Saturday, October 2, 2010

Five weeks in...

...and I'm still kickin'.

Sorry for the lack of blog posts. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I'd update more frequently. However, I am a Terrible Human Being, and being a Terrible Human Being means doing terrible things.

School's been great, and going by ridiculously fast. I can't believe it's about to be the sixth week (I think?)! The ridiculous amount of work we have in Toy Design is very welcome. In Fine Arts, people (like me and my homies) would often put projects off until the last moment. In Toy Design, that kind of work ethic will get you kicked out. It doesn't hurt that the projects we get are fun; in my last major, I wasn't very passionate about most things we were assigned towards the end.

Thanks to this major, I am now the working machine I've always wanted to be. Every week starts off fairly easy, with a bit of life drawing and a lot of homework. But from Tuesday to Friday, I'm in the toy design lab until at least midnight working on something. Then I have an 8-hour sewing lab on Saturday. But that is only for half the semester. It really helps to have classmates that care as much as I do.

So what have I been working on? Well, I don't really want to delve into specifics, but here are a few pictures.

The results of a Saturday sewing lab. This is Sloppy the Wolf.Marker Rendering Homework

"Try Me!" Toy

Outdoor Toy

That's about it! Looking at my work, remember thinking "Wow, I did a pretty good job," but now I notice a lot of things I can change about everything. Since our projects are overlapping and I'll have at least one board due every week, maybe I'll ACTUALLY start updating weekly.

Now, for some sleep. And more homework.

Quickly adapting to reduced sleep time,

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Week: Not Bad!

Let's go through the schedule! On Mondays, I have Anatomy for Toy Designers. We have a wonderful professor by the name of James Reid. I have heard from other professors that he is a master of anatomy; something that my classmates and I soon discovered. This guy REALLY knows his stuff. It is like being taught by an old master from the Renaissance. To be completely honest, I feel like I learned more about general figure drawing from a 2.5 hour lecture than I have in all my life drawing classes combined. I am psyched about the coming classes. I appreciate how laid-back the class is; we're allowed to use essentially any material and work in any size we want. We also learned that you can use skim milk as a spray fixative for your drawings. Awesome. On Tuesdays, we have Drafting and Product Materials/Safety Considerations. Drafting is, well...drafting. The first class I've ever had on the subject. Looks like it might be tedious, but I do love precise line drawings and schematics, so it'll be cool to learn how those are made. The Materials/Safety class is interesting, too. We learned about several types of plastic used in manufacturing this week. The second half of the semester will be focused more on electronics and stuff. At the end of class, we got a project: A toy that we will eventually take apart and examine. Mine is a medical kit: Included is a stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, band-aid, blood pressure checker, and a nose/throat examining doohicky. Wednesdays start out with Developmental Psychology, a course that I'm fairly stoked about. The professor seems really enthusiastic and very articulate, and the subject matter is extremely relevant to our major. We're going to have team debates later in the semester, which I am somewhat nervous about. I never got to do much of that in high school and I'm not excited about doing it for a grade. After that, we have Marker Rendering. The professor we have is new, but he seems pretty laid back and I'm excited to learn cool rendering techniques. His style of rendering objects is different from the one we learned in the summer workshop and Intro to Toy Design class, but I'm eager to see what he has to offer. Rendering things in marker is super-fun. Industry Overview is the name of our only Thursday class, and it's a really cool one. Each week, an industry representative will come and give us a lecture. This week, Franklin La Barbara (Vice President of Product Design) from Hasbro came and told us about the development of an R/C Car that just hit store shelves. It was such an interesting story and we learned a lot about what kind of work goes into the making of a toy. Check out the Ricochet 4x4; it's a really cool toy that can flip over and has a monster truck mode.

We will be making field trips in this class, as well! And on Friday, we have our hardcore classes: Drawing for Toy Design and Toy Design I. In the first one, we learn how to draw products in perspective and how to use our tools. We'll work out a few toy concepts later in the semester, but first comes the practical stuff; how to draw a toy concept and how to make it pop! The second is the meat and potatoes of the semester. Each week, we'll have a new concept theme to explore; for example, our first theme is a "Try Me!" toy. We'll have a week to research and come up with at least six toy concepts around that theme, then another week to make a presentation board and render it. It starts out slow, but we'll eventually be pumping out one board a week because the projects will start to overlap. We'll receive a new theme and have to research it while turning in concepts for the last weeks' theme while turning in boards for the theme from two weeks ago for a class critique. Whew. This week, we recieved our mission and took a trip to Toys R Us to research and play with the "Try Me!" toys on the shelves. It's a pretty broad theme, so I'm excited to see what our class will come up with. My first week of classes went very well and I'm pretty flipping enthused about the coming months of work. I try to not worry about the sleep I will loose or the social life I won't have; instead, I focus on where I'll be in two years' time. Worrying about stuff is a waste of time and energy.

