Friday, April 27, 2012

More Hunger Games Goodies

I've been a bit restless this week, partly because I not getting out of work late anymore. Therefore, I started reading Mockingjay, the third book of The Hunger Games. I have less than 30 pages left. I will discuss after I finish it, but right off the bat I enjoyed how dystopic this one is.

Meanwhile, here are some related goodies to share. =)

At first I thought Peeta was a Butcher. My favorite are Katniss, Cinna, and Effie. haha. 

This mix makes me love the people who create memes. Hahaha. Effie has popped up a lot in them. Here's a similar one:
Whoever did better not answer because he/she was selected.

The boys from the musical parody "Bake You Pies" worked again for a more serious video, "The Arena". Some events from the movie are depicted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Graduation Cap Process

I noticed views for my post, "Graduation Cap" so I will describe the decorating process in more detail. I broke it up in sections: Inspiration, Sketches, Application, and Result.

Note: Even if you don't use the same materials as me, the first two sections are still helpful.


The terms are used in both art and science.
I looked at Baroque/Rococo designs, but it had to have radial symmetry so that the design looked the same from all four sides of the cap.
A Rococo example
with radial symmetry.

8 slice circle
I found a blog post from a Middle School teacher on creating radial symmetry. I recommend looking at her brief instructions. She has examples.

You can use 4 slices instead. Radial symmetry may require multiples of 4 (4, 8, 16, etc...) for slices.


For my cap design, I tried to keep it simple, but I wanted to include raspberries too. For the design to pop out over a distance, I chose white lines over my black graduation cap for contrast.

I started the design on Photoshop, but space and angles are hard to apply without measurements. I did not use the slice method, which I now highly recommend.

2nd design on paper
I had tried again on paper with a shape repeated and rotated at each corner. I went with a more simple design, but kept my raspberries. The lines would still be white for contrast, but I decided to use color to differentiate the berries from the lines.

Then I tried recreating the shape with circle and oval stencils, which I highly recommend as well.
Found at most art stores

I used a color pencil for the lines that would show and pencil for drafting the shape.

Observations and decisions were written down:
  • The cap was smaller than I thought and I forgot that one corner had the school's name.
  • I'll use one large circle instead of two.
  • I'll place the arcs in the middle of one side instead of a corner.

More simple.
The oval is the raspberry

I decided on the most simple design, and I wrote the measurements from the circle and oval stencil. The sketches on the right did not capture the full curves. More mistakes would have occurred.

Final Sketch
The design was too simple for me though. Haha. Because the lines will be thin, I think it's better to add more more lines. I drew some thumbnails and liked the one with corner decorations.

I still had to worry about space between repeated shapes so I measured from one point in one shape to another point in another shape. In the photo on the right, I made this measurement blue for better viewing.

The planning was done. Whew.


Unfortunately, I do not have images for when I did this part of the process. Application was done in more than one day to keep a steady hand and rest.

I drew the design with pencil and stencil on the graduation cap according to recorded measurements.

For the corners, I traced the shape of a large oval object because the stencil did not have large enough ovals. Of course I marked the distance from the corner for each oval arc.

The raspberries were penciled on the cap last because they were more detailed.

I used this gesso.
Because I did not plan on washing my graduation cap, I used white acrylic gesso, which can be undone by water. Gesso is usually used as a primer coat on paper and canvas, but it can be used in place of white acrylic paint.

If you have used gesso before, then try it first to see how comfortable you are using it. Apply water to increase the drying time.

After Acrylic Painting, I felt more confident with brushstrokes and had used gesso in place of white acrylic. However, I did not paint one arc in one brushstroke. I did multiple strokes for one arc with two thin paintbrushes. It's better to pace yourself anyway.

I waited for the gesso to dry before applying more; you don't want to smear wet gesso. Rest your hand and eyes.

I had made an arc too wide, but I was able to take away some gesso by using a wet paintbrush (just water). If you looked closely at my graduation cap, then you'll see that the edges of that arc are not sharp. Thus, do not rely on fixing it with water.

