The Boy Who Drank Stars

Hello, readers! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write here! I have been making new artwork since my last blog post, but some I can’t reveal yet, others I just have yet to write about, and others still I am not done with. It’s always busy nowadays; I’ve forgotten when I was last able to say, “I’m bored.” But that’s probably a good thing, yeah?

For my return to writing here, I’ll start with a piece I exhibited last weekend at the art gallery during Kawaii in Manila 2. The event title sounds cute, but there’s more to it than that. In their words: “The meaning of Kawaii has gone beyond its original sense. It is no longer just a word that means “cute,” “pretty” or “adorable” in Japanese. Kawaii is now considered a global phenomenon because of its great influence in art, fashion, beauty and even food. It is not just an appreciation for all things cute and fun but also a way of looking at the world in a happy and positive light. Kawaii is a culture enjoyed by many people from all over the world including the Philippines.”

I’m honoured to have been invited as one of the featured artists for such a visionary event! The participating artists were given a task to create an artwork based on the theme ”My interpretation of ‘kawaii’ and how it influenced my art

The Boy Who Drank Stars

My exposure to the kawaii aesthetic stemmed from growing up watching Japanese animation. When I was little, I just happy to be entertained by cute-looking characters, and enjoy the colorful visuals and upbeat music. As I grew up, my appreciation also deepened and I sought to learn more about their culture. This led to my penchant for Japanese folklore, and being enchanted by ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock prints).

I combined those thoughts and memories into this piece, The Boy Who Drank Stars. This refers to Howl, as he is depicted in the Studio Ghibli adaptation of the novel, Howl’s Moving Castle. Ukiyo-e and anime have greatly influenced my drawing style, as you might observe in this illustration. I designed this outfit for Howl, taking elements from traditional Japanese clothing and mixing it with the iconic coat he wears in the film. I also gave him a fox mask because there are parts of him that remind me of kitsune from folklore — mischievous shape-shifting tricksters with magical abilities, who can turn out to be wise and loyal guardians.

Me and my illustration at Kawaii in Manila 2

The event was held at Whitespace Manila last Saturday, September 6. Since my artwork is a mix of traditional and modern styles, I decided to go the same way with my outfit for the event. It was also a celebration of Japanese fashion and culture, after all. I really love the look of kimono and hakama. I wish I could dress like this all the time, heheh.

You may check the Kawaii in Manila Artist Directory to see more of the exhibited pieces and other featured artists! お疲れ様 !

I’ve been wanting a Howl’s Moving Castle case for my phone, so I thought to try modifying my drawing a bit to see how it would look if I had it printed by Society6 like I usually do for custom designs.

iPhone5/5s case sample

I actually really like it! I’ll be getting this for myself, and if you would like it as well, now’s a good time because Society6 gave me a Free Worldwide Shipping + $5 Off Phone Cases promo code for now until  September 14, 2014 at Midnight Pacific Time! They’re available for a bunch of different iPhone models.

● Click on this link to activate the promo:

● Then you can use this link to go directly to the product page for this illustration: The Boy Who Drank Stars or just look around as you like. The illustration is available as prints and other wearable items. The promo code works for other illustrations in my page too!

I had some print requests for this piece from people at the exhibit, so I find a bit more free time, maybe I’ll prepare a print run where I produce the prints myself and sign them. My warmest gratitude to everyone who took the time to talk to me and express their appreciation at the exhibit! <3

The best things in life are ‘Free!’

Ever Blue

My favorite new anime of last year was Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. As someone who is also fond of phone cases, I wanted a design that celebrates the good feelings and memories I got from Free!

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club official art

When it comes to merchandise, I usually prefer to use designs that don’t have images of the characters themselves on it. I enjoy a bit of subtlety. So for a Free! phone case, I wanted something with the main characters’ spirit animals. I couldn’t find anything like that, so I decided draw it myself.

Something I was able to identify with in the anime was Rei’s struggle to feel free. He was used to functioning based on theory and calculation, and he admired how Haruka could swim so freely. I feel something like that when I look at digital illustrations by other artists that I can tell were done quickly, which gives them a more expressive and dynamic quality.

I know I admire that sort of technique, but I felt that something was holding me back from executing it myself when working digitally. I would zoom into like, 400% even though I knew the illustration wasn’t meant to be viewed that way and overwork every little detail and clean up every pixel that went past the line art, stuff like that. I would spend so much time and energy, and then end up with something that looked flat and robotic.

