Chronicles: 2018 Spring

Another blog post that’s a little late! I feel like I’ve traveled a lot the past few months (for both work and art).

Academic

  • A few friends teaching a social computing class invited me to give a guest lecture! I basically just gave my dissertation defense, but I think the students found it useful? I got to stick around and learn about their class projects and give some feedback, which was fun. Giving that lecture, and knowing the students were looking at me as an ~*~*industry person*~*~, I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m definitely not a student anymore.”
  • I’m serving on the CSCW program committee! Lots of reviewing and reviewer assignments these past couple months as submissions have come in.
  • Visited the Seattle Adobe office for about a week! It was nice to meet up with colleagues in person. I also got to visit my parents over the weekend and go hiking with them while I was there.
  • Then, the week after, I went to CHI in Montreal! It was my first time there and found the city lovely and very walkable. A couple of favorite papers:
  • A few weeks after that, Adobe had their annual research retreat, held at the Seascape Resort! Gave a talk on an early thoughts on a framework for designing (machine learning and crowd-powered) creativity tools and got a lot of positive responses and feedback.
  • I also went to HCIC 2018. I gave a talk with my colleague (and manager) Mira Dontcheva on the same idea I presented at a research retreat and got some good feedback there too. Social validation, yay!
  • A bunch of my friends defended this year! Congrats to Ethan, Will, and Niloufar!
  • Intern season at Adobe started! I am working with Grace Yen (UCIC), Eureka Foong (Northwestern), and Mackenzie Leake (Stanford) this summer.

Art

  • Wrote up a new tutorial, this time on how I cut small prints!
  • Finished a new Harvest Moon print, featuring the More Friends of Mineral Town cast!
  • Attended the artist alley at A-Kon! I had a great time meeting people and doing commissions, but I was a little disappointed by a lack of communication from the artist alley that resulted in a lot of artists (including myself) arriving one day earlier than they needed to — it turned out the artist alley was not open the first day of the convention! I used my extra day in Texas to hole up in my hotel room and do paper reviews for CSCW 😛 Also, I ended up getting stuck at the airport overnight while trying to come home :’D
  • The Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Fanbook I participated in was able to raise $1000 for Doctors Without Borders!
  • Got into Crunchyroll Expo‘s Artist Alley! I’ll be there from September 1 – 3 later this year.
  • I drew another Neat Things comic about how weird penguin skeletons are.
  • I did an interview with Sevengamer’s FFXIV Wiki about my artwork and life on FFXIV!

Personal

  • My dog died at my parent’s home earlier this year. I’ll miss you, Lucky.
  • I need to get back into exercising! Travel, combined with being sick and mildly spraining my ankle, made it so I haven’t been running or doing yoga for a few months.
  • Anime: Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card Arc (still very cute!), Boku no Hero Academia (still my go-to shounen anime fix), Kino’s Journey (finished it! I liked the last two episodes a lot, but somehow it felt less serious and philosophical than the original series), Pokemon Sun and Moon (still super cute, funny, and well-written), RWBY Volume 5
  • Games:
    • Rune Factory 4 (finished Arc 1 and 2, just waiting for Arc 3 to trigger while doing town events and dating events with NPCs), Persona 5 (finally finished it! The ending was pretty crazy but I enjoyed it overall), Breath of the Wild (finished it as well, I loved the beautiful world and I really like scholar/researcher Zelda in this iteration of the series), Granblue Fantasy, FF Record Keeper
    • I started Nier Automata! FFXV is also on deck to play soon, but after Persona I felt like I wanted a break from a long JRPG.
    • I’m super behind on FFXIV! I haven’t played through 4.3 yet.
  • Podcasts:
    • I got to go to the MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone live shows in San Francisco and had so much fun! It was awesome seeing some of my favorite podcasters live.
  • D&D continues!
    • Our group tried Roll20 for the first time since I was sick during our scheduled game session, and it went well! It was super nice being able to quickly pull together a map that players could move their own characters around. I tried forgoing battles completely for this session and doing a more roleplaying/social challenge using initiative order, which I think helped make sure all players stayed engaged.
    • I also tried a World of Darkness tabletop roleplaying game with some friends as a one-time player character! It was interesting playing with a new group. They were a bit more physically active in their roleplaying (e.g., having conversations in parallel in different rooms rather than everyone paying attention to everything) which was very new to me and hard to get used to, but they made me feel very comfortable despite how awkward and shy I was being (thanks guys!).

Chronicles: 2018 Winter

This blog post is about a month-and-a-half overdue, but here we go!

Academic

  • Work continues to be hard but fun and interesting! My current struggle: figuring out how to reduce meetings and increase available time for research work. I’ve been asking some more experienced folks for advice and was relieved to hear that it’s perfectly reasonable I’ve been more meeting-heavy since I’m trying to get to know people and figure out what projects to work on. I got some good pointers and encouragement on how to make sure I’m spending my time on the things I find most interesting. (Side note: my work colleagues are super nice and thoughtful people and I’m so glad I work with them!)
  • Worked with a few folks to submit a talk proposal to HCIC 2018! Will it get in? I hope so! (But then that means I have to prepare a presentation, so…)
  • I interviewed potential hires for the first time! It’s super weird being on the other side of the table. I think I already knew this, but actually conducting interviews and participating in meetings about hires really cemented for me how difficult and human (?) the whole process is.

