Her Lips curled with much disdain // BurpAvatar Exploration & Melbourne Chris Sasaki Pixar Character Design Masterclass [FEB 2016]

Leonie’s small blog island says hullo! (:

Let’s talk about February!
As usual, both mundane and cool things happened.

Let’s go ! Journal Time.

Oh please. | Portrait Art Study! :0


Year 3, Month 2 (February)

Leonie Yue’s Sketchbook

Happy Lunar New Year 2016! Okami Fanart for the Year of the Fire Monkey!
See, Hear and Speak no Evil with all the Water Lilies, Vines and Flowers (:
Remember how I started Year of the Sheep last year? I’m still continuing the Okami fanart tradition.
These are Okami’s Flower Gods (The Hanagami) in order thanks to the wiki:
Sakigami plays the shō with the Bloom technique
Hasugami plays the shakuhachi with the Water Lily technique
and Tsutagami plays the cymbals with the Vine technique
Anyhoo I don’t celebrate it much these years so don’t come to me asking about traditions to do with this time of year. >:
Summer Sunnies | Art study
Many wonderful times with the special people in your life!
Art study for Valentine’s Day; haven’t celebrated it before but it’s a good reminder to keep cherishing your friends, family and special someone (:
Toshiro Mifune | art study portrait
I really need to watch this movie
And here I start making portrait studies
Misa Uehara | art study portrait
With much Grace
Art study of photo. Am so keen to do more of these studies; fun!
T.S. | Experimenting
Self Portrait (013)
Experimenting and Preparing at the expense of my face
People seem to like this one too! :0
Self Portrait (010) | One of my favourites 😀
Self Portrait (019) | As I don’t wear glasses at home
Emerald Fire | Portraitsss!!
The eyes say everything | Hey I need to do gentlemen too ;D Art Study!

Mighty Games Group #ShootyLoveStory Comics for Valentine’s Day: 

Episode 1: Fuzzy Fears! | It must be the rainbow clouds!
Better resolution images here since Twitter compresses it!
Episode 2: Unicorn Tears! | Sparkles is left in the rain! :'(
This unicorn adds to the drama.
Episode 3: Fuzzy Fears! | The Romantic tension! O.O;
Episode 4: Fuzzy Fears! | Gooey Happy ending!
Rainbow Farts! What a silly love story for Valentine’s Day haha. I had fun doing this together with the terribly encouraging Mighty Games Team! I worked under the direction and the ideas of the brilliant Marketing team 😀
Super Listen Mode Comic
Me no good at talking about myself. D:

Actually my weekends are usually boring like arting, learning & personal projects so who cares what I end up saying 😉

Ramble time!

Sometimes, it looks like I’m not saying what I want to say on the outside when the reality is that I don’t have anything prepared to say haha
With conversations I am mostly, actually listening (with some mind wandering). My default nature. Unless I have something I want to say beforehand, I do not think what to say next when I am listening.Consequences of this is that I don’t do or fare well at small talk or conversations where I’m put on the spot without preparation/practice. I end up rambling.

Well wherever the wind blows; just say whatever and however little that comes to mind! I’m not going to worry about this anymore. (:
And I’m starting to make these comics now that I actually interact with more people in person. I don’t know if people would want more of these silly things though. I’m just acknowledging my lack of social practice and following advice that I shouldn’t put so much pressure upon myself. I’ll get better in due time! :0
So I’m taking trains again so I’m either napping or what you see here


BurpAvatar Adventuuures: experimenting & throw that “I’m not good enough” out the door!

Been tackling at making BurpAvatar examples and working out a process as seen from the portraits above (and I’m not showing everything either because that’s what experimenting is about! There are things not safe for viewing! :0 )Let me vent away the occasional self doubts I have:

I keep seeing wonderful artwork out there from inspiring, hardworking, fresh and incredible artists of all walks of life and the nagging of:

“Nooo! I’m not good at art!” 
“This person’s art is incredible and I’m not good enough.”
(Fears and insecurities)


“Ahhhhh some people actually like my art!!” 

“Gosh this person is helping me improve!”
(And I’m incredibly grateful for it.)

Still, sometimes a little voice is obliterating my confidence.

Terribly unhelpful! Sure, I know I need to kick that aside keep improving. And I’ve rambled about this millions of times.

I still feel that I should ramble anyway; this is my blog after all! This happens to any creative so logically I know I’m not alone with struggling. I resolve to do my best with what I have to reach the standards I have for myself: improvement!

I’m not good at everything on earth.

Still. I do ask. 
Why things are so hard?
What is work/life balance anymore?
Why do we do life? ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)

Silly Leonie.
Just do this and just keep working at it.
Progress along the way!

Well I’m just venting a bit here to articulate how silly I am haha as it helps!
I doubt people are reading hoho

And to perhaps demonstrate that it’s okay to feel insecure in the present tense as long as you recognise it as such and not let fear get the better of you. (:

Then I think to myself; okay, what do I want to achieve from doing these portraits of real people?

I want to capture their character, personality, likeness in a fun, colourful, toony and whimsical way. It’s not about beauty or hidden mystical deeper meaning but for the fun, special/personalised fuzzies and making people go: “AH! That is definitely that person!!”

