October 2019 part 1 – giftart, city snaps, inktober & MIGW ramble

** This post is a 16 minute read! **

I’m back while Melbourne games week is going on! In this blog post:

  • Birthday giftart for Lauren
  • Melbourne city snaps
  • Inktober 2019 / Leonie’s Sketchbook
  • Ramble about not doing Melbourne International Games week & personal update

Early little portrait of the magnificent Lauren for her upcoming birthday! 🍰🎉

Thank you for being a lovely, generous, understanding friend! Take care during this busy MIGW week and month. Thank youuu ❤️

Yes I had to move this blog post to this date so I can post this during the week of her birthday haha :’)

I couldn’t do anything fancy as I don’t have anything creatively new to add, I’m not up to date nor close with her life adventures, it feels expected of me and I have to constantly do something better than last year – the struggle! And she gets quite a few great illustrated gifts from her friends too! There’s too much self pressure and expectations to do birthday giftart now that I don’t know if I can keep doing it. Apologies for the predictable giftart :’) <3

Reminding myself that I’ll just do giftart for peeps when it feels apt for me and when I feel like it. Who still does and gets regular gifts and parties? I don’t really because it’s not something I can afford, I don’t feel comfortable having a party focused on me nor do I have many friends – but I won’t say no to lovely, thoughtful gifts I can use ;D Anyhoo, not having much going on is part of being an adult I guess? At best it’s spending quality food and time together during another time because it’s hard to line things up. Which is great when it does happen! :’D

It’s also super difficult and stressful to gift things to somebody when you’re a hermit like me, can’t afford things and aren’t that close to someone to give a super meaningful present. So I go creating giftart instead, with my time and effort. But even then it’s an emotional, mental struggle to figure that out meaningfully so I’d rather spend one to one quiet/fun quality time over food instead. Then maaaybe I’ll feel like doing giftart or not ;D

Digressing, Lauren is lovely and is one of the few people I keep doing giftart for! <3 I don’t think I’ve done this much gift art for anybody else actually. I’m sure she’ll get plenty of gifts and great company for her special day/week anyway. From now on I’ll make giftart for her when it feels right!

Anyhoo, may you be showered with love, goodness and happiness from your loved ones and friends!


Some Melbourne city snaps

Took photos last month since I don’t often leave my cave and it was actually a fine and somewhat breezy day! I had to blur out people’s faces ;D Melbourne Fashion Week was going on at the time and I just snapped photos along the way.

Weather is all over the place for Melbourne during spring. I suspect it’s the real season when people get sick :<


Inktober 2019 / Leonie’s sketchbook

Here are some little inktober pieces I’ll be posting on social media later so you’re getting an early peek! ;D But note I will post more on twitter, instagram & my facebook page and I’ll collate those in my next blog post! 😀 I’ll sometimes have more rambly versions at my blog (ie see below)!

I finished lots of little inktober pieces during October but I needed to buffer it at my own pace so I delayed it until now. I’ll finish posting them by November ;P

There’s so many wonderful inktober illustrations out there so far while on the other hand, there’s lots of artists who just don’t have the time, emotional energy and resources to join in. Or they just do a few which is completely fine! And there’s 3Dtober, pixeltober and all kinds of other -tobers. Originally I was tempted to do sleeptober and skip it too!!

But in the end I just felt like I wanted to make some use of my traditional goodies! Finally I want to kick my butt into creating little, cute things again for fun and learning, not because I wanted to make portfolio pieces and stress out about making beautiful illustrations. I wanted to see what will happen! ^o^ Hope to slowly gain some confidence in this area and do more detailed art styles next time as I keep learning. It’s been emotionally difficult to get arting so this is a little step for me.

Lots of these cute designs were unused character designs I wrangled with in the past and now I’m just putting my personal favourites out there. I hope people like them as I put out two a day :’)

Hey I’m not doing MIGW anyway so I can do more art ;D

#01 This is fine 🔥

When your mental health is on fire and going in circles.

Exaggerated metaphor aside, especially in the past year it’s been difficult when my mind is full of doubt, apathy, insecurity and hopelessness and I feel like pushing everything away from me and retreating from it all.

