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Journal Entry: Sat May 4, 2013, 9:26 AM

Cross-posted from my blog. The entry is a little bipolar, my emo and epic nerdy fangirling all rolled into one. You have been warned.



Where do I even start? I'm glad to be alive.

It takes a lot of courage to put certain thoughts and feelings into words, too easy to be hurt for who we are, our heart's fragility can only withstand so much when it comes to our weaknesses, I think.

And so, I hadn't known how to write this, and I still don't exactly, not really. But last year -- getting over depression -- was surely the grandest achievement of me being 24 (and of course my doctor, who didn't even have to put me on antidepressants, thank you).

In many ways, I'd been afraid to write about it because I didn't want to jinx my recovery, it wasn't often I had something good like that. (Because you know, more than once, I'd thought that I was fine, just to find myself living in the very opposite of that the next months.)

It was a lot to take in, becoming… un-unhappy.

From my first memory of acute loneliness, to the first time I thought about death when I was four, a lifetime of problems to fix, all the normalcy I never knew and wondered about, that made me different, that nearly…

I hadn't known I suffered from traumatic stress, it went on for so long I'd accepted my feelings and nightmares as normalcy. So when I could see in my head, during my final session, the foundation blocks of my life and thoughts reslotting and rearranging, completely changing, I couldn't understand how it was possible. It was overwhelming and awe-inspiring. And terrifying.

It was as if I had become someone else, held in my hands the memories of someone I might have been, trying to understand it, feeling like an outsider; as if I were separated from that person's past by a wall of glass, I could look but not reach, nor feel.

It left me lost, like I'd finally emerged from the shadows into the sun, yet all that lay around me was vast indistinct land, and it didn't matter where I went. Until finally, and only because I was trying so hard to find something, anything at all, I felt the moment I left that dream place and came surface to air, and I realised with wonder, that I had healed.

If I could liken it to something, maybe, it's what a person's metamorphosis is like.

That was the most important thing that happened to me at 24.

Of course not discounting my move to New York, and the recent news that I was selected by Vogue Italia to be part of Photo Vogue's exhibition in Milan this June. And I saw Gundam Unicorn! Finally!! I haven't been able to lock away my closet nerdiness after that, because oh god, sick cockpit design is sick. I've been daydreaming about how to spend my first billion dollars (simulation room in my house!!), I even re-watched the series to take screenshots just so I can write a blog post about it. NERDY.

Also just finished Lymond Chronicles' book 4, it was SO emotionally brutal I nearly had a heart attack. Phillipa, my sixteen year old heroine. SO BRAVE. HOW?! She journeyed alone to find her friend's baby son in a foreign land, surrounded by dangers and traps and possible assassinations all the bloody way, and gave up her life to the seraglio just so she could protect the child's safety after she had found him. So freaking badass and so much courage! Why aren't there more people reading this together with me so we can fangirl and fanboy together!?!!

Don't judge me on the fangirling.

The secret to great personal work is being a fangirl. Only when I feel passionate can I create works passionately!

So 24 was an experience alright, here's hoping 25 will be even grander.

Thank you everyone for your encouragements and support and love, I hope I can continue to be a person you can be happy with and proud of. Happy birthday to me! :D

May 4th, 2013

PS: Holy shit, 5 pages of birthday greetings, you guys are way too sweet. Love you dA :love:

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Resource Roundup #8

Wed May 23, 2012, 12:00 PM by mattdanna:iconmattdanna:
The Resource Roundup is a regular feature showcasing some of the best resources deviantART members share with the world!

Whether you're a beginning artist or seasoned pro, deviantART's Resources Gallery is an inspirational and beneficial asset for art creation.  Take a look at a few of the incredible submissions below – they might help enhance your next artistic creation!

This month's theme is "do it yourself" (commonly known as 'DIY'). We hope you enjoy these tutorials! What would you like to see in next month's edition of Resource Roundup?


Origami Winged Heart Tutorial by pandacub143 TUTORIAL: Paper Stars by RainCookie Origami Panda Tutorial by synconi Origami Pikachu Tutorial by synconi Banana Milky PaperCraft by kickass-peanut


How to: Rainbow Cupcakes by Marki-san-Design Apple Crisp by ElwynAvalon How to make yakisoba-omusoba by BrocX How to make Fudge by Charlotte-Holmes


Wig Hairline Tutorial by Malindachan Cosplay wing tutorial by etaru Tutorial: Cosplay Jewel-Making by cafe-lalonde Paper Mache Armor and Prop Tutorial by FireLilyCosplay


Plush Donut Tutorial by devliann Raichu Sewing Tutorial by Renegar-Kitsune Turtle Tutorial by Piripanda Electric guitar bag tutorial by Eyespiral-stock Pikachu Hat Tutorial by nikkiswimmer


FREE Complete Ear Cuff Tutorial by AmeliaLune Tutorial earrings in art nouveau style by Tegero Octopus Charm Tutorial by Oborochann Tutorial: Candy Wrapper Things by bunnykissd DIY Frame Earring Holder by heartMelinda

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Previous Go for it articles:

Go for it - Photoshop Tutorials
Go for it - Photoshop Actions

Hello guys! How are you?
This "Go for it" Article is about Photoshop Brushes.
Many of us use brushes to enhance our works result. Whether they are drawings, vectors, paintings, manipulations, photographies, etc., the truth is that brushes are many times a life savior and, they help us achieve great effects in an great and easy way.

