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Friday, May 6, 2016

Five years ago I wrote a letter to my 2016 self & BurpAvatar Exploration P3 [APR 2016]

Leonie's small blog island says hullo! (:

Diving deeper into BurpAvatar styles! 


    Let's go crazy! Journal Time.

    BurpAvatar Test & Art Study
    Poofy and regal! :0

    CONTENTS for your READING QUEST:


    Year 3, Month 4 (April)

      Leonie Yue's Sketchbook 

      SuperListenMode Comics
       SuperListenMode 05
      When your friends make friends with each other and...
      ...oh. 
       SuperListenMode 06
      That sinking feeling you get.
       SuperListenMode 07
      It's dark, loud, crowded and lonely.
      I personally don't get it.
       #SuperListenMode 08
      Sometimes you don't feel up to switching to your "sociable self" on the spot with acquaintances. 
      My default is conserving energy unless I'm prepared and/or on comfortable terms with someone so here is my rudeness, not being approachable or something D:

      But if I expect you there and you're my close bud, I'm going to bug you >:o 
      SuperListenMode 09
      Sometimes inspiring people are best admired from afar.
      Oh. So that's how it is. 
      BurpDoodle!
      BurpDoodle Twilight Princess fanart
      No time to play HD but...
      Hullo nostalgia 
      Every time I think it’s better...
      It’s not.
      I did some more comics just because. :')
      Hobbling Adventures
      PS: Terribly grateful when most people show me kindness, 
      offer their seat and let me sit down for the train rides (:
      I don’t know why he was walking so close behind me in the first place when I’m walking like a tortoise but perhaps he’s having a bad morning :0
      But yeah, when you're taking your time to walk about, you notice more things
      Trying to draw while keep a hold of a crutch was so tricky :(
      Young Couples are so cute!
      Ah life doesn't usually give you closure
      The old man was so happy with his lollypop!
      Drawing my feelings down and this blog is safe enough for me to put it here ;) 





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      My 2011 letter to the 2016 Leonie: hullo email!

      Hey I got an email for this year from 2011 me so I was in a shock! 
      I forgot when I scheduled it! 

      Do realise that this was a Leonie who had no plans to get into the game industry as I was still trying to figure out the next thing for myself as I considered quitting my teaching career. Or rather I didn't believe I am going anywhere creative. D: The usual doom and gloom.

      I wrote it while I was depressed, unemployed, attempting to turn things around for the positive.

      This is a personal letter but hey, this shall be like a conversation with myself :0

      I'm going to be really blunt about myself so strap on a seat belt!!


      Dear 2016 Me,  
      I hope you are in a better place. Not feeling aimless and lost as I am. Gotten over a stupid crush by then. 
      I can say I am in a better place in terms of working as an artist! 

      For those not bothered to skim through the blog posts here, a bad overview from 2011 to now: I did a screen/media course rather than graphic design. I've done a lot of small things on my own and with other people (see the sidebar list of projects). Some did alright while others were just learning experiences. I struggled (and still do) getting myself out there, seeing that I am not a natural conversationalist. I've freelanced on and off when opportunity arose with terribly kind and encouraging people. 

      But most of all, I've struggled with the mental battle of being a poor, self perceived worthless and awkward hermit. That was the majority of the time. I was set on the slow and stubborn slog and years of building my freelancing muscles before I found myself kindly welcomed to be part of Mighty Games this year.

      Now I'm learning heaps with a wonderful bunch of people who understand my quietness while I'm tackling BurpAvatars as a project. Perhaps my first public commission based project will topple over, who knows! All the same, I do feel lucky! :D 

      Still feeling lost with the socialising and "being an interesting person to talk to" though. To be fair, I'm terribly reserved until I feel ready to leap and try something new. I guess I'm just the one dimensional boring artist who absorbs surroundings, listens and supports the more exciting, inspiring and entertaining people around me.

      Oh one-sided crushes are terribly evil and hard to toss out without loads of time :'( I refuse to have crushes now as I'm just trying to focus on being a better person and "how to friendship 101". 


