Showing posts with label Thought Corner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thought Corner. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Aggretsuko...

Before I get to the main part of the latest installment of thought corner, first I've got to get to some of the technical details about the subject of today's post...

Details...
Title: Aggretsuko
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: TV-14
How I Watched: Netflix Subscription
Netflix's Aggretsuko Page
Trailer from Netflix's Youtube....





Has anyone else watched Netflix’s 2018 show, Aggretsuko? I have, and now I need to talk about it....

So, back when Netflix premiered the trailer for the show, I admit that I was a little skeptical about how good it was going to be. But, I was so very-very-VERY wrong. I watched it with my little sister, and we both loved the show! So, today, I’m here to talk about all the reasons why I absolutely adored Aggretsuko in an attempt to convince other people to watch it too.

I had to take a couple of days to sit and process my thoughts about Aggretsuko. It’s such a great show and all I want to do is gush about it to anyone who might ask me if it’s worth watching. It is. Yes, definitely go watch it now. But for those who haven’t watched it, I’m going to try to keep spoilers out of this post.

So, Aggretsuko is one of the best animated shows I’ve watched. The animation style is cute (as expected of something associated with Sanrio; I mean, they’re the same company behind Hello Kitty), the humor was spot-on, and the subjects the show covered were shocking in that they were realistic—mirroring some current discussions about workplace bullying, bosses abusing their power, and even romantic relationships. The combination of characters, story, and an incredibly strong script ended up making Aggretsuko pretty awesome.

Let me explain... 

One of the most defining elements of Aggretsuko was the main character. Retsuko had a job she hated, a slew of terrible bosses, and often expressed her rage. In fact, now that I think about it, the show was all Retsuko’s daily life, which covered how she navigated all those issue. I lived for Retsuko’s reactions. And I’m glad that the creators didn’t shy away from showing Retsuko’s rage toward the unfair expectations stacked on her desk each and every day. It was refreshing to see how bluntly overworked and tired she was with certain aspects of her daily life, because rather than pushing aside the pain, anger, and fatigue, Retsuko got to express it. And that. Was. Awesome. She also had that one hobby where she could really decompress. And that was also awesome.

The whole cast was wonderful, but one thing I have to make note of was the friendships, particularly those between the female characters. And I just have to say: the portrayal of the female friendships was amazing. They actually seemed like good friends and not frenemies looking to one-up each other. Instead, they were supportive to each other and had conversations where they listened acutely to issues that they respectively faced.

Time for a couple other highlights…
  • Fenneko, the Fennec fox character—you’d have to watch the show to know what I mean. 
  • The setting—besides the whole anthropomorphic animals’ thing, the setting was pretty typical for a city. Still, I liked it a lot. 
  • I have to mention Retsuko’s love of death-metal again. It was such an integral part of her character and often served as relief during stressful situations. 
All of the above culminated into one thing: I need a season two. So, even if you don’t watch for the animation, you should do it for Retsuko and if not for her and her hobby, then for Fenneko or Gori, or even Washimi and Haida.

Have you watched Aggretsuko? If so, then what did you like about it? If not, would you watch it?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

We're Gonna Talk About Romance Tropes (Featuring The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory)...

**Quick note before I get started:  I’m going to be using Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date as an example. I read it as an ARC a few months ago, and it’s a great example of putting a fresh spin on some familiar tropes. So, before you read on, be warned that there may be minor spoilers even though I will try to keep talk of specific situations to a minimum....**

If you think about it, fiction utilizes some kind of trope or another to tell a story, whether it’s in the backstory of a character, setting, whole magic systems, or even the type of character arc a MC goes through—think heroes journey. Tropes are everywhere and they’re not going away. It all comes down to the details. I think romance novels are a good example of this because the tropes in and of themselves are so recognizable. So, I decided to talk about two of my favorite romance novel tropes: accidental meetings and fake wedding dates.

Accidental meetings put two people who might not have otherwise met into the same space for an extended length of time. It essentially forces them to hold a conversation. In the case of The Wedding Date, Alexa Monroe and Drew Nichols get trapped in an elevator, and have a somewhat humorous conversation that involved good old fashioned cheese and crackers—the cheese apparently being the good kind too. They might not have crossed paths. Why? One, they were total strangers. Two, their respective careers kept them in different cities. So, they hung in different circles but happened to be in the same place at once. There was a lot to love about how Alexa and Drew were characterized—professional life and interactions.

