Friday, December 31, 2010

More holiday fare!

Here is a simple card I drew as part of a secret santa gift exchange. :)

From your Secret Santa
watercolour + water-soluble pencils + sakura microns
Paper texture is digital! lol!

I realized how much I missed traditional media after doing this painting! One day... one day I'll have time to get back into painting...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy holidays!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and best wishes for the new year! :)

Adobe Photoshop CS4 + texture from CGtextures

I was trying out a different style here. It didn't really turn out how I envisioned - I was too torn between the flat style I was going for and the rendering I'm used to. So it ended up in between (which is almost always the worst place to be)... Will try again later!

I have more Christmas card ideas brewing - we'll see if I get a chance to work them up. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The pirate bay

Another drawing for a friend (bartering system again)! I couldn't get into this one as much as the last one - have I already exhausted my desire to draw anime things?! :P

pirate bay
Adobe Photoshop CS4

I really need to work on life drawing/anatomy (as usual). I was going to reference off PoseManiacs again, but I always fear that it will become a crutch. I need to exercise more discipline and use that website as a learning/practice tool rather than a reference image depot.

Next on the list (that may or may not get done...): a Christmas card. The ideas have been brewing in my head and on paper, but nothing strikes my fancy yet...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crack that whip! ;)

Ahhh, finally satisfied my anime-drawing craving! Being able to draw loosely and not worry about refining the details was a very welcome change of pace. This is a potential character design for one of my friends who is in the process of developing an RPG. :)

Adobe Photoshop CS4
pose reference from PoseManiacs

More anime things to come! I do have lingering school commitments I have to attend to over the holidays so I'm trying to procrastinate pump out as many personal pieces as possible now!

I'll retroactively add my final 3D models and screenshots of my 2D animatic, but right now, I don't really want to look at them. ;)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nephron colour!

For pathology illustration class, we were asked to come up with a couple of different colour palettes for our midterm sketches in preparation for our final illustrations. I actually really enjoy colour studies, but this was during a period of tight deadlines and stress. Feeling pressed for time and rather uninspired, I turned to some of my favourite artists for inspiration (aka raided DeviantArt, a site I no longer frequent, but remains chock full of eye-candy!)

My first attempt was based on OeffeO's beautiful piece Dream State

My second study resulted from a sad attempt to colourize my grayscale midterm sketch...

My last study was based on loish's whimsical illustration, glow

Pathology colour studies
Graphite + Adobe Photoshop CS4

I'm not sure which colour palette I'm going to go with for my final. I'm leaning towards either the first or third option!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Making babies! (Final chapter)

Here are my final illustration boards on medical malpractice case (part II for case background):

Maternal-fetal relationships during labour
Graphite + Adobe Photoshop CS4 + Illustrator CS4

In my (limited) experience, getting through the drafting stage where you're working out all the nitty-gritty scientific details (especially important in medical legal visualization) usually presents the greatest challenges. After all of the research, critiques, and verification of scientific accuracy, rendering is usually where I can relax a bit. But surprisingly, I ran into a lot of difficulty with this project.

As a friend pointed out, I tend to use flatter colours with low-moderate contrast (reminiscent of the anime drawing habits I'll never escape!). So I had many issues with capturing the depth of the birth canal and pelvis. Anyway, I tried my best to remedy that with darker shadows and greater contrast. It's something I need to work on!

For those who are interested, here are some progress shots:

You know you're on the road to becoming a medical illustrator when you feel no awkwardness from spending hours rendering up that inferior view lol!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Maya modeling month!

Over the past few weeks, I've come to appreciate how much planning (and trial and error) is involved with modeling. I scrapped countless numbers of models due to poor planning. But that's part of the process - or so I'm told!

Here are my category 1 (bones) and 2 (surgical tools) models for class. My category 3 model is too crappy to be viewed at the moment haha. ;) These will be properly textured and thrown into turntable animations by the beginning of December!

On the topic of texturing, I've also been learning about materials and UV mapping. For class, we had to map photos onto our hand models. It honestly creeps me out a little bit... and by a little bit, I mean a lot...

I had a lot of fun with texturing this teapot! 8D

And here I am, up to no good in Photoshop! I've learned that seams are very difficult to deal with...

November is going to be a busy month - deadlines approaching...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy halloween!

Hope everyone has a kickass Halloween! To celebrate, here's a quick doodle I did in Photoshop class a couple of weeks ago (not what I was supposed to be drawing :P) that I texture-abused afterwards. 8D

why, hello thar.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
texture abuse made possible by CGTextures and princess-of-shadows

With Halloween gone, I won't have an excuse to draw bloody chainsaw pictures anymore, will I?! D:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Return to the (now cystic) nephron forest

For pathology class, I didn't enjoy the tissue cube study very much, so I decided to return to the nephron forest idea for my final illustration depicting autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)! Because the target audience is the educated layperson (who would read Scientific American), I wanted to create a lush, immersive forest for the viewer to step into. I think cinematic design class is influencing me - I plan on using some pretty dramatic lighting and atmospheric perspective for this piece!