Art

  • Participated in Hourly Comic Day!
  • Got into A-Kon‘s artist alley! I’ll be there from June 7 – 10 this year. It’ll also be my first anime convention of 2018, which makes me a little nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve done commissions and travelled for a con!
  • Finished my first illustration this year: a portrait of Alphinaud and Alisaie from FFXIV!
  • Also did a few ink sketch portraits of my D&D players’ characters! A whole year ago I had done a few for two players for their birthdays and realized I had never given birthday presents to the rest of them… Better late than never?
  • Spent some time putting together some speedpaint videos of newer illustrations for my YouTube channel! I actually really enjoy putting these together… it’s relaxing to see the end result and it’s fun finding and working with music artists and featuring their remixes and songs.
  • Tried a stab at a new type of comic for Herogirl that I’m calling “Neat Things”, where I illustrate a fact or real-world story that I find neat! My first one was about the history of citrus fruits.
  • I put together my Inktober 2017 artbook and sent it off to print (finally)! I’ll hopefully have it up in my Etsy store soon.
  • Completed another full Hobonichi and started a new one! I’m so glad to have discovered journaling and I hope I can keep it up for many more years.

Personal

  • I made self-care a 2018 resolution for myself! So far, I’ve:
    • Started getting monthly massages. This is the one thing I’ve been looking forward to trying to do now that I have more disposable income.
    • Started running twice a week! By “running”, I mean jogging lightly on a treadmill for like 15 minutes. My knees were not liking this, so at a friend’s suggestion, I got myself some new super-cushioned running shoes.
    • Committed to doing yoga twice a week! I’ve been doing it on and off for the past year, but now I’m making it a part of my weekly schedule. I just do it at home by following along with Youtube videos.
    • Made time for meditation. Now that I regularly take the train to work, I’ve found it’s provided me a way to get a 10-minute meditation session in my day. I am still terrible at it, but hopefully this will help me do it more regularly.
    • Worked on better sleep hygiene. I’m trying a couple of different things to help me fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time (like, falling asleep in less than an hour would be really nice), like not eating and exercising at night and not looking at my phone in bed. I also started wearing an eyemask — I used to think I was pretty good at sleeping with lights on, but the eyemask has been probably one of the most helpful things I’ve tried so far.
    • Tried out a daily “worry time”. I worry about everything, all the time, for any reason, so I thought I would try taking 20 minutes or so each day to worry as much as I want! My thought was that this would help me worry less the rest of the day, but so far I’m finding it just makes me more anxious than before. Go figure.
  • Anime: Girl’s Last Tour (my favorite anime I’ve seen in a while! Very cute and mysterious), Pop Team Epic (I can’t tell if I liked it or not, but it was… engaging?), Yuru Camp (the animation quality and characters were nothing to write home about, but it was a relaxing show and very good at making you want to go camping), Gintama (still good, still working through the archives), Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card Arc (enjoying it so far! It’s pretty true to the original anime, which I love)
    • Tried: Osomatsu S2 (I’m not sure why, but the humor just didn’t hold my attention this season), Love Live Sunshine S2 (the plots for each episode started getting repetitive), Darling in the FRANXX (no), Idolish7 (why did I try this), A Place Further than the Universe (looks great, but the story seems a bit heavy! I’ll have to come back to this), Violet Evergarden (same), Mitsuboshi Colors (animation quality is great, but I couldn’t get into the humor)
  • Games: FFXIV Patch 4.2 (finished Coil of Bahamut with some friends finally, cleared Byakko Ex, leveled some of my crafters to 70, and I changed my main class to PLD!), Dai Gyakuten Saiban (finished watching a let’s play of this, enjoyed the fun story!), Persona 5 (still working through it, still good, but it’s so long), Granblue Fantasy, FF Record Keeper
  • Podcasts: The Adventure Zone: Amnesty, Wonderful, The Polygon Show, Acquisitions Incorporated
    • I nabbed tickets to see MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone live in June! Woohoo!
  • D&D:
    • Had my first session with my D&D group since October!
    • Because we’ve been having some trouble role-playing, I set up individual character brainstorming sessions with each player and I think that actually went pretty well! I’m also starting to see how a story can come together based on how characters’ individual backstories connect…
    • Built a campaign wiki to help me keep in-game and DM knowledge separate and to have a place where I can keep session notes 😛

Chronicles: 2017 Autumn

Academic

Art

  • Finished Inktober again! It was more exhausting than I expected (I guess now that I have a job that I have to physically commute to), but I did it, and it continues to be one of the things that I am most proud of every year.
  • I can now show off the pieces I did for Pokemon Z-food, Memento Lumina (FFXIV player character zine), and Lux Itineris (Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Fanzine, featuring fanart of all the major games in the series). I regret not working harder on the Lux Itineris piece — looking back on it, I see a bunch of mistakes I made in the drawing which is a shame because the zine turned out so gorgeous! Oh well, I guess that means I’ve gotten better in the time between submitting the piece and now.
  • Went to CTN Expo as an attendee with a couple of art friends! I know absolutely nothing about animation so this was another event where I got to learn a lot about something new — in my case, what goes into the creative process for 2D and 3D animation. I was also surprised to see the animation industry’s interest in virtual reality. In addition, one friend had taken a class with a Disney 3D animator and had been invited to visit him at the studio, and the rest of us got to tag along to see the campus and a couple of shots he was currently working on! We rounded out our trip with a visit to Daikokuya Ramen (yummm) and Half-and-Half Tea.
  • Finished some cover art for a friend’s poetry book!
  • Finished my first freelance design project! Go check out the design I did for my sister and brother-in-law’s online card shop, Tabletop Village!

