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Important notes

Hey guys!

University has started for me and I am rather busy doing all that stuff, but at the same time I will try to still be active on here. There are a few changes that I am going to make though.

Firstly, I’m going to redesign the visuals of this blog. I don’t paint in back and white style anymore, or paint at all since it takes too much time, so I’m going to change all that. My logo has been updated to look simpler so that needs to go as well and the black background will change.

Secondly, I will be posting a lot of different things on here now. I will post about various interesting life experiences, my inspirations, and my art. However, I will not be posting anime-style artwork anymore. All of that will go on my DeviantART instead; I will be posting my vector artwork and graphics on this blog. I think it’s mostly because I want to pursue that kind of direction career-wise, whereas my anime art is just a hobby. I will definitely be posting all of my university briefs on here as well.

I’m going to keep this as a sticky for a while as a reminder until all the changes are done. Feel free to offer advice on what I should put for the background and stuff. As astronomy is a huge passion of mine, a lot of stars and constellations was my first though. We’ll see!

Jo

Charity e-mail

As you all know, I am a volunteer graphic designer for Anza. I don’t do much anymore because I am too busy at uni but they have given me a new email to work with anyway. If you have any questions about the charity or about my work, please contact me with this email: jo@anza.co.com

I will try to answer any questions as fast as I can!

About Anza: Anza are a charity working in Tanzania and Ghana to change the lives of young people through social empowerment. They have been working on a variety of different projects, helping teenagers start their own business and even helping girls go back to school by teaching them to produce their own re-useable sanitary towels (sanitary towels are extremely expensive in Africa).

About my work: I work with the Student Ambassadors manager and other graphic design volunteers to produce work for the website. I mostly make PDFs or change a few things here and there; as I mentioned earlier I don’t do as much work as I used to but I get on with it whenever I have time. You might see my illustrations around occasionally!

Kawaii Box (October 2014) Review

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My sister told me about Kawaii Box around a month ago so I didn’t hesitate to order a subscription as soon as I saw what goodies were in the previous boxes!

For those of you who don’t know, Kawaii Box is a subscription service where you are sent a box full of Japanese and Korean ‘kawaii’ items each month. It costs $18.50 a month, roughly £11, and there are 10-12 items in each box so let’s say each item costs around £1. It sounds like a bargain, especially when you get send very high quality items. Today I received the October’s Kawaii Box and I opened it immediately. Here’s what you get:

  • Adorable cat face plush charm
  • Rilakkuma dessert charm
  • Kitty sharpener
  • Puccho grapefruit sweeties
  • Hello Kitty dessert pen
  • 2x sweeties hair ties/bobbles
  • Extreme cute dog note card with envelope
  • Pearl Jewlry Seal stickers
  • Puffy cupcake stickers
  • Cute cosmetics bag/pencil case
  • Pink face cloth/towel

The header photo shows the kitty plush charm, the Rilakkuma charm, kitty (or a dog?) sharpener, and the 2 hair ties. Firstly, the kitty charm. It is absolutely adorable, extremely fluffy and poofy! The elastic is rather strong so it won’t break or come off easily, so don’t be afraid to attach it to your bag! The same thing can be said about the Rilakkuma charm which is made of a squishy material.

As for the sharpener, it is really cute but there’s a gap between the sharpener and holes so sharpenings will come out of it rather easily. Make sure it’s something you keep on the desk to use, otherwise you’ll ver a rather messy pencil case. The hair ties are very good quality, especially as I love tying my hair up. Use both of them at the same time for 2 candies in your hair!

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Next up is the Hello Kitty dessert pen and dog gift card. The pen writes very fluently and is a rollerball. The dog card is just too cute for me to use and give away though! You can pop out the bone part slightly to keep the card folded.

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These are the stickers they sent. I personally love them. I have no use for stickers but I do keep a very large collection of stickers just so I can admire the adorableness! They might want to check the spelling of ‘jewelry’….

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The final 2 items are a pink pencil case/cosmetics bag with cute animals and a girl on the fabric and a pink face cloth with a variety cute images on it! It’s a small case but it’s perfect for storing all of the index tabs and sticky notes.The face cloth is also very useful as I need a new one anyway, they remind me of the ones you can get in the markets of Hong Kong. Oh, and let’s not forget the Puccho sweets (totally forgot!). I’ve already eaten half the packet and they are very yummy~ They have bits of grapefruit flavoured gummy sweets inside the soft yoghurt so it gives it a really unique texture.

If you love all things kawaii and haven’t bought a kawaii box yet, I really really recommend that you get one! You can order one here if you didn’t click the link before. The products you get are cute, high quality, and much cheaper than buying them all individually. Part of the thrill is not knowing what you’ll get, and I’ll be posting next month’s box too when it arrives!

