Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ash and Amy

Hey guys I entered another Shirt.Woot contest. This time a mystery celebrity chose the theme TV show mashed up with an album cover. The hint given for the celebrity's identity is not Tony Shalub. What if the celebrity is from Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary?

This weekly contest is the first time I've submitted 2 entries. :) Tomorrow is the last day for votes so if you're a Shirt.Woot customer, then please vote for my entries. Anyone can help by sharing my entries. The links are the entry titles. Thank you! :D

"Born to be the Very Best" is a mashup of
Pokemon & Bruce Springsteen's album "Born In the U.S.A."

"Amy + the Time Machine" is a mashup of
Doctor Who & Florence + the Machine's album "Lungs"

I feel I have progressed with limited colored shirt design on Photoshop.  The movie Catching Fire energized me enough for a second entry. :D I'm glad because Amy Pond and the weeping angels has been on my list of designs-to-make.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maleficent Shirt and Trailer

If my entry for most shirt design contests doesn't get picked, then I still have to wait a few month to submit the entry somewhere else. I'm able to now use the Maleficent text entry I did for Shirt.Woot.


On RedBubble, you can get it as a shirt:

I have two other ideas with Maleficent, who is one of my favorite Disney villains. The movie for this 2014 spring motivates me! Here is the first trailer:

I like the scene when they interact!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Hunger Games Humor

Surprisingly no one has used the Gaston book meme for The Hunger Games yet. I made one: 

For some reason I like photoshopping Beauty & the Beast more than any other Disney princess or movie. 

Here are some funny images I found in time for the 2nd Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire! After the Pocahontas one, they have some Catching Fire spoilers, especially the last one. A few of them I saw last time, but waited for the second movie. Enjoy. :D

Hope you get the song reference. XD
I laughed harder than I thought I would.

Hipster Peeta
It's awesome that Effie has a meme.

Reference to Catching Fire

New character in Catching Fire.
It might be funny only if you read the book.
BIG spoiler

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ender's Game Touched My Heart Again

Published 1985
Thanks to a cousin's recommendation, I read Ender's Game during high school. It is one of my top favorite sci-fi books!  I love the book because of how humane the hero Ender Wiggins is throughout the story even when trained to be a brilliant killer.

I am glad I did not reread Ender's Game before watching the movie so the emotions could hit me. By forgetting details such as Ender's isolation, I re-experienced the story's beautiful and painful message. 

Some people say that once you read one military sci-fi, you can't enjoy another one because it's too similar. Well, I could not enjoy Starship Troopers because Ender's Game is different by surpassing military.

The actor, Asa Butterfield, was perfect for to play Ender. He had very expressive eyes. I forgot he played Mordred in BBC's Merlin. As Mordred, he has few lines, but his expressions dominate the scene.

I speak of beauty and emotions, but there is action too. The zero-gravity battle room scenes had the wonder, action, and strategy I had hoped for! The music captures the wonder of it too.

I watched the movie with a group. Some of them now want to read the book. For one of them, that was her first time a movie motivated her to read the story. Their reactions touched my heart even more. I want to reread Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reading Stats

Here's a flyer based on 2011 reading stats:

Currently when I am waiting, I read The Riders for pleasure and a taste of elegant writing. I am also slowly reading through an old art history book on the Baroque era for personal art research. Yesterday I started reading a software book to expand my computer skills.

You don't need a purpose to read though. Reading can be just to fill time. I read some of the software book during a meal and while waiting for the computer to load. You can read for a purpose, pleasure, or a sense of accomplishment.

