Moving to the melody
Flowing into harmony
All my sorrows behind me
My inner sanctuary
I was inspired by Makoto Shinkai’s beautiful work, and how he uses photography as a base for his paintings. So for this one, my bf took a photo of a crossroad in Japan which I was able to use as a base to paint over. I’m still fine tuning this technique and I’ll make a tutorial for it in the future :D
Even when the world is filled with sorrow
I will keep painting for that better tomorrow
A repaint of my 2009 drawing, Hope and Despair. Some people have mentioned how this new version feels more hopeful than the original. I feel that way too. I've been very happy these days, and it feels like everything will be alright again
Thank you again to everyone who reached out and supported me when I was feeling down during the beginning of this year. I've been working on a lot of different projects, and I'm excited to share with everyone when things are ready!
Here's the video tutorial of how this was created by integrating 3D backgrounds
I always wanted to paint an electric cello player. I used to play the flute myself but I'm a bigger fan of string instruments.
I spent some time reflecting on my life, from the dysfunctional family of my childhood to my current career as an artist, and how this path has shaped me.
I guess part of my recovery is just taking in my life experiences, my emotions, the happiness and the pain, and turn them into art. And through the process, I learn and understand just a little bit more about myself and the world around me.
Art has always been a powerful outlet that helped me and others communicate our ideas and emotions. For all the aspiring and young artists out there, don't let anyone discourage you. Be it random strangers on the internet or your own parents, no one knows you better than yourself, and no one lives your life except yourself. So don't ever let anyone take that away from you, your emotions, your art, your sense of self.
Draw for yourself, create for yourself, live for yourself.
Video tutorial of this drawing can be found here.
I've been looking over a lot of the nature photography I took in the past year, and the beautiful world makes me want to just go out and capture the sky.
The tripod I ordered hasn't arrived yet, so in the mean time I'll be painting the vision in my mind.
I visited Shinsekai (translation: New World) in Osaka, Japan in October and the unique history of the city was very fascinating. It was built in 1912 and modeled after New York and Paris, but the place quickly fell into extreme poverty during WWII. In recent years it has seen a comeback with lots of shops and restaurants as tourist attractions. Nevertheless it had a slightly eerie feel to it, and reminded me of the amusement themed ghost town in Spirited away.
I used a photo base for the background (still working on tutorials), and drew in the characters. After drawing so many masks, now I want to make them :p
More paintovers from photos taken in Japan :) The architecture here has a great balance of clutter and negative space that's so great for painting.
Hopes and Dreams
Lift me up
The weight of Reality
Keeps me down
I'm willing to make
Of Myself, of Others
A Selfish plight
An Endless flight
And I will learn
What it takes to fly
From the depth of the ocean
To the limitless sky
Open a book, open your mind
This world is boundless
So let your imagination fly
The boundless sky mocks me
Come out and play
In this vast beauty
Don't you want to spread your waxen wings?
And test the limits of high you can fly
Until you soar too close to the sun
And plummet back down
Into the shelter of your cages
Tending the wounds
Of the next escape
Everything in life is a risk. Between the fear of being hurt again, and the exhilaration of living life to the fullest; the highs and the lows, is worth it? I want to walk down the path of least regret.
On this journey of life, don't forget to look up and take in the sky.
Inspired by the dramatic clouds I saw while traveling through the open fields of Hokkaido. Japan is an amazing country with such diverse landscapes. I plan on doing more art inspired by my time there, such as the moss covered forests of Yakushima :)
I will not sit
I will not lie
I will take my stand
and show the world
of a better tomorrow
Glistening street lights
Under the overpass
Alone to the world
A special moment
Shared with you
I did a paintover of a photo my bf and I took while traveling in Japan. Luckily, I actually remembered to record my work process this time so I’ll be making a video tutorial soon of how I did this. Some of you have already seen the tutorials of 3D background paintover, this one is similar but working from a photo base instead of 3D model :)
Ever since I hurt my hand from drawing too much, I’ve been looking into new and innovative ways to express my art while conserving my hand use. Finding shortcuts has been a very fun challenge and I’m exited to share the results with everyone. I think it’ll be a useful time saving technique regardless of hand pain or not :)
With wings of death
And crown of black
A sea monster more terrifying
Than any creature of the deep
Is this the epitome of man?
