For MoarPowah: Monsters University Review

For MoarPowah: Monsters University Review

Yet another review for the Geekdom site I blog for, moarpowah.com, this time on PIXAR’s latest movie: Monsters University. I pretty much wax poetic about the movie in the review, but I’ve got to say, I loved it — like, I loved it a lot.

And, not to put any spoilers or anything, I especially loved the message of the story — a tried and true moral that anyone and everyone can succeed and do what they love — but I think it’s still done rather well. I’ll stop blabbing here and let my outside review do the talking for me, but really: It is a lovely animated film, go give it a whirl.

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Ultimate Character Design Reference

Ultimate Character Design Reference

Feet are fascinating and frustration to draw — thankfully there’s a whole collection of feet references, tutorials, and much more!

For those of you who need an amazing art reference for character design you’re in luck: There’s a Pinterest account that is diligently collecting INSPIRATION for all your character design needs. Definitely check it out, animation fans will especially love the model sheets too!

It’s also a good time waster, hehehe.

Anyroad: Hey all! Sorry it’s been a bit quiet — the Internet situation over in my current location of Hawaii isn’t what I expected, but fear not fellow wanderers — I’ve got several guest blogs and my own ramblings on Hawaii queued up for the next few days =)

On taking a gap year, being a twenty something, and plans (or lack thereof)

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, one of my dearest friends from highschool–basically I’ve known this girl for about eight years now can you believe that–my lovely marine biologist senpai: Emily. Emily has got an amazing year ahead of her–but I won’t steal her thunder as she goes on to explain what it means to take a “gap year” (Currently something I’m suffering through, I mean *Gulp*)

To start off, welcome, all you new grads, to the real world! Wait a minute, that’s not right. Let’s try again!

Welcome, all you new grads, to the hellish limbo of officially being a “twenty-something!”

It’s really not that bad! Well, depending on what you have decided to do with your life post-graduation. I, for one, do not have a single friend that I graduated with that has begun their professional career. Grad school? Yeah, a bunch! Life-affirming service projects to underprivileged citizens of the world? Mmmhmm, a few! Returned to their parents’ homes to take menial jobs for which they are highly overqualified in order to get by? Check. I happen to fall into the latter category, partially of my own volition. And hey, it wasn’t so bad! But let me tell you why this possibility of familiarity and comfort in a “gap year(s)” should scare you. I’ll start at the beginning of my story.

Bright-eyed and ready to save every creature that has ever traversed the deep blue sea, I graduated with my BSc in marine science. I graduated with honors and with a slew of under-grad research under my belt, and with these qualifications I figured I would have a good shot at making my post-graduate plans fall right into place. Let’s outline:

1. Summer: field job
2. Fall: field/research job with some state agency in an exotic place (Alaska? Hawaii? California!?)
3. Winter: home! (snow, The Hobbit, copious amounds of free food, aww yis.)
4. Spring : travel! see the world!
5. Summer round 2: field job again!
6. Fall round 2: move to New Zealand and travel!
7. Winter round 2: start grad school in New Zealand!
8. The rest of my life: be happy and fulfilled!!!

Well, I achieved the first bullet point (for half the summer), but not much after that. I spent 2 months looking for lab or field tech jobs without a single useful lead, so I gave up. See, I have this constant inner battle between wanderlust and homesickness. I love to travel, but I love to be home as well. Having been away for four years at various distances around the world, I was more than okay with the cosmos obviously telling me to take some time at home to decompress. I liked being home, I missed being home, so I decided to stick it out in my old abode for however long I needed to. I wanted to hang out with my high-school friends, wanted to do the stuff I used to do, wanted to drive down the same streets and see the same people I was so familiar with. I wanted to relish it, to relish the comfort of familiarity. What I didn’t plan on was how to manage the fact that things change.