What could possibly go wrong at a wedding? To elaborate, I like this trope because it makes the characters talk to each other while they concoct elaborate stories to keep the charade rolling. Such as establishing how they met, how long they’ve been dating, and simple facts that couples should know about each other all in an attempt to fool friends, family, and sometimes an ex.

When you put those tropes together you get chemistry. Or, theoretically, that’s how it should work anyway. What’s true with a lot of romances is that chemistry can be rediscovered or entirely spontaneous. So, with the accidental meeting and fake wedding date tropes it’s kind of spontaneous and works best for me when it’s evident in the interactions and not repeated (told). In the case of The Wedding Date, the chemistry between Drew and Alexa was there. And the rest of the book was a lot of seeing where that early chemistry would lead.

Like I said above, tropes are everywhere. I have my favorites and there are others that I can’t really stand in romance and in other genres as well. What it comes down to is whether they’re used effectively to further a story rather than hinder it, and of course personal preference. The latter is a big factor in what books I ultimately enjoy or DNF and move on. And I just happen to be a fan of fake wedding dates.

What are some of your favorite romance tropes that appear in any genre?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Watched Jupiter Ascending Again...

Recently, I watched Jupiter Ascending again, and I had some thoughts once the credits started rolling. I just have to mention how awesome those end credits still are, but I digress. Back to those thoughts I mentioned. So, yes, I watched Jupiter Ascending and evaluated my initial perception of the movie, comparing it to when I first saw it in 2015 to how I view it now in 2018. It’s surprising how much of a difference almost 3 years can make. Let me tell you, my opinion is on a whole different spectrum. So it comes down to a very simple question: why is it that I consume and enjoy Jupiter Ascending's specific brand of media? What's the quality about it that brings me back again and again?

The first time I watched Jupiter Ascending, I didn’t really like the movie. There were things about it that I found interesting, and the visuals were stunning to watch on screen. But, it wasn’t my favorite movie and some parts of the dialogue left me scratching my head and wondering why it was a thing. The way the movie is structured had an almost video game quality and the bad guys’ sort of stepped on screen, were dismissed, and never seen again. At the time, I thought it was a little unsatisfying to never have gotten those concrete answers as to what ultimately happened to the antagonists. I also mentioned that the movie would have been better suited in a longer format—or at least given a sequel—to allow more time to develop those interesting story kernels and flesh-out the character backstories into something awesome. Sadly, to date there's no sequel.

Since this is a post about watching Jupiter Ascending again, rewatch it I have. I watched Jupiter Ascending again when it came on TV, went out and bought the DVD, and have watched it twice more since then. Why? Because the movie has not only grown on me, but I’ve also come to appreciate it.

I thought about it for a while while trying to come up with a good analogy to compare it to. I came up with one: comfort food. I realized that Jupiter Ascending is kind of like comfort food, and it's something that I find myself going back to again and again, especially if I need to relax. It’s not a movie with a deep, literary, metaphorical meaning that will positively make me question everything I know about, well, everything. But it doesn’t have to be. And yeah, it’s a little silly but it’s also entertaining. For example, if I’m stressed out the odds of me watching Blade Runner, or Logan’s Run, or something that’s bound to make me cry or add to that stress are next to none. No, if I’m stressed/angry/upset, I want space-werewolf-angels flying around on hover skates, and space DMVs and robot lawyers. I also want beautiful visuals and spaceships that are so extra that parts of them are probably made of gold and marble. In other words: Jupiter Ascending.

That brings me to that aha moment that led to the original thought behind this post: Jupiter Ascending is a specific kind of entertaining fluff. And I like it. There’s something about it that’s highly watchable, and that element has brought me back for a second, third, and even fifth viewing. And I'm sure that I’ll end up eventually watching the movie again. Because, the more I look critically at the types of media I consume regularly, the more I see a pattern to what I watch and when I watch it.

My stance on Jupiter Ascending just proves that opinions can change. I now see the movie from a perspective I never thought I would have. But now that I have it, I don't want to go back. What about you? Has your opinion about something ever changed after any extended length of time?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lets Talk About Older Artwork...

I haven't done a discussion post in a long time. It was one of my blogging goals of 2017. "At least once a month," is what I told myself; although, I never really found my rhythm and didn't find the time to write as many as I wanted (or couldn't think of topics to write about). That being said, it's a new year, and I finally have another discussion post ready. So, today, I'm here to talk about old artwork....

