Stuff I'm Learning

Working hard = Failing — Spring 2015

Ever since I can remember, my parents & grandparents have emphasized to me how important it is to work hard. And shortly after my grandfather passed—a few months before I started university at SCAD—my grandmother sat me down and explained to me how hard my granddad had worked to make sure that he could help send my sister, my cousins and me to college. Of everything my grandmother told me, what stuck out in my mind was how many times my grandfather had failed before he could really establish himself. 

That notion of working hard pervades all my endeavors. In other words, I believe in sweat or rather in sweating (figuratively and physically). I work hard and I try my best, I really do. But sometimes, I forget about that failure part. I forget that failing is sometimes the by-product of working hard.

Interestingly enough, though it’s my last quarter at SCAD, I feel like I’m failing more now than I when started. At the same time, I feel like I’m trying my hardest. And lately, this has really been frustrating me.  What I had to remind myself today is that the reason I’m failing isn’t because I’m not trying. I’m failing because I am.  

I could learn a lot from Tina Belcher... — Spring 2015


I watch incessant amounts of Bob’s Burgers­…and I make no apology for it.  To me the show’s unsung hero is Tina Belcher. I mean sure she’s kind of too obsessed with horses, Zombie erotica, friend-fiction and boys but she’s endearing and empowering even. She owns who she is, as awkward as she may be, and though she tends to get tongue-tied, when she does speak her mind Tina says some pretty profound things. Her unconventional, quirky confidence and humility actually empower me.  

So, in the words of Tina, “I'm no hero, I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else.”

 (Yes, I just kinda wrote an ode to Tina Belcher—a fictional cartoon character—and I meant every word).

Screw perfectionism....sometimes – Winter 2015

It always amazes me how you can spend long hours preparing for something and then when said thing finally comes, it just seems to fleet on by. That was definitely the case for me today. After some pretty long hours of prep, SCAD’s big career fair quickly came…and quickly went. As per usual, I was a big ball of nerves. In the whirlwind of presenting my work to recruiters and creatives at some great companies, I couldn’t help but notice how much I seemed to ramble on or how dry my mouth was. Yet, in spite of those worries, I could at least rest assure that my portfolio presentation PDF was solid…or so I thought. After the 4-hour drive back to Atlanta (from Savannah) I decided to just peruse that portfolio PDF one last time. Lo and behold, on the first page…a typo -__-

I promise I know how to spell *career.

But y'know, even though I initially felt like kicking myself, I think what this little incident has reminded me is that I have to forgive myself for mistakes…especially little ones. I can be too hard on myself. Screw perfection…sometimes.

Gutenberg would laugh at me – Winter 2015

Yes, Johannes Gutenberg might have laughed in my face if he were still alive today to see me set type. But as slow as I am, I reaalllyy like the letterpress printing process.

To be completely honest, the actual press intimidated me quite a bit at first. A machine that old knows it's the boss and boy did the cranking of its ink rolls let me know it. And yes, I over-inked it and nearly squeezed my thumbs but I love that everything about printing this way forces me to slow down — finding the right type and the right sized leading, kerning letters without using the "opt" and "<,>" keys, figuring out how to arrange the furniture on the press like a jigsaw puzzle...everything. And I'm no Eric Spiekerman (yet...I hope), so I do get frustrated when things happen with the process that I don't understand. But once that print cranks through the rollers, it makes the whole process is so worth it.

Sometimes, I gotta fake it till I make it – Winter 2015

I'd be lying if I said 2015 doesn't scare the crap outta me. I think the most daunting thing about this year is the fact that I will be graduating from uni. And, after I cross that stage and turn my tassel I have no clue what will happen once I get chucked into the real world. I mean, I have goals and wishes and dreams...lots of them...and I will bust my arse. But, the uncertainty of everything can get so crippling for me.

Nonetheless, I'm deciding right now to take the advice of someone I look up to quite a bit  – "fake it till you make it ". If I can convince my fears that they won't phase me, then maybe I can convince myself. And it's not so much that I won't be scared, but that I'll still be able to kick major butt in 2015 in spite of those fears.

These are my most valuable possessions right now – Fall 2014

I try to write/draw just about everything down. So, having a sketchbook and a pen with me all the time is really important. Funny, a pen almost feels like an appendage to my hand now. And, a few days ago when I was skimming through some of my sketchbooks I thought how devastated I'd be if I were to lose any of them. I think I'd rather lose my passport (I know, that's serious & my mother would not be pleased at all). But although they might not mean much to anybody else, of the material possessions I have (which isn't very many to begin with)my sketchbooks are the most valuable of the lot.

If you want the job done, bind it yourself – Spring 2014

In the midst of finals, finals that coincide with Memorial weekend, I've learnt that everywhere that prints and binds books is basically closed on the third weekend in May. So, when all else failed and my Art Direction II group needed our final presentation book covered and bound, I did it my dang self, no thanks to Kinkos or ABC Printing. Thank God, however, for trusty art supply store Sam Flax and most importantly, for a minor in Book Arts.

Maybe I'm not too shabby at this book-making thing – Spring 2014

So maybe I'm really not as shabby as I thought with this book-making thing. It definitely was a bit of a shock when I found out I managed to place in this year's Juried Student Artist's Book Competition among some incredibly crafted books. But, I'm so grateful and it makes me feel like maybe my love for making these books isn't unfounded – not that I needed an award to justify it. I've just wondered for a while if my skill for making books would ever match my love for it, and although I don't quite believe it has yet, placing in the competition makes me feel like it's not impossible.

