It’s trouser weather!

Dear friends,

This past week has been very busy for me, but I’m happy to say that now it’s Sunday and I’m on my two days off. Then, on Tuesday, we finally get paid… of course, from Tuesday onwards we will be at work all day and I usually finish at 8pm or later, so I won’t be able to spend that beautiful yen… however next Sunday my fellow teacher and I will go on a Treat Yo Self day inspired by Parks and Recreation’s Tom and Donna.

Anyway, Autumn is slowly rolling in and here up in the North East it’s finally the weather for trousers, jumpers and cardigans! I’m excited to start wearing knitwear and tights although I will definitely miss being able to walk around in shorts and sandals. I’m hoping to pick up a chunky cardigan next weekend since I only have one small, thin cardigan from Uniqlo. Up here it gets to -10c sometimes and there is frequent snow. I know it’s not that cold compared to my Norwegian friends’ -30c winters, but it’s colder than back home!

My Japanese is progressing nicely, although I’d like to put more effort into it. I found the international centre last weekend and I signed up for them to look for a language ‘supporter’ for me. And just today I went back there, found some advert for somebody wanting to meet English speakers and sent them an email. Mostly because I fear that my social life will be non-existent for 11 months unless I force myself to make some friends…

Hey, did I ever show a picture of my completed donut? Please see below, along with my as of yet unfinished hot cross bun. I hope to do some more needle felting tonight. I’m not sure what to do next. I wanted to do a pretzel but maybe that would be too difficult?

a needle felted donut with cream icing and brown sprinklesneedle felted hot cross bun Hmmm… I started writing this post early in the morning of today, and now it is 5pm and I’m not sure what else to add to this. In a bit I’ll head to my colleague’s flat to watch something or other. I’m not sure if it will be a film or some episodes, who knows? I’m going to take my needle felting and Japanese text book up so I can do some bits and pieces while watching. I’m not somebody who can sit through a whole film without fidgeting, unless it’s at the cinema…

Anyway I’ll finish up here. I don’t have many plans for tomorrow, except that I have to go in to work briefly to try to understand the office printer before next week starts, as everyone will be expecting me to use it and in my past attempts the printer has decided to eat every piece of A4 paper I carefully fed into its mouth. I hope tomorrow pays off. Aside from that maybe I’ll do some wistful window shopping, the day before pay day. And psych myself up for another busy week ahead before our most exciting indulgence day in a week’s time!

Thank you for reading and support and everything.

E

Mini post ☆ ミニポスト

Hello friends.

I’m in bed, about to do some reading. But I thought I’d make a mini post beforehand. It’s my sixth week of work here (or so I believe) and I wanted to write a little update to say what I’ve been up to. This week my parents have been in France and so I have had less time chatting on skype with people from home.

So recently, where to start… Work has been as usual, always challenging and always learning new things. I’ve had several difficult lessons lately that hurt my confidence a bit. But each time or rather each lesson I am learning and improving, I feel. I want to be good at my job. Some of my challenging issues are classroom management, discipline and time management. I’m usually good with time except when there happen to also be disruptive kids, as that slows everything down.

I’m expected to be researching more about my job during free time but since starting I have always found that I’m pretty tired after work and don’t want to do too much requiring thinking. I did listen to a couple of question and answer videos by a well known youtuber called gimmeaflakeman. I’m not really sure why he’s called that but he’s funny and friendly and has a lot of videos about his esl career so I watched a few of those on my day off.

As for the Japanese language and how that’s going, for a while I felt like I was only improving in tiny amounts. But yesterday I finally got back into my kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese) study and I feel a bit better about my progress. I’ve started studying from a book called Genki 2, very popular among Japanese language learners. It’s mostly been revision for me so far, which is good. It’s helped solidify certain things which my other book left a bit flaky.

… Man this post is dry. Sorry friends. Don’t worry though! One day my posts will be swamped in beautiful drawings and exciting tales and news, or so I hope…

I also managed to find the international centre yesterday, hooray! It is at least a half hour walk from my apartment, not so fun. But it’s in a really fancy, giant building which also has several cafes, an environmental centre, uni library, etc. maybe I’ll take some pictures next time I go there! I signed up to look for a Japanese language supporter to help me study but maybe I will do better to get private lessons once I get paid?

… Yep, I’m counting down the days to pay day and already planning which days I will go out shopping. I have a carefully curated list of items I want to buy including a giant cardigan, leggings, shower mat (actually my shower is broken at the moment but I want to buy the mat in the hopes that one day it’ll be fixed), shoes, more shampoo, lush soap, etc. I’ll probably end up buying a tiny amount of the stuff which I fantasised about since I feel guilty whenever I spend money. We’ll see. Maybe I can take photos of my haul?