Sorry about the lack of images, but there isn't really much to show yet. This coming week will be a short one, with class only on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sewing lab starts up this week for me as well; Tuesdays from 9-12 and Saturdays from 10AM-6PM. I'm not sure if I'm excited about that one yet.

Stay Tuned, -J

P.S. Here is what I ate for breakfast today. Bacon-pinach-egg-pepper jack on a soy pita. It's my breakfast taco. I love the Trader Joe's that opened down the street. I also love having an entire package of bacon to myself. The flash isn't very flattering, but...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

'Twas the Night Before School...

...when all through the apartment,
Paced an excited young man who left the Fine Arts Department.
Hoping to make toys for chillun' all across the land,
He took paper, pencil, and marker in hand!
"A new year awaits!" he shouted, jumping with glee.
"New people, new professors, new places to see!"
Sweat, blood, and spirit over a two-year duration,
"Hee-hee, hoo-hoo, bwa-ha-ha-hah!"
"The world will be mine, la~la~la~la!"


Dear readers of Sharp Will, Dull Blade,

I have been a negligent blogger. I have left several of you writhing on your floors like drooling addicts craving your next hit. That's what I have been led to believe by a certain few people, anyway *coughalexandsaicough*

So I apologize for not blogging over the summer. Thinking back, there wasn't anything worth broadcasting to the world. Except for my nephew's powerful cute-fu.

Is he not the cutest thing you have ever seen? He is...9 months old? Or almost. Maybe almost 10. I'm a bad uncle.

So, yeah. Summer. Went to California for a wedding. Went home and semi-vegetated for a few weeks. Got some wisdom teeth removed. Came back to my cozy lil' NY apartment.


I read a ton of comics over the summer after getting back in to Western mainstream stuff back in May. I've decided that I am a Marvel guy and I really enjoy the Avengers books. I read the first volume of New Avengers (from after Disassembled to Siege) and Dark Avengers. I didn't realize that Mighty Avengers was also part of the saga, so that's on my list, too. Right now, I'm reading Invincible Iron Man, most of the new Avengers books, and some random DC things. I'm really excited about New York Comic-Con this year because I'll actually be familiar with artists and writers and will try to get stuff signed!

I've also recommenced my bass guitar self-edumacation. Seeing Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (saw it twice and want to see it again!) inspired me. Now I really want to be in a band, but I won't really have time for that. Ukulele-ing is slow, though. I haven't progressed much on that front, especially when compared to last summer.


Today, I finished my summer marker rendering assignments for Toy Design. Earlier this summer, we had a workshop where we learned how to do compose and render a toy board. It was pretty much review from the Intro to Toy Design class I took, but we got a little more in-depth with the rendering aspect.

I'm pretty happy with how they came out; at the very least, I've gotten better at staying in the lines when rendering.


To say that I'm excited to start this semester would be a gross understatement. Meeting new people, learning new things...I'm finally going to do what I wanted to do in college. I don't mean to discount the last two years I've had; My time in Fine Arts was awesome! I met some great friends and professors and grew a lot as an artist. But, starting this semester, I get to take my first steps into the world of design! Not just design for the sake of aesthetics or controversy, but design with purpose and practicality.

With the workload of the program, I may not be able to update the blog as often as I'd like. There might not even be a lot I can talk about; I don't want to give any toy companies free ideas! However, I'll do my best to make at least one post a week offering a vague description of what goes on in the Toy Design program. Or post something random and spontaneous, like this short film my friend from high school stars in:

I laughed out loud at least five times. Asian people crack me up! I giggle every time I look in the mirror.

Aaaaand that's a wrap for now. To everyone who has kept up with my blog over the past few years: I think you're crazy for wasting your time reading about the thoughts and artwork of a silly Asian kid. Thank you so very much for reading.

Stay tuned! Things are gonna get crazy.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Venus of Where?

Yeah, yeah. Almost two months without a blog update; I've been slacking. But instead of boring you all with stories about how I was ridiculously busy with final projects, entertaining my parents who came to visit, trying to take a break from the world, and reading an obscene number of comics, I'll just jump in and tell you about my favorite painting I've done.

The mission for our final Figure Painting was to take the model and place her in an environment.

Initially, I was thinking of doing something completely fantastical and crazy in the background, like aliens attacking, the apocalypse taking place, unicorns, dragons...