What are brushes?
Quoting my own Tutorial, "Brushes can be compared to stamps that we use in Photoshop (or in other program like Paint Shop Pro, Illustrator, Corel PhotoPaint, etc.). The main puropse is to add extra effect or details into your digital work".

I've created 2 Tutorials exlaining how to instal & apply Photoshop Brushes and, also how to create your own Photoshop Brushes. If you find them useful, please download them and have fun!

How to Instal + Apply Brushes by Lune-Tutorials Creating Brushes tutorial by Lune-Tutorials

Now here's a small selection of some brushes available to download for free on deviantArt.
PLEASE, don't forget to follow each stock provider's Rules everytime you download brushes or other resource. :aww:

• Nature related

Water II Photoshop Brushes by redheadstock Spanish Moss Brushes by redheadstock Grasses and Plants PS Brushes by redheadstock
Water Photoshop Brushes by redheadstock Clouds Mist Photoshop Brushes by redheadstock Splish Splash by midnightstouch
Tree Borders by midnightstouch We're Not In Kansas Anymore by midnightstouch Pretty flora by PrettyBrush
Misty Morning Brushes Part 2 by LadyVictoire Trees Brushes Set 2 by Falln-Brushes Brushes: Nature by confused-stock

• Animal related

20 Animal Brushes for PS by UnidentifyStudios Animal Tracks PS Brushes by redheadstock Animal Prints PS Brushes by redheadstock
Animal Brushes tribal by alwinred Tempest's Animal Brushes by tempest-scorn Animal Print Brushes by RainyDoll-Stock
:thumb38483935: :thumb34216464: Feathered Angel Wings Brushes by Falln-Brushes
Cat  Brushes 1 by icedance4ever-stock Bird Brushes by thiselectricheart Crow brushes by ephedrina-stock

• Design & Symbols related

Vector Style 'Stalk' Brushes by melemel Risingsun Brushes by JavierZhX gvl - Suddenly Spring brushes by gvalkyrie
Sinuous, Vector Brushes by Bi-Extacy Vector Brushes 2 by ghostss Vector Flowers_vines Brushes by spiritcoda
:thumb54001452: :thumb82761628: Puzzle Brushes by Scully7491
Planet Symbol Brushes by crimsonvermil-stock Fancy Borders by Scully7491 Gatecrasher Influenced Brushes by PAULW

• Light & Glow related

:thumb4689347: Abstract lighting brushes PS7+ by Not-a-kitty Star brushes by Moondustdreams
ms113-magic brushes ps7 by mystify-stock Sparkles and Lights Brushes by reikavich Candles Brushes Set 1 by Falln-Brushes
Light Beams + Rays Brushes by redheadstock Lightning bolt brushes by danigranger seiyastock sparkle brushes 2 by seiyastock
.::+Sparkle Brushes no.1+::. by Rogue-Stock Sparkle by exotika-brushes Light Rays by spiritsighs-stock

• Objects related

Paper Fans by spiritsighs-stock Lanterns and Lightposts by spiritsighs-stock Random Objects seiyastock by seiyastock
agonie-brushes Clef Key by Agonie-Stock ribbons brushes by aliira Tiaras by spiritsighs-stock
Veil Brushes Set 1 by Falln-Brushes Jewelry by spiritsighs-stock
:thumb30319523: Ischarm Hat Brushes by ischarm-stock

• Human related

Hand Prints Brushes Set 1 by Falln-Brushes Blood and Splatter Brushes 2 by Falln-Brushes Eye Lashes by Lugubrum-stock by lugubrum-stock
Lips and Lashes brushes by lilnymph :thumb73981587: Eyeshadow Photoshop Brushes by redheadstock
Hair Brushes Set 5 by Falln-Brushes Make-Up Brushes by pr0sthetix Pretty sore by PrettyBrush
Hair Brushes III by Scully7491 :thumb13631973: Messy Make up by PrettyBrush

• Textures related

Grunge by spiritsighs-stock Masking by spiritsighs-stock Texture Brushes by tahliadenae
Pretty tape by PrettyBrush Scratch Texture Brushes by daughterofsnape Cracks Brushes by latebraking
Random Texture Brushes by crazinessisay Texture Brushes by daughterofsnape abstract grunge brushes by xALIASx
Grunge Brushes 3 by KeReN-R GVL Soft Texture brushes by gvalkyrie Grunge 'n Rust 2nd Edition by Metal-CX

These are just some of the categories and brushes available here on dA.
I made a small selection and you can search for much, much more. Just go to the Main Page and search by Resources > Application Resources > Photoshop Brushes. There's a whole dA world of brushes for you to explore. Have fun!

