics and they’re no longer happening, which is a shame how much ConceptArt has fallen over the years… it was a place that inspired me so much when I was younger.

 

Anyways, this is more than enough to find your way to getting good educational materials. As an artist, what makes you is your amazing portfolio and brain smarts. Educate yourself and you will go far.

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Filed under Academy of Art University, Art, Artists, Concept Art, illustration, Random Talk, Reviews

“Past is Past”

Hey there, hisashiburi~ It’s weird how I finally have “time” to actually squeeze in a Girls Drawin’ Girls theme into my schedule. I thought I was going to be uber busy to the max, but I guess not. But also because the last 2 weeks theme was “Girl inspired by the last song you listened to!” Mouthful! But I really wanted to do this theme — because its my favorite-est thing to do! I guess I haven’t really been posting any of my Al.chemy experiments from my facebook postings to my blog; I will get around to compiling the ‘best of’ from last year eventually. Since it went on for 2 weeks, I had another song in mind, but “Past is Past” from the album of the same name by 14?.

I very rarely listen to hip hop music, but there’s a few artists that I really really like just because they sound kinda like Jun Seba, or Nujabes ヌジャベス, who produced soundtracks to Samurai Champloo. I guess it’s not that I’ve become more nuanced with rap or hip hop culture, but more like he produces music that comes from the soul. And it goes great for when I’m needing to relax at night and just get lost in feelings.

pastispast_bytannieduong_web

Also, is anyone going to be around San Diego for Comic Con? (ME!) The Girls Drawin’ Girls group, in collaboration with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and 6 Point Harness are having a gallery showing on Thursday, July 24th. You’ll need to RSVP, but I’m sure it’ll be fun. Here’s the flyer:

Whats_Up_GDG_image

 

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Filed under Art, illustration, Painting, Personal, Pinup

Makie Otono-Tachibana

Blade of the Immortal – Makie Otono Tachibana has got to be one of the most depressing, female characters there are. She’s very strong and resilient but suffers a lot from self-defeat. In terms of her swordsmanship, Anotsu Kagehisa has admitted that she could probably best him, which makes me believe, aside from Manji, she’s the strongest character in this story. But she will never be completely strong, since she has a tendency to hesitate in battle before she delivers a killing blow. In a lot of ways, I feel I understand her position very well because she’s got that bit of humanity left in her. But I almost feel like she is perpetually frowning….

I started off the  painting not knowing who I was painting. I wanted to do something with eyes, and so I was scouring my memory for a good female to paint, when it crossed me I hadn’t done much BotI artwork at all! I am a huge fan, and I stopped reading since the translations had stopped in 2010. I was also really busy with school, so I never had time to really catch up until now. And I am trying to get into it again. I’m finding my memory needs a good refresher. But its all around one of my most favorite comics, although, I have tons of recommendable stories for different reasons. I was equally into Shounen and Shoujo, Seinen and Josei types of manga. I would consider BotI to be Seinen.

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Filed under Art, Painting

“Forest Rabbit” – with progress pictures!

Here’s a snapshot of how I kind of work. Someday, I’ll get around to posting up a video… but sometimes, it’s hard when I work in small increments at a time.

I like to work with a pencil sketch and then fill in colors with a painting program such as Photoshop. I all ready had a general idea of the colors that I wanted, but what you don’t see me doing, I guess, is how I play around with the colors too. I started with a base yellow, as I would do on a traditional painting, and worked my way on into greens, and slowly added more colors. The reds and warm tones against the greens make her pop more.

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Actually here is my reference photo:

rabbit_layingdown

Sometimes what you sketch out doesn’t get included into the sketch, in this case, I when I painted her eyes in, I sort of lost that “innocent” bunny-eye look from the sketch, but I think it still turned out the way I wanted to because I wanted to give her eyes a “glass-orb” look.

This “rabbit” is a small shoutout to viera’s like Fran from FFXII.

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Saturday 8 March 2014 · 18:09

Shoot! Then Aim.

I don’t seem to have a penchant for blogging as much anymore… although it seems to have come back full swing! There are so many social media things that take away my attention and time. As well as hunting for work. I slept a lot back in November. But the other problem was that I kept waking myself up in the middle of the night, and took forever to fall back asleep again. A lot was and still is on my mind… and it just doesn’t seem to end because my life feels as though there are continuous hurdles I have to jump over. That makes me feel weak and tired sometimes.

