Thank you all again for the endless kindness and support in my last two posts. I am a lot better now, and while everything is not back to normal, I know the worst is over and it can only get brighter from here. I will be getting back to the flow of drawing and comics soon.
Here’s the cityscape aerial tutorial I promised. I meant to post this 2 weeks ago, sorry about the delay. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the techniques. I’d be happy to explain further
In other news, I’ll be at SacAnime this New Year, Jan 1st - 3rd 2016, at the Sacramento Convention center in the Dealer’s Hall with my prints and books. I would love to see everyone again, and meet new con goers as well. I’d be happy to give more art advice in person or just chat and make new friends I hope to see you there!
And in case you missed it, here are some other tutorials I've been posting on my Youtube channel.
Thank you all for the caring words and understanding on my last post. I might not be able reply to each and every comment, but I did read all of them and they helped me a lot. It’s somehow very calming to know that despite being strangers on the internet, we are all capable of empathy, and that connection despite the distance is one of the many beauties of life. Thank you all again for being there when I’ve lost myself.
With the new year looming, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about everything that has happened, where my priorities are, and how to live a more balanced life. A lot has happened. Successes and failures.
A year ago in 2014, at this time, I was frantically trying to resolve the Axent Wear manufacturing issue. For those who missed the updates, I had designed these cat ear headphones many years ago, and with the amazing help of the backers, raised 3.4 million on Indiegogo to make them into a reality. My best friend at the time, and co-founder of Axent Wear (Victoria Hu), had promised to provide manufacturing for the headphones but when I actually visited the factory she had set up, I found out it was a horrendous sweatshop with workers breathing lead. I told her that was not acceptable and that she needed to provide a humane and environmental alternative. She initially agreed, but ended up ignoring me while I was stuck in China waiting for her replies. Communication completely broke down and we never recovered even after I returned to America to speak with her in person.
For the next half a year was a painful legal battle between her and I, that I honestly did not understand the purpose of. I wanted to just make the headphones in good quality for the backers, and she claimed the same, yet somehow nothing was agreed upon, and nothing was accomplished. For months she did not even allow me to make any official updates for the backers, threatening to sue me if I did (the company is 50/50 between her and I, so nothing can be done unless we both agree to it. It’s a terrible business setup in retrospect, though at the time I thought it seemed fair despite the headphones being 100% my idea).
The backers, many of which have been my fans and followers, felt so disappointed and betrayed by the silence and delays. I read their comments about how they lost trust in me, and I couldn’t even respond to them in fear of Victoria dragging on the legal battle. I could have taken her to court and let the justice system handle everything because I honestly believe she is in the wrong, but any lawsuit would drag on for years, and in that time none of the backers would be getting their headphones. So I sucked up my pride and just went along with whatever compromise she allowed that would still produce headphones. The final result is less than what I wanted, and less than what I think the backers deserve. I did everything I could, including spending tens of thousands of my own money on legal and consulting fees in hopes of making a difference, but it didn’t.
In the end I felt like a failure. I had put most of my art and my graphic novels on hold to work on Axent Wear, but somehow through the extreme highs of a successful crowdfunding, and the extreme stress of manufacturing, I lost my best friend, and lost the trust of a lot of my fans. Now that the headphones are finally out, I want to get back to my roots. I want to get back to just drawing and making comics about kite flyers and hackers. I still have to face the reality that my hands are not what they used to be, that I can’t just draw for hours and hours all day everyday without suffering constant pain. I had known this for years, and I had hoped that the money from the headphones would afford me helpers to speed up the comic making process, but that was a painful venture that caused more loss than gain in every way.
More recently, I discovered something that is more painful than losing my best friend, than all of the failure of Axent Wear combined. It’s a pain that I can’t put into words. I feel like I can never trust again, even though I know that’s not true, I can’t help but shrink away from people. I’m not trying to be vague, I just can’t bring myself to write more details. Right after my last post, I vomited repeatedly until I passed out. I’m not sure if it’s from the emotional pain and stress or just coincidental food poisoning, but I was not in a good place.
