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.

—-

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

projects update

Hi all,

I started to write a blog post on my phone while at work, but I lost all the text! So I’m rewriting this again. I can’t really remember all that I wrote however. Just an update. Usually while I’m at work at the takeaway, it’s quiet. So I end up reading books, studying Japanese and drawing in my sketchbook. It’s a good place to get things done, although not a job I would like to stay in forever. I’ve been applying for other jobs in art and less exciting places (supermarkets), but without too much success. I still need more experience to get a job in the arts… Maybe one day I will be able to just be an artist full time! I’d love for this game designing project that I’m working on to take off…

Anyway, as for my recent projects… I’ve been working more on the poetry book project. After stagnating for several weeks I decided I would get something more substantial done. I got some bigger, nicer paper and started working with an ink dip pen. I’ve done quite a lot of drawings now so I’m looking forward to sharing the images once I can. I’ll check with my poet friend!

My other big project is continuing with the game design work – along with 2 programmers and a sound guy (not sure what the actual term for a sound person would be). I spent several weeks drawing character sketches to try and work out what kind of monsters to include, and we had regular skype sessions as a group. Now we’re at the prototyping stage – I think – and this week I’m trying to make a full character with some animations so that we can test with it. Here’s a little sketch of a monster pet.

petI’m learning how to use adobe Illustrator at the same time as trying to create these characters… which makes me feel doubly out of my depth. I always feel out of my depth while working on these game design projects, but I guess that means that I am constantly learning new things. Regardless, I hope that I can feel a little bit more comfortable doing this stuff at some point.

Aside from those two main projects I am still studying driving theory and Japanese, and yesterday I sold a commissioned drawing – a reproduction of an old piece of art. Turns out the customer would also like to buy the original, so he’ll be buying that too tomorrow. This is all pretty good for me since I have been struggling for money this week.

I’m not sure which of these I prefer. I spent a lot of time on the original one, and spent less time drawing the second, because otherwise I would have had to charge a lot more. I’m glad that he loved both of them, though! I will have to draw another one however to give to my mother.

I’m going to stop writing now, because I am watching Ghost in the Shell anime, first season, and I have work again from 5-11pm. Hope that everyone had a good new year and ate lots of good food.

Elysia

priorities

sktch

Hi everyone,

I don’t have many updates to give, except that I have been drawing a lot in my sketchbook (above) which has been going well, but I do not have many new polished pieces. I’m working on a commission to draw a family portrait with cats, and it’s taking a lot of my time… once that’s done I’ll post a picture of it and then get on with the other projects. Plus, I realised that I need to get a portfolio together ASAP. I do have a rough portfolio, but a lot of it is old work and I don’t feel like it is good or finished enough.

todo nun

an example of the to do lists all over my sketchbooks

Although my days are not always filled, and I wish I could see my friends more, I have a lot of different priorities at the moment that I’m trying to work through. Along with that I have the usual worries of will I have enough money. I thought, maybe I’ll post a list here of all the stuff I have to do so that I can work through it. For people who have followed my blog for a while, to-do lists are a frequent feature… I usually make at least one a day, and don’t always complete them. I think they help me with my productivity.

Priorities at the moment

  1. Game design projects – website, polish up first game (which means maybe making more animations for monsters, comics to intersperse the levels, etc.) and consider new game projects.
  2. Family portrait commission – I’m currently inking it all and shading. Next stop is colouring.
  3. Thought Bubble convention – need to sort out transport and actually create art for it!
  4. Illustration for a friend’s tabletop RPG project – I need to get started on this once I finish the family portrait commission … it’s probably going to be a digital painting but I’m not sure yet. Maybe a combination of traditional and digital.
  5. Collaboration with a friend who writes poetry – this is probably a longer term project as it will take a lot of work and sending things between one another.
  6. Applying for jobs – preferably weekday, part time if possible… I’m looking for a ‘normal’ job to supplement my art…
  7. Studying Japanese – I want to get to a level where I can work in a job like translation, but that will probably take a long time to get to that level.
  8. Driving – I have to learn to drive as soon as I can…

And eventually, I hope I can work on some more personal work, but it looks like that will be relegated to sketchbook work for now. I’d also like to create a comic, but that’s on the waiting list too. It’ll be great to finally be able to cross off numbers 2-4 soon!

sktch2

personal work will be on the back burner for the moment … is that what people say?

Oh, I watched a documentary the other day which had been recommended to me by friends. It’s called Beautiful Losers and it’s worth a watch. I suppose you could say it’s about subculture and a particular group of artists who would be described as ‘low brow’ … Watching it made me feel more inspired and motivated to create, perhaps it will be insightful for others too.

