Author: K-AL

A white top hat with a white ribbon and red rose design.

decade thoughts // spirited magic

This blog would inevitably hit some sort of milestone, and here it is – 10 years. It’s given that many things have happened in that time…I’m still thinking there are so many art skills I really haven’t improved on. I’m probably the worst example of exploration, and it’s all documented on the web! For a decade.

It’s currently the fourth month of mostly staying at home. It’s not that different than the last time I was unemployed. I joke that I have a new job every year, and each time I think it’s going great…well, it just doesn’t work out. Comparatively to the first time I had a long job-hunt, I think I’m more mentally prepared. I’m also concerned that my friends or people recommend me and then I might disappoint people, even though I know that is not something I can control, or should worry about.

School:

I graduated. I still do online learning, mostly with the help of a library card.

I studied and passed the JLPT N5 last year. I started it on a whim —  a lot of things I do sometimes stems from an embarrassing moment in time, and in this case, it was failing to be selected for the JET programme. I decided to take evening classes, and here we are. I’ll do my best…I open this post from izuizu occasionally.

Working:

I often dream about the day I will have my own place with a steady income, and I don’t think that will come. I try not to be too down about it, but it creeps up sometimes. Is this is the emotion of liking something, but being bad at it?! Right now I’m still a developer(?), and I’m learning a lot about accessibility still. Can’t believe it’s only been 3 years since I took the plunge (here’s a picture of the back of my head at a11yTOconf). It feels strange to have something that I believe in strongly for myself in this industry, and that I would act on it so strongly. I actively ask employers about things I care about and I genuinely hope that someday my work will have the trappings of true craftsmanship. But maybe that’s a bit too high to aim.

I don’t know if this industry is even for me at times, but I’m trying.  Tatiana Mac: “System of Systems” — Clarity 2019

Gaming:

I joined the club known as CTRL-A, got my very own first handheld in the form of a 3DS. Thank you to Punmaster for lending me the first PSP, to Cee for the secondhand PC that got me into PC gaming, and Helius (and many others!) for the PC building help. Thank you to all the kind and patient hunters over the years.

Overwatch is probably the game that has made me a lot louder and more willing to play multiplayer with strangers. I’m still bad at bluffing games and joining into games where I know I might let down the team, so I still enjoy solo games at my own pace. I started a club that used to meet in-person to play a video game that is very dear to my heart — Monster Hunter. We’re mostly hunting online these days, and I have kept some of the friends I made in Seattle last year while playing, and it brings me great joy even as I cart spectacularly to Alatreon’s Escaton Judgment. Thank you Banjoes for encouraging me to be louder in voice comms. :)

Graphic design:

It turns out graphic design didn’t agree with me. I was self-taught, but I never did have the solid flare eye that would make me agency-worthy. I did eventually work as a graphic designer, but I’m much closer to the web side of things now, anyway. It’s still fun to me as a hobby, and I am grateful that TheOASG lets me experiment. I don’t know why I spent so much energy crying over all the failed interviews to try to get into an agency because I believed that was only way to be a “real” designer. I’m pretty happy doing web design these days. I keep staring at all the posts made by comic letterers, so maybe that’s something I’ll try. Technical artistry for video games looks like a fun blend, so maybe I’ll try that.

Art & drawing:

I fell off lettering in January. I kept saying that work was draining me, and it did. I have been looking at new tutorials, but we’ll see. Thank you to Miscarainious, LuckeeTrefle, and 10thcard for all the art chats.

It would be remiss to mention Imprint for being instrumental in my earlier years. I initially joined to gain access to the drawing tablet, but it definitely has grown to be something more.

Conventions:

I tabled at my first convention in January of this year. I am satisfied with experience. I suspect conventions in a physical format will not be returning any time soon, due to the current pandemic situation. I actually stopped attending them for the most part unless it was for work, and I enjoyed my experience at the International Fan Festival in 2019, and attending PAX West. I was looking forward to attending more, but…well, I think that just won’t be happening any time soon.

Diversifying my friend group with online groups really helped me in the last few years. I have different companions for different hobbies, and it’s not so bad. I feel a lot better with getting to know people in this way. I think one thing that came out of it is that I no longer have to play with or talk to people if I don’t want to. Knowing boundaries, and at times, purposefully creating distance, will save you a lot of energy in the long run. I think in some ways, knowing I can rely on myself is good enough. Thank you for all the friends and chats over the years, and hope we can meet in future.

Post highlights:

Maybe I’ll update with posts that I’m proud of eventually. I did finally throw up that portfolio page that shows my epic amounts of procrastination and complete lack of focus over the years.

Here’s to collecting too many hobbies, to not fitting the mold, talking louder, believing in magic, trying new skills, failure, and doing your best. It’s been fun, and I hope that you will continue (or start!) something that you enjoy.

— Kaitou-al, August 2020

A light blue laptop cover with an assortment of anime and tech stickers.
A set of "Wiggle Me This" postcards with a Monster Hunter sticker.

ebb and flow// muse’s dash

A very belated post about the first (and probably only) convention I had tabled at in January 2020. It feels like a long time ago – hope you’re well and taking care of yourselves.

Thank you to Luckee and 10thcard for answering my questions about tabling, and stariaria, for sending me friends to talk to; it was fun. I think I ate more than what I made that day in the form of snacks. Anime Shogatsu had a nice atmosphere.

Artist display table at the convention Anime Shogatsu. A variety of art, stickers, and postcards are scattered across a galaxy tablecloth.
Artist display table at the convention Anime Shogatsu. A variety of art, stickers, and postcards are scattered across a galaxy tablecloth.
Artist display table at the convention Anime Shogatsu. A variety of art, stickers, and postcards are scattered across a galaxy tablecloth.
Artist display table at the convention Anime Shogatsu. A variety of art, stickers, and postcards are scattered across a galaxy tablecloth.
A Domino's pizza order on a phone app is in transit. There a pentagram made of pens and a lanyard around it.


10thcard and I attempting to summon a pizza delivery to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in the midst of 20 cm of Canadian snowfall.

A Map indicating the artists are located at table 51.
A set of Monster Hunter stickers on a cardboard backing.

I tried to take some product photos of the postcards I made for Anime Shogatsu…I fell off posting to Instagram after editing all these photos, and realizing the “buon giorno” postcards had a massive error in it. I ended up giving away the postcards or mailing them to friends. I’m honestly really embarrassed that I had this lettering work up for so long and only noticed the mistake after I stayed up to design the bleeds, printed it, cut it, taken photos, edited the photos, and then think of checking the spelling.

A variety of Monster Hunter stickers.

Seeing some of my lettering work reappearing after a long time…this one is hanging in the Aksys Games office, apparently.

The Otome Armada signboard hanging in the Aksys office, with a variety of signatures from members.
The Otome Armada signboard hangs on the wall of the Aksys office.
A close up of a screenshot with Japanese subtitles.

These fan-made videos will describe where I went in the fandom in the last few months. ^^” Alexa, I’m sad, play Wangxian.mp3.
同道殊途Our Different Paths -Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation/The Founder of Diabolism
【The Untamed】Character Intro MV “Undifferent Path” – Mo Dao Zu Shi
Protector – City Wolf
Grandmaster of Troublemaking (The Untamed) -Troublemaker – Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida
[陈情令 The Untamed FMV] Wei Wuxian – Seven Nation Army
The Scientist – Coldplay
Not Yet Lovers (FMV)
魔道祖师OP《醉梦前尘》Piano by Yuki光影
WangXian – audio drama ver.