Stay tuned~ <3

Generation I – Child Computer Programmer

For the past week, I have been working very hard in researching and developing a project which I received from university. The brief is about Generation I, and as far as I know I can pursue it in any direction as long as it is related to my theme.

Generation I refers to children born in 2002 or after, being brought up having access to everything at the touch of their fingertips. These are children who have never experienced the age of floppy disks and dial-up, rarely ever spend time playing outside, and have a shorter attention span than any other generation at their age!

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This is a bunch of illustrations I created for my research. This week is all about research, next week I will need to present 3 ideas and the week after that I need to present a final solution so this is still an on-going project.  I know it looks like a random collection of drawings but I will upload my research sheets when I have developed them further so you can get a little context behind them. I received feedback on my project only today so I will need to make some changes; however, my tutor was really pleased to see that I went to the effort of creating my own Illustrations.

The top 3 illustrations and the ones at the ends of the bottom row were vectors which I created using a mouse, the rest were made with the blob brush (I got super lazy). Because I am a huge nerd, this project has me really excited and I am trying to explore as much of the theme as I can. My tutor recommended that I create a project based on teaching children about coding because that has become a major part of the education overhaul here in the UK. His idea for me was that I create a book but honestly, I don’t think he wants me to do that because it’s not very creative and seems a little lazy actually, like I didn’t put any thought into this project at all.

For possible ideas, I was thinking about maybe creating a website or app where different things will change and interact with you depending on the instructions you type in. The same could be applied to a display because I hear children are really interested in light and sounds so that’s something I can look into as well. Being interested in web development, I do know a fair bit about coding websites. It’s just that satisfaction of typing in some HTML code and then previewing it; like, this is what I made and I literally just put in a few lines of text. If I can communicate that message to children to get them interested in coding for my project, that’ll be so great! But for now, sorry everything is a little vague because as I mentioned, it is an on-going project that’s about 10-12% complete.

I will update with some visual sheets soon. I just thought I’d give everyone an update as I haven’t posted in a while. Any thoughts about this project or ideas would be extremely appreciated!

Exciting news!

I have a really exciting announcement to make – The charity I volunteer at has invited me to volunteer with them in their offices in Tanzania for about 6 months! I’m really excited to start, and they’ve been giving me a lot of help and advice in terms of vaccinations I need, how to get internet, cost of flights, where I’ll be living, etc.

I’ll be a marketing and communications assistant, creating promotional materials (posters, leaflets, pamphlets, etc.) but I’ll also be attending events with other international volunteers to get photographs and video testimonials. I think this will be a great opportunity for me to get the feel of working for a real company and also to have some experience abroad. Apparently some employers really value experience in another country so although it’s a voluntary position, I think it will really help me in the future. Since I’m not going to begin until summer 2015, I haven’t got a timetable yet but I am expected to work 9-5 every weekday, and party hard on the weekends!

If I end up really enjoying working there, I could stay for a whole year but I don’t want to miss Christmas with my family…. There’s still a lot of things I need to discuss as well, plus if I am done after 6 months then there’s the question of what I’ll be doing for the 6 months after that (If I am not staying for the whole year). I am taking a gap year from university to find work experience/placements for the whole year between June 2015-September 2016  so I can’t do nothing for half of it. I guess I’ll have to jump between placements!

When I get there, I’ve been guaranteed that:

  1. There is no chance of me getting Ebola
  2. I will never be alone on any expenditure. I will be living with staff members and other international interns in a house about 10 minutes from the offices. Everyone walks in the mornings together, and my line-manager Andy will help me the whole time.
  3. Lunches and accommodation will be provided throughout the whole time and there is a nighttime guard at the house and a maid who will clean your clothes.
  4. I can get internet everywhere if I get a Dongle, even half way up Kilimanjaro apparently!
  5. Everything is cheap. I can easily live comfortably with under £100 a month.

In other news, my parents are going back to Hong Kong in March and I’ve decided to tag along with them. It’s a shame because my university is going to New York for an Easter trip but I can’t say no to seeing my family. My grandparents are about 80-90 years old now, I’m actually surprised they’re still walking around right now! Well, not literally because my grandma has joint problems so can’t stay out to long. I also really want to see my cousin since I miss him so much! We’re as close as real siblings so it’ll be very exciting seeing him again, we play lots of games together~ I’m still going to be working on university stuff whilst I’m there so I’m gonna bring my macbook along.

Anyways, I haven’t even started university yet but it seems like this will be a very interesting year! I’m going to work really hard to get the best grades as I can so unfortunately that means I need to give up my time drawing. However, I may upload the occasional drawing or illustration I make for my charity or for university!

Newcastle Trip

Yesterday I went to Newcastle, all on my own! My main purpose for coming to Newcastle was to see an exhibition called Body Worlds at the Life Science Centre. I studied Gunther von Hagen’s work at college and my mum said she really wanted to see an exhibition of his work but it’s been a very long time since there was an exhibition in the UK, other than the animal one. So I decided to go and visit Newcastle solely for the exhibition, because I don’t know when I’ll have another opportunity to do so in my lifetime.

