April media round up

What I read in April 2021

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The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang

This came up on my library's overdrive as a recommendation. I was intrigued by the cover: an east asian person with legs spread wide, looking pretty boss and confident. I read the description and didn't expect to know that a Korean-Canadian woman would have any affiliated with the hip hop scene and Wu Tang Clan. This book reminds me that there's a place for all of us, to tell our stories. If we feel under-represented in this world, then we should try to stop making ourselves small and quiet, otherwise we're going to be reinforcing what we dislike most.

Delinquent Housewife 2-4 by Nemu Yoko

I'm not sure what it is, but all the characters in this series have great appeal to me. They all charming in their own ways. The artwork feels very breezy and accessible. The series ends at 4, and I'm glad that it ended in the way it did; without it becoming too awkward or contentious!!

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Sweet and wholesome. There is a looseness/bendiness to the art and a lot white space and decompressed panelling that I enjoyed. Good feelings!!!!

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Gorgeous story with beautiful flowing artwork and paneling. Also love the author notes about intentions and fashion/design inspiration that was included at the end. Attention to detail combined with balance aesthetic between negative and positive space made for an enjoyable read! I think the allusions and imageries from mixed cultures/folklore was weaved into the narrative well, in a way that wasn't too abstract nor too explicit, just right! The author talks about how comics are a combination of both text and visual languages, which I completely agree with.

I Don't Want to Die Poor by Michael Arceneaux

Michael makes a lot of references to other media (reality tv shows, musicians/artists, etc.) that I'm not familiar with, but I greatly appreciated his vulnerability and candid reflections, especially with regards to his parents. Reading the book makes me think about the student loan situation as some extension of the carceral system...

Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi (Signature series) 1

I think this is a thick book compilation of the original volume 1-2. I have to admit that I'm probably not the target audience for this book, as the pervy teenage boy main character is completely repulsive to me, and I don't particularly enjoy how these potentially better-off-without-him female characters can't live without him (harem-ish?).


Today's music post: Sorry by Danny Elfman. I wasn't expected that he was releasing albums on this platform! This song reminds me of his stuff from Oingo Boingo x Orchestrated scores.

Life sidequests

Random other things I've been doing

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Was gifted a sea otter cross stitch kit designed and compiled by Rachael Faith. I haven't cross stitched in probably, 20+ years. The pattern was easy to follow, though I messed up a few parts cause I got lazy with counting, as well as I just began to go rogue...

Photo of a cross stitch of 2 sea otters holding hands in the water, with lily pads around them.

It took 2 full days to finish!! Probably because I wasn't particularly proficient with getting the needle through the back-to-front.

I had a super busy week so I'm glad for the weekend to be here. I'm also recovering from a mystery injury, but thankfully it is getting better and wasn't affecting my dominant arm. I treated myself to some Provolone Soresina and it's soooo good! Love the sharpness of it.

I tested out non-latex liquid masking fluid (non-latex, Demco) for the first time. I wasn't sure how it'd turn out but it was pretty straightforward to use, but Wai and I have the same gripe about how it's like erasing shavings on your paper later on!

Photo collage, showing watercolour/ink with liquid masking fluid on the left, and liquid masking fluid rubbed off on the right.

I'm always looking for excuses to use my fountain pens more. I did learn cursive growing up, and although I do write semi-cursive on the regular, I forgot a lot of the uppercase letterforms in cursive.

Photo of subpar cursive handwriting on lined paper

I recently re-read HWA book 1 on my ereader and was feeling embarrassed about it all...

Today's music post: Sheep by Hiroshi Yoshimura

Populus tremuloides

Watercolour painting of an original character in a quaking aspen forest.

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Populus tremuloides, or quaking aspen, or trembling poplar, or...many other names.

I don't think it really comes out in the comic (?) but Austin's last name is Poplar. He is a forestry grad and a tree nerd, so at some point I did a bunch of research about trees that were native to where the story takes place: fake Alberta! A lot of poplars are found in Alberta (like Populus balsamifera, but I've always been enamoured by the super bright yellow leaves of trembling poplars and the white trunks with black knots/markings! One of many things I appreciate about Alberta is how you get to experience all 4 seasons distinctly.

