First Day In Japan

It's my first day in Japan.

Japan is basically not much different from what I had thought of, from either the textbooks, or videos. I did not sense too much things in Japanese style until I reached my hotel.

First of all, I hadn't expected that the receptionists in such an international hotel can barely speak English. I have already heard the officers in the immigration port speaking English in Japanese accent, but that was still clear to me. But arriving at the hotel, it took us several minute to communicate with the receptionist -- And this is a good change for me to practice my oral Japanese anyway.

Hardly had I entered my room when I noticed that there's small, or wait, no extra free space at all. Everything are carefully packed in some places. I have to watch my steps moving myself -- no it's not crowded actually. I do have heard about this before, Japanese people are always trying to save resources, especially spaces.

Equipments, I have never seen so all-sided utilities in any hotel. First example, many hotel provides wired network, but none of those I've been provided cables. Others, face soap is in foam, but not solid or liquid, and hanging on the wall near the shower you will find body soap/conditioner/shampoo -- while most hotels like to provide these in small bottles or small plastic bags. There's also a spray for disinfection and disodorization of clothes and shoes.

Finally, I've rarely seen toothbrush/toothpaste in hotels outside China.

Oh no, I should not have forgotten the special washlet in Japan, the water spray.

The valve of the bathtub is a electrical handle, actually there are three handles there, respectively for shower/bathtub/temperature. There's also a safe button on the temperature handle at 40 centi degree...

I understand that this is a different culture, but not purely a good thing. This may looks weird in western countries, but I feel quite good about this, I do see their consideration of the customers, of the people, and especially how to make a better life with scientific technologies. But actually still I have some doubt, I think that too much convenience may lead to more lazy and stupid people...

At 6pm, we walked around the hotel, we saw men and women are in suits, carrying suitcases and umbrellas, women are in make-up, with their heads slightly lowered, walking swiftly. -- These are indeed the classical shape of Japanese workers, in my mind.

So this is how I feel about Japan, in the first day.


New Painting: Kuugen Tenko

Requested by a friend of mine, then I made him waiting for nearly one year.... until now

He requested just after he saw Marybell I draw one year ago. What he didn't know is that I became quite fear with painting colors after that drawing, as it cost me too much time...

Recent I have tried several simple paintings with color, I some I've made some progress, so days before I decided to do this one for him.

This one costed me 20-30 hours...oops, even more than the Marybell one, however the quality is much better, I learnt some gradient this time.

Another thing important is that this is not imitated except for the character, I had browsed a number of the images of this character before I started to draw. It's quite fun not only copying something, but creating something.

Well I guess I need some rest before next such-time-costing painting, feeling too tired.


My Sis

I promised my sis for a new avatar of her, and this is it.

I am actually learning colors, theories and practical tricks. I started trying to mix up colors since the last few color drawings, but in comic style, which is much easier then in realistic style.

And now comes the challenge. Before, my problem was that I always focused on the details on a small part of the image, for example, on the eyes, I would try my best to finish the eyes, but often resulting in a pair of beautiful eyes on a strange face... They just did not match... I knew this problem, but sometimes I just cannot relax...

After watching several videos, I have already got a rouge idea of the steps, say pick up highlight/normal/dark colors, fill in with the normal color, mark the dark part and light part, blur, reduce the size of the brush and repeat the steps to add details... Just something like that.

And I forced myself to relax while drawing this one. Actually it took me a week for this one, each day I just drew a bit before I felt boring, and I spent a lot of time looking at it, to find the strange spots. In this way, I have always be aware of a global idea of the picture, the picture looks good to me in the end. (well I mean the colors, I do need more practice on hair drawing).

Here are something I have learned:

1.Add some red on the highlight part of the skin, to make it lovely, instead of a illness looking
2.I learned the snow effect from a software that is able to make styles of oldish photos. I mean the while short line segments, quite useful!
3.For the lips, use a red color with similar hue value as the skin.
4.Use a stylus! I made up my mind to buy a stylus for ipad just before this drawing, it's not cheap but I do think it worth the price. The stylus helped a lot!
5.Use a good monitor! The colors on iPad are perfect, but not on my laptop... The colors are just quite dull there. Until now have I realized such huge difference...
6.iPad is great! Sketchbook Pro is great! I was trying to draw with my graphical tablet, but then I found still ipad is better (at least to me, since I don't need too much pressure sensitivity, but I do need to see where I am going to draw at)

OK, that's all

New Pencil Sketch: Xiao Putao

It has been days from last sketch 'A Baby Girl', or actually already half a year. I've been always eager to draw a better one, but only when I could see a new lovely photo.

And recently, I did saw one, this pouting little girl called 'Xiao Putao'. I instantly got that familiar feeling that I am eager to draw this one, then I know I can probably make it better than the last one.

Well, the result, some parts are indeed better, some are not. But what is important, through this drawing I did realized something about drawing, and I did know how I make this one.

Last time when I drew 'A Baby Girl', I was so concentrated for about 7~8 hours, then I suddenly realized that it had been finished, and I did not even know how I did it, which is not a good thing since first this means the drawing is good just accidentally, second I had not learned much from this drawing...