Old artwork. If art is your hobby or job, you’ve inevitably got a pile of old artwork stashed in some deep, dark, and forgotten corner of a closet or drawer. I mean, I have a lot of old art—some of it is from when I was kid—and admittedly, it’s a little awkward to look at. My immediate response is to cringe at it, laugh it off, or just quickly shut that drawer and walk away. However, old artwork is a good thing. And, like it or not, it’s always going to be a thing.

I view old artwork as a roadmap to my current art ability. If not for some of my old artwork, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I didn’t get this way overnight. It took years of practice, and even to this day I still find areas that I feel aren’t as on par with other aspects of my abilities.

I say that old artwork is a good thing because it serves as a visual reminder of where I was. Its a literal documentation of all the learning curves I've gone through, the style changes, and experiments. If I look back at pieces from early 2017 and compare them to some of my current projects, there’s a big difference. By comparing old with new, I can see the areas where I have improved as well as others that I still need to work on. But the signs of improvement are often sources of encouragement to continue. For example, the pictures below. The one on the left is a drawing from 2016 and the one on the right is the redraw I did for it on March 2, 2018.


What I’m trying to say is there’s no shame in old artwork. It’s older artwork for a reason. Is it kind of awkward? Yeah, sometimes, but that doesn’t change the fact that a year from now, I'll look back at everything I'm currently working on and will label it as older artwork. And, in a way, those ones (Those roadmaps to every learning curve) will always be just as important as recent pieces of art. Where's the shame in that?

What are your thoughts on older artwork?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thought Corner: Kind of Miscellaneous Monday Musings

I've fallen out of the habit of writing miscellaneous posts with shorter discussion topics, and participating in weekly memes like Musing Monday. So, today I’m going to talk about some of the things I wanted to mention earlier in the month but never got around to doing.

So, it’s November—NaNoWriMo; start of the holiday blog post preparation rush; all that good stuff—and I want to talk about some of my current November and upcoming December plans.

First, I'm not planning much for the month of November; however, I have a reason for that. I decided to skip a lot of extra posts in November in preparation for December. I have a couple of post ideas that I want to work on in between getting caught up on reading ARCs and posting reviews I’ve been sitting on for months. And I wouldn’t have the time to do everything I want if I didn’t scale back on blogging  in November. I also want to have the time to enjoy December. So, I'm hoping to get a lot done this month, which will involve schedule-schedule-scheduling away until I have enough posts to cover most of December.   

And second, I want to talk about subscriptions. I’m talking about the fact that I have finally joined the subscription bandwagon by signing up for my first one. Hooray! But wait, it’s not for a subscription box. I had to pick and choose what I wanted to do with my money. I thought long and hard about this, and focused on what would be more of interest to me in the long-run. That’s why I got a subscription for Discover Magazine.

There’s a pattern to what I’ve been reading recently: lots of nonfiction. I enjoy reading a variety of different subjects, because there’s always something to learn. I also want to stay somewhat up to date about what’s currently happening. So, while I think subscription boxes are great, Discover Magazine was more of a fit for me.

What about you? Do you have any subscription services you’re subscribed to? If not, is there any particular one or more you would like to join?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's Halloween!: All about Star Wars & Reeves Watercolor

Well, hello. How are you doing? Today is Halloween—a.k.a. the end of the month—November is literally tomorrow. But, where’s the graphic? Why a full post? Well, typically I only post a picture on days like Halloween or Christmas, and it’s become something of a trend on Our Thoughts Precisely. However, this year, I wanted to do something a little different. So to break that trend I’m going to do an art supply review instead, which is why I saved my reeves watercolor review for Halloween. As always, a full list of supplies used will be down at the bottom of the post.
Name: Reeves Watercolor Paint
Source: Purchased
Set: 18 count
ml/fl oz.: 10ml; 0.34 fl oz.


More info...
  • Good color strenth
  • Transparent finish
Colors: Chinese White, lemon yellow, medium yellow, orange, flesh tint, brilliant red, crimson, violet, phthalo blue, ultramarine, permanent green light, sap green, viridian hue, yellow orcher, burnt sienna, burnt umber, payne's gray, and ivory black.
Today, I’m going to be talking about Reeves Watercolor paint. When I did the review for Canson watercolor paper, I used these paints, which reminded me that I hadn’t really written specifically about them in any kind of review, general thoughts, or whatever. So, I’m finally going to do that.