Demonstrated on
For the raspberries, I mixed red-violet acrylic paint with the gesso. The leaves were still white though.

Instead of painting the lines of the raspberry, I painted the many square-shapes of the raspberry. I did not want the four raspberries identical so I allowed myself to paint more loosely.


The application step was done the week of the ceremony. Whew! But now it represents my hard work. =)

The school name looks like I painted over it but, I didn't. 

If you can text a picture message, then I recommend sending a picture of your finished design to those attending your graduation. As I said in my other post, friends and family found me after the ceremony because they spotted my decorated cap. :)

I'd like to see your results too even if you did not paint.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wax Figures and Non-existent Cupcakes

Wax figure of Steven Spielberg on the left.
Last Sunday I had a girls' trip in Hollywood mainly for the Madam Tussad's wax museum. As a Legoland employee, I got free admission for my group. =) We had a blast and I recommend the museum because some wax celebrities have scenery and props.

My friends and I had a list of events including the Johnny Cupcakes shop in L.A. Because Johnny sometimes has events that require you to wear one of his shirts, I wore the one I got at his college lecture.

Once again, Johnny Cupcakes is a shop that looks and even smells like a bakery, but the product is actually tee shirts. The only time cupcakes have actually been in the shop was on April Fool's Day. The shop is another illusion in Hollywood.

Johnny's customers buy limited shirts even when they don't have the money, but he does more than sell a product. Customers get to spend time with Johnny outside of his shop.

Every month, Johnny rents the Coolidge Theatre in Massachusetts to play one of his childhood movies such as The Goonies and Gremlins. He charges $7 or nothing for admission. For The Karate Kid, he gave out free karate headbands with cupcakes on them so that the theater was full of them. The Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles showing had free pizza. Sometimes Johnny dresses as a character, and he usually holds movie themed contests with themed prizes.

Johnny has held events at other shops too. He once tweeted that he would buy ice cream for anyone who showed up at the given time range at a certain ice cream shop. He did not sell anything. His existing loyal customers were appreciated.

A third type of event Johnny holds is charities. Customers have stayed up late hours with Johnny to help repair a kids' camp so it would open again after a year of closed doors. After repairs, they crashed at the camp for the night.

Although my friends and I did not make it to Johnny Cupcakes, I am glad I did wear one of his shirts. This week Johnny announced on a contest on Facebook:
"Post a photo of yourself recreating your favorite movie moment while wearing a Johnny Cupcakes shirt. Contestants will be entered into drawing to win a $100.00 Johnny Cupcakes gift card."
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
This opportunity increased my laughs over the Psycho photo-op at Madam Tussad's. I photoshopped the photo and was the first to submit an entry. =) Once again, I am glad I wore a Johnny Cupcakes shirt that day.

The contest winner will be announced on Monday, April 23 at noon (EST).

I will leave you with videos over the opening of the L.A.s shop in 2008. Johnny opened a shop in Los Angeles because 30% of his orders come from the west coast. Over 400 loyal customers stood in line for the opening.
The customers did not feel like they were making a purchase. I still hope to visit his L.A. shop for the experience. Johnny hired the same people that decorate the Disneyland characters' homes.

London has a Johnny Cupcake shop too now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back into the Labyrinth

I heard the Rammstein song "Die Sonne" earlier today and found myself thinking of the 80's movie Labyrinth later on. A humorous fanart idea even popped in my head. I listened to the song again just now and I remembered this fan-made music video (Spoliers! The video follows the whole movie):
The timing of the music and movement is awesome.

Labyrinth is one of my top movies. Then The Fall became my new Labyrinth. However, after today and a few tee designs,  I find myself diving back to Labyrinth. I hope I can make the fanart idea into a shirt as well.

Here's the trailers for both mentioned movies:

Labyrinth (1986)

The Fall (2008)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Impact on a Child

I thought the following chinese proverb from my daily planner was worth sharing.
"A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark."

