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Hello! I’ve decided to try to promote this blog a bit. I’d really like to build a true community here, and then find a way to monetize that community. So I thought it would be a good step to ask (beg, implore, convince, stop just short of manipulating) you to help with that. Or at least to clarify that I definitely don’t mind if you spread the word, give positive feedback and/or tell me what kind of stuff you’d like to see more of.

So, you know, tell your friends (that might be interested). Tell your relatives. Tell your acquaintances. Tell your teachers/students/fellow students. Tell your enemies. Tell your frenemies. I’m not asking you to tell random strangers since that might get a bit too awkward, but in the end all of this is up to your own judgement.

Take care,


Secret Origins: Skedio / The Choir

I’ve decided to make a couple of posts about how this blog got started, and various milestones and memorable moments. This time I want to talk about Skedio, which had a fairly significant role with regard to my interest in digital art. What is Skedio? Well, this description from their page is fairly accurate, I think:

Skedio bridges the gap between classic sketching applications with limited editing tools and complex design software that targets computer graphics professionals.”

Details are fairly easy to find out for anyone who cares, so I’ll just mention what was important to me. It’s fun, pleasant to use and pretty intuitive. It has enough features so it doesn’t feel like your’re just basically drawing stuff as usual, except with more strain on the eyes, but not so many that it feels like work getting to know them. (Also, fonts are limited, but it does Chinese characters, which turned out to be relevant)

For sketching and line drawings I think it might be pretty useful even beyond a semi-professional level, though that’s a bit of a guess. Otherwise, you’ll probably run up against the limitations at some point, even as a hobbyist. That’s how it went for me at least. But it was really, really great for getting started at the very least, and I seriously consider getting back to it and just accept the limits or add gradients and whatnot via something else just because it’s fun to use.

I think the very first thing I drew with it might have been the rain character picture. I’m not quite sure. But the goofy (yet charming) choir above was… perhaps not literally the last, but the one where I concluded I’d have to try something else with more options. Please note with the appropriate amount of awe* that I drew this entirely without using layers (Now available with Skedio by paying a bit extra, but that wasn’t the case then) and it was pretty darn fiddly!

There’s a bit to of a story to the picture, mainly that it’s for an as-yet unrealized project, but I’m not going into that now. I just want to say that I really like how this one turned out. Bit of a candid quality to it, I think.

*I’m thinking something in the area of slightly raised eyebrows and a somewhat more than polite appreciative nod or two, but use our own judgement. I’m not saying no to a full-on Not Bad.


Beating My Own Drum

Hello everyone. Did you know today is the Dragon Boat Festival?

It’s a very important Chinese festival that has to do with… uh… dragonboats and dragons and boats and there’s drums and poetry and… something about balancing an egg at noon? To be honest, I didn’t really have time to do research.

Also, it’s my birthday (I’m sign of the Fire Dragon, incidentally) so perhaps I may be forgiven for showing off a bit. If you want to indulge me and have a look at ⇒ this (⇒ annotated via and at ⇒ this (⇒ link to pdf – check out page 9). Isn’t that something? Best serendipitous birthday presents ever!

To be serious for a moment, I really do feel quite honored and am very delighted.

So. All right. Got dragons covered, got drums covered. Now, let me see, pretty sure I’ve got boats somewhere… okay, here’s one, and there’s another one. Anything else? Oh, right, egg balancing… how about this? …seems a bit wobbly… okay, this one’s more auspicious, I suppose:

Giraffe hatching from egg
Hatching Giraffe



vcws.org学联精彩  – 特别报道 [annotated via]

ordway.org2017  Children’s FestivalGu Gu Drum Group / Study Guides2017 festival study guide (pdf!)

Idiom: Precarious as a Pile of Eggs – 危如累卵Hatching Giraffe


Chinese Character: 是 shì To Be

[Radical: 日 rì Sun (#72)] / [Radical: 曰 yuē Say (#73)]

是 / shì / to be, yes ⇒ Chinese Grammar Wiki

不是 / bùshì / is not, no
不是 / bùshi /fault, blame
是不是 / shì bù shì / is or isn’t, whether or not

Note: The “to be” in “to be or not to be” doesn’t actually usually get translated as “是“, as far as I can tell. (Talking about Chinese translations of Shakespeare doesn’t make me sound pretentious at all, right?)

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Pinyin tone mark placement mnemonic

This seems like something you would pick up automatically over time, but somehow it’s not. At least on my part, I kept having problems with remembering it. There’s different ways of putting the rules, but what works best for me is:

  • The tone mark goes on the vowel that’s first in this sequence: a o e i u (ü)
  • Except for -iu, where it goes on the u
⇒ youtube: the 6 Vowels for Chinese Pinyin (Chels Teaches Chinese)

Alternative mnemonic: All vowels in use