But then I thought about the pose (which was debated about for almost an entire class period because compromise doesn't make people happy...) and this painting from art history came to mind.
So I decided to mesh the two together: A parody of a painting from art history with surreal and fantasy elements. Oh, and a mini self-portrait, too.

We were on a pretty tight schedule and only had a few weeks to work on this one. I ended up putting in around 12 hours of work in one day to finish it in time for our final critique. Thankfully, I wasn't alone...I had some powerful backup in my homie and former roommate Marcel. He was there working on about eight of his abstract paintings at once. It's always great to have someone to bounce ideas off of, especially when he's Marcel. Check out his new website, by the way!

And here's the end result. See the little mini-painting of Venus of Urbino in the background? Isn't it clever? Isn't it?

There's a little cow there, too! For all of my out-of-state homies, that's the Empire State Building in the background. And Godzilla.
I was going to add more to the table there, but I was running out of time and had no references for what I wanted to add. So a lonely egg timer sits on the table, waiting for the day it will be used. Unfortunately, that day may not come because Godzilla is not far away.

It sorta looks like me. Am I tipping my hat or is it slipping off my head? And what is that mysterious book? Marcel suggested that it be "Mein Kampf" and I thought that would be hilarious because my sense of humor has been twisted by my friends. But I left it blank.

Ad a closeup of the model, Lauren. It took me forever to get her face ironed out...the way it connected to the neck and the shape of her face and a billion small things were throwing me off. So I added more hair so you can't see much of the neck and it was magically fixed! Cool how that happens, huh?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3 Hour Portraits

So, I managed to get not one, but TWO portraits done this week! With the big painting out of the way, I had yesterday and today free to pursue additional paintings. Since I only got Louisa's back, I really wanted to paint a portrait of her.

It turned out that Louisa was only going to be posing on I kicked things in gear and finished a portrait of her in 3 hours! I'm pretty happy with how it came out. She said that I caught her on a tired day, but she didn't seem too tired to me!

And today, I got one of Evangeline. I think it looks a lot better up close; please click on it to see more detail! I had trouble with this one, partially because I ran out of steam, and partially because the lighting was really tricky. Her entire right half was a mystery to me because her head was illuminated from the side/back and there wasn't much light on that half of her face. I tried to catch some of the highlights on her eyelashes, but that might've been too much to attempt with the brushes I had.

Another issue I had was with the canvas. I bought a pre-made, triple-primed canvas from Utrecht. The surface was smoother than a baby's bottom, which is often a good thing, but I had major issues getting the paint to stick. The previous portrait was done on a canvas I stretched and primed myself. With a surface that is a bit rougher, it took the paint a lot easier; paint on the Utrecht canvas didn't want to stay in one spot and smudged very easily. Definitely prefer stretching and priming my own canvas for small, fast paintings.

Super proud of these, mostly because I accomplished them in a short time. Granted, they are on small canvases- E is 11x14 and L is...something bigger. 14x16 maybe? Something unusual.

Maybe I'll post some of my photography work next.

Waiting for the semester to end,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pratt Draw-A-Thon 2010... Friday. Night. Ever.

For those unfamiliar with Pratt's Draw-A-Thon, the event is a 12 hour (7PM Friday to 7 AM Saturday) long figure drawing-fest.

There are several studios set up with anywhere between one and three models and poses lasting from a few seconds to 6 hours.

Free pizza halfway through. For the last hour or so, all 18 models gather into one room and have a continuously changing pose to live African drums. I went this past Friday with a group of people from school and had a blast.

I brought a lot of art supplies, but mostly ended up using pencils and a brush pen. They give out free supplies, too. I got a pastel pad, a set of pastels, and some charcoal. I missed out on a set of brush markers though, as well as a nice gesso board. Why did they give out all the cool stuff when I was in the bathroom?

This is what Louisa, one of the models we've been painting in Figureative Painting, looks like from the front. Well, a little bit different. She had a badass costume.

And this is what Evangeline, the other model we're painting, looks like with a dress, hat, and glasses! Many thanks to her for letting me know about this event in the first place.

There are a handful of other pages, but they're really uninteresting gestures. The event was really awesome, but looking back it's almost a bit disappointing how few drawings I have. My favorite room was the costume/fashion studio. We never draw or paint clothed models in Fine Arts, so it was really great to have that opportunity. Maybe next year, I'll bring some markers or paint.

Best Friday I've had in recent memory. Volunteer work the next morning was a bit of a pain, though.

Two blog posts in one day? Must be procrastinating or something...


