Tonight’s Sketch

こんばんは。I don’t have a photo to share for this post, but I did finish a drawing on the iPad using Procreate.

I might sound like a broken record, but I really enjoy sketching on the iPad. I’m getting more comfortable, and am able to work quicker, and with greater precision. Of course, the more I learn, the more I realize I have a long ways to go! But progress is encouraging, and I have a lot of fun with minimal frustration. Very satisfied!

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.

If you’re interested in my favorite sketching gear that I use, you can find a list here.


Digital Drawing and Overcoming Barriers

"Late-night Office" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO320
“Late-night Office” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going? I continue to enjoy sketching on the iPad, and the convenience and speed it provides. What is really nice is that I can work through mistakes a lot faster than with pencil and eraser. It lets me try new things without fear of wasting paper or actually needing to buy new stationery or art materials. Also, because there is no cleanup involved, I am more likely to start something completely new. If I simply want to push paint around, I can do that instantly. It’s not physical paint, of course, but I end up scanning the real-world watercolors and pencil sketches to share in the digital world anyway. I suppose drawing digitally, and on the iPad in particular, streamlines the process, and breaks down barriers that were standing in the way of creativity.

Digital drawing for me also goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. I feel like I can reduce the number of pens and paints I keep around. My sketchbooks have been “silent” lately, although I still use notebooks for daily journaling using my favorite fountain pens. But I don’t mind not using the sketchbooks because I don’t really like seeing them laying on the desk. It kind of made me feel guilty of not using them. So I put them away, and the desk is even more clutter-free, even though there’s still lots more that can go. It’s nice to know that I can have all my new artwork contained in the iPad and the cloud. Maybe it’s just a phase, but I am finding joy in NOT creating physical drawings.

Anyway, here’s the latest drawing. I keep getting closer to my own style, or at least I find myself gravitating to this style. A couple of things that are on my list are more body poses, and also male portraits. And the digital medium will help me in those efforts for sure!

I hope you had a good day!


Old, Useful, and Sentimental

"Pen Holder" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Pen Holder” Cedar Park, 2019


The title of this post could be used to describe a person, but in this case, I am describing the Suntory beer can that I use to hold pens. I think I bought this just out of college, which would mean it’s been in service holding pens and pencils for 28 years! It’s rested on many desks since then, but it’s always come with me whenever I moved. Just looking at the can, I can imagine it in all those different places, quietly doing its job.

It’s strange that I’ve used such a simple, throwaway item (it’s actually trash), for all these years. But I love it. I guess it’s both useful and sparks joy, which is the sweet spot as far as possessions go. And add the BIFL (buy-it-for-life) aspect on top of that, and this Suntory beer can pen holder is just perfect.

I hope you had a nice day!


Handwriting as a Stress Indicator

"Writing" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Writing” Cedar Park, 2019

Have you ever noticed that your handwriting is neater and letters are more elegantly formed when you are in a good mood? Or is it just me?

When I am having a normal day, my writing is just regular, which is to say, not particularly even nor uneven, mostly adhering to the lines of the paper although it takes some effort. But if I have less stress, or am in a really good mood, I make fewer mistakes and the words look much nicer. I also can write faster without giving it much thought or effort. It’s kind of like I am in the zone, and it feels great.

Sometimes, when I am writing or taking notes, and I notice that my lettering is extra sloppy or I have to cross out a lot of things, I take a step back know that something is bothering me and then try to identify what is causing my stress or bad mood. Usually, it’s a small worry or concern about a task that I have to do. And just by identifying what is causing me that mild distress, it becomes less of an issue. Maybe not knowing the cause of the stress actually causes more stress, if that makes sense.

Hmm… I wonder how much truth there is to that theory. 🤔

I hope you had a good Thursday!


Studying Japanese Vocabulary Using Anki

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I mentioned in my last post about my daily habits that I’ve been trying to keep up with as best as I can, and I have to admit that I am surprised that I have been doing pretty good! One of the habits is to study Japanese, and right now that involves digital vocabulary flashcards using Anki.

I got turned onto Anki from the book Fluent Forever, in which the author Gabriel Wyner talks about using timing, or intervals between study, to improve recall of vocabulary. What great about Anki is that it uses those intervals to automatically adjust the frequency of the flashcards. Basically, I look at the word in Japanese (romaji), then flip the card over to reveal the meaning. At the bottom of the screen, I click on one of the four buttons: Again, Hard, Good, or Easy. Sometimes clicking Again means the card will show up again within the next minute or so, Hard means about 10 minutes, Good means 3 days, and Easy could mean the card shows up again a month from now. But those intervals are all varied. I guess it just depends on what I’ve clicked on before.

I have to say, it really works! With each study session (once per day is the maximum allowed) I learn more words than normal and can recall ones that gave me a lot of trouble before. It’s kind of neat!

But, there’s still a bit of reticence on my part some mornings. I guess there’s a part of me that is disappointed when the same words come up and I cannot recall the meaning. However, that is getting better slowly but surely, and the fact that at the end of each session I feel like I’ve made progress leads me to think that eventually, I’ll have no barriers to getting my daily study in.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve downloaded a bunch of free flashcard sets, even Spanish vocab! But I mainly do the “ACFL Basic Japanese 1” and “Japanese Hiragana (Basic)”. I feel like that’s plenty for now.

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!