Tip - in case you want a specific brush, try to search for it in the the Search Bar (example: Hair Brushes -> Go). A whole list of that specific category will show in front of your eyes!

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How To Photograph Your Crafts

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:00 PM

The absolute number one cause of rejection of DD suggestions for most Artisan Craft CVs is poor photography. There is nothing worse than seeing an otherwise brilliant piece ruined by a dodgy photo. But even beyond DD acceptance, if you want to people on dA to be able to appreciate your skill you need to be able to show your work off to advantage.

Sometimes I'll tell a self-suggester that I can't feature their work because of the quality of the photography and they'll inevitably reply, "Oh, I'll have to get a better camera."

Repeat after me: the tools never make the artist.

You don't need a $9000 sewing machine to stitch a dress, you don't need a $1000 stand mixer to bake a cake, and you similarly don't need a top of the range SLR to take a brilliant photograph. It's all in how you take the photo.

To help us understand photography concepts a little more, Fella is going to help us out. Say hi Fella!

Fella01 by cakecrumbs  Fella02 by cakecrumbs

The photograph on the left was taken using a cheap mobile phone camera. The one on the right was taken with a $1000 dSLR. Which photograph shows Fella more accurately and more clearly?

By understanding photography basics you can improve your photographs without spending a cent. Let's begin!

*** Disclaimer: I'm not a photographer or even a very good hobbyist photographer. These are basic, basic tips and tricks to yield decent photographs, not a still life photography tute. As an aside, all the photos from here on in are taken using my entry-level dSLR (a Canon EOS 600D) with a standard kit lens. All the following photos were taken using the same settings on my camera, so all the changes you see in the photographs are extrinsic to the camera itself. I'm embedding the photos here as thumbs, but to get a better look at the examples you can click on them to enlarge them.

1. Lighting

The single most important part of taking a photograph is the lighting. Good lighting will bring out the best of your craft.

Sourcing the right light

The worst pictures are often those taken under artificial house lights. You can see in the photo above how my kitchen light throws Fellas colours right off. A skilled photographer can deal with it, but don't make life hard for yourself. Take the photographs during the day under natural light. For those dealing with perishable items (e.g. culinary artists) this can be more challenging and will require work-arounds sometimes, but where time is not an issue take the time to do it right.

One way to do this is by taking your craft outside. But be mindful of what the great big light source in the sky is doing. In the middle of the day, especially in a sunny country such as my own, the sunlight might be too harsh. Here on the left you can see how over-exposed the photograph is. Some parts of Fella are far too bright, while others have deep shadows that obscure his features. Even Tobias knows it's far too bright to see anything clearly.

Fella03 by cakecrumbs  Fella04 by cakecrumbs

The photograph on the right was taken about 4 hours later, in the late afternoon. Fella is still in full sun, but the angle of the sun is much less direct, producing a softer light. The same thing will happen if it's an overcast day or if you can wait for the sun to pop behind a cloud - the light will diffuse and result in a much better snap. If you want to spend some dosh, you can buy or DIY yourself a light diffuser.

Bouncing light

Another way of using sunlight to your advantage is by using the largest accessible window in your house. A north-facing window is ideal, but any will really do as long as the sun isn't directly shining on the window. Unlike outside, the light will usually only be coming from one direction, but you can completely light all sides of your craft by bouncing the light around a little bit.

First, if your craft is backlit then all the light is coming from behind your craft and the front is too dark. We need to bounce the light from behind Fella onto his front. There's lots of fancy ways of doing this, but I'm broke and stingy so I rig this up with a couple of dollars worth of items. I use a large piece of white cardstock on one side to bounce back a soft dose of light onto Fella. On the other side I use a cake board as a makeshift reflector. This, being more reflective, bounces back a much stronger light. I angle this to bring light to the other side of Fella and get rid of and remaining shadows.

Fella05 by cakecrumbs

See what fella looks like with and without the reflectors:

Fella06 by cakecrumbs  Fella07 by cakecrumbs

But lets say you'd rather your craft is photographed with a plain background behind it. Then all your light is going to be coming from a different angle. I set this up so all the light is coming from one side, then use the same things to bounce the light onto the other side of him. The white cardstock projects a soft light onto the adjacent side of fella, then the cake board again is directed to whatever angle gets rid of those final shadows.