P.S. Oh, whaddaya know? This is my 100th post. Only took me...2.5 years to get here! And over 6,500 page views, too! Thanks to all you crazy people who like to drop by and look at my work and read my ramblings. Stay tuned for the next few years and see if I become a wildly successful toy designer or fail miserably and become the stereotypical starving artist!

Evangeline and Louisa

Several weeks ago

Last Wednesday

I finally finished this two-figure painting in class on Wednesday. It's really interesting to see how certain things changed in the process. In this painting, the woman in the foreground (Louisa) ended up changing a lot. Her pose shifted bit by bit as the weeks passed.

At the pressing of my professor, I changed her head almost completely, among other things. Since we're slated to have the models for another week, I'm planning on taking a smaller canvas that I've had laying around to make a quick portrait of her.

Here's a closeup of Evangeline.

I might go in at some point and make the right side of the hair a bit darker. The highlights on the left side might not be as bright as I like, so I may also fix those. But as you can see, not much changed in the weeks.

Overall, I think this is my favorite painting that I've done so far, perhaps because we had a really long time to work on it. Even though we had two models, I felt like I had enough time to work each thoroughly with just enough time to develop a simple background. I almost wish that I painted the classroom instead of a flat purple background, though.

Many thanks to the two awesome models! Working with students must be interesting, if only for the weird conversations one can overhear. As always, thoughts and criticism are welcome in the comments!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Successes and other Fun Things!

Guess who's going to be a Toy Design major next fall!



I heard last Saturday that I got into the program and the first thing I did after calling my mom was to update my Twitter and Facebook status....sorry Blog, you kinda got shafted. But better late than never, right?! RIGHT?!



Things continue to fare well in my other studies. Since we're pretty much at the midpoint of the semester, there should be a lot of projects due and tests coming up. Fortunately for me, that doesn't really seem to be the case and I only had one midterm which was this past Wednesday. Woo, Maya Art and Civilization! Interesting class, indeed!

In Painting class, we began work on a new figure painting, this time with two models. It's a pretty decent setup, and both models are really awesome and fun to paint. I think this week will be our fourth week working on them. Here are my progress pics:
At the beginning of the second week.
My professor pointed out some major issues with the figure in the foreground, which I fixed last week.

Her back looks a lot better, doesn't it? I also had to change her face because she is now looking in a different position when she poses. I'm mostly disappointed about the face. Here is a closeup of what it looked like before:

I wasn't finished painting it and I thought it didn't look that great anyway, so it's not that big of a deal. I think my professor is irritated/concerned that I put in too much detail in facial features so soon XD. Here's a closeup of the other model. Lookin' all nonchalant!

We still have 3 or so weeks left to work on these, so expect them to look plenty different by the end!
Look for an update on what we've been doing in photography and Abstract Painting soonish! I promise!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Toy Design Hometest

So Saturday was the big Toy Design interview day, and boy was it exciting! And bit nerve-wracking, but totally exciting and fun and interesting! I met a lot of interesting people and I think my interview went pretty well. We should hear in a few weeks whether we get accepted or not.

There were about 20 students being interviewed that day...I'm assuming that there were other interview days because I heard a lot more than 20 people apply every year. A wide range of people showed up-from a guy already interning at Hasbro to a lady who worked with autistic children to losers like me!

We started with one of those awkward periods where people slowly trickle in and sit around and stare at each other and all around the room. There were a number of hard and soft toys set out for our drawing test. We had 30 minutes to draw a still life composed of one hard toy and one plush toy. After that, they gave us a time slot and we were free to roam about until our time came. My appointment was earlier, but I ended up sticking around for almost the entire time because there were so many toys to play with and a few of my friends were at the interview too.

Since the interview is over with, I can safely (I hope) post my designs up! Our mission was to design and make boards of three toys in different categories. Here are my designs, followed by the Toy Specifications from my idea book.

Child having nightmares? Afraid of monsters under the bed and things that go “Bump!” in the night? Have no fear, Sir Galen shall slay all fiends who seek to prevent sleep!

Designed to help kids fall asleep without fear, Sir Galen is the perfect bedtime buddy. A key feature of this plush toy is his sword, which is large enough to hold and doubles as a night light. A twist of the hilt activates a soft light that operates on a sleep timer to save batteries.

Sir Galen has several phrases that are activated by touching both metal studs on his gauntlet. This style of activation seeks to prevent accidental speech and to enhance the “experience;” kids will be comforted while holding Sir Galen’s hand! To increase play value, kids can take off Sir Galen’s helmet and put a crown on instead. This will change his phrase set to sayings that are exploration-oriented.

