Hailing from abroad

Sorry for the lack of updates lately–I’m actually in China now, on vacation with my family (namely my grandparents from my Mother’s side), and I’ll be here until August 8th.  I forgot to prepare in advance for China’s firewall–I’ve finally gotten through now via VPN, but am unsure if it’ll hold up.  In any case, I’ll try to post as often as I can, since I’ve got a ton of photos coming in from everything that I’ve been doing and seeing!

I’ll try to get to those real soon, but for now, just slipping in an update that I’m still doing well!  My “second home” here in China is in WenZhou City, ZheJiang province, and I’ve had a week or so now to settle in and recuperate from the jetlag, but tomorrow I’m headed off for GuangXi.  So, I’ll see you around!



She finds him in a creek behind the parking lot on a rainy Monday morning, and she thinks to herself: This wouldn’t be a bad place for a story to begin. (more…)

~ by iamthemorning

Guys, do me a favor.
Close your eyes and listen to this.

Third Time’s the Charm

At least, I sure do hope that it will be!

I just re-drew a scene from my animation for the third time. HOPEFULLY this one works best?
Storyboarding is hard, man.

Attempt 1 (yeah it’s bad):

Attempt 2 (dynamic, but awkward):

Attempt 3:

And yet there’s still so much more to learn in animating. This “first” animation project of mine is evolving into its second form even as I work to finish it…

Solitary Animal

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m doomed to live a solitary life or something. It’s not even mood-related, though I definitely swing through arcs of enjoying spending time with people and being irritated with them. It’s just, I’m coming to realize how difficult it is for me to really get along with other human beings.

I’ve always been the shy, nervous kid you (hopefully) never noticed. Now, as a college student, I don’t go out to social events both because I wouldn’t feel comfortable at them, and also just because I don’t see the point to do so. Socializing is nice sometimes, sure, but always being around other people just seems to stress me out. Whenever there’s someone–anyone–else around, I feel like I should be obligated to say something, if only to put something between us, to fight the awkward silence. But I never know what to say and most times I do open my mouth my attempts always fall short, and it’s just a constant struggle to keep a conversation going with me. There are a few close friends (and my brother) around whom I don’t feel like I constantly need to keep a stream of conversation going, but for the most part… I just, don’t know how to act/respond around people. My mind goes frantic trying to come up with a response to a simple comment, and I end up making approving noises or something silly like that and feeling dumb–On the other side, whenever I do open up to someone I usually make a fool of myself, babbling on and on or ranting about something and later just feeling like an idiot about it all. (Particularly, of course, if I’m around someone I admire/like, and want to impress them or something.)

But really, I just… hate the pressure associated with having to deal with people in real life, in real time. (more…)

Of Endings and Summer Thunderstorms

Well. Wow.

Just walked back in from the roof, where I stood (and, for a while, sat) out under the rain and watched the lightning. Did I ever mention before how much I love summer thunderstorms? Well, I fucking adore them. Every time lightning cracked across the sky I felt my heart jump–I started to laugh, and sometimes almost even to cry.

Overall it’s just been an awesome day, alright? Fried eggs for breakfast and free ice cream for lunch, an afternoon of Life Drawing outside in the sculpture garden (with watercolors even-!), and now this. (Oh, and finding some super friggin’ awesome fanart of my AD boys by one of my favorite artists, blacku, on their blog ♥)

It’s my last day of class, too, so maybe that was some of it. I was just–standing out on the roof (our apartment is 16 floors tall, so it’s a fair height too) and staring out over the city lights, breathing in the storm and laughing it out. Goddammit, I can’t… I can’t explain how happy it makes me feel. Just, to see something so wild and alive, something so uncontrollable, to stand there and feel the rain on my face… it makes me feel so alive.

I looked out there tonight and I thought to myself: I want to live, and experience everything. I want to experience the world. I can’t stand to live in a little office hunched over a desk, I don’t want to lose myself to number crunching and pacing little wooden rooms. I want to live out there, in the world.