But not today. Today, I woke up feeling good. Of course I wonder if the tiredness is because I’ve hit my mid-twenties (and very much like every other young fresh graduate who’s forced to live at home with Mom and Dad even though I really want independence). I want to complain, but I know I really can’t. Well, this is slight complaining, isn’t it? By sharing my disgruntled self. I think with the whole fiasco of some people abusing the use of social networking to find bad seed employees has very much scared off public displays of discontent! (And also, silly people who party and do drugs and post their rendezvous online. Ouch. Don’t do that. The Internet is FOREVER. Just like this post will be!)

Quite frankly, that is a doctrine that is important for when we are working in an office with other people. Nobody wants to work in an a place with angry and none-responsible people left and right. If I was a War General, I would boot these people out of my camp, and not let them anywhere near the other soldiers because it kills morale. Can’t commandeer an acute attack on emotionally high strung people who are going to blow up as soon as their nerves are frazzled. That’s how I see it. A few months ago, I was just interning at a company, and not to be naming names, but the supervisor was a scary and strange person who sent out angry emails to everybody in the office. The scare tactics were, imho, shameful in trying to shame the person who screwed up. This addresses many things, but I’ll be going on a tangent if I do delve into this topic. The main thing is that, some people are not very good at keeping it inside and so others suffer from it. And when they start to feel like they’re being treated like shit, they’re gonna work less productively and want to leave.

I’m going to be honest and say, the reason I’m blogging a lot less is not only is my attention split, but I’m afraid to make a bad impression on my person. I don’t want to be viewed as highly emotional and unprofessional in demeanor — read: WEAK. In either my work life or my personal life.

This is what I imagine other people seeing me on the outside:

angreh_tduong_web

Yeah, you know what? I’m not really all that pissed off. And I’m really not a mean person either. When I smile at strangers, the meanest looking people smile back as warmly. Just putting that out there. There is a crease in the middle of my forehead that makes me worried because it seems to deepen, and make me look even more angry… And the more I worry, the more I am outwardly worrying….

But I suppose I shouldn’t shy away from expressing some part of myself, if it means helping with someone else who is as much of a worry wort as me. People make mistakes all the time and I make so many I’ve stopped worrying about them and I move on so much more easily now.

Which brings me to one of my most favorite slogans:

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What does this phrase mean? Hasn’t it always been that you aim first and then shoot? Well, I first came upon this phrase on Steve Pavlina’s blog, which at first opened up a lot of new doors for me for self-improvement and living life the way you want it to. However, as I began to grow up, I moved out of that self-improvement phase, and I’m now just living in the way that is Me. One goes through life absorbing information. But you can absorb all the information and still not get it. In any case, you should do something with that information you absorb right? This phrase is used for people who are not afraid of risks and crave ambition and success. It’s not for everyone. This phrase means taking a chance and risking a lot of things. It only makes sense if you’ve ever taken archery or gone to a shooting range, which I’ve done both. Lots of people aim and then shoot because they care about getting it right the first time. But this approach to me is very slow…. too slow. However, shooting first, you have almost 50/50 chance of hitting something, and probably an even smaller chance of hitting your target. Yet as you keep shooting, you learn from your mistake and you become better and faster, and more precise with each mistake. It gives faster results, but more consequences and experience. I’m not one who is afraid to make mistakes, until someone else’s mistake seems to catch up with me. That’s a risk. Always. Because of other people. When more parties are involved, it just gets complicated. So, taking risks should also mean being guarded and prepared for terrible outcomes and taking responsibility for the decisions you make and then from others.

This is almost the premise of thumbnailing and idea sketching. You barf up as much ideas as you can, and then you pick the best ones to flesh out.

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Some time ago, I went out with friends for a party and haven’t had the ability to post this up until now… This post is actually a draft that I wrote but never published in November 2013. Well, its not that I haven’t been out and about, I’ve gone down the O.C. to see family 3 weeks in a row, every Sunday until the beginning of November. So lots of family visits in September/October. My friend Samantha’s birthday was on friday, November 1st and decided to meet in a restaurant instead of a house party. Well, a lot of people came rather late and a lot of us were hungry, so I decided to sketch that…. And also, my friend Kathy drew a bunny and I drew a turtle next to her drawing for me. And Gir for Samantha. :)

In any case, blogging is therapy. If you want to know what I’m doing nowadays, I’m just trying to work on personal projects and would actually like to start drawing my comics. Which I keep saying, but since I’m pretty down, I think this year is going to change. I mean there’s gonna be a Black Moon Rising on January 30th! I say even if there was a comet coming our way, humans change for the better after going through something big, right?