Fella08 by cakecrumbs

Again, see what fella looks like with and without the reflected light.

Fella09 by cakecrumbs Fella10 by cakecrumbs


Don't ever use it. There's ways of bouncing the light and combining it with other light sources to effectively light a subject with a flash, but unless you know what you're doing never turn it on. You end up with a harshly lit subject and skewed colours. Ew:

Fella11 by cakecrumbs

The exposure triangle

This is more advanced than most will care for, but it can help to understand the exposure triangle. Even when I had point and shoot camera, I still used it on manual mode. Getting the right balance here will help you get the best photographs your camera is able to. 
  • Aperture: This setting, seen as the f-stop or f-number, controls how much light your camera lets in and what the depth of focus is. You'll see this on your camera as f[#]. What values you have will depend on your camera (or your lenses) but typically you'll see it ranged from f1.4 to f22. I like to leave this at the largest opening (smallest number) possible. This lets the most light in and creates a blur outside of your focal point (good for when you want the subject to stand out and the background to be blurry).
  • ISO: You know when a photo shot in low light comes out all grainy? That's up to this guy. Your ISO setting controls how sensitive the sensor is to light. The less light you have, the higher the ISO needs to be. To avoid grainy/noisy images, it's best to have this value as low as your camera goes (I always set mine to 100). 
  • Shutter Speed: As the name suggests, this controls how long your shutter is open for. As we're shooting stationary objects, your subject won't dictate what your shutter speed needs to be. I like to set my aperture as wide as I can, my ISO as low as I can, then simply set the shutter speed to how ever long it needs to be to produce a properly exposed shot.

2. Focus

This seems obvious, but we see a lot of photographs of blurry crafts. How disappointing is it when you see the thumbnail of what looks like a stunning craft and open it only to see all the detail is lost in an out-of-focus snap? When you're showing off your craft, you want people to be able to see every speck of the detail you've taken the time to put into your craft, and we want to see it too!

Getting your craft in focus

One of the most common causes of blurred photos are people who've tried to get too close to their craft. All cameras have a limit as to how close you can get before it just won't focus. You need to know your camera's limits and don't try to push them.

For tiny crafts, turning on your macro setting will help. Ever seen this icon ( on your camera and not known what it meant? That's your macro setting, and is great for little crafts. On other cameras, you might have a 'TEXT' scene setting that will achieve the same effect. Most point-and-shoot cameras are actually better at this than SLRs, which need very specific lenses for macro shots.

If you just can't get close enough to snap the detail you want, then take the picture from a distance. You might be able to stand back and zoom in, which usually has a better chance of focusing properly. Otherwise take it at a distance then crop out the parts of the photo you don't want. The photo on the left was taken at a distance closer than what my camera was able to focus at. The middle one was achieved by standing back and zooming in. The one on the right was cropped from one of the above photos of Fella. Only in the last two can you see the detail of the stitching.

Fella12 by cakecrumbs   Fella13 by cakecrumbs   Fella14 by cakecrumbs

Camera shake

Shaky hands, or a lengthy exposure? This can cause blurring in your image regardless of how perfectly in focus it is. I refused to use a tripod for the longest time, but believe me, it's a life saver. I never take a photograph of my work without one now. I picked up a really cheap one from an op-shop. You can also get tiny tripods that are just meant to sit on a table that cost a few dollars. But you can also just prop the camera on a table or chair or anything else you can fashion at home to stop it from moving.

Another way to help get rid of shake when using a tripod or similar is to use the timer setting on your camera. Sometimes the mere act of pressing the shutter button can cause camera shake, so by using a 2 second delay, for example, the camera will be completely still when the shutter opens. (You can also buy remotes for same cameras that will set off the shutter without having to touch it, but lets not get too fancy).

Focal point

Be mindful of the focal point when taking photographs. If you're shooting at a wide aperture (i.e. a setting which creates a lot of blur outside of the focal point) this is especially important. If you have a live mode on your camera, or even if you're looking through a viewfinder, think about what part of the craft your eye goes to first and make sure that part is in focus. Is there a piece of garnish adorning a bowl of food? You're gonna look there first. Is it a plushie or a doll? Make sure the eyes and the face is in focus.

In the first photo Fella's face is in focus, but in the second it's his foot. Notice how in the second it makes the whole photo look blurry? But in the first you barely notice his foot is blurred. We're primates, we focus on faces.

Fella15 by cakecrumbs  Fella16 by cakecrumbs

Any craft will have something that draws your eye first - find it and make sure it's in focus.