“Stuck” (I wasn’t really stuck, I could have pretty much gone anywhere and done anything if I had enough gumption) at home, I took a part-time job that let me “apply to grad school” (quotations because, really, proactivity is not my strong point). It started out fine and dandy, was easy and comfortable, but it slowly turned to soul-sucking. My friends weren’t even around to occupy me when I wasn’t working; funny how other peoples’ lives don’t actually depend at all on yours! As I kept working I kept realizing that I needed to go back to school if jobs (and social circles) like this were going to be my future otherwise, but I was banking on the fact that I would get that Fulbright Award and jet off to study fish in New Zealand forever. Big surprise, I didn’t! Here is where my advice on contingency plans come in: have a better one than I did. I scrambled trying to find graduate programs I was interested in, and, more importantly, ones that had room/money for me. I did this while checking off bullet #4: “traveling,” aka living comfortably and innocuously in my friend’s house in Mexico for two months. I fell into the same trap as I did at home; I was “comfortable.” I didn’t do anything too risky, and therefore I didn’t do anything too exciting. I got back to the United States and felt pretty unfulfilled, the sense of which was compounded by lack of work at my old job and not getting what I wanted out of my grad school search. It was a monotonous existence, at home by myself for days on end, and I was lost and depressed for months. The tide only broke when the prospect of graduate school was on the horizon. Not graduate school as I had hoped; not in New Zealand, or even on the West Coast, not studying what I thought I would study, and not even involving fieldwork, my real passion in research. But it was something, so I took it and ran.

My “gap year” is almost over. Did I hate it? No! I honestly loved being home and being a semi-lazy bum for a few months. But the novelty wears off, and being comfortable does not provide good stories about how awesome and fulfilling an entire year of your life was. Am I looking forward to graduate school? A qualified yes. I am so comfortable at home again that the thought of leaving is saddening to me. But being a year out of school has given me enough perspective on what I could have been doing to make me not want to waste any more time. Would I tell someone to avoid taking a gap year, or to avoid doing what I did? Definitely not! But make sure you have an idea of what you want to do, start prepping early, and don’t let that idea get swept under the rug because it’s easier to stay stagnant than it is to swim against a current.

So I guess the advice I have for all you whippersnappers in your post-grad daze is this: plan. But don’t rely on your plans, because they will never work out. Don’t float on the breeze waiting for something to happen to you, but don’t put all of your eggs in one basket either. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but if you seek out opportunities you will be surprised at what else falls in your lap that is probably better than what you had originally “planned.” And most of all, DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE. This is where “twenty-somethings” are created; in their parents’ bosom and a room filled with pastel colors and high-school band posters. If you can, get a 9 to 5 job. Save up money from that and pay back some of your loans. If you can afford it (and you know what, even if you can’t), travel. See things you’ve never seen before, and do things you never thought you’d do. Don’t wait for anyone to do them with you; go out and explore the world on your own. Don’t plan it (too much). Don’t get comfortable in any one place. You can be comfortable in your plush, velvet-lined casket when you’re dead. For now, break free of your plans, kick comfort to the curb, and live at least a little bit while you still have the chance!

Project Ki Ken Tai: Simple Silhouettes

Probably one of the most important things I learned from the Pixar Masterclass a week ago? Character design; how to make an appealing but simple character with a recognizable silhouette that works.

Now I don’t expect anyone in this line-up to become a house-hold name, but in doing this exercise, I hope I can convey to you readers who happen to stumble upon this that these characters are different, and maybe in their shapes you can get a different feeling from the four of them.

Hopefully their personalities shine through the shapes — that was my goal anyhow haha

The most basic shape breakdown; hopefully the evoke a mood for the character as well

The most basic shape breakdown; hopefully they evoke a mood for the character as well

kikentailadies2

Just messing with expressions

Just messing with expressions

The Quintessential Study-Abroad Post

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the ever lovely mythology expert, Sam, who spent an amazing year abroad in Dublin.  (I’m really jealous. And I love this kid a lot so you should all listen up!) 

A typical study-abroad group-picture -- I personally thought my time abroad was well worth it, but I'm sure Sam has more info!

