Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ALP: my drawing journey

Hi, it is week 11 in China and it is about time to compile my drawings and look at my progress. I am currently doing cartoon animation for my exchange program, and it is supposed to involve a heavy load of drawing, but somehow, I think we have done about the least drawing among all the groups. Sure, I drew quite a bit for practice and for assignments, but the drawing level also reduced along the way. You'll see. 
We started out wanting to do a story with animal characters because we thought animals were rather easy to draw. But no, they are not. Maybe the cutesified version is easier but the more elegant and classic way is not. You have to take into account their body structures and we were involving 8 different animals in this story. So, that is 8 unfamiliar structures we would have to study if we wanted to draw them. The drawing on the left may look great, but apparently, it's wrong.

Plus, the Professor wasn't impressed with our story.

Okay, scrape. 
We changed our storyline and it involved people this time. And, our leaders suggested using those big-head-small-body kind of character style to draw because the body structure is easier? I have no idea, actually because I found it equally hard. You still have to care about body structure and proportions. I can't seem to draw the face shape nicely too. Plus, it is still kind of tedious to animate these kind of characters also. 
The Prof wasn't impressed with our drawing style. He said we should create something unique; it did not have to be nice or perfect, just different.
So, scrape. 

The Prof actually wanted something simple and weird-ish and he wanted to simplify our job since we only had less than 2 months to work and we hadn't started on animating. He wanted us to just use paper-cutting method where you cut out the paper and move it and take pictures. 

So, the leaders asked me to draw some weird characters. I tried. I did it once, twice, thrice, many times. I just didn't know what they wanted. Then, they showed me Tim Burton's characters and so I just copied that style and they were happy. whut. 

That's how they decided on the final character (in the header) for our animation. This process is  not as simple and condensed as this. I'm just summarising. 

Even though the drawings have become so simplified, I still wouldn't say I haven't learnt anything. We had a couple of drawing lessons, and the teacher said that our body parts are all made of cuboids. Meaning that, you can draw a cuboid and draw your body parts from there, with the cuboid as a guide. Actually, pretty much everything is a cuboid. Then he taught us how to draw interesting scenes by varying perspective and zoom(?). Yeah, that was rather fun while it lasted. 

I still don't get how to sketch nicely. I usually get my desired line with one stroke, so I don't know how to give it the nice sketchy look. When I try, it looks too overboard. Bleh. 

Don't look down on simple drawings because a lot of famous cartoon characters are made from a few simple lines. Think hello kitty, pusheen, miffy. You just need the right shape. Maybe. 


Monday, July 29, 2013

diy: aurora galaxy phone case

I've been intending to do this for a very long time. I bought a bunch of 1yuan phone cases to diy. Anyway, I love galaxy stuff. It's so magical~ 

  • Phone case
  • Nail polish
  • Makeup sponge
1. I am using a black plastic phone case and white, hot pink, purple and blue nail polish. According to the colour chart, that translates into deep pink, dark orchid and dodgerblue. You can use any other coloured phone case as well. Just paint it over with black or white if you wish to. As for the nail polish colours, feel free to experiment with other colours like green, red, brown or orange. Google some images for inspiration!
2. I sliced my makeup sponge into a smaller piece for easier usage. Take your paint and paint on the sponge. Alternatively, you can pour out some paint and dab your sponge on it. Same same. 
3. With your paint on the sponge, dab over the case. The key is to be messy and random. Just freestyle. Well, that's what I did. I used white for a base first because my paints did not show up on the black on it's own. 
4. Mix dabbing and wiping motions. Don't forget about the sides of the cover!
5. Don't add too much of the same colour at one spot. Try to spread it out. The nail polish should dry pretty fast so you do not have to worry about that. 
6. I did 2 coats of colour for some portions because I wanted to enhance the colour or because I wanted to change the look in some areas. 
7. Add some stars using your white polish. You can use a toothpick to help you. Just dot on white dots randomly. You can draw some diamond stars too. If you have glitter nail polish, I think that would be nice to use too. 
8. Don't forget to put on a transparent layer of top coat or modge podge for protection. I put on two coats. Give it a couple of days to completely dry before using. 

And if you don't like it at all, you can always remove it with nail polish remover! 

I was kinda worried about how it was going to turn out at first. When you start out, you have no idea what to do, but there is really no right or wrong with this. So, you can just experiment. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

nail art: minions

While we are still in the season of despicable me and minion goodness, why not give yourself a minion manicure! 