You can click here to see SCAD ACA Library's post about the 7th Annual Juried Student Artist's Book Competition :)

Double Pamphlet Binding – Spring 2014

I'm not quite exactly sure what it is about making books that makes me feel so good but, I hope it stays forever & ever. I think over the past couple months, as I've been getting the chance to make my own, as well as see some brilliant artist books, I've really come to believe that making artist books is one of the most original, conceptual & technical forms of creative expression. Seriously. And thankfully, my school has an ah-mazinggg collection of artist books (that my professor makes sure we see). Whenever I get the chance to look at one I find myself thinking in loops about how these people make such crazy, intricate, genius books. Man, artist books belong on the shelves of the gods or something.

All the while, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the art of making books as impressive as the ones I've seen. Not quite there yet...but I love the process of trying to get there. There's so much to learn. All the kinds of binding and folding and covering. This week in class my professor showed us how to do double pamphlet binding. It didn't look impossibly hard and so, before I went to sleep last night I wanted to give it a try on my own. Took me a bit (my professor made it look easy) but managed to make this little book. I'm calling it " today, I should...". Hoping to fill it with the things I randomly think of doing on a given day. Trying to make them rhyme but that may even surpass my level of cheesy.

Handmade Bookmaking – Winter 2014

In the process of finishing this little accordion book. Not quite there yet and with the advent of the Atlanta snowpocalypse II, I've been a bit delayed in completing it (the paper I made for the cover is still in the press at school). Nonetheless, I'm pretty excited to get it all done. From the onset, I really wanted to experiment with making some paper and a book with holes. But, I had no idea how I was going to execute it or if it'd be successful. My professor is great though. She really helped me figure out the logistics of sizing the paper and how to make the holes just where I needed them. When I finally get done, I'll get some better pics taken and reveal the concept behind it ;]

The next beast to tackle in this class is bookbinding. Saw my professor's demos, did a binding class collab, but doing it on my own is another story. It will get done though and I will get good at it (even if I mess up the first 50 times) because I plan to keep on making handmade paper and books forever and ever.

How to "hog the slurry" – Winter 2014

My first batch of hand-made paper :)

Well, I can't take all the credit. I partnered with an awesome classmate to make hand-made paper for the first time. It is crazy how much water paper is made of. Needless to say, I got soaked in this process, but no complaints (I liked playing in the rain a lot as a child much to my mother's disdain).

The beater (the machine that churns up the rags/cloth to make the pulp) scared me initially. It's noisy and sporadically spurts pulp. But, now I've gotten over the initial nervousness of using it for the first time, I've come to appreciate it for what it does.

Lotsss more paper to make though. Once it's made, the next step is making a few books from it. It's a time-consuming process but I really enjoy it. Definitely not the same as learning software like After Effects, but in some weird way I think all the things I'm learning are informing each other.


I'm pretty cheesy – Winter 2014

And the After Effects stuff continues! (This quarter I am in Motion Media Techniques 2 *pats self on back*.) For the first class, my professor asked that each student put together a short video, in one day, with the theme "Piece of Me" in mind. This was his way of getting us to talk about ourselves. "Yikes!" I thought and naturally, my brain went blank. I was stumped for a while but then I came across a Dr. Seuss quote and figured why not write a Dr. Seuss-esque rhyme about myself. Once I did that, I thought little hand-drawn illustrations would go perfectly with the concept & so I got to drawing. Then, I put everything in After Effects and came out with this little video – possibly the cheesiest introduction I have ever made.


Volcanoes Can't Swim – Fall 2013

Here's a snapshot of some of my final screen prints for my Serigraphy class. We all voted  as a class & came up with "Childhood Fears" as a theme for everyone to explore. As a child, I was terrified of volcanoes (okay, I still am). So, I made volcanoes the subject of this edition of prints I call, "Volcanoes can't swim, Danielle."

I can never forget, when a volcano erupted on a neighbouring island, I had dreams that it would somehow cross the sea and just consume my home. So, everyday, I would ask my dad, "Will the volcano come here, Daddy?" And, he'd say, without fail, "Volcanoes can't swim, Danielle." That's how I came up with the title.

PS. I improved on my screen printing technique soo much compared to when I started. I really do love the medium & hoping I can keep at it.


Animation in After Effects – Fall 2013

I've always always had so much respect for animators and after doing this little assignment, I have even more. Learning how to navigate After Effects better & better. It really is my goal to get to know it well. Lots of parenting and key frames in this little animation to get the legs to move and joints to bend. Really understanding how important it is to pay attention to details and subtle movements in animating anything. 

As usual, I've still got some ways to go before I get really comfortable with After Effects. Plennntyyy more practice needed. But I'm ready, ready, ready!

Screen Printing – Fall 2013

Getting into screen printing.  The process is pretty tedious and a lot more technical than I'd imagined but I really, really, really like it. I have some ways to go before I get good but definitely going to keep at it.


After Effects things – Fall 2013

Learning more about After Effects this quarter at school. Lots of possibilities! Still a newb, an optimistic newb though.  Excited to learn more. For now, just playing around a bit with my logo.