[ Idea a Day 2 – Wolf Boy ]

Posted on August 6th, 2013 at 10:15pm

I wanted to explore yesterday’s idea a little more. I feel that I have a story starting to form in my head, though it would prob take a lot more time to explore a fuller story so I might try something new tomorrow. Also experimenting with backgrounds =)

I’m really liking this story a day, it’s forcing me to work quickly without the guilt of perfection. It still is some what daunting looking at a blank page but exciting to see what will appear without restriction.

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[ Idea a Day 1 – Panda Girl ]

Posted on August 5th, 2013 at 10:09pm

After feeling a bit stuck in my work, a friend suggested I try doing an idea a day. I thought it was a great idea so I’m gonna “attempt” to do a drawing a day on the week days and see where it takes me =). What better place to start than with my favourite animal. Was also feeling a bit of a super hero mode.

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[ My New Online Comic – Stray Thoughts ]

Posted on June 14th, 2013 at 2:53pm

Ops meant to update here soon, better late than never =P

In April 2013 the Adopted the Comic project I was working in collaboration officially came to an end. As the last comic was very restricted to the topic of adoption, I did a couple of comics for myself for on different topics. When Adopted the comic came to an end I decided that I should just formalise the new comic and finally lunched my new website at the same time as the end of the old project.

For any Adopted the Comic fans, don’t worry, I will still be doing adoption comics occasionally  and with that in mind that is why I launched the new comics with ”Journey”.

So there you have it, Stray Thoughts Comics is born. =)

You can find the website here: www.straythoughtscomics.com

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[ Drawing on Paper ]

Posted on June 14th, 2013 at 11:01am

 

Since I got my graphics tablet all those years ago, I have hardly done any drawing on paper… almost to the point that I doubted I’d be able to draw on paper again so reliant I’ve become on computer. My friends kindly gave me a gift voucher for my birthday this year for an art supplies shop. So out of curiosity I bought some drawing ink, paint brushes, paper and some water colour pencils. Here are a couple of images I did… it fun to have a physical  piece of work for a change, but I doubt I’ll be able to tear myself away from my compter any time soon =P.

 

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[ Learn Thai – Book 1 – by Karine Jones illustrated by Jessica Emmett ]

Posted on March 11th, 2013 at 5:52pm

I can’t believe! The book “Learn Thai – Through Stories, Grammar & Exercises – Book 1″ by Karine Jones has finally been printed and went on sell! It has been a great project.

We started out the project, both having no experience of publishing a book, but armed with Karine’s language skills (I think she knows something like 3+ languages), a thai language consultent and my experiences of drawing online comics/design experiences we set out on our journey.

Karine worked away with the script while I worked on developing the character and story pages. After many months of slog, Karine decided as the book was specialist  that she would go the self publishing route. So I stepped up and took on designing and typesetting the whole book ready for the commercial printers. I also wanted to disprove the misconception that just because a book is self published does not at all mean that the quality of the book compromised.

After months of throwing ourselves into finishing the book, my copy finally arrived in February 2013! =D As someone that has a been a long digital artist I had almost forgotten the feeling of holding an object in your hands.

A lot of lesson have been learnt about the publishing process and it really has sparked some hidden inspiration in me to a point I’m looking to focus on illustration full time =).

You can now buy the book from: kaweepublishing.com
You can see more examples from the book on my [Illustration] page.

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[ Contributor to the book Chosen – Living with Adoption ]

Posted on January 8th, 2013 at 3:54pm

Chosen - Living with Adoption book coverThe few times I have submitted work to adoption compilation books it’s often been visual work. In this case I decided to try something new and submit a written piece despite my unconfident with my dyslexia. The irony is I love to write and feel that I’m a creative person and writing is just another way to express that.

So I was delighted that my submission was excepted a few months ago for the BAAF book by Perlita Harris.

It can be found below:

www.baaf.org.uk/bookshop/book_Chosen
or
www.amazon.co.uk/dp/190758563X

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[ Small Adoption Interviews ]

Posted on March 22nd, 2012 at 9:32pm

As an adoptee, it not surprising that adoption makes a good “story”. It’s hard t decide when and who I do interviews with, cos in the past I have been disappointed with interviews i’ve done in the past. So learning the hard way I’m much more choosey about who and why I do an interview about adoption. I wanted to share two little interviews that I did which have come out recently.

British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Blog

BAAF Blogspot websiteI did a short interview for the BAAF blog about being a transracial adoptee which was posed yesterday. It’s really nice to see a big organisation have such an active online presence both with this blog & their social networks.

baafadoption.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/trans-racial-adoption-from-vietnam-to.html

 

Somewhere Between – a documentary film project

[ylwm_vimeo height="390" width="684"]35426498[/ylwm_vimeo]

 

As part of their Kickstarter funding drive they have edited a small clip of the interview that I did with them at the start of my adoption journey. While i was cut (to my delight as i’m not a big camer person) for the main film, I’m not completely horrified to see myself here and glad that I didn’t say anything too stupid =P. Also it is the first time 1 of the 3 comics specifically commissioned for the film project has been show. Help support this great project by pledging before 11th April 2012 at the link below:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/677091478/somewhere-between-a-documentary-film/posts/192621

Related Links

Related BlogNational Adoption Week Film Competition

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[ Fantasy & Comic vs. Contemporary ]

Posted on March 18th, 2012 at 10:31pm

It’s true, I’m a geek. Every since I was young I loved drawing dragons and made up creatures and I have be often found doodling. Throughout school & into my foundation I was heavily discouraged away from fantasy work and pretty much was told that it wasn’t “real” art. I did end up just falling into line, annoyingly o_O.

