Isolation Eats

Hi everyone,

What a strange time to be living in… I hope everyone here is doing OK and I am so sorry for any of you who may be grieving ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Also I hope that if you are out of work that you are able to get some financial support. There’s so many different ways we could be affected by this thing that I don’t think I could write for each situation… so, take care.

Currently in the UK we are under orders not to leave our homes except for food foraging, 1 type of exercise a day, caring for elderly (etc) relatives, and… maybe there are other allowances but I’m unsure. I’ve been in isolation since mid March anyway as C is considered vulnerable due to his MS and immunosuppressant medication.

Because of this we haven’t been able to go out to the shop and ordering food online has been difficult and semi anxiety inducing for me. We managed to get a food delivery today so we should be ok for a while. From 20th March to today we have been waiting for that delivery, so our food choices had to be a little ingredient-efficient and sometimes a bit bizarre… I thought I’d share some of those with you, continuing on from the theme of recipes (see previous post). I amย definitely not anywhere near an expert with cooking but I can cook for myself and others and survive. So these recipes aren’t necessarily fancy or even good haha. I just provide them in case anyone happens to be interested ๐Ÿ˜‰

If anyone can’t get hold of the ingredients mentioned below, I’m sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I will be writing up a couple more recipes perhaps so maybe those will have relevant ingredients for you. Also within the UK it seems that things are getting a bit better supermarket wise so hopefully you will all be able to get what you want ๐Ÿ™‚

(bar bread flour, it seems like everyone has collectively decided to practice baking – specifically baking bread?!)

Banana Pancakes

Classy, eating at my desk while working from home in my PJs

This one probably could do with a bit of an extra fry on the first side…

Update, 01/04/2020: At the request of my mother who may not be disobeyed, I have now added ingredient amounts!

Ingredients for 2 large-ish pancakes:

  • 1 Banana
  • 3 tablespoons flour – plain is good but to be honest try whatever you want! You may even be able to supplement this (partially or possibly wholly) with ground oats… No promises though as I haven’t tested this
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk alternative (I used oat milk once the milk had run out… ps you can make oat milk out of oats and water if you can’t get hold of milk)
  • 1 egg if you have any (optional) – if no egg, you may wish to increase the amount of flour you put in
  • Bonus: vanilla essence! You could try adding a little cocoa instead if you want…

Feel free to augment and experiment with this ingredient list as you wish!
If you want to make normal non-banana pancakes, you can just use this recipe and mix it all together: 300ml milk/milk alternative, 2 eggs, 4 large tablespoons of plain flour. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Smash the banana with a fork or other implement
  2. If you have egg, add it
  3. Add your liquid of choice
  4. Mix, it will still be lumpy unless you’re a great masher
  5. Add and mix flour – in order to get the consistency you want for your pancakes, add flour in small increments. I recommend for it to be more gloopy than runny
  6. Heat your pan with some oil so it’s HOT! I used a non-stick wok for my pancakes as most of our frying pans are not actually non stick. Whatever works for you. You can test if the pan is hot enough by dripping in a tiny amount of your pancake batter. The oil needs to sizzle and bubble around it!
  7. Add in half of your batter (if you’re aiming for 2 pancakes), and smoosh it around to give it a large surface area. As it’s probably lumpy from banana it won’t be super thin, but smoosh as much as you want unless you want a beefy pancake. If it’s chonky then it will probably need more cooking time for the heat to go all the way through.
  8. Wait a few minutes for the bottom to cook – after a few mins you can gently lift an edge to see how it’s getting on underneath. It’s up to you how done you want it but I go by the cooked-level of the first image on this post ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. Flip and do the other side – a couple of minutes – keep checking until you feel it is done ๐Ÿ˜€
  10. Enjoy! Add whatever toppings you like/have.

I would love to hear what you add to your pancake! And if you have any feedback or changes you made to the ingredients or instructions, please do share. ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care all,

Elysia

Black Bean Sauce Recipe (JP + EN translation)

Hi all!

It has been a while! I wanted to share with you something I made for my Japanese module coursework, a recipe for black bean sauce from my mum. The images are all in Japanese but I will write the translation below ๐Ÿ™‚ I have separated it into parts corresponding with each page.

Just a disclaimer, I’m not an expert recipe writer, and my mum is notorious for avoiding specifying ingredient amounts, so you may wish to tweak this if for example you want your sauce gloopier (more cornstarch) or less gloopy (less cornstarch), etc. I am open to questions if you have any, and if I can’t answer I can ask my mum!

Ingredients

  1. Meat (suggestion: 3-4 chicken thighs or 450g of beef)
    Vegetarian options: 1 block of firm tofu or quorn etc.
  2. 5cm ginger
  3. 4 cloves garlic
  4. 3 spring onions for paste and 2 thinly sliced for topping
  5. 25g fermented black soy beans
  6. Fresh chillis (or as many or few as you wish)
  7. 10g cornstarch
  8. 1 bell pepper (mum’s suggestion – red – I prefer green though!)
  9. Soy sauce
  10. Oil for frying

Side Note 1: you should be able to find fermented black soy beans in a Chinese supermarket or online (1, 2).

