Category Archives: Artists

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, 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…

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

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.


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:

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

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty Artbook

Artbook review time!

I don’t remember if I have ever made a post about the Starcraft 2 art book I had before, but now I am because I just beat the first expansion of the Starcraft 2 game series. Honestly, I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. I bought it because I found it on Ebay for a really good deal. And I always thought the artwork Blizzard produces has been some of my most inspirational and contemporary influences. I even have a very old Warcraft artbook from the first games, and you can see how much Blizzard has improved since.

There is a lot of irony in all this simply because back last November when I had gone to CTN Expo, I met a really cool artist there and he told me NOT to play games. Like, I’ve been told this countless of times, but actually, I didn’t listen. It’s not because I don’t value their opinions. I really didn’t plan to play. They told me that there are videos online that you could watch on youtube that has other people playing. However, sometimes, I get these urges that don’t go away till they are satisfied. I blame it on my genes because I think that my family may have addiction problems? And these are my addictions…? hahaha… I actually did stop playing a lot of games, and I only began to play again after graduating from college. I didn’t own any of the new game consoles, and I almost feel ridiculous saying this to a gamer as much as I hate telling bacon lovers or anyone that I hate bacon. (I know, I can hear the gasps from all around even through space.) Can’t really be called a gamer anymore if one stops playing??  There was one occasion a good friend of mine lent me his DS to play The World Ends With You, which is an all around fun and very interesting fun game to play! The mechanics on that is pretty neat not to mention good music. And I love good music!

But overall, I feel like I should start understanding games again, because I am too out-of-touch with the current games now. Like, what does a gamer actually look for when they play a game anyway? Maybe this is a bad thing that I think too much. I analyze too much. But actually, I would rather work for a company that thinks about its consumers a little more instead of creating stupid games that are just all design and no content. This is almost all too apparent. I appreciate good design, but I’d rather it have some quality in other areas too. But it also goes a lot to say, that at least companies know how to market and so they invest in good designers.

Also, a side note. I finally got a taste of Far Cry 3 and its really interesting..!

In essence, though, as I flipped through the book, I had a revelation, that although this book may have a lot of artwork — it is completely filled, front and back with art, this is probably only a quarter of the art they had to produce. Why? Well, as I played this game, there were so  many units to memorize, so many building constructions to remember to build (not to mention, you need to remember what comes out of those constructions), and there are upgrades for almost a lot of those units and constructs. Plenty of characters, we all know Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan, and new additions like Tychus — who is helping me develop a southern accent, Arcturus, etc. Concept art for those guys!

The comments inside the book did say that the main focus of this first expansion was the Terrans. So there was more Terran art than there was Protoss or Zerg. I have yet to play the second expansion of this game, but I can only imagine the main focus of the next two games are going to be about each of the other two races. I’m guessing, but I need to play the next ones, ey?

My appreciation comes from the fact that since I now know these units better, such as what their role in the game is, the artwork makes more sense to me. The book itself has very little captions for all the pieces in here, in fact, it only gets wordy at the very beginning with the ‘foreword’ and introduction. Concept art is not about pretty art like regular fine art. Concept art is a solution to a question. What is this thing’s purpose? How does it function, and how does it serve the story? One should always ask this when one decides to create concept art. It’s just not all about the pretty little gadgets that you think makes it look cool. It’s aesthetic and its good design at the same time.

Anyway, here’s some pretty photos from the book to look at.



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This is just a very brief intro for Diego Velazquez. I summarized a lot of his life, and if you wanted to learn more about the paintings, then you should take an Art History class!

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo roˈðriɣeθ de ˈsilba i βeˈlaθkeθ]; baptised June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656). – Wikipedia


Bookcover: Infanta Maria Teresa, 1651/52

The 16th Century had quite a few prevalent and famous master artists at the time. One of which was Peter Paul Rubens, who was famous all throughout Europe, this was a time when the Netherlands was flourishing as a primarily a merchant country. On the other hand is Diego Velazquez, was not nearly as famous as outside of his country like Rubens was. He was much more calm in his paintings and painted more about realism and a straightforward style.

