Chronicles: 2015 Autumn

Academic

  • I gave my thesis proposal this quarter! It involves a whopping four projects (two have already been done, though!) which resulted in a 40 minute talk (apologies to my entire research group). I received lots of great feedback from my committee and other faculty and students, so thanks all for that! It’s the beginning of the end…
  • I’ve been continuing work on my failure project, which has been on a rocky journey, to say the least! The underlying idea is one that resonates strongly with me and pretty much everyone else I’ve pitched it to: that current creativity tools focus on good output, rather than on the fact that creative work lies in exploring and developing a creative process. So, let’s design tools that help people do that! The problem is, I’ve been having a lot of trouble deciding what that even looks like:
    • First, the project started out as online community where people upload intermediate screenshots of things they’re working on in Photoshop.
    • Then, it turned into an analysis of online art mentoring communities.
    • Then, it turned into a tool that answers art process questions based on data from these art mentoring communities.
    • Then, because that didn’t work out so well, it turned back into looking at how to create an online community where people share works-in-progress.
    • And all the while, I kept floundering because I wasn’t sure whether the project was achieving my goal of creating a tool that encouraged failure. This is a prime case of me limiting my research direction by hanging onto an idea that I really liked, in addition to not clearly identifying to myself and my collaborators what I really meant by failure. I think what happened is that I really liked the idea of process, and I probably should have stuck with that instinct instead of trying to fit this grand idea of creating tools for failure I knew everyone already approved.
    • Plus, I got really scared of putting a lot of work into something because I was convinced it probably wasn’t going to work out anyway. But I just need to keep telling myself that’s silly (and ironic, given the project idea), because why would that be a sure thing?
    • I’m hoping I can tackle this project with a vengeance next quarter and get it done!
  • I… have to start thinking about jobs. Currently, I’m about 80% sure I don’t want to go into academia. (That percentage fluctuates multiple times a day, though.)
  • One of my favorite artists is also a life sciences researcher, and they made an awesome mini-comic about how research works that I really enjoyed. Also a good way to explain research to friends and family who want to know more about what research work is actually like!

Art

  • I tabled at CampbellCon, which was my first comic con! I even got to work on a few custom sketch covers for a fellow vendor there, which was a fun experience. I think I’m swearing off super-small cons from now on, though — they’re fun, but a lot of work and time for not as many customers.
  • I also tabled at Krakencon Fall, which was an insane experience! Not only was it held on the USS Hornet, it was crazy busy and this single event put me back in the green for the year. I sold a ton of stuff!
  • I participated in Inktober this year, which resulted in a lot of drawings! Each one took about 1 or 2 hours, and I’m proud of myself for drawing every day. I also tried to create backgrounds and scenes for each ones, rather than being lazy and drawing portraits over and over. I’ve definitely gotten better at composition!
  • There is now a print version of Herogirl Chapter 1! Learning Indesign and putting together a book was so much fun. I’ll be selling these at cons and in my online store from now on!
  • Book mania! I also put together an artbook of my Inktober sketches which will also be sold at cons and in my online store.
  • Herogirl Chapter 4 is underway!
  • Reached 1000+ followers on Tumblr, and 400+ likes on Facebook!
  • I’ve actually been doing a fair number of commissions also, but most of them are gifts so I won’t post them online for fear of spoiling surprises :) But it feels good to know that people find my work valuable enough to give as a gift.

Personal

  • Travel: I was in Singapore for about 10 days! It’s super hot, humid, and I was being eaten up by mosquitos, but I had a grand time visiting people, learning about the history, and eating oh-so-delicious (and cheap!) food. I especially enjoyed the Night and River Safari near the Singapore Zoo.
  • Books: I finished The Righteous Mind, and found it really good! I found it appropriately neutral in its explanation of why people believe what they do. I also finished reading Creativity Inc. It’s not a practical handbook, but rather the story of how a bunch of people who really wanted to make something stayed reflective and determined in maintaining their creative spirit. Loved it.
  • Anime: Classroom Crisis (started out so great, but pretty unhappy with the ending!), Wagnaria (creeped out by the first season but it grew on me during the next two seasons), Nichijou (weirded out at first, but slowly became hilarious), The Devil is a Part Timer (this is now among my top ten favorite anime), One Punch Man (can’t speak for the story, but the characters are funny and the animation is majestic), Nichibro AKA The Daily Lives of High School Boys (super off-the-wall and kind of cute in a weird way?), Yuru Yuri Season 3 (meh), Digimon Adventure Tri (heartbroken — the story was OK, characters were written great, the animation quality was awful!?), Love Live (better than expected!), Inu x Boku (cute), Saekano (ew), Shokugeki no Souma (weekly dose of shounen), Himouto (meh), Wooser (hilarious)
    • Anime I started and abandoned: Charlotte, Gatchaman Crowds, Is Your Order a Rabbit
  • Games: Undertale. UNDERTALE! I knew it was supposed to be a good game, but it blew my expectations out of the water. It’s charming, clever, and emotional, and has wonderful music besides. In a complete 180, I also achieved 100% completion on Hatoful Boyfriend because despite how horrifying it is, I couldn’t put it down. I still can’t decide whether I hate it or love it. Pausing on FFXII because I’ve wasted too much time already. Instead, I’m wasting time trying to catch up in FFXIV. Send help.