A typical study-abroad group-picture — I personally thought my time abroad was well worth it, but I’m sure Sam has more info!

Hey all! Guest blogger Sam here! While Angeli catches some rays, waves, and maybe a surfing cutie (or five), I’d like to discuss the impact of travel upon your undergraduate career. YES–this is the quintessential study abroad blog post! Do or don’t? Europe, Asia, Africa, or elsewhere? Semester or year? More after the cut!

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5 Ways to Make the Most out of College

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, a very close friend of mine and fellow kendoka, the talented  Silverwolf of MoarPowah.com–where he gabs about all things comic-related. He’s the sites very own “Clark Kent” so to speak, also — GO WOLF PACK

Yep had to choose a tournament picture -- because kendo club was a base for many other shenanigans and memories

Yep had to choose a tournament picture — because kendo club was a base for many other shenanigans and memories

Hello everyone! For those that don’t know, I’m a close friend of Angeli, the awesome owner of this totally cool blog. Anyway, I graduated from college a little over a year ago and, during the intervening time, realized that I made a lot of good choices during my undergraduate years. I’ve listed below some things that I think everyone should do to make the most of his or her college experience. Note that they’re in no particular order of rank or importance. Here we go!

  1. Join Clubs

While an undergraduate, one of the keystones of my experience were the clubs I joined. Angeli has already made mention of the Kendo Club in a few of her previous posts, an organization which I participated in as well during my four years at college. The club not only allowed me to stay in shape, but also allowed me to meet lots of great people who eventually became the cornerstone of my friend group.

Ultimately, clubs are a great way to meet new people. When working, learning, and hanging out with fellow students (and sometimes even faculty), you’re bound to make friends, while picking up some new talents along the way. Even if you are a newcomer to a club, there’s no reason to fear: most clubs are welcoming. Whether its sports, arts, games, or anything else you can think of, there is guaranteed to be at least one club that you’ll enjoy if you give it a chance.

  1. Make Use of Office Hours

I was a Math Major, and boy were those classes tough. I spent many late nights studying material I barely understood, hoping to eke out enough success on an exam thanks to the curve in order to pass each class. By my Junior year, I realized that going to Office Hours helped way more than I expected. Not only did professors and TAs offer to answer questions and help with homework, but also they suggested study methods and, often unwittingly, offered hints about what to focus on for upcoming exams.

It may seem pointless or you may feel intimidated, but Office Hours exist so that professors can help their students. Investing just one hour per week seeing your professor is often an invaluable experience and, furthermore, allows you to connect with the professor further. You may even form a deeper bond, paving the way for future networking and letters of recommendation.

  1. Attend University Events

Every week, colleges hold dozens of events for students, sometimes even hundreds at bigger universities. Like with club activities, there is enough variety that there is something for everyone. Want to watch a new film for free? Interested in hearing professionals discuss their research? Intrigued by foreign cuisine? Attending events can connect you with these things and, once again, are a great way to meet people and make friends. Inviting friends along is also great, since you can all share in the experience.

  1. Organize Your Own Events

This one builds off my previous example, but organizing your own events is a way to have lots of fun with your close friends. During my undergraduate career I organized (or helped organize) a few potlucks, movie outings, and parties. It was surprisingly easy, but the results were great as there’s nothing better than sharing a fun night with your comrades.

(AN: My own two cents, it actually helps a lot when you organize things ahead of time, while spontaneous moments of rolling around the city were fun, I think we reached out to a lot more people who wouldn’t have thought to hang out together without an organized meetup time and theme) 

  1. Be Flexible and Open to New Things

My mother beat the following mantra into my head for years: “be flexible.” While it grated on my nerves during my formative years, she’s absolutely right. When entering a new space, it’s a bad idea to keep your ideas completely rigid. Maybe you never had an interest in professional sports during High School, but if a couple of floormates are watching a hockey game, it’s a good idea to sit with them during the game. You may learn to love the new thing, and you may not, but making the effort is never a bad thing. If you don’t take risks, you can’t find rewards!

