Professional Art Portfolio Tips

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With a huge emphasis on artistic skills, it’s also essential to remember that connections and a good portfolio are important for being hired or reviewed for a potential art career too! Especially if you produce a lot of art, it’s best to collect your best work to have in a convenient way to present, especially on hand at a moment’s notice in case there are any surprise meetings with potential employers. With portfolio websites, there are many free sites online such as wordpress, wixsite, weebly, and more! It’s best to collect well taken pictures of your work (if done traditionally) or render digital work in high quality to make more crystal clear. It’s also wise to categorize and group different types of art for specific mediums, years, and indication if they’re personal work or work from hired employers or commissioners. Keeping a professional profile is ideal as well, such as an appropriate username, contact information, and a consistent username for all or most of your social media. That way, with both a professional, easy to recognize, and consistent brand on various platforms, it’s more convenient to gain contact from any source, and have a wider range of exposure to show your best work to everyone!

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Art Conveying Life Lessons Through Stories

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As with art, an important point for art is to not only depict a scene or story, but to convey themes and lessons that the artist feels like are important and should be taught. A manga series, Mob Psycho 100, is an interesting story about psychic powers and paranormal experiences with spirits, and has major themes about emotions, connections, various types of conflicts, and kindness conveyed through the story. Mob Psycho 100 premises with Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, a stoic esper with psychic powers under the teachings of his mentor Reigen, who’s actually a con man pretending to be a powerful esper like him. In this world, espers/psychics have supernatural powers that are heavily rooted in their emotions. For Mob, he looks emotionally stoic on the outside, and actually wants to focus on other aspects of his life “being a normal person” instead of actually improving his powers. As the story progresses and conflicts with other spirits and enemy psychics become more drastic, it is revealed that Mob is actually an emotional iceberg who bottles up his emotions, and thus his powers, out of fear of and hurting people with his powers due to severe trauma related to them. However, he makes friends with many people, both normal humans and espers alike, and learns valuable life lessons about improving himself, allowing himself to be more expressive, and cope better with his emotions and psychic powers throughout the story.

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In this story, the main character introduced is Mob, who is a young teenager with psychic powers. On the surface, he’s reticent and stoic with his emotions and expressing himself. Along with that, despite the fact he’s one of the most powerful espers with advanced powers, Mob actually wants to live a “normal life” like everyone else without powers, and strives to be normal and fit in. Upon closer inspection, he’s actually an in depth character who is revealed to actually suppress his emotions and powers due to his fear of hurting people with them, especially after a traumatic incident at a young age. Though he means well, his methods of coping with the trauma and his emotions and powers are unhealthy, though he gradually matures and learns to handle them more healthily throughout the story.

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As Mob Psycho 100 is a manga series, the story has several arcs and various story points that each have unique conflicts between Mob and spirits, espers, and evil organizations. However, all the arcs, though momentary experiences, actually contribute to one major conflict that spans the entire plot; Mob’s conflict with himself with his powers and emotions. As stated before, Mob is an emotional iceberg due to him bottling up his emotions and expressing himself and using his psychic powers a little as possible. It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism though, and results in emotional meltdowns that occur when his emotions reach their peak to the point he can no longer suppress them, which explode in a great burst of psychic power. Due to the fact Mob has hurt a family member in a traumatic situation at a younger age, he feared continuing to hurt people with his powers and emotions, and thus put emotional shackles on himself to restrain himself. In the series though, Mob joins several school clubs, befriends many people, both with and without powers, and finally matures to accept his emotions and powers as a part of himself that shouldn’t be suppressed, an instead healthily expressed and embraced.

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Compared to Catcher In The Rye, Mob and Holden both have self-loathe in a way, but their methods of handling their self-loathing and emotions starkly contrast with their external behavior and interactions with others, especially with projecting onto others. In Mob’s case, he strives to have positive connections with other people and sees the best in everyone he meets, even to villains that end up befriending him. Along with that, Mob projects his feelings of loneliness and struggle with emotions improving to be a better person onto other psychic espers, and relates to them with the criticism he has about himself. Holdon, on the other hand, hypocritically criticizes other people harshly and refuses to acknowledge that he’s projecting his own flaws onto them. To add to his negative contrast, he prefers to isolate himself and avoid others, and always has negative interactions with people he doesn’t even like in the first place, leading to strained relationships and clashes on both sides.