That was two weeks ago. I’m in a better place now. I haven’t been checking my e-mails or messages, but I will soon. I haven’t been posting art or tutorials, but I will soon. The pain is still here but the worst is gone and I will recover.
Looking onward to 2016, I have learned a lot from my past mistakes, and I will continue with my original goal of creating art and comics. I will create a Patreon account, and with enough support, I hope to speed up updates for Fisheye Placebo, and a remastered version of Knite too. I will continue to make art tutorials, more of the captioned speedpaints I’m already doing, and new voice over videos on specific techniques and topics. I will continue to go to as many conventions as I can, to hang out with old friends and to meet new friends as well. I will take responsibility for the mistakes I’ve made, be more cautious, and not give away my trust as easily; not to be cynical, just to be realistic. I will not be naive, I will not trust freely, I will trust responsibly. I will make the most of all the lessons life have given me, and face each day with new determination.
Thank you all again for everything. From being here to share the fun times, to learning and experiencing art together, to being caring, understanding, and always so supportive. I look forward to a 2016 with you all, sunshine and rain. Thank you!
I've been posting some video tutorials to teach aspiring artists my drawing techniques, but I think it's very important to learn from my mistakes as well.
I'm 25 right now, and I've been drawing all my life. I started drawing a lot more and professionally when I was about 19-20. I drew all the time and didn't think much about it. I would draw until I'm in pain, from sitting too long, from not eating because I was in the flow and didn't want to stop. I would get terrible back pains and even heart palpitations from sitting in the same position drawing for so long.
That's when the nails on my right hand started to get weird and lumpy. At first I thought it was a dietary thing, so I took vitamins, went to the doctors, exercised, changed things up but it was too late. It's been years now and 3 doctors later they couldn't fix it.
If it were just ugly nails, I wouldn't really care, but the nails are just the tip of how bad I've been treating my body. One time during a particularly hardcore drawing marathon, my right hand swelled up for a week. Nowadays I try to take it easy and take long breaks in between but the damage that has already been done can't be undone. I can only draw for so many hours in a day before I have to stop or I will get pains from my entire hand, arm, and shoulder.
Now I have a standing desk, ergonomic mouse, hand brace, and all that. I wish I had done these things sooner so I can keep drawing without restraint. I used to update my comics more frequently, but I can't realistically sustain that speed without hurting myself. (Hence I plan on doing a Patreon in the future so I can hire helpers to do some of the comic's background drawings)
In those speed paint tutorials where I paint within 1-2 hours, it may seem like I have it made, dishing out art in hours, but after those hours I have to massage my hand and arm. I can't draw for more than a few hours a day now without hurting.
When I was in college all I could think about is how to improve my skills, practice endlessly, and all that hard work has paid off in some ways but not in others. So please take care of your hands, and your general health. It seems obvious in retrospect but I never thought about it when I was younger that, hey maybe, just maybe, if you overwork and break your body, you won't be able to draw and create all you want anymore.
Take breaks, don't grip too hard, do hand exercises, do general exercises, get ergonomic mouse and a standing desk if you can (I just piled a bunch of books on my regular desk until it was tall enough) These are some of the few ways you can help your hand last in the long run
I've always wanted to do more tutorials to give back to the art community, but have been too busy in the past. Now I finally have some time and I've been uploading tutorial videos and speedpaint recordings to my Youtube channel!
Here are some of the ones I've done so far~
My very first test video for recording my work progress! This is just a sketchy speed paint for testing purposes, but in the future I plan on recording lots of my painting processes. Please let me know what you guys would like to see added in the videos, I can try audio narration of the techniques I'm using, or have captioned tutorial explanations
A while back I was visiting my childhood friend, and her mom asked me if I wanted some of the extra green onions they were growing in the backyard. I said sure and she came back with this monstrosity. They are the biggest green onions I've ever seen. The ones at the store are 10 inches long at the most, and I am 5 foot 6 inches so these green onions were at least 3 feet long!
I'm not sure why, but giant green onions make me ridiculously happy
In other news, check out my new website at YuumeiArt.com It’s still under construction with many pages missing, but it’s a start!