Yes I’ve been planning and considering career plans. Instead it felt forced upon myself, am clouded with lots of doubt and I found myself completely burnt out from the industry as discussed in my previous blog posts. It felt like too much fighting and hustling than I can emotionally handle right now so unless someone (with good intentions and who I respect and trust) pushes me to do something right away, I’m going to do do things at my own pace.

Consequently I wanted to take away the path others and what I thought I was expected of me, the labels, titles, dreams and goals and see what matters to me again. Just be a learner. What services I can provide without killing my own well-being and joy in art? This little blog is my ongoing journey in developing that clarity and learning to be better at art and life.

It’s frustrating when your impatience with this backfires on you and stresses you out and makes you gloomy instead! Wrahhh!! :’)

However repetitive as it seems, I think about these things and uncomfortable feelings often as they surface now and again. At this point I have to keep accepting that I don’t have all the answers right now. That my frustration, impatience, tiredness, anxiety and confusion is normal. And how I have lots to be grateful for too.

I do have a loose idea towards character design and illustration but I feel like I need to skill up, see where my interests lead me and figure out what I am happy making & am great at along the way. See what people would want me to help them with. Go with the flow with how my weird, slow brain works – rather than against it. Manage my fears that I’m a slow burden and my circumstances because everybody else is also doing the best they can with what they have. I’ll keep learning and help out if I’m able to :’)

Every now and then my mind falls into the spiral of doubt, worry, stress and negative thoughts. Sometimes I stress eat, get grumpy or distract myself with streams or videos. Sometimes I manage to sit on the edge comfortably, with that spiral kept at the back of my mind, being content with what I have. Other times I just don’t care anymore and have the clarity and focus to just take things one step at a time. Life is full of the good, bad and the simple, mundane times right?

Indeed this is all part of growing and all that’s left is my shaky belief that I will work something out eventually with the wonderful, generous, kind, understanding help from the small handful of people in my life. One day I’ll finally stop excluding myself and feel like I do have some value to give as a human being. I hope to be my own stable, brave pillar in life that others can rely on too <3

This is where I am right now. My confidence isn’t great a lot of the time. My life isn’t where I’d want it to be and that’s why I don’t often relate to people in further stages in life and it feels isolating and intimidating. That’s how it seems to be. I know that I can’t take things for granted as they are either. Nothing lasts forever.

I’ll just keep doing my best anyway. It’s okay if things are not fine.

#02 Together 🦒🧡🦒

Go express some affection and/or appreciation for somebody special to you today! Time is short. Spend some wonderful, quality time together <3

I’m not great at expressing my thoughts and feelings in person. Misunderstandings often happen too because I have these jumbled internal feels but since I need time to process and reflect on things, I’m stumped on speaking out about it at the right time. I end up bottling things up as the default to figure it out later.

I plan ahead for important things but for impromptu shenanigans, I’m definitely more of the “blank mind in the present moment” person. And then afterwards I think back on conversations and reflect about how I badly communicated. Occasionally I message people back when I feel especially bad or I just let it go :<

Digressing! If I’m there around you and talking with you, chances is that I want to, am able to make the time for you and that I enjoy your company. Hey time is super important to me as you can’t get it back! Yes even when I have my deadpan face ;D <3

I say all this but I’m a selfish, low energy, quiet, sad hermit bear :’)

#03 Keep on rolling 🦒💨

Powered by hope, love and kindness! 💜
I’m just going to do cute character designs & not get too serious ;D

Goodness I’m cheesy but it makes me feel good ;P

Sometimes all you can do is look ahead and keep going. Power on through the tough times. For me I do get afraid that when I stand still, I’d dwell, get stuck and fall into the spiral of darkness and struggle to climb back out again. I mean it’s taking me ages and as long as I need to heal from burnout right now :’)

For me, the belief that there’s something for me out there for me, as long as I stay true to myself gives me hope. That or I’ll make a sustainable art career happen myself at my own pace :’)


Personal update & ramble about MIGW this week

Not going to MIGW but hullo here!