IMG_1565I currently live and study in Leeds so Newcastle was quite a way for me. On a train, it was about an hour and a half away from Leeds, but it wasn’t as far away as my home in Shropshire! One of the things I noticed as I was approaching the city was this bridge; I thought it looked minimalistic and really stood out, though it wasn’t captured as well on this photograph. This river is called the river Tyne, which is why the settlement I was headed to is called Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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Luckily for me, the science centre was just a 2 minute walk from the train station. I’m a huge fan of Gunther von Hagen’s work; he uses plastination to preserve real bodies of people and animals. Last year I saw the Inside and Out exhibition about animals at the Natural History Museum in London; it was great! This time it was real life humans in the exhibition. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of any of the bodies but all I can say is that it was amazing and extremely educational. There were many plastinated body parts, showing the differences between healthy organs and those with cancer and other common diseases/illnesses. If any of you are near Newcastle, it is really something you cannot miss! Unless perhaps if you are squeamish….

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The rest of the centre was okay, it was a little too simple for me though. I did study advance level Physics though, and I am a huge astronomy nerd! This centre was designed mainly for children, after all. Anyway, there was a small theatre called the Planetarium which showed a movie on the ceiling of a dome, similar to the huge dome cinema at the Hong Kong Space Museum. I watched a short movie called “What’s up, Einstein?” which discussed Newton and Einstein’s theories about space and time. They talked a lot about the Big Bang, expanding universe and things certain astronomers/physicists noticed when others didn’t, which was all interesting. A lot of concepts were explained very simplistically, obviously for children or those who didn’t study physics. I was a little disappointed that the teenagers behind me fell asleep during the showing though; you can never be too bored learning about science!

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After buying postcards and pens (the usual stuff) I decided to go shopping and a little sightseeing, seeing as Newcastle was rated as one of the top 10 places for student satisfaction. One thing I was very happy to see was that there were a lot of places to buy comic/sci-fi merch. There was even a geek cafe where people can socialise and play Magic with friends whilst eating! Unfortunately I went alone so I felt really out of place, and didn’t really want to make new friends in a city I won’t ever visit again. I’m always going to new places unfortunately; maybe if there was another exhibit I really wanted to see here again. I looked for somewhere to eat and decided to support a small local cafe. I ordered a hot chocolate and egg mayo sandwich/deli thing. It costed an eye-watering £5.70 for both! However, it was delicious and the decor inside the cafe was very welcoming. Unfortunately, as a student I think I’ll have to opt for McDonalds next time to save my wallet from becoming anorexic!

Newcastle was, although I don’t want to admit it, much more beautiful than Leeds. Most of the buildings were very old, possibly listed traditional buildings. I didn’t get to see many of the famous landmarks such as the St Mary’s Cathedral and Millenium bridge because I only had a couple of hours and by the time I finished shopping , I just sat at the train station for 2 hours because I could not walk anymore. I was absolutely knackered! A lot of my friends joked about bringing home a northern accent whilst I was there but I didn’t really speak to many locals there anyway haha.

Overall I had a very interesting day of shopping and exploring. Body Worlds was the main reason I spent the £30 train ticket to the north, and it was truly a fascinating exhibit. I really recommend this exhibition to anyone interested in science/anatomy. Body Worlds exhibits all around the world so it is worth checking the website every now and then to see if there’s a new exhibit near you. In the meantime I’m going to eagerly await a new exhibition which will coming to the UK, hopefully in the near future.

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Photo from here

Detective Stop

 

Stop and Fetch linesI haven’t posted in a while so this is something I completed just today!

This is Detective James Stop, a renowned 15 year old officer working at Scotland Yard, and his cat Fetch. They investigate people who do nasty things to their OCs and he has the power to take them away from them too. Stop keeps some of the OCs  at his home until he can rehouse them. Unfortunately those who are not fit enough to be adopted/fostered are put down, but this is the last resort only and Stop tries his hardest to find new owners for every single one, on top of the detective work,

In all honestly, I was just really tired after working so much for volunteering and so upset about losing a file that I just randomly made this character out of my frustrations. Basically the other day I was drawing a reference sheet for one of my favourite characters but I accidentally saved over it so I lost it pretty much forever. I was so upset, and at about 3-4am I decided to make an OC that acted like a police who investigates people who don’t take good care of their OCs or design really bad ones, just as a joke for losing my all-important saved file. Right after, I made another sketch the design and I worked on it some more today (this picture) after finishing volunteering work. Quite frankly, I felt like I should be arrested for not taking care of my save files! So that explains the character. As for the design, there was nothing serious to it. Just randomly came up with something from the top of my head and I think it worked out nicely.