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Mob Psycho 100 premises as a paranormal story about ghosts and espers, but is truly about human struggles with emotions, relationships, and self-improvement to be a better person, along with the emphasis of refusing to be violent and instead be kind and help others instead of fighting. The manga is very interesting with expanding on the connections between “psychic powers” and emotions, and subverts the trope of how Mob’s bursts of powerful psychic explosions aren’t an impressive flashy power, but instead a tragic look into his trauma and struggles suppressing his emotions. It also emphasizes how psychic powers aren’t actually the most powerful thing in the world, but subverts it depicting is as any other trait or skill in an average life, and that the strongest thing is actually relationships and connections with people. While there are many stories that are in a pessimistic tone, Mob Psycho 100 stands out with showing painful and realistic emotional struggles, but overall maintaining a healthy positive tone. I personally rate this 10/10, and heavily recommend reading and watching this series to anyone.

The Catcher of the Rye Chapter Critique

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In the beginning of the chapter, Holden moves to Ossenberg Hall and proceeds to open and read Out of Africa while donning a red hunting hat he bought recently. He contemplates the book, stating that his initially expectations of thinking it would “stink” were disproven as he read and became more invested in it, but his reading is interrupted when one of his next-dorm neighbors enters the room. The neighboring student is introduced as Ackley, and Holden describes him in a negative light focusing on his bad hygiene, manners, pimply skin, and rude personality, along with looking like he lacks friends. As Ackley continues to spend time in Holden’s room, he pesters him with questions, touches stuff around the room, and clips his nails on top of the table, all while ignoring Holden’s protests. However, Holden’s roommate, Stratlader, who’s also described to be more handsome and popular, enters the room, Holden leaves due to his hatred of him.

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Ackley is one of the two characters introduced in this chapter, and already develops a negative image with his description and behavior. From his introduction alone, he’s described to have terrible habits such as never brushing his teeth, touching other people’s belongings, and dealing with his pimply face. He’s shown to have a negative relationship with people around him too, as he ignores Holden’s protests of him being in the room and conversation with him, along with leaving the room the moment Stratlader enters. In general, he’s also describe to be lonely as he was the only other person not at the game and “hardly went anywhere.” There is potential to his personality and behavior being better though, as Holden has an unreliable narrative in the story where the details of the plot are manipulated by his personal emotions and perception on other people.

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Early on in the story, a conflict is shown with how Holden and Ackley dislike each other and have a negative interaction in this chapter. They have rude behavior and responses towards each other, along with disrespecting each other’s wishes, such as Holden wanting Ackley to leave the room. As this chapter shows a single small interaction between them, it doesn’t seem to be an important conflict relevant to the overall plot or show Ackley would be some kind of antagonist against Holden in the story. So far, there aren’t any motivations or obstacles between them or the plot that motivate the conflict other than their personalities and behaviors bothering each other. However, their conflict is still important because it highlights Holden’s pessimistic personality and narrative of others, even though they may share the same “negative” traits such as him, like both him and Ackley being lonely people without much friends at their school.

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Comparing Ackley and Stradlater was one example of a comparison in this chapter; Holden points out how they strongly differ with their personality, behavior, and appearances. In Holden’s perspective, Ackley has many negative traits, having poor hygiene with an unhealthy appearance, rude behavior and actions towards others, and lack of friends. On the other hand, Holden states that Stradlater is athletic and is more physically healthy and “attractive”, along with having a more cool and positive personality and interactions with others, along with how he states that he’s a popular kid at school.

