- Still getting used to things at work! Getting more used to working with product teams, but struggling in finding exactly what my role is in the company. Part of me says to pursue interesting research projects and figure out how my work fits in later because that will take time to figure out anyway.
- Gave my first talk as a full-time researcher at Berkeley and got to chat with a lot of great students! It was a good experience even though I only talked about old work since I don’t have anything new to show off yet. 😛
- Went to UIST 2017 in Quebec City, Canada! It was my first time going to Quebec, and I was probably overly nervous about going to a French-speaking place, but it turned out fine! It was my first time going to UIST as well, and it was fun learning about a lot of research areas on creativity support that I’m not familiar with. A couple of paper presentations I enjoyed:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.