Anyway, that’s the end of my ramblings for the day! I hope they can potentially be useful to you all!

Project Ki Ken Tai: Building Character

So now that we’ve got our basic shapes down… How do we build up an interesting character? Part of it is their design, part of it is their story; I am doing my best to make the most of my time here in Hawaii to write for myself… If I can even get the basics down and write maybe a few script samples here and there? Then I’ll have enough material to storyboard properly!

But I can’t help but also take the time to fall in love with the characters themselves…

There’s a lot I would love to say about these girls — and I hope before I have my thoughts properly summarized and condensed into a more easily digestible form that their designs can at least give a hint at who they are and how they function. I can drop a few names at least =)

Morgan our main heroine; we’re here to follow her ambitions and hopes for the future, especially her passion for kendo

Makoto — she and Morgan are interesting foils of each other; she’s also key to Morgan’s storyline and her main rival (ooh)

 

Ugh Lyra, I have so many things to say about this girl — let’s just say she’s Morgan’s best friend with a severe Napoleon complex and wants to overturn their school hierarchy by running for student council president (It’s a neat subplot)

Really quickly scribbled line-up — as you can see Morgan and Lyra are a little more creative with their uniform requirements; Makoto wears hers properly

Use of an Unpaid Internship — it’s all in Your Hands

The unpaid internship - why bother, you may ask -- I personally say if it's a good fit for you and you can afford to do it: do it

The unpaid internship – why bother, you may ask — I personally say if it’s a good fit for you and you can afford to do it: do it

So awhile back we debated about the merits of a paid versus unpaid internship and came to the conclusion that it all depends on what you can afford to do, and what exactly you are getting out of it.

Now the world is tough and the job market seems to hinge on how much “experience” you’ve clocked up via internships, and I am sad to say that in my line of interests–which ranged from museum studies and now to publishing–paid internships are real slim pickings. It also doesn’t help that I decided to “switch” so late in the game, I’m now a graduate with very little publishing/editing experience save for my portfolio of pop-culture blogging I’ve amassed over at MoarPowah.com. And I’ll be honest, I left one tiny job market to rush into another job market that is highly competitive and while I do long for a paid internship and eventually a job at some point in my career…

I am still happy with what I’ve got.

My current internship is an unpaid but heavily mentored program; I’m kind of thinking of it now as a free class. I’m working with women who have been in publishing for a long time and switched to digital publishing when the going looked good to try to invest in a website, and it worked out for them. With that in mind I have some industry savvy mentors teaching me the ropes of how to write, how to pitch, and how to get in touch with free-lancers, PR, and basically get over my own shyness and fear of public speaking to put myself out there and judge products for our publication.

Yes it’s unpaid, but at this point? I see it like a free class; and while I would love to slap down on my resume that it was a paid position, I also am grateful for the advice and help that my coworkers are giving me. I’m literally making network connections for this particular publication and learning how to foster relationships between the editors and their sources so … I find that it’s a good thing.

Plus, these women are tech savvy and I am learning a few tricks when it comes to managing social media and how to get the existence of our publication out there to the masses. It’s a lot of work, but I love it, and am grateful to have the experience for it.

Will I be satisfied with another unpaid internship after this one? Probably not, I need to make money to fund my own wanderings in life, yanno.

But, I think, for someone who kind of floundered about in their undergrad career, who didn’t actually build this all-important network connections or get all that “experience” needed to get a job immediately after college… I think this is a good start.

And I look forward to every day of my internship, every new opportunity that I can soak in and spin to my advantage when it comes to finding another position after this one. It’s two months away but I’m already looking at where else I can apply for fall, even an entry level job in the industry if I can (While also teasing out the idea of dropping everything altogether and running off to animation–yet another tiny industry haha)

But — again, the long and the short of it is: I’ve taken a position that many people would view unfavorably and it’s become one of my passions. I will do my best for this publication and I wish for it to succeed — even after I’ve gone.

