Hello, it’s been a while since I have last posted (click for a larger size). This was something that I completed recently. These are my characters Alex and Caelum, though I got a bit lazy and forgot to draw the patterns on Alex’s clothes. I still have no idea what I want to do with this blog, but I hope to continue posting artwork on here.
For those wondering, I have been back in England for a while now but have not had much time to make posts unfortunately. Munich was really fun and amazing, I am glad that I got to experience everything I did and make a lot of friends. For now, I just want to focus on graduating from university and finding out what I want to do to live a happy life.
Thanks for reading and keeping up to date with me life. Currently I have no personal computer as my MacBook has culled itself and I have sold it off for spare parts (apparently the screen was perfect). I have my personal hard drive converted into a portable one that I can just plug in, so it’s good that I still have all my files, but other than at work I have no computer at all. Normally I’d be panicking right about now as I have unfinished university coursework and need to pay for a new macbook, etc. but I’ve been pretty relaxed about the whole thing so far. I’m getting a new MacBook in October and then will return to university. In the meantime, I’ve applied for extensions on my coursework and am applying for part-time jobs back at home too.
Really excited to be returning back to England, especially as I have been away for so long! But I have enjoyed my time in Garching and I am so glad I have learnt so much about graphic design, astronomy, science, education, and an endless list of things. My last day at ESO is on 30 September, so I might be posting a rather touching ‘last day’ post soon. I’ll keep everyone posted!
In the meantime, I have made my personal website Dream About Stars live for now so I can apply for jobs, but please be aware that it still needs a LOT of updating. Unfortunately, no computer…. OTL
I’m feeling bored and I have a lot drawings and art stuff so I’ve decided to add another category to my blog, which is to review stuff I buy to draw with basically. All my reviews are really honest and to the point. I literally just have an iphone as I have left my camera back in England so photography may not be high-end on my part, sorry in advance.
8″ x 10″. 70gsm. Plain pages. Black cardboard cover. Stitched spine.
Firstly, almost 16 bloody euros for 3 journals. I only bought them because I couldn’t resist the Moleskine name but so far they have been really useful. Now that that’s out of the way, these are JOURNALS so do not expect them to be the same as sketchbooks- they are for writing notes quickly and jotting down ideas. Not that I have time for mindless thoughts these days but I thought I’d draw them for sketching anyway.
The paper is so thin it may as well be greaseproof paper so black ink from my fineliners (Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment fineliners, possibly my next review) does show through, but it isn’t too noticeable and thankfully doesn’t bleed at all or actually go through the page. For general sketching and light pen drawing, these journals are really decent. The paper is thin but you can definitely tell the quality is there, though I couldn’t find the actual thickness in gsm though so I’m gonna guestimate and say it’s about 70gsm. The cardstock used for the covers isn’t too thin so as long as you don’t just shove it in your bag after use then it could possibly last long on the go, but obviously everyone would prefer hardback. There’s also a little pocket in the back if you want to take souvenirs from your travels, like a postcard or flower or something that you can just stick in.
The stitched spine is something special because you know that the pages won’t just come off like some cheap Poundland crap. Stitched spines last much longer than ones using book adhesive, plus some of the pages stick together on the inside edges when glued, which is really infuriating as an artist. The paper itself is also as smooth as a baby’s bottom and my pencils just glide over t surface, it’s great! Obviously I don’t recommend heavy use of markers or watercolours for kind of paper. I’ve tested it already and a very thin watercolour was is okay but anything more and the paper will be wrinklier then your grandma. Also, do NOT use liquid pens such as highlighters and fountain/Parker pens on this paper. I will assume that dip pens are also a no.
Each book has 60 leaves (120 single pages) so if you draw and write notes a lot then that’s about a month before you need to spend another 16 bloody euros on these things, but they’ll probably last forever if you are like me and only have time for drawing once every blue moon. These notebooks are gorgeous, they are definitely one of the highest quality journals I’ve used for light drawing and ink work so if you can afford it then I think it’s worth the money. For the same price, you could probably buy a non-Moleskine hardback sketchbook with thicker pages though so it’s your choice.
Points to take note of:
16 bloody euros. I won’t let it go.
Paper is smooth, around 70gsm, fineliner pen ink doesn’t bleed.
Perfect for general sketching, notes, and line work.
You can brag about owning a Moleskine.
16 pages at the back can be removed. Dunno what’s the point, but it’s there.