  • Nail polish in white, grey/silver, black, yellow and blue. 
  • Dotting tools/toothpick, thin brush (optional)
Since all my nails are painted already before I decided to do this blog and tutorials, I have used a replacement for my nails. See that white piece of card? Assume that is my nail okay?

  1. Paint your nail yellow. If your polish isn't very pigmented, you might want to paint it white first, then paint the yellow over. White will always bring out the colour to it's fullest. 
  2. Take your grey polish and place one or two big dots for the goggle rim. Make it circular, not ovals like what I did. Minions have big circular eyes. 
  3. Use your black polish to pain the black head bands. Try using the thinner side of your brush if you are having difficulty, and drain the polish first before applying.
  4. Use your dotting tool or toothpick to add some hair.
  5. Add the whites to the eye. If your grey polish hasn't dried then you can do the next step first and come back to this.
  6. Paint the blue minion uniform. Mine is a rectangular shape, so this is easy. Once again, you might want to add a white base before adding the blue.
  7. Use dotting tool or toothpick to add in a drop of black polish for the eyeball and draw out a mouth for your minion. 
  8. Outline the details of the uniform using your toothpick/dotting tool. 
I normally use the thin edges of my brush to do all my nail art, and occasionally I will use the help of a toothpick. But yes, if you know how to do this too, you can save a lot on nail art brushes. Though the latter will still give a more professional look. 

Easy peasy.
Go forth and conquer the world with your minions.


Friday, July 26, 2013

nail art: punk rock metal

Alright, first simple tutorial.

Being stranded in China, I had no nail polish or anything on my nails at all, so when I couldn't take it anymore, I went a little crazy and ordered some shiny nail foil stickers to try out for the first time. I've always wanted to try them out anyway although the idea behind it is still a bit silly cos it's like just pasting tape on your nails. But, I wanted this foil-ish look so, fine. 

They come in a sheet with at least 10 stickers normally. Extras are always good. The rounded edge of the sticker is supposed to be placed near the cuticle area of your nail and it should fit nicely. If it's too big, you can always trim it and if it is too small, you can stretch the sticker. So i guess that's what makes it different from normal stickers? 

Sorry, I dont have pictures to help. 

  1. So, you can start off by filing and buffing your nails if you want. Just the basic manicure procedure. Push back cuticles also. 
  2. Select the most fitting size for your fingernail/toenail and peel it from the sheet. Place the rounded edge as close to your cuticles as possible, and in the center. I wouldn't recommend placing it on the cuticles because they will just end up peeling. Don't press the sticker down just yet. 
  3. You'll have quite some extras sticking out, so you can use a nail scissors to snip the extras and place it back on the sticker backing to use for future nail arts or whatnots. 
  4. Start sticking the foil sticker from the sides first, top down. You can stretch the sticker as you go along and try to even the sticker out.
  5. Use an orange stick/icecream stick/whatever helps to flatten the edges and remove air bubbles. 
  6. For the extras at the end of your nail, use a nail file to file it off. File perpendicular to your nail, in the direction towards yourself or just not in the direction that encourages the sticker to peel off. The little bits at the end will come off quite easily after you've filed it and you're done! 
  7. I applied a top coat but although it prevents scratches and so prevents the (black) prints from being removed, it sort of wrinkled the foil parts after a few days, which totally ruins the point of using these nail foil stickers. It just looked like silver nail polish after that. So, this step is optional. 
I kept it on for about 10 days. Removal is quite easy. Package would say to wash in warm soapy water and peel off, but rest assured, you can still bathe and do stuff without it peeling off. Tried and tested here. So, to remove, just peel it off like you would peel a sticker off a surface. It may leave a sticky residue but that can be washed off. The horrible thing is that I think these stickers do not allow your nails to breathe so my nails had some scratches and were quite dry after this. As such, I shall not be doing this too often. 

But I kinda bought a bunch of new nail stickers because they were preeeedy. Think glitter and sparkles!


greetings earthlings

I have been spending 10 weeks in China and I need something to keep my sanity because I don't really like this place. So, pretty things will do the job. But, I have to make them pretty things. 

I strive to make pretty image layouts like, but since when do I have such great lighting. My room has two fused bulbs so it is a whole much dimmer. I guess I can do something with the massive sunlight that floods the room when the curtains are (undrawn?) open. 

Okay, I may include steps as to how I achieve some of my creations so that you can go try them out on your own. They are hardly as hard as they look.