Monday, January 25, 2016

2015 Reflection / 2016 Goals

This blogpost will be in 3 parts.
1) Overall Review of 2015 - Positive, Negative and What did I Learn?
2) Goal Review of 2015 - Did I accomplish what you set out to do?
3) Goal Setting of 2016 - Where am I, What are my Obstacles, and What is my Strategy?

Overall Review of 2015

1) Year of Career Growth

+ First INSTALL at Discovery Cube as “set dresser” for BaAm Productions!

+ First in-house position at Rhetroactive. Got inside look at project process. Learned a lot!
+ Raised my day rate to $400! (was $300 back 2013)
+ Was able to make enough money to give my parents $1500 almost every month (paying back college loans).

- Worked in an office 9-5 was mentally and physically exhausting. I had trouble getting along with my co-workers. 3 hour commute to LA felt like torture. Worked hard but burned out. Quit my job in October for a vacation.

L - At the end of everyday - I would always ask myself, did I produce $400 worth of artwork today?  This behavior pushed myself to deliver as much as I could - sometimes driving myself towards exhaustion. However, I learned that you have to pace yourself when working in an office environment. Think longer term. Not a sprint.

L - Long term strategy is to create my own style of art and focusing on doing what I love. Prior to this, my strategy was to just... (2013) get my foot in the door. (2014) - get as much experience as possible. (2015) work in-house to understand project flow. And for 2016 - it will be about creating a niche market and specialization for myself. Big goal is to be happy and to enjoy my work! :)

2) Year of Project Lifecoach Explosion

+ Fanbase ERUPTED with KonMari videos. (Went from 18 to 3700+ Subscribers)
+ Introduced Unfiltered + Monthly reflection videos. Good response. 
+ “How to Get Art Job” video (January) - Great response!

- More subscribers means more exposure and negative comments.
- Too much time making videos (like 40 min travel vlog) - it's becoming not fun.
- Not hanging out with actual friends

L - Unfiltered videos had some of the BEST engagement with fans, even though the videos had shitty lighting, poor sound quality and NO editing. Sometimes, people just need you to be real and authentic - not shiny and perfect. By being truly yourself and letting your own light shine, you are unconsciously encouraging others to do the same.

L - Just have fun with Project Lifecoach. Keep it simple.Live life outside of youtube!

3) Year of Professional Photography and Videography

+ Got PAID to do videography and photos for THEA event. 
+ Created SATE and Gib Gab video for Themed Entertainment Association.
+ Created Next Gen Skill Codex! TEA sent to entire email list! Great response!
+ My videos were shown at an INTERNATIONAL conference.

L - It is possible to just do something for fun and when you get good at it - people will pay you to do that for them!!

4) Year of Expansive Travel

- Went to San Francisco, Princeton + New York with Chris Nguyen in February
- Went to SATE conference in Pittsburgh - did a talk at Carnegie Mellon in August
- Went to Shanghai + Taiwan trip in August

-  CMU talk was not that great. Talk could’ve been better with a DEMO! C'mon man!

L - Traveling alone can get lonely after a while. But traveling with lots of people can cause headache after a while. Traveling sounds awesome - but it can be exhausting.

L - Very enjoyable living with few possessions! You need less than you think. Simplicity.

5) Year of Lifestyle Design

+ Was living a dream life! Health, Wealth, Career, Family, Friends, Dating and Travel
+ 3 days workweeks: Exercise 1-2 hours in morning. Work 8-10 hour days. Hang out with new friends from hostel for 1-2 hours at night. Stay at hostels located in Hollywood, Korea town, Venice Beach etc... Go see local tourist destinations. Sleep at 10pm. 
+ 4 Day weekends: Go home. Spend time with family. Hang out with friends. Work on my business, sleep and recover.

- Driving to LA was sucked. Woke up 5am and drove 3 hours.
- Spending upwards of $400/ month on food, $200/ month on gas, lots of mileage on car.
- Hostel life was very fun at first, it got less fun after a while.
- Stressful work environment.
- Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.

L - It's possible to live your dream without knowing whether or not it is even possible. Just sent the intention and figure it out as you go. It's about the execution and always adjusting.

