Journey to Germany

Hey friends!

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!😀

Thanks for reading, see you all in Germany!

Feature image: ESO/H.H. Heyer

Upcoming projects

Hey friends!

Just a quick update on what’s happening. I have recently just come back from my holiday in the Caribbean, I will post photos later but I have been so busy recently that I haven’t really had time to do anything else!

Regarding latest projects, I am writing a few essays about mental health to aid my Infitia comic. I want to make it as realistic and empathetic towards the mentally ill so it’s really important that I get the facts right. I will post these essays on my website in PDF format when they are done, it is mostly going to be a collection of essays about the disorders featured in Infitia and how they can affect an undeveloped brain of a child. I will make a simple, condensed version in an illustrated booklet too. I am also writing the scripts, character profiles, and preparing storyboards which will take a lot of time but my main goal is to get at least one chapter and one side chapter of Infitia completed before the end of the year. Really ambitious, but I feel like I can do it!!

Another project is the one I missed, Spring Equinox. It was pretty much just a bunch of really nice posts going on my facebook page about the flowers you can see in spring and how you can grow and care for your own. It would have been one illustrated post a week until summer, where I will then post summer flowers, and then autumn flowers in austumn, etc. Unfortunately it never happened due to lots of things happening with work and my really long holiday so I guess there’s nothing I can do about that. I am going to prepare a Summer Solstice one but won’t publish it until I know for sure that I can do it… instead I will wait until I hear back from employers about jobs and maybe do an autumn one instead (spring and summer flowers can wait until next year). The whole event was supposed to be a “year of flowers” kinda thing so I’m really sad I couldn’t make it happen when I wanted it to, but I guess real life commitments take priority over illustrations for a facebook page. @_@

I have also been asked to redesign an entire magazine and it’s taking up a lot of my time, there’s just so much I can improve about it because it’s just designed really badly. I am meeting with a friend tomorrow about it so hopefully I can achieve something great (I’m not sure if I will be allowed to post it though).

Finally, my facebook page Dream About Stars and my website are going to be updated. The website is a little more difficult as the hosting is expiring very soon and I absolutely have no money to renew it, but the facebook page will be updated. I haven’t touched it much since I have been in Tanzania due to work and whilst I can’t guarantee regular updates, I can at least try. Illustrations take a really long time.

Anyway, those are all the updates I have for now and I will keep you posted on any new art I create!

Return to England!

Hey friends!

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.

Thank you Kilimanjaro!

6 more things to know about Tanzania!

Hey friends!

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

  1. 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….
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Repost: Umisachi & Yamasachi Brothers

Hey friends!

This is a repost from a while back, originally drawn in June 2014. The reason for reposting is because someone posted it on a Facebook group, conveniently the same one I am a member of, and claimed it as their own. They eventually credits but the post was taken down and I removed it from all websites too. Almost a year later, I am reposting it. (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

These two characters are the Japanese Gods Umisachi and Yamasachi from the game Puzzle&Dragons. They are my favourite cards and my main leader for almost all dungeons, so I had to draw them! I started playing Puzzle&Dragons in my first year of uni and man, I have played it every single day since. I left my DeviantART watermark on it since I’m too lazy to remove it haha.

When I am back in UK, I would love to draw these two again or at least make something with an elaborate background because I haven’t done that for a really long time. Having a full time job is so stressful, and even worse when you don’t have power!

Green and bluebackground

Infitia – Characters (Development)

Whenever I have free time, I like to (very slowly) work on a motion book I am developing. For the moment, I am writing a detailed synopsis of the story and designing some of the characters for the story. As a student in a full-time job, it is extremely difficult for me to find time for any personal projects these days.

Quick background of the project (for those unfamiliar with it):

The website for this project can be accessed here with a brief summary of what it’s about; it is still in development whilst I find the time to create more drawings for it. Infitia means “denial” in Latin and is a black and white comic which explores the relationship between Victorian era and mental health, as well as the treatment of the working class and underclass, particularly children.

The story follows the main character’s every day life suffering from mental illness and amnesia, and his journey as he slowly regains his memories and comes to terms with his past and his crippling mental health. Many many hours of reading and research went into this project so I hope I can make this as realistic and entertaining as possible for you guys!