Personal

  • Travel: Visited home for an uneventful and relaxing Thanksgiving and Christmas! And went to Quebec for the first time!
  • Anime: Osomatsu S2 (fun, but not as good as S1), Shokugeki no Souma S3 (same old stuff, but why can’t I stop watching!?), Blend S (I hate the manager character, but the rest of the characters are great and the comedy is A+), Pokemon Sun and Moon (really, really good!), Digimon Adventure tri (it was OK? I keep forgetting the plot. My love for Adventure is the only thing that’s really keeping me going with this one), Gintama (still one of the only shows that makes me laugh out loud and cry, sometimes in the same episode), Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You (Pikachu!? Wha!? WHY?)
    • Tried: Konohana Kitan (cute, but wasn’t interesting enough to keep going with it?), The Ancient Magus’ Bride (a bit creepy, may come back to this one), Love Live Sunshine S2 (same! old! plot!), Kino no Tabi (I really really really wanted to like this since I love the old series but it was a bit boring… I’m not sure why.)
    • Want to try: Girls’ Last Tour, Houseki no Kuni
  • Games: Layton’s Mystery Journey (very Layton-y and cute!), FFXIV Patch 4.1 (caught up with the story, our FC nabbed a Shirogane house, I did my first Savage fight, leveled a bunch of crafters to 60), The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (cute but super repetitive! I’ve given up on it now)
    • Still working through Persona 5!
    • I started Pokemon Ultra Sun, but I can’t bring myself to finish it. I thought it was a sequel like Black and White 2, but it’s more like a remake?
  • Books: I, uh, didn’t read anything since the last blog post. Still reading “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success” in small chunks.
  • Podcasts: I was unsure at first about The Adventure Zone: Commitment, but Clint McElroy turned out to be a great dungeon master! He teaches theater, after all. I’m now a regular listener to The Polygon Show, which is a great way to get video game updates from a wonderful, funny group of women. Wonderful! continues being a good source of positivity every week.
  • Other:
    • Watched all of Dad of Light with some friends! It was really cute, the story was strong, and they had some funny moments just for players while keeping it accessible to a general audience.
    • Went to the Presidio Picnic for the first time (on the last weekend it was happening this year!) I’ll definitely have to try and go more often next year!

 

Chronicles: 2017 Summer

Academic

  • I started as a Research Scientist at Adobe! My first month and a half has been a whirlwind of meeting new people and learning about all of the many products and projects here, but everyone has been super welcoming. Gotta figure out what to work on next!

Art

  • Tabled at Anime Expo in July! It was crazy crowded and I don’t think I would have survived if it wasn’t for my artist badge. Still, I had lots of fun (and was able to attend some fun things, like the Card Captor Sakura Clear Card Arc premiere and a dance where Hachiouji-P was DJing!)
  • I also tabled at Crunchyroll Expo‘s artist alley! It was pretty good traffic for a first-year convention, and I had fun doing lots of commissions for people! I also got to meet Keiichi Sigsawa, the author of Kino’s Travels, and give him a drawing! Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame was also there, but I wasn’t able to snag an autograph ticket.
  • A week later, I flew to San Antonio to table at San Japan! Traffic was down (understandably, considering a sizable number of attendees probably weren’t able to come due to the hurricane), but I was heartened to see a lot of the artists were raising funds for Hurricane Harvey relief or setting aside portions of their sales for donations. Did more commissions there as well!
  • Finished some commissions I had remaining from Fanime!
  • I… realized I really didn’t do much other art this quarter, so I decided to only take ink/pencil at-con commissions from now on so I have time to work on personal artwork. I hope this works out!
  • Redesigned my Card Captor Sakura charms!
  • Started working on a book cover design for a poet friend, and continuing to do front-end development/design work for my sister’s online trading card game store. Hopefully I can show off the results of both of those soon!

