Entries in the way life is (54)

Sunday
Feb062011

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!

Sunday
Jan162011

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!!

 

Friday
Dec102010

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 LOOK AT THIS:

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!

Tuesday
Nov092010

Life without pixels

Hello internet-friends!  Today I'm blogging from the friendly kiosks at Kids II because I am *gasp* WITHOUT A COMPUTER AKA MY LIFEBLOOD.  Two days ago, I came home after being pulled over by the cops for a broken tag-light (I don't even want to go into this right now) and was futher assaulted with aggravation when I opened my trusty MacBookPro to...a completely black screen! 

Woe?  BUT NOT SO!!

I've managed to do loads of things during this 5-7 days as promised by the MacStore employees break from technology!

01 - I read a book!

I'm about three months weeks behind reading this, but it was totally worth the wait! (SORRY, BOOKCLUB; I'M SLOW)  I used to read for fun all the time as a kid, but I don't do a lot of leisure-reading except for four thousand fashion blogs anymore.  Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is a super quick and fun read.  I'm a sucker for a good slice-of-life story; it totally reads like you're on that show The Real World, only with cool people and you're not caught up in any of the drama!

02 - I'm cooking yummy things!

When I moved into the house that I live in now, my landlord grimaced when he had to show me the kitchen, which is about the size of your average bathtub and contains exactly 1 drawer and 1 overhead cabinet.  I told him it was perfect. 

I'm not really good at cooking, but what I DO know how to make, I make LARGE QUANTITIES of it, so I only cook once or twice a week and just live on leftovers and ice cream.  My old roommate Jennifer loved cooking, and used to cook all the time, so it worked out for us (mostly for me), and she has since parted ways and passed on the recipe to me, and I've managed not to totally eff it up.

However, on my own time, I have discovered the magic of SPAGHETTI SQUASH.

 

I cannot even explain how wonderful spaghetti squash is.  I think it may possibly have prevented World War Three; it is really that delicious. And everybody knows that cheese is fantastic, so WHY NOT PUT THEM TOGETHER!?

Both these dishes are made in LARGE QUANTITIES which will probably last me like a month, or one week, if I'm lucky.

03 - I'm counting on you, Netflix!

 

So because I'm friends with a lot of nerds fans, and aI have Netflix, I've gone through 1 1/2 seasons of Dr Who, and I can definitely see why it's so addicting!  It reminds me a little of my love that will never die, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.  Charismatic and intelligent main character with a dark past (although I have some problems with this whole regeneration business, but whatevs, suspension of disbelief FTW), fantastic and brave sidekick, horrific CGI, and some good ol' Robin Hood-esque missions.  Only, Xena was the stuff of legends, and Dr Who is in outer space.  SAME THING.  I believe all the seasons with the exception of the most recent are on instant watch so it looks like I'll be busy for awhile, and simultaneously

04 - Cuddling the doggie!

So, now that I'm gone for 10-12 hours a day, the dog has been none to pleased, especially after getting used to having me around all the time.  And when I'm home, I am lookinga t the computer instead of her.  She's probably pissing her pants (and the carpet, buhhhhhhhh) with excitement that the evil computer machine is in the repair shop and she has me all to herself.  Because she is an adopted dog, we are unsure of her birthday, but the vet estimates that she's about ten years old and that she was born around November.  SO THE ENTIRE MONTH, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PUPPY. <3  If snuggling the dog on the couch were an actual job I could get paid to do, I would be a billionaire by now.

05 - I'm working on artwork!

In addition to the Sketchbook project I've been working on my pieces for the Joy show at the Kai Lin Art Gallery coming up in December.  My pieces are similar in execution to the ones in the Monsters show, but the subject matter is more personal and they include brighter colors (happy happy!) and are on a much smaller scale.  I'm finishing sketches this week, and will hopefully acquire a circular saw at some point to cut my wood board.  I'm really excited to show you guys more process when I get to it.