Remember, these are journals. They are not aimed at artists but at people with ideas who want to write stuff quickly.
My second week at my new job has come to an end! I absolutely love my job, but man it is so exhausting and the hours are long…. very hard to stay focused for a really long period of time, especially as I am too lazy to leave my desk for a lunch break and end up working for 8 solid hours, 45 hours a week…. zzzzz…. I promise I do eat lunch at my desk though, at least!
Recently I went through some files of drawings I did when I was in Tanzania. Actually these drawings were started before I left (I think) and the colour was added when I was in East Africa. I looked around my blog and I’ve noticed hat I’ve never posted these 2 before! These 2 are my OCs Alex and Peter, they are brothers and princes of the kingdom Bestiam (drawings of the kingdom will come soon!). This story has a very complicated background so if you have time, here are the early concepts so far:
Background concept: Kanaʿan is a continent made up of 5 Kingdoms, each one influenced by a different language (Greco-Roman Latin, Chinese, Magi, Proto-Canaanite, and Arabic. STILL TO BE DECIDED – MORE RESEARCH NEEDED), each also with a specific mythical creature attached to the continent. Please note that this is just one continent, not the whole world so this story has potential to expand. The setting is equivalent to 18-19th Century real world industrial revolution. Bestiam is based on Greco-Latin culture and is the most progressive and liberal; I haven’t decided on the names yet but the country/kingdom based on Magi will be the least progressive and far out from technology, following a close set of rules and traditions dating back to 20,000 years. The whole concept is about how, even in real life, cultures living so close together live completely different lives.
Current members of the Royal Family in Bestiam:
King Victor II, current ruler, and his wife Queen Estella. They have no children
Prince Christopher, King Victor’s brother, and his (ex) wife Lady Bianca
Prince Alex and Prince Peter, Christopher and Bianca’s children
Both their designs are largely unfinished…. I want to add a lot of patterns and stuff to their designs but when I did that previously, their designs became really complicated and unnecessarily cluttered. I guess I will experiment on their designs more later!
Alexander: Alex is a sweet 12 years old boy, a magician, and one of the princes of Bestiam, son to Prince Christopher and Lady Bianca. Alex’s parents divorced shortly after he was born so Alex was brought up entirely by his father and other workers at the palace. He is extremely intelligent and has a very happy-go-lucky personality as he is constantly surrounded by people who love him a lot. Because of the traits he got from his mother, he is incredibly talented at magic too, but prefers to sing and dance than study. He really looks up to his father and they have a really close relationship, though he has some resentment towards his mother who he believes abandoned him. Alex is also very good at controlling him emotions, he is not very easy to manipulation, but gets really angry when anyone says anything about his family.
Alex’s familiar is a shapeshifting angelic spirit called Caelum (pronounced KAI-loom). She is special as she can transform into anything she wants, though she relies on Alex’s magic to be able to shapeshift. He likes her to be a Holy Dragon most of the time, usually baby form so she can ride on his hood or shoulder rather than flying or walking.
Peter: Peter is 8 or 9 (haven’t decided) and has a whole host of different mental problems, most obviously, he has autism caused my environmental and parental factors in his life. His mother was forced to marry a wealthy businessman shortly after her divorce and she had Peter a few years later. He was abused, physically and sexually, for a very long time by his step father, but his mum didn’t find out. He is rather close to his mum but overall has anxiety talking to anyone new, particularly adults that are male. Because he was home tutored, he doesn’t talk much as he didn’t have any friends his own age. He doesn’t like going outside or doing any kind of physical activity, preferring to read instead. He is very slender and has an eating disorder, as well as sleep anxiety. Slowly, after living in the palace with his real family, his symptoms get a lot better. Basically he’s kinda messed up through no fault of his own.
Peter’s familiar is a spirit trapped in a rabbit doll made by Alex, who he calls Lepus. He has a bell attached to his butt which jingles rather loudly, letting people know when Peter is nearby and to keep their distance so as to not creep him out.
The point of having these 2 characters is to compare and contrast how a different upbringing affects your personality, even if they are brothers.
The whole purpose of Kana’an is to explore the challenges associated with cultural diversity. I have done a lot of reading and research into the Silk Road, and how the transfer of culture in terms of art have influenced people hundreds of years ago. The story is both amazing and a little bit sad, unfortunately.