Personal

  • Travel: I went on a fun trip with my partner and his family! After they came up for his graduation, we spent some time in the Bay Area exploring restaurants. Then we went on a road trip to Los Angeles and stopped by Disneyland and Universal Studios on the way!
  • Anime: New Game! (cute, and becoming more interesting because there are actually conflicts between characters now), Magical Circle Guru Guru (relaxing, cute, funny!), Welcome to the Ballroom (promising, but characters and plot are turning out to be boring), Rakugo S2 (holy cow what a good anime), My Hero Academia S2 (I love all the kids), Tsuredure Children (mixed feelings? super cheesy/cringey, but funny at times)
    • Tried: Clean Freak Aoyama (a little funny, but not enough to keep watching it), Little Witch Academia (why can’t I finish this show?), Fastest Finger First (boring)
    • My partner and I also experimented with watching the Japanese dub of RWBY, and it was interesting to see how differently they pace the episodes!
  • Games: I finished FFXIV Stormblood! Though I liked the Heavensward environment/music better, I really liked Stormblood’s overall plot and characters! Learning about the Xaela and Raen were super neat portions of lore.
    • Pocket Card Jockey is a 3DS game by GAME FREAK where you race horses by playing solitaire, which I picked up because it was on sale for 30% off! It is extremely addicting and cute. There’s a demo! Go pick it up!
    • I also tried out the Miitopia demo on a friend’s recommendation and I liked it more than expected! It’s an RPG, but the game randomly assigns Miis (both your own and those made by others) to NPC roles throughout the game which makes for some very wacky, very screenshottable situations. There’s also a cute relationship mechanic where characters in your party can interact in different ways as their relationship develops through battle and while resting at inns. I’m not sure I like it enough to pick up the full game, though.
    • Still working on Persona 5! And FF15… which I’ll finish… eventually…
  • Podcasts: The Adventure Zone: Balance wrapped up, and man, it turned out to be one of my favorite stories in any medium. I also finished the latest season of Rose Buddies, and stuck with it as the hosts decided they didn’t want to cover The Bachelor(ette) anymore and pivoted it into a new podcast called Wonderful! which has been very positive and cute so far! Also trying out The Besties and The Polygon Show, though I’m not sure I need to listen to multiple video game podcasts at once.
  • Other:
    • Went with some friends to the FFXIV Trials of Bahamut Escape Game! We got painfully close to figuring it out. It was fun, though!
    • I. SAW. HAMILTON. OH. MY. GOD. IT. WAS. GOOD. LIVE.
    • Ran my third session of D&D! I think I’m getting better at moving my 6-person party of players through dungeons more quickly. I hope I can keep this up!
    • Watched the first few episodes of Dad of Light! It’s cute so far.
    • Oh yeah I turned 28 and received some books and tamagotchis for my birthday. Already the best year ever!

Chronicles: 2017 Spring

Academic

  • I spent most of the spring finishing up job interviews and calling/visiting with the companies I had already interviewed to try and figure out where I want to go! I thought the interview process itself was agonizing, but I think this part of the process was even more so. I had to decide whether I wanted a more academic research career, or whether I wanted to do something a little bit more product-focused, and I had great options for both paths. In the end, I decided to join Adobe as a research scientist, and I’m very excited about starting there this summer!
    • Though I don’t have any regrets about my choice, I will always be curious about what my life would have been like if I had chosen the other path. It’s the story of my life: should I have gone to art school rather than major in computer science in college? Would I have been a successful artist? Had I focused on art, would I be happier than I am now? Would a life as a user experience researcher been a better fit for my life goals? Or would I have regretted it? Do I now have more freedom to work on the creative projects I want to work on than I would have had otherwise?
    • People say “you never know until you try”, but I feel like in certain cases (like when choosing a career path), you can’t really try all the options because the side effects are expensive (like choosing where I live considering where my partner lives, how much I’ll be able to work on my other personal goals in the meantime, etc). I guess the truth is I’ll never know, and I should accept that.

Art

  • Finished a print featuring one of my favorite game series in whole wide world, Harvest Moon! One of my goals was to work on unifying color schemes and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
  • Continuing to do my “weekly” color sketches, though I only ended up doing one of Tohru from Dragon Maid since the last time I made a blog post.
  • Designed some new charms based on video game life bars!
  • I tabled at Anime Central in Rosemont, IL, then Fanime in San Jose, CA the week after! It was my first time at both cons, and it was crazy and hectic, but I made awesome friends and ended up selling out of many products at both cons! I’m super flattered that people loved the stuff I make ;_;
  • Got lots of commissions done for these cons as well! I still have a few I need to finish, ahh!
  • Participated in lots of fanzines: Pokemon Z-food, Memento Lumina (FFXIV player character zine), Lux Itineris (Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Fanzine, featuring fanart of all the major games in the series)
  • I was interviewed for /r/AnimeSketch!
  • Got into Crunchyroll Expo, so I’ll be going to that later this year! I got into GeekGirlCon as well but decided to decline (and I reallllly wanted to go!), but I’m already going to San Japan that month, and don’t want to make life too crazy while I’m still getting used to my new job.
  • Started my first freelance design project ever! Working on logo and website redesigns for my sister and her husband’s trading card and board game store.