Well, this is my life without a computer!  You know, it really is a breath of fresh air to step away from the screen!

Thank god for internet phone.

 

Wednesday
Nov032010

Halloween, Pooh, Pin-ups, and Sketchbooks!

It's been awhile, friends!  Halloween weekend proved to be marvelous as usual--my two costumes this year were "Retired Storm" (you know, she's been off the force for awhile so she's gained a few pounds, not as in shape, instead of conjuring a storm, her powers are a small tasering affect, etc) and my Russell from Up costume I wore to Dragon*Con this past Labor Day Weekend!  I love the Russell costume so much, probably because it's my most colorful costume and I can re-live my childhood as an 8 year old boy!  (Thank you Dante for the photo!)  Saturday was spent at no less than three Halloween parties, all of which were fantastic, and Sunday was spend sleeping all day to recover.  I've been getting up early to work in-house over at Kids II the past few weeks and it is definitely a period of adjustment!  As most of you know, my prime working hours are very late at night.  I prefer working at night because I feel like it's much quieter and I've had time to decompress and focus!

But, they've been keeping me incredibly busy over at Kids II and I've been up to my ears in Winnie the Pooh and Princesses and characters and patterns.  I'm learning a lot as I go, and I'm fortunate that everyone over there is incredibly sweet and patient.  It's like a never-ending learning process, which is the kind of environment that I love.  Kids II is huge; I think almost 200 employees, someone told me! Which of course means that there is a birthday just about every day!  This is apparently the reason why there is some kind of cake, cooky, or ice cream available every day, haha!  I don't know how everybody that works there stays diabetes-free!

I can't share much that I am working on, but here is some character work that I did one day over there, for some baby gear:

After some feedback, we decided to go with some creatures that were more main characters and some that would be used for accents and decorative elements, so there are definitely two styles of creatures that they wanted, but still were part of the same visual story.

The next day:

(Also, the color looks super-weird in comparison with the first set, so I promise I didn't lose my mind, the colors are of the same family as the first set of characters, I think this jpeg got kind of messed up en route.)

So, this was submitted for review and will hopefully be of some use--I was pushed into different projects, so I'm not sure how the characters will be used, but I hope I was at least a little useful.  I love doing character development and adorable things, so HELLO THIS WAS FUN. Other than character development, I've been making a boatload of patterns and graphics as well as some spec work and color matching, so a little of everything.  My plate is full, which is how I like it!

To overflow the plate, I'm involved with some other freelance projects, the big one being a stationery project with the lovely Robot, Monster & Ghost Co.  I'm not sure what I can say about that one yet, other than it involves drawing pin-up girls, of which I've drawn a lot of.

This is a hot mess of sketches after the first day of drawing.  The more excited I am about a project, the messier my workspace tends to get.  I love RMGco, and Evil Overlord Kevin seems happy with our beginnings of this project, which is all I can ask for!  Expect more news of this project in the coming weeks.  I'm excited to show you all what we have in store!

I've also signed up for The Sketchbook Project:

Sarah of Bennyville fame introduced me to the idea and I have a few friends who are participating as well, so I figured, why not? It sounds like fun and I look forward to filling up all the pages!  The theme I picked was "Things that changed other things," because I believe that 2010 was a year of changes, from my environment to my careers, to the people that I have learned to lean on, and the dynamic of my family.  I've never kept a journal or a consistent sketchbook before, and I think it will be interesting to reflect a little on my personal life with this moleskin.  It's $25 to participate, and I encourage everybody, if you can afford it, it seems like a lot of fun!  The deadline to submit your participation to get a sketchbook is November 15th--the deadline was extended, so please hurry if you want to participate!

I have so much more to blog about, but it'll have to wait until next time--it's 3am and I have to get up for work in 4 hours!  Wahh!!  Next blog post should be up really soon!  I hope everybody had a safe and happy Halloween weekend!  Until next time!