This project is something I work on in my free time, but it’s not as important as Infitia. I don’t know if I can ever make this a tangible thing :c
Alex is one of my very first and most favourite OCs so you will see him a lot! He has evolved over the years
This story/project doesn’t have a name OTL Any ides would be appreciated!
I have a new job! I won’t mention the name of the organisation just yet but it is an organisation in Germany that provides state-of-the-art facilities to professional scientists researching into ground-based astronomy. I’ve always wanted to work in the field of astronomy so this is really like a dream come true! I asked the person who interviewed me about their core values and they completely aligned with what I strongly believe in so I am hoping that I will fit into their team perfectly.
They expect me to start as early as next Monday so I shall be flying out sometime over the weekend. I have recently returned from my 9-month volunteering placement in Tanzania and a really long holiday to the Caribbean so I know it seems like I really want to get away from England, but I assure everyone that that is not the case! England is my home, and will always be my home. I should be back in time for university which starts in October, and I can’t want to tell all my friends about my time abroad!
I’d just like to say that even if I have a job, I will still try my hardest to work on the projects I mentioned in the previous entry. Progress will just be slow as I am working longer hours at this job and I need to complete some compulsory reports and assessments for university that I completely forgot about… however, I will say that Infitia is running more smoothly and I should be on track to release a chapter by the end of this year! 😀
I shall be moving back to England on Monday, after spending a full 9 months in Tanzania. I will pretty much be away until late April due to a family holiday. However, I am very committed to creating more art and working on Infitia so I am hopefully going to be posting a lot more when I am finally back home.
To my friends and colleagues in Tanzania, asanteni for welcoming me to this beautiful country and lending me your support. I will take all the memories and culture I have learnt back home with me, and perhaps one day I shall return ad revisit Serengeti. The next few days will be very emotional for me.
It’s very rare I talk so openly about Tanzania in public so I want to share some more insights about the country. Hopefully for people planning on coming here, you will be prepared for what is to come! Feature image: Hippo Lake at Ngorongoro Crater / Jo Law
The power cuts here are frequent and intense. If you are going to live in Moshi like me, pretty much do not expect any electricity during the WHOLE weekend unless you live in a rather rich area like Shanty Town. It’s frustrating, but I guess there’s nothing you can really do about it. Other than complain….
Expats and foreign volunteers are a plenty. Tanzania is one of the top 5 countries for volunteers to find work, so it’s not surprise if you manage to meet a few other foreigners beside yourself whilst you are here. After all, I am a volunteer also.
Nights are the most beautiful here. Little light pollution and power cuts? Yes, please! The stars are incredibly bright and beautiful here, especially if you ever get the chance to go camping in the middle of Serengeti. I can make most bright stars in the Tanzanian night sky!
Most Tanzanians have 2 cell phones. This is because different network providers have different deals, so most people go for 2 sims instead of 1. For example, 2 big networks are Tigo and Vodacom that have tigo-to-tigo and vodacom-to-vodacom offers that will save them money.
Internet by phone. Let’s face it, there is pretty much no wifi in Tanzania, even at cafes. We have Raha wifi that’s pretty shoddy, and the super expensive Smile Technology 4G internet. The cheapest and most efficient way to get internet is by tethering your phone to your laptop and buying internet bundles on your network. For about 50p/75c, you can have 1GB of 3G internet per day, which is more than enough for one day’s worth of activities, unless you are downloading or streaming in HD. I stream a lot of video in 240p and read a lot of manga, seems to be enough but I can’t get connection all the time inside my house, which is a bummer.
Most Tanzanian food is vegan! A shoutout to my vegan friend Kerri who runs a cruelty-free make-up blog, most Tanzanian food is very much vegan and does not use eggs or even milk. Beans are very common additions to rice and sometimes spaghetti. Salad is accompanied by most food, which comprises of tomatoes, raw onions, and cucumber in vinegar. Pili pili is also common, which is spicy aubergine or just chilli in general in tomato sauce, along with slices of avocado. My favourite Tanzanian food? Kiti Moto, which is unfortunately not vegan; it is pork with vegetables in a creamy tomato sauce. Kiki Moto literally means “a chair set alight” because apparently Muslims are not allowed to eat pork but they love Kiti Moto so much that they eat it as fast as possible and leave the restaurant, as if their seat is on fire!
Those are the Tanzanian facts for today! Have any questions? Let me know in the comments and I’d be interested in hearing your opinions!