3. Setting

When you're taking a photograph of your craft, be mindful of where you're placing it. If it's on a cluttered table, the background is going to distract from your craft and make it harder to see the details. Photographing your craft against a clutter-free, or preferably plain, background will allow all the focus to go to your craft. The doesn't necessarily mean your craft has to be lonesome! Props can be used to effect, but only place them if they enhance your photo, not detract from it.

Fella17 by cakecrumbs

Messy background, yellow-y light and slightly out of focus - we see a lot of greats crafts with photos that look like the above. It's barely feature-able, and certainly nowhere near DD standard. Your beautiful crafts deserve better!

4. Perspective

Last but not least is perspective. This one should be obvious, but you would be amazed how many crafts we see taken from the most unflattering angles. Take photos from a range of perspectives: try overhead, angle up, angled down. Look for what works for your craft and shows it off. Sometimes you won't know what this is until you actually get your photos onto your computer and look at them in full size, but having a basket to choose from never hurts. For every photo I post there's usually another 10 I've taken at different angles (and exposures and white balance and everything else) that no one will ever see.

Fella18 by cakecrumbs Fella19 by cakecrumbs

Photography Tutorials

Hungry for more? Check out these tutorials and articles on how to photograph objects, create light boxes and even some on post-production!
Artisan Crafts Photography by VioletRosePetals Cheap Light Box How-To by AreteEirene Food Photography Basics by claremanson Mouthwatering food photos by brunettitude Artisan Crafts Photo Edit Tute by chat-noir

Project Educate: Photographing Your Crafts...
Photographing crafts is not as daunting as it seems. For those of you out there with amazing creative streaks in you, it isn't actually that difficult to take it one step further and put the effort into snapping your wonderful creations. It just takes a little planning, a camera and some creativity.

The Don'ts...
Rule Number One
Never ever ever ever ever Photograph something on your bed. Ever. I mean it! Your bed is for sleeping, and er, other things. But definitely not for placing your well constructed craft item upon, pointing your camera at, and pressing the button.
You might think I'm stating the obvious but seriously, the amount of people who think they'll just pop their item on the bed and take a don't have the statistics but there are many of Us!
Rule Number Two
Stay away from your cluttered up shelves and bits and pieces. Put your craft i
  Project Educate: 4 tips for great product photos!In a world where many products are easily accessible on the internet - yes, even those - we've nearly fallen victim to the images that are slightly better than the rest, that entice us in, that persuade us to buy, bid, eat, cook and whatever else. (You've seen my Nom Nom articles right?) So it's not unusual that an eye-catching image can make all the difference when it comes to selling your products, or your photography - or both.
Stand out
Strong, Clear photographs will not only help you stand out on a web-page, but also will help you get your blog out there, or get your deviantART profile a bit more notice. Having a good working environment is often better than having that top notch expensive camera. So don't worry too much about your equipment. Get to know your angles, backdrops, props and lighting and the rest should hopefully fall into place.

Editing is really easy and good

The Artists Toolbox: Photography StudiosHearing the word studio makes me think of expensive rooms with top of the range equipment, fantastic lighting and only professional awesome photographers inside of it. In reality however, you can create a Photography studio for just about any type of Photography and it doesn't have to cost very much.
The Macro Studio
Macro Photography can be undertaken pretty much anywhere, but sometimes you just want to shoot something in a neutral environment with a plain, unobtrusive backdrop. Many photographers shy away from doing this because they think it's too complicated - actually you would be doing yourself a favour if you did try it, it can really help improve your work.
For starters, you don't even have to have expensive flash. You could use any lamp that you can easily move around, to give a bit of light into your mini studio. You also need a couple of sheets of card or paper, and a cardboard box. The sizing is completely up to you and up to the size of the o
 Pics of art w crappy camera by IIDenator

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College Life

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:19 PM

I don't really talk too much about my daily life on dA since I didn't want to spam everyone with constant horror stories of my time in the kitchen (which is why I do that on fb… instead) but today, I would like to share some of the extra "special" moments during my college life (even though I graduated already).

coconut notice

When upstairs neighbors are being very loud, the most effective method is to leave an angry coconut at their door ;)

pear pizza

When life gives you pears, cut them into ducks and bake them into pizza~

I am the 1%

When the Occupy movement swept through campus, make sure the fridge participates.

Art history like a boss

When assigned to go to a museum for Art History, take detailed notes of the kinky nipple biting eagles.

wtf is this

When roommate cooks something that cannot be described with words...

rage quit sink

When the new apartment sink rage quits...

Trust me, I'm an artist

When I got the bright idea to create an aquaponics system in my bedroom... which later flooded the carpet... (Trust me, I'm an engineer artist.)

best idea ever

When I, genius extraordinaire, decided to pour hot oil back into the bottle to save oil but created modern art instead.

cutest poop machine

When walking by the dumpster resulted in getting pooped on by this little hummingbird defending her nest.

over 9000

When life gives you tangerines, activate the ancient Chinese art of tangerine stacking which has been passed down through the Yan family for ~over 9000~ generations.  To this day, whenever the harvest is bountiful, it is the duty of the first born child to take on the arduous task of stacking tangerines in honor of our ancestors.