This question comes up for me again and again throughout my life. Why are some forms of art seen as more valid then others?

To try and answer, I first ask more questions, the first and most important is, what is art? This is prob. quite a complex question to ask, and if I think about it too long it would prob. start to hurt. But if I go on my gut feeling and say as quickly as possible, I’d say art was the ability to make real thoughts, ideas or concepts through creative making skills. I’m also interested to see what my Apple computer’s dictionary says:

art 1 |ärt|
noun

1 the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
• works produced by such skill and imagination.
• creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture.

That was pretty dammed close to what I’d thought art was as well.

I have to admit, coming through essentially an art degree/masters where we were always asked to find something “meaningful” to do art about it, in some ways that process took away some of my child like passion for just creating & making for no other reason then just “because”. Of course I hugely appreciate my education cos it helped me understand the power of art & how to focus that voice into something co-herent. However since leaving uni it has been so rare for me to just sit and create just for fun as I feel guilty for not finding something deep and socially meaningful every time.

It’s taken years to shake off this feeling of having to make “high art” for exhibitions & screenings etc. Don’t get me wrong I still do it from time to time and enjoy it, but my focus has changed from exhibition work to freelance & commercial work. It was a hard transition because I always got the impression through my education that commercial artists weren’t seen as “pure” artists and only in it for the money… it has taken me a long time to shake off that dated and frankly unfounded idea that you can only call yourself a true artist if you have shown your work in X number of galleries, shows, screenings etc or some how been at the forefront of cultural commentary. Also I got the distinct impression from the “Art World” that commercial work is seen as “lesser”.

Finally I’ve been able to reject the idea that commercial art is some how inferior to contemporary art. I also really have gained such a sense of satisfaction and usefulness since doing more freelance work, more than I never came close to as a conceptual exhibition artist.

So here I’m back at my original thought. It’s clear to me that there is a sense of art hierarchies that many people, including creatives themselves have. First it’s the Art world … then the commercial creative/design industry… then right at the bottom is fantasy/sci-fi/comic art. I never have understood why. All my life people in education basically disregarded it as if it was almost medico tack. This is why it shocked me so much to find that the comic I created about adoption (adoptedthecomic.com), which I know isn’t the most skilled illustration, has prob had a bigger and more poignant global impact then identical issues voiced through my “serious” contemporary adoption art work. I see countless impressive, expressive & thought provoking works & illustrations by comic & fantasy/sci-fi artists.

There seems to be such rigid criteria on what constitutes as “art”. Does it matter if a piece is exhibited in a gallery to rave reviews, or fulfils the need of a paying client, or makes someone laugh, or fits into a small demographic? To me it’s all art, different forms and execution platforms of art yes, but none better than the other.

With all this pressure on artists both having to prove their skills and wit on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget the fun in art. After reading a manga (Japanese graphic novel/comic) last night for the first time in ages I was inspired to do just that, art for fun, just for myself but decided to share it above… and yes I proudly call it art! =D

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[ Full Circle in the Chinese Adoption Community ]

Posted on March 12th, 2012 at 7:24pm

I have been lucky enough to be apart of both Chinese & Vietnamese communities and I honestly can’t believe I only started to seriously reach out to other adoption people 4 years ago in 2008. I have been quite retrospective lately specifically of my involvement in the Chinese adoption communities since my trip to Ireland in January 2012. I did a panel talk with a fellow UK adoptee member of Children Adopted From China (CACH) for the Irish-Chinese Contact Group (ICCG)  Chinese New Year of the Dragon event. I have been to Ireland 6 times since 2008 working with a few different organisations there, but this trip made me think back to the start of my journey…

… In 2008 I had gone to Ireland on a week long Ireland tour organised by ICCG in which I was part of a panel of teens & one adult Chinese adoptees from the USA. I was the only Brit in the pack. It wasn’t the first panel talk I’d done, but it was a very significate trip. When I went on that trip I was still so new to the community, I had different views about adoption and didn’t grasp the vastness of the topic and know many other adoption experiences… I prob still am learning in that respect. At the same time I was only 2 years out of uni. and still finding my feet in the world as a person, as an artist let alone as an adoptee. I also had only just started to feel conformable about calling myself Chinese being genetically Vietnamese and despite having been born & raised in Hong Kong for 16 years. To sum it up, I was young and bright eyed entering the adoption world with trepidation.

