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Friday, April 1, 2016

Somehow Slytherin // Being both Ambitious and Afraid of Greatness & BurpAvatar Exploration Pt2 [MAR 2016]

Leonie's small blog island says hullo! (:

Let's talk about dreams about greatness and reality... 


    Let's go crazy! Journal Time.

    It's weird. When I was in my teaching career and did the Pottermore quiz, I was sorted into the Hufflepuff house; I was in a different state of mind (a more hopeless and sad one). Doing it now again landed me in the "cunning, ambitious, resourceful, shrewd, determined" Slytherin House. Whoa! 
    I don't know if I'm any/all of these things (because you can't take the quiz too seriously)! 

    Whelp, I'll just try my best to keep progressing and making art for people and for myself :0 
    Making the most of what I have. I'll let you judge for yourself if I'm any of these things.

    Since I'm "sorted" and as an eternal learning student, I went along with it ;)
    I'm quiet, invisible and reserved anyway in person so who cares hoho

    CONTENTS for your READING QUEST:


    Year 3, Month 3 (March)

      Leonie Yue's Sketchbook: BurpAvatar Exploration Mainly! 

      They Cannot Know
      Art Study Portrait
      She Had Love in Her Eyes 
      Art Study Portrait
      Yet it was time to say our Goodbyes.
      Sometimes words are best left unsaid.

      So many times when I wish I didn't ramble so much 
      but it balances out with being so quiet most of the time as well.
      Super Listen Mode Comic Take 2
      Sometimes I'm too invested in what you're saying.
      And I forget that I’m supposed to respond. I do try though! 

      Either I haven't warmed up to someone well enough or I just want to keep thinking about what was said rather than what I should say. :0
      .
      I guess if I want to say something, it'll eventually happen! ;D
      Self Portrait (026)
      Hey where my blog's header comes from!
      Obviously too terribly stylised to even look like me haha
      Self Portrait (027)
      I have unruly hair so as I wait for it to grow out, there you go. 
      Self Portrait (031)
      I don't know about this though the eyes are more like mine! It's getting close!
      Super Listen Mode Comic P3
      I am the ultimate “thinking before speaking” for better or for worse.

      Think “O Fortuna” as the music for additional exaggeration.

      Exaggeration aside: I actually jump from long rambling form to brief and scarce replies as would any normal person. It depends on the situation, the other person's perceived patience and how comfortable I am to be able to ramble away with someone. Or if I need to be long and comprehensive about something out of clarity & necessity. Or I'm keeping it short, concise and impersonal to get the communication across. Or if we know each other so well, I don't even need to say much at all and they get it already.

      It's just with me, I tend to ramble too much when I'm trying to get comfortable with someone's company or if I don't have anything planned to say. When I realise it's too much I revert back to brief responses. 
      This is the usual dance!
      Ah the wonders of human interaction from the perspective of an ex-Hermit. :0 
      Always learning and acknowledging!

      I was able to play Journey for the first time! 
      (Thanks generous bro for getting it! <3)
      Simple little fanart for the brilliant and beautiful game. Made noises of awe and satisfaction!
      SPOILERS:
      I keep getting hurt to the point that I had literally no scarf and saw two other people who've played it before (they had fancy patterns and longer scarves). They didn't hang around the newbie for long. >:
      Popsicle P.I. Update Twitter Hints!
      ShootySkies comics for Mighty might be a thing now :0

      You Don't make Friends with Salad RPG Game - Liam Esler's RPG GDC talk
      The Logo for Liam Esler's Fantastical RPG game for his GDC2016 Narrative Structure talk!
      A wonderful pleasure to work with this brilliantly enthusiastic person! :D
      Grateful he smuggled my art into his talk! <3 
      Carrot the Protagonist, 
      searching for their past. 
      Radishgast the Great Wizard!! 
      Mysterious, old, wise and crazy :D
      There were more characters planned but perhaps another day! 

      Perhaps it will be a real RPG game...?