Anyway, hope you all don’t mind, I’m never sure what to put as the content for a personal blog… I suppose the purpose of this blog is to motivate myself, share with friends, share what I’ve learned and meet people with cool art and a similar mindset. Thanks for reading, anyway. I’m working 5-9pm at the takeaway tonight. I feel pretty overwhelmed with life stuff at the moment so I hope that if a customer is rude to me I won’t get super upset…

Elysia

sketch

I do some sketching when possible while at work. I got a new pentel brush pen which I’m learning to use.

 

Dear all,

It’s been a week and a bit since my last post; since then I have been getting back into my old job at the Chinese takeaway, covering a few days for the shop where I used to work, catching up with local friends, etc. so I haven’t had as much time as I would have hoped with my own projects. I have started one of my recent commissions, but I’ve reached a stage where my next sitting probably needs to be during a full day off.

Included in this post are a few little bits of drawing that I’ve managed to do in my free time. I have a bit less confidence in my work right now but hopefully when I have done a bit more sketching. I have some commissions, collaborations and ideas for a few individual projects to pursue.

A drawing of where I work.

A drawing of where I work.

I hope I can get to work on all of these things, but I must also work on my CV and apply to some more jobs. Working in the Chinese takeaway is nice but I’m anxious to make sure that I will have enough money to visit my friends and also take part in things like comic book conventions and so on. I also need to learn to drive. So much to do!

This is my 'help I've just finished university and don't know what to do' digital painting. I need to get back into digital art when I have time.

This is my ‘help I’ve just finished university and don’t know what to do’ digital painting. The face was really fun to draw, I’m happy with that part of the piece. I need to get back into digital art when I have time. 

My friend and I will probably be going to the Leeds Thought Bubble comic convention at the end of November, so I have to get some work ready for that, as well as money for transport and food. Luckily I have some zines and stickers left over from the exhibition which I can sell. I’d like to put my personal comics together and print them out to sell cheaply in a zine/booklet like format too. For my previous exhibition and university work I did create digitally printed books for the comics, but the production cost was too high so no one actually bought any! Perhaps if I create my own hand made ones I can charge a lot less and actually sell or trade some!

Blaaah, after writing this I feel like I have a lot to do right now. I’m trying to take everything slowly and progress at my own pace again… I hope that I can get everything done…

Elysia

exhibition frustration

Greetings,

it’s again been a while, thanks to home trips and working on my exhibition. Unfortunately, my exhibition work hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. Recently I’ve been trying to create little trading cards of female role models and fictional characters (as mentioned before) through screenprinting. My tutors helped me expose the screens to UV light in order to transfer my photocopied images, but apparently the liquid emulsion used to coat the silk screens wasn’t working well, so most of the screens I tried to use failed. The fourth attempt worked, but I wasn’t aware about some of the details of screenprinting and some of the images got damaged =( so out of six attempts, one was ruined by me and the other five were just dodgy. I’m not sure when I’ll get to try again on exposing the screens, because my tutors aren’t often in the university over summer.

So, the problems with waiting around and then failing with screen printing, plus not actually knowing what I’m doing for the exhibition really… are my frustrations right now. I really hope things will get better. I don’t know if my idea will be loved or hated by my assessors, but I think I should just keep on going and hope. If they don’t like it, then maybe I won’t get such a good mark, but at least by then I will have finished and will be able to start on projects that don’t stress me out so much.

I think I should mention some positive things as well now, because a focus of this blog is to feel better. Lately I’ve been listening to Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast. It is a community radio station for a fictitious desert town, where all sorts of strange sci fi and H P Lovecraft style misadventures take place. It has some great characters and always makes me laugh. I have listened to all the current episodes (it’s ongoing, thankfully), so I really hope I can find some more podcasts to fill the void. I don’t think I’ll be able to find anything quite like WTNV but I’ll be on the lookout. Maybe I could find some audiobooks. Anyway, if you’re interested in any of the following things, I recommend you have a listen… start from the beginning, though. Here is a list: sci fi, conspiracy, the surreal, creepy stories, low but gently voiced narration, morbid humour, etc.

To end with a positive note on art as well, I have a lot of ideas for things I want to do post-university and I also bought a sticker making machine for my exhibition and also for creating cool stickers to sell online. I’ll be working on a proper online shop soon!

Thank you for reading, always, and if you see this Lise, I will catch up with your blog soon! Unfortunately have been too busy travelling, waiting around and having difficulties with art to have a proper read…

Take care all.

lethargic

effddff2b29411e2a84022000aa8048a_7It has been a while since my last post, as I have been (semi) busy preparing for the postgraduate exhibition, opening on 18th May. This week my tutor lent me a frame from my work, and decided to stick my work haphazardly inside until I was able to buy some more mount card to float-mount the piece. The plastic folder I kept it in is stuck in the frame, too … for now. Today I cut some mount card down to the right size and hopefully next week I will attach everything…

Lately I’ve been feeling tired and I have found it difficult to motivate myself to do any university work and I have even had problems with drawing… a little bit. I have been trying to keep up with sketching, at least. I think I’m feeling this way because it is coming to the end of the Spring term, the exhibition is on the way and I have finished the drawing part. What’s left as I have said is the preparation, which usually involves money, asking loads of questions around the department, borrowing tools off people and feeling slightly impatient.

