Category Archives: In general

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:

Image

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.

Image

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

Pencil review

When was the last time I did a product review? Ages ago, that’s what. I was honestly going to review pens and inks, but I left my inks at my parents last month because I couldn’t take everything with me to San Fran.

But a year ago, one of my instructors gave out these orange pencils, and they were so good to draw with. They rocked. The pencils are from a brand called Palomino. And it wasn’t until I bought my very first set that I realized they were made in Japan. Figures that’s why.

Dude. The plastic box it comes in is like sooooo nice. I’ve never praised plastic before, but this is a very pretty plastic box. When I opened the flap, it didn’t bend at all. And the art on the cover is cute.

So I’ve almost always used Staedtler, and they are pretty much one of the best brands out there. Faber Castell was next on my list. And if I wanted to be cheap, I’d just go for the store brand pencils, or General’s.

Staedtler pencil case

Staedtler pencils

I have had these since high school actually. My sister gave this case to me for one of my birthdays. If anyone remembers the episode in Sailor Moon when these two cartoonists/artist friends bought each other some really nice pencils in a case, I’m always reminded of it. I guess that’s why I haven’t used them all. I always use other Staedtler’s that I’ve received from others. Up until now, one of my favorite brands.

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

General's (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

General’s (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

Utrecht 5B & 6B

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

It is really too bad I don’t have every single pencil degree, but I have most at least…

What I have found out: Well, the Palomino pencils are the softest out of all the pencils. The lead was smoother and laid down more easily. As the degree went up, the less I had to press to achieve a dark color. It did, break more easily though, but I’m sure the ratio of graphite and clay is much more different. Staedtler was the second best in terms of smoothness. General’s was almost always a shade lighter than the rest until you got to the 4B’s, and so was Faber Castell; for those two, I always had to press harder to get the color darker. That somewhat surprised me a bit, but they are the cheaper brand… Except for the woodless Pitt graphite pencils by Faber Castell. Those tend to be great for heavy areas that need to be colored in… But General’s and Faber Castell was almost always the easiest to erase with my Sakura electric eraser, yet it took 2 or more strokes sometimes to remove Palomino or Staedtler (but that’s probably a good thing right? more easy to smudge though).

The Cretacolor Monolith woodless pencils versus Pitt was practically the same. The ingredients could be different though. You never know.

I tested a lot with the HB and 6Bs.

I did use these:

I assume this to be an HB but I am actually not sure….

And of course a standard no. 2 pencil.

So I’m gonna be treating my Palomino’s with love and care, but they’ll be well used. I hope the local Utrecht and more art stores stock them because the only place you can get them at is pencils.com, they are a pretty cool website, but I want to look at the Palomino Colors or Aquas, which are color pencils, but Aquas is probably water soluble pencils. There are also writer’s pencils on there called Blackwing with replaceable eraser ends. They sell other products too. Man, I want to get that wood craft set; it looks awesome. I would like to build a mini toy town!

I hope people enjoy this review. I found it rather informative (while doing the tests) about the quality of some of the pencils I’ve bought. I guess it’s kind of like testing out paint.

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Filed under Art, illustration, In general, Reviews

Call me an Idealist

So, I am back in San Francisco, and away from SoCal. The 2 months home actually feel far away now. I almost wanted to stay down there because I felt comfortable. But I am comfortable now also. This feels like home also. Probably more so since it feels like this is my main home. There were difficulties I couldn’t voice out. The mundane, however, drove me nuts. It was hard not to be restless but bored. Even at my parents, I felt like a guest. Perhaps it isn’t my real home anymore. I have a feeling I will not being staying here too long either, but wherever my things are, that’s where I am most comfortable. But truly, as you get older, you’ll want to settle down somewhere permanent. I really want my own place…. :3

