Watercoloring

"Watercolor Table" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Watercolor Table” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。Today I sketched a bit and did a watercolor of La Sagrada Familia. For my first watercolor in many years, I think it turned out ok. There are a bunch of things I would change, and I’ll probably do more versions of the same pic just to experiment. But it’s a good image to use for practice. And lots of fun because it brings back the memory of the great time I had in Barcelona!

"La Sagrada Watercolor" Cedar Park, 2017
“La Sagrada Watercolor” Cedar Park, 2017

For the painting, I sketched using pencil, then applied the watercolor. After that, I erased the pencil marks that were still on the white parts of the paper. I like the shape of the cathedral and detail, but the trees in front are just cloud-like blobs. I also should have extended the cathedral down a bit on the left side so that it looks more like it is behind the trees and not sitting on top of them. Still, I am pleased with my first attempt!

"Prisma Classics" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Prisma Classics” Cedar Park, 2017

For this painting, I used a new watercolor set: Prima Marketing “The Classics”. It’s a compact tin, with 12 colors in half-pans. I was surprised at how small the tin is… it’s not even the width of my LAMY Safari! Before I bought the watercolors, I watched a couple of reviews, and decided on set by the same brand called “Tropicals”, but it was back-ordered at Amazon so I ordered the classics instead. There are a few colors that I don’t really like, or perhaps don’t know how to use, and a few colors I would like to have from the Tropicals set, so I’m not sure what I’ll do. Perhaps I will just buy some empty half-pans and tubes of paint. Thankfully Teoh Yi Chie has a review of the tropicals set and I can use that as a good reference as I build my palette.

"Pilot Kakuno" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Pilot Kakuno” Cedar Park, 2017

Also, my Pilot Kakuno arrived! It’s such a cool pen. I love the fun design and blue color and it’s pretty compact in size, which I like. I’m going to use it as just a basic writer, with the black ink that came with it, but it’s a joy to use and gives me more pleasure than just using a generic ballpoint. Why not try to brighten up your life, even in small ways?

I hope you had a nice Saturday!

またね~

Some New Pens – LAMY Safari and Uni-Ball AIR

"Lamy Safari" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/55 sec, ISO3200
“Lamy Safari” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

At long last, I have a fountain pen that I love! It’s the LAMY Safari, with a broad nib. First of all, the broad nib is wonderful and suits my writing style. I mentioned in a previous post that I used to have a pen with a broad nib and that I wanted to find something similar. The LAMY fits the bill perfectly. And the design of the grip, which has two flat facets, is so comfortable to me and positions the nib at the perfect angle. Plus, I love the bright yellow color. It’s really a great pen.

I bought a converter with it so that I could fill it with my Sailor Souten ink, and it looks really nice. The ink’s color really shows with the broad line. However, I want to eventually get a brighter turquoise/aqua ink, which is the color I used to have with my calligraphy pen back in high school. But that can wait. I’ll enjoy the Souten for a while. 😀

The second pen that I newly bought is the Uni-Ball AIR. It’s also fantastic. It too has a very broad line, so of course, I think it is great (my other favorite pen is a 1 mm Zebra Sarasa). I am using the AIR for sketching and it works well for that. It glides over the paper nicely, probably the smoothest pen I own… the design is so sleek and it just gently comes to a point, and since the tip is black like the body, it looks really sharp. I did a sketch tonight using the AIR, and I think the pen worked nicely. The sketch itself is not so great, but I had fun drawing. I’ll probably draw the same scene again (from a reference photo) and try to improve it. By the way, I read that the AIR’s ink is waterproof, so it is good for putting watercolor over it. That’s the primary reason I bought the AIR, actually!

"Sketch" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Sketch” Cedar Park, 2017

So, back to the Lamy Safari. It’s very different from my Pilot Metropolitan, and I can now form a better opinion about the Metro. I think it’s competent pen, and writes well, but to me, it lacks personality and charm. Simply put, it’s boring. I don’t really have a desire to pick it up. I guess my taste in pens is for something more fun, quirky, and eye-catching. Which is why…

I ordered another “fun” pen: the Pilot Kakuno. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be similar in writing quality as the Metropolitan (although with an even finer nib) but it just looks so fun. The nib even has a winky smiley face on it! How cool is that? I just want to pick it up and write with it.

You know, with cameras, they say the make and model doesn’t make a huge difference in picture quality. But if you find a camera attractive, you’ll want to pick it up and use it more. And if it can get you out shooting more, that’s a good thing! I guess it is the same things with pens. The Metropolitan doesn’t inspire me to take the cap off and write/sketch, but the LAMY does, and I am pretty sure the Kakuno will as well.

Ok, enough pen talk! I’ll let you go. As always, thanks for reading!

