Entries in around the world in a lifetime (30)


You're doing it wrong

This week, we're going to talk about a little thing called rejection. 

There was a turning point at Portfolio Center where I desperately wanted to take a class that this particular instructor advised that I take.  It was a design course, so I would be fighting with other design students who wanted in on the class--they got first dibs.  Needless to say, I wasn't allowed in the class.  At this point, I had a choice of either picking a different class and sucking it up that I didn't get the one I wanted or...picking a different class, and then (with the instructor's permission) going to the class I DID want instead, bring my own chair, sit in a corner, and basically push my way into it.

Well, it worked.

I did some of my best student work in that class, and leveled up my design skills pretty heartily. The school environment is the safest you're ever going to get--it's why we're constantly challenged to push ourselves and take risks, because that's the PRIME TIME to be doing it.  Out in the real world, things wouldn't be so easy.

To be honest, I have been incredibly lucky in my career, and have basically worked my ass off to a point where I was rarely told "no" or "do this over" or "this is totally off the mark." I got my first job at a marketing agency while I was still finishing up school, and I was their only illustrator--I sort of called the shots.  In a way, I was...the entire art department!

Fast forward a few years and now I work with a team of 3 ridiculously talented artists, who is a part of a ridiculously talented team, who is headed up by multiple art directors, creative directors, whatever directors, CEOs, SVPs--the totem pole seems endless here.  And with these many talented people and the amount of work that we churn out and the amount of opinions flying across the table, I get a healthy dose of rejection.

Let's look at some work of mine that's been...not-so-favored.

"Too Crunchy Hippie"


"Not sophisticated enough."


They wanted a "hand-drawn" feel...even though this entire design is hand-drawn. >.<


When I receive critique about something that I've done, I always think about this time when I was in Acting class in high school, and someone started to question the choices I made as an actor.  I started to speak, but my acting teacher quickly shot me down and said, "Don't be defensive! Just say 'okay.'  Take what they say into account--it's up to you whether or not you ultimately take their advice."

This really struck me, and it's how I've handled recieving critique or changes.  Sometimes, I feel like some people give critique in order to get a rise out of me, and I always always just say "okay," and take some notes, and think about what I need to do next.  There's no point to being defensive!  Thinking about the end product always helps.  These aren't life or death stances--I'm making little girls' t-shirts!  Albeit, busting my ass to make these little girls feel awesome in their cute t-shirts, but there is absolutely no point in getting crazy upset over t-shirts.

So, that is how I handle rejection!  At least I got to make potato prints and do some leaf stamping!!

Also, something like this helps too:

Some tiny little prototypes of some shirts I designed that are going into production! They look great, and they were my favorite package to work on!  Seeing all the work in tangible format really sets the mind at ease sometimes!

In other news, I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at Animazement in Raleigh, NC on Memorial Day weekend!!  Many of my friends cannot attend this year, unfortunately, but I'm determined to have a great time and hopefully provide a lot of happy homes to my art!!  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing some in progress prints I'm making the for con season.  I'm only doing three this year, so I'm not going all out like I usually do, but I miss making art for people who are not toddler girls. :)

Some recent food adventures include:

Roasted Corn with Butter and Parmesan Cheese (and arteries clogged)


Our favorite hotspot in Chinatown, with every animal ever present.


This weekend is my BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, where I'm sure I'll provide some...entertaining...pictures here, as well as more WIPs from my con season prints as I mentioned!!  I'm also scampering to do a quick 15 page ashcan comic!! Will I finish on time??  Nobody knows!!  (But everybody will find out by Memorial Day Weekend, haha!)





Hello, from New York! Good-bye, Atlanta! 

Holy cow, it's been awhile friends!

Since I last piped up here, I have been living in my uncle's basement (oh boy) in Long Island (oh boy x 2), started work at Oshkosh B'gosh, signed a lease on an apartment in Brooklyn, and reunited with my incredible friends and network here in New York.  It has been nothing but an absolute blast, a total adventure since I've been back here.  As cheesy as it sounds, it's a little magical in feeling--I smile a lot more everyday.

Oshkosh has been keeping me pretty busy!  Here are a few photos of interest:

This!  This is where I sit behind this giant monitor where no one can see me and vice versa.  

