Thursday, 7 August 2014

Teatime painting

No, little girl, you may not have a sip of my tea.

Today will be a long struggle. I had about three hours of sleep at most last night. I seem to be suffering from mild but chronic food poisoning. I'm now seriously considering my friend E's suggestion of making my own kefir to help my poor old digestive system. I definitely need a good dose of probiotics. I had a tub of CoYo raw chocolate coconut yogurt and it was like eating natural yogurt with a very subtle hint of chocolate. Not exactly a pleasant experience as I would never associate chocolate with sourness. Not sure either if if helped my tummy at all. Oh well.

Creepy cute

Those who are familiar with my style will know that I tend to go for bizarre imagery. The thing is, most of the pictures I make are unplanned. Sure, I normally start with an image in my head, but most of the time that image is incomplete and, after years of getting frustrated at how the images in my head almost never translate perfectly on to paper, I've given up on planning every single detail for my paintings.

So now I go by my intuition. I start with a face. If I like what I see, I carry on drawing and see where it takes me. I just keep adding things until a voice in my head says, 'There, all done.' It's a very random process, but I find that it works for me.

The thing is, I've realised that there's nothing like overthinking when it comes to stifling your creativity. I used to do it when I was a lot younger. I always thought that every story I wrote and every picture I drew had to be a statement about something and have some social relevance. I wasted a lot of time pressuring my paper doll-making self to make 'serious' art to the point that I completely lost all motivation to make any art at all.

So these days, I draw every day, and I draw whatever I like. They're mostly girls, more textured versions of my childhood paper dolls. They visit and if I let them, they stay. If I start thinking too much about how they should look, they quickly go away.

So one day, I might draw someone like this, feeling warm and fuzzy with her cuddly spirit friends:

And then the next day, I'll be drawing something like this. Not sure if she's a ghost, but she's finding it hard to say good-bye to someone.

I've learnt to trust my process. My art may not be pretty nor socially relevant, but it is completely true to who I am.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Pen and ink

Crazy busy lately, but I'm trying to make time for a bit of drawing every day. The quickest way for me to get the images that visit me down on paper is through pen and ink. Here are a few pictures that I've drawn in the last week or so:

Funnily enough, these pictures seem to attract more 'likes' and comments on Instagram than my paintings. Kids who are into manga and anime seem to like them as well. I guess the Japanese influence is showing. I blame all the manga I've been reading lately. 

I'll try and post my pictures regularly here. I'd like to have the time to sit down and plan what to do with the better-quality ones. Maybe some prints, cards or notebooks? We'll see. I'm in no rush right now. 

Monday, 7 July 2014


The little one and I went to Tiger in Cambridge a few weeks ago to get whatever struck our fancy. We ended up buying all sorts of colourful things. She got herself a big bag of straws, a set of highlighters, a notebook and a hand fan. I got myself a roll of their fruit-themed parcel tape, a set of table napkins and a plain kraft notebook. At £2, the notebook was definitely a steal.

I decided to personalise it yesterday. I just used some of my Derwent and Prismacolor pencils to make this Alice in Wonderland-inspired picture. The little one said that she looks a bit ill because of her eyes. Ha. I'm definitely into drawing droopy-eyed people these days. 

Having said that, she does look a little bit too ill. I might just lighten the area under her eyes a bit.

This was a lot of fun to do and I'm thinking of getting a few more kraft notebooks to customise. Any suggestions on which literary character I should do next?

Edited: I've redone parts of her face to make her look a little less, er, consumptive. The little one thinks she still looks ill though. There's no pleasing some people. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Heat wave

The last few days have been really warm—the sort of weather that makes you want to spend the whole day outdoors, only to feel completely drained and wilted after an hour or so. I just wanted to drink iced tea and eat Filipino fruit salad, the kind that uses cream and condensed milk as dressing, thus cancelling out the health benefits of eating fruit. 

The kittens are doing a lot of sleeping and eating straight-out-of-the-fridge food.

    The little one has been walking around shirtless.

   I baked a chocolate fudge cake and banana muffins on Sunday. It was so hot that I decided to sit on the floor while preparing the batter. Cool kitchen floor tiles FTW!

Found this cute hedgehog canvas fabric on eBay. I have big plans for it.

The little one turned seven yesterday. Here she is before heading for school.

Her very first manga—Yotsuba. She's completely addicted.

Birthday balloons—the remains of a sweltering day. Best birthday ever, according to the little one. That's all that matters, really. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

We've joined Team Cat

They are sweet and cuddly and messy and affectionate and ferocious. And they love to sleep—on laps, duvets, pillows, blankets, in front of the snakes' vivarium while patiently waiting for the snakes to come out and play. Life is definitely more interesting with Ollie and Ellie around.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

One-minute review: The Shambling Guide to New York

The Shambling Guide to New York CityThe Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book because I like Mur Lafferty. The premise is interesting, and the main character initially comes across as likable enough. There are some really funny scenes and this is where Lafferty's writing shines through. However, the plot and the characters all turn into cliches halfway through the story, that by the time I got to the end, I felt like the book was just a mish-mash of books, films and television programmes we have all seen before.