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This was an interesting chapter seeing Holden’s relationship with peers around him, especially with how they interact with him and show their connections. It’s noticeable that Holden has a lot of tense relationships usually on the negative side, but it’s also important to know that Holden himself has an extremely pessimistic outlook on life and other people. He usually talks and focuses only on traits he perceives as negative, and overlooks any positive traits the person may have, especially because of his personal emotions warping his narrative to be unreliable throughout the story. That being said, it’s interesting to see the different people that appear in Holden’s life, and see how they’re perceived in his perspective and personally guess on Holden’s accuracy of how he judges them. For this chapter, I’d rate it a 9/10.

Art is Subjective

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There are different mediums of art, artistic interpretations, and overall a wide range of depth and expression that art can convey. There is no “good” and “bad” art that can be measured like a ruler, as art can have strengths and flaws in different aspects, such as shading, expression, style, anatomy, and so on. One artist can draw people with on point anatomy and draw them in an appealing style, but it can also be severely lacking in expression, such as crying. Maybe they can draw beautiful faces, but can’t draw in depth expressions because of their art style restricting them and trying to keep the face looking beautiful despite drawing expressions that are considered “ugly” and more emotive the “less beautiful” they’re drawn. To contrast, an artist may have a very simplistic art style and draw plainly, if not in a more “immature” child-like drawing style. However, they’re not restricted by the artistic skills and impulse to draw “pretty” looking art, and allow themselves to draw “uglier”, and thus, more expressive and powerful emotions in their subjects. While art can easily be interpreted and seen on the surface, it’s also important to see beyond that and into the depths of any details it has or is lacking in.

Wisdom Tug-of-War

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Ever since I was a young kid, my parents always told me to work on grades for a better future. I only spent my free time studying, reading books, and trying to achieve high grades since I started elementary school. I felt like I had to do everything my parents wanted not only for their approval, but for basic respect as I only knew at the time making them happy was to get good grades and listen to them about everything.

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However, my opinions changed later on around middle school when I started to draw more. Whenever I was exhausted or wanted to take a quick break, I started off doodling small things on my homework and notes, and gradually improved my skill as I kept drawing more on my homework over time. Then, I actually wanted to draw more and become more independent being an artist, not just a scholar listening to instructions from other people.

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To keep me on the “right path”, my parents initially discouraged me from drawing on my homework and notes, usually making me change my papers or focus on other curriculums instead of being able to draw. Their efforts were frustrating to put up with, and their effort to keep me on the path to only do what they wanted for academics made me more determined to strive as an artist.

homework 4In the end, with approval from other people and teachers around me, my parents finally saw how much art meant to me, especially as a gateway to freedom and personal achievements apart from academics, and grew more accepting of me being an artist. Ever since that point, I’ve been drawing more and honing my skills over time to build a portfolio to show to others.

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I slowly realized that school wasn’t, and shouldn’t, be everything a person should put their value and complete time and effort on. Only forcing people to follow other’s instructions to life and an entire lifestyle can be damaging and harmful to the person’s physical and mental health. Thus, I learned that it’s more important for a person to be allowed to be independent and have specialties and work on their own talents and skills that make them unique, and definitely something they enjoy on their own.

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One important aspect of art is the colors, which is vital to compose a final piece perfectly and catch people’s eyes. There are many ways to color art, especially to experiment with different palettes, matching colors, and contrasting colors! One important thing to know is the subject matter being painted, and if the colors would suit the tone of the artwork. Bright hues are more positive and more commonly used to evoke emotions such as happiness, while darker hues are negatively and commonly used to evoke emotions of sadness or fear. Symbolic colors work well for this too and can even depend on the subject, such as the color red symbolizing royalty through luxurious shades in a king’s attire, or death through splashes of blood. Some colors can match as well, like coloring with blue and green, which are cool colors! However, contrasting colors, such as red and blue, can work, as long as you have one of the opposite colors be less shown like a trim, which can help reduce eye strain. There are no limitations to coloring art, the possibilities of improving art are endless!