Part 1

  1. First off, although not mentioned in my JP recipe (because brevity was important and I was also on a deadline), my mum recommended marinating the meat/tofu with a bit of corn starch (‘maybe a heaped teaspoon – depending on quantity’), rice wine, light soy sauce and a bit of sesame oil.
  2. Very roughly chop the ginger, garlic and spring onions, put them into a blender. Add the black beans (don’t need to chop these). If you like spicy food feel free to add chillis. Blend everything!
  3. If you want rice, now’s the time to put the rice cooker on, or prepare your rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker I recommend making it in the microwave with a steamer like this.
  4. Turn on the stove and heat up your frying pan to medium heat.

Part 2

  1. Put ~30ml oil or so in the pan. First of all, put the meat/tofu etc. in and fry. We want to seal the edges of the meat and for the tofu/veg option we want to make the surface nice and crispy. If frying tofu it could take around 10 mins and you need to be turning it over to fry the different edges. For meat it could take about 5 mins.
  2. When the meat’s sealed or tofu is nice and crispy, take it out of the frying pan. Next, add the pepper and fry it for a few mins, then take out and set aside for later.

Part 3

  1. Take the paste from the blender and fry it. After a few minutes when it is fragrant, you can add in the meat/tofu and fry for a few more mins.
  2. Mix 10g cornstarch and 100ml water in a separate bowl and then add it to the pan. Continue to stir ๐Ÿ™‚ you can now add light soy sauce to taste.
  3. Add the pepper back into the pan and continue to stir.
  4. When it becomes goopy then you know it’s almost ready. Keep cooking until the meat is cooked (you can cut it open to see).
  5. Serve it on top of a bed of rice and sprinkle with more thinly chopped spring onions.

Aaaaand here I got round to taking a couple photos of a version of this dish I did today… I added mushrooms, onions and courgette. I didn’t use any peppers, and I also used fried gluten instead of tofu! Go ahead and substitute whatever you feel like ๐Ÿ™‚

WHEW

tumblr | storenvy | instagram | redbubble

I linked my various online presences above until I can sort out this site a bit… ๐Ÿ™‚

Wheeeewwww, it’s been over a year! A year and a half since I last wrote! I did have good intentions about writing. I kept ‘industry workshops blog post’ in my to do list for months after it ended (it was in Aug 2018… or maybe Sept 2018), until I realised it really wasn’t going to get done.

In short, I loved industry workshops, it was an amazing weekend full of friends, being able to meet some artists I admire, eating lots of good food, and having so much to learn and cram into my brain. It was so overwhelming, in a good way. But also in a way that meant it took me a long time to process all of it, and honestly I think some of the things I learned spilled out of my head and I’m going to have to revisit my sketchbook for the weekend to re learn it all.

Since then, though, I’ve moved house, and I don’t even know where the sketchbook is right now! We moved in May 2019 to our own house, another overwhelming and also stressful experience. But I’ve settled in now and managed to partially redecorate the spare room, which will also house my art stuff. I just need to get a book case and some other storage so I can unpack my art box – which has never really been unpacked since university (I was at uni 2009-2013)! So much to do. I’m also looking forward to unearthing all the piles of artwork I collected from my lovely friends and framing and mounting the pieces.

Apart from that news I will write a very quick general update: I’m still drawing and doing character-y things, but my idea of what I want in life has changed a bunch and probably requires a whole new post to elaborate on. I’m also still doing Japanese, attending a 20 credit evening class at Manchester university (did the same last year too). It’s a lot of work on top of the full time job… but I’m glad to be keeping it up.

Thanks for sticking by, if you happen to be reading still!

Mini Organisational Post

Hi all,

I’ve thought a little about how I want to organise my blog. I think I will make dev logsย andย art logs – since a lot of my art stuff won’t fit easily into development related things – I still do a lot of non-game stuff. Other stuff that doesn’t fit in those sections… I’m not sure yet. Perhaps there will be a misc or life log or perhaps I won’t try to make everything suffixed with -log! We’ll see.

Today it’s Sunday… I’ve been working on my 3D commission for a friend – a low ish poly female character model to be completed, textured and rigged. My friend is able to do mocap so she will be animated for a music video (or several). Exciting project!

Aside from that I’ve been feeling a little sluggish today and have been knitting a little bit. I’m going to walk to the shop soon for food shopping.ย After that, I’ll work on the commission a while more today and probably also paint.

Thanks for keeping up with me!

Long time no see

Hi friends,

It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve posted here. A bunch of stuff has happened, including moving to Manchester from Wales… Moving took a lot of organising and packing and time, so my portfolio work and other bits had to be put on the back burner, but I’ve settled in now and I feel more able to get things done.