This is Lucas the dog, who occasionally comes to work and delights me with the little click-clicking of his nails on the floor as I tear my hear out over graphics.  Also tearing my heart out because I have been away from Joon for more than five weeks, oh god, I can't even think about that, moving on.

A real "screenshot," ahahha.  Just doing some Valentine's Day graphics.

Other than that, it's been great to reunite with old friends! My dear friend David has taken me back to THE BEST PLACE IN CHINATOWN.  BEHOLD:


I also was finally able to see my friend Jacob's band, Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! play in the lower east side for their CD release show, and it was a fun and amazing night.  Their album is fantastic and catchy and has some meat to it and they have some samples and video on their website if you'd like to check them out.

There's been so much to do and see, and it seems to never slow down--just the way I like it!

I'll be honest--I miss Atlanta with all my heart!  It was the first place I really, really felt I could call a home for myself, and I will miss my friends and neighbors there something fierce.  It couldn't have felt like home without all of you cheering me on and being so incredibly supportive.  I'll be back the 26th to the 30th to tie up loose ends / sell everything I own / move the heck out, so if any of you are in town, please, please get in touch with me--I want to see all your beautiful faces!! I love you, my Atlanta darlings!!



Movin' on up, for real.

So, some things have changed since last we spoke!
I've finalized my move to New York!  Sort of.

There were some complications with my family (and still are), but I'm happy to say that I'm in New York and starting work here tomorrow!  Right now, to save some money to pay off all my student loans oh god oh god ten years better fly by quick, I've shacked up with my uncle and his family on Long Island for the time being, and my little pit bull Joon is staying with my parents in North Carolina.  THIS FACT BRINGS ME GREAT SORROW, but I'm trying not to think too hard about it.  In fact, the past week leading up to finalizing my move here has been such a whirlwind of things to do and preparations to make that I really hadn't had time to figure out how I feel about anything.  Some friends and I got together the night before I left, and when I walked back home and went to bed the night before it was time to leave, I realized how much I really loved Atlanta, and how it was the first place that really felt like home to me.

So, thanks, Atlanta!  It was an amazing, difficult, and incredible three years.  But, it looks like it's time for a new adventure.  New York, I hope you're good to me!

Sorry for the quick update, but like I said, things have been happening too fast for me to keep up, and I'll have a better update soon.  Thanks everybody for your overwhelming support the past few weeks!


And so the new year begins!!

Happy 2011, friends!  Last year proved to be a tumultuous year for me, and I have no doubt in my mind that 2011 will throw me some curveballs as well.  In light of the New Year, I thought of some goals that I’d really like to achieve this upcoming year!  Because it’s already the middle of January (GOOD LORD) I’ve already gotten a head start on some of my goals, and I’ll share some pictures with you, too!

1) Make art for me.  The past month or so I’ve completed some paintings for a show at Kai Lin Art, done some paintings for myself and family, and participated in the Sketchbook Project, all things that have given me opportunity to really do something for myself, and not for a client.  To be honest, I enjoy working for clients, because I feel like I can really adapt my style to what they have in mind; however, because of this, I don’t think I spend enough time working on my own personal style.  2011 will be the year for this!!

Here are some photos of pages of my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. My theme was “Things that Changed Other Things.”  All the pages are a fairly loose version of how I feel about the person I was 10 years ago and the person I am now.

2) Be kind to myself.  I was sick for the last THREE weeks of December! I’ve never been so sick before, and I had to miss out on doing fun Christmas things with my family and friends.  I even ate Christmas dinner in a different room from the rest of my family!  Not good!  Ever since I can remember, I’ve not taken very good care of my body--I never go to sleep before 1AM, I’ve gotten stress-induced ulcers since I was 19, and I’m addicted to caffeine and bacon.  My body must totes hate me!  Since July I’ve been on a WiiFit and Farmer’s Market plan of good health and I’ve managed to lose about 24 lbs, yeahhh!!  However, since I caught the plague in December, I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon, and I need to get back on again!  The past two weeks I’ve been working out again have been painful, but I know that my body’s just getting used to it after a three week holiday!

When I do the WiiFit at home, there is a window right at eye level that I’ve taped a curtain to (long story, I tried to install a curtain rod, didn’t work, oh god--maybe one of my goals should be home improvement, lolz) so that my neighbors can’t see me exercising in my house all by myself.  I get so paranoid, ahaha!!!  I found this gem when I was watching The Guild--it’s an online web series about a guild of online roleplayers, written and directed (and starring) the lovely Felicia Day (who I adoooooored in Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog!).  You can fast foward to 0:41 for the goods!




