Roughly 19 hours until MTAC begins, according to the site’s countdown timer! I’m all sorts of dokidoki right now :;(∩´﹏`∩);

I’m pretty much ready, in the most general sense, I think! There are a few more details to go through… But at least the prints and bookmarks have arrived, and the stickers are printed, although there was a bit of a fiasco with the stickers. >_<

I followed the directions and edited the template with my design so it would line up properly, and printed a test page on regular paper. Then I printed it on a single sheet of sticker paper. It looked fine, but was a little close to the edge on one side, so I moved the template a little more. But then the printer went crazy or something! It started printing the images much higher than they were supposed to be; each time putting them a little higher!

My mom had the idea of going against the directions, which say to put the sticker paper on top of 25 sheets of printer paper, and put only the one sheet of sticker paper in the tray. Voila. It worked. But then the next one printed incorrectly again.

We figured out that it’s probably because of the sticker paper itself; like maybe it was leaving residue or something. So we started to alternate printing on printer paper, then sticker paper, and that seemed to work. I’m thankful to God;; Now I know how my printer treats sticker paper; maybe in the future I won’t end up wasting so many sheets. (´;ω;`)

(And maybe, if you’re going to print stickers, this may help you too…? I hope so. Lol.)

A—lso! I’ve got my Storenvy stocked! I’ll open it this weekend! Please have a look tomorrow by clicking on the “Store” tab at the top of the page. (´◡`♡) I don’t have the stickers listed, but if I have any left I will add them.

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It’s a lovely Sunday, one that began with overcast skies, but soon those clouds melted away to reveal endless blue sky and brilliant sunshine. The flowering trees are blooming, and many, including the one in front of my window, is in full bloom. It makes me really happy to see it. (*´꒳`*)

Today I’m taking a bit of a break from the constant streak of drawing I’ve been doing in my “print rush” to prepare for MTAC. At the same time, though, I know nothing gets done by my inaction, so I’m having to sort of…make myself relax. After all, breaks are important! They help to refresh you and give you new energy to put back into what you’re working on. So when I think of that, I’m okay. (´◡`)

That said, it’s about time for an update!

MTAC Artist Alley

I am going to be selling in the Artist Alley at MTAC, which is April 18-20 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee! As I mentioned on Twitter, it’s my first time both being at MTAC and selling in the Artist Alley, so I’m both nervous and excited, and I’m praying everything goes well.

I’m selling different-sized prints as well as stickers, and maybe bookmarks, and I will also be taking commissions. So if you are able to come, please do!

As for cosplays, my mom and I will be dressed as lolitas for two days, and one day I may be dressed as a schoolgirl! We just got a lot of our items in the mail yesterday and are very excited to finish up our coordinates~

AIS Assignments

I’ve finished up to lesson 18 and thankfully still have straight As! Lessons 19 and 20 are waiting on me to start after print rush craziness is over. I’m coming into the home stretch now! Soon will be the next review book, and after that the final section. I haven’t heard of the results of the last contest I entered, but I should be getting some info about that soon since I think they said results would be released in March or April.

Japanese

Needless to say, I’ve had to cut back on Japanese learning in order to focus on drawing, as well as frequency of translation, but I should be able to get back into it deeper after MTAC. I’m still reading and listening/watching and I talk to myself in Japanese while I’m drawing. XD In all of this, though, I’ve been looking again at schools and the prospect of actually going, and now I think I want to take more appropriate steps towards that, even if I don’t actually end up going to schools there. So I want to begin taking GenkiJACS Skype lessons every week, maybe starting in May or June… It depends on budget and what’s going on after MTAC. If nothing else, it’s practice speaking in actual conversation, practice in talking in general (*shy*) and guidance from an actual teacher–all of which I really need.

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(Blurry, so I left it small…)

Spring is the season of new beginnings, symbolized well especially in Easter, the celebration of Jesus’ victory over death to give us a new life of new beginnings. Every Spring, with the blue skies, beautiful flowers, and warmer weather, I feel energized to start anew. So I’ll do my best! And from now on I’ll try to post more often lol (´・ω・`)

Tadoku results Jan 2014

Hey, everyone! Guess what? Last month was another full round of Tadoku, which means another post reflecting on how it all went!

Actually, I’m not that excited about it. Maybe that’s because it’s already eleven days into February and I’m just now writing this, and maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I really pushed myself this round, but either way, an explanation is in order!

Since I wasn’t able to meet my goal in October (145 pages), I kept it the same for this round, thinking I probably could get to it at the very least. I’d been reading more Japanese on a daily basis in general, and felt that even if I only kept that up, I would probably break even at 145 pages. But I surprised myself a bit–I read a total of 167 pages! That’s 22 pages over my goal! Hm…I wonder if I should bump it up to 200 next time?