L - Imagine/ manifest a type of client/ project - You are an expert at what you do - you spend minimal effort and client is very happy with the results. The clients respects you immensely and pays you on time. You get paid A LOT!  Each project is interesting, fun, great for your career growth. You get to put your work in your portfolio to attract more projects and clients. The work you produce is excellent - your peers respect you. Doing this type of work makes you happy, healthy and wealthy.

6) Year of the New Home

- Moved to a new house. Super stressed out because had 3 big events simultaneously going on in July: moving, Anime Expo Convention, and my new job. So stressful!!

L  - Still adjusting to new home in Tustin. Learning that it's okay to move forward.

7) Year of Closing Legendbrush's Store

+ Started the year off great. Had a interview at Wondercon, did Anime Expo.
+ Lots of name painting and caricature parties. First wedding event!

- Closed Etsy store in July. Too busy with new job and Project Lifecoach. Name painting no longer sparked joy. 

L - Online classes? Re-open Etsy store in 2016.

L - It's okay to move forward. Thank Legendbrush for bringing me so much money and for supporting when I needed it. I can move on to bigger and better things.

8) Year of Struggling Friendships

- Much less social life with friends. Not acclimated to regular 9-5 lifestyle.  
- Running multiple projects was HARD. Project Lifecoach took a lot of mental bandwidth. Legendbrush took up a lot of weekends. Theme park work took up a lot of physical and emotional energy. Not much leftover energy to spend with friends. 

9) Year of Great TV shows
America’s Best Dance Crew
Agents of Shield

10) Favorite Purchases of the Year
- Blue Yeti Microphone ($75 - black friday sale!). So useful! Very reliable and solid. 
- 50mm 1.8g AFS Nikon Lens - Love this lens! I use it so much!

Goal Review of 2015 
These are goals I set for 2015. I evaluate if I accomplish them or not. 

1) I’m grateful and humble
Not really. I complain a lot and I’m still very arrogant. 
2) I’m thoughtful, considerate and kind
Maybe I’m a little bit more thoughtful. I think I’m improving and definitely more aware. But I still look out for myself first. 
3) I’m very generous
Because I’ve been making more money this month, I feel a lot more comfortable shelling out gifts. Been giving my parents $1500/ month which I’m very proud of. But when there is a lack of income, I become stingy again. 
4) Redo Portfolio website - client friendly
Yes definitely! I’m loving the “About Me” video, Pricing, Booth section and Blog that I updated on my website. 
5) Passive Income for Legendbrush
Tried selling prints on Etsy, but wasn’t that popular. I didn’t feel like the product was that good to begin with cuz the prints were so small. Classes?
6) Make Legendbrush parties better
The parties ARE better. The Caricatures now come with a cool plastic bag. My technique is improving. I have these new cardboard things. I still want to do a marketing video for the parties though… 
7) Out of state conventions (fun/travel)
Nope. Stopped doing conventions altogether. No longer that fun/ want to go down that route. Considering going legit and doing “wonder gallery” at downtown disney? 
8) Exercise More
Started playing basketball at my new house! I miss swimming at the swimming pool near my old house. But I guess it’s time to move on. I need to embrace the present and where I am right now. 
9) More effort into family, friends, girlfriend
My girlfriend doesn’t have time for me. lol… I don’t think it’s about “effort” - it’s about compassion, kindness and patience. 
10) Like and accept myself
Gary V. has an interesting take on “self-awareness.” Focus on your strengths and don’t give a fuck about your weaknesses. That is a good and interesting take on self-acceptance. 
11) Put more effort into Fashion
I still kind of suck at fashion. I tried starting a tumblr thinking I would do a fashion blog - but it was a lot harder than I thought. I like girls who are good at fashion - but I just don’t like putting in all that effort / don’t value the outcome I guess. I feel like a lot of fashionable clothes are uncomfortable or I might ruin them.  

Around August… I kind of got bored with my goals because they weren’t very actionable. The main ones being… 1) I’m grateful and humble, 2) I’m thoughtful, considerate and kind, 3) I’m very generous. So I changed them…

1) I am strong
This was a good goal because strength refers to both physical and mental. I AM a strong person, but the problem is that I am often too “rigid.” I strain and injury my neck from sometimes trying TOO hard. I think I need to be more chill, flexible and relaxed. 