It's that time of the year again! Anime Expo is the biggest anime con in the West Coast and I'm super excited to be part of Artist Alley again this year. It's time to meet up with all my anime friends, make new friends, and have a crazy fun time!
I'll be at table C56 and C57 in the Artist Alley from July 2 - 5th with my prints, books, and more! Come by and say hi!
In other news. I have many things lined up. I know I haven't been very active due to the Axent Wear headphones but most of the issues have been sorted out and we're now on our way to production! I'll have a few flights to approve prototypes but other than that, I'll have my life back
On my to do list after AX is:
1. Continue Fisheye Placebo
2. Potential collaboration with Tapastic to remaster Knite and finish remaining half of the story.
3. New collaboration project with my biologist friends to help endangered species.
4. Make a Patreon account and do live streams plus tutorials.
5. Finally make an artbook, and open up online store.
6. Too many other things to list! (Design t-shirts, try sewing and cosplaying, help out with art installation at Burning Man, more astrophotography, etc)
Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for the amazing birthday wishes and gifts! <3 It's been a crazy year for me working on the Axent Wear cat ear headphones that I designed, and learning to deal with the unpleasant business side of things (my co-founder has been impossible to work with). Because of all that, I haven't been able work on my comics or draw as much as I used to. However, I'll be back into full swing soon with new comic updates and lots more art and tutorials. I've also been meaning to livestream for a long time now
With that said, I'm super exited to see all of my friends again and to make new friends at Fanime this year! I'll be there for the entire con from May 22-25 in the San Jose Convention Center. As usual, I'll be in the Artist Alley (table 623) with prints and more! Feel free to come by and hang out!
More info here www.sacanime.com/
And in other news, we've just finished filming the Axent Wear Kickstarter video. We're still waiting for some post production video editing but the kickstarter should launch within a few weeks! Thanks for all the support!
It's been a crazy busy summer with conventions and working on the Axent Wear headphones! I barely have time to work on anything else right now Q_Q
But anyway, I'll be at the J-Pop Summit in San Francisco's Japan Town this weekend 7/19-7/20th You can find me in the Kinokunia mall, on the 2nd floor near the elevators with books, prints, and more!
Come by and hang out! www.j-pop.com/2014/
I'm also honored to be part of deviantART's annual panels at San Diego Comic Con this year I look forward to seeing everyone again!
In the mean time, I've been working hard on making the 2nd prototype for the headphones. We are eager to release the Kickstarter as soon as possible. Once the headphones are on their way to production, I'll finally have time to finish the next Fisheye Placebo strip. I'm about half way done with the strip, though headphones have been keeping me very busy orz. But here's a preview of the next part!
Thanks for the support!
Anime Expo is finally coming up! It's the biggest anime convention of the year for me and I'm super excited to see everyone again As usual, I'll be in the artist alley with my prints and books!
The convention will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center this July 3rd-6th. I will be at tables A/B 37-38 as shown in the map below. See you there!
Thank you all for the amazing support!
We've been over whelmed with comments and questions for the past week, so we would like to answer some frequently asked questions here!
A: We are currently working making a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. Once the Kickstarter is up, hopefully in a month or two, you can pre-order through the Kickstarter. We will e-mail everyone and post the link to the Kickstarter when that happens. If you haven't signed up for e-mail updates yet, you can do so at www.axentwear.com/
Q: How much will the headphones cost?
A: We're aiming to keep the price as low as possible without compromising quality. The price we've decided on is $115.
Q: Will you ship internationally?
A: Yep! Though shipping prices will be different than domestic orders. We are not in control of how much shipping companies charge.
Q: Do the cat ear speakers actually work?
A: Yes, the speakers are fully functional so you can switch between listening to your music silently or sharing your music with your friends!
Q: Will they come in multiple colors?
A: Yes! And when you pre-order through our Kickstarter, you can vote on which top colors will be produced.
Q: Will they be wireless? Will they come with a mic? LED lights? And if so, will the LED lights change colors?
