Posted in art school life

The Cloisters and Sketching on Location


On Sunday I went with my mom and her friend to The Cloisters, a reconstructed medieval castle just outside of New York City, part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve never been there before, but I’ve heard a lot about it, and after studying medieval art in my art history class I was excited to see the collection. I didn’t expect there to be actual reconstructed columns and gardens. It felt like I was actually in Western Europe! Or what I imagine Western European churches to feel like. I’ve never been.

My mom and her friend walked through the park outside while I sat in the courtyard and sketched. I’d left most of my favorite colors and drawing tools at home, because I am very smart, but that forced me to be more creative with the tools I did have at my disposal. I used Faber-Castell Pitt colored brush pens, black and pink gel pens, and a water brush in my sketchbook to draw what I saw. I thought the capitals of the columns were super interesting, and the other visitors.

I always feel weirdly self-conscious drawing in public, but because this was an art museum, I saw a few other kids drawing the columns and the architectural features around me. I think they were doing it for homework, though. I did it for fun.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here much or at all, but I really do think keeping a personal sketchbook and drawing in it regularly is really important for any artist. I’ve filled up around 30 sketchbooks since 8th grade, and the more I draw in my sketchbook, the more I draw, period. It’s really convenient to have all your sketches and doodles in one place instead of all over your homework and random scraps of paper. I’m thinking of scanning the pages of my previous sketchbook and putting that into a PDF soon, but we’ll see how that goes.

A combination of several views, because I thought it looked cool that way.
The view of the inside courtyard, which had trees and plants and things.

The collection of medieval jewelry and manuscripts downstairs was really cool too. I’m terrible at doing anything with lots of fine details, as you may have noticed, so I’m easily impressed by anything really detailed.


Look at that detail! This book wasn’t much bigger than my sketchbook!



There’s also a garden of medieval plants, like plants used for medieval medicine, or food, or plants thought to be associated with different things. It wasn’t very pretty now that it’s almost winter and cold outside, but I’m sure in the spring and summer it’s beautiful.

A cool tree.

But my favorite pieces by far were the tapestries (actually, this one might’ve been a fresco) of strange creatures. Look at this camel. That camel does not have time for your nonsense. I relate to him on a personal level.


What’d you do over the weekend?

Posted in art school life

Life Update: MIT Splash and Winter Break Projects

Hey guys, I’m FINALLY HOME! Winter break started last Thursday for me, actually, but Friday morning I went up to Boston for an event called MIT Splash. Splash is an event where a bunch of college kids teach high schoolers about everything and anything. But first, an update on my finals.

Design: I drew a personal geography of all of the books I remember reading, which is about 300 or so books. I spent 48 hours on it and got a 90!

Drawing: Symbolic self-portrait. I drew myself holding/wearing a few items relating to my Russian heritage. It was very difficult and my professor had to help me with the proportions but I ended up with a 93 somehow.


And then I went home, lost my pencil case with all my favorite pens in it in the airport, nearly missed my plane, and then the next morning took a train and then a bus to Boston to meet my two best friends from high school and take the T to Cambridge. I doodled in my sketchbook in transit.

In Cambridge we got dinner at this cool place called Clover and watched a Fire Spinning Show at the MIT Ampitheater! After that, we went to a combined a capella/improv show at MIT, which was pretty fun even though they made a lot of math jokes I didn’t understand #artstudentproblems

And then we went to the student center and got free ice cream and T-shirts.

MIT is so much more fun when you’re with MIT students.

That night, one of my friends helped with this hack! A hack at MIT refers to pranks and spontaneous art projects, like hanging up a laser-cut fish mobile in the main lobby at 2 am the night before a major event. They’re generally frowned upon by administration even if they look this cool.


Saturday I taught two sections of my class on Writing Comics. The kids seemed to like it and asked me to email them copies of my powerpoint. One of them even followed me on instagram! How sweet.

I got to see a bunch of my friends from the summer camp I went to back in high school and I hung out with them for a lot of Saturday. My friend who lives at Random Hall gave me a tour and showed me the 22-year-old milk and the roof and her room, in which I drew on her whiteboard.

I’m a great friend.

Sunday I hung out in the teacher’s room and sketched for a while.


Before I left, I got to spend some time with my MIT friends and check out the awesome Science Fiction library at the student center. Then a miracle occurred and my bus made it back to NYC 15 minutes ahead of schedule without encountering any traffic whatsoever. Wild.

Now, my tablet pen was in the pen case that went missing during my travels. I ordered a new one on Amazon, but it’s still not here, so I went to Jerry’s Artarama and filled the void by spending way too much money at once on markers and paper and paint. Over winter break, I plan to:

  1. Work on an artist’s book titled Memoirs of Femininity
  2. Create a zine of my grandmother’s recipes, with illustrations
  3. Finish the comic I’d pitched to the North American Myths and Legends anthology (it didn’t get in but all the pre-planning work is done so why not keep working on it)
  4. Work w/my friend on a submission to the Tim’rous Beastie anthology
  5. Work on a submission to the Cabin Fever zine
  6. Put together PDF collections of my sketchbook pages, and all my comics pages from this past year, and put them up for sale

And I’m putting this list up here so that if I don’t do these things you can all judge me.