Recently, rurupoi, wai, and co. encouraged me to try out 100% cotton paper (Arches 300gsm hot press). I didn't really know what to do with my paper; I'm not much of an illustrator! Long time ago I put down a thumbnail of Austin doing field work in the forest in my notebook.

photo close-up of a rough thumbnail of a painting, focusing on pose and composition

So this thumbnail turned into the basis for a not particularly well planned (as usual) painting. Drawn directly onto the paper with red col-erase pencil.

photo of a sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

I ended up changing the pose and scale a little bit. Maybe I regret changing the pose, but I don't regret changing the placement/scale.

photo of a sketch of poplar trees, with an even small figure in the bottom left corner. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

Originally it was meant to be a rainy picture, but I really wanted a super blue sky against yellow colour scheme. I also bought masking fluid and wasn't ready to use it yet, haha.

photo of a partially painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

I have a tendency to overwork drawings/paintings, so I tried my hardest to not do that here!!

photo of a painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background. There is green painter tape around the paper periphery.

In natural light.

photo of a painted sketch of poplar trees, with a small figure in the bottom left corner. Colours used are primarily yellow and orange for the leaves, and blue for the sky/background.

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this paper, but I can tell it's better than the scrappy stuff I used before.

OH speaking of Austin, Fluffyfied drew a very sweet pic of Austin and Jake together!

Today's music post: RAIN(비) - 나로 바꾸자 Switch to me (duet with JYP). What a good 80s/90s pop vibe!

Loose paper tasting

Trying out more papers to see if they're fountain pen-friendly

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Bea sent me some loose paper to do paper tasting, THANKS! Her pack included:

  • Borden and Riley #41 tracing paper
  • Crane Lettra 297gsm
  • Levenger dot grid (from Behance journals?)
  • Loomis and Toles (now Deserres) Superbond 15lb
  • Muji grid
  • Neenah paper, classic crest, stipple 118gsm

Separately I joined PowersWithin's paper order for some Cosmo Air Light 75gsm.


Borden and Riley #41 tracing paper

Image description

  • Bleed: none
  • Sheen: pretty good!
  • Shading: nice!
  • Feathering: none
  • Texture: can be slippery
  • Other: ink line gets a lot fatter; other side is unusable because it's tracing paper (super ghosty); ink colours seem lighter because of translucency

Crane Lettra 297gsm

Image description

  • Bleed: none (paper is thick)
  • Sheen: none
  • Shading: very subtle, if at all
  • Feathering: not much
  • Texture: has some grain; originally for letterpress
  • Other: nib feels dry when writing on this paper, everything becomes finer

Levenger dot grid (for Behance)

Image description

  • Bleed: none
  • Sheen: none
  • Shading: decent
  • Feathering: none
  • Texture: kinda smooth but has some resistance?
  • Other: I was surprised at how well this paper performed. I used to use this paper at work 5+ years ago...

Loomis & Toles Superbond 15lb

Image description

  • Bleed: none
  • Sheen: very subtle
  • Shading: decent
  • Feathering: none
  • Texture: has some tooth
  • Other: nib feels dry when writing on this paper, everything becomes finer. Not sure if it's the paper/pen/ink or something else that is causing the skipping for some pens/inks (like there is a more specific "sweet spot" for the nib/ink when using this paper). Kind of reminds me of Borden and Riley visual bond

Muji 5mm grid

Image description

  • Bleed: some, for the very wet inks
  • Sheen: none
  • Shading: very subtle, if any; inks get flattened out
  • Feathering: some, paper is pretty absorbent
  • Texture: pretty smooth
  • Other: if you use light colour inks or thin nibs, this is a very reasonable alternative

Neenah paper, classic crest, stipple 118gsm

Image description

  • Bleed: none
  • Sheen: barely
  • Shading: some
  • Feathering: none
  • Texture: stippled, your nib won't glide on this paper
  • Other: inks also feel dryer to me when I use this paper, but not as much as some of the others

Cosmo Air Light 75gsm

Image description

  • Bleed: none
  • Sheen: pretty good
  • Shading: seems high contrast
  • Feathering: none
  • Texture:
  • Other: ink lines get fatter; the paper is thicker than I thought, so went I went to make a notebook out of it, I didn't end up using as many pages as I thought I could for a single signature!