A: That will depend on how much money we can raise through Kickstarter. The more pre-orders we get, the more funds we have to add even more cool features to the headphones without increasing the cost to you! So when the Kickstarter goes live, please support us by pre-ordering a pair! The more fund we raise, the more features your headphones will have
A: Please be patient. We're still working out the final details of certain features. We want to be absolutely certain before we answer a question. If your question hasn't been answered yet, it will be in the near future so stay tuned!
Thank you all again for the amazing level of support! We look forward to bringing you a new music experience!
Hey guys It's that time of the year again! Fanime is one of the biggest anime cons on the west coast and I'm happy to be able to see many of my friends again and to make new ones as well!
The con is from May 23 - 26th, 2014, and it's held at the San Jose McEnery Convention center in California. As usual, I'll be in the Artist Alley with my prints My table number is 1213, in very deepest and darkest corner of the conventional hall lol. Come by and hang out, and we can all get dinner together too
Hey guys! It's con season again and I'll be at the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco's Japantown this weekend (April 12-13th), and at Sakura Con in Seattle Washington the weekend after (April 18-20th). As usual, I'll be there with all of my prints, books, buttons, and cards!
My table location for the Cherry Blossom Festival is on the lower floor of the Japan Center, right outside the Kinokuniya book store entrance. For Sakura Con, I'll be in the Artist Alley at table 411. I was actually unable to get a table in time for this con, but a kind artist, mind-crash offered to share his with me We both look forward to meeting everyone and making new friends so come by and say hi!
Thank you everyone who has supported me and given me their valuable advice about how to deal with my family situation in China. I'm happy to say that my father and I are on much better terms now. It's honestly more than I could ever have hoped for and I haven't been this happy in a long time.
The comments you guys left really helped me believe in myself. Thanks to everyone's encouragement, I know I wasn't in the wrong. I was able to firmly explain my problems with my father. It took many long and heated discussions before we finally came to an understanding but it was definitely worth it. He eventually admitted that he was wrong, and shouldn't have brushed me aside as being "too bothersome" or not worth angering his crazy wife for. He said he regrets the way he treated me, and has promised to try to visit me once a year. It's really hard to put into words how much that means to me, and I truly thank you all for helping me get to this point.
I read in the comments that many have experienced similar or even worse family situations than mine. Looking back, I consider myself fortunate to have a father who is willing to change for the better. I sincerely hope everyone coming from a dysfunctional family can eventually find peace and reconcile. Before my father apologized, I never could have dreamed that he would ever do so. I was very close to not giving him another chance, but I'm glad I did. I guess what I'm trying to say is, for everyone out there who still hurting due to their family, don't give up just yet. I hope everyone can find happiness one way or another. As long as there is a tomorrow, there is still hope.
With that said, my flight back to the US is tomorrow morning. I'll be working hard on Fisheye Placebo and all the other things I've put aside due to this trip to China. Again, thank you guys for all the support through out all the years!
In other news, I'll be at Kraken Con this April 6th at the Oakland Convention Center with my prints and booksI really look forward to meeting everyone back in America again See you guys there!
I've been in China for almost a week now, and all the memories I have of this place is flooding back. Unfortunately, many of those memories are quite negative. A lot of people commented on my last journal asking why my stepmom and half brother had tried to kill me. It's not a secret and I'm in a weird mood right now so I'll retell the story.
I last visited China almost five years ago. I was unfortunate enough to be stranded at the LAX airport for two days. During that time, I met another girl my age who was also returning to China to visit family. We talked for a long time and I found out her parents are also divorced like mine. She told me how her stepmom would regularly burn her with cigarette buds. I was horrified but I felt lucky that my stepmom is kind to me. I told her I was lucky to have a nice stepmom. I had never been so wrong.
When I first arrived, my stepmom greeted me kindly, and we talked, joked, and hung out like a regular family would. But her mask was quickly cracking and she couldn't keep up with the facade anymore. What happened afterwards made no sense no matter how many times I've thought about it. It started with a missing fruit knife. It was a cheap fruit knife of no value. She couldn't find it and insisted that I had lost it even though I never used a knife at their place. She screamed and yelled for hours and hours at my dad about how I lost the knife. I would be in my room and I could still hear every word clearly. This entire time, her eight year son (my half brother) was in the same room, watching his mom losing her mind. I couldn't understand why she was so angry about a missing fruit knife until I heard her scream "- and your daughter doesn't want me here either!"