      (I hope you are) Following what I love to do, not what I'm expected to do. Something visually creative with a mix of performing or something. I hope your eyesight has also improved and that you don't need glasses. I hope you still have the drive to make sure your life has meaning and that you have found a bigger circle of friends to bond. 

      I'm working on this currently which is awesome! I don't know about performing but hey I'm arting and learning. Maybe I'll start up BurpTalk again as a live stream after BurpAvatars are over. Eyesight is slightly better but nothing's changed though. I need my gwasses!

      Still figuring out what meaning to life I hope to bring...probably being part of something that is bigger than myself! In terms of circle of friends it's slightly bigger...? Maybe? It probably hasn't changed in number...it's not something you can easily quantify.

      There's so many levels of grey with "acquaintances and peers" 
      versus "actual friendship built over time" (my intention!)
      versus "I just wanted to talk to the person next to you, not you to be honest" 
      versus "simply not interested anymore in engaging and ignoring you"
      versus "someone you can depend on when times are tough."

      And whether I actually want to meet/maintain loads of friends
      or focus on the few friends I have (as people are not collectibles!) 

      So 2021 Leonie, figure that out! :D



      I hope you have found more independence. I hope you have much, much more confidence and have had and will experience many more adventures and traveling. 
      Hahaha a bit more like a turtle or tortoise at the independence and confidence thing! Working at this. Traveling not much...but hopefully someday :( 


      I hope you are still positive, that you're still persevering and have lived life to the fullest without regret. 
      It's been a mix to be honest. Periods of just being present with my thoughts of fear and uncertainty. And then moving on by letting them go. But yes I'm hanging in there to stay positive.
      Or I wouldn't be here! 
      Plus hugs are awesome (:

      Regrets? I do have one but it doesn't matter either way. I've also talked about it in older blog posts so I'll save you from that can of worms. ;)



      I hope you are not the home shut in as I am now still. Not stuck, not feeling isolated and not feeling helpless. I hope you have some way to support yourself financially so that you can enjoy other aspects of life.
      Haha I'm still a shut in usually on weekends and I was a complete hermit everyday before this February so...an improvement I guess!! :0 I'm able to better support myself and I'm pretty much learning how normal people enjoy life haha



      These are my hopes and I know that things would have been much more complicated and overwhelming by the time you read this. Keep on going. Try something else if this career/person/object/plan doesn't work. It's no big deal. 
      Don't let me down. You can do it. I trust that you won't disappoint me. You don't need a man to survive. It would be wonderful if you have a compatible companion by now but if not, no big deal. As long as you're happy the way things are and you're making sure you're doing what you want to do then go for it!!
      Yeah!! That's what I'm working on 2011 Leonie!




      I hope artistically you have improved significantly and have strayed away from fanart whenever possible.
      Ha. Ha. Ha. Fanart. Oh I'm still doing it sometimes when I'm pumped ;)
      Apparently I improved but I am not satisfied! Probably never! >:0
      I wanna be the best to my own eyes! Or just get as close as possible~!
      Silly Perfectionism, yeah!

      Do note that I am happy with my progress - it's about knowing what you did well *and* what you can do better rather than just being skewed towards one side.  



      I hope to be a better speaker and more approachable as a person.
      Oh. Um. Maybe not? 
      I did a 2015 podcast and I'm working on BurpTalk. I ramble.
      If I planned and rehearsed everything I will go into perfectionist, robotic mode who just follows a concise script and it'll be too time consuming to implement. Especially when I have arting to do as my main thing.

      But in person...I'm just a quiet background character :')

      I'm not approachable because I usually tunnel vision into whatever I'm doing and people just want to talk to the loud, social, energetic, positive, popular, fun and exciting people. Hey I like them too because I just absorb their presence...and then I get tired without speaking a word haha

      Honestly I'm not someone who people would turn to. I don't have anything life changing to offer. I'm not a leader. I'm a quiet supporter of people who do. Or what my brother says: who really cares about the little people? I don't have a crazy desire to be the loud, inspiring and ambitious leader, seeking to influence social change and striving to get recognition from peers, industry, awards etc alike. 