Just kidding! Stacking tangerines is fun. I have no excuse. an artist.

(and lastly, if you can stomach a video of my accidental elastic mashed potatoes... click here to view on fb… )

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On misunderstandings about cosplay

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 8:01 PM
This is a topic I've been meaning to talk about for quite a while now. I finally got the motivation to when Sarah sorairo-days emailed me to share my thoughts on what cosplay means to me, and what I feel it really means to be a cosplayer despite all the misconceptions about the hobby. It's for this article on Random Nerds, in which Sarah shares her side of it as well.

Over the years, I've witnessed how cosplayers are constantly looked down upon, which makes people apprehensive towards it. It's such a shame because it's a wonderful and rewarding hobby which brings people together. And in general, I am firmly against making anyone feel bad about doing something they want to do.

I am aware that the concept of cosplay might be too much for some individuals, but our intention definitely isn't to get all up in everyone's faces and say everyone should cosplay or whatever.  We just want to promote a better understanding of the hobby, for anyone who is willing to keep an open mind about it.

For anyone who has ever been looked down upon for cosplaying
Have you ever been ashamed to admit that you're a cosplayer? I feel rather fortunate that the people in my life are all supportive, but I've seen it happen. I think most cosplayers would be familiar with that subtle look of criticism from some people when they reveal that they cosplay, or when they try to explain the hobby to someone who isn't into it. It tends to remind people a little too much of kids playing dress-up, which isn't an activity most will find dignified or respectable. Admittedly, there is a lot about the hobby that is easy to misinterpret. I think there are things about it that people only really understand when they actually give it a chance and try it out. (However I also acknowledge that it might not be for everyone.)

Other hobbyists that have a special enthusiasm for fictional characters would express it by drawing fan art, writing fanfiction, or collecting merchandise. You can do these things discreetly, and even anonymously. In contrast, cosplay is an activity that would put a person in a position that's very susceptible to scrutiny.

Consider that most costumes would require showing your face and parts of your body.

Add that to the fact that cosplay is something that is usually done publicly. It takes a certain level of courage to step outside and go through with it. Some people will find that commendable, but others are quick to use it as an opportunity to ridicule.

Common misconceptions are that cosplayers are misfits of society who reject reality and think of themselves as cartoon characters because they don't accept who they really are. Or that cosplayers are all just attention-seekers who are trying to win a popularity contest against each other. There might be people who exemplify these stereotypes, but we have to remember that any large group of people is bound to include a few questionable individuals. But it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is like that.

The simple truth is, cosplay is like any other thing people do in their free time — something they do because they enjoy it. Some people watch TV, go to clubs and drink, play video games, read books, play a musical instrument, make artwork: and the list goes on. Perhaps it's not something a large percentage of the word would deem "normal", but cosplayers are just people who have a special appreciation for costumes and enjoy making and wearing them.

I've always been interested in costuming in movies, especially when the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out. I felt like the garments and accessories were so beautiful and I wanted to be able to touch them and collect them and even wear them. It was amazing to see these characters and items from the book come to life in a tangible way, rather than just seeing them in my imagination. I felt like just because a little bit of that beloved fantasy world had come to exist in reality, it made me want to believe even more in adventure, magic, love, and fellowship. I wanted, even in some small way, to be able to do something like that. One day, I stumbled upon some photos of cosplayers with beautiful photography, which got me researching what cosplay was about. It sounded like what I wanted to do, so I gave it a shot, and I haven't stopped since.

For me, cosplay is most importantly an activity I can bond with my friends over. I've even met some of my closest friends because of cosplay.

PotC: Bring Me That Horizon by behindinfinity
We're all into a lot of different stuff, but cosplay is one of the things that brings all of us together. Our relevant hobbies and skills fall under it (such as craft-making, sewing, painting, photography) so it even allows us to learn things and be productive while having fun. We find it an endless source of amusement to make group cosplay plans, construct pieces together, go out and be goofs while using the products of our efforts, and create beautiful images through photography.

After a grueling week working hard for our classes or jobs and being productive members of society, it's just a nice break to be able to do silly things with friends.

For some people maybe that means getting drunk and doing drugs, but my friends and I happen to prefer putting together costumes and wearing, hahah! We wear them to private photo shoots or to conventions where they are appropriate, so it's not like we even disturb other people with our fun.

I feel I'm very lucky to have a large group of friends who shares this with me. Not everyone has that advantage.