On January 30th we will have a rare event. The moon will be the 2nd new moon in the same month and it also will be a super moon, (tides higher than normal), which is known as a black moon. This moon can be seen during the day only.

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Monday 27 January 2014 · 09:17

My Comprehensive List of Movies I Wish to See

I know I’ve been rather neglectful of my blog, but here is to re-energizing it by posting something that’s more of a hobby of mine: Watching movies.

I watch movies whenever I’m feeling happy, sad, angry; I am one of those people who can easily submerge myself into another place if the storytelling has been done correctly! I’ve seen quite a bit of movies all ready, but I try to squeeze in more when I get the chance or when my moods change sporadically. Yet I don’t watch them everyday…. I think movies are more for me than watching a drama series simply because it ends quickly. Dramas are wonderful too! But you must commit a good amount of time to them to finish the story. And sometimes, I feel like my life doesn’t have the time for that unless the series is well worth it. I’m also very likely to binge-watch something too… so dramas are sort of negative on me at the same time.

Movies are like good quick snacks, which I prefer to have.  I also think movies are great universal languages, there’s nothing more universal than cinematic language now!! But every country has its own cultural influences, which is why I love to switch between Asian movies and Western movies because there’s certain jokes you would never see in Western movies that would be in Eastern movies. Different tastes, but I appreciate them all!

This is really in no particular order.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Need to see more scifi things)
  2. Eternal Sunshine in the Spotless Mind (Need to see how awesome Kate Winslet is)
  3. Lost in Translation (May as well watch more mind-f*cking?)
  4. Enter the Dragon (Need to see more Bruce Lee awesomeness)
  5. Singin’ in the Rain (‘Cause I really like the song alone anyway)
  6. The Red Shoes (The dancer was raved for her very emotional performance)
  7. When Harry Met Sally (Because of the notorious fake orgasm scene by Meg Ryan)
  8. Casablanca (Trying to understand love and how other people see it)
  9. A Clockwork Orange (Mind-f*ck!)
  10. The Breakfast Club (I like watching people with differing personalities and psychologies)
  11. Citizen Kane
  12. Soylent Green (Because its post-apocalyptic.)
  13. Taxi Driver (Need to expand my horizons and classics)
  14. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino classic I’m missing out on)
  15. Memento
  16. Requiem for a Dream
  17. Revolutionary Road
  18. Gimme Shelter (For once, Vanessa Hudgens has caught my interest… )
  19. This is the End (Many people told me it was hilarious, plus, Emma Watson is in it. I’m sorry I missed out on it in 2013)
  20. Kill Your Darlings
  21. It’s a Wonderful Life (I should watch this next; I’m pretty sad as of this posting. Heartbreak is so painful to get over.)
  22. Hellraiser (I need to know what’s going on behind the mind Kentarou Miura and the inspiration to Berserk.)
  23. The Departed (Although, I’ve all ready seen the Hong Kong version! I did hear this one is also good too, despite being an adaptation.)
  24. Prometheus (Should probably finish the Alien series before I even get to this one?)
  25. The Grandmaster
  26. Battle: LA (Explosions and VFX, why not?)
  27. Aliens 2 and 3 (HR Giger….)

List of movies anticpated for 2014:

  1. X-Men – Days of Future Past
  2. Avengers 2
  3. Sin City 2
  4. The Monkey King (With Donnie Yen)
  5. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny

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Filed under Personal

42nd World Wide Sketchcrawl

Ultimately, I had a pretty great time! It was the first time I went into Olde Town Temecula. Main Street is incredible tight and busy. There is only one narrow street, a lot of street parking, and a ton of shops. It had a very old western feel to it. There was a lot of construction going on however. They are apparently building some town homes around the area.