So far I have only designed these 3 characters, but I am hoping to do some more very soon. These still aren’t 100% concrete, though I am pretty certain Henry and Sophia will not be changing. These are the descriptions of these characters, and I tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible!

characters_watermark
Characters of Infitia (left to right): Viscount Henry Wakefield, James (?), and Lady Sophia Cunningham.

Characters:

Viscount George “Henry” Wakefield: A 14-year-old teenager with an incredible gift. Intelligent, creative, and trustworthy; he is the pride of the Wakefield family. After finding a homeless boy on the streets, he convinces his family to take him in as he believes this boy will be a great man one day with help and rehabilitation. Henry is incredibly interested in psychology and the cognitive workings of the brain, as such he is very acute subtle changes in body language to better understand what people are thinking.

James (?): An enigmatic homeless boy who doesn’t remember his own identity; his only identifier being his only personal possession, a hat branded with the name “James”. The Wakefield family took him in as a domestic servant. He suffers from severe clinical depression and can suffer from random bursts of fear and panic, but doesn’t understand why he has these feelings.

Lady Sophia Cunningham: A young girl who encountered James in the past and was touched by his kindness when he rescued her drowning puppy. However, she knows the boy as not James, but Charles! Which is the real name? Sophia is secretly attracted to James, but Henry really likes her.

A lot of thought went into these designs, and Charles especially was particularly difficult. Since this comic is black and white, I am restricted to grey tones. Charles shows hardly any emotion in his facial expression, so the most expressive part of his body are his eyes and hands. To make his eyes stand out more, I made his hair lighter and gave him rather dark eyes.

6 things to know about Tanzania!

Hey friends!

In 3 weeks time I will be home in England with my family. I’m really excited to see my family again, but a little sad that I will be leaving this beautiful country I’ve called my home for the past 9 months. Feature image -> Mount Meru Meru/Jo Law

So, a few people have been asking me: What is it like in Tanzania?  Well, I’ve thought about it and here are some dead hard facts about this country that everyone should know about! This is useful for you travellers out there.

  1. Service is Tanzanian style- slow. Don’t be surprised if people are slow at getting some items for you at the deka or if your food takes over an hour to arrive, that’s standard. Tanzania’s most famous catchphrase is “pole pole”, or “slowly, slowly”. If you want something done fast, unfortunately Tanzania is not the best place to be!
  2. There is no such thing as noise pollution. Trust me, for the past 5 months I have not slept for longer than 3-5 hours each night. How am I still alive? To that, I say I am mentally and physically too strong to let lack of sleep defeat me. Be in cicadas, the church, or turkeys, or clubs and resorts, there’s always some music going on somewhere, it is both a blessing and a curse at the same time!
  3. Bugs are your best friend. Or bug spray. But there are a lot of bugs. You know ants? There are massive ones at least 1cm large in this country. And there are Jiggers. Don’t forget the Jiggers (google it o_o)
  4. Choice? What choice? Due to imports being too expensive, choice in food is only reserved for us mzungus (white people) and even then, it’s rather limited. Locals sell seasonal vegetables such as avocados, onions, and carrots at a very cheap price and some fried local fish too, plus you can get some decent imported goods such as Nutella and Dairy Milk, but don’t expect gourmet foods such as salmon or a wide selection of cheeses. A lot of local Tanzanian foods use tomatoes, beans, and raw onions. Obviously there are touristy restaurants but they are more expensive.
  5. Locals are really friendly and you can get by with minimal Swahili. If you say “Shikamoo” randomly to an old person, they are really happy to respond to you! Just knowing a tiny bit of the native language makes locals happy that you’re trying, even if it is a little of and they might point to what you want for reassurance. I’m the only person at my house who doesn’t take Swahili lessons, but I do know simple phrases such as “I would like….”. A lot of locals are good at English too so there’s no harm in asking what a specific word is in Swahili. This applies to most countries you visit!
  6. Boda boda. Whilst crime rate in Tanzania is dropping, accidents are going up. Before the appearance of boda bodas (motorbikes), youth would steal and rob people to get money. Now, they use boda bodas as a taxi service. Most are unlicensed though so I wouldn’t recommend it, and amputees in Tanzania are sharply increasing due to the popularity of boda bodas. Dala dala, or local mini buses, are extremely cheap and a little bit safer so I would recommend that as a form of transport, or if you have the money then definitely get a taxi!

If there’s anything want to know about Tanzania, please shoot me some questions below! I’d be more than happy to answer as best as I can.