That's the reason some people attend conventions. There is a certain sense of camaraderie in cons because even though you may not personally know everyone, just by being there it means you are somehow a fan of the geeky interest the con revolves around. And some of those strangers may just become some of the best friends you've ever known.

At times, being a fan makes you feel the most ridiculous emotions in the world — and I mean that in the best way possible.

Not everyone understands that, so it's an awesome feeling to be around others who actually do.

Cosplay is a great celebration of the way we can let these fictional stories and characters grab hold of our hearts and somehow change the way we feel about ourselves. It's crazy and silly and totally beautiful.

As long as your feet are planted firmly on reality and you've got your priorities straight, being able to find that much meaning, joy, and inspiration in fiction —stories that teach us about bravery and friendship and hope and laughter— is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.


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Journal Entry: Fri Jan 25, 2013, 5:24 PM

THIS IS NOW CLOSED! All comments before 9 pm CST will be considered for entry! I will tally up everyone and announce the winner sometime next week! I've also planned a bit of a surprise as well, so be on the lookout!

That's right, you read the title right:
I'm doing a 1000 point giveaway! As a thank you to the deviantart community that continues to commission me, I'd like to do this as my official thank you to everyone <3

everyone who enters will have their name written on a slip of paper,  placed into a bowl to pick out of. I will film me picking a name. Whatever name I choose wins! c: I'll send them  a note, and they'll have 3 days to respond before I pick another username. So, make sure to check your notes! c:

All you have to do is comment with a link, leading to a post that links back to this journal. It can be a journal, poll, etc. As long as it reposts this journal! And that's it, you're in!

1. If you +favorite this journal, your name will be entered A SECOND TIME.
2. If you +watch me, your name will be put in AN EXTRA THREE TIMES. (and yes, if you already watch me and enter your name will be entered an extra three times! :heart: )
3. If you MONEY commission me, your name will be put in AN EXTRA SIX TIMES. And if you money commission me for something over 6$, your name will be entered AN EXTRA 8 TIMES.
And yes, I will be checking for all of these.
4. If you MONEY COMMISSION ME FOR SOMETHING MORE THAN 10$, your name will be entered AN EXTRA 30 TIMES.
5. If you MONEY COMMISSION ME FOR SOMETHING MORE THAN $15, your name will be entered AN EXTRA 50 TIMES.

On february 15th! However, if I don't have enough entries by then (I'll need at least 30), then I'll extend the date!

Have fun!

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Sword and dagger of Rai - Lamento Tutorial

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 14, 2012, 2:13 PM


Tonight I'm going to continue my daily prop tutorials with some basic sword and dagger making.

What do we need:

-Cardboard (thick one, around 3mm-4mm)
-Carpet knife
-Black fake leather (half meter)
-Some paper balls which you get from a crafts store
-Normal paper glue and hot glue
-One wooden stick (1cmx1cmx1m)
-Dremel or similar machine
-Cotton wool fabric
-Citadel paints, black, golden and silver.
-Small brush

And a few hours of free time!

Our mission is to make these two props, a sword and a dagger!
(right on the photo) Google Lamento - Rai if you wanna know more about the original.


We will start with drawing the patterns on a paper or straight on the cardboard sheet:


Then we can continue with cutting 'em out:


And after that comes a tricky part:


We have to cut all the edges oblique, so when we glue them together it will look like a sharp sword edge. Got it? And also, we have to make one line in the center of the sword. Cut a 5mm wide straight line in both of the pieces. Carve it out in triangle shape, V-shaped. That photo will help a lot. It's a bit hard to explain.


After that, glue the stick in the middle (hot glue).
And also glue both parts of the sword together.


Then! We take out our fake leather and cut it half. Paper glue mixed with 20% of water.
Brush glue everywhere and attach the fake leathers in the sword. Let it dry overnight.

Shoud look like this:


Next day we cut out the left-overs:


Cool black sword, eh? :D

Now, the next part requires some balls... White balls:


I dunno what these are called. Made some funny things out of 'em when I was younger.
Anyway the point is to cut few of them in half and construct the base shape of a handle.
Use glue and stuff to attach.


Then we stretch some fake leather on it. Put glue everywhere on your balls and strech the leather.
Use thread to make it stay put.



Some cotton wool fabric. To make the handle feel nice in your palm. Soft and nice... :D

Use hot glue and attach nice amount of fake leather of different shapes in the handle:


Sword guard is an easy one. Just cut out a good guard shape and glue it to the sword. Cover with fake leather. Also, use your dremel and shape those small pointy objects out of the wooden stick for the guard part.

Next thing is to use these same methods and make a dagger! :


Then, paint the sword. I used miniature paints by Citadel.
Small brush and three different paints: Gold, black and silver.


Paint the dagger also:


Look pretty and gay in your tight leather pants:




Thanks! :D Btw, any questions?
Just ask me! ^^ And don't take prop making too seriously. <3


  • Reading: Game of Thrones
  • Watching: Fairy Tail
  • Drinking: Glögiä perkele!
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Hey people, how are you coping with the coming winter (for my friends in the US and Europe and anywhere that is gonna be buried in 10ft of snow in the next couple of weeks. First of all, its Movember so men, grow that moustaches to support the event to raise awareness for prostate cancer in guys. I grew mine...well sort…

Second of all is I want to thank all of you for following me in my 30 Day Challenge thing. If you want to try it out yourself please check out Sachin Teng's…
His work is inspirational and obviously influenced the stuff I did. I wish I can meet him in person someday if I go to NY.
Apologies for some responses or comments during that period of time that I didn't reply to as I was in knee-deep of assignments and projects. (Which is now all done thankfully) Thank you for being bloody patient with me and being bloody persistent watchers as well. Every time I see the numbers skyrocketed I just ask myself: "Jeez, where are all these people come from?"  But seriously, you all are awesome. I never expected to grow that much cause back in 2006 I said: "I'll just make a gallery to store my artwork and might not use it at all." How wrong I was.

Third is a big, heartfelt thank you to all of you, (and to those I know personally - you know who you are) for keeping me strong, for believing in what I do, and for supporting me either with good and bad opinions, feed backs, quirky (sometimes annoying comments), or simply being inspired in my work and the occasional humor. But I cannot thank you enough for all the positive responses in my coming out. For those of you who are concerned, no, my parents or my family members didn't take the news that easy, it is tough on me, its tough to all of them as well. I don't want to lie to them, and I don't want to keep secrets away from my family, and the truth always hurts.

My parents, they are the best that any child could have. I'm always grateful for them. They are my teachers, my best friends and my world. I've seen them in their best and in their worst of times. We go through tough times and even tougher than this. They don't deserve to be kept in a lie and as painful as it sounds, I had to tell them, one way or another. I was prepared for the blows, the hate, whatever, if they disown me, the works; but I will still forgive them because they are my parents and I do not want any ills or grudges between us when we all leave this life to the next.

I was always emotionally distant from them because of this secret and I don't know what's worst, to keep the lie till their death beds or to tell them truth. I never meant to hurt them. But keeping the secret for 15 years is terrible especially in my homeland, (not Australia) where being out is frowned upon and possible condemnation (and death). I know I was gay since 12. I am very aware of that. I wasn't in a 'phase' or confused at all. I know it all along. I tried to hide it by having girlfriends - nope still doesn't work.

It was this secret that led me to a near suicide (no joke and suicides are stupid and selfish so don't do that), reluctantly become a Christian and out of it, and bouts of depression later in my working life. I drown myself in work, to distract myself and always angry at myself and the people around me. I was a time bomb.

The only person in the family I share this is with my younger brother Dennis. He is my best friend, THE best friend I have. There's a few shitloads of times I cried in front of him because of this. He's always supportive (at times). He did warn me alot of times that I'll make mom cry. Derrick my second younger brother I don't know how he feel towards me right now but I know he's upset with me too. I know my little sister is angry with me. I don't blame her and I accept if she doesn't want to speak to me again, because I was her role model. But how can I be a role model, if I'm not true to myself?

So, what is done is done, as my mom told me. The only thing we can look to is forward - better or worst.

Now to clear some things up, just because I'm out doesn't mean I won't kick your ass. I'm still a dude, dude. (still angry often at times) And I will not hesitate to hurt you so don't fuck with me. I do not tolerate bullying, especially towards children; and I do not like to see flaming and death threats just because someone is fat, or because they are in different color or beliefs or just because they are gay, lesbian or bi. (you all are fine, I know you all are awesome here and strangely nice to each other).

I do not flaunt, or want to make a big deal out of being gay. Big deal, its over! Its back to artworks and studies. You want to party, go to the midsumma in Melbourne. I prefer to keep low profile and just chill. My gallery is more of a chill out spot so yeah, just chill.

I keep this gallery clean from pornography or any explicit material and no I will not draw those stuff either because my younger cousins and siblings sometimes check my site out. I have families that look into my stuff here as well. I know there are mild adult jokes in some of my comics but I'll let the parents explain to their kids when they are older. So please respect my boundaries and I'll do the same for yours.

So yeah, its been a crazy November for me, and I'm deeply sorry if I offended any of you, or if there is alot of misunderstandings between us. I'm sorry. I know i can be a prick at times. Thank you all, and love you all. And love one another.

Daryl Toh Liem Zhan
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Bonobo - Kong
  • Reading: Enchiridion
  • Watching: Adventure Time - The Lich
  • Playing: A Flute to Jake
  • Eating: Sandwich with Billy
  • Drinking: The Fear of the unknown
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