I decided to finally whip out my Canson Watercolor booklet that I hadn’t used yet. It’s a 140lbs and it’s not a block, but there wasn’t too much warping. I also finally got around to using my water-filled brushes and watercolor pencils outside. But now, I realized that the pencils aren’t good for covering large areas quickly, so I may be looking for a mini, travel palette/tray to carry around in the future.
I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but I happened to stop by a crystal and meditation shop. I couldn’t help but purchase some stones. I would have loved to have found this place earlier I think. I would have bought some smudge sticks too, but I feel like nowadays, I don’t feel any negative energy around me, so there isn’t really a use for them anymore. In any case, I didn’t want to go shopping for too long, although there was a lot of gift shops and little knick knack stores all around including a few American places to eat. There was restaurant and lounge area that I came across with a man singing some classic songs from the 50s (I think) – He sounded like Frank Sinatra! I thought it would be interesting to sketch him. He kept saying to people outside, “Yes, I’m really singing!” Although, I must say, some people are pretty dense. There was an old man who kept standing in front of me even after I moved spots…. ._. I don’t get it.

I started off painting in watercolor, but for the 2 vertical images, I went with marker because it was much faster and easier.

I think one thing I found incredibly annoying were the cars revving up and down the street. It was so very loud and distracting… I think I’ll keep that in mind for the future. The noise was disorienting whilst I was happily sketching and painting. There’s a ton of bikers who come down here with their cohorts and such. Lots of families as too. I really wanted to get a scorpion lollipop, but maybe next time… :P
Eventually, I wasn’t prepared for the windy weather, it got too cold for me to continue drawing… so I’m a bit sorry the last sketch came out a little half-assed! But it would have been a great shot too if the sun hadn’t gone down so quickly also. I blame that on my friend who kept texting me… >_> Momentary distractions. I really can’t help my attention span sometimes. But overall, I’m glad I decided to go outside today, the weather was mostly awesome in the morning and afternoon time.

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Saturday 25 January 2014 · 20:00

Welcome to the 2014

Time does not seem to change all that much. Or at least sometimes, it really does not feel that way at all. My family is planning to move homes again. It is an ordeal that I thought would not happen again, and yet it is. We’ll have to pack up everything and load it up and take it out… Just thinking about it makes me feel exhausted. hahaha…

My body is a strange thing though. It’s been a torment to me the last year in 2013. I never felt like health would be such a big issue for me, but it suddenly has become so. Yesterday night, I suffered a horrible spell of the chills and shivered until my meds took over until 3AM, in which I was finally able to stop shivering and actually fall asleep. I had a heated blanket over me set on ‘high,’ and I also had some really nice wool socks on. My hands at first would not seem to get warm at all, they remained corpse cold. I did drank a couple cups of water, which may have been why my body had trouble warming up at first. Room temp was probably 50 degrees F… It got pretty cold last night or maybe it was because I had a fit of chills. Least to say I am pretty darn robust and healthy, except for my complicated health issues. I retired to bed early at 10pm because I knew I couldn’t focus on working. I had meant to work on my side projects last night as well as create new postings; I was planning on launching online venues using Squareup.com and Etsy to sell some of my talents and artwork… It is really hard to work when you’re in pain… It’s not excruciating, but it’s that ‘impending doom’ feeling you get when you know that if you let something fester, it’s just gonna get worse and worse. I’ve never learned how to care for myself this intensely before. My general health has now become a 24/7 maintenance, and I’m so tired of this constant battle. I’m really sleepy all the time, and I just want to have a normal sleep schedule again, which I haven’t for the past year. I wake up in the middle of the night or 2 hours too early in the morning for so many reasons, I just want to sleep through for 8 long and good hours. I love those days when I do…

With moving in the horizon, I would really like to dust off some paintings and actually get them into some fine homes so they don’t get cluttered or put away again. I did paint a couple on top of mason and gesso boards, so they are rather heavy to lift when gathered together. It makes moving hard. I try to keep most of my possessions easy to handle. I know I’m actually pretty physically weak, so when I pack, I have easy to carry boxes for all my art supplies and books to be carried. A side note, one of my friends broke his back during the fall last year, he must have been doing some intensive heavy lifting with computer equipment. Personally, found that extremely hilarious (secretly or not so secretly, I kinda hope he’s too busy to notice this blog post, which he is anyway!). I don’t really know why, I of course expressed my extreme displeasure to be the good friend that I am! People, however, really need to have some sort of prior training in lifting. Maybe they should teach that in PE class in public schools? I would recommend.  >_> Books though… Books are bitches to carry. And yet I need them in my life.