According to the breakdown, I once again read mostly web pages (i.e. blog posts, various web articles, Twitter, etc.) and did a good bit of singing since I read several lyrics. The three book pages were from a Japanese magazine called Top Yell. I tried very hard this round to record my progress every day, but as you can see, that started failing quite badly from around the middle of the month and especially the last half. I encountered a period of busyness and forgot to update Tadoku pretty much every other day. ^^;

While I did read 22 pages more than my goal, as I said, I don’t feel like I pushed myself. It seems like I just kept reading about what I typically read. But I guess suddenly getting quite busy didn’t leave me a whole lot of room to reach further, huh? I want to try a little harder next time!

Yesterday and today have been rather lazy days, it seems. More than that, yesterday seemed to zip by! It was morning, and then all of a sudden it was nighttime and we were all asking each other where the day had gone…

I realized I haven’t blogged much at all this month and decided I should post something but… I don’t know what to talk about. My day? The direction of my website? Upcoming events? My Japanese progress? It has been a while since I’ve said much about learning Japanese (and that reminds me–I need to update my resource page again), so let’s talk about that for now. ^^

A while back, I started a series with the abbreviation “AJA” for “Akemi’s Japanese Adventure”, in which my persona, Akemi, tackles the journey of learning Japanese with weekly updates on the adventure status. I clearly have not continued it past the first few updates for various reasons, but I would like to revisit it soon with a different posting schedule; maybe just twice a month or something so I don’t get overwhelmed with stats and stuff.

Just so you have an idea of what I’m doing… Lately my Japanese learning has consisted almost entirely of consuming Japanese material. I’ve been regularly reading Japanese every day such that I keep forgetting to update Tadoku, watching a lot of Japanese videos on YouTube, and listening to podcasts. I’ve also done quite a bit of shadowing this month, and practiced speaking just to myself to see how quickly I can recall things for use in conversation (for example, I might try to go over what I will have for lunch or what I need to do that day, in Japanese). Besides that, I’ve also continued with translating, which continuously makes me learn new things. I’ve been enjoying it. ^^

I still would like to have more tangible Japanese reading material, as I currently only have a photo book, a magazine, and some animation school information packets…but it’s okay. I can go back and read what I haven’t, and that’s fine for now. :3

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely evening/day and I shall update again soon!
Good night (“⌒∇⌒”)

Today I thought I’d write a little bit about AIS, because I realized I haven’t really explained it in great detail; simply linked to the website and added a couple of comments here and there, aside from my post on how AIS has helped me improve as an artist. I get a fair amount of questions about it and thought it would be easier to write up a post rather than continuously answer the same questions individually. ^^ That said, if you still have any questions after reading this, please ask! ^^ I may have unintentionally left out something and therefore didn’t answer your question;;;

Art Instruction Schools, or AIS for short, is the correspondence art school in which I am enrolled. “Correspondence” refers to the fact that lessons and assignments are done entirely through the mail; I do not have to go to an institution outside my home in order to attend classes or turn in work. Communication with teachers is done via phone, letter, or email, and the school itself sends you the materials you need to complete the course (including mailers) along with the course books and notifications of things like school contests.

You complete the lessons at your own pace, though they have recommended time frames for you–early lessons should take a week or two, and as you progress it is not unrealistic to take a month or so on each lesson–and they will send you reminders via mail if you take an unusually long time on a lesson. There are no semesters or class “grades”, really… Though I suppose one could count each section as a semester if they wanted; it would make sense if each lesson took a month to do.

When you first enroll, you receive your first two lessons. When you send in the first lesson (yes, they must be done in order), the school sends the third lesson and holds your first one for grading. When you send your second one, they send your fourth. That way you always have a lesson to work on. Graded lessons come back with both a letter grade and helpful notes and such on an overlay which is on top of your drawing. The teachers can show you in this way what you could do better, what you need to work on, or perhaps things they really like about your drawing.

All the art for the lessons is done traditionally; no computers or pen tablets involved. You work with pencil, pen (both felt and nib), brush, paint, and ink and learn many things about art in general, like light and shade, painting techniques, color theory, calligraphy, animal and human figures, cartooning, and more. I find it both refreshing and challenging, as it’s often things I’ve not done before–both in medium and subject–and without the luxury of layers, select and drag, and an “undo” button, it definitely requires a higher level of…consideration? of where to place your lines or strokes of the brush.