BuzzFeed collected 12 scientific benefits to reading: 

  1. Reading can help prevent Alzheimer's
  2. Reading is a source of new information. Learning and retaining information will help your mind remember as you age.
  3. Reading leads to a more involved and cultured life.
  4. Reading is a stress-reliever. 6 minutes of reading can reduce your stress by 68%.
  5. Reading can give you insight on your own experiences.
  6. Reading enhances your memory by exercising it.
  7. Women are attracted to intelligence.
  8. Reading helps you recognize patterns and improve your analytic thinking.
  9. Reading adds to your vocabulary, which makes you look good for interviews and promotions.
  10. Reading can improve and influence your own writing.
  11. Reading can help you connect with other people and cultures.
  12. People who read are more likely to succeed in their careers and in life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Because They Struggle

I have been posting more on my art Facebook page than on this blog. Lately my thoughts have showed up in my art. One recurring thought is the 80s X-men cartoon show.

I even dressed as Jubilee this month. I'll post a picture when I get one from a friend.

X-men love triangle
One reason I remember the show is because of the drama like the love triangle with Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops. Whenever Wolverine was enraged from it, I thought "Ah! He loves her! But he might kill Cyclops!" Wolverine and Jean Grey were then my favorite two from the show. However, the love drama was not the only reason for liking those two characters the most. I felt they struggled most.

When I think of Jean Grey, I remember her as vulnerable. She often reached her limit quickly. Thankfully she could make a force field for protection or keep the threat away long enough. For the love triangle, Jean's vulnerability increases her appeal. Is the reliable boy scout or the unstable tough guy a better match for her?

Then we find out she has untapped massive power, but it is still out of her control.

Jean Grey's alter ego Phoenix
This stronger and more passionate side of Jean is a better match for Wolverine, but maybe he'll lead her further down towards destruction.

Wolverine's ability is instant healing, however, limited to only physical wounds. This scar-less warrior carries emotional trauma that his mind and soul cannot handle.

Jean and Wolverine's struggle with their ability and emotions keep these evolved forms human. Both need to stay human to be good forces. Sabretooth is a foil to Wolverine by being a more primitive mutant who threatens mankind.
Sabretooth vs. Wolverine
While I thought over Wolverine's healing limitations, I came up with this design:
"Wolverine at the Bar"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tea Party and Manga

Shirt.Woot customers can vote for
my entry "Tea Party v.2."
I entered a Shirt.Woot contest for the third consecutive time. The theme was kawaii (cutesy and adorable).

I 'm skipping out on the next weekly contest. Whew! I tried some new techniques such as fading out the side of a scene on a shirt and alternating warm and cool colors in main areas.

I guess I got really into the tea party scene, especially after reading manga about cafes and bakeries. 

Cafe/Dessert manga has become one of my guilty pleasures. After reading about takoyaki at a New Year festival, I tried some at Genki Living. Takoyaki is like a ball of bread with octopus bits and veggies. I would order it again. :)


This type of manga genre can be very simple, but I think it makes the attitudes more pure and heart-warming. The heroines usually want to create happy moments for others and have strong determination. I stopped reading Kitchen Princess when the plot got complicated and tragic.
Kitchen Princess

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I started entering ShirtWoot!'s weekly derby contest for shirt designs. For the theme text-as-art, I drew Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty:
If you're a ShirtWoot customer,
then you can vote for my entry "Beware."

I find female villains in fairy tales interesting especially if they are not the evil (step)mother. Evil mothers feel threatened by their daugther's outshining youth. The less wrinkled face reminds the evil mother that she is closer to then end of her life. Evil female authority feel just as threatened by young princesses.

In the fairy tales, Maleficent's character is not invited to the new princess' introduction either because she was old and forgotten or the king didn't have enough matching plates. This sorceress is insulted not because she cared to see the princess, but because Maleficent's existence was not acknowledged for the future the princess represents. If she was forgotten while she lived, then she will be forgotten when she is gone. If she has no place in the kingdom's new reign, then get rid of it by killing off the princess. Or at least be remembered longer for trying to do so.

A poem by Dylan Thomas comes to mind:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vote For My Shark!

Hey guys, my first shirt design on Threadless is open for votes for 7 days! Please help me by voting and sharing my shark design. Click HERE for the link.