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)
graphite + Adobe Photoshop CS4 + Adobe Illustrator CS4 for layout, 11x17" double-page spread

The clean lineart is going to be a real pain... Oh vasa recta, how I dislike drawing you...

EDIT: Just received some feedback today, I will be adding a timeline at the bottom and making the right side more "jungle-y"!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making babies (part II)!

It's midterm critique week which means drafts everywhere! Here are my final sketches for medical-legal class. I've been working on a medical malpractice case. The physician is accused of negligence for his allegedly premature decision to perform a forceps delivery, which may have led to a skull fracture and cerebral palsy. The position of the fetus' head during labour is highly relevant to this case. However, the maternal-fetal relationships present serious challenges to understanding and viewers not familiar with anatomy can get easily disoriented. My solution: contextualize everything by relating the anatomy of the fetal head, maternal pelvis, and maternal body to situate the viewer. I did these illustrations with the defendant (physician) in mind, so I wanted everything to look objective and to conform to medical conventions (e.g. obstetrical view).

Illustration board 1:

Illustration board 2:
Maternal-fetal relationships during labour
Adobe Photoshop CS4, illustration boards 4x3' each

Next steps: redo the lines in pencil and fully render everything...

Saturday, October 23, 2010


If I had to pick the most intense course of the year so far, it would have to be my cinematic design class. With deadlines every week, I was forced to sit down and really think about my Master's Research Project (In a nutshell: Over the next eight months or so, I will create a short 3D animated film to explain how pain sensitivity increases in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The film will target pharmacology/pharmacy students to both educate and inspire). After weeks of racking my brain and sleep deprivation, I finally have something (somewhat decent) to show

Perpetuating Pain storyboard
Adobe Photoshop CS4 + compiled in MS Powerpoint 2003

I was pretty proud of my accomplishments in the past two months. It felt really good to see my story come together. That good feeling didn't last very long, however... I met with my committee members this past week and there are many changes to be made - both in terms of visualization and scientific content. Well, the storyboard is meant to be a very fluid thing, so changes are to be expected! So back to the drawing board...literally!

Hopefully the next thing I post from this class will be my 2D animatic with narration (Adobe AfterEffects, here I come)! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cubes of...pee?

For pathology class, we continued to explore our topics through tissue cube studies. I am working to visualize the progression of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a condition in which numerous fluid-filled cysts develop in the kidney from parts of the nephron and/or collecting ducts.
Tissue cube study
graphite on paper, 11x14"

To be honest, I wasn't overly inspired with this assignment compared to my "nephron forest" (my initial sketches are equally uninspired, so I shall spare you, dear reader ;D). Perhaps it was a mistake to try to draw the details of every single little cell (talk about tedious work!) - I'm not too thrilled with the overall result. The perspective also got a bit wonky... Ah well, we shall see where the final pathology illustration takes me!

PS. Happy Turkey Day! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cute, but deadly

My brain has pretty much been reduced to mush by school. This is the extent of my artistic abilities right now:

Adobe Photoshop CS4
(These are based on online avatars, designs are not entirely mine)

Now the question is: back to tearing my hair out over layouts on a Saturday night, or go out and check out Nuit Blanche? or stay in and draw more bad anime art?! I think we have a winner... 8D

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Polygon modeling in Maya

It may not be NURBS modeling, but it is still noob modeling lol! We started polygon modeling techniques last Monday and our assignment was to model our hand. I think I enjoy polygon modeling a little bit more - it's more similar to how I worked in Cinema4D. However, I was still excruciatingly slow at making this model!

I modeled this using photo references of my hand. The thumb is supposed to be outstretched but it looks rather long. I wonder if it's a reference photo distortion thing I ended up modeling (or perhaps camera distortion from me taking a screenshot too close to the object in Maya)! To sum up my process, I used polygon primitives + lots of point pushing + extrude for nails + the polygon cut tool excessively + the sculpt tool.

Oh and here's the teapot exercise of the week - this time using a combination of revolve + bridge + extrude on polygons...