2) I am compassionate, understanding and connected
I tried my best, but honestly a lot of times I feel alone, disconnected and isolated. This still needs work. 

3) Life is easy and loving
This is a pretty good goal. I try to just let things unfold and take it easy instead of worrying so much about the final outcome. 

Around September I got bored and revamped my goals AGAIN! This time they were…

1) My artwork for theme parks is as good as Chris Turner; Greg Pro. I draw and paint stuff that I like for fun!
I did couple of Greg Pro/ Chris Turner copies - which was fun and very educational. But I feel like the right step is for me to develop my own style and artistic taste— understanding what my strengths are and capitalizing on that. I think it’s important that I have fun have experience joy when I am creating artwork. When I am having fun, that is when the best work emerges. 

2) I allow myself to have a happy healthy sex life that is fun, enjoyable and responsible. 
I downloaded a bunch of TED talks on sex and tried to immerse myself a little bit more on the topic so it’s not so awkward. I’m making “have sex” a goal for 216. 

3) I allow others to feel. Loved, appreciated, respected, valued, heard, understood, important and cherished. 
I’m working on this - and it’s good that I have this intention. 

Goal Setting of 2016
Okay - now having done that reflection - it seems obvious too me and that set TOO many goals in 2015. I was all over the place in 2015 and rushed the process. So this year, I want to be more deliberate and intentional. I will have fewer goals - but make the goals very meaningful and delve deeply into them.

Goal 1) Have Sex  

Current Situation:
This is a very difficult goal for me. Currently I am virgin. I've have not had sex in the last 27 years - you can say I'm on a dry spell. The good news is I can TALK to girls. I’ve had 3 girlfriends. I've done the whole "pick-up" thing for a couple of years. I have a job, car, money, am physically fit and can dance. Only thing I can think of that might be going against me is that I still live at home with parents (my rent is $1500/ month).  

My Motivation: 
Last year - I made a video called Sex Talks talking about virgin shame - it had a great response. That's when I knew for sure a lot of other people have problems with their sexuality.  I'm definitely not alone and I want to share my journey to let other people know that they aren’t alone either.  

My friend has pointed out to me… that if my goal was to truly just "have sex" - you could just hire an "escort" or hook up with someone on Tinder - and you would have accomplished your 2016 goal by tonight! But I'm probably too uptight to do something like that. My motivation is going to be more about the journey of becoming comfortable with my sexuality.


I think my biggest obstacles is myself.  I have a lot of fear and negative associations about sex and safety. For example)  STDs, HIV, knocking a girl up - having kids, pervert, creep, rape, violence, depression etc...  I feel like sex is a "dirty" act.  I feel like I'm a "good kid" and I don't want to tarnish my image.

Another obstacle is being afraid of growing up. To me sex represents adulthood which entails a lot of responsibilities.  Of course I have the financial means to move out and live on my own - but I'm afraid of moving forward in my life. 

My biggest challenge I want to take on is the whole concept of "Manhood."  Men are very sensitive about this (and the size of our genitals). Someone could tell me that I don't seem at all "Asian". Or I don't really seem "American" - and I wouldn't really care.  Race and nationality aren't really a huge deal nowadays. But the moment someone says... "You are not a man" or "Grow some balls!" - I would immediately take offense and I would feel the need to prove to myself.  Why is the concept of gender such a a big deal?

Because I am so attached to the idea "being a man" - I feel a need to do what I see men on TV and movies do. Be rich, have power, dominate, and most importantly - sleep with as many beautiful women as you can.  My desire to have sex stems from my need to be accepted and respected by my peers.  If I can't sleep with girls, at least take pictures with a bunch of pretty girls and post them on Facebook so people THINK you are a player. Right? Through honest introspection - I recognize that this behavior is absurd. 


One of my strategies for becoming more comfortable with my sexuality is to learn how to accept pleasure into my life. I'm such a workaholic. I'm the type of person that doesn't really do things for fun. It always has to have some kind of work-related purpose.  This year I'll become more open to do activities that have no purpose - except that I enjoy it and it feels good! 