And tonight I stood out there, and I felt like I could do anything, go anywhere. (more…)

Animating, animating…

So, I ended up dropping Script Frenzy this year. First time I’ve done this since I started using sites like NaNoWriMo to help me write, and in recent years in helping me get my novel done! Actually, it was only last year with my first attempt at Script Frenzy that I found my groove in how I wanted to write my novel (I mostly benefit from being able to do the charater name + dialogue setup as opposed to having to come up with dialogue tags all the time, which was really dragging down my writing) and hacked out the current draft of my novel! It’s in need of a ton of revision, but actually, I’ve just been sitting down and plotting things out, and I’m actually rather near the ending! Well, at least, I figure I’ve got to be over one half done, maybe even two-thirds. I started out this April irritated at it, and the scenes just dragged on. But I’ve picked up a bit of inspiration now, which is good even though I’ve decided to set it aside this month so I can get my Animation Final done, since MICA classes end May 4th for me (and my final is due May 3rd). And, in all honesty, it’s a lot less stressful, having one less thing to worry about. Script Frenzy was taking up 1-2 hours a night, and I just couldn’t afford to do it anymore. I still churned out 60 out of 100 pages this month anyway, so I’m fairly satisfied with it!

About my animation, now…
I am. So. Freaking excited about this. (more…)

The grass is always greener on the other side…

So. I want to be an art student. (And then I also think I don’t.)

But I guess what made me realize this was yesterday during Intro to 2D Animation, when my friend Paulene took me to her dorm. They just had a simple dorm: big courtyard in the center, small rooms, but gosh—just stepping in there and seeing the kitchen on one side and an easel taking up the living room space, a tarp spread on the floor to keep the paint from getting everywhere… it just hit me, man. I just—really wanted to be there. Living there, like that. Anywhere but where I am, really, and that’s no new feeling, but just, to see such a freakin’ different style of living, and to WANT it so bad it almost physically hurt…

The kids at MICA are so much more diverse and interesting than the students I know at Hopkins. All the JHU kids look like they’re cut from one of perhaps two molds, seriously, but at MICA, there are so many people who I think I would love to get to know… and so many kids who seem to want to get to know me, even! It’s pretty crazy, but the kids there have really been so friendly; there’s not that quiet simmering competitive strain I get at Hopkins; if we’re going to try and outdo each other at MICA we make it pretty obvious, and much more a friendly race of sorts, hah! But most kids are much more interested in pursuing their own style anyway, so. And there’s just a much more relaxed, kind of informal attitude at MICA, so different from the pretentiousness at my school. (It reminds me of high school somehow, or maybe even middle school…)

And later that night as I was staying late to talk to the professor, Paulene had to go work on her installation (which consisted of twenty boxes of chalk and a lot of scrawling in front of the steps of the main building at MICA and which, of course, was due the next morning), and she invited me to come along, but the last JHMI shuttle was at 11:40. (My class ends at 10, but lately I’ve been staying until 11:30 so the professor can help me with my project.) I ran out of class at 11:30 heading for the bus stop and walked past them on the opposite side of the street—Paulene had recruited a bunch of friends to help, of course, and I saw her hopping around. I came so close to stopping and just walking over to hang out with her more, bus ride home be damned and maybe I’d just spend the night.

But I’m a coward and always have been whenever I’m confronted with something that would push me out into the unknown. So in the end I kept on walking (well, running, really) to catch my bus.

And in retrospect, I really regret that. I should’ve stayed the night (well, asked her if I could). I should learn how to let go a little, because that little rush, that little exhilaration of doing something totally new and unlike myself—if I can just get myself to stop fearing it, maybe I can live a little, yeah? (Please understand, I come from a very controlled and secure background; I’m not used to doing things like crashing at other peoples’ places, hahah.)
But really, I just—should’ve done it. Yesterday was a beautiful day, the kind where amazing things just happen and I just felt like I was riding on Cloud 9… I doubt anything could’ve ruined that day for me.
But once again, I was held back by my fears: of embarrassing myself, of causing trouble for someone else, and that nervous trainwreck thought process of mine just made me stumble on when I should’ve turned around and gone in the opposite direction. And I regret it so. much.

But nevertheless, it was an amazing day. Paulene kept introducing me as that girl “from Hopkins, but a freakin’ awesome animator! The best in our class!” Which of course I don’t think is true—there are several kids there definitely more talented than me, I’m sure of it, but, gosh, she just—seriously thinks that much of me. Yeow.
She makes classtime really fun, too. We were hanging out with a friend and we ended up laughing so hard she—and I, too—were crying from laughter, and I just… shit, man. I haven’t laughed that hard since Freshman year.