All pride for greedy production
So serene in self-destruction
If suicide is a crime
We would all be guilty
Sometimes I wonder which side of the reflection I stand on. The one holding a raining umbrella when the sky is clear, or the one holding onto sunshine when it rains? Between the unfortunate things that happen in life, and my own reaction to those things, I can’t tell if I am responsible for my own unhappiness.
These brief moments we share.
In this Field of dreams
Gazing at the infinite possibilities
The future twinkles
With dazzlingly wonders
While many of us enjoy the luxury of watching TV on our couch with a cold can of soda or beer, the ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. Polar bears that need the ice to hunt and survive are drowning or starving; sometimes forced to search through dumpsters to survive.
Global warming is undeniably here. 2000-present date was the warmest decade on record worldwide. This is not part of the natural climate change but a human induced and an abnormally accelerated increase in temperature. Waiting for the countdown until all the ice caps and glacier have melted and water level has risen is not an option.
Many of us think that helping to prevent global warming is just about driving a hybrid car, or getting solar panels, which most people can't afford, so why bother?
While fossil fuel burning cars are a huge source of green house gasses, many other things also add up to create the problem. The manufacturing of anything takes up energy, which is usually created by burning fossil fuel like gas and coal. Relying on oil also lets big oil companies like BP and ExxonMobile get away with oil spills time and time again. With that in mind, I'm not saying we should give up everything we own and live in the wild, but any amount of reduce, reuse, and recycle will lessen the amount of new products that needs manufacturing. And that's something we can all do.
Taking public transportation, carpooling, or riding a bike are a cost efficient and healthy way to save energy and money. Even eating less meat (especially cows and pigs), can greatly help because it takes more energy to raise a cow than some crops of the same nutritional value. Cows are also a huge source of methane, which is another type of greenhouse gases that's responsible for global warming.
There are many other small things that we can all do help the environment like turning off the lights when we're not in the room, or not using the AC or heater if we could just take off or put on a jacket instead.
Change is not waiting for the scientists and government to come up with the solution, change starts with the little things we can do everyday.
I want to paint the world.
It's the rainy season again~
I always loved the reflection of the sky against the wet pavement. It feels so nostalgic for some reason.
I can dream. I can fly.
You can see a captioned speedpaint tutorial of the drawing here in the tutorial section here.
“Look up.” Said the Stars “And all your dreams will reveal themselves.”
8 hours in Paint Tool SAI and Photoshop
I’ve been longing to take long exposure photography of the night sky for awhile now. So much beauty is hidden in the Milky Way that’s often too polluted by city lights to see. I haven’t had time to go out into the wilderness to take photos so I’ll be drawing the stars in anticipation.
I can't repaint reality
to reflect the colors of my dreams
So I'll repaint the reflections
and look down into my fantasy
When the night comes, I float into my dreams. And suddenly the world is beautiful and everything feels like it will be alright.
A gift for my SO, inspired by our trip to the Monterey Bar Aquarium.
There are plenty of fish in the sea
But you’re the only one for me
It's clear that we are all dependent on oil in one form or another, and while everyone is complaining about rising gas prices, most people usually don't consider the true cost of oil.
Oil companies like to spin lies about how the earth's resources is for everyone, which is why they should have the right to drill everywhere to make that resource available to the public. Sounds nice when they put it that way, doesn't it? In actuality, when they bribe governments to drill in the once protected wilderness, the profit they gain by selling that oil goes only to them, while the environmental damage is billed to the rest of humanity. You can see it as an invisible sales tax.
For every dollar you spend on gas, you and your children will be paying countless more for rising medical costs created by pollution. And pollution comes in all forms. From the city smog that gives children asthma to tainted sea food from oil spills that can cause cancer, the damage is boundless. That's not to mention the climate change that will endanger countless wildlife and cause increasingly severe weather.
Just last year, my home town was hit by a severe storm that uprooted entire rows of trees. Even the hundred year old Christmas tree in our park is gone. This is a place that normally has no storms at all, but that storm caused so much damage and a three day black out. Do you think the oil companies are going to pay for that? Nope. But what they will pay for are lobbyists to bribe the government to give them 1 trillion dollars in subsidies instead of investing in clean energy.