おやすみ

Traveler’s Notebook

"Traveler's Notebook (Passport)" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/2.4, 1/1500 sec, ISO640
“Traveler’s Notebook (Passport)” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today my brand new Traveler’s Notebook (passport size) arrived on my doorstep. I’ve been looking at these notebooks (formerly named Midori) for a while now, and after watching numerous YouTube videos and reading reviews, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered mine.

I went with the “camel” color leather, which not only looks great but smells nice too. If you aren’t familiar with a Traveler’s Notebook, it’s basically a plain leather cover, with inserts that are held in place with elastic bands. There are two sizes: the regular size and the smaller passport-sized version, which is the one I went with.

The most common inserts are notepads (lined, graph, or blank), monthly planner, weekly planner, and daily planner. In addition, there are craft folder sleeves, plastic zipper pocket, and plastic sticker pockets.

My starter set came with a blank notebook and two extra elastic bands. I ordered a craft sleeve and zipper pocket separately, and these three inserts are a nice start. It’s not too bulky, so I think I can add one more notebook (probably a lined version) and it will be perfect. I also attached a couple of small binder clips to the craft sleeve which acts as a little loop for me to attach my pen.

What’s great about the Traveler’s Notebook system (and there are many cheaper clones available) is that when you fill up one insert, you can just pop in another one. It’s super versatile!

If you do a YouTube search for Traveler’s Notebooks or Midori Notebooks, you’ll see that many people love to use them for artistic journaling. Some of the examples are pretty amazing, especially the sketchbook notebooks. Just check out this Flickr group to see some awesome sketches.

I’m using mine to do some little sketches, practice writing hiragana/katakana, and take notes. I’m also using it to replace my wallet – to hold a couple credit cards, blank checks, and some cash. And of course a couple Instax prints of the family.

I’m really happy with my Traveler’s Notebook and can see myself using it for a long, long time. 😄

"Traveler's Notebook (Passport)" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Traveler’s Notebook (Passport)” Cedar Park, 2017

ひよっこ Opening


One thing I love about the new asadora ひよっこ is the opening sequence. Along with the 60’s-style pop song, there are really cool miniature toys and scenery with the feeling of the era. But the really neat thing is, the scenery is made up of everyday objects from the 60’s. For instance, the people watching the olympic torch sit on typewriters instead of bleachers, there is a person fishing over a waterfall that is actually a washing machine, and so on. When I first saw the opening, I thought that it reminded me of one of my favorite Instagrammers, Tanaka Tatsuya… I wondered, did NHK get the idea from him? Well, according to his Instagram page, Tanaka is the creator of the opening sequence! How cool is that?!

Anyways, be sure to check out his Instagram and Miniature Calendar site. The scenes are so clever and fun.

I hope you had a wonderful day!

またね~

Saturday Viewing

こんばんは。

Today, I had a few free hours alone (Bay is out of town at a Robotics competition, Mariko was at a winery with friends, and Koa was at a pool party) so I went to see Your Name again!

I knew that there would be so much more to appreciate in the second viewing. I guess it’s because I don’t catch a lot of the plot nuances the first time I see movies, but also because Your Name has quite a few twists that it makes it hard to keep track of all that is going on.

****spoiler alert****

So, in the second viewing, I was fully away that besides being separated by distance, Mitsuha and Taki were separated by time as well. Because of the 3 year difference, the first time they met in Tokyo, Mitsuha was probably 17, but Taki was only 14. That whole scene on the train made a ton more sense now that I realized that Mitsuha had been experiencing the switch for a while, but the switch would not happen for another 3 years for Taki.

The body-swapping aspect of the film made a lot more sense to me since I could pick up on the cues as to when the switch is “active”. For instance, the real Mitsuha could braid her hair with ease, while the Taki-Mitsuha wore her hair in a messy ponytail.

On the flipside, the scenes where Mitsuha is in Taki’s body were a lot more interesting, just seeing the way he/see walks and sits, and the way he speaks is feminine. I enjoyed it during the first viewing, but now could concentrate 100% on the subtleties.

Interestingly enough, the second viewing was even more touching emotionally. Every time I saw the comet in the sky, I would feel my eyes welling up with tears. It was crazy. Then of course when Mitsuha opens her hand to see what Taki wrote… ah the flood!!! And finally, the ending scene was just perfect. 😢

One small thing I noticed in the first viewing was that one of the buildings in Tokyo was one I took a photo of back in 1997. It’s the building at the 0:18 second mark in the video below. It gave me a feeling of a little more of a connection to the movie. 😄

"Shinjuku Skyscraper" Tokyo, 1997
“Shinjuku Skyscraper” Tokyo, 1997

I hope you had a nice Saturday!

またね~