What I’m working on…
  • Padme Amidala fan art
Some things to know...
  • This paint does have a slight chemical odor. 
  • This paint does separate in the tube, but once everything is mixed it works perfectly fine.
  • When setting up a pallet, keep in mind that this paint can experience some cracking. That’s what happened to me, but I don’t mind since I haven’t had any cracking on my actual paintings and don't really care how messy my folding pallet is or isn't
Here's what this particular set looks like. It's pretty basic, nothing fancy.


I actually like Reeves Watercolor. For a set of 18 colors, the price isn’t very high, and the paint quality is better than say something you would find at the $5 price point. To talk more in-depth about these paints, I’m going to kind of discuss my recent fan art of Padme Amidala—a.k.a., the whole reason why I was so excited to share this post on the blog.


Normally, I try to do original art, because it challenges me more than something that I have a clear reference for. However, I was in the mood to draw one of my favorite outfits from the Star Wars franchise: Padme’s Throne Room Gown from The Phantom Menace. I mean, I like this outfit so much that when I was a kid I actually dressed up as Padme for Halloween. Yes, this outfit in particular. I've always liked the color choices and style of this outfit. The colors are so vivid, which gave me the opportunity to really test how far I could go with the paint. I layered a lot in order to achieve the color you see in the final picture. And, oh gosh, this painting basically took me two days from start to finish—that includes the initial sketch in my sketchbook, transferring it to watercolor paper, and etc.. The effort was worth it because I’m happy with the result.

All paint takes a little trial and error to really see if it suites your style. I’ve exclusively used Reeves Watercolor for months and like it a lot. It’s easy to use, and the range of basic, straight from the tube, colors offers a wide enough range of choices that I sometimes paint without mixing. In this case, I did mix the colors to get the shades I wanted.

Some other good points…

This paint doesn’t have a chalky finish that rubs away when you touch it. I honestly hate that about some cheaper brands of paint. As you can see in the picture, I can touch the dried paint without any problems (as long as my my skin is dry, otherwise the paint would reactivate). To finish my fan art of Padme, I used colored pencil and white gel pen.

Will I continue using these paints?

The answer to that is a definite yes. Eventually, I do want to try different, more expensive paints. That being said, Reeves watercolor works perfectly fine for what I'm trying to do: improve.

Finished painting…

Hop on over to Adri's blog, Toile, Think, Go, where she is reviewing some of the seasonal candy corn: It’s Halloween, Now Let's Talk About Candy Corn. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got movies to watch. Happy Halloween!
Full List of Supplies…

Canson Watercolor Paper
Reeves Watercolor
Pigma Graphic Pen
Pigma Micron 02
Artist's Loft Colored Pencils
Sakura Gelly Roll gel pen (white)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Thought Corner: Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

Name: Sakura Pigma Pens
Source: Purchased
Set: 8 count


More info...
  • Archival quality ink: is waterproof, chemical resistant, fade resistant, bleed free, quick drying, and pH neutral.
  • Ideal for sketching, inking, and illustration.
  • Includes 6 Pigma Micron, 1 Pigma Brush, and 1 Pigma Graphic

Today, I’m going to be talking about the Sakura Pigma Micron pen set that I bought. This is actually my first set of pens with archival quality ink, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited to talk about them. I’ve just used ballpoint pens, markers, and more recently Papermate Felt Tip Pens. So, I was ready to make the switch to fine liners.

A full list of the supplies I used for the painting will be down at the bottom of the post…

What I’m working on…
  • A witch based off of a sketch from my sketchbook
Some things to know…
  • The ink is waterproof (more on that later)
  • These pens do not have an odor to them.
  • Does not bleed when applied to paper
  • Dries quickly
This is essentially what these look like. I had the choice of getting a smaller set, but choose to get the eight count since it had all the sizes I was looking for in fine liner pens.
Here's a quick swatch. As you can see, the sizes range from very thin to thicker darker lines. I personally prefer the look of thinner lines, but its nice to have the option to change that up when I want to. I also really like the brush pen.
Starting with the sketch…

The piece I’m talking about today is based off of a sketch of a witch from my sketchbook. I’d always planned to eventually turn it into a painting, and I figured that October was a good time to work on this one because of Halloween. Also, it gave me the perfect opportunity to test out these pens. I love these pens. It was definitely worth the price. They’re easy to use, and when I did a swatch of the pens I didn’t experience any dryness, which has happened to me on occasion with markers.