I was beginning to grasp the situation then. She thought I didn't like her because she's not my biological mom, even though that wasn't the case at all. In the next few days, she refused to move from the sofa or do anything at all. Before she started going insane, we had planned to visit a historical site as part of the family vacation. The day before the trip, she told her son that she doesn't want to go anymore so he's not allowed to go either even though he wanted to. She screamed and yelled all night but the next morning, she was smiling, happy, and ready for us to all go as a family.
During the trip, she would constantly disappear along with her son. One moment we would all be walking together, and then suddenly they would vanish for 10 to 20 minutes.
After the trip, she went back to screaming her head off. Then suddenly she ran away. I would later find out that this is the third time she had done so. For every time I visited my dad in the past years, she would pretend to be kind to me until her hatred for me could no longer be contained and she would run away. She hated me because I was a constant reminder to her that my dad had once loved someone else. I was kept blissfully ignorant and told she was just visiting family every time.
This time, however, her son was left behind. Turns out all those times they kept disappearing during the family trip was when she would tell him lies about how I was a "spy" sent by my mother and grandma to ruin his family. And when his mother ran away, all of his fears came true. I was the evil foreigner who came and made his mother disappear. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and grabbed a kitchen knife to kill me.
My dad was sitting on the couch with me when my half brother tried to kill me. My dad was disturbingly calm during the entire event. My half brother explained that because his mom told him I have a black heart, I need to be destroyed. Meanwhile, my dad calmly explained that there has been a misunderstanding and left it at that. My dad said it was no big deal because his son would try to stab people all the time, so it was normal. I was freaked out, but my half brother had put the knife away so I thought maybe he understood that I'm not actually trying to ruin his family.
We went out to eat dinner right afterwards, the three of us, like a family. My half brother even fed me some fries so I thought everything had gone back to normal. Turns out he was a lot like his mother, kind and smiling until the mask comes off. My dad went to bed early right after dinner. I went to work on my webcomic, 1000 Words, which ironically was about how much pain divorce has on a child. Having gone through it myself, I would never wish that same fate upon my half brother. While I worked in the office, he came in and opened all the drawers. He dug out every single wedding photo of his mom and my dad and started shoving them in my face. I told him to stop because I need to work. He said "Ha! I knew it. This is proof that you want to ruin my family because you're jealous. Don't underestimate me. I know how to kill you."
At that moment, the phone rang. It was his mom. I told her my dad is asleep and that she needs to seriously reflect upon what her lies have done to her son. When she found out he had tried to kill me, she laughed and said "that's your dad's problem now."
At that point, I had had enough. I packed up all of my belongings while my dad slept and got ready to leave for my grandparent's place. Right before I got out the door, my step mom came back and grabbed my suitcase, refusing to let me go. Her crazed reasoning was that if I leave, my dad would be sad, and he would blame her for it so I'm not allowed to leave. I had to kick and claw myself away from her. I escaped in a taxi and arrived at my grandparent's place after midnight.
After I returned to America, my half brother would regularly hijack my dad's QQ acount (Chinese messenger) to send me pictures of bloody knives and bombs.
Years later, when I found out that my dad was denied by the US to visit me for my college graduation, many people asked why can't I just go back to see him in China. I had to explain that I'm not safe there so people suggested that I could meet my dad in another country and vacation together, just the two of us and safely away from the drama. I thought it was a great idea so I suggested it to him. He said no, because it's too "bothersome". He doesn't want his wife to get angry at him for seeing me, so he chickened out. I kept bringing up that I want to see him, so he finally said that he was "dying" so he doesn't have enough time left to see me. I cried, and cried even more when I found out he was completely lying to get out of seeing me.
I stopped talking to him afterwards. I would later find out through my grandma that he was complaining about how I'm such a bad daughter who doesn't even call. How unlucky of me to have been born his daughter. If I had been born his son, I could try to kill my own sibling and still be loved more by him.