This time it is different, I spent days for it, made some progress each day, I did design the shape, shades etc... I just felt so good!

Well now I will pause pencil things temporarily for a period, and start to learn colors, on iPad... Let's see (the next post)


iPad and Drawing

Finally I couldn't help me buy a ipad, just because of the amazing drawing software skecthbook pro. This thing cost me around 4k HKDs, I've quite made up my mind about this, just like before when I spent 1k CNY for a graphic tablet.

Actually that ipad is, somehow, changing into a game console...well well well...I'll fix that, maybe.

I met my drawing master online days before, who was actually my classmate before, and had taught me many things about drawing. I talked with her for a while, basically about my few past drawing, and future directions.

I have two of my past drawings pinned on the wall at my desk, which are Floral Magician Mary Bell and A Baby Girl, which were done respectively nearly one year ago, and half a year ago.

I've never done that, I've never been able to watch (or "tolerate") my drawings for such a long time. But these two, however, are special to me, they represent my highest skill in these two types of drawing so far. I believe that before long I won't be able to do better than these two, although I'll still try to do better.

There are something lucky in these two drawings, especially for the "baby girl" one, a much higher contract was gained after scanned, so the picture looks much more neat, clear and vivid. I don't know when is the next time for me to be such lucky again.

These two drawings cost me 18 hours and 6 hours respectively, I decided to draw them because I couldn't help myself. At the first glance of the original photo of the baby girl, I thought I'd loved that girl, I was eager to draw a picture for her. And that's probably why I could devote myself completely during drawing, even for hours. After finishing them, I had a feeling of "waken up", I even don't remember how I did it, that's amazing, but maybe I didn't gain much experience about the process, or actually I did but I just have not realized that?

Now I've got a new toy, or tool, with a different experience from tablet. Although the touchscreen of ipad is not pressure sensitive, the good thing is I can directly move my finger to where I want to draw, which is in some sense more important than pressure. I've thought about buying something like Wacom Cintiq, but, well, that's too expensive to me.

I've bought a cheap stylus for ipad, but actually it's much worse than my fingers. I've started drawing on ipad, and here are some sketches: here, here and here, and I think I've got the basic usage of the software.

These two characters are created by myself, and 2nd one is actually based on a girl whom I would like to call my 6th sis, although she may not accept that. I've decided to do my creations, instead of imitation for ever.

Now my plan is to continue work on these characters, and do more practice about movement, animals, cloth and expressions. I expect that I'll gain quite a number of things from the process.



Autodesk SketchBook Pro

The title is them name of a software, for drawing, especially for sketch.

Well, this is not an ad for the the software, I just found it when I search for something interesting about drawing on iPad. Later I found there's also a Windows version available.

Having tried for a couple of minutes, this guy is (much) simpler than Painter or Photoshop, and more complex than Artstudio. And it's apparent that the software has been highly optimized for touchscreen devices (like iPad), especially the UI.

The effects, basically I mean the brushes, are quite natural and smooth -- just like other softwares, which is not quite a big deal nowadays.

Although not quite sure, but it should be quite suitable to me, as its simplicity, and design for amateurs like me. The number of different brushes are not as many as Painter, where I just get lost, and there are not many parameters either. It's just like ArtStudio, but provides more things, at least not only a pen and a finger.

Anyway I just used Painter as ArtStudio except for layers and more brushed, quite a waste. Why there's no "amateur mode" or "easy mode" in Painter? Or did I just miss it?

So I need a deeper look at this stuff, maybe I'll buy a tablet because of it, just maybe.


Last day in Vietnam

Have been in Vietnam for programming contest for 4 days, and this is the last day (since already after 00:00)

"Yesterday",we went to one of the famous places here, called Halong Bay, and for me, that's an interesting trip.

We were together with many our tourists from Japanese or US. And there were also two guides, one can speak English and Chinese, and another can speak Japanese.

I tried to understand the Japanese guide (I think she is Vietnamese,but here I mean the guide who can speak Japanese), I think I understood some easy parts, like "take care of yourself" "we have 3 hours left", which was quite similar from what I've heard in the Japanese classes. But things went harder when she began to introduce the Halong Bay, too difficult for me.

During the trip there was a break, we tried to find one of the guides and asked for the time we should come back to the bus. We cannot find the English one, but the Japanese one came towards us. I asked her in Japanese, without a second thought, although made some syntax errors; she understood and told me "20 minutes later". Wow! I hadn't expected this to be so smooth.

Then things became a little bit more challenging, as the Japanese guide might had thought that I can speak Japanese, so she always repeat her instructions to me when she saw me (there are basically two groups, and I'm with the English group of course). Once she come to me and praised me for one of my photos; and another, she tried to told me that it's better to have 2 people on a kayak (since we have only 3 people there). Luckily, she didn't say hard words, such that I could understood most of them.

Well, seems like the Japanese speaking thing is much more expressive to me than the trip itself. Halong bay indeed is a great place, but for me, a better experience is to found myself the capability of expression in another language, which is quite amazing.

Maybe I should learn more Japanese?