Bleh. I should finish soon. Next post will have pictures probably. Hopefully! Lastly I will just say that Broadchurch TV series was great, and I’ve almost finished the anime Durarara, which is pretty good. I’ve also started on American Horror Story season 3. AHS is pretty problematic and very tacky at times. It is like a guilty pleasure. However I appreciate this third season as it’s mostly about women’s stories and interesting lady characters. I think I’ll finish AHS off and then consider resuming Twin Peaks.

As for books, I finished the third book in Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, and am on the final book of the series. I will be so sad when it ends. Luckily I brought my dad’s kindle with me, including 100+ books that I want to read. Tad Williams is also planning writing three more books within the same universe so I’m excited!

Anyway, I’ll go now. Thanks for reading this somewhat blah post, if you managed to get through it that is! I’ll just say this is mostly for my family and the few people who seem to enjoy reading about the mundanities of my life! Lots of love.

E

Settle

Dear friends,

I’ve been in Morioka for about a month now and since I managed to get hooked up to wifi at my apartment finally, I thought it would be a good time to write an update post. I can’t say this is going to be a very picture heavy post at all so I won’t be offended if you don’t stay to read this. But to those who want words and are happy trawling through my long ramblings, thank you for sticking with me! If you are looking for more pictures, less talking, I have posted some sketches I’ve done since arriving in Japan on my regular art tumblr. Also, if you turn your eyes to the left of the site there is my instagram feed. I haven’t posted many personal/Japan photos, just art.

So, this is three or so weeks on from my last post. I have been at work for four weeks and am mostly working independently now, which can be frightening, but I’m getting to grips with it a lot more now. I have a few difficult classes, and teach from age 2 to 90. My work is fairly varied and as I said before, the hours can be a bit weird as it’s a private language school.

I’ve been walking around the city a lot and finding my bearings over the last few weeks. I know where most of the useful places are now. For example, there’s a super shopping centre about an hour and a half’s walk from my house (or a 20 minute journey if I walk to the station and catch a bus). Inside there are lots of nice shops I’ve never heard of, plus Muji, Uniqlo, Baskin’ Robins ice cream and a Mexican themed shop with loads of lovely clothes and accessories. My friend and I also found some good cafes nearby plus a wonderful Italian restaurant.

mexican and/or central american inspired shop front. clothing store within a shopping mall

Mexican/Central American themed shop – sorry if I got the specifics wrong, I don’t know enough about the culture. But I would like to learn more and learn to speak Spanish ><

I still need to find out how to go to the doctors’ surgery if ill and how to get my teeth cleaned by the dentist as I didn’t have time to have a checkup etc. before flying off. I need to find the international centre too, because I’m in serious need of Japanese lessons. My Japanese is very patchy which is a pain, so I have borrowed a text book (Genki 2) from a colleague, but also want to get some lessons to speed up my learning.

I had a few problems with things not quite working in my apartment but I am slowly smoothing those out now. Hmm. I’m not sure what else to update on regarding everyday life…

Oh, lastly, there are several fabric shops around here which makes me feel very happy. The biggest one has a small section dedicated to needle felting, and I have wanted to give it a go for a very long time since my amazing friend inspired me. I managed to budget enough to be able to afford a small starter set this weekend, so I’ve been playing around. This is my first attempt. I found it pretty difficult and I get frustrated easily with craft – probably because I’m so messy but I really admire and want to make cute, clean work – however it was fun and I enjoyed watching the TV series Broad Church while making it. My next needle felt item will be a donut!

needle felt soft sculpture tiny loaf of bread. beige and cream

My attempted needle felted bread loaf.

Anyway, today is my day off (I get Sunday and Monday off) and I am finishing off this blog post and then have some letters to write. After that I just want to slack about now that I have internet, cook my dinner, etc. I started a drawing in my sketchbook which I’d like to finish. I’ll probably take a photo of it very soon for tumblr and instagram. It’s been difficult finding time/motivation to draw much, but I have managed to do a bit every day or two. I don’t have many materials here but I plan to get hold of some more pens and colours after I get paid.

I’m not sure what to say next, so until the next post, goodbye! Thanks so much for reading. If you have any questions about expat stuff or whatever please let me know in the comments.

E

About Time

Dear friends,

Thank you for your patience, it’s been a long while since my last post. The reason for this is that I ended up getting a job teaching English in Morioka, which is in Japan. I knew for quite a while that I would be moving but was reluctant to write about it because I was very nervous and there were also lots of issues sorting out my visa.

