Monday, July 30, 2012


Warning: Long post ahead!
TL;DR - The Otakon 2012 trip was overall very successful!

This past weekend I went to Otakon 2012 as Shiina Mayuri (Mayushii) from Stein's Gate, and had a blast! There were definitely a lot more Okabe's (the main male character) than any of the girl characters, but I'm glad we managed to find all but one character from the cast!

Above: Julia (as Christina) and me (as Mayuri) with Okabe #2.

Above: So many Okabe's! This was perhaps less than half of the total
number of Okabe's we encountered over the weekend.

In addition to the Black Rock Shooter canvas, I also submitted 3 chinese-styled wallscrolls and 2 sketches to the Otakon 2012 Art show.

Above: BRS canvas (this has its own post - check it out! ^_^ )

Above: Wall scrolls submitted to Otakon 2012!

Above: Sketch of gender-bender Legend of Korra cast.
(The finished version had some breezy leaves floating throughout the pic as well.)

Above: Working photo of the Mako-Bolin sketch - I don't have a pic
of the finished version unfortunately!

To read more about my trip and submitted art, click below to read more!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


For Otakon 2012, I'm going to submit about 5 pieces of artwork into their Art Show, and I'll be documenting their progress here. The first one to be done was the Black Rock Shooter acrylic painting!

Above: BRS in Acrylic!

(Black Rock Shooter is a character from an anime of the same name, for more info: CLICK HERE. :)

I had submitted an acrylic painting to Otakon 2 years ago, and I honestly don't remember how much I priced it and how much it sold for, haha. If anyone has any advice, please let me know!

The cheap-student's setup: Cardboard box table with a newspaper covering, and a flattened cardboard box underneath as a spill/drip precaution. It might be hard to tell in the following GIF, but I'm using those transparent CD covers and some plexiglass found at MITERS as substitute mixing trays. So if you don't have a palette/mixing tray, those are a good substitute.

Above: My workspace becomes subsequently more cluttered.

I am but an amateur artist and only a hobbyist, but here are a few color theory tips I can share:

(1) Brown and blue plus some white make lovelier shades of gray than the store bought colors (or even regular black mixed with white). A brighter blue results in a warmer shade of gray whereas a darker blue result in a colder shade of gray, and etc.

(2) Blue and with a little green mixed with some darker red (or yellow) create some interesting darker blue-green colors that when used with black create a nice backdrop/undertone color. I used this combo to get the color of BRS's hair, bikini top and shorts. The photo doesn't show it much, but the black does have a blue-green undertone, thus making it less of a strictly black and white painting. Careful not to mix until muddy!

(3) White lightens a color, but won't brighten a color. If you want a bright blue, for example, either buy a brighter blue color, or try and selectively 'tone-down' the area around it to create the illusion of a brighter color, as what I tried to do. You're going for a stark contrast, and you can do that by either complementing it, or making everything else much less intense (in the immediate surrounding area). By setting darker colors next to their much lighter companion with a few flecks of straight white on top also helps to create an illusion for a brighter color area.

Above: I used up 2 CD cases (back and front), and 4 rectangular strips of plexiglass.

Above: Example of (3) - tone down the blues in the surrounding areas
to make even regular blue look more intense than usual.

This might be a little light to see, but here's a comparison of the original sketch to the version I drew on the canvas. Looks really messy, right? I also took out 80% of the chains I was initially planning on drawing into the final painting just as an aesthetic choice.

Above: Canvas (right) based off the original sketch (left).

Above: Final version.
Size comparison to my laptop  - the painting's not too big!

More Otakon cosplay and artworks coming up in the next few days - Peace!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


This past Monday, I toted back a load of groceries with plans to try out some new recipes. After pretty much spending the rest of the day making stuff - chopping, whisking, kneading, etc - I realized something. And I only realized it after I sat down at the end of the day to take a break, when I noticed my arms were sore and uncontrollably quivering a bit.

Above: A 4koma of my Monday.

