- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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…
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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…