Another strategy is to improve my relationships with people.  I’m good at making new friends - but I’m not very good at maintaining relationships with old ones. I want to cultivate more patience and compassion in my life. Think about what you can do to benefit others without expecting what they will do for you in return. This will be a good strategy. 

Lastly, I need to tell myself that it is okay to move forward in life. Be safe, take necessary precautions, and just go for it. 

Goal 2) Be Chill 

Current Situation:
Currently I’m very uptight, disciplined and serious. I am not at all chill. I’m the type of person who wants everything to go my way, and I just upset and stressed out when it doesn’t. I recognize that being so goal-oriented and stubborn is a good thing - but there are also drawbacks. 

My Motivation: 
My motivation to becoming more chill is that I’ll be happier, relaxed, healthier, and people will enjoy being around me more. I honestly wouldn't like being around someone so uptight like myself. haha

My biggest obstacle will probably be my fear of not getting things done or being accomplished. 


My strategies are to ...
- Cultivate a sense of humor. Don’t take things so seriously. Perhaps even create some comedy videos on my youtube channel! Be willing to laugh and make fun of myself. Don’t feel the need to always look cool and impress people all the time. 
- It's okay to take small losses. I noticed that people who are really chill - don't fight or quibble about small things. They aren't petty. I guess the bigger win is that they live happier lives.

- Practice this mentality "No matter what happens, I am always happy and at peace." By making this wish - it will change my energy.  Before I always wanted everything to go my way. But if I’m happy regardless of whether or not things went my way - OMG … that would mean that I would be happy all the time! 

Goal 3) Be Myself

Current Situation:

This year - I'm starting to see the power of being yourself and just creating your own rules. 

Usually, Youtube videos are short with flashy editing. This year I created videos with poor lighting, crappy sound, no script - and fans LOVED these videos. I just talked about my problems and tried to keep it real. The result was great engagement; people really related to what I was talking about. Second, I also created long-form videos of me just cleaning my room and doing theta healing - and viewers watched those too!  So the rule that videos need to be heavily edited and short - completely went out the window. I was very surprised. 

Usually, dating advice is that you should be confident and assertive.  This year - I started to realize that I could just be myself: nice and sweet. That's who I am. One of my friends said it was endearing that I was a virgin; she suggested that I put that on my online dating profile. I thought it was absurd, but I gave it a try.  A girl on OK Cupid thought that I was interesting and cool, messaged me and we went out on a date. It completely blew my mind! (Unfortunately, there was no actual blowing on that date.)

Usually, concept art tends to look very cool and epic. But now, I'm starting to realize that I can create concept art in my OWN STYLE.  Just a month ago, a client asked me to create some designs for a Retail/ Entertainment space - and she found me through my Etsy Name Painting page!  I had never thought I could combine my "kawaii" name painting style and theme park illustration style together!


My main motivation for "being myself" is to take my artwork to the next level.  I want to be happier and enjoy the work that I do. I will do better work and make more money. And I will be healthier because I am happy all the time. 

My secondary motivation is to get laid. People always say that it's important to "be yourself" when going on a date - so I'll finally give it a shot.  


My biggest obstacle is that I hate critics. I get so angry when I get feedback from people who are not better than me. Honestly, the real problem is that I'm always comparing myself to others. I'm always fighting to be the best. I have a huge ego problem. 

Another obstacle is that when I am doing something that hasn't been done before, there will be a degree of uncertainty. I don't know the reaction I will get and what the result will be. Failure is definitely a possibility. 


My strategies are...

- Acceptance my weakness and focus on my strengths. 

- Find what sparks joy in my life and discard what I do not like. 
- Be vulnerable and have courage to dare greatly. If I fall, I will get back up. 
- Fully accept and love yourself as you are, fully love and accept your friends as they are. My theory is that when there is true vulnerability, respect and acceptance among friends, there will be no need for ego, competition and comparison. I'm going to give this a shot. 

*thumbs up for Gary V., Marie Kondo, Brene Brown, and Louise Haye in the same paragraph* 

4) Become better at fashion

Current Situation:
I don't really put much effort into the way I dress.  I spent about $200 total on clothes 2015, which is less than my cell phone bill or gym membership. I buy "fashionable" clothes but often don't wear them because I think they are uncomfortable or I don't want to get them dirty. Overall - fashion is not a priority for me. 