Sorry for the bad geometry everywhere. I hope one day I can look back at these and laugh! Oh Maya, when will I be able to tame you? D:

Friday, September 24, 2010

The forest of nephrons

...or "forest of pee" as some like to call it. For pathology class, we were asked to draw a tissue landscape. I chose to draw kidney tissue and quickly realized I'd be tackling an environment packed with squiggly tubes. After my (genius) classmate made a comment about how the nephron and collecting duct system looks like a tree, I started imagining what it'd be like to look up in a forest of nephrons.

nephron forest
graphite on paper, 11x14"

Process: I am a ridiculously messy artist when I first start. The scribbles in the bottom left were actually my first conceptions of this "forest":

Even when I'm trying to be clean, it still turns out horribly messy. After completing the sketch with blue Col-erase pencil and graphite, I had to scan it and take out the blue channel. I then printed it and traced over it. I need to learn to work more cleanly the first time around (and thus, more efficiently)!

Truthfully, I'm not very happy with the overall result. It seemed like a good idea at the time?! In hindsight, I think it would have been more effective if I showed more depth or used fish-eye/wide-angle distortion to make you feel like you're standing in the middle of the forest, not looking from the outside. I also had some paper issues during rendering and just couldn't get enough contrast in it (I used super smooth paper for graphite rendering, yes I should know better. :P). The lighting was also a challenge - I think I'll make some simple cylinders in Maya or C4D to test out more dramatic lighting. I did scan the lines before shading so perhaps I will try a Photoshop version if I ever have time!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NOOB/ NURBS modeling...

We started our Autodesk Maya 3D modeling class last Monday. Now, I was mentally prepared for a steep learning curve. But I've done a bit of modeling in Cinema4D before, so I figured, how bad could I be? Well...I was bad. In fact, I was terrible. We were modeling a simple tea pot using NURBS and I just couldn't get things to work. I thought I was doing exactly what the prof was doing, but my Maya just didn't feel like producing the same results... (I later learned this was partially due to reversed normals and partially due to the fact that Maya likes to mess with you)

It was honestly one of the roughest days I've had in a long while. The kind where you feel absolutely useless and pathetic. But hey, you pick yourself up after that, right? (And downing a chocolate bar and a can of Pringles seemed to help lol!). I was secretly hoping for some hidden 3D modeling talent that would come through for me. But looks like I'll just have to work my ass off to get through this course! >:

But anyway, I present to you my very first Maya models. Yes, I know they are incredibly noobish with awkward areas of geometry and horrible materials - but we all have to start somewhere right...?!

In class assignment: The %#$@-ing tea pot:

Homework: Kidneys (modeled on top of an image provided in class) that took way longer than it should've for a normal human being 8D:

Here are a couple of screenshots of working in Maya 2011:

These were mostly done with a combination of pushing/pulling NURBS primitives with a lot of CV curve + extrude + loft + isoparm-ing.

Tomorrow morning: Maya round two. Polygon modeling.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Making babies!

School has begun - which means there will be more biomedical communications work on the way (good-bye personal/anime drawing time)!

There was much talk about making fetuses (or feti as some like to call them) and babies this past week... As a warm-up for our medical-legal course, we were asked to choose an image of a full-term fetus from Williams Obstetrics textbook and rotate it by 90 degrees. This "mental gymnastics" exercise proved to be quite challenging and headache-inducing! Our professor wanted us to practice looking at reference images and drawing them from different perspectives - an important skill in medical-legal illustration.

Here are both the original image (left) and my transposition (right):

graphite on paper, 8.5x11"

Process: I began blocking in the major shapes on a photocopy of the original image. I then pulled lines across the page to mark important landmarks. Once all the major landmarks were in place, I eyeballed it from there. The foreshortened legs gave me a ton of trouble (note evidence of excessive erasing at the fetus' left foot...) so I decided to make a crude plasticine model. I also referenced another image from William's Obstetrics for the fetus' back. After I was reasonably happy with the sketch, I traced over it and scanned the lineart into Photoshop to fix more errors (pointed out by a friend I hassled)! My digital rendering looked terrible so I printed it out and shaded it with graphite instead.

There was some debate during critique about how I portrayed the legs. The legs in the original look rather bendy (our perhaps my distorted perception was influenced by my love for Hyung Tae-Kim's illustrations lol) so although incorrect, I decided to keep them bendy in my interpretation as well lol! There are some other issues with my fetus but I think it's time to move on from this assignment and tackle the next ones!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Sometimes, I just want to sit at home, veg, and grow mushrooms out of my head. The week before the start of school is always such a time for me. In an effort to not be completely unproductive and useless during the week capture my sentiments, I did a few silly doodles:

PaintTool SAI 1.01 + texture from

Despite the roughness and perspective/anatomical errors, I had a lot of fun drawing these - a sensation I haven't experienced in a while. I realized that I had been so focused on creating one-off, refined illustrations that I've forgotten how to draw for fun! D:

My recent rampant manga reading research into storytelling also influenced my perspective on illustration. In particular, Saharu Mizu's works made a great impression on me (watashitachi no shiawase na jikan and My Girl are my favourites). She is such an incredible artist with a talent for capturing subtle expressions and gestures. Allured by her storytelling ability and delicate - seemingly effortless - artwork, I reconsidered my direction. I'm not entirely sure where I'll be going with this, but as always, there will be much experimentation and "art poopage". :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

dumbo octopi!