My top 3 from this batch

  • Cosmo Air Light 75gsm
  • Borden and Riley #41
  • Levenger

Today's music post: Thumbing Thru Foliage by YUNGMORPHEUS & ewonee

March media round-up

What I consumed in March 2021.

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Heaven's Design Team vol 1-2 with Hebi zou, Tsuta Suzuki, and Tarako

A comic about the design department for the animals that exist in the world. It's really funny/cute/informative. I like the idea of a how different personalities end up designing animals to their taste hahaha. I like how proud Pluto is of her "cute" designs even though everyone else thinks they're super messed up. I enjoyed seeing all the strange hybrid animals they came up with. I am pleased to gather more animal facts. Also all the quips about working as a designer with unreasonable clients hit me hard, too real.

Dorohedoro vol. 1 by Q. Hayashida

A world where sorcerers are make monsters out of humans, so some humans are now fighting sorcerers...This comic's setting is casually hyper-violent, but somehow not in a way that I find myself needing to turn away from the page. It seems like there's a good balance of cool and powerful characters of all genders too. They've set up enough intrigue in vol.1 to makes me want to see what's going to happen! The fantastical-nature of the world also means there's a lot of unexpected things happening.

Ran and the Gray World vol.1 by Aki Irie

A comic about a young girl, living with her family, who all seem to have magical powers of some sort. A lot of folks were talking up the artist/author's drawings so I tried out the book. I feel as though the story itself was somewhat too ambiguous and meandering. People appeared in a very random fashion. I feel "maybe" about continuing this; the mom's plot actually seems more interesting than the main character's plot. Something about the main character's naivety really triggers my stranger danger senses.

A Man and his Cat vol. 1-3 by Umi Sakurai

Extremely wholesome stories about a suit-wearing old man and his cat. Three of my greatest weaknesses. Just missing glasses. Mix of short stories and strips. As the volumes go on, you dig deeper into both the man and the cat's past.

My Brother's Husband vol. 1-2 omnibus [end] by Gengoroh Tagame

A solid story that makes you sad and hopeful at the same time about LGBTQA+ relationships in Japan.

Yakuza 6 (2021 PC release)

THE END OF THE KIRYU SAGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHH!! I liked a lot of the in-between antagonists in this game like Someya and Han Joon-gi (not so much the end game ones). The letter killed me because I wasn't expecting the recipient. I feel like Akimiya's face wasn't as good as it was in previous games? Or entering weird uncanny valley not fully-lip-synched territory. The battles/game play on easy mode were exceptionally easy, so I blew through the main plot in ~20 hours. Kiryu smiles a lot more and it is moderately unsettling. Well now I can start plotting my Yakuza zine...

Blue Period vol. 1 by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

A story about changing life/career/hobby aspirations towards art. The main character is a student who mainly focuses on academics in high school, but stumbles upon some sense of authenticity when he paints a scene from within his memory. The author has this wiggly way of drawing certain characters. Somehow the artwork feels very intense at times! A glimpse into art school and academics in Japan.


Love Love Hill is having a free shipping promo for any orders over $20 for our self-published comics and zines! A bunch of us are moving, so any support to decrease our box weight is greatly appreciated~

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Some life updates:

  • HWAnimation snow scene feels like i finished it 10 years ago.
  • HWA vol.1 was literallly finished a year ago (ish).
  • I did my taxes for 2020.
  • I'm back at work full time and it has taken up all my energy.
  • I got to try out Cosmo Air Light paper! Unexpected find at the University of Waterloo store...someone there must be a fountain pen nerd.
  • Got a handful of fountain pen ink samples from Wonder Pens and a new Pilot Kakuno in pink/white colourway (which is now my Pinkey pen and filled with pink ink)
  • Watching at least 2 friends descend deeper into fountain pen/ink fever, hahaha

Today's music post: Domestic Music For Skeptical Dogs by Gavsborg