I think becoming better at fashion will help me attract a hot girlfriend. If I dress better, I think I will feel more confident and feel better about myself.

I feel like "outer beauty" is bad - while "inner beauty" is good. Therefore, I feel like fashion is frivolous and superficial.  I think that spending time and money on your appearance is vain and unnecessary.  It is ironic that I am saying these things because... I'm an artist. 

But the truth is... that I really like pretty girls.  I appreciate all the time and effort ladies spend on cultivating their taste in make-up and fashion.  I watch make-up videos like I watch Bob Ross painting videos.  It's an art form.  However, I'm not willing to spend that time and money on making myself feel beautiful (Perhaps I feel like it's not masculine, or that I'm not worth it.)


My strategy is to spend at least $100 on clothes every month. 
Treat fashion like a character design project - create ideas and image boards. Think about color, texture, material and value. 
Cultivate my taste and sense of style.  Really understand what kind of things I like and don't like. Wear clothes that genuinely spark joy. 

5) Happy Healthy Money - $60k

Current Situation:

In 2016 - I want to make a happy healthy $60k (after tax).  In 2014, I made around 20k and in 2015 I made around 30-40k. It's not a lot, but I'm very proud of myself because I practically doubled my income!  However, the thing is... a lot of times I sacrifice my health when I am working. 


I want to be healthy. I want to make money to support my parents and make them proud. I want to pay them back $100,000 for my college tuition. 


Right now - I am often in physical pain when I work. My hands and feet get freezing cold while working on the laptop continuously (like now). I throw myself into my work and it consumes me.  After long work days, I wake up with a neck so stiff that I'm totally incapacitated!  (Can't move can't drive.) Also - when I'm working a lot, I get stressed out and am mean and cranky to my loved ones.  I am addicted to achievement and productivity like a drug.


One of my strategies is to focus on happiness and let wealth follow. If I really like my job, maybe I won't be that stressed out in the first place.   

Another strategy is to see things as they are. In reality... Facebook is just Facebook. A video game is just a video game. Work is just work. I don't have to take work that seriously. 

I want to have work life separation. One of my favorite jobs was when I worked for Kamans at Disneyland. When I was at work - I was working. When I was at home - I let work go.  I didn't let work consume my life. I was able to mentally, emotionally, and physically distance myself from my job. I properly recovered and started fresh the next day with enthusiasm!

Lastly, I probably need to work on my work habits. Taking breaks. Doing stretching and exercise. Good posture. Meditation. Sleep early. Good diet. etc...

6) Help the World and Serve Others. 

Current Situation:

Right now I am doing a little bit of volunteer work. I occasionally do some tree planting, and teaching art to kids. I do think making a contribution to society is important, but it's secondary on my list of priorities. 

Right now - the world and environment is totally fucked up. I've been inspired by Lynne Twist to change the dream of the modern world - and live with a purpose to help others. If we don't radically change the purpose of why we live, the earth will most likely die. 


I want to be successful and have material things like cool cars and fancy houses.  I feel like I'm I truly dedicate myself to saving the world and making a contribution to society - I would need to give up my own dreams and desires. 


I don't really have a solid strategy for this asides from setting this as my intention. I will try to do more volunteer work this year. Ultimately, I'm planting this seed of an idea that will eventually grow into a tree. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sketches from 2015

So my sketchblog is in shambles. Haven't really posted much art on it. It's mostly articles and so disorganized. Here are some of my sketches from 2015. Below are some Greg Pro studies - one of my favorite theme park illustrators. 

And after that are a lot of the sketches of pretty girls from my instagram account. Honestly - it's a dream come true to just draw pretty girls. When I was in high school and I saw cute girls on tumblr - I wish I had the time to draw them - but I always too busy with homework. Now - it's nice that I like... get to draw whatever I want. :)

Instagram is nice because it's quick, and you get better engagement with fans with likes and comments. But I still like blogger because I have an Archive that goes back many many years. And it's nice to be able to see some history.