So in terms of progress, here’s giftart that’s getting sort of close?

Gift for Lauren, thanks to the tips from her bestest business wife Katie
BurpAvatar experiment version 1! This is probably not what the final BurpAvatars will look like as I am exploring things further. And I won’t be including characters I don’t own in actual paid commissions haha
Why am I still testing? Because once I “settle” on something, I want to keep it fun for me to do *and* consistent for everyone!  Mailing list on openings here.

But you may think that I’m set and done.

Nope; this one took longer than anyone can afford (assumption?) because I was testing things and I have to keep in mind how much people are willing to pay for a personalised digital portrait.

And this might be too stylised, tight for lineart (ie time consuming) and toony for some. Personally I’d like to find something that’s less restrictive. And people seem to like Portrait 13 (self portrait) and Emerald Fire!

Perhaps I am concluding too much on what people want and are willing to pay. I was torn between:

A) Something that’s just an icon and relatively cheaper once I set myself a template (which is not what I enjoy doing because simple really means technically exact and perfect with the visuals).

B) Or something that’s worth my time as a personalised, portrait illustration with a variety of art styles and of which I am proud of.

My gut is already telling me do B) which is what I really want to do and my little poll of 11 votes is in agreement: http://strawpoll.me/6865143/r

You can still vote! I’ll be keeping tabs!

So what’s up for BurpAvatars now? 
The gist is that I’ll keep experimenting and depending on feedback I’ll revisit styles I feel good about. People already on the BurpAvatar Mailing List know what I’m up to in more detail though. 😉

I do feel like I’m slowly getting close!
I’m feeling optimistic again after a lot of struggle and deliberation.

I really want to make it a good mix of fun, personalised and special somehow as this is my pet project which is why I’m taking my time before I officially open commissions. 😀 I don’t want to run out of steam upon starting because I didn’t think it through beforehand!

Long waiting list potential here but I’m considering doing it through two openings. I mean as in “2016 Season 1” and if it’s still going strong for the latter half of the year: “2016 Season 2” for those who missed out the first.

Or maybe I’ll fall flat on my face. D:

Come what may!
Melbourne Chris Sasaki Character Design Masterclass: Here we go!

Hey a masterclass and it’s Character Design; at last!! I could only afford and justify one day with my diminishing savings from last year. So no thoughts for Andrew Gordon‘s day this year but he’s an incredible and friendly teacher!

This time it’s one day with the 2016 Annie Award Winning (for Character Design for Inside Out) and who worked on various other Pixar, Dreamworks, LAIKA, Blue Sky films and shorts: the gracious and humble Chris Sasaki, Character Designer and Illustrator.

To put it bluntly, these masterclasses are mainly targeted at students wanting to learn and get into the animation industry so there was a mix of familiar and some new things (well at least for me!)

I wasn’t expecting anything mindbogglingly new. Personally I’m just keen for a fresh perspective and to learn a bit more about how Chris does his process. (:

I kind of tunnel visioned and focused on absorbing rather than socialising! Due to my energy conserving nature, I didn’t really go out of my way to meet more & new people. I was so tired.

Generally I didn’t feel I belong among all the excited, hungry and social people though to be fair, this is usual for me though. :<

I digress! Here goes my vague review:

Vibe I got from the class:
As expected, there are understandably a lot of students and some skilled creatives, excited about interacting with the instructor. There was generally a mood of eagerness to contribute with a relaxed atmosphere.

I was too focused on listening/learning though!

Great revision on:
Great revision on the Character Design Process on the scale of an animated feature (I feel validated on my own process, yay)! The importance of personal projects, learning everything (not just art) and staying true to your voice.

And Pixar is not “Wrah! We’re the most awesome! It’s the coolest and best place to work at in the world!!” but more of a film making business with larger scale challenges and mind boggling sized benefits. (:

Long gone the dream I had as a teen to work at a large, global animation studio; I don’t know if I’ll ever work at Pixar in my lifetime and I’m not ready for it anyway. The entertainment industry is incredibly fierce and competitive while I’m just keen on doing my best and progress on whatever I’m doing. (:

What new cool things I’ve learned:
His process generally simplified things for me. Also that Chris worked hard, took a lot of rejections from his art school and studio of choice, went for a lesser known but still cool art school instead, worked at other incredible studios and went the long way around to land at Pixar. It’s wonderfully inspiring as he seemed like a thoughtful, calm, confident and resilient person.

I enjoy these stories as I relate to them so much…not in terms of the reputable American animation school and working at global animation studios but in terms of the struggle and staying determined despite setbacks.

Let’s keep struggling and tackling at every challenge with focus! >:D

I enjoyed it and it was a motivational boost. Thank you so much Chris for your story, process and experiences! I took a lot of notes but mainly for revision’s sake as I see a lot of the same patterns in artists’ character design approaches.

The main motivational push I got from the masterclass is me thinking over what I want to focus on, to explore this and my approaches.

As you know, my focus probably involves doing my best at Mighty Games, BurpAvatars and Character Design. Big reminder that I have more to learn!