The rain makes the shark related to more than the summer season. I also chose 2 shirt types and shirt colors for "Rain Swimmer":

Thank you! :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Divergent Isn't Much of a Dystopia

I've mentioned Divergent by Veronica Roth, but barely read it. The book series is labeled "The new/next The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins." There are similarities, but the dystopic society in Divergent isn't as developed as in The Hunger Games. There will be spoilers in this post to explain why I think Divergent is a weak dystopia. I try to be vague.

Immediate Reaction

The beginning of Divergent felt slow and for a younger audience than The Hunger Games. I also saw a big flaw in the dystopic society. Dystopic societies are false utopias because they have flaws and usually have false intentions from rulers, but the society is typically united as a whole even if the citizens do not believe the government's proclamations.

Single belief broadcast everywhere in Equilibrium.

The dystopic society in the movie Equilibrium concluded that emotion caused war so emotion was eliminated with sedatives. They united under this envisioned utopia. Violence is used only on those who oppose.

In Divergent, separation from different races, religions, and politics is proclaimed as a cause of war. So for peace they decide to unite by values. However, they remain separated by dividing into factions with different single values. For example, the Dauntless faction live brave, but they have the aggression that Amity faction forbids. This society does not share the same vision and the new arrangement does not sound too different from before. The difference is that you live with people of same expressed thinking. You're still part of the same nation as those who are different..

Shirt design of The Hunger Games districts.
Districts in The Hunger Games have unique cultures as a result of their different production and climates. They all have the same rules from the same ruler. If one district disobeys, then all are punished. The districts are united from the same ruler and on-going punishment. To keep them from uniting into a force against the ruler, they are physically separated from each other. The government forces two children from each district to fight each other annually.

Divergent doesn't have a single ruler figure. One faction has the society's government positions as their contribution.

Factions in Divergent see each other in public areas such as school so anyone can notice the obvious differences. As different as different countries. The devoted members despise the other factions. "We are right. Those guys are arrogant. And these guys are actually ruled by greed." The factions automatically fight each otherThey don't even pretend to work towards the same goal, which is peace.

The curious ones observe and consider leaving their own faction. At age 16, everyone chooses which faction to live the rest of their life. Although choosing another faction is felt as betrayal and "Faction before family" is taught to those who change, the choice has too much freedom for a dystopic society. Someone else choosing for you or rigged test results is more dystopic.

But I Still Got Hooked

The concept of living under one value and denying yourself the rest is interesting. The freedom to choose another faction isn't dystopic, but it's interesting too.

Left to right the factions are Dauntless, Erudite,
Candor, Selfless, and Amity.
The main character, Beatrice "Tris," may seem more passive than other heroines because she was raised to be selfless, but she has attitude. She has the teen problems of not meeting family and society expectations.

I was hooked after Tris made her choice. I enjoyed her reactions to new experiences such as running for fun. The author Veronica Roth gave a good description for that example. The story became thrill action militaristic adventure now that she had to pass the initiation for the faction to accept her. This part is the majority of the book. The teen interactions reminded me of the military sci-fi Insignia.

Another problem I had though was that Tris separated herself from everyone with the label Divergent. Even after agreeing with the boy Four that we should have all the values not choose one and put down others. I felt like I was hearing, "I'm special. Who else is one of the special people like me?" instead of "We are all human. Humans cannot live limited by one value. We are all those values." Hopefully she learns in another book.

Then I Lost Interest

After the initiation, the story changed quickly. The evil mastermind and the evil plan appeared. I thought they were weak. A peer during initiation is a stronger antagonist. I lost interest in reading the rest especially as certain characters died. Their deaths were weak scenes. One event was too close to one in Mockingjay, the 3rd book of The Hunger Games.

I had hoped that these events were a simulation. That would explain the quick weak turns. That was the only way I'd be pleased, but the weak events were not a simulation. It was a short section left but I still wasn't eager to read it.