Personal

  • Travel: Visited home for a few weeks for a lengthy family emergency. Thankfully things turned out fine, but I was definitely focused on nothing but home for a while.
    • My baby sister graduated from college, and my partner graduated with his PhD! Yay!
    • A couple of friends of ours got married! They had a beautiful outdoor wedding with video game music and a boba bar and it was so perfect for them.
  • Finally moved off campus and into an apartment!
  • Anime: Kimi no Na Wa (really cute and emotional movie!), Gintama (binged several more episodes and I’m at a point where backstory and plot actually come into play? I like the mix of story and slapstick humor!), My Hero Academia S2 (still very good, loving diving into each of the characters more), Kemono Friends (cute with a mysterious story, don’t let the low production quality fool you!)
    • Tried: Eromanga Sensei (I hate this show so much D:),Sakura Quest (had high hopes because it’s by the same studio that made Shirobako, but sadly it’s not very charming or funny)
  • Games: Started FFXIV Stormblood! Too bad early access day ran into so many problems — I’ll have to revisit it after server issues get sorted out. Also started Persona 5 and it is fantastic! The music is great, the UI design is great, the character designs are great! The writing is still pretty good, but I agree with others in saying that characters all seem to talk very similarly, which is a bit strange. Still playing mobile games — but despite the fact I’m trying to quit most of them, Granblue Fantasy is still a daily staple and I recently tried out FF Brave Exvius and Fate Grand Order, both of which I haven’t quite figured out yet.
  • Books: Finished Improv Wisdom, highly recommended and an easy read! It’s definitely one of those books with nuggets of wisdom that I’ll refer back to repeatedly. Started reading Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.
  • Podcasts: Tried out a tabletop gaming podcast called Friends at the Table! I haven’t gotten too deep into it since the episodes are so long, and I’m maybe too used to the faster pace and storytelling style of The Adventure Zone. I’ll keep trying it though! I also started Rose Buddies which I was surprised to find I enjoy even though I don’t watch The Bachelor(ette) at all.
  • I’ve definitely fallen behind on my goal to being more politically engaged and active in contacting my state representatives! I need to get back to doing that!

 

Chronicles: 2017 Winter

Academic

  • I turned in my dissertation! I’m officially a PhD!
  • Still focusing on job interviews. Taking it slowly, as I’m trying to sync up with my partner’s academic job search as well, but I’m trying to get my foot in the door on opportunities before others are hired onto interesting projects and teams. It’s a bit hard getting the timing right…
  • Presented two projects at CSCW in Portland: Mosaic, and Mechanical Novel. I was immensely surprised at how well these projects were received and had a rad time talking to people about their thoughts in this research area.
  • I moved Mosaic off of Heroku to a proper HTTPS-only server, so now it loads in less than a few seconds! 😛 You can find Mosaic at http://myartprocess.com. (Uh… how’s that for SEO?)
  • Served on a Papers Committee for the first time, for Creativity and Cognition 2017! I was a bit nervous about rounding up good reviewers (and hounding them to do reviews), but it wasn’t too bad! 😛
  • Took a class on iOS development for fun! Swift is actually pretty fun to code in. I just wish iOS had more of a SQL-like model for handling data storage, but maybe I’m just not used to Core Data yet.

Art

  • Finally put together incomplete, a digital charity zine showing how different artists work on their art process! Through a pay-what-you-want set of sales, we were able to raise $92 for Artists for Humanity!
  • I got a table at San Japan for 2017! So many out-of-state cons this year.
  • No new Herogirl chapter. I’d like to take some time to try out making a full draft of the comic before making final pages and seeing if that helps with my storytelling. So, I’m taking a break and doing a bunch of filler comics for a while.
  • Successfully did a comic for Hourly Comics Day 2017!
  • Did a good number of commissions and Christmas gifts and birthday gifts!
  • I’ve also been trying to do smaller, messier sketches more often. I need to get in the mindset of quantity over quantity. These “sketches” still take about 2 hours each 😛
  • Speaking of doing art really slow, I spent this whole quarter working on an original print! It’s a weird experiment with pixel art + painting… it’ll be interesting to see how it does at cons!
  • I now have 2000+ followers on Tumblr! Pretty cool!

Personal

  • Still doing daily journaling in my Hobonichi Techo! I got some Midliner highlighters for Christmas which have made making colorful journal pages very easy and fun. Also, I’ve realized I now have a reason to buy stickers and washi tape at anime cons! Bring on the stationery!
  • Travel: Went back to Washington for Christmas! Not much to report there — just chill time with friends and family. I did go hiking with my parents. And my dad did something embarrassing.
    • Went to Portland for CSCW! The conference reception was at the friggin’ Portland Art Museum! They had a live band playing, and the museum was open just for us conference goers. To top it off, the ending plenary was by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics fame — it was engaging, funny, and it was cool to learn about what he does outside of comics (namely, science education outreach).
    • It was weird knowing my childhood home was nearby but that someone else lives there now. I missed riding the MAX. I missed the airport carpet. I was surprised at how popular Blue Star Donuts has gotten. I got to check out some cool restaurants (Tasty n Alder, Apizza Scholls, and Farm Spirit).
  • Anime: Maidragon (so good!), Digimon Tri Loss (many mixed feelings), Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Parts 1 – 4 (loved it), RWBY Volume 4 (fun but want more story!), Pokemon XY(Z) (the character development and writing is surprisingly good?)
    • Tried: Gabriel Dropout (meh), Masamune-kun’s Revenge (cringey, and all the characters are jerks?), Scum’s Wish (hard to watch)
    • Also tried Terrace House on Netflix! I’m always wary about reality TV because I can’t handle watching frustrating conflict, but it actually started out kinda sweet and interesting! But I let my guard down: soon the show rotated in new people, and the fighting started. Noooo thanks.
  • Games: Continuing to play Granblue Fantasy and Final Fantasy Record Keeper, all the while questioning whether I should be keeping up with it. Finished the story quests for FFXIV Heavensward and survived the credits reel. Can’t wait for Stormblood! Played my first horror game (INSIDE) with a friend, and it was actually really fun and very well-designed. Ran another D&D session — I think I’m getting the hang of it!
  • Books: Slowly getting through Encyclopaedia Eorzea! Started reading Improv Wisdom. Each chapter is bite-sized, and I’m enjoying using each chapter as material for my daily journal entries.
  • Podcasts: Started listening to NPR Politics! I’m trying to be more politically active by calling and writing to my state representatives about what’s important to me and staying informed about what’s going on and potential consequences of whatever is happening.