Dumbo octopi! What's not to love about these cute sea creatures (i had this video playing over and over in the background)?! This is what i came up with after a friend asked to see a dumbo octopus drawn in my style (and i apologize to marine biologists for the gross inaccuracies. My friend is very much into fashion shoes/boots, so i decided to include that as an element. :)

dumbo octopi!
adobe photoshop CS4 + textures from

i was trying something new again - more lighting/composition/colour/everything practice needed! Unnngh... But hey! At least it's not another portrait? :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i said no more portraits, i know...

This one was for a joint Gaia Online art auction i held with a few of my friends. i did a lot of Gaia commissions back in the day, so i can really appreciate a request for a pretty girl and not a crazy overloaded Gaia avatar, lol! i joined the site back in 2003 when it first launched. It was a great artist community then, but it has become too complicated (evolving items?!) for an old lady like me!

paintTool SAI 1.01 + adobe photoshop CS4

i will seriously do something different next time around! This isn't really the direction i want my (non-medical) art to take. But i just realized i only have 2 weeks until the start of school, so "something different" may just mean school work! *sigh* D:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

another day, another fail D:

i've been rewatching Samurai Champloo recently, and it is still so damn good (that baseball episode still cracks me up every time lol). i'm a huge fan of Jin, but i definitely did not do him justice here! There was a lot more to this drawing, but...i failed. 8D;;

fail-jin D:
paintTool SAI + textures from
(slapping textures onto a failed drawing doesn't make it better, i know. lol!)

Perhaps i'll revisit this one day once i've improved on my life drawing/anatomy/etc skills... >:

i feel like i've been heading the wrong way with my artwork recently. i'm going to try to do something different. So if i draw another half-assed portrait, smack me. 8D;;

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a "mature" s-...

This is a "hot girl" drawing for a friend (we use a bartering system of sorts! lol). In response to a challenge issued by a couple of my friends, i tried to make her a little more mature than the females i usually draw. Yes, i've been putting my vacation time to very good use.

paintTool SAI 1.01

Saturday, August 7, 2010

lighting + composition = confusion!

i decided to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit! i wanted to explore lighting and composition - things i am rather unfamiliar with... i also tried doing something a little more narrative. i'm entering the 3D animation stream this coming Fall and will be producing a cellular/molecular film, so a bit of practice was in order (though with the wrong subject matter haha!).

paintTool SAI 1.01 + adobe photoshop Cs4

There are some things i wanted to fix, but i think it's time to move on!

Guilty pleasure 8D

i'll admit it. i still watch Katekyo Hitman Reborn. 8D;;
A quick 1 hour doodle to pass the time while my internet was down last night (yes, i am an internet junkie):

hibariiii 8D
adobe photoshop CS4

Monday, July 26, 2010

Say no to shark fin soup II

Shark fin soup is a very popular dish in Chinese cuisine and is a standard item on banquet menus. However, my sister and i have been boycotting this delicacy for several years now because shark finning is a cruel and unsustainable practice. So for my sister's wedding, i designed this card to explain why shark fin soup was absent from the menu and to educate wedding attendees about shark finning. Although a realistic, gory depiction would likely have been more effective in deterring people from consuming the dish, i decided to keep the design cute and pleasant - this was a wedding afterall!

This is the much reworked final version of the illustration i started a year ago...

say no to shark fin soup!
adobe photoshop CS4 + paintTool SAI 1.01
background textures from

We printed 250 of these suckers (10pt coated, 4x6"), but i forgot to get one for myself...! D:

Here is one of my cards in action! :)

For more information on shark finning, please visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


i finally finished reworking my illustrations for the AMI salon! i will be posting my final versions later on. But for now, what better way to celebrate than to draw some ANIMU? 8D

i was so excited to CG my aisu lines from the previous post, but uh, i totally failed somehow. So i transformed it into something a little different and became rather apathetic towards the end...

paintTool SAI 1.01 + adobe photoshop CS4

Friday, July 9, 2010

aisu doodle frenzy!

i guess it's official, my old character aisu lives! i'm planning on working this one up in colour, but if i had a penny for every unfinished drawing sitting on my hard drive...

Photoshop CS4

And here are a couple of doodles i did on the plane. These are kind of sad to look at though, they look super similar to my drawings from years ago, complete with bad anatomy! /hasn't improved! ;A;

watercolour + sakura microns on paper

(leaky) ballpoint pen on paper

Lately i just want to draw in anime-style! i'm having a hard time motivating myself to finish my surgical piece but the deadline is much sooner than i'd like to think... D: