Hi everyone! How is it already September?! I swear, I don't know if I'm going crazy but it really feels like we were just getting ready to welcome spring last week! To be honest, I usually love fall and the weather has been ridiculously hot, so I'm ready for some sweater weather, but at the same time, it just feels like it's a joke that the year's gone by so fast!
In any case, I'm ready for September, and I hope it will be a great month! I for one, always hold this month dearly because two people I love are celebrating their birthdays this month, first, my goddaughter which is the cutest most adorable little kid ever, and then my dad who would have been turning 55 years old on the 22nd and I'm sure he would've been the coolest 55 year old around town...maybe he'd have grown his beard and look even more lebanese, who knows?
Anyways, before we start celebrating September, and as is somewhat of a tradition in this blog, I first wanted to talk about some of the things I've been really enjoying this last month. Not many things, but these are just some of my recent favorites from August.
If you know anything about me, it's probably that I love learning languages - I know, I'm a wild child. I've been speaking english and spanish pretty much since I figured out how to catch the american disney at my grandparent's home when I was a baby, and then change all the decoders to play shows in original with subtitles. I also understand a lot of italian and portuguese since those are practically the same as spanish...and then there's arabic which I could speak a lot better back when I actually lived in Saudi Arabia than now but oh well.
So...you might be wondering...Alex, what more could you possibly wanna learn?! Well...actually, I'm currently studying both korean and japanese simultaneously thanks to Memrise. I know it's ridiculous and that both of these sound sufficiently hard for one lifetime of trauma, but I'm actually pretty interested in learning and advancing more and more. I've always been super interested in Japan and japanese, practically since Sakura Card Captor, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh were a big part of my childhood, so it was only natural that I'd take learning japanese more seriously now.
As for korean well...no offense Korea but I didn't even know you existed until seven years ago, it was just never advertised, I never learned about you in school, I didn't even know you could fly to Korea until five years ago, so idk we're catching up to you, slowly but surely we'll all get there. I believe in this.
But anyways, back to the point, this app, oh boy oh boy oh boy, this app is a godsent. Literally the best thing I've come across in a long while. In contrast with Duolingo which is great for learning - say - french or italian or spanish, you know, the holy trinity of romantic tongues, there's really not a lot of room for non popular languages like korean and japanese.
Which is weird, because I get why hangul and korean isn't the most popular language to learn, but everyone that's ever been into anime has definitely tried at some point in their life to learn japanese to understand better what they're watching/reading. So it's cool that you get languages like these, for free and in such a fun, quick and easy format. I do have the pro version, but to be honest I don't think it's necessary whatsoever to get the pro-plan unless you're trying to dedicate yourself to being a full on polyglot. But yeah, idk I'm definitely a lot lot lot lot lot lot lot more advanced in japanese than I am in korean - Japanese 2 with 235 words and phrases learned, versus Korean 1 with 61 words and phrases - but I'll catch up on soon enough, you just wait and see!
Get it here: Link!
TV / MOVIES / ETC
Disclaimer: I'm trying real hard not to talk about the 2017 Netflix Death Note in this.
My Only Love Song: This isn't really a new tv show for me since I watched it a while back already, but this was the first korean drama I got into and decided to rewatch it. Basically the plot is, that this young bratty actress time travels to the past right to the point where the historic thing that they're filming happened. The first episodes are pretty boring but trust me, I cried for five hours straight with the finale, also the episodes are pretty short because the flashbacks and freeze frames are ridiculously long, but hey, that's korean filmmaking 101 for you.
Hwarang: This was the first thing everyone told me to watch after My Only Love Song because I was desperate for more historical dramas. This one is about the real life Hwarang from Silla, one of the three kingdoms that now make up Korea about a thousand years back. Anyways, yeah, the plot is v simple to understand: there's this guy and this other guy, they're friends, go to the city because this guy wants to find his sister and stuff happens, also this other guy goes through some serious crap. Did that make sense? Anyways, if you like BROTPS, friendship, and really attractive guys in historical settings, then help yourself out, though be warned that there's some serious second lead syndrome in this.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon: This one I started watching solely because the guy who plays Ji Dwi (to not spoiler) is really cute and I am soft for cute guys. It is hilarious, like waking all your neighbors up kind of hilarious, this girl, Bong Soon, is super strong, and ~*things ensues*~. Also, Ahn Min Hyuk is so Extra™ and Dramatic and it gives me ten extra years of life every time he opens/crosses a door. Seriously, pls watch.