      SuperListenMode 04
      Some form of insight into my reserved, introverted personality I guess D:

      Yes people have said this in various forms. 
      Yes one did scold me outright. 
      I don't blame them - as they're accustomed to fast replies and it goes down to different conversational styles. It's weird how it puts even more pressure on me to have "something to say" though when I'm pretty relaxed listening as it is. And then reflecting and forming my own thoughts after (or I'm prepared already). 

      Not targeting at anyone directly either; just an observation with a acquaintances over the years~! 

      It just highlights my internal conflict with whether I should pretend I talk like that too. Entertaining, fun, loud and booming with excited energy? Ultimately I don't do it because it's too forced and too much energy for me to do especially when there are talkative people already with energy and opinions to share. Eventually it becomes pretty clear to people when I'm forcing myself and exhausting my energy out. 

      I will definitely find a way to get what I want to say when it's work related mind you! I'm just terrible at bonding with others as a "slow-at-getting-to-know-people" kind of person.  
      Oh myyy
      Storytime!
      There was a toddler with a huge protected ipad. He threw a teary tantrum at his slightly older sister (who also had one) with lots of insults her way because apparently it's her fault the wifi doesn't reach the waiting room. So...he was just doing an angry cry because the internet doesn't work on his ipad. The mother knew what's up and told him to stop but he wasn't listening.
      Ohhh kids these days! Actually a lot of adults get grumpy when they don't get internet so what do I know! Haha
      And a head surgeon stared at this page for an awkward minute and finally complimented me when he was done looking and holding my makeshift sketchbook D:
      You're all bones under there...
      When I look at people in heels, I cringe at the imagined pain (as someone with slight arthritis now)
      Oh these are mostly train passengers or hospital patients...it depends on where I am! :0






      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


      BurpAvatar Progress: Exploration continues!


      I did the same poll for my BurpAvatar Mailing List peeps and one for the public.


      Last month, I asked if people preferred: 
      A) a quick, relatively cheap, simple and symbolic icon or 
      B) well thought out portrait illustration


      So I've been further exploring A) while the poll started because I haven't found something I like yet. 
      None of the portraits above are "quick and simple tiny icons" at least to me though. 
      They've been personalised illustrations thus far!


      The following three are illustration tests and fit in the B) category too:
      Lauren Clinnick BurpAvatar Test 
      Hey here she is again! 
      Another gift for this lovely lady.
      Self BurpAvatar Test
      Figured I still should go with the toony eyes 
      I still like both this and 031. I've cut my hair last month though.
      BurpAvatar Test
      I did a McGrump dude! :0 
      I think this art style is working and getting there. I just need to warm up to it.

      So I after a lot of struggle with the art style for a tiny icon, this is the current stage for the A) category...?
      Self BurpAvatar Test (038)
      Since there are people who want something quick, symbolic and small, I took a while to explore and test things out. As of current, I came up with this template where everyone shall be chubby, rosy in the cheeks with gigantic eyeballs. Too much like the Animal Crossing Character actually!
      Another BurpAvatar Test
      Seeing if this art style is working! 
      It's looking cool so far. It still needs some variety though.
      Probably my third portrait gift for now for her. She's so cute!

      It's obvious that this is *too* consistent so I don't think I'll be going this direction...of super close up faces as there's not much to work with? I need to explore further & make it more personalised and unique.


      Still I *might* cut out the A) Category completely if I still don't enjoy it that much after my umpteenth time of exploring. Because right now it's getting too samey for me. It's cute but...there's no fun it applying the same features to everybody without some reasonable degree of personalisation.


      I've give it one last round of tests because it seems like I'm in the right direction (ultra cute!) So more testing! And also testing for Category B) is needed! I'll limit it to two options rather than juggle with too many art styles. Because I had some in mind but I'm cutting those out.


      In preparation for mid-May! :0
      I can't experiment forever as I'd like to move on too!


      There's a suspicion of mine that not many would be able to afford an actual illustration from Category B) though but we'd see.