THIS IS WHY I AM PARANOID.  I LOOK LIKE THIS.  AND PROBABLY EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS. >.<  But, that little curtain allows me to sweat in the privacy of my own home, and I am so grateful for it, aha!

3) Have some cooking adventures.  I’ve never been a very good cook, in spite of my desperate love for delicious food, but I’m starting to be more confident in my cooking abilities!  I’ve cooked some really successful meals for myself and my friends in the past few weeks!  As a favor to my friends Cymon and Blake who always have me over for food, I decided to cook for them all the foods I know how to make, which basically means four dishes, aha!

From Top to Bottom: 1) pork and vegetable dumplings; 2) carmelized honey chicken on garlic spinach greens; 3) cold sesame noodles

All the food I know how to cook is usually Asian food--one of my first apartments I lived in was with a Chinese roommate and a Laotian roommate, who cooked pretty consistently.  I learned a lot from them, and a Japanese teacher I had in high school.  My family is as American as they come, and trust me--if I were only allowed to have pizza and spaghetti for the rest of my life, I would be a-ok.  But!  To flex my cooking muscles, I went all out, used every dish and pan and pot I own, and hopefully made a meal for my friends that was a little different than what they were used to.   I hope I can continue to make at least one new meal a week, even if it’s just a different kind of sandwich!  

4) Travel to places unknown.  I travel fairly often, but this year I really want to go to some places I’ve never been, meet some online friends that I’ve never met before, and go to some comic conventions!  In September I got the Delta AMEX card, and judging by my credit card bill, I’ll be able to really use some miles!  I already have a trip to Minneapolis to meet some long-time internet pals and a table at SPX in Maryland lined up for this year.


 Has anyone been to SPX before?? It’ll be my first time!  I have two ashcan comics and one self published that’ll be available for purchase, and I’m hoping to have another one done by the time September rolls around.  I hear that prints don’t really sell there, but I’ll bring some along to see how they sell.

5) Figure out how to dress myself.  If you follow me online, you probably know that I’m totally and completely enamoured and fascinated with fashion.  I think that there is a definite relationship between fashion and design and illustration, and the coinciding trends amaze me!  However, I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to dress myself!  There aren’t as many available options for someone my size, and things that look good on the hangar that are my size, sometimes look incredibly different when worn!  It may seem silly to a lot of you, but the reason I dye my hair so often is because it’s such an easy change to make to my appearance; clothes were always something of a struggle for me.  However, in the past year or so I’ve collected some clothing that I hope will make some semblance of a wardrobe, and I can figure out how to wear clothes and outfits that I love!


6) Spend as much time as possible with good friends.  It’s easy sometimes to come home after a 1.5 hr commute (LORD) and just want to collapse in some pajamas and call it a day.  2010 gave me some time to think about my friendships and forgiveness and letting go.  I’m starting fresh in 2011 and only spending time with people who I love and support 100%, and who treat me similarly.  And so far, it’s been amazing!  I used to think I was introverted, but I really think that my truly amazing friends are what keep the smile on my face and the love in my life, as cheesy as that sounds!  I also look forward to keeping in touch with friends who are all over the map!  Here are some pictures over the past year of some fun times with twew fwends!


Emily came to visit in January, and we went to her favorite Southern eatery, The Waffle House, lol!! 

My very first time at Six Flags!  We were so excited to go on the Superman ride!

...and then we discovered it was a crotch-crusher!!  Oh noes!!!

Infamous birthday party picture of us taking shots at the bar, and apparently I didn't wait for anyone. >.<

Jonathan and Erin's wedding in Pennsylvania was the coolest!! This was our favorite picture of us!

The Monsters Show at Kai Lin Art was my first gallery show! It was amazing to be surrounded by great friends!

At Otakon in Baltimore!  This was on Sunday, and all of us look so tired!  Why don't we ever remember to take pictures except when we're packing up on Sunday??

Dragon*Con was so much fun this year, mostly because it was many of my friends' first time there, and I didn't have an artist booth, so I could just relax, drink, and have a great time!!!

The Lady Gaga concert with Alejandra and my hairdresser, Darrell!! One of the best nights of our lives!!  She spoke to us, and it was captured on video!