I find it funny to remember how existing but how lost I felt when I started out. But I’m also glad that I’ve not lost that sense of hope that I entered into the world of adoption with. There are a few differences. I feel that I have a better understanding of many more types of adoption “experiences” having been lucky enough to hear many people’s stories & lives from so many different backgrounds and age groups. I also have learnt some hard lessons caused by my own assumptions about both adoption and people. Adoption is a lived experience with ups and downs, positives & negatives, humor & seriousness… no one persons experience is the same nor can you make a judgement on adoption or the people touched by it based on only a hand full of stories.

It was refreshening for me on this Ireland trip to spend time with both my fellow UK adoptee and with the teen adoptees of ICCG (YAPs). It is illuminating being able to see how the new faces of UK & Irish Chinese adoptees are taking on and develop the challenges of the lessons learnt by the past generations of adoptees as they tred the ground towards young adulthood. I very much hope that a sense of balance can still be taken forwards and that adoptees no longer have to hide their thoughts be that sad or happy when it comes to adoption. I wasn’t able to to spend as much time as I would have liked with the YAPs, but I hope they know that I was touched that they allowed me to hang out with them for a while and let me glimpse into a small part of their lives, despite being a married “old” 29 year old =P

This really takes me to another part of this “circle”… my time with the adult Hong Kong adoptees. In 2009 I became a committee member with the Chinese Adult Adoptee Worldwide Reunion (CAAWR) which a small group of Hong Kong adoptees meet up in HK in 2010. Sadly I couldn’t afford to go, but the experience allowed me to find a world of adult Chinese adoptees opening up infront of me. I stepped down from the committee in 2011 to put some much needed focus on my freelance art work though I still remain closely on the pulse of the Chinese adoption communities and i know i will always be involved with them in some way. In April 2012 will be one of the twice yearly UK Hong Kong Adoptee Network (UK HKAN) reunion lunchs. This time it will be in London at the BAAF and great as BAAF are working on a Chinese/HK Adoption study at the moment and have really come at a great time in the development of the HK adoption community in the UK. The HK adoptee community in the UK are picking up steam and it’s interesting that despite being of mainly a generation above me, mainly are also just starting to research out to others. It shows it’s never too late to start your adoption journey.

So as I sit between my Ireland trip and the UK HKAN London reunion I find myself thinking… wow! It’s been a busy 4 years. And really thinking what an exciting time this is for Chinese adoption community. I stand on the edge of the new & the elder generations of Chinese adoptees and I do hope that in the future the gap between the  younger and older generation mat start to blur into a single community… there’s still time =).

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[ National Adoption Week Film Competition – Sliver Winner ]

Posted on November 2nd, 2011 at 11:37pm

Every year the British Association of Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) run National Adoption Week (NAW) on November. Every year I’ve always wanted to be involved it in some how, but never figured out how to do so. When I found out that they would be running a short film competition for the first time on their Facebook page I jumped at the chance especially as I’m someone that always has advocated adoption expression through creative means.

The brief was to the make a 2min film about “what adoption means to you”. That actually was a tough one to answer for me adoption is all I’ve know, a family, love, a whole and balanced life with all it’s ups and downs and pain and laughter, how do you possible sum up “life” in 2 mins? With the support of my parents and sister I have been able to explore the really hard questions about adoption in a safe space… which is why in the end I decided to entry a video I’d made a few years ago, Row Your Boat, which I feel really does ask those hard questions about war, diaspora, hope & even the morality of adoption itself. You can watch it on my [Video Art] page.

I was completely chuffed when I found out that I was one of 6 short listed film entries. Last night was the National Adoption Week film competition awards ceremony in London. I have to admit I was really nervous, not cos I was thinking about weather I’d place, but that I would be in a room for of people involved with BAAF which is an organisation I’ve had such great respect for since I heard about them so many years ago. I don’t know why I was so nervous because it was a warm, overwhelming and touching night and I was so touched to meet so many lovely people, including BAAF staff, investors/supporters, adoption champions/partons and especially the fellow film makers. I wished there been more time to talk to everyone, but hope that I will in the future.

I have been an artist since 2000 and been working on adoption art since 2003. So to find out that I was the Silver Winner of the first NAW 2011 Film competition has been one of my proudest moments, and what a way to support transracial adoption, adoptee voices AND National Adoption week! =D

There was a great variety of  the great short listed films and you can see the entries here:
http://baafadoption.blogspot.com/2011/10/national-adoption-week-film-competition.html

Here is the BAAF blog page about last nights National Adoption Week film competition awards ceremony:
http://baafadoption.blogspot.com/2011/11/national-adoption-week-film-competition.html

 

Related External Links:

British Association of Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) website – www.baaf.org.uk
National Adoption Week website – www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk
BAAF Facebook page – www.facebook.com/BAAFAdoption
BAAF on Twitter – twitter.com/baafadoption
BAAF Blog Spot –  baafadoption.blogspot.com
Banbury Guardian (Article about me being shortlisted) – www.banburyguardian.co.uk

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