Since I’m a hermit not doing MIGW19, hello new & old peeps! 👋

Feeling I have a better headspace to awkwardly connect online, lurk, vaguely keep in touch, follow & slowly connect with more people on Twitter again as social media is probably the majority (if not all) of the outside human interaction I’ll ever have.

Instagram comes as a close second as essentially one of my art inspiration places but I’m afraid of getting sucked into looking through wonderful art to no end!! There’s also discord and slack I lurk at as well…and facebook is at a minimal level as I don’t enjoy using it. Taking things at my own pace, with less anxiety and just do what feels right and natural for me.

Happy to just be quiet online peeps with each other 💙 Or feel free to occasionally reach out (email or reply to my social media posts)!

Whether you’re doing Melbourne International Games Week shenanigans right now (or not like me), I hope you are faring okay, around trusted, good company & are taking care of yourself with plenty of recovery time! I probably don’t know you well but you got this ✨

As for me, I’m not doing games week stuff anymore. At least not this year, if not forever. Can’t afford it. Plus I’m doing part time contract work right now and freelance work is hard to come by 😛 The usual feast and famine cycle of the freelancer.

Games for Change lunch streak broken

Originally I was planning to do just the games for change lunch to actually see and maybe meet a few good peeps? Pretend I’m more outgoing and expressive than I actually am for a day? But upon further consideration I’m not good at it and I don’t want to go out of my way to attend.

Hey I did enjoy it when I was able to hang out with kind peeps afterwards though I was very much quiet and heavily sick with a cold last year. But that was impromptu after the event and not the event itself ;P

It’ll probably be too crowded and noisy for quiet talk and I usually end up quietly and gloomily sitting there, observing and feeling bored and exhausted from the noisy atmosphere. I can’t fake smiles and having so many people come and go all day – that’s exhausting and as a hermit, I’m not used to doing that. I usually have the deadpan, overwhelmed, sad & bored resting face anyway that people get bored of me ;P

Noisy social crowds (a lot of which revolves around drinking) aren’t my thing. Yes even if there is a quiet room – I don’t want to have the opportunity to power nap the time away because I might as well not go to the event at all. I’d rather do pre-arranged, quiet, small, close knit lunches with one or a few people – and that doesn’t often happen during MIGW. People are busy making business/professional friendships and connections 😛

I’ve been to every single games for change lunch (5 or 6 years) but I’m not going anymore and breaking my streak because it’s super overwhelming for me even though it’s wonderfully growing, more inclusive and crowded with more cool people. Last year was noisy full capacity restaurant chatter levels and I’m not interested in talking much when it’s socially over stimulating! So my expectations are low and I cancelled my ticket – hopefully it goes to someone super great and passionate about gamedev unlike me :’)

More MIGW & social media ramble

Don’t get me wrong – MIGW has definitely opened me to meeting new people, albeit mostly at a shallow level and others on a nice, momentary deep level so in that light, I don’t regret going in the past. Well aside from the fact that I did get super sick last year :< Still lots of good, inspiring, industry people, most whom I don’t know so well and just wave hello at ;D

I’m staying *away* from it all as I don’t want to deal with the dread, exhaustion, aimlessness, anxiety, jaded feelings, struggle to fit in, abandonment feelings, overwhelm and sadness anymore. Even though it’s the best way to meet new people, I’m tired of this networking game, I’m not at my best at these events and it’s not for me. I’m oblivious to social politics and reading cues. And who knows whether my self conserving, deadpan, ignorant, awkward and low energy demeanour at social events is off putting. Too many possibilities that are out of my control and in the past :<

Plus I don’t want to learn and focus on gamedev when I want to focus on art instead. In the past I went to talks to draw the speakers, if I was interested enough in learning from them, to get away from the “networking scene” and if there’s room for me to attend. To be blunt, I don’t want to go to the talks anymore and I am terrible at networking…so what is left for me to do?! What is my purpose now? What is life? :<

Consequently I feel free, relieved and happy that I’m missing out this year. Joy of missing out!! It’s better this way – I don’t spread and project my negative, sad, overwhelmed, miserable, zombie energy onto others.