“Why can’t I be free?”

It was something I asked myself too. So for this illustration which is my bit of fan art for a series called Free!, I figured it would be a good time to push myself to paint more freely.

Before I immerse myself in rendering, I like to block out where the elements go to make sure that the proportions and negative spaces are to my liking. It’s easier to adjust things at this phase rather than try to move them when they’ve already been painted in.

Here’s a closer look at a part of the illustration. I’m happy to say that I didn’t overthink the rendering and I really did allow myself to be more free and messy while working on this. I also finished in a relatively short time so I consider it a successful exercise although my improvement isn’t at a monumental scale, hahah. I will continue to work hard!

Here are the boys’ spirit animals all painted and happily swimming together!

Ever Blue phone case sample on iPhone5

And here’s how the artwork looks as a phone case! I go to Society6 to produce custom cases I design because I really enjoy the quality of their cases. Colors come out faithful to the original art, and they have a good feel and offer decent protection. If you are interested, wrote a review with lots of photos, which you may view here. I figured other Free! fans might appreciate the design too, so below is the store link if you want your own Ever Blue case!

Store link: Ever Blue phone case in white / blue
(Available for iPhone 5/5s/5c/4/4s/3G/3Gs, iPod Touch, and Samsung Galaxy S4)
If you scroll down you’ll also be given other options such as prints or shirts, if you’d prefer that!

I look forward to receving my phone case! Please share photos with me too if you get it as well!

Thanks for looking!

Three new illustrations, and a new space

I am always immensely grateful when people express the interest to own pieces of my work, so here is my new print store!

I do have some prints available on other sites like Society6 but I felt I wanted to try signing and packaging them myself so it feels more personal and special. In the future, I also want to do some pieces where I embellish parts of the print by hand.

A closer look at a couple of my prints

I am extremely pleased by how the prints turned out! I’m very particular about colors when it comes to printing, and these stayed true to my original work! I also got this textured archival paper that I’ll be using for some of the prints (mainly the ones that are meant to look like traditional paintings) which really makes it feel more like an actual painting than a print.

I finished some new artworks to release with the launch of my print store! It’s those pieces on the store screencap that might look quite unlike my usual work, hahah.

I’ve been drawing more often lately, but lacking finished work that I’ve felt was worth sharing over here. I have a series of personal work I’ve been meaning to execute. The ideas are in my head, however, I have been feeling like to be able to match my ideals on how they will turn out, I need  to brush up my technical skills. It’s good to really just keep drawing but sometimes I have trouble doing so without a very specific goal and direction.

I decided to channel my energy into something that I look forward to every week, and has been a source of entertainment and inspiration for me and my friends for a very long time — Naruto manga. The story has been intensely emotional lately, so I’ve been looking for an outlet for my feelings, hahah.

One development that really got to me is Naruto’s new bond with Kurama, the Kyuubi or Nine-Tailed Fox demon. The Kyuubi had been the bane of Naruto’s existence quite literally since he was born and the malevolent spirit was sealed inside him. During the years of his growth through the series, Naruto encountered people and experienced things that taught him about empathy and moving forward.  After all that time, I suppose Naruto and Kurama eventually understood that in some ways, they were both victims of circumstance but they could make things better together. An unlikely friendship blossomed between them.

It’s a story that’s far too long and complicated for me to really condense here for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, but I wanted to give a little background anyway!

To commemorate their new bond, I wanted to draw a series of artworks of Naruto and Kurama as other iconic human and creature companion pairs.

My Neighbor Kurama

First up is Naruto and Kurama in the style of Studio Ghibli, particularly the movie My Neighbor Totoro.

To be completely honest, Totoro has always kind of scared me even though everyone keeps going on about how cute he is. It was quite amusing to take that fear on another level and splice him with the Kyuubi. I don’t know which is scarier, the original form of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox or this thing I’ve drawn. Hahaha! Also, I’ve learned that it’s a bit of a challenge positioning nine tails.

I suppose this is also appropriate considering that during Naruto’s early childhood, the Kyuubi was this thing lurking inside him that he didn’t quite understand and caused much dread and apprehension.

(Just to share, I was creeped out by Totoro even before finding out about the Sayama Incident theory. Whether or not it is true, I do enjoy that idea and I felt it gave the movie much more depth. Read at your own discretion! Possible childhood ruiner if you don’t like creepy things, hahah)

My Neighbor Kurama was what I was working on when I posted this sketch of young Naruto on my Instagram.

Rough initial sketches for Ghibli-style Naruto and Kurama

These are the sketches I started with when I was considering the idea, just to see if it would be possible. I don’t like how I drew the Kyuubi’s tails here. They look like a bunch of bananas sprouting out from his side. Hahah! But that is fine, we learn from our mistakes. Learning to edit ourselves is an important part of the process of any work, I think.

Refined sketches

I adjusted Naruto’s pose and facial expression, and completely redrew Kurama. Looking much better! I hadn’t completely decided on what to do about the tails at this point, though.

Because of their difference in size, I decided to draw them separately on paper so I could work with a comfortable scale for both of them. I planned to render them digitally anyway. After I felt I got the basic lines down, I scanned the sketches and worked on inking them digitally.

Final line art

And here is the final line art! I’m happy it kind of gave a Studio Ghibli vibe even before I added in the colors.

The coloring process was pretty simple. I followed the style of the original My Neighbor Totoro image, with cel-shaded characters on a more painterly background.

Naruto close-up

Here’s a close-up on little Naruto to better show some details in the artwork, like Naruto’s face, the reflection of his feet on the wet ground, and the background elements. I mainly used two textured Photoshop brush tools to paint the background — ‘Oil Pastel’ and ‘Charcoal Flat’.

And now I’ll show you how a little bit of shadowing adds atmosphere and depth:

On the image above, I colored Kurama’s body with just two flat shades of orange. He really sticks out of the background and looks like he doesn’t quite belong.

And over here, I’ve added a shadow layer — just a flat blue-grey layer, with the blending option set to ‘Multiply’. I masked out the parts where light was shining on his belly, and added a bit of brushed textured gradient below, as with the original Totoro image. Sometimes the simplest steps can make such a huge difference!

Now, for the next in this series:

Homicidal Psycho Ninja Fox

Homicidal Psycho Ninja Fox, which is a lot less scary than the title sounds! This time I’ve drawn them in the style of Calvin and Hobbes! The title is also a reference to one of the Calvin and Hobbes books — Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat

This might look familiar to some of you because it’s actually my second time attempting this piece! I did the first way back in 2005, and I was just a kid who had just learned to tinker around with Photoshop, hahah! The end product was this:

My first attempt at this concept, long, long ago

I executed this as a kid who had just learned Photoshop. I even submitted ir on dA back then, but it had to be taken down because I had only drawn over an image of Calvin and Hobbes after all. Somehow it made its rounds on the internet, though! I saw it going around on a lot of different sites and on people’s forum signatures and stuff. I didn’t watermark my work then, so nobody knew of the source, hahah.

I’ve improved my skills a lot since then and decided to give this piece another shot! And properly this time! I drew the whole thing from scratch, and painted it with watercolor like Bill Watterson’s work. (Figuring out how to position all nine tails was a challenge yet again!)

Thumbnail sketch for Homicidal Psycho Ninja Fox

I redrew it and started with a very small sketch. Just big enough to let me freely experiment with lines and be as messy as I needed to be. I drew it with red lead first then finalized the lines with graphite.

Inking the final line work

After I was satisfied with the overall composition, I redrew the line art very lightly in red lead again, and set off to ink and color it in.

Progress shot, lightly colored

I started coloring from light to dark, with special attention to the orange tones because they would be the one of the main focal points of the work.

My scrap paper, which was also important

I had an extra sheet of watercolor paper, same as the one I was using for the actual piece, which I used to test out my brush before working on the actual painting. Watercolor can be unforgiving at times, so it’s best to take safety precautions like this if you haven’t mastered using it. I used my scrap paper to test out colors I had just mixed, the effects of layering colors, and checking to see if my brush wasn’t too loaded for small details especially when it came to inking.

Bouken no Jikan

For the third installment of this series, Naruto and Kurama in the style of Adventure Time! The title Bouken no Jikan is just a very literal translation of ‘Adventure Time’ in Japanese, which my friend and I started using when we were trying to do a silly weaboo version of the opening song, hahah.

This was the simplest to do out of the three pieces of fan art in this post, so I’m afraid the process for this isn’t going to be as interesting as the previous two!

Initial rough sketch

This was my initial sketch, which I had done late one night as the idea popped into my head just as I was about to fall asleep.