Personal thoughts on learning art in general: 

You realise through experience that it’s not primarily about the fancy art equipment, tutorials, teacher, “who you know”, technique, art style, classes, drawing tablet or technology you have and use, it’s really your personal interpretation of the story & world…and how you enjoy expressing and executing this — that is the *most* special thing.

Everything else could definitely make the process “faster and effective” but not everything suits everyone…finding something that suits you (that’s not a bad habit, searching for a “lazier way” nor simply walking in someone else’s path/shadow) is a challenge in itself.

Ultimately it depends on how much focused practice you do and the kind of work you’d like to create; there are no short cuts.

I believe in having a focus. Building upon and standing on your own two feet with your own voice. It’s more fun, valuable, meaningful, frustrating and satisfying that way.

This is not easy and many artists including myself are still working at it. (:

But what do I know. I’m still learning.

Nevertheless I’m optimistic!

Reflection aside, here are some doodles from the happenings:

I wished I knew what was the design was on his cap as it looks bland here! :0
Yes I usually doodle people when I’m listening (:
This is my first attempt at doing a typical Librarian design.
So as expected, it’s terrible and predictable in every way. 🙁
Hello terrible phone camera. 🙁

The past month: Adjusting to a different lifestyle at Mighty!

There was a lot of figuring out routine and taking breaks now that I’m learning things and doing my best with the wonderful Mighty Games. It’s been a month and I’m still refining it! Or rather working out my routine still…every time I think I’m getting somewhere it just doesn’t work out because I’m just tired at the end of the day. :0

After a couple of weeks, I learned not to work overtime for one thing~! Becoming an early bird (as a natural night owl) and directly exercising my arms and hands feels incredible when you are persistent!

I don’t really have a work/life balance as things tend to mash into each other. Letting it do this actually releases the stress that comes with having the “perfect and balanced routine”. There are definitely things you need to have discipline with in terms of exercise, breaks, recreational time and social time but these cannot be prescribed in an one-size-fits-all way.

But what do I do? Well I block myself from social media at times, I have a timer that tells me to take breaks, walk away and exercise (cough), I entertain myself with YouTube and…social time happens once in a blue moon at this rate.

In terms of socialising, my mindset is still attached to being a poor, invisible, frugal Hermit out of habit. I’m still the quiet artist in the corner so I think I need to do an intervention with myself as I lose track of time sometimes and end up staying at the computer all day ;D

Gosh working at Mighty Games; I am learning heaps and slowly warming to colleagues and people at my own pace (gosh the HermitBurp is meeting hoomins in person)! Still, I’ve been mostly focused on doing my best with learning and arting thus far but in time I hope to do my best to do more!

Despite my usual quiet awkwardness and rambly typing (ahem look at this blog), colleagues are horribly kind and patient with me & blowing my mind with a workstation much better than my home setup! For one thing, I can actually reach the floor with my short legs through a more flexible setup! I am trying different things too with it…so let’s see. (:

Is this real?! Is this a lucky dream? I don’t know!
I’ll just make the most of it with deepest gratitude! :0

Life Ramblings
The fact that I can now reasonably pay for my portion for the sustenance provided by my family leaves me with an amazing feeling of gratefulness too. When I was only freelancing, I was just grateful that I have food and shelter at all. I guess I’m a bit more of an adult again!

Still I’m going to be frugal and save up for the important things as they come because good things aren’t cheap; I’m living on plain sandwiches & fruit at work because city food is pricey :0

I’m not usually of the habit of getting luxury things (to me) such as food, entertainment, clothes, shopping and spending money. :S

And there’s some potential life shenanigans to deal with too but hey, things will eventually be okay…let’s see.

What else I’m doing aside from full time work:
I’m working on BurpAvatar experiments, personal projects, BurpTalk, studying and open to freelance as it comes. This happens on weekends & maybe spare moments at night I guess!

Arting and learning about it *is* my hobby so…I’m pretty boring. 

About BurpStreaming
I also decided to not do regular Twitch BurpStreaming anymore. Now that things are starting to settle in terms of routine, I don’t think I have the energy left after work to do art streams.

Meanwhile BurpTalk (which started up again) is my excuse to play games, watch movies/entertainment and talk to myself about it.

Still! Thank you so much to the few of you who participated in my first and only stream though! It was great~! 😀 I don’t know if I’ll stream again but I won’t completely rule it out for the future.

Health Update
In terms of my early arthritis, I’m waiting for one more month for an appointment. In the meantime I’m managing with the tiny aches and resting up when I feel like I’m pushing it.

I’m trying to master the art of comfortable walking though. My pricey shoes are comfortable and I’ve made the laces loose to the max; it became a struggle and strained me to walk without it falling out. Tightened the first set of laces and it made it better but I do need to let my feet free for them to get away from the compression. :S

Thanks! Keep adventuuuring you!

What a mega update! I doubt many people read it all but I enjoyed rambling anyhow! 😀

See you around on social media or during next month’s first Friday!  (:


Interested in an Art Commission or Project Collaboration together?
Email me with details: leonieyue@gmail.com
Plus there’s also there’s BurpAvatars!