Chronicles: 2016 Autumn

Academic

  • I took this quarter off to focus on ~*job hunting*~. Conversations with a few companies are still ongoing, and I’m still reaching out to look for more opportunities. I’d really love to work on something that allows me to help creators make cool stuff.
  • Finished my thesis, and committee signed off on all of it! Now all I have to do is turn it in! Ahhh!

Art

  • I tabled at Krakencon! I was happy to see that it was lively and busy as always. I stayed busy the whole time working on a ton of commissions. Also, there was a balloon artist there creating hilarious balloon pokemon. I happened to find that that particular photo I took is being used in a meme-like manner in a few places, so that’s cool I guess.
  • Managed to get a table at Anime Central, Fanime, and Anime Expo for 2017! Really excited to do out-of-state cons for the first time this year!
  • Hit 100+ sales on my Etsy store!
  • Successfully completed Inktober again this year! I put together another book of drawings based on the sketches I did and am really happy with how it came out. (The color cover, for one, is a lot better than last year’s!)
  • I’ve had a set of gouache paints sitting around since I nabbed them from an Amazon sale almost a year ago, and finally sat down to try them out! I started by doing a little Pokemon Sun and Moon fanart painting, then also used it for some Christmas presents. I really like it so far — being able to create watercolor-like washes and layer paints like acrylic makes it a forgiving medium!
  • Made some holiday-themed Nintendo greeting cards! They sold pretty well at Krakencon and on Etsy in December.
  • Finished Herogirl Chapter 5! I have a lot of mixed feelings about how I went about with this chapter. I need to work on writing more simply and not getting caught up in little details, as I’m increasingly realizing that readers won’t notice all the “nuances” I think I’m including in the story. I need to focus more on the bigger elements.
  • Put together a summary of my artwork from 2016. Pretty happy with my work this year! It’s definitely an improvement compared to last year. I need to focus more on color and composition in 2017!
  • I also took advantage of the photos of old artwork I took while visiting home and put together an look at how my art has changed from 2000 to 2016! It’s pretty crazy how far I’ve come, and how much I accelerated in the last two years because I made working on art a high priority for myself.

Personal

  • I kept up with journaling in my Hobonichi Techo every day! It was surprising how much I looked forward to journaling in the morning. I was worried I’d get tired of doing little sketches (sometimes with watercolor) every day, but it got easier over time. A really nice way to insert a little creativity each day without worrying about the outcome. Feels weird starting over with a blank journal for the new year.
  • Travel: I went to FFXIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas with my free company! It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a convention. We braved the merch line and ran around meeting and getting autographs from the development team as well as some streamers/YouTubers! The end concert was AMAZING.
  • Anime: Yuri on Ice (cute!), Haikyuu S3 (very Tsukishima-focused, which I am not complaining about), Digimon Adventure Tri Confession (emotional), Shelter, Sound! Euphonium S2 (ended a bit flat? but enjoyed the show nontheless), New Game (relaxing), The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (one of my favorite comedy anime!), Gakuen Handsome (weird, but funny), Sailor Moon Super S (I am surprised at how well this show has aged, still loving it)
    • Tried: Wagnaria, March Comes in Like a Lion, Nyanbo
    • Dramas: I’m really picky about dramas, but I started watching We Got Married as a Job and it is the cutest thing on earth! The conflict in the show is based on characters’ wants/needs rather than on misunderstandings, so it’s not frustrating to watch.
  • Games: FFXII, Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, Pokemon Sun, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Pretty good couple months for games! I also DMed for a D&D game for the first time! It could have gone better, but it could have gone worse! I figured out a lot of stuff on how to do it better next time and am excited to run my next session.
    • I’ve been dabbling in some mobile games like Granblue Fantasy and Final Fantasy Record Keeper, and I’ll probably stick with them as long as they don’t become a huge time sink.
  • Books: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It was an extremely relatable book for me (putting on an extrovert disguise, wondering about whether I’m “normal”, feeling like I need to take time for myself…). It was an exploration into the psychology of introversion and a good way to understand where it comes from and why being introverted is even a thing (evolutionarily speaking), and paired that investigation with some practical suggestions on how to make the most of your strengths and take care of yourself. This is probably going to be one of those books I’ll read a few times over.
  • Podcasts: I listen to enough podcasts that I guess I should start a category for this! I currently listen to My Brother, My Brother And Me, The Adventure Zone, Stuff You Should Know, and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!. Trying out CoolGames Inc after watching a lot of Griffin and Nick’s other shows on the Polygon YouTube channel (Monster Factory, Car Boys, Touch the Skyrim). I’ve been looking for some entrepreneurship/creative business-y podcasts, but haven’t found any that were very interesting.