      Sure I do try things I don't usually do! Though by default, I'm happy to take a backseat. Such as do some projects on my own and support others' projects. If I had to choose, I'd rather be known to those important to me (through a slow turtle pace) than to get fleeting public fame.

      People don't want to talk to me for long because I'm not good at small talk (hullo awkward silences) and people usually don't have time to educate me because I'm ignorant about their interests and experiences and I lack the common ground and pop culture references. :0 Sometimes I feel the sensation of sinking into oblivion when I realise I don't have anything to contribute as I absorb and listen to conversations.

      I'm still wondering how I belong to anything sometimes. 
      Then again, I've never been one to "fit in like a family" before. 
      I usually feel out of place and confused as to why it's hard for me to "fit in".

      So when the isolating feeling happens, I give up on trying to fit in at all and keep on being my reserved and relaxed self until I'm ready to try pushing out of the comfort zone and connect with someone again. It's a dance!

      Edit: And don't get me started on the idea of social media...as much as I hate myself for comparing numbers and feeling unworthy sometimes, if I were to be objective about it I don't have several hundreds or even thousands of people of an audience so I stress that I'm far from being "popular". I imagine people worked hard, interacted a lot and gave a lot to have so much interaction online. 

      I would say I'm quite the unknown online and in person and it's probably related to my unapproachable-ness, my lurking/passive habit and how I don't always connect with what's popular nowadays. It all comes down to this internal struggle of whether I should become like other people just to feel I belong. And my gut tells me no, don't let this be the reason to change yourself! So I remain curious but I won't pretend I love something just because someone else does. Ah well. 

      Live and learn. I'm way behind about these things.  
      I'm an uncultured swine haha



      Most important of all. I want you to be happy so far at this point in time. Be healthy and exercise.
      I am happy; not sure how long this adventure will last as nothing is certain! But for now, I got an awesome job!! :D And I am incredibly grateful and still in disbelief even now!

      In terms of health:
      Toe/feet. Arthritis where I'm waiting even longer for my postponed appointment D: Sore shoulders return again because I haven't been exercising but I'm slowly getting back to it. Hooray! I want to feel happy with my health again :'(

      It gets me down sometimes because there has been several months of helpless waiting for more answers and getting educated on what I should do in my situation. A lot of saying "no" to social things because my feet needs recovery time hence isolating myself even more. And a lot of wondering when I can stop using my crutch. Planning to go to the GP next week but sensing that she'd be indifferent and unhelpful again.

      Yeah. Frustrating period of time so I'll just vent a bit here rather than burden someone in person haha. :'(




      You would be in your lateee twenties this year. A few years away from 30. I'm feeling queasy at the moment at that notion since I'm in my early twenties currently but it's really just a number. I still feel young as a teen at the moment anyway so feel young and be happy!! Keep it going!
      Gosh thanks for making me feel old 2011 me. You jerk!! haha
      Hey stuff you, I'm still a kid inside! I'm not a grown up!! D:
      Though people can't turn the switch to "be happy", it's really a choice of attitude rather than a destination! 
      So I greatly appreciate what I have. (:


      Last year, I did one as well! :0

      Dear 2016 me,  
      I hope you are much better as a draughtsperson in drawing. Thank you for hanging in there and fighting your way through this difficult learning journey.  
      I hope you have begun finding your way to freelancing and getting yourself known and that you have a bit of money to keep going. I imagine that you are still living with family but that's okay. You're slowly getting there and you're becoming a wonderful artist along the way.  
      I hope you have further developed friendships and furthered your dreams towards drawing for a living. You enjoy drawing people the most so go for it!! 
      You got this GURLL!
                  - Leonie from a year ago
      Thank you GURLLL haha
      She was assuming that I'd be struggling at the solely freelancing as a career still. Low and slow expectations continue (see below section on this).

      Oh I don't really talk like "GURLLLL"...so that was my terrible self inside joke. :0

      Stressing again from last year to now I still have a long way to go but I have improved a bit! :D 

      Admittedly that email was an attempt to self encourage myself in the future while trying to fake positivity for myself when writing it.