Bouken no Jikan polished sketch

Here is the final line art, which I scanned and later inked and colored in Photoshop. That’s about it, really!

I had also drawn the background on the final work from scratch, but it was actually from a previous piece of Adventure Time fan art I made! My intention at first was just to see if the circle-cropped background would work for the composition. And then it looked pretty much perfect and nothing else I drew after that could match it! Hahah!

All of these new artworks, along with some of my older pieces are available on my new print store!

I can sign them if you want, and I can ship worldwide!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the process behind these three pieces. I had a lot of fun working on them! I have some ideas for other crossovers, but they’re mostly for laughs! If you want to make a suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment! Or just say hi or whatever you want! I love hearing from you guys!

Portrait Commission: Keri Zamora

Posted with permission from the client.

One day, a very sweet lady wrote to me to have a portrait done.

Her name is is Keri Zamora.

She’s a lovely lady with an exquisite sense of style.

I was pleasantly surprised when she expressed that she appreciated the anime influence in my work! When I asked her for visual pegs she would like me to draw inspiration from, she sent me images from the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. I knew then that I would definitely enjoy working on this portrait.

One of the scenes from Spirited Away that I found visually striking was when Chihiro was running through the field of flowers. Perhaps you’ll see its influence on my painting when I show the final work at the end of this blog post!

I started out with soft washes, going from light to dark.

 I chose warm, sweet, summery colors that I felt Keri would like. I had also started adding the gold ink at this point.  I chose to outline some details in gold because it’s an element I really enjoy when looking at yukata or kimono prints.

They add a whole other dimension to a piece because of how it can look different when it catches light a certain way.

Chihiro was wearing traditional Japanese clothes, so I thought to draw Keri in a kimono. As I’ve mentioned, she really wanted me to incorporate the anime influence in this portrait so she was very game about being drawn in a kimono.

I filled in the colors of the flower details first, because I would base the color of the kimono and obi on their overall look. They are such big areas of color that I needed to be very careful with how I treated them so maintain the balance of the composition, as well as to compliment the colors of the smaller details around them.

 Here are the colors I decided on for the obi. And another look at the different qualities of the gold detailing based on the way light hits them.

 After coloring in the obi, I went to work on the rest of the kimono.

 I selected mainly shades of peach and pink for the kimono. I added some smaller bursts of similar but darker colors on areas where I needed the details to stand out more. It also added more balance by reflecting the color of the obi.

One of my favorite spots to work on.

Keri. Watercolor and gold ink on aquarelle paper. 15 x 20 inches.

And here is the final work, my portrait of Keri.

Rather than having her simply wear a floral-printed kimono, I wanted to add a bit of dimension and touch of whimsy by having the flowers growing out of the print. I also had her hold a chrysanthemum because it’s a flower that is traditionally given to mothers during Mother’s Day in some cultures, and it is also said to attract good luck in a household.

I’m very happy that she loved the painting and was such a wonderful client to work with! I hope somehow it does bring more good fortune and happiness to her home. :)

I’m currently open for commissions, so please feel free to send me an email (josonjin at gmail dot com) or use my contact form if you’d like to send an inquiry!

Thanks for looking!

Shirt Design: Forever and Always

A pair of ghostly hands I drew some time ago, for a creepy shirt design idea I had. I looked at x-rays as reference, and drew everything in Photoshop. I shared it on my dA page, and submitted it to a couple of shirt websites where people vote on designs to get them printed. So many people expressed their interest in owning the shirt, but it never quite made it through to printing.

However, one day I got an e-mail from saying they had seen my work, along with an invitation to be part of a project they’ve been working on. And I’m now one of the artists they selected for their Artist-Designed Collection for which they selected illustrators around the world to make shirts of our artworks. Very honored to be part of the roster!

While my previous attempts to get this design printed may not have been exactly successful, sharing it with people and getting it out there still led to to finding me. My arrangement with them is even better, because now I can design whatever I want and they can print it without me troubling people to vote for it first!

Let this an example of how things might not always work out quite the way you planned, but life may just surprise you with something better! Work hard and be kind. :)

See all my designs so far in this page!

Forever and Always is available in several color variations and on both men’s and women’s tees! (You may click on the pictures to be taken to the store, where you’ll also find a couple more of my designs)

I’ll be creating more designs over the next several months! If you like, comment to let me know what you’d like to see!