For a while I have also been working in retail and other part time jobs while applying to jobs (a story for another time). I was hoping that moving to Manchester would give me a better chance at finding a job. I managed to get a job doing research work full time, starting two weeks ago, finally working regular hours again (I previously had to work retail shifts – also known as having to work every weekend and work til 10pm or later). So I’m really happy to regain my evenings and weekends and hope that this will give a better routine for doing art.

Now that I’ve moved, and I’ve started working regular hours again, I’m back to figuring out a new art routine and working out what I want to do. I still want to focus on games-specific artwork. I still want to work on my game project, Wander. I also have a reasonably big 3D commission to work on which I’m excited about.

During and after moving, in between getting a new job and so on, I managed to finish my low poly 3D model of a character for Wander; I’m thinking of just doing it all in 3D; I like the idea of bringing my on-paper characters to life a bit more.

I probably won’t be applying to games jobs for a little while as I have to learn all about my new job, but I will work on pushing my skills and improving my portfolio for my ‘ultimate’ goal. I need to clarify what my goal is a bit more, because it could turn out that I just want to work on my own game projects, but we’ll work that out.

I am thinking about changing my blog around a bit more, and making myself more likely to write on it. I’m thinking of switching to a more devlog like style of posting (not sure that my posts before were that far off from that, to be honest can’t remember), and focusing on my game dev-related pursuits with a smattering of other arts.

Now working in a research role, and learning about how companies operate, I’ve become all nerdy and tried to work out how my ‘operations’ work out; so I made myself a handy diagram to think about it all.

So I guess everything comes under my main handle, under which I’ve been posting for quite a while. I haven’t even got a shop really right now, except for a little redbubble, but maybe that’ll be a thing eventually. I actually have some traditional work which I started making to sell which I just need to tape up to a board and paint.

Mini update on my previous projects: seer project was completed, but then I realised I wasn’t happy with the design, so I’m adding some work onto that project and rehashing it, currently doing a turnaround. You can see a load of recent stuff on my tumblr as I have managed to keep it updated!

Anyway, those are some things for me to think about. This blog will change. Hope you are all well and thanks for sticking about!

Seer Project Progress

It’s been a while!

I’ve made a bunch of progression on my most recent big project, which can be found here on artstation.

I think I’ve come to a good milestone in it but I feel like there is always more that can be done… I thought I would share a couple of small, achievable ideas on how to improve and expand on the project. After that I might think about how to push my AJ project a bit further too, keeping in mind feedback from AJ and the artists at Creative Assembly.

For the Seer Project:

  1. Include detail and development on boot design
  2. Include detail and development on pauldrons
  3. Sketch out back view for most recent finished design and add notes
  4. Detail shot of staff and further development of its textures

Character design of an insectoid creature

For AJ Project:

  1. Back view of insectoid creature
  2. Pick a 3rd character to develop

I’m not sure if I will complete all of these but they at least give me a direction. In addition to these actions (during or after), I realise I need to strive to study more. Lately I have made some progress and I need to keep pushing forward.

2017 Review; 2018 Plans

Hi all, hope everyone is having a great festive period, whatever celebrations it might entail.

I’m just taking a little time to do an ultra quick review & set a few art goals for 2018.

2017

  • My digital painting skills improved a lot; as did my understanding of things like values, how to use colour, general technical abilities/knowledge within Photoshop
  • I learned more about the requirements for being a concept artist in terms of skill and also how to approach and structure projects – thanks to the mentorship and also feedback I got from IW
  • I vastly improved my etsy shop but it still has a long way to go
  • I got a basic understanding of zbrush which I need to build on in the next year
  • I started a commission that was out of my comfort zone (still working on it, deadline is around new year ish) but still achievable
  • I completed some portfolio projects
  • I drew pretty much every day in some shape or form

2018

  • I want to finish my current portfolio WIP – a character design – female
  • I want to complete a male character design and a creature design project
  • I hope to do one or more courses either through Schoolism, Skillshare, Lynda (3D tutorials here), AJ’s mentorship again or some other platform
  • I am working on rebuilding my sketching confidence in traditional media and I want to continue to do this – this ties in with the sketching every day mentioned above
  • I would like to further diversify my work (within the loose bounds of concept art) – for example to design some weapons, maybe some form of vehicle (not necessarily sci fi but could be a fantasy vehicle which would be cool), different types of people and so on

I also want to be more focused and determined but since that’s not as tangible a goal as the above I’m not including it in that list, more keeping it in mind when I can.ย Non art related, personal and craft related goals of mine include setting up an occasional art/craft night, buying less plastic-bottled drinks and eating a bit more fruit and veg (not surprising to be featured in resolutions).

This is all I can think of at the moment but I think I’ll probably come back and add more to 2018!

Have a happy new year all, let me know your resolutions or share your blog posts here if you like ๐Ÿ™‚

Elysia