Conclusion: My arms are weak and have low endurance. ^o^;

However, I think I managed to make a few interesting dishes. Since the rest of this post is picture heavy, here's just two preview pics of the chocolate Kahlua mousse and dango (Japanese dumpling) dish I made - you can click through the jump break to read more. :)

Above: Chocolate Kahlua Mousse, served with strawberries.

Above: Dango with two varieties of toppings - 
black sesame and sweet soy sauce.

(Click below to read more!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, I made some banana ice cream decked with blueberries and strawberries, topped with raspberry or blueberry cream upon serving.

Above: There are a few stripes missing.........

To fill a ~6x4x4 inch container, cut up about 6 frozen bananas, and add to it about a cup and a half of heavy cream and a few spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt to taste. Feel free to substitute peanut butter or honey for the vanilla yogurt as well! If you only have access to a small blender, as I have, split the ingredients into proportional rations so they'll fit.

Above: Cutting off the frozen banana peels.

Above: Bananas, cream, and yogurt.

The cream was made from mixing a few spoonfuls of heavy cream, milk, and sugar for a good 3-5 minutes. (I also heated it up for about 15 seconds afterwards, but that's not necessary). Add and crush the raspberries and blueberries in the cream for the topping, and use the rest for drizzling on the ice cream.

Above: Prepping fruit and cream for decoration.

Above: Crushing the fruit to make cream topping.

Above: Voila!

Add some crumbled Nilla wafers and serve however you want!

Above: I'll be eating this watching the fireworks. :)


There were so many people camped out near the river where the fireworks were to be set off; some apparently have been camping out there for the entire day. Happy Fourth of July, Boston!

Above: The concentration of campers stays pretty constant down the entire length of the river.

Monday, July 2, 2012


One of my good friends Julia introduced Stein's Gate to me, in hopes that I would cosplay with her as one of the main girl characters in the anime. And so, after watching a few episodes and becoming a fan, I've agreed to cosplay Mayuri Shiina, or Mayushi for short.

Above: Mayushi pic from Stein's Gate Wiki.

I started on the hat first, but after making two versions, I quickly discovered that I wasn't satisfied with the results so I won't go too into too much detail here.

Above: [LEFT] Hat V.1
[RIGHT] Hat V.2

Hat V.1:
Procedure: Circle top sewed onto a donut-shaped outer ring. White band tied around like a headband
Verdict: Too small, unstable. Doesn't have the desired shape.

Above: Using my pencil as a thread unraveler.

Hat V.2:
Procedure: Divided the hat into 3 parts - the top, the sides of the hat, and the rim. I made sure to give a bit more room to my measurements, used a hat I had as a model, and sewed on rigid paper to help mold the desired hat shape.
Verdict: Too wide at the back, unstable. Closer to the desired shape, but not to my satisfaction.

Above: Sewing the paper onto the insides of the Hat V.2.

Conclusion: For Hat V.3, I'm buying/making a hat mold first, on which I will just cover with fabric.


For Mayushi's top, I also made two versions, and decided that Top V.2 will be the working version I will shape into the final product.

Top V.1:
Procedure: I used newspapers to pattern out the top design.
Verdict: Waist too wide, sleeves too puffy.

Above: Newspaper patterning.

Above: Sleeves turned out too puffy.

Top V.2:
Procedure: I divided the dress part with the top, and used a smaller t-shirt as a model. I left the sleeves not sewn for now.
Verdict: Somewhat satisfactory. There are a few modifications I'd still like to do, like hem the dress and fix the alignment of the ruffles.

Above: Working more modularly.

Above: Sewing the lace on.

Above: Current product, as of now.

Conclusion: Fairly satisfactory. After sewing the sleeves and making minor adjustments, Top V.2 will be finished.


So after all this, I ended up using nearly 4x1 yards of light blue fabric and several colors of thread. Since I hand sewed everything, I ran out of thread fairly regularly and substituted all sorts of differently colored thread. I also got really good at tying knots and threading needles, haha. Next Otakon prep update: arts for the Art Show!

Above: Notice the empty spools to the right - time to buy new thread!