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…

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.

Chronicles: 2015 Summer

Academic

  • I participated in the Graduate Symposium for Creativity and Cognition 2015! Basically, I gave a short talk about all the research I’ve done so far (sorta like a practice version of my eventual thesis proposal). It was a very valuable experience — not only did I get great feedback from fellow graduate students and the panel, but it was also a good forcing function for me to think clearly about how all my work so far fits together and how to construct a cohesive story and theme. Also, I think I picked the right conference for my work, which helped a lot (I loved all the talks!). I also had a poster on designing creativity tools for failure.
  • This summer, I also had the opportunity to participate in the CURIS program at Stanford! It’s basically a summer research internship experience for undergraduates, who apply to various ongoing research projects in the department and help out with them over the summer! I had two wonderful undergrads to help me out with my project on designing tools for failure, and had a lot of fun organizing board game nights for our research group 😀
  • My paper on crowdsourcing social media stories using narrative structure got into CSCW, after two rejections from CHI and ICWSM! The feedback from reviewers were great, and I’m much happier with the state of the paper now.

Art

Personal

  • Travel: I spent about two days in Edinburgh hostels right after Creativity and Cognition. Scotland is amazing! There’s something relaxing about travelling alone.
  • Books: I finished American Gods! It was interesting, and super weird. Not sure how I feel about the ending! I’m in the middle of The Righteous Mind right now.
  • Anime: Kuroko no Basuke (FEELS), Ore Monogatari (cute and relaxing), Kinmoza 2 (cute as always!), Hibike Euphonium (WOW, I loved it. The last two episodes were fantastic!), Food Wars (my weekly dose of shounen), I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying 2 (more cuteness), Punchline (so promising but so bad), Oregairu (sarcastic and clever)
  • Games: I got Fantasy Life and Story of Seasons for my birthday! Started Fantasy Life — it’s a nice relaxing sort of game, kinda like Animal Crossing with RPG elements. Currently chugging through FFXII (still). My boyfriend got me back into FFXIV, so now I have a level 50 Bard, and I have bought Heavensward. 😛

Chronicles: 2015 Spring

Academic

  • Participated in yearly Berkeley-Stanford Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering meetup! I gave a talk on my project, Motif (and also used this as a chance to practice my talk before CHI :P) It was great to get together with all the cool women who were there, but I am noticing that I know less and less people with each coming year because the people I know start graduating. T_T
  • Presented Motif at CHI 2015, which was in Seoul, Korea! Motif was one of the several papers from the Stanford Research group to receive an Honorable Mention award. Really proud of everyone!
  • My poster to Creativity & Cognition got in! I also ended up applying for and getting accepted to the Graduate Symposium sooooo I guess I’m working on pitching my thesis now.
  • My ICWSM submission didn’t get in, so I submitted it to CSCW instead! I tried to submit a more recent project to CSCW as well, but my results didn’t turn out well so that project ended up getting shelved for now.
  • Spun up a new project about how to support experiences of failure for creative novices! That will be the project my CURIS students and I will be working on this summer.
  • I completed the Machine Learning course on Coursera.

Art

  • I made my first printsCatprint, the printing company I used, wants to feature me as an Artist of the Month, so in the near future, one of my prints will be sent out with every anime-related order they ship for one month!
  • My drawing frequency dropped a bit due to paper deadlines, but I still got some drawing done!
  • I wasn’t able to get into Fanime’s Artist Alley, so I registered to table at a few small conventions instead: CogsCon and Kinyoobicon.
  • CogsCon happened June 6, and it was my first time having a full table for myself! The Artist Alley was super dead for the first few hours, but got much busier during the second half of the day, during which I was able to make some good sales! It was good practice for larger cons, and both staff and attendees were super nice. I was sad when they announced this would probably be their last year.
  • Continuing my streak of putting out a Herogirl page once a week. I need to start writing the next chapter…
    • 4,311 unique users made 57,319 pageviews this quarter. I didn’t have any superstar comics this quarter that pulled a lot of people from one place, like last quarter.
    • People are viewing about 6 pages in 3 – 4 minutes per visit session
    • Bounce rate is about 60% overall
    • The most viewed comic is the first comic!
  • Started setting up a Storenvy store to sell leftover product online. It’ll open in the summer!

Personal

  • Travel: CHI was in Korea, so I took the chance to visit a bunch of family! Then, I spent about 10 days in Japan, sightseeing in Kyoto and Tokyo. AMAZING.
  • Attended Fanime 2015! It was fun seeing so many artists I met at AOD, and it was amazing how much more fun the Artist Alley was now that I know people! I bought too much stuff.
  • Books: Not a lot of reading this quarter. I read my first Terry Pratchett book, Small Gods.
  • Anime: Yuru Yuri (hilarious), Kiniro Mosaic (also hilarious), Shirobako (LOVED IT! Highly recommended to anyone who’s ever worked really hard to make anything), Yowamushi Pedal (got super repetitive but I COULD NOT STOP WATCHING IT)
  • Games: No games finished this quarter :( I’m working very slowly through FFXII.