If you guys order any of my shirts, do send me pictures! It makes me happy seeing people wear my work!

Thank you for all your support and appreciation! This wouldn’t be possible without you guys!

Waking Life

“They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn’t you say the same thing about life?” — Waking Life

Here’s my illustration that was featured in the Graphika Manila 2012 Book. In preparation for a series of paintings I’ll be doing, I wanted to work on something that explores the concept of dreams, mixed with emotions I’ve been observing.

With this piece in particular, I wanted to depict those moments when you’ve just woken up and are trying to find your bearings. Your mind is cloudy, and you feel confused about what’s real because your dream reality is mixing up with real life.

There may even be those times when you’ve just gone through some life-changing developments which might not be the happiest, and you contemplate hindering your brain from piecing together the truth you may not wish to face. You find yourself wanting to sink back into the comfort of uncertainty in some alternate dream world, or the peaceful void of unconsciousness. But you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep living.

In case you were wondering — The quote below the artwork is from a film called Waking Life, which is wonderfully thought-provoking. The animation can get a little too trippy sometimes, but you can choose to just listen to the movie since it’s basically a series of conversations. I have very fond feelings for this film. It caused a big shift in my perception of certain things, made me feel like I wasn’t such an odd schmuck for thinking a certain way, and helped keep my mind open to possibilities beyond my wildest imaginings.

Sketching into the wee hours of the night. My spirits were kept up by a cup of hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows.

The artwork in its earlier stages. The final piece was rendered with graphite, watercolor and digital.

Despite my rainbow marshmallows, I feel this post is a bit too serious. Now I feel this would be a great time to share a recent dream experience. I usually don’t remember much of my dreams, but this one I recalled quite vividly. I typed out a very long description of it for my friends, but I’ll spare you guys and share the abridged version. Some of you might have read a bit about this on my Twitter, hahah.

The other day I dreamt that I was at Comic Con, and I was dressed up as some sort of fighter. I kind of remember it looking like something out of Granado Espada. I was partaking in the usual convention fun, and then SUDDENLY THERE WAS AN INVASION OF EVIL CREATURE THINGS. And to my surprise, the people whom I thought were just dressed up as wizards suddenly had actual wizard powers. Given the way I was dressed, I was asked to fight with them. And I distinctly remember yelling, “I HAVE NO DISCERNABLE FIGHTING SKILLS!” Even in my dreams I’m an awkward human being.

After the worst of the invasion was over, I was suddenly attacked by a lizard man (in Renaissance clothes that matched the aesthetic of mine) who was angrily screeching how he would not let me foil his plans again. While I should have been pondering about when I might have previously foiled the reptilian gentleman’s plots, I was rather preoccupied as he was strangling me and at some point had bitten my right leg. When I shut my eyes in pain, I discovered I had a skill interface in my head — the sort you’d see in turn-based RPGs. Surging with adrenaline, I somehow managed to use these skills, and with incredible might and magic bashed the reptilian gentleman’s head in. And then I woke up, and my right leg hurt where he had bitten me. The end.

In other news!

Here are some newer ways you may keep up with my updates, should you want to:

Sorry about the silence back there! I’m working on a lot of things, but hardly any I can make public just yet!

As always, thank you for taking the time to take a peek over here! Hearing the simplest things from you guys makes me happy, so feel free to comment if you’d like to!

Adventure Time fan art: Come Along With Me

Come Along With Me — fan art based on Adventure Time

(Though I do keep wishing for an episode where they show more of Marshall Lee)

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about my thought process for this drawing, as well as the progression from sketch to the final work. :) It’s going to be a moderately long post, but with lots of pictures and animations of my progress!


My new Facebook page

My blogging had previously been mainly related to personal things and my hobbies, which I used my Jin (behindinfinity) page for. I figured perhaps it was about time I made a page for my artwork, so here we are:

My new Facebook page for art updates: Art of Jin Joson

Like/Share/comment if you wish! I love hearing from you!

Whenever I make new posts or have pictures to share, I’ll be posting there. :) I’m still working on additional coding for my blog in my free time, which includes adding ways to keep you guys updated. For now, here are a few other ways you can follow me:

If there are other methods you’d like to suggest, please feel free to leave me a comment!
Now I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of my incredibly talented friends. I feel very lucky to have these wonderful individuals to discuss and create art with.