I’ve not been asked about this, but I’m sure someone might wonder about it: AIS is an accredited art school, and it is possible (though perhaps not in all cases) to count the course as credit hours in a college, which I think is great for those who may not be starting college right away, as if the college they apply to accepts those credits they can start out being a little further ahead. In addition, the final art project is meant to expand your portfolio, which could also be helpful in a college situation…or even perhaps for business. In terms of financial aid, the school does offer scholarships, as well as aforementioned contests, which are either for scholarships or cash (if you win the cash and still have some tuition to pay, it is first applied to the tuition, which I do think is quite nice).

Um…I can’t think of anything else at this point! Like I said, if there’s anything else you’d like to know, feel free to ask. ^^ I hope this has helped you understand a bit about these lessons and contests I keep talking about. XD

P.S. This is also my first post of 2014! Although I do have a New Year’s post in my drafts…it’s not quite finished so I decided to post this one first. It’s a bit late, but Happy New Year, everyone! :D I hope you have a magnificent year!

Today I bring you the inevitable New Year’s Eve post, which reflects upon the year that is coming to a close and looks towards the year that is dawning anew…actually, I think I’ll put my thoughts on the new year in a separate post, or else this will be too long.

First, the “End of Year Tag”, which is a tag created by Mimei on YouTube!

1. What was the best thing that happened to you this year?
…It’s hard to say! This year has been a wonderful year for me. There have been difficult times, which I’ll talk about next, but since I’ve learned from everything I have to say it’s been great overall. I’ve been greatly blessed this year as always, in so many ways, and I can’t really pick one thing!

2. What was the worst/most challenging thing that happened to you this year?
The most challenging thing for me this year was definitely the period of time in which I really struggled with self-worth, purpose, and frustrations from feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I talked a lot about that in this post.

3. Tell us about your favourite game, TV show, app, song, etc. of 2013!
Game: Pokemon BW 2 (I have White 2)
TV show: I don’t really watch TV, but…with my family I have enjoyed watching Matlock, Diagnosis Murder, and The Lawrence Welk show ^^
App: Oh, this is tough… I guess I’ll have to say Evernote. I’ve also really loved the official Copic app this year! It makes it so much easier to keep track of which Copic markers I have.
Song: …Let’s say favorite artist of 2013, huh? Has to be Juice=Juice! Close second is Morning Musume. They’ve been amazing lately, and I’ve loved all of Juice=Juice’s releases (*^_^*)

4. Show us the 3 best things you bought this year!
1- iMac! Though I didn’t buy it–well, I did pay $300 of it, but I don’t even consider that when I think about it! It was such a tremendous gift from my parents, one which I had really given up hope on getting this year, and yet…somehow I did. ;v;
2- two new combs! (lol) These were a birthday gift from my mom (so again, I didn’t buy them). They work so well with both wet hair and dry hair and I am very happy to have them!
3- Um…I don’t know. XD I keep thinking about gifts I’ve received rather than things I’ve bought for myself… I got new Copics, which was amazing, but again, they were a gift. ^^;

5. What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
My New Year’s Resolution is, in one phrase, to be more proactive. That has been one of my main goals this year, and I have done quite well at it, I think! But I could still be better >_<

TAG PEOPLE!: I tag YOU! Tell me in the comments, make a video, or write a post and leave a link to it below! I’d love to see~


This year, I wanted to do a lot of things…and some things I did; others I didn’t. But the main thing is how much I have learned in this year through everything, and how much I’ve grown; the progress I’ve made… I’ve learned a lot about trusting God this year, and about being patient and not trying to be perfect or do everything by myself, as I have tried to do before.

Thank you, God, for everything!

Oh, there are fireworks going off right now, but I keep missing them–I hear them and go to look, but they’ve stopped, so I go back to my computer and the fireworks go off again. ^^;

I hope everyone is having a great New Year’s Eve/Day!!! ♡

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! It’s already time for me to write a New Year’s post, huh? >_< Didn’t I just do that a few months ago? (Lol) But first, let’s talk about how Christmas went this year! (Click “Read More” to see the entire post, and what I got for Christmas. This post is rather image-heavy!)

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Christmas events really do last the whole month of December, and this year was no exception. It started for us with the Candlelight Tour of Homes on December 7th, hosted by the Oaklands Historic House Museum in Murfreesboro. This was our third year going, and I have to say, we saw some absolutely beautiful homes, most of which had not been a part of the tour before. We also received a free set of three historical books about the area from the Ransom School House Museum, which was the last stop listed–an amazing gift considering the price of each book alone.

The picture above is the only picture I took inside one of the houses–it’s of someone’s tree that I really liked.

The second event we went to was on Continue Reading