I think I'm on track to get the next small chapter of Here We Are (HWA) out. Here are some previews that I've been posting to masto (I even made my own hashtag huhuhu)...

Image description

Partway through I also got really into thinking about what they're going to wear during the different seasons.

Jake mainly wears b/w or neutrals, primarily no patterns and clean lines (minimalist).

Image description

Austin mainly wears button-up shirts, tshirts, and belted pants. His style is primarily influenced by fuctional/durable workwear and cozy cabin/camping looks.

Image description

Image description

Truth be told, the biggest motivation for posting is because I wanted to share today's music post (one of the strangely fun parts of blogging): Yussef Dayes X Alfa Mist - Love Is The Message (Live @ Abbey Road) ft.Mansur Brown & Rocco Palladino. Seeing musicians jam like this is really incredible...

My webcomic Here We Are is launched! The first chapter (10p) is available online at http://dirchansky.com/hwa/01 :)

Image description

I want to acknowledge to myself that...I'm a very hard worker. Sometimes I feel subpar or barely meeting the status quo, but when I look at what I've been able to create/produce in tandem with all the other things happening in my life (full time day job++OT/travel, volunteer work, freelance work, personal work, etc.), I will give myself that pat on my back.

I will never be the best from a technical/visual/storytelling POV because of my circumstances (and ever-evolving moving target of what "good" looks like), but I have come to terms that I'm not at the point in my life where going deep into craft/skill-building is the highest priority, and know that my expectations will need to scale to the available space-time-continuum. I also scaled back on social media, consolidated my stuff into spaces that I prefer (e.g., this freetalk blog, mastodon) and that I feel that I have more control over.

A few personal achievements

  • Finished all my Love Love Hill comic work well in advance; learned that I have to start planning/plotting/drafting months in advance of the due date, ahaha (especially since I find the planning/plotting stage takes longer and longer as years go on; the well of stories is running dry in my mind)
  • Made a small visual novel game called Come for a Drink; practiced writing (using Scrivener), coding (where indentation matters) in a new game dev engine (Renpy), all while working with a set of very dependable, professional, skilled, and talented voice/music/sound folks!
  • Launched Here We Are webcomic, which I aim to continue and focus on in 2019, since LLH is taking a break next year (from anthologies, conventions, tabling, etc.); I'm making a conscious effort to experiment with the way that I tell stories in verbally/visually, thinking more consciously about voices, etc., so I'm sure the comic will be a bit of a mess, but I'll learn a lot from it! If I'm too strict with the planning, I think I'll feel creatively stifled/locked-in, so there's going to be a bit of "making it up as I go along" from a story POV.

(more fake dialogue)

Image description

(fashion exploration)

Image description

I owe most of the above productivity to pre-planning, time management, and years of built-up resilience; given my other responsibilities and unpredictable client work, if I let anything one slip too long, things will pile up and be due at the same time, and ultimately leads to detrimental mental/wellness ripple effects to all aspects of my life. When that happens, I feel over-extended, over-committed, and oftentimes bitter! I will continue to negotiate all these aspects of my life to strive for better balance, and keep myself out of situations where I feel bad!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this year and to everyone who engaged with any of my stories!

In 2019, I want to continue to add more positive vibes into the world, rather than self-deprecating/negative ones. After watching the tearful Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, I really need to up my game on being kinder and nicer to people around me.

(My stardew valley life)

Image description

Hope that 2019 brings you folks some good stuff! There's a lot of garbage stuff happening in our world, but a lot of greatness too. Don't lose sight of the good!

Lastly, here's today's music post: Lambo-san no Yabou (Lambo-san's Ambition) by Junko Takeuchi. It's a character song from the Katekyo Hitman Reborn anime. I really empathize with being a big crybaby, and particularly the parts of the song where Lambo's voice starts cracking/wavering. The voice actress (also does the voice for Naruto) puts on a great performance.

(I'm also very happy that I cut my hair short, I didn't think it would make such a big difference)

For the past 7 month's I've been having some health problems, so I finally went to see a doctor to figure out what was happening. No updates at this moment since the investigation is just starting. Thankfully my symptoms are not especially debilitating at this moment...?

After all this year's game projects, it's good to return to something more familiar.

Inking with bamboo reed pen; a photo for now because my scanner stopped working! Image description

Timelapse video of the above

Hopefully by December 31st: Here We Are will launch?! I've been working on the first chapter. Here are some previews with FAKE DIALOGUE!

Image description

Image description

Image description

Image description

Timelapse video of me doing some flat blacks and tones in Clip Studio Paint. I barely know how to use CSP but will learn, over time!

I've also been trying to "get ahead" with a buffer, but who knows if that will work out. At least things are thumbnailed, right?

Image description

Image description

Image description

^Although she starts as a side character at the beginning, I hope to write out her own dedicated storyline after this first arc!