For this painting in particular, I wanted to keep the lines fairly thin because they weren’t that important to the overall piece. I used the 01 pen to ink the majority of the sketch. And the 1 graphic pen along the hat, eyes, and circle to darken the lines.

Next, I got to test out my favorite feature of these pens: they’re waterproof. I do a lot of watercolor painting, which is the reason why I originally looked into getting a set of these pens. Let me tell you, it’s awesome having these to use whenever I want to add a little more detail to my pieces before I begin painting. I love the fact that the ink dried quickly and it doesn’t smudge or bleed even when a lot of water was applied on top of it.

I pretty much just used some colored pencil to really get the color of the hair where I wanted it. I was pretty happy with how it looked at this point, but I later used some gel pen in order to really define some of the details I lost while adding color. I like the finished  painting more with the gel pen so the colors aren't just dark-on-dark-on dark.




Finished Painting

Overall…

I like these pens. I’m going to be able to get a good amount of use out of these pens, not just for paintings, but also inking sketches. These pens can be a little expensive, but if you get them from somewhere like Michaels, you can use coupons and easily get a good deal on them.
Full list of supplies used…


Sakura Pigma Micron pens
Reeves Watercolor Paint
Canson Watercolor Paper
Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen
Artist's Loft Colored pencil


Monday, September 11, 2017

Thought Corner: Canson Watercolor Paper

Campany: Canson 
Type of paper: Watercolor
Source: Purchased

Other info: 140lb; 300g
Size: 9in X 12in
Number of sheets: 30


More information:

Ideal for watercolor, acrylic, ink, and other wet techniques. Surface sizing to control absorbency. Durable surface allows for reworking. 
Today, I have a different kind of review to share on the blog. I'm going to be talking about one of my recent purchases: Canson Watercolor Paper. The example I’m going to be using for this post are from a page of birds that I painted on August 16th, 2017. Birds are actually sort of one of my weaknesses, and usually I'll draw quick simplified ones that don't require much of anything at all. I had a lot of fun with this page; although, I feel like I could have done a little better with the Christmas Robin. But it is what it is. Luckily, I'm only using the pelican as a example. The European Robin is just the sad bird that hangs out in the corner of a couple of the pictures.

Some things to know...

  • Like with any paper, you really have to test it out for yourself to see what works best for you. This post is my opinion based off of my experience.
  • Price was fair for thirty individual sheets.
  • I used Reeves Watercolor paint for these paintings.

Canson is a brand that came highly recommended—thanks Adri—and I was eager to try their watercolor paper for myself. Here's what it essentially looks like. Outward appearance is pretty normal for what you would expect from watercolor paper. The size is also pretty standard when compared to what I've used before.

However, that being said, I do like the interior design. When you open the cover it’s not directly attached to the paper, so you can fold it back and have it out of the way. I found that to be incredibly useful since my desk has a very limited surface space left over between my laptop and art supplies. This feature is particularly useful when I don't necessarily want to take the page off of the stack.

Now, the paper is basically the selling feature. I've used 90lb cold press, and let me tell you it's nothing like the 140lb. For one, the latter is a lot sturdier. Two, I liked the way the paint dried. Reeves already has a matte finish, but between this paper and the one I was using, Canson was noticeably smoother. Three, it handled the water well. It does warp under heavy saturation, but if you have tape around the edges it'll be fine. And four, reworking top layers of paint is easy.

The progress of the Pelican from left to right...

The progress of the pelican shows what I mean about the potential for reworking. This is the only bird I didn't work on continuously. I set it aside for a least an hour before returning and it was easy to get right back to smoothing out some of the edges—particularly in the brown and blue areas along the head, neck, and wing.



 =   
(Finished pelican was touched up with a bit of white Sakura Gelly Roll gel pen around the blue part beneath the brown of the beak.)

Overall, I‘m really happy with this paper and will be buying more from this brand in the future. One more thing: Puffins are now my favorite bird. They’re adorable. I didn't get the progress of the puffins on camera, but I wanted to post them anyway. So, here are a pair of bonus Puffins. If you look in the corner of the picture on the left, the European Robin makes another very small appearance, LOL...

Have you tried any of Canson's paper? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments down below. And if not, would this be something you would be interested in? Or what is u our favorite type of watercolor paper.
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