Good luck and take it in stride if you’re doing MIGW things! Parallels is great too! As for me, sadly I just won’t get to know people better in person faster (which is what’s great about MIGW) so feel free to say hello online instead because I’m an awkward, social, lazy coward :’)

Interesting how I am increasingly burnt out from MIGW over the years and now I have less tolerance for crowded social environments because I’m a tired grump who finally accepts that she doesn’t enjoy it, is not good at it and won’t force herself to ;P I’ve done it for 6 years and it’s time to stop doing it, still expecting different results in terms of enjoyment and deeper connection.

I’m so tired of trying to fit into a group, trying to find familiar faces since you’d only see them during this time of the year, floating between groups and people around the event, feeling like a zombie and boring around people, people always moving on to the next interesting industry person/friend to talk to, not wanting to be the third wheel with others’ admirable & steadfast friendships and me wanting the event to be over. Oh and going home early, skipping late night parties and feeling like I missed out the “real” connections at the back of my mind even though that’s not true and I’d rather go home to rest.

There’s plenty of “trying to fit in but always being left behind” feeling and cliques I’m oblivious to. I don’t miss that part of MIGW.

I’m drained from it all. I trust nobody wants to listen to me lament over this but it’s my blog and I want to ramble about these mixed feelings 😛 MIGW is mostly not for me anymore.

That said it’s so easy to feel jaded, bitter and skeptical, full of dark thoughts. It’s harder to continue to trust, be kind and find hope in others and yourself. I do believe in working with what you have and finding your own way towards a meaningful existence. I’m figuring out what I have to offer too. Always keep learning.

Got to cherish the people in your life that matter and things you enjoy doing in the end. Even if peeps are not around, not responding anymore, just don’t have anything in common and/or drifting away from your life, a lot of it is making quality time happen based on mutual interest – despite the busyness of life. It’s hard to maintain and make friends as adults as it is. I usually just annoy and ramble to my best buddy brother really :’)

And I feel like there’s lots of acquaintances I “should” have followed back on Twitter ages ago so I’ll do it as I feel comfortable and slowly. I’d rather let things happen naturally, nourish positive vibes and won’t stress about it. Hey I’m grateful that I’m not feeling as negative with myself when I’m on social media now and not taking the numbers too personally. Yay time helped heal some of it! I’ll get some engaged follower milestones in due time…maybe. It probably won’t happen though.

Digressing! I guess for now I have to mostly maintain and make friends/acquaintances online the hard way instead. Awkwardly do my own thing. Avoid getting too distracted by social media during MIGW too ;’D

So hullo there online person!

Personal update so far:

  • part time contract work has been good but it will end by the start of November and I’ll be technically unemployed again so I got to keep being stingy ;P
  • the usual artistic, existential growing pains in art and life as I’ve rambled above and I need to go back to learning again
  • sensitive, irritating, painful skin issues flaring up
  • creeping wrist pain, jaw pain & stress eating to manage
  • personal lessons with communication & emotions
  • bugs ending up in my noodles I cooked on 3 different occasions because of this season?! D:
  • there’s still people who think I’m a cat person because of my cat burpdoodles understandably. I have more of a neutral stance and have respect for their space as someone who has a cat-like personality. People have to earn my trust, affection and respect ;D
  • video games :’)

Also when I have lots of art, I’m planning to space art bits on social media so it’s not all out within Monday. Maybe just 1 or 2 a day, we’ll see! But peeps following and reading the blog get all the reflective rambles and extra art because they’re special and actually come over here! Indeed I’m testing things! ;D

Also we’re under 3 months away from 2020 oh nooo! I am looking forward to Luigi’s Mansion 3, finish Link’s Awakening on the Switch and play Animal Crossing for my first time next year.

Since I can’t make friends at MIGW, maybe I’ll actually make and maintain online friends through Animal Crossing. I’ll ask for friends on here and social media when the time comes like a sad soul :’)

Thanks for reading & the social media support! Enjoy your week and see you around!

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