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Been trying to engage with work by BIPOC creators so I didn't end up drawing comics. There's always a guilty productivity tradeoff...but now my brain has more knowledge! Here's what I read/watched in September 2020.

7 Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga (2017)

A book about 7 indigenous teenagers who died in Thunderbay between 2000-2011 (ish). Its tagline is Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City and I think the book is a must-read for any Canadian. I wrote down several 'real talk' quotes from the book in my commonplace book; here's one of them:

We didn't have space for them in our world and didn't make space for them in theirs"An important book to read about our failings to support indigenous youth in our country.

Right after reading this book I went to donate to the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san 1 and 2 (2019)

A few weeks ago, Papermaiden sent me a message with a photo that showed an old man in glasses from this comic. She said that the character reminded her of how I draw old men (haha). I had seen photos of this series around and enjoyed the slivers I saw, so I borrowed the first two volumes! It is pretty funny, especially if you like over-the-top emotions and facial reactions and know about fandom subcultures in Japan. I feel like there's something very Japanese about the humour-style, in terms of dramatic shifts in emotions (kind of like what I remember from Gintama). There were some parts that were harder for me to understand from a...visual clarity POV? There's also tons of small text crammed all over the place. Kudos to the translator who must've had a lot of work to do (they also provided lengthy translator notes at the end)...

Becoming by Michelle Obama (2019)

I feel like I would really get along with Michelle Obama. Lots of relatable content and attitudes/orientation to life/growth/development. The book is written very clearly, and she doesn't hold back on writing honest and raw feelings that she had during her life. I hurhur-ed at the portions where she was insulting Barack but then somehow totally falling in love with him.

Like a Dragon (2007)

I'm a huge fan of the Yakuza video game series (though I've only played 0-2 and am cursing the lack of PC console releases). This movie will make no sense unless you've played the games, and they even changed the plot a whole bunch to get it to fit into 1h50min-ish time frame. The redeeming points of the movie were Majima Goro's extremely chaotic portray by Kishitani Goro and the shiba inu dog. I laughed at Nishikiyama's weird CG back tattoo (that was clipping into his hair as he randomly stripped?!), the helicopter that was flying extremely recklessly and blowing off Kiryu's blazer so he could be ready for his bare-top fight scene, etc. I think it's still a worthwhile movie to watch for any Yakuza fan!

Raising Multiracial Children: Tools for Nurturing Identity in a Racialized World by Farzana Nayani (2020)

Even though the book is targeted at parents (which I am not) or teachers/educators (also not), I was interested in learning more about multiracial experience and having productive conversations about race in general, with adults and children. This book has a lot of practical knowledge for that. The me right now would peg myself as monoracial POC but multi-ethnic, so a lot of the experiences outlined in the book still felt very familiar to me.

Didn't finish: The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King (too slow and ambiguous even after 1/3 way through the book).

What's my on October media list?

Hopefully...

Today's music post: DJ Shub - Calling All Dancers.

Possum and Popple

I commissioned LenoirOriginals to make plush from my drawings.

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A while back I was thinking about what projects to pick up in the fall. Two of those projects were making plushes of Possy the Possum and a re-imagined version of my childhood prize popple. I drew how I wanted them to look.

After a bunch of research, it dawned on me that I had neither the skills nor materials to make these designs come to life (also buying small scraps of materials was very hard during COVID...), so I decided to commission these plush instead! Support artists!

Since COVID hit I've been trying to stick with local artists and vendors. There are SOOO many wonderful plush artists out there (my eyes have been opened, since I primarily browsed 2d artists in the past few years) and I found LenoirOriginals who is based out of Ontario. I reached out with my doodles to ask if they'd be interested in taking the commission on. I was really happy they did!! CHECK THEM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't wait till the outside situation is better and then I can go on strange photo adventures with these two! Their names are Possy and Poppy!

Poppy has really long limb to body ratio HAHA

Possy has an off-centre tail. Perfect...