Stay tuned...! I'm really looking forward to Scrivener getting the windows update so I can get deeper into writing in the new year. Scrivener was recommended to me by Jade Feng Lee/Dumplingheart and was really a gamechanging tool when I was writing for my non-linear narrative game, Come for a Drink.

Today's music post: Patti LaBelle performing "This Christmas" at the 1996 National Tree Lighting. Many things go wrong during the performance (outside of her control) and she still kills it!!!!

Recently spent the weekend in NYC for the first-ish time! Just documenting this for my own reference; I barely took any pictures.

FRIDAY

  • I had a bad service experience with UP/Presto...
  • Apparently my nose is not attuned to the smell of ur|ne in the subway?
  • Friedmans: Got the mac n' cheese (fortina, parmesan), ginger carrot soup, and sauteed spinach (raisins, pine nuts)! The mac n' cheese was very cheesy, just the way I like it!
  • LINE FRIENDS store: I was sad that most of the Sally merchandise was sold out/gone already. I was able to grab a few items, but much less stuff than I thought I would exit with!
  • Roberta's: got a pretty regular pepperoni pizza; nothing too special
  • Joe & the Juice: I got a very $$ smoothie called YOUNG BLOOD (celery, Lemon, apples) but it was good and made me feel "healthier"
  • Carnegie Hall: the main reason I went on this trip was to catch the Joe Hisaishi Studio Ghibli concert at Carnegie Hall. I have to say that I was disappointed at the acoustics in the hall, given that I could barely hear the soloists (vocal or instrumental) over the regular symphony. There were also parts in the playing that sounded slightly off/like mistakes? I've been to TSO quite a few times and never experienced anything bad. The Joe Hisaishi show probably the highest density of east asians I've seen packed into a theatre!

Image description

SATURDAY

Image description

  • Alimama: I got a match mochi donut (it has matcha coated rice krispies on top), it reminded me a lot of jin deui!
  • Xi'an famous food: I got the stewed oxtail hand-ripped noodles in soup. The soup was very good! I think I prefer thinner ripped noodles for my own preferred noodle-surface area to soup-ratio though.
  • Karaoke Boho (Orchard): there was no (visible?) way to adjust the volume of the music of the karaoke video/song vs. our microphone, so the overall experience was lackluster. Best part of this was meeting up with an old artist friend, Nou!
  • Loring Place: we shared the BBQ chicken (roasted brussels sprouts, apples, and mustard), Peking Duck (with turnips, carrots, and spicy quince-apple chutney), and the roasted short rib (horse radish gremolata and potato puree), all very delicious! I also got a celery ginger (iced team, mint) drink. Gotta fool myself into being healthy.

Image description

SUNDAY

  • Chelsea Market: met up with Nou again and wandered around, including a pop-up watch/timepiece show, and the artist flea market!
  • Num Pang Kitchen (Chelsea Market): I got the lemon grass braised beef short rib on jasmine rice, super delicious! The beef just fell apart with a few pokes from my fork!
  • The Highline: a former elevated freight rail line railway that was turned into a community space/public park. The weather was very nice for a walk, and the flowers/plants were still blooming!
  • Paper Presentation: Went to Nou's favourite stationery store...so much paper and craft supplies! I could make ALL THE THINGS!
  • Books of Wonder: dropped by a cute children's book store and it just so happened that Eva Chen was getting ready to do a autograph/reading session for her book Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes.
  • Le Pain Quotidien: stopped in to drink more "health" into my body, aka the super green (kale, celery, cucumber, pineapple, lemon, apple, ginger and mint)
  • Ichiran: most expensive ramen I've ever had in north america, but I enjoyed the level of customization that I was able to do. I got a rich broth, and it was great.

Image description

Today's music post: The Last to Know by Faith No More.

Most of you wouldn't be aware of this, but I've been doing artwork for a collaborative YuriJam game demo over Sept-Oct 2018.

After completing YaoiJam earlier this year (Come for a Drink), I thought that it would be a good idea (why) to do the counterpart. After drawing old dudes for over 2 months, it was refreshing to draw younger women for once. I also had the better sense to not do the majority of the work on my own this time...! For this year's YuriJam I was responsible for the sprite and CGs related to the characters. Unfortunately I have no idea if the game demo will ever be released, but here's some WIP!

Character designs

Image description

One of the CGs that appears in the game

Image description

WIP below

Image description

Image description

Image description

A few more pictures can be found here!

Today's music post: Careless Whisper cover by Alexandr Misko on guitar (plucking). A very different vibe, very impressive!

I met up with Justin this week and we watched Venom. It was bad but also good because the main characters are both losers HAHA. Venom is such a funny and needy slime puppy.

After watching the movie I had an urge to draw this...

Image description

I haven't had Smiles in so long...

Matching couples outfits

Image description

I really put zero effort into likeness.

Today's music post: Midnight Cruise by WONK.