Unique Art Styles

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On the subject of improving art, one important aspect is having a unique art style. As there are many artists in the world, it’s a nice thing to have an art style that stands out that people can recognize for specific kinds of artists, along with influences they have from others. Even artists have art styles so similar to other people it could seem the exact same, and has been the subject of debate of having a unique art style or basically just copying someone else, usually a popular or well known artist. I personally believe having inspiration and influence from others is a good path for an art style, though what matters the most is the artist having their own unique style with how they draw. Some ways to improve your personal art style is to examine who your favorite artists are, and what about their art style or method of drawing is your favorite. Is it the way they draw faces or eyes? Then think about why you like the way they draw certain features! With the example of faces, you may like an artist because they draw them in a very expressive and proportional way. With that in mind, you can improve and work on your own unique art style focusing on drawing expressive faces better. Instead of merely copying other artists, having influence working on aspects you appreciate how other artists draw is a good approach to working on your own art. It doesn’t have to just be how they draw too, it can also be how they color, design characters they draw, any textures they depict, and so on!

Art Improvement Tips

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As this is a blog focused on art, it’s important to have some reminders and notes of personal art tips as well! I’m personally a very busy person, and I have a daily struggle of trying to maintain good grades in school while also balancing some free time for art. Especially since I want to become a professional artist and possibly animator in the future, it’s crucial for me to learn how to improve with art as time passes to be more prepared in the future. I’ve been following these tips I’ve learned from online, friends, and personal experiences, and I hope these suggestions are helpful for others too! Some starting points are to set small goals, such as small drawings or doodles every day, and gradually make the goals larger if you feel comfortable over time. Other ways to improve art and drawing skills are to start on still life or gesture drawings, and there are many websites online that help give beginning advice or examples to reference, which will help your art become more realistic and understand the basic fundamentals of important things such as anatomy and shading. Other than studies, just draw things you like, it helps with feeling enough motivation to finish an art piece or enjoy the process of drawing something you love! Experimenting with different art mediums, like painting, digital, or graphite, is another way to broaden your horizons and get a feel for what kinds of art would feel the most comfortable to draw. Finally, for critique, it’s best to ask other friends, especially peers who are artists as well, for advice and feedback on your art to figure out what your strengths or flaws are. Take breaks if necessary too, and know that you shouldn’t force yourself to do art like a mandatory thing daily, as that will wear you out. I hope that these suggestions help if you’re trying them out, and good luck with your artistic journey developing your skills!

We Don’t Need a Live Action of Lilo and Stitch

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Recently, there have been announcements that Disney have a Lilo and Stitch remake as a live action movie in the makes. The original Lilo and Stitch movie is an animated film released in 2002, and is about an alien called Stitch who crash lands on Earth and is adopted by a lonely Hawaiian girl named Lilo. The animated film had received positive reception, and is a well known movie to this day, especially as one of Disney’s unique films that differ from the standard “fairy tale” animations. The animated film already stands well on its own, and a live action remake is not necessary, not to mention how it would most likely bring down the original animation. There are various reasons why a live action film would be sub par to the animated film, such as reinforcing negativity towards the animation medium, and ruining various things the original film featured,  such as the plot, themes, and representation.

Disney is famous for animation, especially for the advanced 2D animation that the company started off with and have made countless movies with. Animation is a difficult medium due to the amount of time and effort put into it, especially combined with the elements of storytelling to make an animated movie. Unfortunately, animation and animated films are severely undermined and seen as a “lesser” art or medium, and have a stigma of only being suitable for children. Though the stigma most likely comes from Disney’s films having a main audience children and other animations like children’s TV shows, it neglects Disney’s writing and animation that everyone can enjoy and watch, as it is geared to being family friendly as well. Back to the main point, with animation seen as a “lesser” art, movies like live action are seen as “more valuable” and “mature”, given the amount of movies in live action geared to mainly be for older audiences. Both animation and live action are different mediums and should be respected for their own individual positives, but this is not the case with the many live action remakes of animated films. With movies like Beauty and the Beast, which already had animated films, be remade as live action, it further reinforces that animation is an “inferior” medium, and potentially hurts professional artists and animators. Another important thing to know is that even as a children’s movie, Lilo and Stitch doesn’t have writing that infantilizes the audience, and actually has complex themes and plot, which opposes the negative stigma of how animation isn’t meant for mature audiences.