Chronicles: 2016 Summer

Academic

  • I’ve been interning at Yahoo with the awesome UX research group! I learned a ton about user research methods and tools, as well as how the work differs from the more academic work I’m used to. I was hoping UX research was going to be the magic career that would match up with my life perfectly, but I find that I still don’t know what I want to do when I graduate. Maybe I’m setting my expectations too high. I have to remember that any career will have good and bad parts to it. Above all, I need to get used to the idea that I’m probably going to have structured working hours. As a grad student I used to lament that work time could be any time, but now that I’m at the end of it all and have figured out a good system for managing my time, I think I’m going to sorely miss my freedom.
  • My two CSCW papers were both accepted into the revise & resubmit stage of acceptance! One did a lot better than the other. After a ton of revising, I was happy to see that both papers were accepted to the conference. Now for camera-ready edits!

Art

  • I tabled at Kinyoobi-Con! They expanded the Artist Alley a tiny bit this year, but traffic (and sales) were definitely down compared to last year, so I think I’m going to have to pass on this con in future years. However, nice staff, and free food! Got to do a commission of a client’s OC!
  • After some nail-biting, managed to snag a table for Krakencon in the Fall!
  • A few bigger commissions this summer! I think I’ve found my niche: anime-style portraits of friends and family.
  • Made new artwork for Herogirl! I’m using them on my business cards now, and maybe I can figure out how to incorporate it into a cover for the Chapter 2 book? I’m really proud of the colors on this one.
  • Because I hate my arms, I started and finished a submission for the FFXIV Fan Fest art contest in like 5 days! I think it’s probably the most complex composition I’ve ever done and I really feel like I pushed the limits of my skills with this one. I suspect having such a tight deadline made me second-guess myself much less than usual.
  • My Etsy shop has been getting a noticeably increased number of sales and views! I’m experimenting with Instagram marketing, and that seemed to boost sales quite a bit. The release of Pokemon GO has also boosted my Pokemon stuff! I also added a new item for sale: magical girl charms.
  • Herogirl Chapter 5 is still underway! Still nervous about wrapping up the chapter nicely. It’s almost done…
  • As one of my research projects, I created Mosaic, a community for artists to share works-in-progress snapshots of their art! It saw a bit of activity even after the research project ended. It’s definitely on my todo-list to move it to a proper server and market it a bit…

Personal

  • Still working on exercising regularly! I’ve been trying to stick to meditation using Headspace, but I’m only managing about 2 or 3-day streaks. I usually try to do 10-minute sessions in the morning, but internship work commutes sort of messed up with that plan. I had a hard time finding an alternate time for some quiet time. I stuck with yoga fairly successfully, though, and have been using Pokemon GO as an excuse to go walking for long amounts of time during the weekends.
  • Travel: I went to my cousin’s wedding and it was beautiful! After that, I headed to Japan to basically do an art pilgrimage through Naoshima/Teshima and Roppongi Hills.
  • Anime: My Hero Academia (good ol’ fashioned shounen anime feels), Mob Psycho (my favorite anime of the season so far!), The Disastrous Life of Saiki Kusuo (my second favorite!), This Art Club Has a Problem (third favorite!), Love Live Sunshine (doing a pretty good job distinguishing itself from the original), Shokugeki no Souma (mindlessly entertaining, and ruining my ability to enjoy food at fancy restaurants because I keep thinking about how anime people would react to food), New Game (Yuru Yuri-ish vibe, mildly entertaining and relaxing to watch? Also glad I don’t work in Japan). I also finished Princess Kaguya (the Ghibli movie… beautiful movie, ends very sadly)
    • Tried: Qualidea Code (so hilariously bad), Love Lab (a bit too cringey)
  • Games: Finally finished Stardew Valley (with about 3/4 of the available achievements and high praise from my in-game grandpa)! I am finally free from my farming prison. Getting ready for the new FFXIV and gearing up! And still playing FFXII, and am now in the last dungeon. The end is near!
  • Books: The Lean Startup! It was pretty interesting to read this while working at a large company. Definitely food for thought on how to work with others on projects. Also gave me some ideas on how to grow Mosaic into something beyond a research project.

Chronicles: 2016 Spring

Academic

  • CHI was earlier this month! I attempted to attend but only ended up being there for like a day-and-a-half. I wish I could have hung out with more people! But…
  • …I had to work on two papers to submit to CSCW! It was nuts!
  • What was even more nuts is that I scheduled my thesis defense the same day as the CSCW deadline. Why did I do that, you ask? I… forgot, okay? I forgot that was the deadline. When I checked to see if my tentative thesis defense date would clash with anything, I saw that it clashed with Fanime, despaired a little, and assumed there wasn’t anything else important going on that day. I was wrong. Anyway, I passed.
  • Then, despite forgetting to order my doctoral regalia on time, I graduated! Woohoo!