I don't know if the next book Insurgent has a thrill ride too, but I'll stop at Divergent. I'd recommend Divergent for its teen identity struggles, trials, and "What if.." concept, but not as a dystopia. I'll probably see the movie in March 2014 with friends.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fall of Games

The movie adaptations for Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game comes out on Nov. 1 and Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire is Nov. 22.

Ender's Game was published in 1970s. The series is more military sci-fi than dystopic. I read it about 8 years ago in high school. I've also read Ender's Shadow, Speaker for the Dead, and half of Shadow of the Hegemon. There are more books for this universe, but I'm content with how much I read already.  I recommend Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

Speaker for the Dead is the drama and biological science part of the series. I don't remember military in it. I liked most of it, but maybe I didn't understand a dark moment at the end. I didn't think I'd read it again, but now I think I might. As a heads-up, Speaker for the Dead has Portuguese dialogue that isn't translated. Because I know some Spanish, I was able to understand some lines.

Any movie ad for Ender's Game gets me excited. I am most excited to see the training room on the screen! :D A key element of the story though is compassion.  Here's the trailer:

This video states the similarities and differences between Ender's Game and The Hunger Games:

The trailer for Ender's Game left me with some goosebumps, but The Hunger Games' 2nd movie, Catching Fire, left me teary.
The first movie felt more like an introduction to the series so I expect more from Catching Fire for the social aspect of the world. The trailer covers it and also the question of how can a dystopic society have living idolized victors? : )

I thought Divergent was coming out next fall, but the release is March 2014. I'm still on the library's waitlist for the book, but now I know I can read Brave New World first.

For now, I'm interested in watching Guillermo Del Toro's movie Pacific Rim next month.

I'm hoping for a social/cultural aspect to the connected minds. Pacific Rim looks fun otherwise.

Classic Disney Princesses

Hey guys,
Here are the links to the classic Disney Princess analysis I did for BYOU.

Overall: Dreams of Classic Disney Princesses
Snow White & Cinderella: "Rising Back Up"
Aurora & Belle: "Curses, Tears, and Luck"
Jasmine & Ariel : "I'll Run Away Then"

Friday, May 17, 2013

Disney Laughs and Shocks

I've been analyzing the classic Disney princesses for an internship. My first blog with them is posted.

While I looked for movie images to use, I saw some potential comics or memes. Here are the ones I created so far:

A "quinceranera" is a girl's 15th birthday debut.

I came up with two outcomes for Ariel's surprised face.

There's potential for more like "She should have switched to Geico." I'd be happy for a Jurassic Park reference for the last one.

I think they're only Belle and Ariel because I had the most to say about the two for the internship blogs. I'll let you know when the rest of the Disney princess blogs are posted.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Disney Princesses Redrawn

"Snow White" by Chad Sommers
I found a great art book at the library called The Art of the Disney Princess. The Disney Princesses were redrawn in different medias including digital art. My favorite images are the simplistic ones, especially if they require a longer glance for meaning.

The book cover itself is breath-taking. Can you see the hidden image on the right? Artist Chad Sommers said he was inspired by Salvador Dali's surrealist art.

Snow White with eyes closed standing or lying down. A drawn frame surrounds her.
"Snow White" by Eli Trinh
I have to share the Snow White piece down below because it goes with my post The Monster and The Victim on how dead or sleeping woman are depicted as beautiful. At first glance, you think Snow White is standing up, but Eli Trinh must have drawn Snow White when she's unconscious/dead from the poisoned apple. The frame then represents the glass case she is placed in for all to view.

I recommend this book to artists and Disney Princess fans. I'm going to buy my own copy. :D The images will be inspirational for my horror poster parody project and even shirt design.

In fact, the last image I'll show is a Sleeping Beauty one that looks a bit like a horror poster.

Here is Eric Tan's "Sleeping Beauty." I like how the hair looks like fire. :)

And here are 2 old horror posters from my Pinterest board

Eric Tan made poster-styled art for other Disney Princesses too.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sisters Red

A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
I mentioned Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce before for a promotional Figment contest. Now I'm halfway done reading it. Almost every time I read a section, I glance at the cover and wonder at the meaning of the overlapped figures.

