it dawned on me that all of my favorite anime characters have the same traits in common. although they are the main heroes of the show, they sleep a lot, eat too much, and have their mouths wide open yelling obnoxious things to annoy all those around them. I admire them all. probably because they inspire me–I can relate to being lazy, hungry and loud… but I want to work on being a hero too.
I decided to make a tribute of my idols and wear my fan art to Seoul Fashion Week. I was coming out as a geek in the most fabulous way I knew how. cameras and watching eyes everywhere in the middle of fashion week… and hopefully some secret stylish nerds that might come out to me. I was a geek peacock, trying to attract like-minded and attractive people. I was so happy to be wearing my favorite things I was passionate about! loud and proud, just like my anime heroes. I am an otaku and it’s not a secret! I wear my heart and my art on my sleeve! it was also the most fun I’ve had drawing in a long time. permanent marker on soft leather was a feel-good match.
I found the jacket at a vintage market in Seoul called gwang-jwang. the market was full of booths crammed with musty cheap clothes and a surprising array of cute boys closing up shop. I spotted this long, white jacket hanging from a ceiling. the boy of the shop was speaking all the excitable english he knew how, and insisted I try it on. it fit like a glove and I knew immediately this was it. but I took my time prancing around in it so I could spend a little longer talking with the boys of the booth. I originally imagined a cropped jacket but I realized I needed to go large to fit my vision. it was overwhelming since I hadn’t drawn in months. 2 days before fashion week began, I finally put pen to leather, laying out across my friend’s heated floors till 5 am, skipping dance parties to create my masterpiece. I MADE THIS! ah~ I’m so happy~
starring Spike Spiegel, Usagi (aka Serena), Vash the Stampede, Ryo Saeba, Luffy and Goku. I drew hidden things all over the jacket like the awkward crow from city hunter under the collar and sailor moon eyes on the cuffs. several cute boys have wanted to wear and steal my jacket. most people don’t believe I drew it myself. 5 out of 6 Japanese people don’t know what Cowboy Bebop is, and that is a strange problem.
Every single day for the past couple of years, I have been really annoyed with myself for not drawing. I keep telling myself to make the time to get back into it, but I never know where to start. I began to draw again when I moved to Japan, being inspired by all the art I loved there. although, I kept only focusing on fan art. I was drawing characters created by other people in the forms of other artist’s styles. it was fun to do, but then I got on myself again for not not creating anything original or finding my own style.
I just get overwhelmed when it’s time to put pencil to paper. so many things to draw, so many styles in so many formats and mediums… and colors! I rarely finish a drawing all the way. I get attached to the sketch or stupidly worry if I put pen to it, I’ll ruin it. it’s dumb, I know. I tell myself to just DO IT but my brain goes in all different directions. I keep saving all this wonderful art I see on the internet for inspiration, but… I just stare and wish at it.
I even tried to just get in the habit of drawing even it was garbage. searching the internet for “meme challenges”, but none were too inspiring. they did all start with “DAY ONE: SELF PORTRAIT”. self ports are the only thing I am confident in. I can draw an overly ambitious and wishful thinking picture of myself any day. so I started one, but decided to try drawing myself in my favorite artist’s styles, just to get back into the swing of things.
When I was in Japan I bought a lot of art books. I drew this Mamiya Oki piece first, with an old hair cut of mine from last year (I don’t need 20 self ports of me with blonde hair and a hat at the moment, so I’m time travelling my self-ports here). I wore this korean men’s hooded sweater a lot to look like a jedi to match my padawan braid(s). I was super pumped it wasn’t too bad of a sketch. it would look better colored, and clearly there are some things out of proportion, but not bad after months/years of drawing next to nothing.
I am super pumped to work more on this sketch!! I have always been fascinated with Hirohiko Araki’s work, although I have never read JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga (on my to do list). The portrait I am doing of myself is from my 25th birthday dance performance outfit. I thought all the shiny jewels and chains would be an easy similar style to draw. I can’t wait to color it (although I am nervous!!).
The great thing about copying other’s work you admire is to really get into the details of the picture. I would look at grand scenes by artists and think “WOW that looks so good!” but when I sit and study it closely, I notice things that I personally would have thought looked weird to draw or not been satisfied with had I done it myself. It teaches me not to be so hard on myself and to look at drawings as a whole.
The best and ultimate advice I got and will always give about drawing is–”it is 99% observation” (and practice, but duh). I learned that when I was 9 in a drawing class at the boys and girls’ club. the teacher had us draw bugs bunny’s head. I drew it better than her (she observed a line coming out of the wrong place, and I corrected her with hawk-like observation… I must have sounded like a brat). I still have the drawing, it looks straight outta looney toons, not gonna lie. I was a talented kid. if I kept up with it, who knows where I would be now. but I didn’t. it’s just a hobby.
I just want to create things. keep my hands off the keyboard and mouse and physically make something to be excited or proud about. I hate wasting time on the all-consuming internet. I want to leave behind physical objects that came out of my mind and then existed because I created it. I get carpal tunnel if I’m on the computer too damn much.
life is too short, let’s make things!