To further emphasize Lilo and Stitch’s deep writing, it is a children’s animated film, but it includes mature themes in the plot ranging from loss of parents, struggling to self provide for a family, and the life of Hawaiian people affected by stereotypical tourism that are all relevant to when it the movie was first released and still in today’s society. With live action though, changes and cuts are inevitable to the script to try to save up on time and get to the basic points of the main plot, though it will take away the importance and true feeling of the original animated film. Even as a movie meant for children, the animated film’s plot includes the issue of Lilo’s parents recently dying, and Nani, her older sister struggling to support Lilo to prevent child service from taking her away. In the movie, trophies, posters, and an emotional moment in the movie where the family surfs indicate that Nani was on her way to be a professional surfer, but with the current family situation and her working jobs to support everyone, she gave up on that future to take care of her sister. With one of her jobs too, one integral plot point is how Lilo and Stitch cause trouble at one of the businesses she works at, which serves two things; furthering the issues of the family being supported and Lilo staying under Nani’s custody, and how the business itself reflects the life of Hawaiians and tourism (which will be covered later). Lilo herself struggles to make friends, and acts differently with how she adopts Stitch, who doesn’t resemble a typical dog, and acts in ways other people would consider strange, such as taking photographs of tourists, “punishing [her] friends” by mixing around spoons in a pickle jar as childish attempts to do voodoo, and more. Instead of being upset at Lilo for being fired and complicated situations, Nani supports her and plays along, never putting her ideas down and always making sure that Lilo doesn’t feel blamed for severe problems. Though they have a rocky relationship in the movie, Nani and Lilo genuinely care for each other and want to stay together, especially in hard times of their parents’ recent deaths. Unfortunately, a live action would most likely gloss over, ignore, or outright cut out themes and moments like these in favor of practical things such as saving the budget. These themes in the original animated film bring more meaningful depth to the plot and characters, and a live action would be harmful to these themes and the true impact of the original movie.

Finally, as Lilo and Stitch takes place in Hawaii and features native Hawaiian characters, it’s important to accurately show representation of Hawaiian people for more authenticity and positive representation. For the original animated film, Hawaiian people were cast for the roles, and were asked for input on writing the scripts to improve them. One of the most prominent examples is with the theme of how tourism is negative and stereotypical, such as the luau business that Nani worked at and was fired from. Even as she leaves when being fired, Nani calls it a “fakey luau”, which is an accurate description, as luaus were originally a sacred practice that were appropriated into a tourist gimmick that Hawaiian people had to work for in order to support themselves. Also, there was a deleted scene where Lilo clearly resents the tourists and scares them away with a tsunami alert, though this subplot is still present in the final cut when Lilo’s photos of them are shown, as she takes pictures of them to mock how the tourists would take pictures of the natives as if they were props too. As mentioned earlier, live action movies would cut or modify the script of the original film, and results in loss of depth and important themes, and Disney is definitely guilty of that for another animated film with an ethnic minority having a remake; Mulan. Mulan is another animated film about a young Chinese girl  who joins the army in secrecy due to sexist laws, and ends with her defeating the main villain, hailed a savior of China, and respected as such as a woman, especially in the face of China’s sexist laws and stigma in the movie. The movie remake, even being in production at the moment, has received backlash for constant changes. Some are changing the villain from a male Hun leader to an evil sorceress, which wipes away the original message the original movie was conveying and replacing an important male character who respects Mulan as a female warrior in the animated film with a “new” male character who hates Mulan until he finds out she’s a woman and is only attracted to her from then on. With how all of the intense criticism has been going for one movie representing an ethnic minority that hasn’t even been released yet, there are legitimate concerns and doubts that the Lilo and Stitch live action will be good as well, and not face such degrading changes to the plot and characters like Mulan.

Overall, Lilo and Stitch stands well on its own as a children’s animated film that also features many important themes and representation of an ethnic minority, and shouldn’t have a live action remake of the movie. Even as it’s in production at the moment, it’s likely that the live action will disrespectfully reinforce animation to be a “lesser” medium, cut away the importance and themes of the animated film, and ruin a lot of the representation and plot of the movie itself.

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