Before I left, I took pictures of my parent’s neighborhood. I run around it so many times that I know it like the back of my hand. So there were some changes. But they’ve mostly stopped constructing new homes. There are some areas where the workers block it off so that people don’t climb over and mess around… As suburban as it may seem, it still has wild areas. I’d love to explore it when I can (this entails good hiking shoes…). It’s a very good neighborhood. Parents are out with strollers all the time, and pets are walked often. You also see critters like squirrels and rabbits running into the bushes all the time. Although some people are really inconsiderate; they don’t pick up their pet’s droppings… Well, it’s less bad than Treasure Island…

 

Speaking of insanity, I will be starting the workout for this very soon. As soon as I get all the needed stuff I ordered. Though, I need to make some more trips to the store to buy groceries. It really sucks not to drive. I actually don’t want to order online because I never know what I need, and then I see the prices they have online and it’s terrible. Food is so expensive… But my main diet is salad lately. And there isn’t a thing wrong with it since I feel like I have a ton of energy and I can go on and on. Like the Energizer bunny! I can sleep for 7 hours and not be grouchy that I don’t get 8. Anyway, I’ve been collecting images for awhile now that I think are really great organization ideas for an office/studio room. And I made something out of sketch up. Actually, I imagine the room itself would be smaller, I need to adjust that somehow. So this is some of my references. I’m pretty happy with my vision board. 🙂 Windows are very important to me, as one can see…

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Content even in this season?! Why that’s unheard of!

What a hectic week, but not without results! Today, everything I looked at was so beautiful, and felt beautiful. The sky seemed brighter and the clouds were like cotton, and the wind was refreshing. Perhaps this is a change of the tides again, and I hope it stays for a long time. In any case, I’ve been prepping for the real world. College is like a snuggie, you’re wrapped in it’s coccoon, unawares of the challenges ahead, but you’ve got to pee — of course, you need to take it off right?! I’m just kidding, I don’t have a snuggie, but I imagine it’s the same as a blanket.

These are of my room on November 12th. It’s a lot less cluttered today, but I can’t keep the storm from leaving, at least not until finals are over. Oh, boy. I keep the kitchen area much more cleaner for the most part. I’m seriously annoyed with all this mess, but there is simply no time anymore. Boo…

And here are some Perspective hw. My finals that I will be working on for the duration of the semester, mostly anyway. Now I have to do even more… SIGH. But I’m getting better at painting with photoshop. Yay! The story is basically about a boy and his P.E.T., which is like a stuffed toy that plays and takes care of you. It is something that I would like to write, but it was a part of a graveyard pile of incomplete stories and ideas. I really hope to get a start. But I need to finish that Little Mermaid script first!! Come winter break, I’m going to be so productive.

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I’m not quite dead…

…and yet, I am quite prone to accidents. Recently, I went up to San Francisco to look for an apartment or a room to live in for the next 1 and a half years of art school I have left. Well, on the third night, I almost caught a cold, I managed to wake up on Sunday night at midnight. Terrible headache, aching muscles, wishing I was shot all ready, and finally fell a sleep 3 hours later. Woke up feeling fine because my body had sweated. Anyone ever notice that? That after sweating in the night, your body feels so much better when you’re coming down with a sickness. My subletter should probably wash her bedsheets. And I realized that, no, I did not pay $20/night, for some reason I imagined that… I think from all the ads on craigslist ore meshing together in my mind. Been walking everywhere since the 13th, looked at a bunch of open houses and 1 bedroom studios. They are so tiny and it was miserable because the prices all ranged from $1100-1500… And the most expensive ones, and fancy apartment complexes in SOMA were like $1600-1800. :\