Now that I'm back in China again, this time not to see him but to visit my grandparents, he wants to play father again. I got to see him once a month when I was a child, so there's a part of me that will always long to spend time with a father. But now that he's here, I can't forget all of the things that had happened. I can't enjoy my time with him. Every moment is filled with awkward silence.
I don't know what to do anymore. I want to be happy this time.
It's been almost five years since I last visited my homeland, and I'm excited and scared at the same time.
My last visit in 2009 left me a bit traumatized but I think I'm okay now. My stepmother and half brother in China had tried to kill me with a kitchen knife. I was shaking and crying when I escaped in a taxi that night. After that event, I couldn't feel safe anymore. I changed my flight to return to the US sooner, and never wanted to go back again.
But that's in the past now. I miss my grandparents and other relatives. I miss the food, the cicadas, the unique mountainscape of Sichuan, and ever dwindling bits of the old city that's quickly being replaced by skyscrapers.
I'm looking forward to seeing how much China has changed. Though I'm not looking forward to breathing that air. Air pollution is such a constant health hazard that I had to buy hundreds of dollars worth of respirators for me and my grandparents. I will also be buying air purifiers (that's another five hundred dollars) for the apartment they live in. People think living in China is cheap, but that is until you realize being cheap comes at a cost. When the government and corporations cut cost on environmental regulations, the money they saved and pocketed for their own gains is billed back to the public in the form of pollution. The money it costs to buy respirators, air purifiers, and pay medical bills for pollution related health damages is way beyond the money saved.
RIght now, I am typing this journal in California. The sky is blue, the air is clean. I check the Air Quality Index everyday. And while my location is always below 50 (the good healthy zone), China's number is always between 200 (unhealthy) to 500 (hazardous). These numbers are a grim reminder of what unregulated industrialization does to the environment we live in. Even where I live in California, 1/3 of the local pollution is blown in from China. Pollution is not a regional problem, it's a global problem. So with that in mind, no matter where you live, be sure to do your share to help the environment. Be it as simple as recycling, or planting a tree, or making sure your government has strict environmental standards in place; anything helps.
That's also why I made Knite. I wanted everyone to know the true value of clean air. I know I haven't updated a Knite chapter in a long time (due to reasons I cannot legally disclose), but rest assured I have not abandoned the story. It will be continued once things have been sorted out. In the mean time, I will be working hard on Fisheye Placebo, which is partially inspired by the extreme censorship situation in China. Many websites, including facebook, twitter, and reddit, are blocked in China. This is to prevent the spread of information about government corruption and scandals, and to prevent people from organizing protests in response to the human rights violations. I had to purchase a reliable VPN to bypass China's firewall. It's hard to imagine the freedom many of us experience online is not a regular right that the people in China can enjoy.
(Actual cartoons of internet police used by the Chinese government a few years back to remind internet users that they're constantly being watched)
I hope this trip to China will give me new insights for both of the stories that I've been working on. With that said, my flight is tomorrow. I will be back in the US on April 3rd. See you guys later!
Hey guys! My wonderful friends at Operation-Requiem organized this amazing charity art book! Please support their cause and pre-order your very own Attack on TItan Art Book~
The book includes
- 75+ artists
- 80+ pages
- Hardcover book
- Limited edition extras!
All proceeds go to charity: water. If you have any questions regarding the artbook, please let them know by sending them a note!
The limited editions also come with postcards, stickers, buttons and keychains.
Pre-orders end on March 31st! Get them HERE before they're all gone!
Hey guys! Enjoying the new school year? If you're not too busy, come hang out with me at Anime on Display in the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the San Francisco International Airport this weekend, Jan 25-26th! www.aodsf.org/ as usual, I'll be there with books and prints
I know I always say hang out, but it seems some people are still too scared to really talk to me don't be afraid! Everyone is welcomed to sit behind the table with me and chat for as long as they want See you guys there!
This is my friend, Bri, chopping me down to save all of mankind... or to steal my green tea frappuccino.