Katrina Teh / Facebook page / WordPress blog

When I think of Katrina’s work, the word neoclassical comes to mind. Something about the way she renders forms makes me think of sculptures made by old masters, but she breathes a new sort of energy and life into her compositions that makes her style all her own.

Bianca Lesaca / Facebook page / blog

Bianca’s illustrations and paintings, very much like her, are whimsical and pensive. She makes worlds full of flowing shapes and colors, and curious characters and creatures.

Valerie Chua / Facebook page / website

Sandra Dansphoto blog / Facebook page

I don’t have enough words for how much I admire Sandra’s photography. She’s usually a wedding photographer, but I also particularly enjoy her travel photos. She’s got an incredible sense of composition, changed the way I look at negative space, and captures life in a way that makes you feel like you’re looking into her memories.

Hope you enjoy looking through our sites!

I’m working on several new artworks now. I also managed to squeeze in a bit of time to do some fan art for fun. I’ll be posting it along with the process soon so please watch out for it! :)

Painting for Clinique Spring 2012

Earlier this year, I was invited by Clinique to be part of the four featured artists for the launch of their new makeup collection for Spring 2012.

We were commissioned to make artworks based on the theme “You as a work of art“, while using Clinique products in the creation of our pieces. They gave us stuff like foundation, lipsticks, eyeliners, and eyeshadows.

This is how my sketch started out. Doesn’t really look like much, hahah. I sketch very, very lightly.

Slowly establishing more detail.

Final line art. The face was inspired by Zooey Deschanel. (For some reason I now kind of see Anne Curtis too.)

official images from Clinique

I kept images like this in mind as a peg while I worked on my coloring.

To stay true with the visual identity of Clinique, I incorporated a lot of white space with bursts of vibrant color. Here’s a preview of my artwork in its earlier stages. I established very light colors with watercolor washes, and for certain parts I used the provided makeup to build up the color. I used some foundation on the skin, the tinted lip balm on the lips, and the eyeshadow cream around the eyes and cheeks.

Our artworks were unveiled  in an exclusive VIP event held at Whitespace last January 19, 2012. The night was a celebration of Clinique’s new makeup collection that captures women as works of beauty and art. (Article)

The lovely and talented Valerie Chua, part of the four featured artists. I took this photo of her beside her gorgeous painting,  “I Rise at the Caress of a Kindred Spirit”. I had a lovely time at the event with her and Miguel.

Val having a look around the gallery.

My painting, “Bloom“.

I was inspired by the way the provided Clinique products were made to enhance a person’s natural features, rather than paint a whole new face. Everything was sheer and natural, so I wanted to keep with the fresh, radiant vibe of the collection. Bloom may seem a bit too straightforward a title, but that’s what feels right to me. It’s a word that inspired my composition on many levels.

It was such a great honor and pleasure to be part of this, and I look forward to more collaborations of this sort. :)

Sweet colors and afternoon sweets

Hello, again! Today I want to share some detail snapshots of a painting commission I’m currently working on.

I used watercolor, gold ink and colored pencils. Normally, I tend to use every color I have available on my compositions. I lovingly call my usual color scheme “rainbow vomit”. Haha! I’m fighting that instinct to keep to the sweet, summery palette that I had in mind for this painting.

The earlier stages of color buildup. For me, it’s always a bit of an adventure using watercolors. It’s the most temperamental out of all the mediums I like to use. I feel like it behaves differently every time I paint with it.

It is a welcome challenge, though. It constantly provides me with opportunities to learn. I always find myself a little intimidated at first due to the relatively unforgiving nature of watercolors (as opposed to say, painting on canvas with acrylic) but it’s always a great feeling as I gradually ease myself into the process.

These kimono pattern details are a lot of work, but I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Looking at my kimono references for the painting got me wanting some Japanese sweets. Luckily, I had chanced upon a box of dango. Is it okay to think an item of food is cute, and feel the urge to pet it?

Sometimes I can’t help eating with my eyes as well.

After taking these out of the container, I had to admire the colors and texture first before eating them.

I also enjoy preserving these moments with my camera.

I have kind of an embarrassing number of photos of my food, but I’ll end with this one. I liked this shot for the simple reason that the background happened to have the same color scheme as the dango.

A peaceful afternoon with wonderful weather, a nice view of the sky, and some sweets — sometimes these little things do so much to keep me going.

What simple things do you get inspiration from?