But anyway, I’m here. I flew to Tokyo on 11th August and spent three nights at my friends’ apartment. After that I took the very expensive Shinkansen (bullet train) to Mizusawa, where my new boss lives. I spent a couple of nights there with another new teacher from Canada, and then on the 17th we moved into our new apartments on the same block.

I started work on the 19th. Today is the beginning of my second work week. I’m on my lunch break now, sorting out laundry and emails. After this I’ll have a short nap and then in about fifty minutes I’ll start getting ready for work again. I’ll be working til 8.50 pm today. My hours are very varied.

So I guess this is just a short post explaining what’s been going on. What can you expect for the future of this blog? Well, the subject matter will definitely be changing, although I still want to be involved in art. My contract is a year and after that I want to dive into the art world with much more vigour. So I’ll try to keep posting bits and pieces about my life here, for family, friends and whoever else happens to be interested. If you have any questions about moving abroad please just leave a comment and I will answer your questions!

Lastly I did plan on starting a comic based on life here and then ended up being completely overwhelmed. I still have comic plans though so hopefully when things settle down I’ll make it happen. I’ve done some sketches so want to put them up soon. Anyway thank you to all readers xxx

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incoming

Dear friends,

it’s been over a month since my last post as I have been pretty busy with a few things. Hope that’s okay! These things include job applications, driving lessons, work, etc. I might have more news on the job front shortly but for now I’m going to wait and see once things are a bit more certain before I relax a bit and will also make a proper post on it. My driving exam is also tomorrow so I’m more focused on that for the time being. Edit: I passed :)

Aside from these commitments, I have managed to do a reasonable amount of art :) I completed a new personal illustration for my portfolio, and a poster for a couple of great friends who are playing a gig in Finland on 4th July! You can see them both below. My friends unfortunately don’t have a website yet but as soon as they do I’ll probably link it. I’d like to keep making stuff for their music as I love their style and also want to keep creating things that could go into my portfolio!

Hmm, so let’s look… Last time I wrote about printmaking, painting and illustrator. Since then I have done some more work on illustrator, trying to get a bit more comfortable with the software. I feel a lot more confident with the programme, but still not great, and at the moment I don’t really have a reason to use it. I’ve come to realise that my work is much more weighted towards illustration than design (probably obvious to everyone else), but I will try to give design more of a go when I get relevant projects.

As for painting and printmaking, I haven’t done much more of those. I was planning to go to my old university for a visit to pick up some more materials, but haven’t got there yet. It is a 6+ hour journey via train and it costs a lot, but it is something I will be doing over the next month and a half. It’ll be good to see some of my friends there.

I’ve also been carrying on slowly but surely with the game design. It has been a challenge as I’ve been doing pixel art, something I’ve not done for years, and also I have had to pixel buildings and backgrounds. I try to make myself do a few hours every few days and am making good progress. I learned quite a bit about colour theory as well from reading a bit about Syosa, a great pixel artist. I recommend reading the short interview if you’re interested in cute illustrations, pixel art, and/or great colour palettes.

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So… a few other things that I have done (which were waiting on the massive to do list)… my shop is finally done and you can find it here! Recently I’ve been playing with shrink plastic to create little badges. The medium is fun although a considerable amount of attempts have been unsuccessful. It seems pretty temperamental and the surface can get smudged so easily! But I’ll keep going, continue practising and hope that over time my badge casualties become fewer.

Here’s a few examples of the badges, some of them I’ve decided not to put up in my shop as they are not quite high enough standard. I bought some acrylic spray on lacquer to protect the surface of the badges, but actually they just ended up having fluff and dust stuck to them :( so I wasn’t happy about that. Some of them are discounted in the store because of that.

I’m thinking of doing a give away too! More details soon.

I think that’s all for now. Right now I’m actually volunteering at the local gallery, I was left to look after front-of-house while the others went to a meeting. And soon, I shall be off as I haven’t yet had any lunch and my stomach is twisting around hungry.

Lots of love

Elysia

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Ooh man there’s so many things to write about. I apologise for this being all over the place, my excuse is this is a personal and non profit making blog, so a lot of this is pretty casual and non structured. So I don’t overburden this already-busy post, I’ll write about these things next time:

  • Organising life class with a friend
  • Planning an artist collective
  • Update on the poetry book project
  • Encouraging a friend to write her story so I can illustrate it :)

 

always with the progress updates

Greetings friends,

hope you all don’t mind but lately I think my blog posts are just going to be continued updates on art and other progress… I write this blog as a sort of record, I would like to make it interesting and helpful for others somehow, though? So not sure what to do. I suppose I’ll share the tutorials and art supply sites I’ve used, as before, and I hope the pictures will make it interesting too… Let’s see… I’m checking my last post to work out what I have done since then. I think I would say the website is mostly all done and waiting for a new series of work before its next update!

