A love story of some sorts

I had the honor of illustrating some take away gifts for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. According to her, their love story was one of very ordinary nature, but after spending an afternoon with them in their new house, I knew there was more to discover. My cousin and her husband have a very quiet and humorous way of interacting with each other and I wanted to illustrate that. Using photos I took around their home, I transformed them into cute characters in their own world.

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Traveling Uhto

Was driving towards Davis one day and caught this guy hitching a ride on I-80. Quite unsafe, don’t you think? I drove slowly behind the semi, as to not startle him, but I think he was more worried about his fur getting in his eyes than getting noticed. There’re times when I’ve too “hitched” a ride to my destination the unconventional way. Maybe not to save time, or convenience, but because it was the only means I could get to where I needed to be. Uhto might have sacrificed safety (although I think his fur would help cushion any fall. Plus, could a creature like him get hurt, anyway??) but he taught me that sometimes its necessary to take risks to get to where you want to go.

Uhto at twilight.

Couldn’t tell if he was lost or if he was resting.

I was a bit worried, since it was nearing 8pm and it didn’t seem like Uhto was going anywhere to stay for the night. Did he even stay in the city at all? Or does he just come during the day, like me, and go home after dark?

“Where is your home, Uhto? Do you live here?”
The city may seem especially lonely at night when everyone around you are bustling home to their families, a hearty meal and their comfy beds. I’m glad he looks fuzzy enough to keep himself warm; the autumn wind has only started to pick up recently.

“I hope you have a pleasant evening, then.”
And I walked to the train station to begin my commute home.

Uhto’s grand entrance

I had dinner with a friend one night in the city, and as we were walking back to the train station I caught sight of this fella.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing”
“No. What is it?”
“… it’s nothing.”

It makes me wonder sometimes where creatures like him come from. Maybe he’s a projection from a faraway dimension or just my food coma hallucination. Perhaps he’s something only I can see, but his appearance comes like an interruption. Just when I start to let the seriousness in life start to take hold of me, this creature bumbles into the sharp cityscape like a contradiction. +10 pts if you can guess where this photo was snapped. I didn’t take another shot of him, just out of politeness (no one likes paparazzi antics). I’ve given him a name, for convenience sake, “Uhto”, as in “Uh, totally obvious” but apparently he’s not as obvious as I think he is. Oh, well. See you around, Uhto… I hope.

The girl and the sea.

Ever since I was in preschool, I knew I wanted to be an artist. However when I was in the 7th grade, I had a brief stint of wanting to be a marine biologist. I wasn’t particularly fascinated by the scientific part of the biology, but it was the colors and mystery of the ocean that prompted me to change course. It wasn’t until I realized that being a marine biologist meant that I’d have to scuba dive into not just the pretty parts of the ocean, but perhaps the loneliest and eerie depths, I wasn’t so sure about my career change anymore. To this day though, the ocean still has a hold of me, but in a different way. Whenever I feel trapped or particularly shitty, I take a trip to visit the sea. Something about the waves, whether they’d be violent or seemingly calm, contain a sort of power that sucks the negativity out of my body as I watched them. When the waves come surging onto the sand, I feel all thoughts dissolve in my mind with the white foam. I feel cleansed and refreshed, and for a time being, I can just let the sounds wash over me and be at the center of focus. I think everyone has a head-clearing device; we just need to get away from things that stress us out, be it work or relationships. If  designers and artists can work off of each other for inspiration, why not start at the source of it all – nature. If anything, these moments of peace helps me clear my mind to solve problems, but they certainly give me that little spark, too. Here’s to a new week!

Photo+Illu Process

A couple people have asked to see a process timeline of how I do my photo+illus, so I’ve taken some screenshots of my progress using photo+illu #24. I do everything in Illustrator and Photoshop with my tablet and it usually takes me about 2 hours to complete one (unless there’s only one character in it, then it could be less). It’s really fun to go between the two programs, especially after doing the shading and shadows at the end… very satisfying process :)

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#24 Thinking of There

I went to Berkeley Bowl last week to grab some fresh vegetables when I suddenly thought of how different American markets are compared to the ones in Taiwan. Even the farmer markets here seem more sterile and perfect, with all the carrots and cabbages laid out carefully side by side. The markets in Taiwan are definitely an adventure to the senses; the smell of fresh vegetables mingled with the delicious aroma of “small eats”, some vegetables are scrubbed clean, some still with soil lay haphazardly in their non-matching bins, the plastic bags hanging in a mass on the concrete walls. Something about the explosion of colors combined with the loud cracking voices of the Obasans make the marketplace one of my favorite places to visit.