This black black heart of humanity is not the future we want for our children, but what can we do? The transition from fossil fuel to clean energy is a slow but necessary one, and you can help speed up the process but telling your government to stop wasting 1 trillion dollars per year on subsidizing fossil fuel. It is not a sustainable energy source and only idiots would keep throwing money at a dying resource when they could be using that money to fund renewable energy research. We shouldn't be trying to relive the bygone past of low gas prices, instead, we should be looking toward a clean and renewable future.
You can help now by visiting 350.org and click on GET INVOLVED
Finally had some time to paint between all the projects. I think I'm too in love with the Milky Way and paint it all the time :)
Tribute to my best friend. You were always there for me, through sunshine and rain. When my dysfunctional family was crumbling down, when I was bullied in school, when the entire world seemed so bleak, you wagged your tail and smiled at me. And suddenly everything was going to be okay.
We dug giant holes in the backyard, filled it with water, jumped in and covered ourselves in mud. The best days were when we got to go to your favorite lake. You really loved to roll in duck poop and dead fish. I held you in my lap even when you smelled like rotten fish. I had to shampoo you twice and it was all so much fun.
With each divorce and remarriage, we had to move and give you away when the new place didn't allow dogs. But somehow you always made it back to me. When emotional trauma gave me amnesia for one year, I couldn't remember the people in my life but I remember you. If my mom had gone through with the suicide, I would have been okay because I had you.
I grew up and you grew old. Now I'm old enough to be okay on my own, and it was thanks to you. I'll always miss you. Thank you for the 17 years of unconditional love.
Swimming, glistening around my mind
A beautiful mask
Covering my skin
The artificial taste
Addicting, adhering, advancing
I’ve lost myself
With Stolen Wings
I revisited the concept of my older painting titled "Selfish" that was made 10 years ago. It was one of the most important early works that shaped my path as an artist who wanted to explore art as a medium to communicate meaning instead of just looking pretty.
The concept of angels have always made me think about arrogance and selfishness of man. It reflects how we as humans forcefully take what is great from nature for ourselves at the detriment of the animals and environment.
Looking back to 10 years ago, so much has changed with the world, with me, and yet so much has stayed the same. Climate change is more widely accepted now, yet still commonly denied. Factory farming, over fishing, poaching, everything. Some species have already gone extinct, some are making a comeback. As a whole, the science predicts we're still heading down a path of environmental destruction. Nevertheless, I hope that in another 10 years when I revisit this concept again, things will be different. Things will be better.
Modern day reinterpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.
Poe's work always carried a sense of mystery and familiarity to me. I wanted to reinvent that feeling in a modern setting. Imagine walking down the street, through the crowd, and in a brief moment, catching the glimpse of someone you once knew. But before you can act -blink- and they're gone again.
My SO and I are looking forward to hiking up to Mauna Kea Observatories and doing some astrophotography in the future.
When I think about how beautiful it will be, I can't help but draw out the day dreams in anticipation.
Modern day reinterpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat.
-That momentary sense of mystery and fear. Out of the corner of your eye. A stranger? An acquaintance? Wink. And they are gone behind the crowd.
My hopes, my fears
My joys, my tears
These delicate knots
All tied up
Loose to the touch
Tethered to such
You closed the distance
Until all that I have
And all that I am
Has come undone
I’ve come undone
An old commission I did for a client. I'm too busy these days to work on comissions but when I do, they're always fun :)
Look through me
You can't hide
And I'll divide
You into your
The exploration of an emotional masochist. The cycle of self abuse and self fulfilling prophecy. Pulling, pushing, creating and destroying. The question still goes unanswered: Am I happy now?
Anxiety, depression, and the fear of addiction to pills.
The cure is also the curse.
This is a very old idea that's been floating around in my head for about 6 years. It was originally a sculpture I made in high school but my baby brothers broke it before I could get any pictures...
Mother nature is always so full of wonder. From the most majestic creatures to the most whimsical ones, they're all so special in their own ways. It's so magical when two species interact so I imagined a forest spirit crossing path with a family of ducks, and both being fascinated by each other Everything is a source of wonder.
I wished but I couldn't.
Rise and greet each new day with determination.
Inspired by a hike I had with my SO. We started in the morning and hiked the entire day until the stars came out. It was magical seeing the blue sky turn to red, dotted with clouds of all shapes and colors, and finally the starry night with the faintest trace of the Milky Way. We live our stressful and hectic days, but it's calming to step back and remember no matter what's happening in our lives, the sun will rise and set, painting the skies in a menagerie of emotions. We all have to do is look up and breathe.