Gotan Project – Santa Maria
Perfume – “Dajyobanai” Live at Coachella 2019
Porter Robinson – Secret Sky Set (2020)
MADEON DJ SET (Secret Sky Festival)
Jai Wolf – Secret Sky Audiovisual Mix
Move Mountains (Vo.Alisa)
We Won’t Be Falling – 陳雪燃 Xueran Chen
AfterSchoolDi(e)stra(u)ction – Yakushimaru Etsuko
Rainbow Connection – Sleeping At Last
Saturn – Sleeping At Last
Heart Made of Stone – The Tech Thieves
Boom Boom (Audio) – Shaggy ft. Shhhean :)
Swalla – Jason Derulo ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign :P
MIX 15A – Stay Home May 3 A-side: Anikura Unison vol.1.5 by Vanille Altzy
MIX 15B – Stay Home May 3 B-Side: AnimeltUP! by Vanille Altzy

A new years greeting card featuring an array of dice. "Wishing you a happy twenty-twenty."

victories reborn// torn from the heavens

New year’s cards that I drew. Maybe next year I won’t have ideas that will keep me up the night before new year’s eve. Ha.

A Victory Fanfare Reborn by Masayoshi Soken
Torn from the Heavens by Masayoshi Soken

Final Fantasy FFXIV new years card featuring a Chocobo and Moogle.

Final Fantasy FFXIV new years card featuring a Chocobo and Moogle.

A rough sketch of a Moogle riding a Chocobo. The Chocobo holds a banner that reads "Happy New Year."

Rough sketches of the words "twenty-twenty" in pen and marker.

A rough sketch of the words "wishing you a happy twenty-twenty" in script lettering.

No, I haven’t been roped in by “dice gremlin” friends yet.
Holding up metal dice in the light above a table with a dice tray.

An assortment of metal dice on a table in boxes, trays, and bags.

A self-portrait of the artist as a glasses-wearing fire witch.

burning soul// uncontained ideals

I saw the Promare movie last year, and enjoyed it. Some people might be a bit put off by the 3D and colours, but I liked the characters (and their burning ideals). Especially Lio. Please watch it when you get the chance. Studio Trigger did not hold back.

Trailer

Kakusei by Superfly

Promare Title Generator by Evan Minto (@VamptVo)

Script lettering of the lyrics "trials of fire" on an image of Galo from Promare.

Script lettering of the lyrics "you always knew" on an image of Lio from Promare.

Script lettering of the lyrics "they would carry me home" on an image of Galo and Lio glaring at each other from Promare.

Neomo's Symphogear Challenge season one

highest good rose cross// duet of hearts and swords

I worked on some graphics for Neomo’s Symphogear Challenge marathon on TheOASG, where Neomo/Nononkun watched seasons one through five. Admittedly, after this project, I have now watched four seasons of Symphogear.

This isn’t a recommendation for Symphogear, though. You need to be to able to just accept how absurd the fights are, and enjoy the music. Especially Nana Mizuki.

There are few clips to get you started, haha.

Highest Good Rose Cross | Symphogear XV

マリア×風鳴 翼(CV:日笠陽子×水樹奈々)『星天ギャラクシィクロス』ライブ映像

Hibiki’s Transformation | Symphogear XV

Shirabe’s Transformation | Symphogear XV

Senki Zesshou Symphogear playlist by AniPlaylist on Spotify

Neomo's Symphogear Challenge season two

Neomo's Symphogear Challenge season three

Neomo's Symphogear Challenge season four

Neomo's Symphogear Challenge season five

A collage of top 9 posts from Instagram.

satay smoothie and other strange recipes

The year wouldn’t be over until I posted my lettering summary post. I still hate using walled garden-type social media like Instagram; I realized recently that it blocks you from looking at older work when you are not logged in. I find this painfully annoying/anti-web. I did buy a domain for more official work posting…this blog is fast approaching a decade old and I still don’t have a stand-alone portfolio. Procrastination at its finest.

I do development work for long hours at my job, but I really don’t want to maintain a complicated project in my free time. Maybe I’ll use a site-builder? I don’t want to roll my own ecommerce. I’ve avoided doing making an online store because it eats into my limited free time, even though I want to share my work with more people. I sometimes wonder if I’m much too old to get started with this artist alley stuff (as a fun side-project only). It would be cool to do a something like LetterShoppe.

Anyways, need a real portfolio site so I can aggregate all my work.

A summary of a year's worth of posts on Instagram related to illustration and lettering.