      Just know that when I do finally
      open commissions, I’m just going to open it for 4 days and close it up for the year

      I'll dub it as the 2016 edition of portraits.

      Why? Small steps and so that I don't do too many! I’d like to take a good break from doing these and depending on how things go, *maybe* do the 2017 edition of BurpAvatars. 

      Or probably not. I don't want to say I'll never do it again, but I get the sense that people want "fast, good and cheap" and I have yet to find this magical common ground.

      I am putting loads of thought into this because I'd like to keep this fun and with purpose for me. I'm more about quality. (:

      Generally, I have low expectations because I am completely aware that people expressing interest does not equate to actual BurpAvatar commissioners. Especially when avatars and portraits are simply not valued that high on people's radars. 

      It's reality yo! :0
      Let's see how May turns out. 
      Plus I gotta start somewhere because I haven't done this before.

      In the meantime, I shall keep experimenting with BurpAvatars! 
      Let me have my fun. ;)
          




      Being both Ambitious and Afraid of Greatness: 
      the Importance of Progress

      Ramble time! Yes I confess that I am ambitious for greatness. 

      GREATNESS!! :O!!

      Laughing at this silly optimism (and supposedly arrogant Slytherin traits) aside, 

      I am serious.


      Now let me stress that I am definitely amazed, immensely grateful and in disbelief that arting is actually how I make a living as I art at Mighty, freelance & learn things (slowly building my little career)! 

      I will keep riding with the flow and do the best I can with the learning & uncertainty!



      So when I say greatness

      I'm not talking about striving for popularity, admiration, validation, fans, reputation, fame and fortune (haha perhaps ask someone else -not me- who has these things!) 

      By themselves, approval, popularity, fans, etc are not really a great foundation to build your own self confidence upon as it's on the whim of the praise and criticism of those around you. Fame and fortune...is too elusive to be a practical goal and the creative industry itself is not the best place for making money if that's your only drive and reason for working in it.

      As much as we all desire approval by people we respect...it boils down to the desire for a connection from them.

      It's difficult because occasionally I fall into this trap of looking at other inspiring and statistically popular people and I feel terrible at the resulting silly comparison and competitiveness I do. Each time I kick myself out of it and refocus on progress. 

      So what if I feel invisible and frustrated sometimes? We all do. (:

      It's out of your control what people think of you: good, bad or indifferent. These are really just bonuses and by-products of doing cool things. Bonuses I'd be grateful for but not expecting. 



      I digress!

      I'm talking about greatness in terms of being proud at whatever I'm working on. 

      If I'm not fully proud of whatever I'm working on, I will make it so that I'm proud of learning and doing my best on it! Make it fun!

      I guess when I say greatness, I mean what *I* consider as great ;)

      Being known as someone who is much more than just an artist trying to make a living.

      Someone who is proud of their own progress and projects as a visual artist, communicator and problem solver. Someone who is not completely defined or typecasted by the work they usually produce. Someone who dreams big but starts and builds from small and realistic goals and scope. Someone who is fun and reliable to work with.

      Someone who inspires others to act or feel things through what they do...from their actions. Someone who helps people's lives a bit better indirectly or directly. Someone who appreciates, gives and returns the help they get from the people around them; teamwork & fun collaboration.

      Someone who does valuable things for people. 

      I experience a tiny taste of this when some people genuinely express their happiness to see my art or on rare occasions, ask me about working on their passion project; it is terribly humbling, encouraging and heart warming! (: In reality I would be speechless, deadpan and not know how to react immediately but you know what I mean!

      Ultimately I want to keep working towards my definition of greatness (progress!), rather than achieve it as a destination. Rationally I know to me that there is no such thing as "greatness", being a "master artist" or end point because there's always more to learn, a never-ending cycle. There is no formula. It doesn't stop me from doing my best with what I have though!



      Greatness to me is about embracing my weaknesses, building upon my strengths, working at things I believe in where able and hence being known as who I am and what I enjoy doing. 

      Growth happens when there is risk and uncertainty. If you are certain about something then chances are is that you're not learning or challenging yourself. It gets boring and uninteresting; it's up to you to change that perspective and/or situation around.