"Mars" c. 1639-1641 Oil on Canvas

“Mars” c. 1639-1641
Oil on Canvas

Edouard Monet called him the “painter of painters,” meaning he appealed to the eye more than to the literary mind.

The Impressionists elevated him to an “artistic pantheon” and the pioneer of modernity.

Old Woman Frying Eggs, 1618

Old Woman Frying Eggs, 1618

He was born in Seville to lesser noble parents. He began studying at 12, but left his first teacher probably due to his hot-temper and began studying with Francisco Pacheco. Pacheco wasn’t particularly good at painting, but he was very well-versed in art theory and had many connections. Which does go to show that networking was also an important thing to do even as it is now — that is, other than skill! Skill and sociability gets you far in this world.

Spain was also greatly influenced by the art of Caravaggio, who painted plenty of Christian themed, and salvation scenes; he allowed the lower class, with their course hands and ragged clothing to be a part of those scenes (he used the people around him as models for his paintings). He painted wrinkles and signs of age on the saints, which created much outrage from his Christian/Church patrons who commissioned these pieces.

In a sense, Velazquez started off painting the lower class as his subject matter. Another of his more famous paintings on this is The Waterseller, which I didn’t scan in, but its easy to find on the web. Much mastery is shown in this particular painting from the details of the old man and the glass chalice he is holding.

When he was appointed court painter in 1623 in Madrid, his main duty was to paint portraits of Philip IV, which he of course did awesomely

Philip IV in Armour, 1628

Philip IV in Armour, 1628

The Surrender of Breda (Las Lanzas) 1634-35

Another quite famous painting is The Surrender of Breda, which helped to depicted the negotiation of the end of the Thirty Years War. Apparently, it was considered an “honorable surender” for Justinus of Nassou and his soldiers (dude on the left, who’s caption should be like, ‘oh, I’m so embarassed for being such a loser, here’s the key to my house and treasures’), and a settlement was conducted between them, that was supposedly generous during the time. This picture is more like propaganda, bringing to light just how generous Spain is! He also included a self-portrait of himself on the very far right of the painting.

Surrender of Breda closeup

Surrender of Breda closeup

If you look closely, you can actually see some of the transparency of his paint, and his stroke-work.

He later painted the Pope Innocent X in 1650. At first the Pope did not like it, because it looked too real, but it later grew on him.


Pope Innocent X, 1650


The Dwarf Francisco Lezcano, 1643-1645

Apparently, the court jesters/buffoons (in Spanish: truhanes) are very high-salaried. Velazquez, who first entered as a court painter, was classified with the royal servants. The dwarfs who acted as living toys for the young prince and princesses were classified with ‘normal stature.’


Quieen Mariana, 1652/53

Queen Mariana, closeup

Queen Mariana, closeup


Juan de Pareja, 1649-50

I specifically remember this picture because in high school, I’d read a book called Juan de Pareja about a young, black painter who wanted to aspire to be like his master. We go through his life from pre-slavery, and is later bought by Velazquez, who treats him as an equal. In the ending, Pareja goes through some anxiety because he paints an African-American skinned-toned Madonna depiction, but Velazquez praises his painting and says its okay to interpret Christian themes however way you want. It was an interesting book. There were many times where it put me to sleep though.


Coronation of the Virgin, 1645

An altarpiece painting for the queen for her oratory in Alcazar, Madrid.

Las Meninas (The Royal Family) is one of Velazquez’s greatest masterpieces. The painting was created in 1656-1657 and depicts the entire court family, with the Infanta Margarita and her servants at the foreground, the court marshall is the man on the stairs. At this point, Velazquez is pretty well established as a part of the Royal family, being honorable portraying himself in the same painting. You can spot the pictures of the king and queen in a small frame by the door. Some historians wonder what is on the other side of the canvas that Velazquez paints…. It’s almost like we are looking through a mirror, which is interesting because almost everyone is looking back at the viewer and makes the painting quite engaging. Impressionists say that the picture is only a moment in time, a scene from ordinary palace-life.