      So when I read it now, I think: nooo I didn't do as much things as I hoped D:
      Yet I'm glad I didn't set actual targets because I know it'll be more frustrating when I don't meet these "resolutions". 

      Just focused on evolving to be a better person along the way instead :D



      2011 vs 2016 General Reflection time

      Sharing my old email because maybe this inspires someone out there? :S
      Probably not though.

      I'm still amazed at how people from high school tell me that...I haven't really changed. Probably. What I do know is that I'm more self aware and working with this consistency of character rather than against what I naturally do. 

      The reserved butt I am.

      I know I have a long way to go. 

      But getting this letter forces me to think what's changed and what hasn't in 5 years. Do try it for the future you! 

      If you don't believe in yourself today, believe in the future you if it helps...that's what I did in 2011! I didn't believe in myself at the time of writing but I had hope for the future me. 

      My focus on my career and growing as a person is ongoing at least! :D

      Let's see what the future brings! 

      Plus I wrote and scheduled an email to my 2021 self so let's wait and see! 
          



      BurpAvatar Exploration Part 3: New BurpAvatar home!
      Over at http://burpavatar.tumblr.com/ !

      It'll be the new home for profile posts for each BurpAvatar Patron! :D

      I've cut it down from 7 art styles to 1 as I kept testing.  


      NOTE: Most styles below that I won't actually offer in the end so watch the BurpAvatar home & newsletter for the latest updates!

      Gosh it's too early to say but I have urges every now and again to redo things or curl up and shy away from doing this challenge...
      and do other things instead D:

      Of course I'm going to push through because I'm learning!
      I'm going to finish this and perhaps it'll be the only batch of portrait commissions I'll do for a long time :0

      As much as I enjoy it, I don't want to only do portraits forever haha

      I digress! Here we go:



      "SUPER CUTE" Style (not offering)
      I've made up so many different styles and I need to cut it down. And this one is similar to the Animal Crossing art style...arguably it's a bit too close over the fanart line? D:

      Ah well I had fun.


       BurpAvatar Test: It's a me!

        BurpAvatar Test: Oh so Regal!
       BurpAvatar Test: Stylish time!
       BurpAvatar Test: Late Night Groovin'

       BurpAvatar Test: Always time for brunch!
       BurpAvatar Test: I was not kidding
       BurpAvatar Test: Smug Smile
       BurpAvatar Test: Compassionate Concern

      BurpAvatar Test: Not my last glance


      "Ink & Watercolour-eqsue" Style
      I do like this style! :D I don't think it'll work as an avatar though...
      Let's just say I'm experimenting with style all the same!

       "Hullo there," said the monotone BurpDoodler.
      Hey this is my ink/watercolour esque style test :D
      Blue Musical Box

      "ADORABLE MONOTONE" Style (not offering)
      Goodbye this style! 
      I mean I like this toonier direction but I need to cut something out D:
      BurpAvatar Test: Awkward BurpDoodler
      A Strictly Serious Matter
       Cup Half Full
      Strawberry Blues
      Know Problem
      Still in a Dream 


      "Paint me away" STYLE 
      This is probably the style I'll offer...getting close :0
      And the first illustration of this blog post belongs to this category too.

      It still needs some refinements but you get the general idea.
      BurpAvatar Test: Heehee
      Hullo, it's the BurpDoodler! Again!



      Overall BurpAvatar Reflection so far:
      What journey! It's been 4 or so months of experimenting. On and off. 

      Now that I'm resolved on one style only, I did a final test. I did another final test for a second style but I cut that one too! 

      I could do more art styles *coughcough* but play time is over! I don't want an overwhelming project for me. 

      Unless requested, I've decided to not offer ultra cute styles in general. I just get the sense that most people want a portrait that looks like them while still being whimsical. As in not extreme cute or extreme realism. 

      Plus I have a weird & evolving mix of both toony and likeness. These experiments are really just me pushing some styles (and I know I could do even more but I need to stop myself!)