Art

  • I tabled at Krakencon Spring! I purposefully limited commissions this time around because my brain was so dead from school, but I still had fun meeting new people and old friends! Krakencon is still a wonderfully run con and I enjoyed this year (as I did last year!). I was really happy to see my acrylic charms selling well!
  • Unfortunately, not much time for other art stuff this quarter!

Personal

  • I had to opportunity to go to a Miku Expo concert! Miku has a surprising amount of stage presence for a hologram. I had fun being an idol cheer squad member. Also, I had not really listened to Anamanaguchi’s music before, and I really enjoyed their opening music!
  • Trying to exercise regularly. I’ve been going to Vinyasa Yoga twice a week and am surprised at my ability to do pushups now.
  • Anime: Not much this time around! Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (fills the Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun shaped hole in my heart, so funny and cute), Osomatsu-san (absolutely not what I expected, but good also), Space Patrol Luluco (not a whole lot of substance but fun and short)
  • Tried: My name is Sakamoto (started out promising, but the jokes got old after a while), Re:Zero (depressing???), Kiznaiver (people get hurt a lot and I didn’t like that, but I am told it gets better so I may pick it up again), Gyakuten Saiban (I really, really wanted this to be good, but I’m sticking to the games. Anime Maya is great, though!)
  • Games: So much Stardew Valley! I played for like 4 hours straight after finishing my defense. I also caught up with the main story quest (Patch 3.3!) in FFXIV… I still love the story so far!

Chronicles: 2016 Winter

Academic

  • I presented Storia, my MSR research project on generating story summaries of social media events using narrative structure, at CSCW 2016 in February! It was held at the Hyatt in San Francisco.
  • I secured a Yahoo Internship for the summer! I was originally going to intern with Yahoo Research, but, uh, some stuff happened. But the silver lining is this: I now get to intern with Yahoo UX Research, which is awesome because UX research is a career path I’m definitely considering for after I graduate.
  • Committee assembled! Defense scheduled! I’m going to be defending at the end of May.

Art

  • I finished Herogirl Chapter 4! I’m not super happy with this chapter, storytelling-wise. Chapter 5 is shaping up to be more interesting.
  • I… have 2,000+ likes on Facebook? This is sort of nuts!
  • I tabled at Sacanime in Sacramento! This is probably the furthest I’ve traveled for a con. It was nice to actually have some time to hang out with artist friends! I also had con roommates for the first time, which turned out awesome. The con itself was super slow at first — partially because Christmas had just happened, partially because it was New Year’s weekend, and partially because the Artist Alley was too big for the attendance count — but picked up later in the weekend. Strangely, I sold less merch than usual, but wayyyy more commissions than I’m used to! I actually had to turn people down, and even then I was finishing them up for about a month after the show was over. I’ll probably not do Sacanime Winter again, but I’ll give Sacanime Summer a go next year!
  • I also tabled at AOD (the first show I ever did! Daw.) and Anime Destiny (first time there!). Again, so many commissions.
  • I started streaming artwork on Twitch! My stream is set-up all fancy-like, with an overlay and everything! I also started posting the recorded videos as speedpaints on Youtube.
  • Due to the lack of traffic I experienced on Storenvy, I moved my store to Etsy! I’ve been dabbling in learning a bit about SEO here and there and tweaking my listings, and it’s super exciting to see people finding my stuff and favorting them.
  • I participated in the Undertale Album Project! Artists were paired to a musician and asked to create a piece of artwork that matched the track created by the musician. I was assigned to create artwork for Helena Ruth’s lovely track, Fallen Back. Really fun to do a collab with another creator.
  • Lots of merch firsts: acrylic charms, a collaborative zine, and Nintendo-themed valentines!

Personal

  • Sadly, no travel or books to report. I need to at least get back in the habit of reading regularly.
  • Anime: Haikyuu S2 (beautiful animation and story as ever!), ERASED (my vote for best anime of the season. Chilling story with characters full of hope. Really good!), Silver Spoon (hilarious moments of humor, nice story about kids wanting to achieve their dreams! I feel ya, kids.), Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (unsure about this one at first, but the story and cinematography is A+), Love Live s2 + movie (not as good as the first? seems like a rehash of the same themes, with nothing different), RWBY S1 (surprisingly good for such short episodes and low budget!)
  • Tried: Myriad Phantom World (there’s no plot?), Sekko Boys (weird), Dagashi Kashi (boring?), Prince of Stride (too dating sim for me), She and Her Cat (tried on a whim, expected cute, got depressing)
  • Games: I bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and spent too much time on it. As of this writing, I have weaned myself off of it, and I hope I can play it in moderation from now on. And with the announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon, I got hyped up for pokemon, asked my friend to teach me how to EV-train, so I’ve been raising a battle team. I caught up to Heavensward in FFXIV, played through Firewatch (really pretty and interesting short game), and now I’m spending my mornings with some Stardew Valley over breakfast. I need to get back to FFXII…