In all honesty, I’m sort of scared of this move. For many reasons, insecurity and hope that this is gonna be the last time. Insecure about employment prospects for all of us…. I’ve been wanting to leave Murrieta for a long time… in fact, since I stepped foot into this house, but now I am scared to leave it because I don’t want my parents to lose something they like? But none of us are all that happy actually… so it is a good thing to leave. The best choice would be to build a time machine and to shake my parents awake so they didn’t make this silly mistake at all. The best case scenario of course would be to leave home and fly off on my own, but because I am like so many other college graduate, 20-somethings stuck in an unpredictable economy, that it’s not likely to happen for a long while. The funny thing is, my parents think that when I get married, I’m going to move out. But what if I never get married? I’ll just have to strive to be like Jane Austen.

There’s nothing quite like moving though. I’m pretty sure that it affects a child psychologically. Nothing seems stable in my life. I feel like I will always be on the move. That my relationships are shallow. I don’t have friends I know from 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade. I sort of feel jealous of the people who do. It’s strange. So very strange… When I reach a 10 year anniversary with friends, I get really excited.

In the mean time, I’ve been indulging in my own art therapy to help me with own existential issues by doing a ton of art. Some of them look like Rorschach tests…. 2013 was a year in which many things happened, and because those things happened, I began to retreat into myself to cope.

Heaven Canon

This wasn’t posted on my facebook page, but this is the texture I used for “[Don't] Cover Your Eyes.”

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And I cope by turning on specific music and drawing the hell outta my feelings. How does one draw feelings? I dunno, I can’t really say… It just happens… D: I also found a way to integrate my personal expression with my technical expression better.

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Does anyone ever feel that saying “last year” even though it’s only been 2 weeks sounds weird? Just like saying good morning to someone at 1am in the morning makes you wonder if its better to say goodnight?

Despite everything, I think 2014 started off really well and that the good vibes will surely continue on.

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Pen and Ink – reviews

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Written with Pilot Parallel Pen

I think it has been quite a while since I have done any art supply reviews. The last time was the Palomino pencils, and that was quite interesting to do. I always learn new things too when I test out my supplies. I had been planning to do this review for a very long time, but never got around to do it. Well, I recently bought a new fountain pen, and decided now was a good time since I wanted to test it out with a new ink I just bought also.

What I love about fountain pens is that you can refill it up again and with good ink. It writes well, and most of the time, it does not dry out when you least expect it. It saves money in the long run, and leaves less of a carbon footprint. It is also becoming more and more affordable to collect. I wish I could buy a $100 fountain  pen, but I am scared to for many reasons – my main reason because I tend to lose things easily and that’s not cool when its $100. And the other thing is because I need to stop buying crap I don’t need.

INKS

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The only fountain pen inks that I have is actually Noodler’s Bulletproof Black Ink (the bottle with the fish on the left), which is supposed to be great for fountain pens because it does not clog like it would with black India Ink. On the plus side, Noodler’s is an American company and is made in the U.S.A, which of course, I try to support. I bought it in 2008, along with my very first fountain pen the Lamy Safari. They have a great selection of stationery, pens, ink, and other craft things. They did stop selling the Noodler’s ink, so if you are interested in it, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Jetpens now stock other types of ink as well, and in multi-color. I’ve had this 3 oz. bottle for about 5 years, and I’ve only gone through half the bottle. I write and draw with this ink on a mostly regular basis — I have a lot of personal diaries, this ink has seen me through at least 3 journals all ready, and of course, my sketchbooks, letters to friends, and my dear pen pal. I’ve never had to buy a cheap ball point pen ever again, which thankfully, isn’t long-lasting and archival. I think at the time, I wanted to experiment more with permanent sketching because I wanted to be more confident in my lines — so I ditched the pencil for awhile (but I came back). The “bulletproof” name is because the ink is supposed to be resistant to UV lights and chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, and cleaners, and supposedly waterproof once dried on cellulose paper (which is considered paper, paperboards, and cardstock). The Lamy fountain pen was also so that I would write more. I’ve now become a pen snob because I cannot write with a crappy pen; it would make me angry.

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Sunday 8 September 2013 · 10:00