My second gallery show! My mother flew down from North Carolina to be there (she's the hot lady in the middle)! An amazing way to end the year.

7) Work with others as much as possible.  One of the best parts about freelancing is the opportunity to work with people all over the world.  I hope to reach out more to other states, and even other countries in the next year--every experience is so unique and gives me an opportunity like no other!  Currently, I'm doing some illustrations for Paper Doll Pinups, a burlesque stationery company that's just getting started out of Chicago by Robot, Monster & Ghost Co.  Here's some of the sample lineart I've done so far--updates to follow!


8) Stay positive!  2010 was not the best year in the world, by far.  But, staying as optimistic and positive as possible really helped me at least get in the right frame of mind to tackle what was tough, or hard, or necessary.  Let's kee this trend up for 2011!


I also promise to keep up blogging, now that the plague is gone from my life (KNOCK ON WOOD, DEAR GOD).  More coming soon!!



Back to New York, happy days are here again!

As the title of this post indicates, I spent the past five days in New York, and it was so fantastic, it was hard for me to leave.  So hard that there may have been a few tears on the airplane.  I had a blast seeing old friends, had some epic reunions (one with a friend I haven't seen in almost six years!), and even conducted some minor business in-between!  I've never had such a difficult time leaving--I really do miss New York, and I've doubled my efforts to return to the first city that ever felt like my home.

Especially because I LOVE CHRISTMAS.  Everybody I know is whining and complaining about commercialism and buying things and blahblahblah STEP ASIDE, GRINCHES AND SCROOGES, I LOVE ME SOME BRIGHT LIGHTS AND THE SMELL OF PINE.


I MEAN, WHAT DOESN'T A SHINY TREE AND A SHINY GOLD MAN DO BUT MAKE YOU SMILE!?  Man, I turned the corner and got all wibbly.  I know that most New Yorkers are so over the tree and call it touristy or whatever, but I DON'T CARE.  I LIKE THE TREE.  I LIKE THE TREE.  A LOT.  My mom has conditioned me over time to always have ALL ENCOMPASSING LOVE FOR CHRISTMAS, and it almost broke my heart that she can't come see the tree (various reasons) and I had to send her a picture, which undoubtedly made her cry.  Christmas in New York has always felt a little special, even when I lived here.  It's hard to explain, as you can see.

The window displays at Saks were also pretty amazing this year, with these crazy steampunkesque animals and water and I WILL STOP EXPLAINING AND JUST SHOW YOU PRETTY:


As if it wasn't obvious--this was my absolute favorite.  I mean, come on.  It looks like Lady Gaga and an octopus.  It's like they asked me to design a window.  THIS WOULD BE WHAT I CAME UP WITH.  Minus the creepy child in the insufficient snorkeling mask.

Speaking of the Googaloo, I spotted this dress a few windows down and thought, "Lady Gaga did wear that, to the Rainforest Benefit with Sting and Elton John."  LO AND BEHOLD.  My knowledge of that woman is horrifyingly wonderfully vast in its reach.


Time for some sweet paper art!  The details up close were really amazing.  People were just passing by this like it was nothing.  In my mind, I'm screaming, "HELLO, SOMEONE MADE THIS."

There were more display windows, but these were my faves.  So, last bit of Christmas: I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT.  There, that's the end of it. 

Anyway, another highlight of the days I spent in New York is my lovely afternoon with Sarah of bennyville!  She invited me to try out Katz's Delicatessan, famous in When Harry Met Sally and also their sandwiches which have a whole pound of meat in them.  A DREAM COME TRUE.  But not for vegetarians.  So, vegetarians, beware--the next few photos will probably not entice you in the slightest.


To answer your pending question--totally worth it, every delicious bite.  And we even took some home, because in Sarah's magic never-ending bag was also tupperware containers. <3

We got lost together in Chinatown (if you are to get lost, it's totally worth it when you're with a friend), and had bubbletea, and talked about me eventually moving back.  It's all starting to fall into place!  I can't say anything quite yet, but I have some prospects in the future that make my future in New York more and more possible as I keep going further with illustration and design.  I hope you'll all stick with me, too, and keep me in your thoughts as I take the next few leaps ahead!  I got nothing but support and love these past few days in New York, and it's giving me the determination to keep moving forward.  Thanks everyone, and I'll have more news soon, hopefully before the holidays!