I haven’t really had much on my to do list lately, it has all been little errands, but I have struggled a bit with too, probably due to my own laziness – either that or I burned myself out this term. We have one more term after this, during the summer (no breaks!) and then after that is the final exhibition. Thankfully I just have to make art over summer, no other modules like teaching experience or art history to worry about. I do like both these modules but it might be nice to just have one thing alone to focus myself.

sketch card for my japanese teacher

sketch card for my japanese teacher

We had our last Japanese lesson on Tuesday evening, as our tutor has to fly back to Tokyo to visit her mother over summer. I’m thinking of ways to keep studying Japanese by myself now. I know that classes aren’t always ideal learning environments anyway, but I think I will miss the social aspect of it. I hope to save up for a book which will help take my grammar to the next level. It’s a bit patchy thanks to the combination of self study and classroom work. Every week I also try to complete some lessons on textfugu.com, although I’m reaching the final ones now.

Maybe I need a break or maybe I need to power on with my art – the latter is probably the most ideal route to take. I have a few things on my list that I want (and must) do during the remaining time of university and after that, too. I think I’ll write a little list here too as a method of self-motivation. If you’re one of the few people who have followed this blog for a while you will probably recognise my to do lists.

  • draw 151 original pokemon
  • keep studying Japanese
  • learn to drive
  • update my etsy
  • complete preparations for exhibition
  • do a new comic (perhaps for my coursework)
  • bake more

There are also some exceedingly mundane tasks that must be completed:

  • book all my holiday off before May 12th (policy of the supermarket I work for ><)
  • test out a5 digital prints to sell
  • fill in an application form to the shop I want to work in (although it is very popular so there is a low chance of success!)

I can’t really think of more right now, although this spring is certainly a time when people become inundated with lots of work, errands, cleaning and so on… I hope I can succeed. If anyone is reading this far in, what have you got to do? Are you doing alright? Maybe we can motivate each other.

tale for the time beingI’m writing such a long blog post today that I feel like the character from this book… which is one I would recommend. I read it recently, having seen its front cover in Huddersfield’s Waterstones shop and deciding that I needed to buy it…

wellcome collection – Souzou exhibition

I have wanted to write another post here for a while, so I thought that it might as well be sorted tonight. I am sitting in my parents house tonight (which is about 7 hours away from my university town when travelling on public transport) in my old bedroom, which is packed full with my parents’ computer parts, books (on gardening, religion, physiology…), my accumulated possessions and some empty boxes, too. I travelled here on Tuesday during the daytime, and my journey took even longer due to transport delays… I’m here until Sunday, so I need to have a look at timetables or I might end up spending 8 hours of my day travelling again.

I don’t know how, but as always I’ve been quite busy with things. Usually when I visit I end up spending more time watching series online and drawing than anything else. But I’ve had reunions with some friends and a trip to the Wellcome Collection in London to see their new exhibition Souzou.

by Marie Suzuki

by Marie Suzuki, a sketchbook which appeared to be completely filled with her tight marker/fineliner drawings. The gallery describes her work as representative of her fears of childbirth, disgust of female and male genitalia, among other things. A better description is on the website! 

I really enjoyed the exhibition, which is a collection of art from people in welfare facilities in Japan. There were some really amazing, intense, intriguing pieces of work (I discover I’m not very good at writing intellectual descriptions of art right now), like the pieces shown from the artist above, Marie Suzuki. I think I might visit again.

Untitled by Shingo Ikeda

by Shingo Ikeda. He worked mostly in common notebooks, doing loads of very specific calculations relating to things like how many train journeys he will be taking and calculating the odds for sumou matches, I believe. If I get the book I will amend any mistakes! 

I might also buy the book to keep a reminder of all the interesting works… although looks like I will have to visit again quickly to pick it up on my way back to university, as it is not sold online. I really loved some of the compositions as well, but cannot find the images online.

If anyone gets the chance, I recommend going to visit the Wellcome Collection, which is just one minute from the London Euston train/underground station. It’s a place which combines collections of art with medicine; so you might find there… old fashioned medical tools, illustrations of disease and death, anatomical models, a mummy from Peru, some photograph portraits featuring brain donors, etc. Anyway, they’ve had other exhibitions recently about death, brains, dirt, etc. And I think they might be doing one on insects/pests soon. They also have a large permanent collection which is exciting and possibly slightly morbid (the best!) and you will want to spend a while there looking around. The bookshop is good too and I bought a ‘strawberry cheesecake’ cupcake at the cafe for £2.50 today, it tasted delicious. Definitely buying more cupcakes, too.

I’ll post some more art soon too! Sketches, at least!