Just… yeah. I’ve never been so happy before in all my time at Hopkins. And a part of me just really, really wants to continue like this. A part of me entertains the thought of just finding myself a part-time job in Baltimore and just sitting in on more classes (I know my Animation professor wouldn’t say no to having me again, hahah!).

I went home that night so excited and told all of this to my roommates, and of course, they unanimously—and instantly—agreed that I should just go to art school. (Which they may or may not have been telling me to do for a while now, ahm…)

But still, I’m held back by myself. For one thing, I don’t want to waste time (or so I tell myself) on Elements classes or other intro classes where you really don’t learn much of everything (everyone hates these classes, art students included, and who could blame them? hah.) but I also… I just don’t think I could justify it. On top of the fact that of course I’ve no means to pay for it either, and I definitely refuse to go into debt through student loans. But, see, you have to understand me. I went into Engineering because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents (since I already refused to be a doctor or a lawyer, ohman Chinese stereotypes). And my first semester I had a mental breakdown over the fact that I was in Chemical Engineering at Hopkins and my parents were paying nearly fifty grand a year when the Chemical Engineering program was better at my state college UD, where the tuition for in-state would only be about 10k. I had a mental breakdown over this. I have a lot of pride, and a lot of guilt. I would not ever be able to ask my parents to fund me going to art school, nor do I want to. (And I’m not sure they would support it, since they don’t exactly approve of artists, hah.) Not to mention that I’m not at all sure I’d want a job in art, because art has always been for myself and I want to keep it that way. But sometimes, I wonder…

Still… yeah. If I’d gone into art school instead of Hopkins without knowing all this, I knew I would’ve torn myself up inside over it. I couldn’t have ever really justified it. Now that I have the experience and understanding of myself that I do, I wish… I don’t know. I wonder if I would change anything, hah.

But, regardless. Here I am now. At yet another crossroads, and about to graduate and step out into the great unknown. And I’ve no idea what to do with myself.

…If anyone who reads this has any advice to offer, please, speak your mind. I need as many opinions as I can get. Someone push me off the edge or something. (I’ll probably thank you for it.)

Anyway. Guess that’s about all.
I’m just… so incredibly happy right now. I can’t believe that MICA classes will be over with in three weeks, by May 4th. I want this semester to go on forever—I’ve never been so happy before in my life.

Doodlebot 0603

Just a page out of my Narrative sketchbook, a look at the notes/quotes I jot down to muse on, hahah.  Been really obsessed with the Angel Dust world lately.


Narrative Assignment

Been a while since I updated with any art, so here we go!

My first Narrative assignment was autobiographical—I chose to write about the time I tried to clip my cockatiel’s nails and cut too far, and freaked out because a bird can easily bleed out and die from something like that.
I’ve been working on my watercolors a lot too, and the class is great like I mentioned because the professor really pushes us to incorporate dynamic backgrounds and perspectives, so—here ’tis!
I need to work a lot more on my color though, I know… but I’m really happy with my progress on backgrounds and the like!

And I still don’t know who I am… or who I could be

I’m three months away from graduating college, and I still have no clue what I’m going to be doing with myself.  Not for the next year or for the years to come.  Absolutely no clue.  

I’m meeting with my Narrative professor soon though (hopefully), so I figured that I should try to puzzle through what’s going through my head, if even a little.  


So much of my life has been built around who I think I am.  

A great deal of it was determined by my parents, because I’m the type of child who never really went against my parents’ wishes—not out of a fear of punishment, but more a fear of disappointment, a fear of failure.  That’s what I feel has driven me through much of my studies: in doing well in middle and high school, in applying to colleges… (more…)

Falling Animation

Ah, and I couldn’t resist posting this—-one of the first animations we did for class: we had to illustrate a line falling and through its movements demonstrate what it should be. And, well, I got a bit carried away… ;)

In Which I Pretend to be an Art Student

So, I failed to post in January, whoops. Still, still just kind of picking at this blog, I guess I’m a lot more hesitant to ramble on about myself than I thought I would be, hah! But I’m definitely going to try to post at least once a month, and eventually work WordPress into my daily schedule, because I really do love it here.