Whenever I feel stressed out, I try to think about nature with all of it’s power and beauty. It makes me feel so small and humble, which somehow calms me down.
To be a child again.
I had the honor of participating in Zhang Jingna's Motherland Chronicles project.
I decided to reinterpret one of her older piece with her newer ones . It was such an amazing process. I don’t normally work with photo references so this has been a great learning experience.
I was testing out some cloud brushes I made in Photoshop two nights ago and went little crazy with them. Each drawing was done under an hour.
Steady gaze, forward
My reflection beneath me
My life before me
Dappled light, filtered in gold
Teasing and ephemeral. fleeting to cold
This path, these tracks
In the ephemeral snow
Blink now, and I'll be gone by
A series of elemental wolf drawings I made in between classes in high school to raise awareness and fundraise for wolf conservation.
Decades from now
When the birds are all gone
When their bodies have decayed
The waste of this generation
Is this for posterity?
Is this our legacy?
This was inspired by the film, Midway.
It 's a touching documentary about the Midway island that is home to 1.5 million albatrosses and many other species of wildlife. However, the island is covered in 20 tons of plastic waste. The plastics are from the Pacific Garbage Patch, estimated to be twice the size of the United States. The plastic waste, discarded from our daily lives and washed into the ocean, are now found in the stomach of many dead animals. One in three baby albatrosses living on Midway Island dies from plastic ingestion. 5 tons of plastic find their way into these baby birds ever year.
While watching the film, all I could think of was how the plastics will still be there when the corpses of the dead baby birds are long gone, and how the future generations won't look up to see a sky full of birds, but look down to see a land filled with waste. I hope we have more that just trash as our legacy to the future.
There are simple things you can do to help reduce this problem:
- Recycle. Sounds simple but means so much. By recycling, you are not only preventing the plastic trash from being put into a landfill or dumped into the ocean, you are also reducing the need to create new plastic from petroleum and all of the damages that comes with mining for oil.
- Don't litter. It's really not hard to walk a few extra steps to make sure the trash goes into the can instead of just throwing it on the ground where it will be washed into the drains and rivers, which eventually lead to the ocean. Such simple action can save countless tons of plastic from ending up in the stomachs of baby birds.
- Go for biodegradable products. It's not a widely available option yet, but more and more products are made with biodegradable material. When given the option, choose the right one, and avoid products that have a lot of unnecessary packaging. Instead of buying 40 bottles of water, buy one long lasting water bottle and reuse it 100 times over. This way you'll save time and money as well as the environment.
With stolen wings we cannot fly
Without empathy we shall fall
So ignorantly arrogant:
to disregard life for the sake of pleasure
and praise ourselves with the spoils of death
Is this the true nature of humanity?
It' simply so very Selfish.
"When the direction of the wind changes, some build a wall, some build a windmill."
I've mentioned before how I've overworked and hurt my hands in the past, and how now I can no longer draw as much as I used to. I have a more ergonomic set up now, but the damage that has been done can't be undone.
I was pretty sad about that for a while, and had started using 3D backgrounds as short cuts. Now that I'm exploring more into the world of 3D art, I'm actually really happy and excited. I received a lot of great applicants to help me build 3D models for my comics, and I'll be announcing the new team in a week or two. I'm also starting to learn more about 3D character modeling myself and will be teaching myself with online tutorials.
Like the Chinese proverb, when whatever you having going in life changes, you can either try to fight it, or find a new approach that's even better than before :D
Recently I found a new Photoshop plugin called Filter Forge, and I tested it out on the 3D classroom to give it that painted look. I still had to paint out the character and some other things, but it's a great time saving short cut for all comic artists out there who want to put out chapters faster! I highly recommend it!
My contribution to the Gaia Vim Naturae charity art book to help with Colombia's flood disaster.
Getting back in touch with the more whimsical side of myself.
I'll be waiting.
Created for Earth Day.
Instead of the usual talk about pollution and global warming, I would like to dedicate this drawing to the beauty we still have left on our planet. There is still so much left to protect and so many mysteries of nature left to discover. This ecosystem that sustains our life is so full of wonder.