      And to think, I'm going to open commissions in 2 or so weeks!! :0
      Keep tabs at the newsletter link (at the new BurpAvatar home)!

      Or maybe there will be tumbleweeds. Because no one wants a BurpAvatar.
      Too pricey? Not cute enough? Not what people expected? Well!

      I'm still excited to see how it tumbles! 
      I can do a post mortem instead! :D










      The past month: ramble as per usual!

      About Expecting nothing 
      ...aka having low expectations in general because as humans, we're not perfect and let each other down sometimes. 

      Now that I've been a "non hermit" during the past 3 months, I am completely self aware how incredibly reserved I am relative to others and how extremely energy conserving I am. As much as I am silly and greet/wave at people when I feel up to it sometimes, the default is that I'm not committed until I warm up to things and people. At a tortoise pace. And I'm hugely protective of my time D:

      It's terrible because I both want my "me" time to recover energy from work yet I know I'm isolating myself from possible friendship bonding opportunities.

      I mean, look at my SuperListenMode comics haha
      And I'm not the only one of course (not a special snowflake!)

      Indeed once catch ups are non existent, connections get cold and distant (especially with me as I rarely have catch ups) but if I've fully warmed up to you it's pretty clear and consistent mostly every time I see you haha 

      So with expectations, I'm slowly getting better at throwing that hope away (or any selfish self-entitlement for that matter) and assume people don't care about you as the default. That they have no time for you and you'd just have to not care whether they actually follow up with what they say they'd do (and have contingency plans!) 

      Not out of maliciousness but as I said, people are too busy with their own lives, make mistakes and are flawed, just as you are. Hey, humans don't have time to care about everybody :0 They've got cool things to do and their own life problems to tackle! No one owes you anything.

      It all comes down to being understanding and respectful with others and to yourself! (: Plus I'd prefer having things happen organically and out of genuine kindness!

      Focus on what you can do instead and get things done yourself. 
      For everything else just get other dependable friends to help you and delegate.

      I mean I've more or less been living the "have low expectations and stay focused" in general, so to apply that to the people you actually care about (to varying degrees) I feel less worried, dejected, unhappy and disappointed in myself and others. 

      Of course give people a chance. If people let you down, it's up to you on how much you'd trust and depend on them given the circumstances. 

      And give yourself a chance too, as long as you're honest with yourself. You are your ultimate best friend so you need to be there for you! 

      You might think I'm rambling about common sense (I am!) but these are the sorts of things I ponder about in the past month. As you may know, I've been brought up with the habit of "not socialise and study" like an outcast. So as the introverted and self-aware wallflower that I am, I'm testing my personal boundaries during rare real social situations and then working along with it.

      And then reflecting all about it on this blog since most people don't really read this as they're too busy doing their own thing ;) Just know that I'm going to repeat myself sometimes because it's not something that goes away in a snap...I've grown up most of my whole life this way so this will be a life long journey of learning!! :0


      "Leonie, you do know how to socialise! What are you saying?!" you may exclaim.

      I'm going to be repetitive again (haha I'd rather be comprehensive and clear than leave gaps) so this is those who don't know me: 
      Groups of 3 discussion is sort of okay but I do best with 1 to 1 conversations as I am forced to talk (terribly so) to get a conversation going. When I'm interested, I strive for 1 to 1 conversations to warm up to people admittedly. 

      I'm no good at the usual social situations, nope! This includes "networking get togethers", large group discussions, meetings and so on. I'm not loud and I don't usually speak up at these things...I listen. I enjoy that. I absorb what people say. I know what I say doesn't matter. I lose interest in saying anything when I have nothing to contribute from the top of my head. I zone out in my own headspace sometimes. I'm no entertaining light of the party.

      Downside is that sometimes I might as well not be there at all given how little I contribute and how focused I am at listening. And people end up not knowing about my existence and understandably exclude me from things. Or people find me rude. Or believe that I think that I'm too cool for them (haha nope!) Or unresponsive when I'm really just slow at responding or just being quiet and taking it in. 