Anyway. Just started the Spring 2012 semester—and my last semester as an Undergraduate! It’s going to be crazy-hectic, but you know what? I don’t mind it. I’m taking 6 classes right now: my Environmental Engineering Senior Design, Ocean Biogeochemical Cycling, Video Game Design Project, Life Drawing, Narrative: Words and Pictures, and Introduction to 2D Animation. (Not to mention research and a part-time job, too!) But basically, 4 of the 6 classes are art classes, hence the title to this post. ;)

And you know what I realized? (more…)

2011 Winter Vacation – Hilton Head

Yeah, I’m still trying to get the hang of this blog. Sorry ’bout the lack of updates! I still can’t decide how much of my art I want to bother posting, but, I do still want a place to dump my sketches and thoughts.

Anyway, every winter, our family finds someplace to “vacation,” since it’s the only time we’re all together, and since we don’t really celebrate Christmas. This year we ended up driving down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The place was nice–we went kayaking and biking, took a day trip to Savannah, but mostly just laid back and relaxed, no hectic pacing like our shorter vacations tend to be, over-stuffed with things to do and no time to do them all. So it was nice.
My favorite part was just biking down to the beach, and then onto the sand. It just feels so great, to have so much open space before you, and of course, you know me–I love the ocean, the sound of its waves, the shoreline, the salt and sand-crusted feathers I picked out and brought back home, the bottomless sky above and the tide rising below. Love the endless horizon.

I was also in for quite the surprise, though! On the Hilton Head beach we found tons of Portuguese Man O’ Wars washed up! I’ve never seen these before in person, but gosh, are they gorgeous–“bluebottle” doesn’t do them justice! These siphonophores are absolute gems (which, sadly enough, the shoddy Nikon camera my mom had at the time couldn’t do any justice)



I guess something that I’ve realized lately is that I’m highly driven by this kind of personal, internal sense of how “fake” something feels to me. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s kind of how I pass judgment on the things around me. It hits me in the weirdest of ways, too.

For example, I don’t like amusement parks–the concept of amusement parks. It feels fake to me to go to some place and pay money to get a rush–it feels like a forced way to have fun somehow? At least, this feeling lingered strongly with me as a child–when I got to the amusement park and ran around with my friends it was fun anyway and I usually enjoyed myself, but I still didn’t like the idea of them and would’ve preferred to go see a movie or something. Nowadays I see it as an avenue for fun too, but there’s just something about it that I haven’t quite shaken–the building of some great contraption just to hurtle you around at high speed and make your heart pound? Not quite getting it.

The “fake” readings come off in a ton of other things, too. I realize now that this is what has always affected my self-image and my ability to feel confident wearing something new for the first time: I look at myself in the mirror and I think, “Is this me? Or am I just trying to be someone I’m not?” (more…)

December 3, 2011

Okay, that’s adorable.

The falling snow on the blogs? Yeah. Gotta say, the WordPress staff here is adorable, and I really appreciate the holiday cheer, haha!

Anyway. Sorry I kinda fell of the radar for a while–had a really hard time keeping up with NaNoWriMo this year, but I did manage to complete it in the end! 6 years of sleep deprivation and furious scribbling, yeah! I dug into Iris again and plowed through a bunch more scenes–the final characters are preparing to take the stage, the major players have their paths painted before them, and oh I’m still less than halfway to the end, but it’s a great feeling to even be able to get this far! My manuscript is now 292 pages long, and though it’s the roughest of rough drafts, I’m proud of it. I can see myself pushing through to the end now, and it’s an exhilarating feeling. Just hope I can keep up with it now that the panic of NaNoWriMo has worn off…

Comic Sketch: Keep light near you…

Another comic sketch I didn’t get to finalize, but that I’m also rather fond of and would like to do more with someday, haha. I kind of like how this one came out as a sketch though, so I figured that I might as well post it here for now.
Not intentionally Tobias and Raphael (of Cras), but shit, they sure do look it…


Comic Sketch: Laitma

So for my Sequential Art class, every other week we’re given our prompt, and we have to sketch out three different comic ideas. The second week is us deciding on which comic idea we like best and finalizing that one.
Here’s one of the comics that didn’t make it, but that I DO like and that I would like to properly illustrate someday. This one’s really rough, and yes, I’ll probably cut out the glowing jellyfish… but, I don’t know. I just got this, I don’t know, incredible feeling of needing to CREATE while sketching this, and I just feel like I really hit on something while working on this, so I just kept sketching and sketching it, unable to stop until I finished the comic… and even then, I still didn’t really want to stop…

I really hope to be able to complete this one someday. If you couldn’t tell already, I seriously, seriously love the deep ocean, and I dream of going down there someday.


Beginnings, of a sort.

So, it’s November, which means I’m already off the mark and dashing away on my novel this month for NaNoWriMo! I’m not actually starting anything new, though–I worked on Iris all last November, and again in April with Script Frenzy, but aside from one mad rush in June to reach a certain scene by a hard deadline, I haven’t been working much on Iris at all. Now I’m back in the groove though, and really loving it. Not two days have gone by before my characters are already acting on their own and doing totally unexpected things! Now I’ve got to figure out WHY they’re doing the things they’re doing, haha!
But suffice it to say, it’s fun and exciting to be pulled back into the Iris world again. This is my novel idea of forever-and-ever; I created this story back in 2005 when I was just in high school, and it’s never quite left me–I’m glad it didn’t, either. It was incredibly cheesy and lame to start with, yet for all that, most of the core story/characters have remained intact through all the work I’ve done on it, and very dear to my heart. I really hope to be able to finish this novel someday, because it’s been a long journey but really, we’ve just gotten started.
I know it might be silly to some that I’d spend so much time wrapped up in fictional characters–nevermind that they’re my own on top of that!–but I just… I don’t know. All my life I’ve lived for stories: stories to read and stories to tell, and I’ve just wanted more and more over the years to be able to coherently tell–and illustrate–the stories that’re rolling around in my head. It’s my passion, but it’s also a very selfish passion, with no practical application–doesn’t help me make a living, doesn’t help make the world a better place, what have you–and yet though I’ve tried to set it aside and lay it down, it just won’t go away. I’ve just come to accept this now–I’m a romantic always day-dreaming up new scenes and scenarios, but it’s what makes me happy, so I’m going to keep doing it. Sometimes it drags me down, but I think I’m finally learning how to just let go and enjoy myself, and not agonize over trying to justify it.

Hope no one minds my rambling here–I’m not sure what the point to this is, but I figured I’d just sit down and talk, right? I’m trying out a lot of new things here–I haven’t ever really just posted random thoughts of mine before, or really even just talked about myself like this, but I really hope to get into the habit of it, and learn to let go some–to be more spontaneous and just talk about whatever I feel like talking about, rather than always trying to please someone else or do something to support someone else–I like doing that, yes, but I think that having somewhere to just talk about myself would be nice, too. Let’s see if I can get into the swing of this, haha. (I also have to remember that this isn’t just a place for me to dump my work, really now-!) I’m going to aim for at least one post about myself and how I’m doing a month, to give myself something to go by, at least.

I’m at a transitional stage in my life right now, and in more ways than one: I’m little over half a year away from graduating college and slip-sliding my way into the real world; I’m looking toward new horizons for what I want to do with myself and where I want to go; and I’m also changing a lot as a person: I want to change a lot about myself, I want to re-invent myself, but I’m shy and I’m nervous and I’m oh-so-scared I’m going to mess it up. Some days I hate myself, and other days, I feel like I’m blessed to be who I am. My future’s wide open and nothing’s for sure. I want somewhere to call a home. I’m looking, I’m seeking. I’m trying to become a better person. So much is going on right now, I don’t even know where to start.

Since when did life get to be so damn complicated?
Sometimes, I just wish that I could curl up in a pile of blankets and read a book, but I haven’t done that in forever–the problem with having your own stories, of course, is that I spend every last free moment trying to work on them, and feel like any time spent doing anything else would be wasted! I need to remember to fill up on others’ stories too, it would seem…

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I jumped aboard the Halloween festivities and took some time off yesterday to draw myself a picture for Halloween as well, haha!

This is my original character, Siddhe, from my story VOID. Siddhe’s a shadow daemon currently possessing the dead (and ritually sacrificed) body of an acolyte boy named Kieran (hence the wounds on his throat and arms). Siddhe’s power is manifested in Kieran’s blood, which can be powerful but taxing if he chooses to unleash it. He’s fun to draw, maniacal and sarcastic, haha.

This was drawn in ShiPainter Oekaki at Craic Oekaki, ~3 hours.

Have a fun and safe Halloween, everybody! :)