Printmaking: As I already said I’m waiting to buy some lino pieces off my art school. Currently the lino pieces I have here are from intaglio printmaker and they are the softcut ones- thin, flexible, creamy coloured. I haven’t really enjoyed using these ones as the lino was a bit slippery, and am hoping to get some mounted lino blocks. I think I’ll be less worried about chopping my fingers off with the more sturdy blocks which will work better with my bench hook.

photo of several pieces of lino carved with two faces and one abstract form which is similar to the gourd vegetablePainting: After ordering myself some paints, paintbrushes and bits and pieces over the last month, I finally coaxed myself into painting yesterday. I tried my hand at painting a portrait of my friend, and I am fairly happy with the result. I often have the issue of the eyes being wonky in a portrait and I’m sad to say it happened for this one but overall I think it was a good first attempt after several years of avoiding painting out of fear of failure. Last night I started on a second canvas, this time without a photo reference, but I have a feeling I may scrap it.

I’m trying to get to grips with the medium and read some tips and so on on the internet, along with that I’m just experimenting with the paints. I get pretty impatient waiting for layers to dry though, which usually ends up in me trying to paint over too soon and ruining it and having to wait and then repaint the section.

Illustrator: Thanks to skillshare offering a month free subscription to people who signed up for a prize draw, I can now start my forays into Adobe Illustrator. For several months I’ve had my eye on a couple of the courses offered and I’m happy to be able to begin them now. I’m currently looking at “Master the Basics of Adobe Illustrator to Create Awesome Illustrations” by Julian Burford and I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Another course I’d like to do is about combining usage of Photoshop and Illustrator and that’s by Lydia Nichols. I thought I’d wait for a while before starting that one so that I could learn the fundamentals of Illustrator beforehand.

mac screenshot of a poster made in adobe illustrator featuring a girl in a space suit against a dark sky

Attempt at adobe illustrator – still in the sketching phase, next stop is the pen tool!

By the way, here is a link to a free month of skillshare if anyone is interested.

Actually, I just saw an advert in the paper today about summer courses at the London art colleges. I’m tempted to take a design based course in order to challenge myself AND improve my job prospects. They are usually several hundred pounds but fortunately I’ve saved a fair amount of money through my part time work.

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Anyway, woah okay this blog post is getting a bit long so we’ll leave it at that. As for the game design we’re having a meeting tonight and maybe I’ll make a separate post regarding my progress. I have improved a lot on the game design stuff!

As ever, thanks for reading and take care, feel free to comment and share cool tutorials, links, shout at me or whatever. x

Updates on my little progress list

Website Screenshot

So I have been working on my list and as you can see above I got a basic website up and running! You can find it at www.elysiaart.com. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m unsure about whether to aim for an illustration focused portfolio or a fine art one … or whether I should just have two sites depending on the audience. What do you all think? At the moment I suppose it’s more weighted towards illustration, although I don’t yet feel like I have enough illustration work on there.

As for the other bits on the list, I have started a bit of lino cutting. The lino pieces I’m using are a bit slippery and not that great, but I’ll keep trying and hopefully when I make a trip back down to my old university town I can buy a load of quality lino blocks from the art school.

I also started accumulating painting supplies so that I can try to do some painting. I’ve bought acrylics rather than oils mainly because they are cheaper and don’t require as many chemicals. I’ll see how it goes and post some pictures on the blog once I start! And then depending on how it goes perhaps I will end up investing in oil paints!

Hmm, I think that’s it on the progress front. A lot more to do, of course. I’ve been working a bit more with my game design friends, so that’s slowly developing as well. I also booked my driving test and am practising for that. I’d like to get myself going and start designing some cards or prints… I’ve been doing a lot of drawing from life/photos so I want to get back into something a bit more imaginative.

I hope you all don’t mind but I’m going to post an updated list for me to work on here!

  1. Illustration for portfolio – band poster
  2. Learn more about Adobe software on skillshare
  3. Design some images for cards, prints, maybe make myself a phone case!
  4. Lino cuts – keep going with current materials and hopefully soon source some better ones
  5. Start painting soon
  6. Possible artist collective?

As always, thank you for the support, thank you for the kind comments on my last post too xxx