After grandma is killed by a wolf (called a Fenris), Scarlett hunts Fenris with her sister Rosie and partner Silas. In the first conversation between Scarlett and her partner Silas, I thought of The Hunger Games when Katniss and Gale are in the woods. However, what if Katniss' sister, Prim, started feeling drawn to Gale like Rosie is to Silas?

One element of fairy tales I love is sisters. We know the evil jealous stepsisters very well. Like Cinderella's stepsisters who would do anything, even cut off their foot, in order to surpass the heroine or keep her down. Well, there are also entwined sisters like Snow White and Rose Red. These sisters of the old fairy tales don't get jealous. Snow White and Rose Red both end up with a happy ending and a man.

"Snow White and Rose Red" by AkaiSoul
Jackson Pearce may be mixing Snow White and Rose Red with Little Red Riding Hood. The result is an action story of love and identity. Here are two of my favorite passages so far that describe the sisterly bond.


When we were little, Scarlett and I were utterly convinced that we'd originally been one person in our mother's belly. We believed that somehow, half of us wanted to be born and half wanted to stay. So our heart had to be broken in two so that Scarlett could be born first, and then I finally braved the outside world a few years later. It made sense, in our pig-tailed heads--it explained why, when we ran through grass or danced or spun in circle long enough, we would lose track of who was who and it started to feel as if there were some organic, elegant link between us, our single heart holding the same tempo and pumping the same blood. 

A fan redrew the book cover.
Scarlett is on the left.

And I have to admit that there is something undeniably fulfilling about hunting with Rosie. Somehow, it makes me feel as if the long list of differences between us doesn't exist. We're dressed the same, we fight the same enemy, we win together ... It's as though for that moment I get to be her, the one who isn't covered in thick scars, and she gets to understand what it is to be me. It's different than hunting with Silas--he and I are partners, not part of the same heart.

So entwined that they have the same heart. However, they cannot share the same heart forever. Along with feelings toward one boy, the girls feel different towards life. Scarlett thinks only of hunting. It calms her, identifies her, and makes her feel right. And she feels that hunting together is what binds her closer to her sister and best friend. Rosie, on the other hand, wonders about having more in her life than hunting. The heart actually has two different beats.

The chapters alternate narration between the two sisters. They never backtrack to what the other felt during the previous chapter. These two aspects add to the suspense. I like the fast pace, the hunt for an advantage, and the relationships. I also like that Silas seems to have an important role other than the love interest.

I have to tell you that this fairy tale retelling is set in modern-day Georgia so if you're imagining a fairy tale woods, then terms like McDonalds will pop out at you. It's magical realism with the magical fantasy elements in our world.

My hand-me-downs may help.
Also I have to mention a factor I dislike. I don't like how much the stalked/murdered victims are described as being ignorant of the consequences of their appearance and merry laughter. Most of them are dressed for a club or girls' night out. It sounds as if they should have worn Harry Potter's hand-me-down baggy gray sweats, have used no beauty supplies including scented soap, and have not vocally expressed their joy.

You can argue that the Fenris attack only when these girls drift from crowds, but a stalked victim is still the victim. The stalker is the cause of the crime. At least the Fenris is shown to attack near a public day event so that victims cannot be faulted for going out at night. Also I appreciate that the Fenris are always described by their deceiving appearance and true nature.

The girls' fashion shouldn't matter as much to the Fenris because they are distinctively said to look at the girls with hunger not desire. They hunger for nourishment and the thrill of chasing and terrifying. Their prey shouldn't be limited to girls only.

The fashion comments come from Scarlett's perspective though. She only thinks in terms of hunting and her body is covered in scars. The book starts with a glimpse of her before she learned of the Fenris.