      Put yourself up to the challenge of facing and embracing the glorious good, bad and mundane. What you are willing to tolerate to work towards your version of greatness? 

      Note that I say *your* version. 
      Not society's version.

      Your definition of greatness will evolve as will mine.
      Because we're growing! And that's a wonderful thing! (:




      In terms of the fear of the by-products of greatness/progress: I refuse to feel complacent or buckle down from too much pressure as a result of perceived popularity. Though whether I'm "popular" or not, I have to consciously step out of my comfort zone and get better at social situations anyhoo.

      Of course as with any professional creative, I'd like to be reasonably known enough by the relevant and like-minded people to be able to do art for a living. It's undoubtedly wonderfully encouraging to see them in person especially. 

      Admittedly I'm very much inclined to stay as the socially low-key artist who supports others' and their own projects. Plus between the spectrum of "never feeling good enough" versus "feeling 100% blindsided to any room for improvement", staying in the middle keeps me on my toes (:

      I'm pretty much alright communicating for the the purposes of work and collaboration; I'm still building social practice. By default, I'll still be the Awkward quiet artist in the corner but eventually I hope I will keep getting better at it on the social front. 


      I'd rather not be a boring listening bystander all the time ;)  

      To conclude...let's just say I refuse to have a big head.
      I guess I'm just going to be grateful as I take this train ride of a career and strive for my version of "greatness" or rather progress. (:



      Rambling aside, 
      Respect your dreams, passion and your own definition of greatness you!  

      Be who you want to be and what feels natural to you.  




      The past month: soreness!

      Social Media, Newsletter & Feed Shenanigans
      Ah the blunt rambling incoming.

      As you know, I do engage with people I've warmed up to and care about though I don't really keep tabs on many individual people on Facebook. It's to keep things manageable I'm more focused on groups and stuff of interest as a lurker. 

      In the past several months: I've been unsubscribing to loads of newsletters and cleaning up who I follow since there's only a small group of people and things I actually keep track of, know them well, interact with frequently and get inspired by. Arguably I could cut down a lot more if I was strict about this but I'll keep doing it along the way to make room for things I do want to know more about, feel warm/comfortable/inspired about, people I genuinely want to keep tabs on and are important to me. And there are people where I followed out of guilt/peer pressure haha.

      Hey people unfriended/unfollowed me too!
      And time is valuable for everybody! 

      So I'm grateful that a handful of people are still keen to keep tabs on little me; thank youuu! (:

      Repetitive I may be, I just mention it every now and then because I still feel partially bad. 


      As in the social media indirect pressure to grow your "reach". 

      And not letting the notion of "achieving popularity" and likes/follows/subscriptions/favourites as a value and validation metric get to you. Hey, I'm not popular, I must add! I refuse this idea! I'm just the Awkward Burp blogging into the internet void really. I definitely deny the notion of having fans. I dub people who keep tabs on me as kind encouraging supporters though. Because their support makes me feel less alone :0 

      One needs reminding that only a tiny percentage actually engages with what you do - so I strive not to forget that those who engage are the important people and I'm terribly grateful for their interaction!



      Furthermore, with social media, everyone publicly *seems* happy, funny, smart and showing off their friends/holidays/quotes/food/travels/parties. Essentially the jaded, unhappy soul would classify it all as "look how happy, smart, mad, funny, successful, cool, important, beautiful I am!"

      Hey people can post things; ultimately it's not our business. They have the confidence to post publicly...as we do. So super kudos to them for posting their adventures! It's up to me whether I care enough and want to spare the time to listen, encourage with a like or even engage. Most don't. Speaking as a lurker myself.


      It all goes down to everyone calling for attention and connection using the internet void (frankly, I fall under this one when I post art and when I'm in Hermit Mode). The desire to connect and interact with another person.

      I guess my point is, surround yourself with cool people who engage with genuine positivity and inspiration? People you care about.   