Monday, I went to Treasure Island and I decided this would be a good place to live, if only they were still leasing the townhomes, but there is a new plan for demolishing and rebuilding it with newer attractions for the island.  It’ll be a long while though… Unless they evicted everyone. Went around and saw rooms, mostly weird and creepy people. But there was a fairly okay place there I looked at on Sunday, with all girls, but they were messy, but that probably means they’re busy people, right? Originally was going to room with my other roommate from last semester, but she can’t anymore because our school has a ghetto system. I went home to the apartment to throw out the trash and call my parents, went into the lobby and I skipped a step on one of the stairs. I lost footing and landed on my right ankle. I am actually really grateful there were people in the lobby. One guy took my trash for me, and another helped me to the elevator. And the rest of them seemed unsure of what to do with an unjured person, but hey, I’ve seen worse reactions where I was ignored when I fell down. I’m glad I got help. It was really painful to get ready and clean up and all that, but I woke up the following day on Tuesday morning, and dragged my luggage, very slowly (actually as quickly as I could manage, my ankle was probably bleeding a lot from the inside…) went to the charter bus location only to find that you must make an appointment for it. I was on the verge of tears, and called my brother to come get me. And I’m ashamed to admit I started to question God, but things worked out, and I’m back in SoCal. I got a lot of help along the way, so I gotta admit that I wasn’t really alone.

Well, I’d like to post a couple of my swfs from this summer’s summer school class, but currently, I’d like to know what’s wrong with the html, it just doesn’t show up when I put them into the cheaper webhosts… boo.. And I do get lazy about posting things nowadays, since I have 3 places I post up to, and would need additional exposure.. Eventually, I’m going to buy a domain name and hosting package so I can link a professional portfolio instead of using deviantart and finally buy my own set of business cards. Yay.

I’m going to try and post things up here. It’s probably a good idea to not post so much in so many places… Well, probably going to have to opt out of some… Although, I’ve got a new profile on behance, and it’s probably more beneficial to join art groups.

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Happy Thanksgiving~

Who knows when the next time I sign on, so happy thanksgiving to my anonymous watchers. And some not.

Okay. WELL! It’s week 12. OMIGAWD. That’s three more weeks… D: Semester ends December 19. Crazy. I’ve been ripping out my hair this entire semester, but a little reticent about moving on because I will be going back up to San Francisco after this. :O *gasp* Yeah. I’m looking forward to my astronomy class I signed up for. 😀 And it will be at night. I hope my pepper spray hasn’t expired yet. Hahaha…

So I’m moving on to acrylic painting, using it like watercolor. It’s actually harder for me because I screw up a lot. Acrylic is more permanent. :\ Hmm. I was going to take a picture of my own cockatiel, but this photo was nicer so, I’d more or less capture him because he doesn’t let people come near. It’s sad, and I’ve tried to reach out before, but it’s annoying that he keeps hissing at me. He’s funny as heck though.

Also finished the destroying New York comic page. I don’t feel like I’ve improved much with my clothed figure drawing because all my efforts go into my two other studio classes. Hmm… Kinda feel bad about that.

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Going into week 6 of Fall 2009

Been getting kind of lazy with updating this…. :\ Oops. Well, I am a major procrastinator, so I am constantly working to keep up. And also, if I stopped working for two days, it makes the work pile up more. So it sucks right now having 3 studio classes. On the other hand, I’m gdtting better at sketching people in public. I try not to attract attention so they don’t think I’m staring at them so intently — that is really hard. It makes me feel awkward and just don’t want a repeat of the same the thing 3 weeks ago.

Well, in this installment, been practicing with painting portraits with watercolor. I chose Natalie Portman to practice on. I finished the Ben and Jerry tshirt promo design last last week. The cherry is probably the prettiest part… haha.. And drawing people at the Temecula Promenade Mall. And a two page comic to practice inking. The comic was suppose to be from week 2, but I didn’t get a good grade on it because it wasn’t finished enough and I made the ending anticlimatic by showing the scarecrow too soon. Well, I fixed it before I inked in the words. Writing was never my forte. But using the ames lettering guide for the first time was interesting! I liked it. It was given to me, but I thought it was for making circles. Haha… well, now, I know why there were so many holes.

