Sketchbook Pages #5 – Pokemon Go Edition

In recent weeks I’ve fallen victim to the unavoidable pull of Pokémon Go. I know, I know. Everyone’s playing, and it’s really creepy when random strangers point their phone cameras at you. But childhood dreams really do come true, and now I can now try my hand at catching these mystical creatures IRL. It would only be natural that somehow it would permeate my sketchbook. While AR makes the gameplay a little more realistic compared to the experience in a Gameboy Color or a 3DS, I still wonder what these creatures would look like if they were adapted to our world. Would they resemble certain already existing animals? I decided to mess around with two of the Pokémon already in my possession, and thought about the possibilities for their existence in our world. In the end, they look like illustrations for children’s books. Oh well.

A preliminary drawing of Growlithe

A part of Growlithe before I took him in for coloring.

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Sketchbook Pages #4

I’m not one to dwell too much in the past, but sometimes when I get stuck, I like to look through old sketchbooks. Lately I’ve been enjoying the horrors that are my old college sketchbooks, back when I was taking introductory art courses and painting. A lot of it was more visual exploration, whereas the pages from my sketchbooks from graphic design coursework had more notes and thumbnail sketches. All of them are a little embarrassing, with student angst-filled pages ranting about sleep-deprivation, and hopes of a better life post-college. Heh.

I’ve got a few less embarrassing throwbacks, and some current ideas I’m still fleshing out.

Another page from the sketchbook

WIP study; still a lot of fleshing out needs to be done here.

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An Alternative Approach to Creative Block

You know that feeling. You’re working on a project, and suddenly you hit what seems like a dead end in your thought process. You’re at a loss for words and you’ve wracked your brain for viable solutions, but nothing fits. Enter the dreaded creative block. It may answer to a different name, depending on your discipline,  but it’s frustrating all the same.

When we reach that point in our work, it may mean we need to pause and grab a snack, take a short nap, catch up on the news—anything to take a break from whittling away at the problem. Sometimes a momentary diversion from the grind can be beneficial. It becomes a problem for me when my short breaks turn into a means of procrastination. A tiny snack becomes a quest to read the nutrition facts on everything in the kitchen. “Doing a little research” leads to laughing at and sending coworkers dog or cat memes. In the end, the problem is still there. At some point you have to face it, right? Read More

When I traveled to the Emerald City

I skipped the ruby slippers and opted for some cushy red sneakers. How fitting, now that I realize it—this Dorothy wasn’t visiting the Emerald City to find a way back home, but to see how different it was from home. With its overcast skies, sporadic rains, and overall quiet, Seattle was a welcomed change of pace.

A view of the Seattle Great Wheel, which stands at 75 feet tall.

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Sketchbook Pages #3

I wish I had the capacity to carry around a 9” x 12” sketchbook with me at all times, but some days I don’t feel like carrying around a tote bag or backpack. I draw in my Leuchtturm1917 gridded notebook on days I’m not willing to carry around additional weight. A while back, I did away with carrying both a planner and an A5 notebook, and just combined both by using Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal system. You can read more about his system on his website.

An angled graphite sketch of a woman’s head from the sketchbook Read More

Strange Stories: Summer Reading List

A few of my books and some of J’s books. I still have to work on Compendium 3 of TWD before the next season starts.

A few of my books and some of J’s books that didn’t make it into my summer reading list. I still have to work on Compendium 3 of TWD before the next season starts.

Whenever I visit an unfamiliar city, I do my best to visit any bookstore to peruse the local recommendations. I love when shop employees leave hand-written reviews on the shelves for books they’ve enjoyed reading; it makes leaving empty-handed a little difficult, but I think it’s reached a point in which I can’t keep up with the growing amount of reading material. When I went to the iconic Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, it required will-power to leave without anything new. While a little heart-broken over the lack of any new literary acquisitions, I remembered there are at least twelve unfinished books (at least in recent memory) in my personal library. Read More

Our Attempts at Seeing the Entire Chicago Landscape

I’m encouraged by stories of reemergence because sometimes strength or purity can be born through burning. At the suggestion of J’s cousins, we took an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and heard stories about the tall glass, steel, and concrete buildings all along the river—products after the fire. It was unfortunate that some of the city burned because someone supposedly knocked over a lantern, but I wonder what Chicagoland would have looked like if it never encountered a fire. Rose and Rick’s house would still be there, on the other side of the river, but would Chicago still have petitioned to host the World’s Fair in 1893? Would the city still have its distinct surrounding neighborhoods? Would it still have the same colorful arts & culture, with the alleyway art shows and intimate blues clubs? I’m not sure, especially since I’ve only experienced a small portion. There’s still way too much to see. I’ll eventually crave that springtime chill and come back; it will only be a matter of time before I start to feel too comfortable in this balmy, gold-lit, SoCal.

Cloud Gate at Millenium Park

Cloud Gate

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An Attempt to Eat Our Way Through Chicago

Landscape view of the Chicago skyline

A rare peek at the sun earlier during the week.

Chicago welcomed us with overcast skies and a light drizzle, eventually building up to a torrential downpour by nightfall. We spent our week with J’s cousin Rose, and her husband, Rick, both of whom live on the second floor of a creaky and endearing split-level home in Bridgeport. They told us this house survived the Great Chicago Fire because the neighborhood was located on the other side of the river. The noticeable slant in the floor and the ancient squeaks from the weathered wood revealed the house’s maturity upon walking to the guest bedroom, something Rick humorously pointed out to us.

A living room with a plaid couch, rug, Christmas lights, and a dresser.

Rose & Rick’s illuminated home

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The Things I’ll Carry

I am a little ambivalent towards packing. While I pride myself in the ability to pack a week’s worth of outfits into a backpack, I am by no means a minimalist packer. It’s always the miscellaneous items, like the curling iron, book, or computer making my luggage-carrying experience teeter between tolerable and trip-ruining heaviness. I’ve learned there are some things you can do without, and that you can always post-process your photos at home. Little things like maintaining and sharing an items list with on Evernote maintain my sanity at the beginning and ending of a trip. Although I’m okay with trying to figure out how much mileage I can get from wearing the same shirt, There are a few things I can’t leave without, no matter how long or short the trip.

Organizer, in-flight reading, camera lens, denim jacket, scarf, lens cap, and a few pens.
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