Once again, I am only halfway through the book and anticipate two big discoveries. I recommend it so far.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Monster & the Victim

This year I started using Pinterest for project references. For parody posters and a story, I have a board for Old Horror Posters. Sometimes I found that the Italian posters focused more on the horror than sex appeal. I wanted to talk about images for Creature From the Black Lagoon (Movies from the 50s had longer titles).

First, here's the trailer: 

One of my screenwriter instructors said that a common theme for old horror movies was the monster trying to be human. One way was to impregnate a female human so that its offspring will be more human. In Creature From the Black Lagoon, fish evolved to a stage where it thinks itself compatible for our women. We are divided as us and them, but they want to be more like us. I'm sure you can think of more movies with those lines of thoughts and outside of monsters.

Back to movie posters

It has claimed her as its mate.
You may be next!
I'm not sure if the image on the right is an official movie poster, but let's start off with it. I like the scene and close-up, but also how much the image evokes is why it is my favorite representation for Creature From the Black Lagoon. :)

For example, the water level reminds us of the dividing line between monster and human and between danger (monster's territory) and safety (our territory). The high water level could show how the monster is spilling onto our side. Another interpretation could be the far distance the monster came from and the distance the hero will have to travel to rescue the victim. The swimmers seem to still search for both monster and victim.

In old horror posters, kidnapped women are either screaming or asleep, the damsel's version of fight or flight. Unconsciousness makes them helpless in the situation.

Another one of my professors commented on how sleeping or dead females in media are portrayed as attractive because they are most docile in those states. We discussed fairy tales and Orphelia in Shakespeare's MacBeth.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Most sleeping beauties are in wait for their prince and first kiss. Thus, the horror when they wake to find a monster grabbing at them instead. Some females faint from the shock, keeping them in that helpless state and continue hoping their prince will come.

Although I could not finish reading Spinning Straw into Gold because of the poor flow and structure, I was impressed with Joan Gould's discussion of sleep as an emotional defense of distance. These women try to escape internally (mind and emotions) while leaving their external (body) in the threat, but they do so in wait for when their internal is ready for the situation. Gould gave a real life testimony as an example.

Now for the Faceless

It wants to save her from
the man and his knife!
The image on the right is the Italian poster for Creature From the Black Lagoon. We cannot see the monster's face, but we see the fear on both human figures. The faceless monster matches the fear of the unknown referenced in the trailer.

However, the man looks threatening too by grabbing the woman with a knife in the same hand. He is no real threat so the purpose is to portray him as the non-princely mate with sex appeal and protection.

The woman is kept awake to face her threats, but we feel a safe distance by having the monster's focus entirely away from us. Still we feel so closely behind that it may hear our footstep. We wait in suspense for when we do come face to face with the threat. 

After the last two posters, I was disappointed when I saw the following image down below. :( I think it is a book cover.

It has brought home the meat.

This time we cannot see the woman's face. When a figure's face is cut off, covered up, or exaggerated like in propaganda, the figure has been dehumanized. We cannot see the woman's identity and emotions, but we have a clear shot of her sexy lower body. She has been reduced to flesh. The viewers see her as the monster does.

There is not much else for our focus. The rest of the image shows the danger of the monster already having her in its hidden lair. The woman in this image is closer to becoming a victim of more than kidnapping. Her potential saviors and her territory are nowhere in sight. Sadly, missing a face makes it harder for us to connect with her. We feel we don't know her. We don't even know if she is unconscious or dead.

Don't you feel more sorry for the screaming face on the DVD cover below?

It has stolen one of our own!
In each image, the woman looks sexy. Sexy enough to even make the monster attractive for finding her desirable. Her reaction on the right shows best that his behavior is unwanted and dangerous. Despite how much he has evolved, his behavior has not progressed enough to be her equal.

I don't always like the role of women in old horror movies, but I find the themes and ad designs interesting. Sometimes it can all be ridiculous enough to laugh. From what I discussed in this blog, women seem to be the measure of danger, humanity, and good breeding. The monster can be found in our species as well.