New Berserk chapter makes me curious about upcoming fight. I read Kentaro Miura’s interviews and it got me thinking about my own work schedule. He takes forever to release a new chapter and it’s been 10 years, but he’s got about 33-34 volumes out. Apparently, inking takes him a long time. I can believe that, I think pens are cool, but the amount of time for all that detail he does, yup, it’s going to take forever.. haha. But I think that if I am at a decent working place and I’ve got my own graphic novel going, I was born to be a comic artist.. haha I can really imagine myself committing to a story I’ve made. I don’t want to think of it as work anymore, because work, no matter what you do, that word takes the fun out of a hobby. So it is my career, yes, but I’m going to put that thought aside and pretend that’s something enjoyable and fun. Instead of tedious, harsh, and unthankful. (Well, maybe not the last one.)

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Watercolour facets and Fighting Gladiators

Week three works. Sigh… I’m tired of the constant work… so very tired. It must be why I have a headache. My ice cream design color roughs need to be redone because its dull, but I got a good grade… it just needs more work… Blargh… 24 Hour Comics Day seems out of reach now. Now I know how Cinderella feels about completing all her chores. If it weren’t for a jury duty call, I wouldn’t be thinking too much about all the work. Stupid… -__-

As for the comic page, I didn’t know what my teacher meant by “Ningia” in the assignment: “A Motley Band of Gladiators Fighting the Vatican’s Secret ‘Ningia’ Army!” Someone comment and thought it might have been the Swiss Army that is the Vatican’s official army and goes back a long while. They’re garb is a little outdated, it’s way too colorful…

But everyone got a different genre, I’m glad I didn’t get the armed cheerleaders one…

Well, I’ve decided to do a magazine. I wonder how it would go? I’m really wanting it to succeed, in the sense that I and a group of people collaborated and did one. I’m not promising though, that it is going to great, just that we made a magazine together. I think some people miss the point sometimes when I ask to do group collaborations and give me excuses as if they cannot do a thing in the world when that’s entirely not true. The only reason starwardblocraft.com is dying right now is because of a lack of direction and leadership. But I’m not the peoples in charge and it’s not like I can say much to convince them. I think that everyone does have some time. I have time… I just waste it on playing games like Typing Mania, which I’ll have to say is improving my DVORAK typing abilities. That’s a productive and useful skill to have anyways, so I don’t think it’s a bad investment this time around… haha… I’m hoping to find more artists for the collab since I have found 4 writers and then myself that is 5. I am thinking, the more the merrier, for such a project. I feel quite passionate about it, I feel like I have to get it done, and I want to take people with me. I realized that I won that $5k scholarship 2 years ago because I had put in the commitment and effort. It also wasn’t coincidence that exactly 8 of us wrote the same ideas as each other because there were hundreds of people who applied to it. I’ve always been very lucky and thanking God for all of the things I’ve been given even if the first years of my life didn’t exactly have good experiences, but they were things I learned from none-the-less. Apparently, Oprah has had worse problems having been raped and miscarried, but she’s now living a luxury life. I always feel so otherworldly while everyone else is standing on the other side of a plane,  I suppose it’s time for me to cross that border.

In the coming week, I’d like to do these:

  1. Finish painting my canvas bag
  2. start learning Indesign
  3. Finish scripting LM
  4. attempt 24 hr comic day, but only if I have allowance time for it.
  5. write a short story
  6. start learning dreamweaver
  7. read

And also, my memoir draft sux….

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Skateboarder, clothed figure drawing poses, and revealing character practice

If I had known that wordpress how the gallery button worked on workdpress, I would have done this sooner instead of manually putting them in… sigh… Anyway, this week’s works. The skateboard images were due last night, unfortunately, I got a 503 error in my browser while trying to log in because too much traffic going in? That sucked… I would have made it… 11:35pm, I had 25 minutes to upload, such ample time too. So sad. I try not to make excuses when I turn in late things because of opportunities and chances. I suppose this answers one of my old questions about letting opportunity pass. But still, I think that some opportunities are facades that are truly out of reach. The supposed “missed opportunities” are more like lessons we learn about how to get the next opportunity that comes along. There will always be something to counter an excuse anyway, such as mine, what is the counter? “You had ample time, an entire week to do it. Spend time wisely.” Etc. I can’t say much about that because that’s mostly my inner voice chiding me about how I like to waste time by reading online comics and playing time-waste games like bejeweled. Even thinking about it makes me want to play….