Non-art things I’m hoping to accomplish include hanging out with friends in NYC, visiting my old high school as part of SCAD’s Hometown Heroes program and talking to everyone about SCAD, passing my driver’s test, and getting some kind of seasonal part time job.

Posted in art school life

Huevembers and Life Update

Okay so, SCAD Finals are happening right now. I have a project due Tuesday worth 25% of my design grade, and a project due Thursday worth 10% of my drawing grade. That’s taking up allll my time. I’m dying. No progress pictures because they both look awful right now.

Friday I’ll be going up to Boston to teach at MIT Splash, then after that I’ll just be home for SCAD’s winter break. Yippee.

The election has sapped a lot of energy I couldn’t really afford to lose, so for now, check out the huevembers I’ve done so far! I’m keeping up with it! Yay!

Posted in art school life

Open Studio Night

An event that SCAD Atlanta hosts every year is called Open Studio Night, which happened this past Friday. At Open Studio Night, students sell their work in a gallery show on the fifth floor that is open to the public. My drawing professor was leading a life drawing session during the show, and I got the chance to participate! Here are some photos of the event.

And here’s one of my figure drawings I did during the event. Visitors kept coming up to me and saying how great it was that I was doing this and that felt really nice 🙂


It’s actually finals time here at SCAD now, which is very draining. I’ve started my design final, sketched my drawing final, prepared my persuasive speech, and also have mini projects for both drawing and design I’m going to be working on during those classes tomorrow. Fun!

Posted in comic reviews

Comic Review: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Seven Seas Entertainment recently aquired the rights to Kabi Nagata’s autobiographical manga, The Private Report on My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness. The first volume will be released in the states in June 2017. Until then, we can read unofficial fan translations on the internet and #gethype, because My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness is amazing and you need to drop what you’re doing and read it immediately.


MLEWL is raw and intensely personal, as can be expected from an autobiographical comic with that title. The first four chapters include mentions of self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and depression. The Dynasty-Scans translation even tags it as #depressing as fuck. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to it. I look at Nagata’s struggles and see myself, my friends, a real twenty-eight year old with real problems.

What’s really interesting about it, though, is the way it frames its pages. A lot of manga, especially introspective manga, feature many aspect-to-aspect transitions, or sequential panels that show different parts of the environment or setting of a certain scene. In MLEWL, panels that focus on setting and environment are very rare. Even though the entire comic is from Nagata’s point of view, we don’t see the world so much through her exact eyes as we see it from an outsider’s perspective, looking in. Most pages are also simply laid out as columns of three wide panels, with boxes of narrative text framing art from left and right. This layout gives very sad and serious content a more comedic tone, which, rather than accentuating the dramatic elements, makes it feel more realistic.


I think that’s part of why MLEWL is so appealing to today’s readers. A lot of internet humor revolves around making depressing things funny by phrasing them in a certain way. Though MLEWL isn’t exactly that- it is still sad, still introspective, still thoughtful- it does use a style that reminds me of the jokes I see so often on Tumblr and Twitter, and it feels more relevant to me that way.

The art is very fluid and dynamic, more exaggerated than most manga art styles. Instead of relying on standard expression tropes Nagata exaggerates poses and facial features in a really funny and charming way, and the visual techniques she uses make for a very pleasant read. I love the combination of pink with the black and white. (Fun sidenote: in Russian pink is slang for lesbian.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed what I’ve read of this so far and will be preordering the print edition the moment I can do so.

Posted in art school life

Comics and a Project

So on Monday night I went to my Design professor’s office hours and discovered that a mini-project that I thought was due Thursday was actually due Tuesday, and that I had at least 4 hours of work left to do at about 8 pm. I ended up finishing it at 1:32 AM, but I still managed to sleep that night, so although I wish I’d remembered the deadline correctly and worked on it more over the weekend, I still managed my time well enough to finish that AND two pastel pieces for my drawing class ALL by Tuesday.


There it is hanging on the wall with my Time Sheet (14 hours of work!) Information Sheet, and incompleted first attempt next to it. The assignment was to creatively reinterpret a color wheel. I think I did a pretty good job.

Yesterday I decided to celebrate the handing in of my last assignments before the final projects by drawing two comics. One is for the SCAD Connector online newspaper, so I can’t post it here, but the other is an adaptation of a poem I like by Vladimir Mayakovsky. It’s in both Russian and English, because the original poem is in Russian but I want my friends to understand it.


Here’s the tumblr post with both versions.

Also, my webcomic has finished its third chapter and I posted that chapter on Tapastic!

Meanwhile at SCAD, final projects have been assigned in Drawing and Design, and I have a persuasive speech to practice for my speech class, so when I post again you’ll see progress shots of those possibly if they exist.