      Lastly I here I am reminding myself that by cutting down things, I'm just making social media more managable and welcoming for me. This is as opposed to being overwhelming and trying to appease and friend everyone. I learn again and again that it is not realistic for me.

      So I guess this is a long winded reminder to you as well to reconsider your follow/friend/newsletter lists. (:





      Soreness, Exercises, TMJ and Broken toe?

      I'm mentioning these because hey, this is repetitive strain and health management ramble for me.

      My ring fingers keep feeling sore and on the outer part of the arm...suspecting the tennis elbow strain creeping up on me :< So I'm doing some dedicated strengthening exercises and I'll let you know next month or so how I go (:

      I'm finally walking the talk and getting myself into the exercise routine first thing in the morning. It feels sooo good when you're taking care of your body (no matter how tedious exercise may be; I made it alright for me to do it consistently). 



      And then I ruined "making exercise happen" for me. 
      I stubbed/broke my little toe during one of my morning exercises. :|
      I'm depending on a crutch and I stopped exercising. Waiting until it heals. I had so much pain on the first day, I both laughed at my agony, screamed till I cried when I got help to put on Hong Kong-ese ointment. Gosh D: Loads of hobbling thus far and not being able to exercise or walk about much. 

      And then I suspect I have TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint pain/clicking) a bit possibly from stress and bad posture and I was trying out some stretches. Still I need to sort out an appointment to check that out if this continues; self management is slowly working though! Gosh this is what happens when you have bad habits! >.<

      Since the last week of the month was the Easter Holidays, I was pretty much in recovery mode and working on getting my jaw, toe/foot and arms to heal for the next couple of months :0



      Message: take care of yourself and keep refining what works for you! 
      Actually listen to your body and watch out how you're mistreating it. 
      Take a day off every week or something.

      Ouch. 

      I'm pretty much mostly sitting on my bottom waiting for my broken toe and jaw to heal. Feeling miserable sometimes when I get tired from hobbling. Aughhh and the arthritis creeping up is scaring me D:

      Nuuu!!
       


      Fumble fooble faudle for April?

      Aside from getting my pains in order, doing my best at Mighty, figuring out socialising (uh someday) and sorting out BurpAvatars in preparation for May, I'm going focus on learning.

      If a cool and well planned project comes to my attention, 

      I'll go for it later in the year after BurpAvatars is under way (:


      Once again lately, I'm reminding myself that accepting loneliness and isolation without fear is alright. I've rambled about the negative consequences of being a Hermit here and another relevant post about "being alone" here. Plus it's so hard to invest and develop those hard earned and few friendships. So again, cherish and appreciate the people already around you!

      In terms of my social practice, well I'll do what I can with my comfort zone eventually when I am able to walk about more. 

      Side tracked ramble: I'm not a fan of giving with the intention of getting favours and benefits in return. Unless it was made clear from the onset that it is a mutual transaction of favours, this is not generosity as it involves expecting/demanding/manipulating someone else to do what you want yet disguising it as goodwill.

      Still I'm all for the warm fuzzy feelings of seeing someone happy with gratitude when you give them something though! That's enough reward for me! Sometimes I don't even have that; I don't hang around to see it because at times I don't know how to react without feeling embarrassed to their reaction. :0 Sometimes I just want them to have what I give as a surprise and I ninja myself out of there haha



      Lastly there's other life things in April to figure out in which I won't bore you about here. And finding out my specialist appointment I've been waiting 2 months for is postponed. Nuuu!

      Just a mixture of things and I'll just have to stay positive about it. Yeah... :(


      Wait. Actually.

      I'll focus and find confidence in what I do, what I aim to be, believe in my decisions, relax & take care of myself and keep learning. 
      Now that's more reassuring to me. (:




      Thanks! Keep adventuuuring you!

      You made it to the end of March's update!!

      Whoa.  
      You are definitely one of the rare ones!

      Anyhow; Take care!!

      At least don't injure yourself like I did.

      Stay strong and make April awesome!

      See you next month!  (:



      Leonie