There are humorous villains who cry about the toy he didn't get or not being hugged enough.  However, the quote applies to everyone as the influence and as the one influenced.

Here are three villain examples with an impacting childhood moment anyway:

Gru from Despicable Me,

Ego the critic from Ratatouille (Spoliler),

And Megamind.

Megamind at the top.
Metroman at the bottom.
The last two are cast into the roles of villain and hero according to looks and homes.

Can you think of an example? It does not have to be a villain or from a movie.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Saw The Hunger Games

Last Friday, I saw The Hunger Games movie. I liked it, but I worry if people will understand some scenes. My friends who did not read the books missed the new situation at the end of the movie. Although characters smile at that point, listen to what is said in private!

I am glad that I read the first two books before the movie so that I knew the details and connections. It is hard for me to picture how much of the story I would have grasped without the book. Thankfully, some game explanations from Katniss' thoughts in the book were given in another manner.

I will be vague in further discussion of the movie to avoid spoiling it. However, I will first discuss my disappointment in The Watchmen adaptation for comparison. The trailer is down below.

Reaction to The Watchmen Adaptation First

I read The Watchmen comic shortly before the movie release. Here is the trailer for it.
During the movie, I laughed and was entertained, but afterwards I felt disappointed in the adaptation for these reasons:

  • The state of the world was not depicted enough. In the comic the second Silk Spectra helped portray the society at least through her addiction.
  • There is no distinction made between superheros and masked vigilantes.
  • Heroes that did not severely harm or kill, like Silk Spectra, plunged a knife into a mugger's throat. In the comic, the heroes who take lives are the ones who have a different state of mind.
  • Does the viewer question the consequences that the heroes reluctantly accept?
I do not detest every change made in an adaptation. For example, I have no problem with the change in the S.Q.U.I.D. Because years have past since I first saw the movie, I would now watch it a second time. Some scenes were great to see on the screen.

Back to The Hunger Games

The movie was a good introduction to Katniss' world. Some great scenes were left out of the movie, but I think key moments for characters were kept such as when Thresh speaks in the game and Cinna's influence. I was not disappointed. Some of you may be if you expect love drama.

Before the movie, I read an article on the decision to tone down the violence, which the director felt was unnecessary for the main message and characters. I agree. Anyone who hungered for more violence has not grasped that the game is actually an instrument not entertainment. The anticipation of the game and the game itself are exciting, but remember its purpose and meaning. Violence is not action. Do you mean conflict or confrontations that can be an opportunity for character growth instead?

I was surprised that the terror and danger were toned down too. I think young audiences could handle a little more of both. The focus was appropriately placed on the main danger, the Capitol. Each book because harsher though. Will the rating stay at PG-13?

To me the book was a suspenseful adventure while the movie was more on the dystopic world. When Kato has the sword, I thought of Roger in Lord of the Flies. I can see that aspect as enough terror for some minors.

Some parts before the game felt slow to me, but my coworkers who did not read the book said the beginning was fast for them. After all, they did not know the setting and characters yet. Come to think of it, I did not linger on questions with the movie's pace. So I guess the first half of the movie was not slow.
Stanley Tucci as Caesar.

My favorite minor characters in the book were Rue and Haymitch. During the movie, I smiled and laughed at every scene of Caesar, but I was still teary for Prim and Rue. It was nice to see non-tribute characters during the game.

I  left the theater at 1am with energy from the movie. The third book, Mockingjay, is higher on my reading list now and I want to read the first book again. I may watch the movie in theaters a second time.

Community Paintballers

In my last post, I mentioned printed tees including "Paintballers" by WinterArtwork. Well, TeeFury is selling the shirt for $13 (including shipping) right now! The subject is the NBC show Community parodying Ghostbusters.

I bought my tee minutes after I saw it on TeeFury. The shirt is available on that site for 22 more hours.