To be honest we could just change the music category to BTS because that's straight up the only thing I've been listening for the last month, aside from All Time Low's new album since I'm seeing them in concert next month.
But anyways, mostly, this entire month I've been listening to BTS (they say their new name is Beyond the Scene or something like that but I didn't really get that so I just call them BTS or Bangtan). They're a korean kpop band- is it k-pop? is it k-rap? is it k-hip hop? - and I don't know I just like their music? I've tried to get into kpop before and I was just not having it so I don't really know how to explain this, they're good but I'm slowly listening to more songs as I see them online and stuff, I'm not in that phase yet where I like listen to every single song, translate every lyric and learn them and buy their stuff, and I'm not flying to Korea to see them in concert either, so I don't really know if I can be considered a fan, but at the same time their music is so different and the few songs of them I've listened to I love them all and I'm also really impressed that they dance instead of y'know, playing instruments like most bands I know do, so I guess that kind of thing is really curious and interesting; and I definitely want to keep listening to them in the future.
So far my favorite songs are Run, Fire and Not Today. I also really like listening to Silver Spoon when I'm particularly having a bad day and need to have a good laugh, because it's just pure crack in a song.
This app guys, this app will be a forever favorite, because it has saved my life and my ass countless times, idk but it's just a lot more intuitive drawing and illustrating in procreate than it is in photoshop, and the apple pencil is just so good, so intuitively good! I've done every single product illustration - if not all illustrations for Ichiko Bento and myself in this app, as well as all digital lettering unless I need to give that grungy hand-written texture that I can only get with my koi calligraphy brushes. It's not that I use my iPad Pro a lot for anything outside of procreate - I do use an app to write down all my japanese and korean notes instead of an actual pen and paper notebook - but if you ask me, buying an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil is worth just for how much it will improve your skills.
Seriously, even if you don't do art or illustration for a living, if it's like a hobby it'll be super helpful too. I have a folder in the app that's just studies upon studies upon studies to improve as an illustrator, and I find I am so much more quick and effective in Procreate than in Photoshop where I find myself relying more on masks or the lasso tool than actually trying to learn and improve by my own hand.
Also! If you are in dire need of a graphics tablet but can't afford to buck out thousands to buy a Cintiq, please get AstroPad for the iPad, it'll turn your iPad into a graphics tablet and the apple pencil is completely responsive to brush settings in photoshop. This is usually what I do when I stream art on twitch, since I can see the photoshop screen on my iPad and leave the rest of the UI's up in my iMac.
THE KNKL SHOW
Watch Here: Link!
Okay, I admittedly don't know much about Kienan Lafferty because I'm very new to his channel but it's most definitely worth a mention because his art shows are just so good, so so good and helpful and even though I've only been watching his shows for a really short time it's helped me improve my illustrations by a thousand. In particular, some of my favorite videos that come to mind are KNKL 310: The 90% Eyes Theory, KNKL 334: I Am An Art Thief! (And You Should Be Too!) and KNKL 316: Basics, Drawing Hands! to mention a few. I especially recommend the I am an art thief one because it completely changed my life and the way I perceive "studying" from other artists. It's made me improve so much and learn that stealing doesn't necessarily have to mean doing an overlay and trying to pass it off as yours.
Ahhhh this was so so long I'm so sorry! I didn't even include other favorites because when I realized how long this was gonna be I just felt it was excessive for someone who's been missing for such a long time, I got carried away definitely. Anyways, those are a few of the things I've been really liking this month. Hope you'll give them a chance and let me know what you think! Also, please let me know what your favorites from this month were so I can try them out!