December 9, 2015

Post 24: tiger by tiger

I'm well aware that I left on a promising note (to write here more frequently) and I'm also aware that I completely failed at keeping that promise. So instead of trying to make up for it, I'll confess that this will probably be my final post on this blog. I have another personal blog that I still update occasionally, but I think it's time for this one to receive some closure.

I picked up the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott earlier this week. She shares an anecdote about her younger brother at the age of 10, overwhelmed with an assignment due the following day:

"[He was]... surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."

Today, I feel that knot in my stomach, unsettled and anxious. Art school application deadlines are nearing and I feel am behind. I have a number of ideas stewing in my head, but they're not translating onto paper. A story about a girl and her grandfather. A brother and sister running through rice fields. A man and his fruit cart. A birthday celebration at a senior care center. There are at least ten more.

But today, I will start with one. About a boy who became a tiger. I've never drawn tigers before, and I'm not good at drawing animals in general. But I remind myself to take it slow...





Thank you to anyone who has followed me through Chronicles of Kardia until now. The journey has only just begun! I hope that if there is ever another post, it will be one with exciting news! Otherwise, Godspeed and on to the next adventure!

July 21, 2015

Post #23: Check-in

Hi everyone.. *waves nervously*.. remember me?

It's been more than half a year since the last entry, so there's quite a bit to catch you up on. (Then again, if you're one of the few people reading this, you probably already know what's going on in my life.) I haven't been doing a whole lot during the last six months, but I feel so different from where I was in December. I worked on some side projects here and there. I made a website. I decided to quit my job, and am now planning on moving to Santa Maria in about a month. I also traveled a little, ate a lot, and started watching Korean dramas again.

I'm saying all of this simply to record this moment right here: sitting at my dining table, still up and jittery from coffee, half way into 2015 and feeling unready and uncertain about these plans I've made.

On Sunday, I'll be leaving for a short mission trip to Paraguay. The trip feels like déjà vu. Three years ago, I was in the same position, getting ready to leave for Paraguay and not sure of what would happen after I returned. I had just graduated, with a job barely lined up, but mostly feeling unprepared for what people called "the real world" (which is a term I don't really agree with). Anyway, I was re-reading old journal entries and I found that my time in Paraguay was essential for the transition period that followed. There was a kind of focus and awareness after that trip that helped me through the early morning commutes and first mistakes at work, through living alone and growing distant in some friendships while also forming new ones.

So I'm excited. I'm nervous and expectant. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that it'll be good. While my plans are as good as I can make it to be, I know that the plans that I cannot make are better than what I can ever imagine for myself.

I'll try to update more frequently, now that I'll have some more time :)

Images: Some pages in my sketchbook. I've been trying to get into the habit of drawing more often, even if the results aren't very good. 

December 3, 2014

Post #22: Sneak Peek

I want a quiet evening in the woods, away from the city and the noise, where the stars are
visible and I'm reminded of how small and insignificant I really am. 

November 14, 2014

Post #21: World Race Calendar

If you're following me on different social media platforms, you'll already know that I've been working on a calendar the last few months with my friend, Nancy Chi. If you don't know, she'll be taking part in a one-year mission trip to eleven countries in 2015 through an organization called World Race. She had the great idea of putting together a calendar to raise support for her trip, and asked me to illustrate each month using different landmarks and icons that represent the countries she will be visiting. We wanted to keep the illustrations simple, but even still, each painting took a lot of time and thought. If you look at Post #19, you can see some of my initial sketches for the project.

I've posted some of my favorite ones above. If you'd like to purchase a calendar, please fill out a Google form here. Each calendar will be 5.5" x 8.5" bound and printed on cardstock. 

October 6, 2014

Post #20: SCBWI Conference Recap

Finally! As some (or most) of you know, I attended the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) summer conference this past August. I wasn't planning on it until right at the very end, but I'm so glad I did. The 3-day conference was filled with amazing keynote speakers (like Aaron Becker, Judy Blume, Tomie dePaola to name a few), insightful panels, and practical workshops. Everything was led by published authors, illustrators, editors, and agents. I was blown away! There were so many things I learned, but I narrowed them down to three to share here.

Jam-packed schedule
1. Patience
There were countless stories about manuscripts waiting in the slush pile for months or stories being rejected by multiple editors before securing a book deal. Getting a book published to begin with takes almost two years from Point A:  getting a book deal to Point B: seeing your book on the shelves. But even before that, it takes a lot of diligence and resolve to edit, and re-edit, and re-edit some more until your story is ready for submission. Almost every editor said that 90% of the manuscripts they receive are not ready. But even if your manuscript is ready (it probably isn't) and you're certain it's got potential, it can still get sent back. There are so many factors editors have to take into consideration before deciding what story they want to publish. Sometimes, it's just a matter of making a connection with the right editor/agent. All this to say, it's going to take some time. 
  • "You want the rejections from the right people, but you want the acceptances from the right people too." - Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary
  • "There is no speeding up in getting better." - Lucia Monfried, Dial Books for Young Readers
  • "Commit to slowing down." - Steven Malk, Writers House

Some eye-catching postcards I picked up at the Illustrators' Portfolio Showcase.
2. Voice
I kept hearing this word used over and over again. It's the number one thing that people look for, and at the same time it's something that can't be honed or forced because a voice is something you already have. This is probably my biggest struggle. I want to be someone who doesn't just follow an impermanent trend, but how do I strip away the excess in order to be authentic? What it comes down to is honesty. This is something I'm learning not just about writing and working, but in every part of my life. Being honest means seeing the parts of myself I'm trying to cover up. It means not being able to please everyone.  It means knowing what the truth is.
  • "Many a children's book is working out a childhood splinter- the still sharp needle in you."- Megan McDonald, Judy Moody series 

It took 6 pages front-and-back to scribble down as many notes as possible. 
Ninja! by author/illustrator Arree Chung
3. Courage to Create
Those were Tomie dePaola's words on the last day of the conference. There were so many things I learned in those three days, but the biggest takeaway for me was a confirmation to keep going. To get uncomfortable. To take bigger risks. I'm still trying to work out what this means for me. But I know that one starting point is putting my insecurities to rest and owning up to my work. It also means being able to let go of certain things (like financial security, family expectations, my own expectations), so that while I work toward my goals faithfully and diligently, I'll be able to confidently trust that whatever's supposed to happen will happen.
  • "Stop trying to be good." - Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now
  • "The tide is coming. It's time." - Aaron Becker, Journey