Tag Archives: life

15 Things that I am grateful for

  1. I am grateful that I am breathing.
  2. I am grateful that I have a healthy and functional body that allows me to do whatever I’d like.
  3. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head.
  4. I am grateful for dance and everything that it has helped bring into my life.
  5. I am grateful for my mother and everything that she has done for me.
  6. I am grateful that I have enough money in my bank account to never starve.
  7. I am grateful that I have friends in my life that support and understand me no matter what. They make me feel belonged and loved. (If you know you know)
  8. I am grateful that I am living my dance dream at the moment. Being a part of the 247 fam has brought me nothing but joy.
  9. I am grateful for all the resources that I have access to for my learning in life.
  10. I am grateful for the city I live in, a place full of opportunities. I am exactly where I need to be at this moment.
  11. I am grateful for the sunshinewalking into the sunshine
  12. I am grateful for all the ‘mistakes’ ‘failures’ that I’ve ever encountered, and how they have led me to where and who I am today.
  13. I am grateful for every connection that I’ve made living this life, even the ones that I no longer hold onto. Every single person has contributed to my growth in some sharp or form.
  14. I am grateful that I am overwhelmed at the moment. That means I am being challenged, and I am powerful enough to push through. Because the universe only hands me what I can handle.
  15. I am grateful for this moment, right now.

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Election Results: grow-up soon

ANNOUNCMENT:

The Crafter cult took initiative at yesterday’s tumultuous election speech and have brought forward a proposal for deal with the ‘children’ problem.

THE AGE OF ADULTHOOD IS NOW FIVE YEARS OLD.

Rabid murders of children run rampant all over Sporyn; there’s a murder of particularly vicious soccer boys ages ten and under known to burrow underneath restaurants then claw their way up through the floors, robbing cult members taken by surprise; and another tiny group causing massive amounts of mayhem makes friendship bracelets out of the hair of their victims.

At first, as I watched these little kids scaling up decrepit skyscraper walls with their talon-like nails, I thought, more power to them, this apocalyptic age freed up everyone from familial constraints. They were scavenging and stealing just like the rest of us, even if they had no interest in joining any cult at all.
But then, these kids started luring in their victims to their death, through pretending to be sick, or injured, or setting one with eyeballs in cute places to beg for food, and when someone gives in to their whimpering cries, the others attack. (Luring victims, of course, isn’t unheard of, in fact, the Grafts have a monthly meeting where they bet on the best traps to set for your enemies and whoever catches the most on their hit-list wins)

These kids will no longer get a free pass from Sporyn justice. After this election, the age of adulthood is now five years old.
Go get a real job you freeloading soccer creeps.

Election Results: time for time

ANNOUNCMENT:

In an unprecedented event of compromise, an insane war was avoided when Crafter’s, Grafts, and the Nihilists reached a consensus on the need for time in Sporyn.

TIME WILL EXIST AGAIN

Time, of course has been a tricky construct to enforce since the sun rises and sets at random, uncalculable, intervals, with solar storms continuously raging; sometimes burning blisteringly bright for what feels like days, while at other times rising then immediately plunging us back into darkness three times in a row. However, since more and more people are finding themselves assimilated into the Cults of Sporyn, it’s gotten hard to coordinate any sort of meet up larger then four people.

In true Nihilistic fashion, the Nihilists (myself included) predictably did not want any way to measure our lives or anyone else’s. We argued that the inability to tell people when to meet up in massive numbers helped keep the city peaceful, since war cannot be waged without organizing troops based timing, and all conflict can be kept to wholesome one-on-one fights to the death.

The Crafters were all for creating a new way to standardize their lives, as well as everyone else’s. They agreed with us Nihilists for the most part about needing to keep peace, and offered to draw up plans for some for of police force, which thankfully was immediately shut down.

The Grafts could be persuaded either way, but felt time would be beneficial if they wanted to construct some kind of military parade one day.

A compromised was reached – there will be a reliable way to measure time, but you only have to pay attention to it if you want.

Events will be planned based on solar flares!