My Amano style Zoro. I’m not sure how the colors look on the screen. This is probably my third watercolor painting in my life, and I have no idea how to use watercolor. I think I treated it too much like acrylic. it’s not as “amano” as I’d like, but it’s kind of hard to instantly be a professional painter like he is. I get too scared to put dark shadows on things and freak out when it’s too dark. but a shadow is dark. that’s what it is. I don’t know. I will have to continue to draw and paint and by time I finish this series maybe I will have a better grasp of watercolor.
HERE’S TO HOPIN’.
ps I decided that this painting takes place between the alabasta arc and before they reach skypedia, because that is when zoro is really tan and the clouds were dark and stormy. nobody I know will understand this, I am pushing my nerd glasses up my nerd nose on my nerd face as I make this note to myself. pretty proud of my clever references.
YEAH ONE PIECE!!!
All Devin and I have been watching is One Piece. I am obsessed. it is an epic Pirate anime. no doubt I will go into detail about it’s greatness one day on this blog, but for now the subject is the drawing of. I came up with this great plan in my mind to draw all the One Piece crew in Amano Yoshitaka style. He did the art for the Final Fantasy games (for my non-nerd friends). when I was 11 and played those games, I did not appreciate or understand his style. now I love it. I haven’t drawn in a long time and wanted to get back into it, so Devin and I went to this giant art store in Shinjuku today and I spent ¥5,564 (~$60!) on supplies. but considering what I got, I’m excited!
I decided I didn’t want to ink with black anymore. anything but black. so I got some really nice maroon, brown and light gray pens for inking! I got a gummy eraser that doesn’t leave dust, a sharpener, 3 color pencils (for Amano style touches with the pens) big water color paper and a nice brush set! I brought a watercolor kit with me from home.
On the left is the Amano picture from a Final Fantasy game I referenced, mixed with one of my favorite One Piece characters, Zoro (I luff him).
It turned out pretty much exactly how I wanted it to, which is rare since it’s been a million years since I have drawn anything. I am looking forward to painting it, I think it will turn out well! if I don’t screw it up that is! whew!
I made this drawing a few weeks ago for Yukari, a wonderful woman I met once by chance who did an incredible thing for me from across the US. although my watercolor is a bit lame (getting back into drawing, a bit rusty), it was the absolute LEAST thing I could send to her as a sign of my appreciation.
long story, long: I spend what nickles and dimes I have to get to LA to see every SM Entertainment star step foot in America to do a show for the first time together. This includes SUPER JUNIOR. at this point in my life–a year after I discovered who they even were–I would just stay up till 4 AM watching English subtitled clips of them, learning their names, their songs, anything I could figure out about them. Never in my right mind would I ever believe to see them in the flesh in my entire life.
So let’s skip to my dreams coming true, and seeing them in the flesh, on US soil, performing songs LIVE I had only experienced on shitty internet clips. I also got to share this experience with the only other person in the world who I know likes K-pop. it was a glorious reunion with a friend from the east coast who I had visited earlier this summer and we last minute were able to scrape enough money to meet together in LA to see SMTOWN LIVE 2010! this was the only stop in America they were making on their “world” tour.
we meet at the airport. we wander around aimlessly trying to get out of the airport. we find an airport van. we cram into one almost already full. we excitedly whisper back and forth about how unbelievable it is that we were about to see Korean Pop Stars as real human beings, alive, in the US. It is slowly revealed that more and more people in the van were there for the same reason! One of which was Yukari! A Japanese woman who flew in from New Hampshire on her own to witness this amazing event! Everyone in the van was from around the US, it was really effing cool… brought together over the love of KPOP!
We go our separate ways to our separate hotels before the concert that night. there were some fan meet ups we wandered in and out of in the afternoon, and we bumped into Yukari again! we exchanged facebook info to keep in touch over the love of Kpop.
Long story already long now into short: We keep in touch. I find Super Junior announces a huge mega show (known only as SUPER SHOW #3) happening in Japan in February. 2 days added. 3rd day added because it is madness. you have to pool your name to even get a chance to buy tickets. all this info is on a Japanese website, run by Japanese suju fanclub members….in Japanese. I ask Yukari if there is any chance I can figure this out and get a ticket since I will be in Japan at this time. After weeks of back and forth, it is revealed that YUKARI WON A CHANCE TO BUY ME A TICKET. I send her a check to pay her back and this photo of her favorite SUJU member, Donghae that I drew after thanking her a million jillion times on facebook. Her mother in Japan has been holding onto the ticket for me until I get there. it was the nicest, most elaborate, most intensely awesome thing anyone has done for me that I can even think of right now.
I met a stranger in a van in a city with a kpop concert by chance. months later, from across the country and corresponding with another country around the world, the forces that be…. I–a platinum blonde American girl–get to see the hugest Korean boy band in the best country ever: Japan.
Thank you, Yukari.
Dreams do come true.
That old comedy poster I did of Derek Sheen being crazy with birds in his beard has turned into his official icon. I cleaned it up and made it presentable. it is now a CD cover, wall poster, calendar magnet, postcard and t-shirt. I couldn’t be more proud. I’m glad he liked it, to say the least! hooray!