Prince and Explorer by day, Guardian by night, and best friend for years to come, Night Knight Sir Galen is an excellent companion for any child!


Safari Snap is a special digital camera with two primary goals:
1.To get kids outdoors
2.To educate kids about animals, particularly endangered species.
The camera, while able to operate like any normal digital camera, comes with a built in safari game and animal encyclopedia. A typical round of the game flows like this:
1. The Safari Master gives you a mission. For example, “Track and photograph a tiger! It was last spotted near some yellow flowers!”
2. The kid goes outside, finds some yellow flowers, and photographs them. Using color and shape recognition technology, the camera knows that the right object was photographed, and the Safari Master gives another clue to the tiger’s location.
3. Once the end of the trail is reached, the image of a tiger appears on the screen. The next picture taken will feature the tiger’s image overlaying it. Now the kid has a picture of a tiger in any setting he or she wants!
4. Once the tiger is photographed, the animal encyclopedia is updated with information about tigers. New missions would be unlocked as more animals get discovered.
The Safari Snap accepts an SD memory card so children can develop their photos. It also features a small solar panel on the front. If technology is advanced enough, it would ideally allow the Safari Snap to be at least partially solar powered. Otherwise, the solar panel detects sunlight and will adjust the variety of missions according to the amount of light. Nocturnal animals would only be found at sunset, for example.
Fresh and exciting, the Safari Snap is just the toy to get kids back outside and exploring!
“Hey, this is a cool action figure! Wait, why can’t the arm bend like this? Let’s see...”
How often has the above scenario played out in households across the world? I cannot count how many action figures I’ve broken (even now!) because of restricting joints. Nothing is more irritating and depressing! One of the features that sets Little Legendz apart from other actions figures is the way it addresses this problem: with the Universal Joint. Combining the motion range of a swiveling joint, the unrestricted pivoting ability of the peg-and-hole joint, and the shape and adaptability of a ball joint, the Universal Joint allows for a far more dynamic playing experience.
To compliment the Universal Joint, a system that I have dubbed the “Universal Link” allows for a completely customizable action figure. Because all of the pegs and holes are the same size, virtually any body part can fit in any location. Combined with the countless mythological creatures and legends to pull monsters from, the possibilities could be endless. Children would be able to create their own legends, limited only by their imaginations!
So, yeah. That's that. So now I'[m busy playing catch-up with all my other assignments...Expect an update about my abstract paintings and the latest figure painting sometime soon!

Happy Monday,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two From A Series and More Progress

Finally, an update featuring actual Abstract Paintings!

Here are the two paintings from the series of four that I am working on right now. The one on the left is based off of this sketch:
And the other is based off this image from a previous blog post. The colors on both ended up being modified quite a bit. It's getting a little frustrating to keep everything parallel and squared. I have two more paintings to do and our professor is shooting for a deadline in two weeks, so I've quite a bit of work to do yet.

In other news, here's the latest progress on my self-portrait. We only have one more session to work. Again, I have a lot of stuff to do: Thicken the wrist, finish painting the hand, paint the apron, highlight the hair, add facial hair...those are the basics. It's really tough to paint a hand while posing...

Other classes are going well. Life Drawing is getting better, Photography is interesting, and Intro to Toy Design is a lot of work. I'm also taking a Mayan Art course, which is really interesting. I'll post some work from my other classes sometime soon. Time is running short-the Toy Design home tests are due March 6th!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm So Vain...

...I probably think this painting is about me.

Sorry, couldn't resist. It isn't about me, it is of me!

So, here is a series of progress pics taken over the past two painting sessions. In Figurative (Figureative? We're painting the figure, but I don't know if we're painting figuratively...I'll stick to "painting" for now) Painting, we're doing self-portraits from observation (using a mirror).

Yes, a lot of things look "off" about it, but I think it's coming together alright. It's tough to paint yourself using a mirror and with one hand pulling an eyelid up partway...I move around a lot, to say the least. But I'm having a lot of fun painting it. I wish it were a more comical, exaggerated face.

I've also picked up a fan brush, which has been interesting to use. I have always been fascinated by their shape and when the local art store had a big sale, I couldn't resist picking one up. So far, I've only really used it for blending, which it excels at. This is both a good and bad thing; It makes beautiful transitions, but it moves me away from more expressive color placement and brush stroke. But I'm okay with that because I don't do expression very well, unless it involves a punching bag.

As for my other classes...well, I'll upload some pics of my other work whenever I remember to take pictures >_<. But so far, the semester has been going fairly well. I've been preoccupied with my Toy Design home test, which is chugging along slowly. I'll post all about that when I'm finished with it.

'till next time,