Don't ever lose touch with your origin. This blue planet is our home. Cherish it.
Despite the struggle, we carry on. We carry on.
Inspired by the kelp forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The ironic truth:
Ever since the movie, Jaws, people have had an irrational fear of sharks. The ironic truth is that humans are the ones killing off all the sharks. You’re more likely to die from lightning strikes or falling coconuts than sharks. There are only around 60 shark attacks per year, and only around 4 of those attacks are fatal. The shark attacks are usually accidents in which the shark mistakes a surfer for a seal. However, over 104,000,000 sharks are killed by humans every year.
Around 78 million of the 104 million dead sharks are killed only for their fins to be put into shark fin soup. The soup is a popular dish in Asian countries, and falsely believed to have health benefits such as sex life enhancement. Shark finning is the cruel act of cutting off the shark’s fins while it is still alive, then the still living shark is wastefully thrown back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Can you imagine the agony of someone chopping off your arms and legs and leaving you to bleed to death just so they can have a make believe better sex life?
The irony of the situation is that due to all the pollution we dump into the ocean, the sharks and other apex predators like dolphins and whales have accumulated a dangerous level of toxins such as mercury (this process called biomagnication is not as bad with fish on the lower food chain so we can still eat those). Eating animals like sharks can cause mercury poisoning, which will not only cause nerve damage and eventual retardation, but also decrease your sexual performance.
Why it matters to you:
Sharks are an important part of our ecosystem. They have been around for 430 million years, and that time, all of the ocean’s life have evolved around sharks. If sharks go extinct, the fragile balance of the ocean will be thrown into chaos. Without sharks to eat fish on the lower food chain, those fish will breed out of control and eat all the plankton that’s needed to produce oxygen.
Unlike some fish that lays thousands of eggs every year, sharks only produce 2-20 pups per year. If we catch them at the same rate as other fish we eat, they will go extinct. What worse is that people don’t even eat the shark itself, just the fins because they believe it will help their sex life.
How you can help:
Shark finning is technically banned in many countries, but there is no real effort to stop the illegal trade of shark fins. However, just by simply spreading awareness about the toxic truth behind shark fin soup, we can help bring down the demand for shark fins which will ultimately break down the illegal trade. If people are educated about the fact that shark fin soup doesn’t actually make them better at sex, and that it can actually poison them, then they will no long want to buy it.
A simple way to spread awareness is to post this picture on your own dA, blog, or website along with the info above. You have my full permission repost this drawing anywhere you want. Also tweet and facebook it to all your friends and family. The more people who knows, the more difference we can make!
You can also help by donating to shark conservation causes at:
SSCS-----Oceana-----Save Our Seas-----Shark Trust
Special thanks to Wildfotog for contacting me and working with me extensively on the issue.
The BP Gulf of Mexico oil Spill still gushing 4,200,000 US gallons of crude oil every day even after 40 days since the initial explosion on April 20th, 2010. The environmental disaster is astronomical, with over 4,000 species of birds and marine life in danger. Countless dead birds, fish, turtles, and other animals already been found on the shores covered in oil.
We can not let this incident go forgotten. So many oil spills in the past have occurred, so why are we making the same mistakes over and over again?
Remember this sin. Remember tomorrow.
Some rainy days are so nostalgic. I remember as a kid, whenever it rained, I was stuck at home watching the gray city while imagining a field of sunshine.
Despair is the inaction that keeps us down,
Hope is the will to create a better tomorrow.
This is a very old drawing of mine, but I still hold the concept close to heart.
This my tribute painting to the Occupy movement. I was really inspired by all the peaceful and creative ways the occupiers were making their opinions heard, especially when the police try to clear them out, they've found ways to return in the form of tent balloons, book tents, and chalk people.
Even if you don't agree with the Occupy movement, you have to admit that they have imagination
Everything seen in this painting is inspired by real events that I've either witnessed first hand at Occupy Berkeley or photos of other Occupies online.
These porcelain lies
Crafted with precision
Fired with intention
Beautiful and frail
All doomed to fail
In time the mask will shatter
And as the pieces scatter
You'll be left all alone
With all the lies you've grown
Humanity's futile attempt to elevate their own image to the level of imaginary angels, and in the process have caged themselves with the ideology of perfection.
An exploration of my personal hopes and phobias.
Done in watercolor and pastel.