      And then there's the fact that I don't want to do things outside of work (especially at night) because of my laziness/tiredness/transport (honesty yo!) and my current sore "I'm still on a crutch and I need to recover" situation. *shakes fist at it all*

      But between you and me, thank you so much for being one of the small handful of peeps who knows me better than most because you actually read this personal stuff! Thank you! :0 It's a cool kind of weird as we're not mutually getting to know each other in person and yet you know me more than most people. I hope this is somewhat useful to you...somehow.



      My roundabout point: me learning "how to socialise 101" continues!! 
      When I'm not waddling too much haha

         


      The notion of progress...is it flawed?
      Increasingly I came across the idea of a plateau and wondered about it. 
      Or rather, if constant progress really exists?

      Oh do note that I furiously state that I am far from being the "top of my game" (if that even is a thing) but I've been thinking about it as a concept. Especially when many people in the creative industry are constantly evolving and running within the hamster wheel towards their next goal until they fall. D: 

      Is there a point where you can't improve anymore? 
      Or it's difficult to see what's lacking, the more you get better at something? What are you really trying to do? Who do you go to as your Brains Trust?

      Are you learning and doing too many things at once?
      Do you even know whether you're learning or practicing the right way for you? 
      Or you find yourself not good at something once again due to technology? 
      Probably start over like a newbie? Improve from there again?

      Is there a point where you find yourself simply incompetent at a really influential position no matter how hard you try? At what point will you be content with how much influence and control you have? How high is too high/powerful/burdensome/huge? How low is too dissatisfying? 
      How ambitious are you...really? How far will you really go and what personal standards will you protect above all?  

      When does the phrase "fake it till you make it" not work?
      How do you know you need to do something else? Or stick with it?

      There are no concrete answers to these vague, personal & rhetorical questions as it's terribly subjective and answers will probably change over time. 


      There's so much advice from everywhere (and from my rambling too) to "keep progressing and learning at what you do"...but what if someone is content with what they do already? Do they become stale? Or are they reliable for being tried and tested? Or are they just dancing to their own beat? 

      I guess the tides of exciting and scary uncertainty are coming into play too.

      I'm just throwing questions out there into the void. ;)
      Try answering these questions privately for your situation if you'd like!

      Funnily enough I think it all comes down to learning and growth if people remain honest with themselves, act accordingly and get down to the root of their personal drive. Whether you want to push things and improve or keep doing the same thing that works for you.

      Plus!

      I still believe that the "fake it till you make it" phrase doesn't work when your heart isn't in it anymore. When you don't truly believe in what you're doing anymore. If it's just your pride that's holding things together. Or you don't really have a clear focus. Or if you're spreading yourself too thin at everything. That's when you need to stop, lift the burden of expectations off your shoulders, make brutal decisions and change gears! 

      You gotta believe!! In you! :D
      Life is a long marathon so protect yourself for it!


      Yes I am so repetitive, corny and saying supposedly obvious things! 
      Because "simple common sense" is easily dismissed and ignored.
      We forget sometimes when life gets complex, overwhelming or depressing.


      And I think too much if that wasn't obvious already.
      I was playing Devil's Advocate on "what if my belief that focusing on progress and learning is wrong?" That there's a point where you can't improve anymore? And fired off from there :0     





      Thanks! Keep adventuuuring you!


      So much serious thoughts!
      It's what happens when you're the one giving yourself the pep talk in blog form!
      Yes I'm a sad soul.

      Ahem I mean, enjoy a wonderful month of May! ;}

      I'll be starting BurpAvatars this month! Scary!!
      Actually it won't be scary because I'm at the point when I want to get the process finalised and get it done already...it's been 5 months already! :0
      I want to finish this and learn more things! 

      And I'll be going back to two art updates a week with two SuperListenMode comics over the weekend. Because the BurpAvatar Tests are slowing down.

      That and I want to curl up back under my turtle shell and do something different (and actually *make* commissions!). If none happen I can move on then (:

      *hugs!* Thanks for reading. Truly. You one person out there.
      It's a pleasure to have your lurking company haha

      Leonie