Las Meninas

Las Meninas

Apparently, Velazquez had only one wife, one friend — King Philip IV, and one studio, the palace. He had a secret passageway that he and his assistants used that connected him from his home to the inside of the palace. That is pretty cool.

velazquez_12_web velazquez_14_web

Velazquez is later knighted and admitted into the Order of Santiago, the red cross emblem was not added to the painting until 1659. He dies in court in 1660. Unfortunately, the royal palace in Madrid is destroyed by fire and much of his works are badly damaged or destroyed in 1734… :\

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26 March 2013 – notes/updates

Will be away from my Twitter and Facebook accounts for about 23 days or so.

And to keep myself in check, I’ve been using this app since finding a way to max out the maximum hours (to show how committed I am to not logging onto these sites on my computer!):

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 12.10.10 AM

SelfControl Timer Countdown

Don’t you just love how the logo is a skeleton head with crossed bones? I’ve realized how apt this is. Because SelfControl cannot be overridden once the user accepts and enters the password. I’ve had to say, “No! Bad, Tannie!” complete with a hand-slapping gesture to keep myself from automatically pressing my “f” key. I didn’t realize how automatic that was until I started this a week ago, I just kept doing it on ‘auto’ as soon as I open up my laptop. I hope doing this will fix that habit. I’m what you would call a “phantom” on facebook. Or a lurker, cuz, most of the time, I’m not really posting too many things about myself despite controlling all my settings and lists. I tend to go to my newsfeed a lot and “like” other people’s stuff or end up reading some random article or supporting a cause (i.e. the Rhythm and Hue’s Oscar fiasco! Bad, Hollywood! Stop that. Just stop, okay? Play fair. Gosh.)

It helps that I watched a Ted Talk video by Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts! Because it made so much sense why I like my solitude so much. It’s true, when I’m working, I prefer to get lost in my own head, and I have to take a lot of nature walks. It’s good to collaborate too, but there are certain stages where alone-time is very important. I wouldn’t feel bad about being introverted! If it’s who you are. Just find the balance between introversion and extroversion. Some people are good at switching between the two. It’s a skill for either of the two types of people actually. Extroverts don’t know how to do certain mind exercises or to go into their mind, and introverts have to always practice being social. But the whole point is, no more time wasting on Social Media addictions!

But I will still be updating this blog when I finish my post on Diego Velasquez. That’s going to be sometime in the next week.

WonderCon 2013 is just around the corner this weekend. If you see a Gaz from Invader Zim or possibly Death from Sandman on either Saturday or Sunday, that’d be me. Here’s hoping its not gonna rain like last year, ‘cuz WTF SoCal? You’re supposed to be sunny most of the time. I miss my ATMG buddies… :< Good times during WonderCon 2012. They’re off making big names for themselves now at EA or making their own studios. Maybe I will see that girl I met from last year again, she never called. I’m just kidding, I don’t even remember her name. I thought I made a new friend, but maybe its a good thing because she practically talked my ear off. Still, that was what made her charming. Who knows if they rehire the same booth babes.
In any case, a notable guest is Jim Lee:

Another is Jason Palmer! Beautiful artwork for various big name studios. 😀

Look/Google them up! I particularly, am loving the Star Wars piece he did of Queen Amidala/Padme on Jason Palmer’s Gallery/Website.

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Top Favorite Artist #2: J.C. Leyendecker

Happy New Year’s Eve! I think I’ve been the most productive this week. It’s probably because I haven’t played any games in the last few days. I find this a major accomplishment. 😀

But here is to the new year. I hope its better than the last.

Here is another of my favorite artists: Joseph Christian Leyendecker


He is known for the Arrow Collar Man advertising illustrations, the Saturday Evening Post, and various other book and advertising illustrations. He was one of the best of his time and very well paid. However, because he often spent whatever he made — living in a mansion and buying luxury material things during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ — that after his death, all his original artworks were auctioned… which I find quite unfortunate.  I’d actually love to get some of his prints if they are still available, I do have a particular one in mind that I really like.*


The New Year’s Baby was made famous by him, featured on the covers of Saturday Evening Post.






