I know it’s mid-February already, but there’s no time like the present for the first blog post of the year!
This time, I don’t really have any reasons for not updating as often as I can, but I know the cause of it: I’m just not feeling it. Ever since I’ve graduated, I feel uninspired and unmotivated to do anything at all. I guess it’s because I’ve been a student so long—with a fixed schedule and fixed resolutions to achieve—that when I am no longer under an academic calendar, I don’t really have a solid goal to do anymore. It’s as if I’ve been thrown in a dark maze with no source of light whatsoever. I’d have to figure out where things go from here.
I guess you could say I’m still adjusting as I go. I’m currently helping out with the family business and am freelancing to keep myself busy, but it’s not as satisfying as I’ve hoped. I guess I just miss that sense of satisfaction when you’ve worked so hard on something that you’re truly passionate about and the results prove your time and energy to be really worthwhile. Right now, I feel like I’ve just been filling up on side quests with no “main quest”–to speak in videogame terms.
Anyways (as I try to figure my life out some more), to quickly wrap up 2018, here are the last three months of my Hobonichi!
It’s been less than a month since graduation and I feel that it has finally sunk in that, after spending the majority of my life in school, I am finally finished (for now, at least.) Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this, I’d like to share a story or two about my last two semesters in university focusing mainly on my thesis and graduation. I’ll be splitting these into two separate blog posts, so brace yourself for a lengthy read!
THESIS I know I’ve been hinting this post several times in the past when I was still working on my thesis, and I’m happy to finally share my thought process on the entire thing: the concept of the story, the writing, and, finally, the illustration process.
It was in my second year of university when I decided two things: one, that I would like to write and illustrate a children’s book for my thesis. And, two, I want to do my thesis alone (I guess I was too traumatized by group work and I know that I’m too much of a perfectionist, so I worried for partnerships when it comes big projects, like a thesis.) Seeing that I had around two years before I would reach the thesis term, I prepared hastily for this in order to have the skills for it. I went to talks and took writing classes to improve my storytelling, I practiced my brush lettering, studied more watercolor techniques, and read + reread a lot of children’s books. I wrote a lot of stories and articles to practice. (I also stocked up on art supplies!) Eventually, the thesis term arrived, and I was ready to face the long road ahead.
My thesis was divided into two terms: the research term and the thesis implementation term. The first term focused more on the story development and research, which went by rather quickly. (I enjoyed writing and researching—I’ve learned so much!) The second term is when I got to apply what I’ve learned…and have fun with it!
The story conceptualization for the book took a while until my mentor and I found a story that worked. Basically, my end goal is to write a book that I know my little sister would love reading. The story is simply about a little girl named Hannah (yes, I named my character after my sister) and her dad. So Hannah is sick in bed with a cold and wants nothing but Alphabet Soup to help her feel better. Her dad does his best to make it—despite not really knowing how to. He misinterprets Alphabet Soup as a soup with 26 ingredients from A-Z and adds in strange and fun things to make a funny soup. The story inspiration was directly derived from the fun and silly relationship dynamic between my sister and my father.
The writing process of my book was frustrating, to say the least. I took me three months (and ten drafts) until my mentor and I were satisfied with the text. I wrote the book in poetry to make it fun (and somewhat more difficult for me, haha.) It was also around this time I gave my book its title: Silly Soup Day.
After I fully grasped what I wanted to write, I jumped right into illustration and did a few pages of character and color studies:
I also roughly painted the cover design of my book:
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. While I might be a better writer than I am a photographer, I agree with this statement. If you’ve been following my blog (or even if you’re a new reader), you’ll notice that I love including photos in all my posts – I think it helps tell my story the way I want it to be told through photographs. I sometimes let the photos do the talking to get my point across or for appreciation’s sake.
In participation with the #VantagePoint project, I want to share with you some of my favorites photographs. (The #VantagePoint project is by a startup company called light.co and they sell these really awesome compact cameras, which is unfortunately sold out (for now). As part of their marketing campaign, they shared the #VantagePoint project with me, which is basically me sharing a photo of my favorite location and the story behind it – which is what I love doing anyways.)
Since I took so many photos over the year, I thought that I’d showcase my top three photos from my travels.
(Disclaimer: please note that these are the top three best photos not because of aesthetic’s sake, but because of the memory that goes with it.)
1. El Nido, Palawan (Philippines)
This place took my breath away when I was physically there. Without a word, I made my way to the front of the boat and bravely took my phone out (despite my fear of it falling down the boat). I made sure the lighting was just perfect and waited for the moment to capture it. I assessed the positioning and symmetry with the grids. I made sure that there were different kinds of action happening everywhere that would make people want to look at this photo again and again. This was the highlight of my trip.
2. The National Museum, Manila (Philippines)
It was Independence Day when I took this photo and I went to the National Museum (one of my favorite places in Manila) to celebrate. When I left the museum, it was really windy and I looked up to see several flags proudly displayed out in front. It was really sunny as well, so I squinted, aimed my camera at the highest flag, aligned it to my grid, and shot. I waited for the right moment so that all the flag would show it’s entirety. I loved how the blueness of the sky made the colors of the flag pop out! I think this photo shows peace and nationality together.
There’s this famous saying that goes, “when opportunity knocks, answer the door”. For the longest time, I kept waiting for the opportunity to knock. I waited and waited for my time to come; a time where I can finally shine and show people that I am so much more than what I present myself to be. One day, I got tired of waiting – why do I have to wait around for something to happen? Why can’t I take matters into my own hands? That was the day I decided that I’m not waiting for the opportunity to come knocking anymore. I was going to build my own door.
The First Step – Prioritize
Of course, this type of decision does not come almost immediately. Saying one thing and actually doing it are two different things. You have to start small – first, you should make the most out of your current situation. What are you not happy about or what do you want to have improved? Unfortunately, man’s needs and wants will forever be insatiable; but if we set our minds to it, we can achieve the impossible. If you’re not willing to put out any hard work or effort into what you want to happen, nothing will. Once you have a clear goal in your mind, you may proceed to the next step.
Today, I was so happy to see that one of my favorite brands (when it comes to school supplies and other necessities), FILED, announced a challenge for October. It was no ordinary challenge, because when you do complete the challenge, you get one of their gorgeous planners (for year 2016) for free!
So the challenge basically is to follow a day-to-day set of ideas and write about it / doodle it on a journal. Click here for more details. I am encouraging you to join!
I just HAD to join! I am obsessed with their products (most especially their planner). In such excitement, I already picked out one of my best notebooks (my one and only Muji notebook) and started decorating the cover.
Now, all I have to do is prep up for October. I’ll update you on how my posts and challenges go 🙂
Note: This post is no way connected or sponsored by Filed.
*Stickers are from the book “1001 Stickers” (National Bookstore) and masking tape is by Ella Lama.