Well, this week, I’m a little more ready to face my assignments. I’ve a real fear of failure so when I feel like the teacher could be mean and bot-like, it makes me not want to come to class and avoid it altogether…. Which I feel like is my illustration class, perhaps the teacher needs some warming up to. :\

So, it turns out that the website admins noted all the teachers that there was problems with logging in at 11:15pm to 12:15, so we got an extension of time. Whee! So there wasn’t much to worry about. I wasn’t worried, but I was resolved to my fate….

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Filed under Art, illustration, In general, Painting, sketches, thumbnails

To mmorpg or not to mmorpg…

I’ve been having this lapse in judgment lately as to whether I should pick up an mmorpg game or something. It’s not that I’m bored, but I have this urge to play a game. I don’t want to get into WoW, it seems like that’s what most people are doing. It’s probably the very top picked mmo, this is opinion, but also because I’ve been looking at a variety of mmos to play, and this one seems to always show up at the top of the list. I’m not surprised because Blizzard is probably a multi-million dollar company now. $15 x 8 million (plus) players, that’s a lot of revenue per month. The next choices are perhaps Eve or Final Fantasy XI, some others that I cannot remember… Guild Wars is cheap since you only pay once with no monthly fees. I am thinking about paying the $20 bucks, but of course there are expansions to consider…. Maplestory is old news and too much grinding. All the other free mmos seem cheap and graphics are second rate… hahaha… Yeah, I don’t know what I would choose. Although the Shin Megami Tensei has a free mmorpg but even if I wanted to play any of these games, I’d have to install windows xp or vista in and dual boot. Agh… I’m feeling lazy about that. And another neg point to Macs.

And I also realize I’m just neglecting my blog for a little bit. My sister just got married this weekend. Whoo~ I had to dress up all pretty and wear dresses. Getting in touch with my more feminine side… since I have neglected it for so long.

I’ve also spent about $400 in art supplies this semester. The list gets longer, and the expenses more costly. I should not have to buy anything anymore! Unless I run out… I have so much extra stuff like paints, pigment liners, pens and nibs, inks, notebooks, pencils, canvas, paper pads, newsprint, and the list goes on. I hope I can take a majority of this up to SF because it would suck to have to pay for it twice. I also really don’t like the shoppers at Art Supply Warehouse in Orange County. Like, they’re so disrespectful and retarded. I never meet or see them, but they leave their carbon footprint behind. (Figuratively speaking). I just bought a bristol vellum 11×17 comics pad that was suppose to have 24 pages but some fucker ripped out a page and one of the corners was torn. So basically, I didn’t check the quality and they couldn’t do a return because (I was too truthful and) it was no longer sellable. #$%! I should have lied and got my money back…. I didn’t even need it. But I have been honest for so long in my life that it feels crappy to lie. I can’t help it, even though I got the short end of the stick. And other examples include opened containers and used looking containers. Like, wtf, you SOB, think about the next person who’s gonna buy it or maybe even the store.

But I can’t say that I haven’t ever returned a borrowed item in worse condition. The hardest to keep new is a new book being tossed around in a backpack. You’d have to put it in a saran wrap or something to keep the scratches on the surface. There was a girl who I lent one of my books to, and it came back to me really worn… Most of my books are in “like new” or almost new condition, but this one was just so crappy. I stopped letting people borrow my things…. This brings me back to memories in elementary, middle school, and high school where I lent some girls my markers, crayons, color pencils, anything to color with. It went kind of like this:

innerdemon

Nowadays, I just let people use my cheap stuff like the tempera paint and those watercolors in a box thing. I do get annoyed when my dad randomly takes my good staedtler pencils and uses them to write with…. Problems like this, only artists can understand each other… Sigh.

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