Although Leyendecker was best known for depicting men better than his woman. Though his woman are good, they are much more ‘blocky’ and less fluid/graceful than other illustrators’ works. They’ve almost got no shape or curve. However, his men are always very well done; they are very upright, natural, striking, and regal, which was why his Arrow Head Collar was made so famous during his time!


Though it is speculated that Leyendecker was gay, never married and has always lived with another man during his lifetime, whose name was Charles Beach. I think it makes perfect sense to me in the way that I’m always fascinated with woman, and how I’m always happy to draw them. Maybe he feels comfortable, and appreciates the male form — much like the Greek artists who favored men over woman models, i.e. Raphael.


*Personally, the above painting has always been one of my favorites because its well composed and it speaks to me! Totally want a large print of this in my home or work area~


Personally, I’ve always wanted to copy his style, it looks almost like pastel, but not at the same time — in a way that the figures have this smooth elastic kind of skin texture. One of his obvious techniques to break up or add a kind of texture. The direction of some of his brushstrokes are obvious. They go across some of his paint strokes, going in the direction of the form. He also practices a lot, often repainting and figuring out the design by doing many sketch paintings.

041906   jclstudiesleyendecker3

The art direction for Team Fortress 2 was inspired by Leyendecker’s art style. You can see in the way that they are “painted” is very similar to his techniques. Cool beans, huh?



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Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade isn’t actually one of my favorite artists ever, but I feel like he would be relevant to review because he paints so many wintery, Christmas-themed stuff! And its so close to the 25th. I’m sure most homes have all their decor up.

So apparently, he’s a contemporary artist of our time but he paints very “romantic” themed images. Actually, he just recently passed away in April of this year, he died a natural death. Well, that’s a doozy! Because he’s going to miss the end of the world on the 21st this month. D:

For the Romantics, Berlin says, “in the realm of ethics, politics, aesthetics it was the authenticity and sincerity of the pursuit of inner goals that mattered; this applied equally to individuals and groups — states, nations, movements. – Wikipedia

One reason that he might be one of the most successful American painting artists is because his works has a very appealing theme that most people like and can understand. My dad has one of his paintings, and as a child, I remember the setting itself seemed so magical. I really wished that I could actually live inside the painting.

It is unfortunate though, that his reputation as a person in general precedes him. He’s reputed to have strange outbursts when drunk… (HAHAHA… much in common with Kinkade?!) I think most artists are weird themselves, its just that when anyone gets aggro and easily provoked that this gives a bad impression. :\ Best not to start fights.

winter snow houses christmas artwork thomas kinkade 3000x1860 wallpaper_www.wall321.com_26


Thomas Kinkade Wallpaper 9

Thomas Kinkade Painting 233

Wall Paper by Thomas Kinkade


all-aboard-for-christmas 198859

Wall Paper by Thomas Kinkade

He has his own online gallery which can be found here at

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Wednesday 19 December 2012 · 14:23

Top Favorite Artists: John Singer Sargent

I feel that for some reason, I’m always forgetting who my favorite artists are. Especially, the classic/master artists, so I’m just gonna start posting them… Just haven’t really produced any art lately though, sort of happens when you get in a sort of funk and life gets in the way and a ton of other silly things to worry about that I wish didn’t even have to think about.

John Singer Sargent

is an American artist but has actually spent more time in Europe in his entire life. He’d studied art in Paris, and was a prolific portrait painter of his time. However, he practiced a lot of landscape and other subject matters as well as his portraits and worked en plein air, which literally means “in the open air.” It is a French phrase that means painting outdoors.

One of the great things that I love about his style is that it is very loose and yet, very realistic. He has an almost “tight” but “loose” kind of style, that most art students envy. I mean, other than saying he’s just fantastic and I wish I could paint like him, it is worth it in my opinion to study almost his works since he has such good control over his technique. He is a master of both oil paint and watercolor, which I think is pretty amazing simply because these two mediums are complete opposites of each other. I think this style is very similar to Velasquez who also paints with loose brush strokes. It is because the works are actually quite large, however, if one were to zoom into the picture, one can see the individual brushstrokes.




The Daughters of Edward Darley Bolt




Carnation Lily Lily Rose


Karer See, watercolor


Spanish Dancer

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