They said that they freehanded these particular plushes (they often use patterns for other things) and I think that worked out perfectly for my freehand drawings. Handmade feeling for handmade drawings. If you have any custom plush that you want to bring to life, I highly recommend LenoirOriginals! They also do pony, OCs, fanart plushes, etc. as well. Their webstore also has jewelry, bags, sculptures, and more! I think if I were to change anything, it would only be to ask for softer stuffing, but that wasn't even a consideration that crossed my mind!

Today's music post: clearly I have to bring back the Opossum in the tree song by myself and Bea.

Artist 100q (2020 edition)

I answer 100 artist-related questions.

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Wow, in my old files I found one of those "artist 100q" that I responded to in 2003 (17 years ago...) and the answers were all extremely cringeworthy (e.g., excessive use of typed emoticons). This is the kind of stuff that people would post when they had a blog! What a relic! Unfortunately I don't know the source for the questions.

Feel free to do your own version. Here's my 2020 take.

General stuff

Q1: What's your HN (handle name)? I finally consolidated to Dirchansky after decades of having a different username on every website.

Q2: Why do you call yourself that? It's based on the fact that I was ironically using very bad Japanese (desu chan suki) but I think the handle was formally created by Wai who thought that it could be twisted into a euro-esque-sounding name?!

Q3: Do you use a Mac or a PC? I use both! Switching between shortcuts is no fun. The extra windows key on a windows keyboard makes certain shortcuts a lot harder than on a mac keyboard.

Q4: What program do you use to do your pictures? These days mainly Clip Studio Paint EX), FireAlpaca, and maybe resizing/whatnot in Photoshop. For design and publishing I use Illustrator or Indesign. I am trying to transition away from Adobe over to the Affinity suite, but I also want to try out more free and open source programs.

Q5: Do you use a tablet or a mouse? Both! I really only pull out my tablet if I have to draw. I was mainly using a Wacom Graphire II. Eventually 2 people gifted me their very old Intuos 2 and Intuos 3. Right now I'm using the Intuos 3 because I suspect the larger drawing area is better for my wrist. I've also moved to a Anker vertical laser mouse (that I don't have great control over compared to a rollerball/non-vertical mouse)

Q6: What colours do you use a lot? NONE............................

Q7: What area of the pictures do you put most effort into? Probably facial expressions, especially the eyes. But I don't like drawing big face shots, I prefer drawing people from a distance (because I actually draw very plain faces). I need to get better with body language.

Q8: About how long does it take you do finish each picture? (Clearly this 100q was written with an illustrator in mind, not a comic artist) The answer to this honestly depends on the complexity of what's in the drawing. Sometimes researching and compiling/generating references can take longer than the actual drawing part. Probably an hour or two for a body shot with no BG?

Q9: Do you keep your rough drafts? Yes, I like to keep progress!

Q10: What special effects do you often use? Transparencies and gradient tints to make flat colours slightly more harmonious and less...flat?

Q11: What size do you colour your pictures in? I do everything at 600dpi.

Q12: Do you do anything else when you're drawing pictures? If I'm really trying to concentrate, I'll close distractions and maximize the drawing program window. I might be listening to music.

Q13: About how many pictures do you draw in a month? Comics aside, practically 0.

Q14: What paper do you use to draw on? Have mainly moved to digital, but I will draw in whatever for sketching/doodling purposes. When I was doing more of my comics traditionally or inking with dip nib, I used Borden and Riley Paris bloodproof paper.

Q15: What material do you use when working on paper? Dip pen, brush, sharpies, pigment liners, pencil, non-photo-blue, erasers, etc.

Q16: How long does it take to ink something? If most of the problem solving was already done in the pencil stage, then ink stage can become a lot shorter (e.g., 1-1.5h depending on complexity of a page).

Q17: Do you do doujins? Heck yea!

Q18: What did you like most about doujin? Passion-driven projects based on shared interests!

Q19: Ever submitted anything to a magazine? Nope.

Q20: Did any of those submissions go through? N/A...

Things you like

Q21:Favorite artist? These days I find it hard to go ALL-IN to liking an artist because I personally think that it's equally important for the artist to have good morals and ethics. I've thrown away nice looking work made by professionals in the industry who have been exposed to be predators/baddies or who generally have bad takes on issues. Moral/ethics aside, I think that all artists have some worthy aspect to their work! I like everyone else's work more than my own.

Q22: Favorite anime/manga? (clearly this selection ages me, as I haven't watched anime in so long, nor have I followed a mainstream manga series in so long) Houshin Engi: made me laugh and cry really hard) Slam Dunk: also made me laugh and cry) Prince of Tennis: IDK if I really like it but I think it was really amusing in all the bad ways Hikaru no Go: TBH I didn't finish reading it...but Ogata is just too iconic. Macross (Plus, II, 7): IDK if I really like this either but the intersection of cool rock music and animation was extremely memorable Monster: I should re-watch/re-read this someday! It's usually my rec for anyone who is newer to anime/manga and is less about shiney eyes and fanservice

Some webcomics that I've been enjoying recently:

(I'M REALLY BAD AT CONSUMING MEDIA..................)

Q23: Any characters from those anime/manga that you really like? Slam Dunk: Sakuragi and Mitsui (underdogs) Prince of Tennis: Inui and Kaidoh (bonus: Karupin) Hikaru no Go: OGATA!!!!!!!!!! Macross 7: Basara (glasses.........)

Q24: An artist that you'd like to draw like? No, at this time I think I just need to improve on what I already have, draw things a bit more expressively/accurately.

Q25: Any magazines that you buy a lot? I never religiously subscribed or bought magazines, but the few that I have are usually fashion-related (for reference), e.g., Leon, Choki Choki, etc.

Q26: Books that have been used as a good reference? Internet has so much these days. I do have a book on suit/tailoring that I recently opened to remember how lapels work. I don't put my paper ref to good enough use.

Q27: Any video games you enjoy? Yakuza: I've played 0, Kiwami 1, Kiwami 2, and am desperately waiting for the rest to come out on PC. I like the pure but violent himbos... Shining Force (I, III): I love this high fantasy turn-based strategic RPG! Most games by Amanita Design, like Botanicula, Machinarium, Samarost, Chuchel, etc. I used to play MMORPG Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 but GW2 made me unhappy about the entire series...

Q28: A character from those games that you really enjoy? I love Majima Goro from Yakuza!

Q29: Favorite writer? I haven't recently read too much from a single author to really know. I'm enjoying Bob Appavu's writing (Devoted!), world building, and character development. I know that I do NOT personally enjoy Nassim Nicholas Taleb's writing style.

Q30: Any books you really enjoy? I recently read Daniel Pink's To Sell is Human. I thought it presented good reframing of the sleezy used car salesperson archetype that we all dislike and associate with "sales" or "selling". It also has some extremely practical tips for sales/marketing/pitching/convincing. It's written in a very easy to read and straight forward manner.

I haven't read this in a while, but I remember enjoying William R. Maple's Dead Men Do Tell Tales. I recall that it felt like I was reading the casual blog of a forensic anthropologist.

I really need to read more more diverse books by diverse authors.

Q31: Do you write your own stories? / Gestures to entire comic section on my website, my webcomic, and to my game.

Q32: Any music that you often listen to while drawing? If I'm writing, then the music has to be more instrumental/lyric-less. If I'm not writing or doing heavy thinking/brain-processing work (e.g., sometimes inking falls into this bucket) then I can listen to music with voice in it.

Q33: Any songs/music that you'd recommend to others? I've been ending many of my entries here with a song rec :)

Q34: Any websites that you totally admire? It feels like most people don't have a personal website anymore these days (or they might have one, but it's just a wordpress or blogger or social media).

Q35: Any sites that you go to every day? My email, mastodon, calendar, etc. (stuff that keeps me organized/required for work). I also use Feedbro RSS feed reader for news. I will also check out some animal photos to get pure and positive vibes.

Q36: What kind of webpage do you wish you had? I don't have any particular grand aspirations for my website, especially when I know that it's not really a place with a lot of traffic. It's meant to be a place where I can do whatever I want :). I do wish I had a sidebar on this blog to put some links to other blogs, but that's something for me to figure out later on.

Q37: Do you like your own art? I like the animals/creatures that I draw the most. I usually like the worse/lowest effort drawings...

Q38: What do you enjoy watching on TV? I haven't watched TV in forever because I haven't owned one in 10+ years. I will also admit that I don't stream TV stories either. I recently watched Odoru Daisousasen movie 3, and it brought back a lot of nostalgia about the TV series.

Q39: Favourite celebrity? IDK, I got over putting people on a pedestal. We're all flawed human beings.

Q40: Favorite colour? Maroon/burgundy/wine/merlot

Your opinions

Q41: Favorite food? Charcuterie, mac n cheese, fried chicken, fried potato things (pierogi, chips, fries...)

Q42: Favorite drink? Water, milk tea, hot lemon drinks

Q43: Any stores you visit often? I don't visit stores often...especially not during the lockdown.

If you're interested in shopping Canadian and investing in quality handmade pieces or made-in-canada things, some places I know about (in no particular order):

Clothing

Accessories

Personal care

In my stationery post I listed a whole whack of Canadian fountain pen / stationery / etc. retailers too!

I'm subscribed to the Jetpens newsletter (though I never buy from there because it's US-based/USD) to see what nice stationery goods are coming out. I also check Aranzi Aronzo for cute things!!

Q44: Do you like to cook? No..........................

Q45: What mailing service do you use? Canadapost!? I also use protonmail and tutanota as better private alternatives to gmail.

Q46: What kind of computer do you use? I upgraded my nearly 10+ year old PC just so I could play Yakuza, but my old PC parts were so old and incompatible with newer tech that I ended up needing to rebuild it (though I kept the same tower. It works 90% of the time and sometimes likes to reboot for fun (clearly I didn't hook things up properly). AFAIK it has:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600 six-core processor 3.40 ghz
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B450M DS3H
  • Videocard: Gigabyte Radeon RX590
  • Ram: 16gb
  • Power supply: Corsair CX550
  • I also have 2 SSDs and 1 external HHD (all for backup purposes).

Q47: Would you like to be a professional artist? I don't think it's my ambition right now, especially since society devalues commercial art, publishing rates and advances are extremely BAD for comic artists, etc. It's a pessimistic take that only a person who is already privileged and employed in a different field can utter. Keeping my art/comic as a hobby means that I can really selfishly make whatever I want.

Q48: Any other jobs you're interested in, besides an illustrator? I currently work in a design-adjacent field, which puts my generalist skillset to good use.

Q49: Any other hobbies besides drawing? I will occasionally sew or do some crafting. Writing in my journal and freetalk-ing takes up a lot of time! I also take care of my houseplants.

Q50: Do you like movies? Sure!

Q51: What's your favorite movie? Nightmare Before Christmas (such good music), Princess Mononoke, Whisper of Heart (SCREAM!). More recently I enjoyed Knives Out and Parasite.

Q52: What do you use to colour your pictures when it's on paper? Mainly watercolour because that's actually the only colourized art supply I own here.

Q53: When did you start drawing seriously? I wonder what it means to be "serious". If by "serious" we mean "choose to not eat, not go to the bathroom, not listen to your wrist pain, because you're so focused on what you're doing", then that was so long ago that I can't remember!

Q54: Have you ever entered art contests? When I was a kid I entered those newspaper colouring contests. I maybe entered one in my 20s for some convention mascot...that's about it?

Q55: Anything that you often use as a reference? Always using myself, my hands especially. These days it's reasonably convenient to take a photo of yourself for ref purposes...

Q56: Do you have many online friends? I feel like I've lost many after leaving birdsite but I hope they'll all come back to find me!!!

Q57: Do you have many online friends who like to draw? I think they're all creatives in their own right, but yes, majority of them do draw or adjacents!

Q58: What time of the day are you usually online? 24/7

Q59: Do you go to chatrooms a lot? No...they move too fast.

Q60: Do you have your own computer? Yes!

Thoughts

Q61: What would you say to the person you admire? "I appreciate all of your excellent work {insert specific example}. Thank you for sharing it with us."

Q62: At what kind of situations are you glad you were able to draw? Bringing other people's ideas to life, simplifying communication with visual aids, getting everyone on the same page with a diagram, etc.

Q63: Situations where you aren't glad that you liked to draw? When relatives ask for drawings of themselves...?

Q64: Do you have many offline friends who like to draw? I think many of my offline friends are also creatives (who maybe I met online first), so many of them also draw.

Q65: Where do you like to hang out when you're with friends? These days we hang out at each others' apartments/house because we're older...

Q66: Do you have any artists that you don't like too much? Of course, I'm sure there are so many that I don't even know I don't like yet!

Q67: Situations in which you really don't like being online? These days people will go for your jugular for the smallest things. Or people are hateful or unreasonable without any grounding. It's really easy to sound black/white in social media, which doesn't generally lead to a great nuanced or productive conversation.

Q68: Situations in which you like being online? Seeing people thrive and achieve their goals

Q69: Something that makes you really glad that the internet exists? Hearing diverse opinions from people that may not ever otherwise be a part of your IRL social circle.

Q70: What about things that make you NOT glad that the internet exists? Perpetuation of incorrect and hateful information.

Q71: What's the first picture you've ever shown to the public online? My 2003 response to this was "it was an MS paint drawing back in good ol 1997" so I trust that written account. Have no recollection what it was though!

Q72: Do you still have that picture? NOPE!

Q73: Has your drawing style changed a lot? It has stayed the same for the past decade or so.

Q74: How does it usually change? Right now I'm trying to combat same-face-syndrome and more diverse looking bodies, fashions, hairstyles, etc. If left to my own devices I just default to drawing the same types of characters.

Q75: Have you experienced artists block before? I don't draw often enough to really notice it now.

Q76: How did you escape from it? Draw whatever you want, whenever you want. Power through?

Q77: What happens when you have artists block? As previously mentioned...I barely draw...

Q78: Any artists that have influenced you a lot?

  • In my youth, artists of : Sailormoon, St. Tail, Dragon Ball
  • In my teens artists of : Houshin Engi, Weiss Kreuz (lol). Hikaru no Go
  • Now: I'm more inspired by ability to storytell than the art/drawing (though they're definitely correlated)

Q79: What made you like drawing? I think most kids tend to enjoy drawing, but overtime it gets pulled out of the education curriculum, de-valued in our society/culture, and people lose the confidence to draw. I got into drawing anime/manga-ish style after seeing a tearful profile shot of St. Tail in Nakayoshi magazine...

Q80: What made you want to get a website? I was suppose to make a fansite but somehow it turned into art site over time.

Finally...

Q81: Why did you name your site what it's called? There was a fun trend in the 90s/early 2000s to call your site something different from the artist's name (IDK why?!). Now we've gone back to just naming our websites after ourselves. probably because that's what SEO is optimized for.

Q82: What do you think about net manners? A lot of unsaid/untold etiquette. Everyone draws the line of "basic human decency" at a different place...

Q83: Have you ever been spammed? /gestures to email inbox

Q84: Ever thought about quitting your webpage? Yes! I have quit many websites and rebooted!

Q85: If so, why? Changing handles forever, trying to erase my previous shame, haha

Q86: About how much KB is each picture? I try to keep everything less than 500kb but all this high res retinal screen requirements is making life harder.

Q87: When creating your site, do you use a program or pure html? I'm using Kirby2 on a personal license!

Q88: Do you have good eyesite? VERY BAD EYESIGHT!!!!!!

Q89: If you can get any person's autograph, who's would you get? None...

Q90: Have you ever been asked for your autograph? Sometimes people ask me to draw my comics when they buy them. I'm happy to!

Q91: Do you have any fans of yourself? No...

Q92: Do you like to oekaki?(paint-bbs) Yes I miss this a lot! I feel like the spambots are too powerful for Oekaki to become a trend again.

Q93: Are you good at art(as in the school subject)? I haven't taken art in school for a VERY LONG TIME (because I've been out of school for a VERY LONG TIME) but I was likely mediocre at it (just like how I'm mediocre at it now).

Q94: Have you ever taken any art lessons, aside from school? I had a brief stint with chinese watercolour painting! I don't remember anything!!!

Q95: Have you ever drawn comics/manga? /gestures to comic and store sections on website

Q96: Any quotes that you like? Ira Glass on creativity (and the gap between taste and skill):

"What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

Q97: Do you think your personality is different when you're online, from when you're offline? I believe that they're mostly equivalent now!

Q98: Your goal? Make money and re-invest in creatives and artists who are not traditionally included and compensated well.

Q99: A message to yourself. Your stomach is thinking about chips.

Q100: A message to the people who have read this. I'm impressed you got to the end...I also found tenipuri, BL, and Ogata qs that I answered. I cringe forever.

Today's music post: Gogo Penguin F Maj Pixie [live] GoGo Penguin came out with a new album last month!

Mastodon

Things I like about Mastodon, a social media alternative to Twitter.

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I've been on Mastodon for a few years now, but didn't delete twitter (herein referred to as birdsite) until recently. Some people are worried about moving to Mastodon because it seems more complicated than birdsite. The learning curve isn't that steep IMO. The main challenge is that you have to shift your mental model about how this specific kind of "social media" or "microblogging" works differently from birdsite.

Things that I found helpful to know about Mastodon (from a layperson POV):

Decentralized! No monopoly!

Unlike Birdsite, Mastodon is decentralized. This means that individuals and organizations can take the Mastodon software code and host it on their own server. The different servers can still communicate with each other. The analogy I like to use is that it's like how someone who has a hotmail account (on the hotmail server), can still send email to someone who has a gmail account (on the gmail server) because they run a similar email-software.

In Mastodon land, they tend to call servers "instances". I'm on mastodon.social, but I can still follow and talk to people on mastodon.art and numerous other instances! There are some exceptions to this, e.g., instance X may ban communication to instance Z to protect their communities (likely due to clashing interests). The smaller instances I've seen are often very personable and moderated by real human beings with a vested interest in keeping their community safe.

Birdsite is not decentralized because only people on the twitter server can talk to each other. If Birdsite were to be bought out, or change their policies in ways that you disagree with, you're more or less stuck on their server if you want to talk to any of your buddies/followers on birdsite. I personally disagreed with a lot of their moderation (or lack of?), policies, data usage/selling (market profiling), garbage timeline/ads/etc. The analogy here is that Birdsite could have a monopoly over this type of social media, they could do terrible things because they have market control, and users could feel trapped on it because there are no reasonable alternatives (ps: Mastodon is an alternative!!).

Unique instance rules and policies

Every server / instance has its own rules of conduct and policies, so you should review those before you join a server. Some of them are open to join, some of them need an invite to join, and some are closed for sign-ups. Some of them are themed (e.g., art, photography, games, queer, languages, etc.) and some are general. Some allow you to post NSFW without content warning, some require that you use content warning, and some don't allow it at all. Lots of things to consider! https://joinmastodon.org/#getting-started or https://instances.social have tools to help people choose a server.

I'm on mastodon.social right now because it's the instance run by the creator of Mastodon and I felt that it would be the more reliable in the long run. He recommends that people join other instances (even made mastodon.online so mastodon.social was less overloaded) so that there is proper decentralization and less reliance on a sole server (amongst other things).

Don't worry you can move instances!

If you're finding it hard to commit to or choose an instance, don't worry! If you join one instance, and decide you want to move to a different one, Mastodon has features to ease the transition and redirect! So don't be afraid to get your feet wet. Just make that account on a decent server and try it out. If you're an artist, there's a guide to get started here. Deleting your account is also quite simple.

Timeline displays in order, without all the distractions you didn't sign up for

Unless the server you chose implemented weird stuff, most servers I've seen do not have paid ads, appear in chronological order (no weird algorithms), and don't embed your follow list's activity (e.g., their likes) onto your feed. You can also choose whether you want to see your follow list's boost (RT equivalent) and replies on your timeline.

Has many features that birdsite doesn't have (AFAIK)

  • you can delete as much of your old history as you want (Birdsite only lets you delete your latest 3000 or so posts or likes, unless you pay...?). Though I will say that there's no easy way to mass select or purge multiple posts on either site.
  • there are spoiler/content warning functions (where you have to click to expand and see content)
  • the character limits can be increased (depends on the server)
  • you can choose a CENTRAL FOCAL AREA for image posts (so it doesn't crop TOO weird)
  • etc.

Can switch to 1-column view

If you're coming from birdsite, you might be used to the 1-column view. If you were into tweetdeck, you'd be used to the multi-column view. Good news is that Mastodon has both! For general birdsite users, it's possible to switch to single column layout for ease of transition. To do that, you go to your preferences -- appearance -- and uncheck "advanced interface"

Cute mascot

The Mastodon is really cute. Done by DOPATWO.

Staying on mastodon

There have been many birdsite exoduses and sudden flurry of mastodon account sign ups. At least 25-50% of the people I follow have already abandoned birdsite (or just cross-post). It's likely due to the fact that their existing friends/followers are not yet on Mastodon, so it feels like there's nothing to do on the site or no audience. Mastodon (depending on your instance) definitely feels smaller as a community and quieter than birdsite, so don't expect the same level of engagement you might get on birdsite (unless you convince your friends/followers to switch to masto too).

I took a hard look at what I wanted my relationship with social media to be. It boiled down to just having a place for myself, to look back at things I've done, informal interactions I've had with people, etc. It wasn't about staying relevant, nor was it about trying to become popular/building an audience. I didn't want my social media to solely be a marketing channel. I wanted it to be a place that I had some degree of control over what I saw on my timeline (e.g., I can opt-in and out of following people, but I can't opt out of seeing ads on birdsite).

Moving and staying on Masto feels like I left a circle of birdsite friends behind and now I'm trying to make forge new relationships. I have to consciously work harder to stay in touch with the people who aren't on Masto; this means more text messages, emails, and snail letters (which isn't the worst thing, tbh). I've met some extremely friendly people on masto that I don't think I'd ever be able to meet on birdsite, so I don't regret! By no means is Mastodon all sunshine and rainbows (really depends on your server and who you end up interacting it), but there is a calmness to the place that I appreciate.

You can follow me at https://mastodon.social/@dirchansky

There is also a nice de-centralized instagram alternative called pixelfed! You can install your own or pick an instance and start posting/following others on different servers. By default, no ads, no tracking, and your timeline is in chronological order.

Today's music post: You Don't Have to Cry by Adina Howard ft. Michael Speaks. What a duet...amazing 90s R&B...Michael Speaks really went all in. ICONIC.

Gaogaigar SD Cross Silhouette

Photoshoot with the Gaogaigar SD Cross Silhouette figure.

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Someone bought me this Gaogaigar SD Cross Silhouette figure half a year ago on a whim, and they keep asking me if I've built it yet. Finally sat down to work on it. I haven't built one of these in decades. I watched GGG when I was a kid but hadn't thought about the series until this figure was given to me.

It took a lot longer than I intended because I was just going to build it as is. But then...I tried shading/weathering one piece with a gray tombow marker that I had...and then...I had to continue doing that to every single piece. Shockingly I was able to do most of this with art supplies that I already had (mainly markers and fineliners). I didn't have proper red paint to paint black plastics so the backpiece was done with red blockprinting paint hahaha (oh well).

There are a still a few accessories I haven't built, but I had a quick mini-photoshoot. I put the figure in front of my monitor and chose a BG from the internet.

David Bahr volcano photo

Andreas Krappweis forest photo

This lightning image (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control)

Cityscape Ruined City Destroyed Post Apocalyptic by 3dmKits

Some normal shots

It's a lot easier to do a weathered look because that means the execution of details can be scrappy on purpose, haha.

I'm really impressed at all the detail in these figures and the poseability. It's very complicated but building and putting it together becomes uncomplicated because the instructions were quite excellent. I can't imagine how the industrial designers behind these figures go about planning these figures for mass production and for user-assembly-friendliness!

Today's music post: RIP SLYME - 太陽とビキニ. I haven't listened to Rip Slyme in a long time! It's a peppy song.

July 2017-May 2020 notebook tour

Flip-through tour of my old creative notebook.

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I just finished a notebook today! Here's a timelapse video (18 seconds) of my 250p notebook from July 2017 - May 2020. I stopped maintaining a separate journal (1-line-a-day journal) and sketchbook (moleskine with blank pages). The notebook in the video is a Leuchtturm1917 lime green A5 notebook medium hardcover with dot grid that I bought back in 2011 (according to the embossed stamp on the spine). At the time I had green glasses, which could have been a driver for the colour decision.

I had used 3-4 Moleskine (MS) sketchbooks/journals prior to Leuchtturm (LT). I would 100% ditch MS for LT; I gave away some of my blank MS backlog to other folks because I was so disappointed in MS. My most recent MS's backpocket and ribbon fell off, the cover was separating from the signatures, and the paper bled like crazy with fountain pen. Even though I don't use the features often, LT's page numbers and table of contents were a welcome addition. It also reminds me of my old lab notebooks.

Having dot-grid and thinner paper made it a lot easier to "stop being precious" about trying to make nice/majestic artwork. This mindset feels pretty pervasive amongst artists (myself included) and I'm glad that I reframed my thinking and relationship with this particular notebook. All notes and all doodles are equally valid! I also didn't use any "system" (e.g., bullet journal/bujo). Everything is hot mess and jumbled, but at least in somewhat chronological order. Bujo's tagline is "beautifully organized" and I don't think that is my goal here HAHA. My goal is mainly to externalize thoughts so I don't forget them. This is also why I opted to not get a drawing-specific notebook (which usually have thicker paper). The notebook ended up with >50% writing.

This notebook begins with my initial thoughts for HWA. The "first drafts" live in here and they're all quite embarrassing. I'm glad I had a place to put them down, without relying on a computer/screen. Less distractions when you're only with your thoughts, pen, and paper.

Here you can see some room shots/floor plans (Austin's attic room), fashion through the seasons (also Austin), actual rough scripts and their associated thumbnails (HWA chapter 3), and some weird AU-type doodles for the only time in my life that I completed OCeptember! I also planned/plotted Come For A Drink and practically all zines/comics I drew since 2017, in here.

As I was nearing the end of the book I found all these loose things in the back-pocket that I kept (hoarded?) as memories/souvenirs, so I finally use some of my washi tape and stuck them in! I'm more hesitant to paste stuff in because I'm worried it will make the subsequent pages bumpy to write/draw on, given that this notebook's paper isn't the thickest.

I don't practice drawing as much as I used to. The majority of my un/polished drawing is my comic, which is done digitally, so many "practice" rounds are simply done digitally. As I neared the finish line of the notebook, I drew a lot of animals with reference from the internet. They were all drawn straight with fountain pen. It was a nice way to end things off. I didn't love drawing on the last 20-or-so pages because they're perforated (my pen kept getting caught in the holes, the perforated edges were scratching my hand), but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker!

By now you would assume that my next notebook would also be a LT. Actually I'm starting a notebook (another backlog) from Wai, with her Shiba Inu artwork on the cover. The notebook itself is slightly taller and narrower (and maybe less pages) than LT. Ribbon, pocket, and elastic are available as well. I already covered the end pages with stickers!! I have so many stickers...

Here's a pen test.

I don't know what the brand is since it seems to be custom, but the paper feels and performs similarly to LT. Maybe the fountain pen ink is a bit more see-through on the back-side compared to LT? It's an off-white/cream with crosshair grid. Paper feels slightly (?) smoother to the touch than LT, but that might just be because I have no more blank LT pages to touch. No table of contents, no page numbers, and the top margin is wider than the bottom margin.

After this, I already have another notebook in queue (which at my rate, 2025??): a Traveler's Company Regular size notebook in camel (also a gift). I've already pseudo customized it because I'm a huge nerd and had some spare charms, but actually using it is far in the distance. It's definitely one of those notebook that veers into feeling like I have to be more precious about it. Having different mini notebooks with different purposes is a very attractive prospect.

Today's music post: MILCK's If I Ruled The World