Pencil to Digital

The other day I sketched the following portrait in my sketchbook:

"Sketch" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Sketch” Cedar Park, 2019

It’s one of my daily sketches, in which I spend 10 minutes or so putting pencil or pen to paper. Occasionally I’ll take a sketch that I like and then make a digital version. In this case, I took the photo, dropped it into Adobe Illustrator and drew the lines (no tracing for me!), then added the colors. I’m pleased at how it turned out. ☺

To see all the sketches I’ve been working on, you can check out the Flickr album “My Sketching Journey”, or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.

By the way, I’ve been enjoying using the Ain Black eraser (and I erase A LOT!). It works so well!


Big Birds and Kouhaku

"Big Birds" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 31mm, f/5, 1/60 sec, ISO100
“Big Birds” Cedar Park, 2019

On the way to work this morning, I saw these very large birds gathering by the intersection. I’m not sure why they chose this spot, but it must have to do something with food or warmth. Or perhaps they just called an impromptu meeting? Who knows? 🤔

In other news, I finally finished watching Kouhaku 2018. For those who are not familiar with Kouhaku, it’s a Japanese music contest/tv show that happens every New Years Eve. It’s the red team (women) vs the white team (men) in this four-hour (I think it’s four hours) marathon. Since we were out of town this new year, we recorded Kouhaku and watched it later. Which is kind of nice because I could skip all the performances I didn’t care for, which was probably about 90% of them!

However, there were a few really good performances that stood out to me. I love seeing Twice, Perfume, and Aiko, but the Shiina Ringo x Miyamoto Hiroji song was awesome! I loved it. Here’s a little clip (not from Kouhaku) to check out:

But probably the highlight was when Yumi Matsutoya (Yuming; Arai Yumi) sang the ending song from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Yasashisa ni Tsutsumaretanara) which was so natsukashii that there were many tears in the audience. It was really cool.

Anyway, I have to say I prefer watching Kouhaku on New Year’s Eve… it’s just fun to drink saké under the kotatsu watching Kouhaku to ring in the new year.

I hope you had a nice day!


Tremble All You Want 勝手にふるえてろ (2017) – Review

Plot: 24-year-old office worker “Yurika”, awkward, offbeat, and still carrying a torch for cool and popular middle school crush “Ichi”, tries to locate said crush and meet up, while fending off the advances of an uncool co-worker “Ni”.

Okay, so the story doesn’t seem special, but the “awkward and offbeat” nature of Yurika is the reason that Tremble All You Want 勝手にふるえてろ turns out to be a good movie. Specifically, it’s Matsuoka Mayu‘s (松岡茉優) portrayal of Yurika which is notable. I’d seen her in supporting roles in a few doramas over the years, but she amazed me with her range in the starring role.

************ SPOILER ALERT *************

As I mentioned, the plot was standard romance fare, but the interesting twist is that Yurika lives in a semi-fantasy world, imagining conversations with people that acquaintances real life. At the beginning of the movie, these seem like normal conversations with friends or close acquaintances, but we soon suspect that she doesn’t have any real relationship with these people and is just imagining the conversations.

This fact is made clear to us towards the end of the film with a wonderful scene in which Yurika actually sings her feelings to the audience, looking directly at the camera. It’s pretty amazing and she pulls it off without skipping a beat. She doesn’t have a great singing voice, but that just makes it feel more real and engaging.

The end of the movie, unfortunately, wasn’t very satisfying as there were many loose ends that I would have liked to see resolved. For instance, does she mend her friendship with Kurumi? Will she ever get found out about impersonating a classmate? Does she open up more to the real people she had imaginary conversations with? Also, it seems a little unbelievable that after carrying a torch for 10 years, that flame could be extinguished instantly, especially since Yurika and Ichi had a seemingly magical connection when they finally met. Thinking about it some more, a sequel or continuation would be welcomed! 😄

Unresolved plotlines aside, I think Tremble All You Want 勝手にふるえてろ is well-worth your viewing time. I’m really looking forward to more films with Matsuoka Mayu in the lead role. I rate it 7 out of 10.