Since there are always solar storms no matter how long the sun is up for, tell your friends to meet you at when a certain number of solar flares transpire. That way, only the people attached to the plan have to pay attention to the flares, and anyone opposed to time can go on living as normal as possible.

Professional Complaining – AKA election time

Got a grip? We’ve got an audience.

The apocalypse may have eradicated suburbs, streetlights, waterways, all wheelie chairs, and the concept of Tuesdays, but it did not eviscerate our innate desire to have someone yell about life qualms, while everyone else waits to scream in support of a statement they agree with – This is called Voting.

Oddly enough, this is as non-partisan as the Cults of Sporyn get.
Collective memories of what ‘politics’ were before the great incident of human idiocy (which wiped out a whole tax-bracket of people who considered themselves above death for stringing up sentences like “ethically frugal public-funding”) couldn’t recall much that politics actually helped near the end. Having Cults take out the need for those self-righteous Parties. A distillation of what people actually liked about the whole system turned out to already be a favoured past-time of sentient Sporyn residents; giving speeches about whatever’s going on in their head at any given time.

So we made it a community event.
Sometimes it actually cumulates in something getting changed!
REMEMBER: Topics of this Soapbox screaming time have been already narrowed down by the Crafter’s since those over-organized road kill scrapbookers love micromanaging the rest of us.

1. What to do about the excess children.
Since no one has claimed responsibility of the wild, parentless kids running around Sporyn, and their crying and complaining and entitlement to others finding clothes and shelter for them is getting a little distressing, what do you think should be done about it?

2. Pros and Cons of standardized time.
As no more clocks exist, and day and nights never last for predictable intervals anymore, we’ve been going without measurements of time for the last little while and managing it pretty well!
If you want it back, state your case!

3. The Accountants are pissing us off.
(This problem is particularly dear to my heart)
Those stuck-up apocalypse deniers are just gonna keep going off acting like the old world didn’t get destroyed, judging the rest of us with those blank stares and old world shakes of their heads while they pretend to get promoted at their steady corporate jobs?!
Are we really gonna stand for that?

If you have any thoughts on any of these issues at all, come to the speech ceremony!
Through anger, you too have the power to incrementally improve the City of Sporyn.

My Tools of the Trade — Modern Calligraphy

If you’re like me, I’ve always found videos of calligraphy that show up on my Facebook newsfeed really therapeutic and mesmerizing to watch. And so, two years ago, I began to rummage through the internet for online tutorials and printed out masses of practice sheets to begin my newfound hobby.

I started from my local craft store, Michaels, and bought several nibs, nib holders, black india ink and a pad of smooth marker paper. From there it was practice, practice, practice until I started developing a preferred style of writing that seemed most natural to me.  Below, you can see a layout of the nibs I have collected over the past two years, along with a few of the pen holders that accompany it.

Nibs + Holders

The Speedball/Hunt nibs were the first few I bought from DeSerre’s: they come in a pack with two holders. The great thing about nibs (or calligraphy in general) is that they are really affordable…but keep in mind that they are also fragile if you don’t store them well. The ones I buy typically range ~$1-2 CAD each. My absolute favourite nibs are the Leonardt 40 (I use this one the most) and the Hunt 99. I find that I tend to steer towards nibs that are more flexible (less stiff) because it helps me write more naturally.

Nikko G and Zebra G are the couple I read lots of blog posts on. I was able to track down a couple of small art stores that carry these nibs in Hong Kong, and being super inexpensive they also came in packs of three in the case that one may accidentally be broken or misplaced. Here’s a quick comparison between the raved on Nikko G and my favourite Leonardt 40.

I don’t believe there’s anything special to talk about about my holders. The one you see on the top with a part that sticks out is the oblique holder. It basically helps you write on an angle that some people may find difficult when writing with a regular holder, but I don’t tend to steer towards it. I find that I grab my Tachikama wooden holder the most as most of my nibs fit in it. For my smaller nibs I use the brown Hunt holder that I purchased with the nibs — again, really affordable.

Ink

Ever since I laid hands on my Finetec Pearl Metallic Inks palette I have never let it go. I absolutely LOVE the iridescent glow that it produces when activated with water. Used typically for watercolour brushes, I use a few drops of water and mix it with a small brush for several seconds, then paint it onto the nib. It’s not the cheapest out there, and I purposely purchased it on my last trip to Hong Kong because it was difficult to find in Vancouver. Nevertheless…absolutely stunning.

I did start off with using black india ink but it’s been getting old and I haven’t thought of replacing it since I always just use the Finetec palette. With the help of Photoshop, I digitize my writing and invert the metallic ink on black paper which gives the look of black ink written on white paper (#lifehacks).

Paper

I started off using your standard white paper, but found that the sharp (fragile) tip of the nibs would repeatedly catch onto the paper and gave a rigid feel to my writing. I purchased a marker pad from Michael’s that really helps with that problem. The paper is really soft and light, which helps with write smooth, continuous lines so I definitely recommend it for practicing. Typically, I like to use just any card stock I can get my hands on. My mom really enjoys making cards and she has collected a TON of coloured card stock paper, so I usually just take some to use and it’s great for calligraphy too.

 

…And voilà!

Calligraphy really does take time and practice. At one point when I started, there were times when I did feel discouraged because I wasn’t satisfied with it! In the beginning, I had really wonky, awkward strokes and it really didn’t feel right to me. Those are also the times you need to push through and give yourself even more reason to keep working on it because it takes time so remember to be patient with yourself. Once you start to feel progressively more comfortable, you’ll start to develop your own writing style. I still do feel incompetent sometimes and I really do like keeping calligraphy as a hobby because I know I definitely still have room for improvement! Hope this helps.

-E

Finding my Career Path

When I was a young child, I was gifted a workbook that prompted me to draw what I wanted to be when I grew up. To this day, I still clearly remember the colourful butterfly I drew on that page.

Remembering the blissful days of my childhood when things were so much more simple and all I wanted to be when I grew up was to be a colourful butterfly one day. If it was only that easy. If only I could fly off, care-free and explore the world… No, I’m not a butterfly, but that beautiful butterfly I drew may have signified my exploratory phase into the beginnings of my career: venturing further into the world of visual arts.

Thus, I grew up to love drawing: something that had never ran in my family background. I would draw on any surface I could set my hands on (yes, I remember drawing on the headboard of my bed with a ballpoint pen) and I spend hours on the internet looking for tutorials when I was in middle school. My cute cartoons and illustrations became more detailed, attempting to replicate a photograph on a blank piece of paper. Realism drawings of still objects became hyper-realistic until people thought I had suddenly become a photographer. I naturally developed an eye to see the world and the spaces around me differently, converting the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional realm in front of me. I thrived in it and it didn’t take long for me to find a sense of identity through drawing and sketching. Everyone around me was certain I was going to be the next Emily Carr. It seemed like I had my career mapped out for me after many long nights of practicing in my bedroom: my professional career path had already been set for me.

The last hyper-realistic drawing I have drawn to date. — March 2015

 

So it began: my senior year in high school and I was one of the handful of students who had gotten a letter of acceptance into Emily Carr University on the spot. This was what was deemed to happen my whole life by my peers. Was it fate?

Not too long after I received a letter from Simon Fraser University, informing me of my acceptance into their School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT), I had to make a big decision. I had never heard of this program and didn’t know of any graduates or alumni from SIAT. I spent my whole childhood moving a pencil around on paper, was I really going to make the transition to digital design? I thought, and thought hard for awhile, but I sensed an urge to explore my skillset: where could digital design take me? At the end of the day, I followed my gut and took the leap into the realm of design. This period marked my transition into technology and design, pushing my sketching pencils into the back of the shelf.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know how to code and I only had intermediate experience with Photoshop. The summer before my first year in university, I spent hours and days going through online tutorials to learn as much of Adobe Illustrator and InDesign as I could. But I loved it. I loved that making a mistake was a simple and quick CTRL/CMD + Z to fix. Strokes and lines were so much smoother, cleaner and there was no accidental smudging — this was fool-proof.

Illustrations done on Adobe Illustrator for a freelance project — October 2015

Slowly, the time and demand I had for sketching decreased and since my second year, I have not posted a single photo of a drawing. Do I miss it? Yes — I can recall the nights when I was upset and drawing took me into a place of serenity, a place where my worries did not exist. It will still always be a part of me: when I brainstorm for my designs, knowing how to sketch is always at the core and every time, it brings me back to my roots — where I started and came from: pencil and paper.

Rough sketches for a game design.

I have made my transition from an artist to a designer and I’m not turning back.

– E

Check out my portfolio work!

How I edit my Instagram Photos

 

Once in awhile, I’ll get questions about how I maintain my ‘Instagram theme’ and how I edit my photos. I have to admit: it does take some time and effort but I like to try and maintain a certain branding style to my instagram feed. Yes, I strive to live the #aesthetic life — it’s a part of who I am.

This may not work for everyone and people have different preferences and different tastes, so adjust accordingly to your liking! To keep a theme, I find that editing the same way (using the same filter) helps to keep all your photos consistent.
For reference, I work from an iPhone 7. In my photos, I tend to stick to bright whites, decently contrasted, soft shadows and less saturated photos. It works best when there’s natural lighting going on. Overcast days are the best days for outdoor photos. Bright sunlight creates darker and harsher shadows that takeaway from the photo and is also a cause of over-exposure.

First, I use the Photos in-app editor (found on all iOS devices) and put on the “Fade” filter. I’ll always have to adjust the brilliance, shadows, brightness, contrast, highlights and saturation until I’m more satisfied with it. If there’s any unnecessary distractions along the edge of the photo, I’ll just crop it out here.

Next, I’ll go into my app: Facetune. I really only use it for whitening light backgrounds that aren’t completely white and to de-saturate certain areas. I’ll bring that photo into the app and use their “whiten” tool to go over certain areas that are still too saturated.

After I’ve saved that photo, I bring it into UNUM, a very helpful app that organizes and helps me plan how a photo will look in my feed. Some may think it’s excessive, but I find that it is so useful to ensuring that your photos are cohesive with one another before you post it! Once I’ve planted my photo in there, I adjust it accordingly, using the UNUM in-app editor. And that’s about it!

 

Life after Co-op: Transitioning Back to School

Returning to school after an eight-month co-op placement is not an easy transition and I’ve come across a lot of people have asked me whether I prefer working or being in school. To be quite honest, I don’t have a definite answer, but here are some of my thoughts and opinions based on my experience.

  1. Working was not as stressful as being in school.

    I found a relief from stress the eight months I was working: no studying, no exams, no papers! The work environment was relaxed, flexible and I never felt too overwhelmed trying to meet my deadlines. I would spend most of my day in the office but would go home and not have to think about work rather than coming home from class and still having work in the back of my mind. My weekends were a question of “What should I do with my day today?”.

  2. I found it easier to focus on my own personal goals/growth rather than feeling external pressure.

    My first week back at school, I sat in a lecture while my prof introduced himself to the class and all my mind could remember was him going on about successful students in my program who have gone achieving great things in Silicon Valley. That’s great, don’t get me wrong: it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to work in Silicon Valley. But I find that my program has the tendency to focus on students who have gone off working for large companies that it starts to create a burden for undergraduate students to mold themselves into this standard that somehow Silicon Valley equals success and increased recognition. But the truth is, not every designer/developer ends up working in Silicon Valley and that doesn’t make them any less successful.
    When I was out of school and working, trying to fit into this celebrated mold escaped from my mind and found that I was able to find joy and contentment from within myself. I found it much easier to focus on my personal growth as a designer rather than comparing myself to other students. I was working in a small start-up, but I was proud of what I was learning and how fast I was learning and in that way, yes — I found success in what I was doing and it didn’t matter where I was.

  3. I focused on saving, saving, saving.

    Of course, working meant that I had a source on income and didn’t have to worry about how much I was spending on food or clothes. I wasn’t a broke college student — at least not for the eight months I was working. It doesn’t mean that I splurged on every meal, but generally I wasn’t counting how much I was spending by the dollar. I took the opportunity to build up on my savings so I could have a more comfortable future post-graduating.

  4. I felt disconnected from the school community.

    Working full-time also meant that I didn’t get as many chances to see my friends from school, and I really missed that the most. It took more effort to try and make plans with my friends who were in school, taking classes I was falling behind in because of my absence. It made me realize how much fun school can be when you have the opportunity to take on projects and bond with friends from school. I always felt like I was falling behind on what has been happening in the school community.

  5. I felt like I had more creative freedom in school.

    Working in a company means that as a designer you need to abide by the company’s branding guidelines when creating work. At school, there is a lot more freedom in projects such as choosing your own typefaces, colours and images: most of the time you are free to explore and create in your own style of choosing.

Overall, I’m glad to be back in school but I know I’m going to miss working once midterms and papers hit me. Finishing my first co-op placement, I definitely have a better sense of what I’m looking for for my future co-op placements and what kind of work I like to do. A word of advice? Just because someone is working at a well-recognized company, does not make their life perfect because everyone struggles with different aspects of their life: focus on yourself and your own growth, not on others.

-E

 

7 things you probably don’t know about me

  1. If I wasn’t a visual/interaction designer, I would love to pursue interior design!

    I love watching home reno shows on HGTV and if I had much more time in life I would most definitely be interested in learning more about interior design.

  2. I have never in my life like Barbies. Well, just dolls in general. Period.

    I remember when my dad came home with a Barbie wearing a Cinderella-like blue gown one afternoon, I almost gagged out the bok choy that was in my mouth when I saw it. I never played with it and tried all attempts to sell it out at multiple garage sales with no luck. Maybe it was the synthetic look and feel that I’ve always found dolls disgusting. To this day, I still don’t know what happened to that Barbie doll.

  3. I used to make jewelry out of paper clips and a pair of pliers.

    It’s true: I always had a bag of paper clips and pliers with me. I made necklaces, bracelets and earrings from twisting paper clips in different shapes.

  4. I was put in an ESL class when I was in elementary school.

    If I recall correctly, in Grade 1 or 2, I was pulled out of class by surprise and dragged to an ESL class. I was born and raised in Vancouver and had never thought or been told I had any problems with my English. Luckily, I was never put back in that class after that one time. In fact, in high school I actually got a lot of compliments from my teachers on my writing and academically did very well in my writing classes.

  5. I wasn’t born into an artistic family.

    I don’t know anyone in either side of my families who shares my artsy side, yet I have always loved drawing and creating. At a very young age, I have always been known as “the artist” of the class. From drawing anime and cartoons to hyper-realistic drawings, I never enjoyed the drawing classes my parents put me in, but preferred teaching myself through practice and experience.

  6. I can’t ride rollercoasters.

    I have a calm and soft heart that can’t take no adrenaline. When I was in middle school I went to Playland for my friend’s birthday and we all went on the well-known wooden rollercoaster. I don’t even know how I was even tall enough, but it was one of the worst decisions of my life. There is only one long bar that comes down in front of your waist (not secure at all!). Being a petite person, I did not feel safe and thought I was about to fly out any minute. I still don’t know how I survived that ride, but I’m glad to still be living.

  7. Being a rhythmic gymnast was one of the most impacting decisions of my life.

    How was it impacting? That’s a story for another time.
    I started recreational gymnastics when I was probably as young as 4 years old just “for fun”. In Grade 3, my school offered an after school rhythmic gymnastics classes so I gave that a try and fell in love with the sport. I continued to train pre-competitively for a short period before entering the competition world for the next four years. I loved — and placed very well in competitions. I had no limits to the way my spine could bend and I took it for granted.
    It wasn’t until I injured my spinal cord during a training — at the age of 12 — when I had to accept the fact that I would never be able to perform the same moves I used to so easily do. I never had a desire to compete in the Olympics, but I still had a raging passion for the beauty of this sport so I continued to compete for another 2 years with an injured spine. I stuck out the pain with many visits to different doctors and physiotherapists before deciding to focus more on my academics and pursue my passion for the arts. To this day (10 years after my injury!), I still occasionally struggle with back pain and I’ve gotten to know my physiotherapist like a friend.