And well, if that’s what I’ve made up of this unpaid internship, then I hope that’s the right idea; if anything at least I’ll take away something great from it that should (hopefully) help me along in life.

Guest Writers Wanted for June 22-July 6th!

Yes this is a reused picture think of it as INSPIRATION

Yes this is a reused picture think of it as INSPIRATION

O w O;; Hey guys here’s an important announcement from the Wandering Girl…

Here’s the long and the short of it:

So I’m leaving for a family reunion in Hawaii and I would really, really love and appreciate an army of guest bloggers for the next two weeks.

While I hope to blog and especially post photographs and ramblings about “The Asian American experience” during my trip, I daresay that distractions and general OhmyGodI’minHawaii feels will cut into legitimate blogging time.

So I would like to use the next two weeks to feature as many guest bloggers as possible.

There are no length limits or restrictions, these posts can be happy, sad, ranty, whatever– but I do ask that you talk about either life as an undergraduate or even experiences/tips/advice about job-hunting and interning.

Another great topic I wouldn’t mind receiving submissions for: the merits/disadvantages of studying abroad and if it was beneficial (or not) for your undergraduate career.

The only other thing you need for your entry is a picture, but if you can’t provide one, that’s okay, I’ll draw one for you. =)

I know I’m asking rather late in the game for articles but well, well…

Sometimes pressure helps!

I also love linking back so think of this as an opportunity to get your name out there! On more blogs, that are followed by my friends and family and some lovely people on the Internet as well! Hahaha

So again here’s what you need to submit a guest post:

  • A post that talks about undergrad or post grad life in some capacity; I will also accept poems *HinthintEfren*
  • A picture
  • A way to link back to your personal blog/website/portfolio/or email

QwQ;; Okay so, that’s that — please send submissions either via Facebook or via my email at: alr398@nyu.edu

Thank you, and I hope to receive your submissions and post them on site! <3

— Much love,

The Wandering Girl

Project KiKenTai

So

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Pixar Masterclass that was hosted in NYC (More to come on this later, I am still, in many ways, overwhelmed by emotion for it and just… I need time to think on it and reflect a bit!)

And the class was fabulous, the mentors inspiring, and I emerged from the class with a new sense of inspiration for art. I can name my two main passions, what I wouldn’t be able to live without, what I need in my life and that is writing/reading and art. (Okay so maybe I cheated with the writing and reading part) And the masterclass served to remind me that hey, you can live your passion and do what you love with your life.

While I can only sigh wistfully and daydream about what it would have been like to be hired as an animator at nineteen… I also  have to keep in my mind that hey, I’m only twenty-two. My life isn’t over just yet.

So while I’m young and the world is still, in many ways, new I’ve decided to do a Thing. Something of a big Thing. Like, try to update my art portfolio over the summer kind of big.

Which is why I’ve started this project: Ki Ken Tai. It’s going to be a storyboard project, with a drawn up script and thumbnails, and then an actual board that is supposed to simulate the storyboard process so that I have a tangible way to demonstrate my writing skills in a very visual way. And, if I have the energy afterwards, I hope to make it a webcomic but well, we’ll see.

Project KKT has grown out of an idea to enter a Shonen Jump amateur comic contest, but has more or less disqualified itself based on the content and the scope of the story that I have so far. It’s a far cry from its original idea of being a fifteen-page comic about two rival kendoka into well… a bit of a Bildungsroman that follows the unlikely friendship of two very different young women.

I can blab about it later, but right now I am very much in the mood to create. I’d also like to take a moment to apologize for the uh, lack of updates as of late, but don’t worry — we’ll be updating daily shortly! Or er, very soon. I thank you all for being patient with me, and for the sudden surge in art posts!

Until then, enjoy some promotional work for Project KiKenTai that I’m slowly compiling into this giant folder of drawings and inspiration to help flesh out the story and the characters for this personal project: