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I had some things I wanted to get done over the weekend, but I got taken down for the count by various physical circumstances beyond my control. As a result, I not only am struggling with feeling bad because of not feeling all that well, but am also fighting off the brain bugs for not getting the work I wanted to get done, well, done.

It's hard, and I still feel 'bleh,' but I think I am doing a pretty good job of controlling the brain bugs, though? I feel like I've scooped them up in a jar and they're still there but I can just stare at them and know that they can't hurt me if I keep them at a distance.

And it kind of amazes me that I can actually keep them at bay on my own now.

I think, overall, I really am doing much better now than I was one, two, three years ago. It started with therapy (thank you again, everybody who helped me raise money for it---I owe you so much), then I was able to afford to move out (again, thank you, everybody, for your generosity in helping me raise enough).

Since I made the major decision to quit my latest day-job to pursue and finally finish my MA studies as well as pursue personal projects while dipping my toes into freelancing again, I've been feeling... more confident? I'm able to talk myself out of feeling bad for irrational reasons now.

I have stress, sure (who doesn't, when one has to find a way to pay the bills and finish studies?), but it doesn't feel like an impending sense of doom anymore. I don't feel stressed out every day to the point that I always have something to complain about or feel like I'm hopeless. I have days when I freeze and think "oh no I am an adult on my own what do", but I've been able to figure things out.

I've been doing this since last year, but especially since I started working from home, I've been learning how to cook new dishes (I recently tried pork lumpiang shanghai and fried rice. I'm quite excited to make more!), and am still mastering the art of batch-cooking food for the week (might need bigger pots and pans for that and more food containers, but our place is so tiny, hence tiny pots and pans) and making sure we buy only enough groceries for the week that won't go bad (I almost had this down last week! Almost.)

I find it nice that I've been allowing myself to make mistakes when I cook--something I still have trouble affording myself when art-ing or writing--but I did experiment entirely with that art piece in my last post (nothing was planned- I just started with a sketch of a face I had done last year as my base). It's great! I wonder if I can still do this for all my stuff.

Basically, erm, yes. I'm in a much better headspace now. I do still get pangs of depression and anxiety, but I'm so much better able to handle them now. I don't feel anywhere near as hopeless as I used to feel? Take these delays in my MA, for instance. Instead of crushing myself for not making it on time, I figured out it's not the end of the world, and I can still make up for it. Tell this to Mel 1-3 years ago and she would've crumbled completely.

I still wish I could multiply myself to get everything I wanted done - chores, work, personal stuff - but I think I am getting a better awareness of just how many hours there are in a day and just how much I can realistically get done without burning myself out. On the flip side, I need to master how to not end up fuffing about the whole day either.

I have a lot more I want to say, but I think I'll end here for now. I think I feel better being able to talk about this out in the open too. :) Thank you, thank you, thank you all for being so kind to me.
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I managed to finish a thing this month, hooray! I will be scanning and posting the full artwork later today on my Patreon later today. :3
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Photo from our hike last 2014.

:'D I am a happy Melly.
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Currently on mobile, so sorry for lack of images right now!

But as I mentioned in a previous entry, I'd like to try opening one slot at a time for art commissions - I'm still trying to feel it out while I juggle work + thesis + part time work, but my current offers are:

icon: $10
art card/ACEO: $20
icon sheet (15 icons): $100

Let me know if you'd be interested, and I can add you to my public queue! :D

Thank you!
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Hi! I'm still around :D

Some fun stuff:

Sneak peek of new artwork for February, done in ballpoint pen and watercolors, posted 3 days early for patrons.

My first monthly creative zine, currently patron-exclusive! Available at the $10 reward level. :D

Currently I am trying to work on visual art again (as managing a team of writers is my current Day Hobby - yup, I'm going to use that term now to not feel too bogged down by work, dagnabbit, and also I should be working on my Creative Writing Master's Thesis :D;;;), but also delving into other media such as game-making. (Also yes I will still write stuff for myself when I can, but gahh, fingers falling off from ALL THE WORDS!)

My partner and I tried to make an RPG demo for My First Game Jam, called "Pabili Po!", which you can find screenshots and concept art for here.

Here's a screenshot, with a slipper I pixel-arted, using a sketch base by my partner:

We'd like to continue it slowly but surely, and we'll do it for the fun of it, but it definitely is a bonus for us if we can treat ourselves to drinks, snacks, and dinner, and maybe new art supplies while we're at it. :)

I am really enjoying making these behind-the-scenes posts, step-by-step posts (a couple are currently in progress, even for art I forgot to post to Patreon on time - I feel bad charging Patreons for work I did a month ago, and only forgot to scan in D:), and zines, and while I'm doing my best with what free time I have, I can afford to do more of them with your support! Or, at the very least, I won't have to be taking on freelance work when I could be giving you guys more bonus material instead. :)

Won't you consider supporting me via Patreon? :) Even a $1 goes a long way. Clickie the button to support! ♥

Thank you so much for your time, as always, dear friends. :D

P.S. For friends who would like to support but can't do so on a monthly basis, I've been considering if I can do a one-off kind of payment model. For example, maybe I can put together a sneak-peek package of the secret!art or step-by-step/behind-the-scenes posts I did, and allow people to purchase access to them on an ala carte basis. I'm considering doing it on a pay-what-you-can model instead of a fixed price, as well.

I just would like to know if my patrons wouldn't mind it - so I'm thinking maybe giving that kind of access after they've been patron-exclusive for at least 3 months? What do you all think?

* I really gotta make myself new Patreon and tip jar buttons...
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Long story short: I thought I almost got a really good deal on a 2nd hand Cintiq21UX, but... the seller lives so far away that it's a headache trying to figure out a way to have my mom drive me (since it's heavy) and to have my boyfriend accompany us (for safety reasons) at a reasonable meet-up point (since seller doesn't have a car) that isn't the seller's house (since safety reasons).

I'm giving myself a couple of days to think it over, but I'm not that desperate for one (even if I really want one...)

On the bright side (? of sorts), I checked Amazon, and whaaat the price difference is like $245 for the Cintiq13HD and $440 for the Cintiq22HD. I know shipping and handling and importing and taxes is a thing, but :(

I've been trying to search for videos of people using the Cintiq13HD with Manga Studio and it doesn't look as small in terms of screen real estate as I thought it would be? It's half the price of the 22HD too...

"But Meeeeel there are cheaper alternatives like Yiynova!" I know (I tried the DP10U but it was too small for my uses) but I really like WACOM's express keys and general feel of the tablet T_T
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1. More patrons for my Patreon, por favor?

Even just $1 per person every month goes a long way. ♥*

I also recently reworked (agaaaain) my rewards and milestones, including work process access, monthly compilation zines, art cards, mini-zines, original artwork, so please do check it out! I'm hoping this is finally the structure I'll stick with for a while, and one that works out. *crosses fingers*

It would be a really nice boost to be able to earn enough for even some treats for working on cool stuff I like, instead of being hyperfocused on creating stuff for commercial success. It's been burning me out a lot, so I hope this change will work out for everyone too.

2. If not regular monthly patronage, a dollar or two* to go towards my big-dream WACOM Cintiq 22HD fund, maybe?

My paypal is :)

I can still work with my Intuos, but since trying out a cheap Yiynova (which turned out to be too small for my needs), the hand-eye coordination disconnect has been massive for me, so this would really help me work faster on digital art. I'm checking for second-hand options too but haven't had much luck so far. I would get the 13HD but it seems too small for how I work too, though that's my second option.

My current progress: ~$1500 or so away. *weep* I'm thinking of making a big icon day-esque compilation when I'm done, one icon each of every person who pitched in for this, as my way of saying thank you, if I ever reach this.

*Preferably in Philippine Pesos or US dollars as Paypal has this weird thing about not letting me consolidate different currencies into one big bank withdrawal. T_T

3. If you have any old games you no longer want for Steam, PC, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, or 3DS, I'd love to take them off your hands!

4. Gosh dang anybody wanna be pen pals? I can't promise to be super-diligent, but I think I can send one letter or postcard every quarter, at least!

5. If you've made a zine or have any zines you want to share (or don't want anymore), may I have a copy? :) I really want to get into zine-making this year, so I'll try to send something back eventually!

That's it for now... I guess? I am honestly at a lost of what to put here that doesn't involve sending expensive items through our unreliable and corrupt government postal office. x_x
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I'm thinking of officially opening commission slots sometime in January as I'll be away or busy or most of December 2015, but I'm thinking of opening the following kinds:

* icon commissions, $10 each
* digital colored sketch portraits, $15
* traditional portrait art cards, $20
* icon sheets (15 icons), $100 each sheet

Would anybody be interested? :D I'll probably need to put up more recent samples of stuff I can do now... I need to get more tiny-size pens and brushes too...
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I think I've decided on what kind of Cintiq I want to get. (For now.)

The challenge now is to figure out how to earn and save up enough for it...

I have a few questions for y'all who like to order art:

* What type of art do you usually go for? Small art? Icons? Art cards? Full-sized illustrations? Sketches? Inks? Colors?
* What's your usual working budget when shopping for art?
* Do you prefer traditional media (to have it sent off to you) or digital media?

I might try some art deals/discounts sometime soon (yup, even stuff for commercial work?)... I'm setting up a goal of "save up as much as possible from day job and commission work and other means within 1 year to finally get yourself that equipment." I have some hard numbers, but I still need to punch them a few more times to see if my ambitious goal is feasible. @_@

I'm also looking at some of my old equipment that I don't really use anymore, and other second-hand stuff I can sell off to help toward my goal...

Also will be poking at my Patreon tonight and tomorrow. I'm thinking, maybe I'll use it for art for now (and maybe crafts?). Might set up a separate one for all my writing/site endeavors.. maybe. Still not 100% sure on that, but would still make marketing it a little easier than going "I'm kind of an all-around person" (great for making friends? kind of hard for getting specific business, at least for me D: Maybe if I had been coming out with books...)

*rolls around softly on the ground*

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 Annnd they're finally done! ♥ :D 30 colored icons, 8 chibis, 5 art cards behind the cut, in no particular order. With the help of my dearest friends Nadine and Krinkle. Thank you so much, you two!!! ♥

I tried something different - this was my first traditionally-drawn Icon Day. It... was an interesting experiment, to say the least. I might do it again this way, but it's a lot harder being unable to erase mistakes, haha. Maybe inks, at least, color on computer? Hmm...

I've also e-mailed all artwork to their respective donors. :)
Here we go. )
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I plugged in my Intuos 4 last night to clean up the last few icons, and instantly my brain was like: "Well I think I've waited and marshmallow-tested myself long enough... I'd reallyyyyyy love to work with a Cintiq right now."

Spent most of today searching through different options.
Kind of wanted the Cintiq Companion 2 or the Cintiq 22HD but holy moly that price tag for both.
Cintiq Companion because it can be used without tethering to a computer, Cintiq 22HD because it seems like just the right size between Cintiq13HD and Cintiq24HD.

The only one that I could conceivably afford (with enough hard work) would be the Cintiq13HD, but having worked with a Yiynova DP10U, I'm worried it would be too small for me.

But I'm going to use it at the condo, I'm not 100% we have the room for a 22HD (I don't think we can have space for a desk since we already have a dining table in our tiny 1-room), whereas I can definitely slip the Cintiq13HD into its case and set it aside in a bag on in our cabinet. And I guess I could bring the 13HD with me if I'm coming home to family!house, and if I want to try working at a coffee shop (more cumbersome than a Companion but doable).

Also, I guess I can plug a Cintiq13HD or 22HD to anything so I could just update my main laptop, but being stuck with the Companion's built-in PC specs would limit things for a bigger price tag.

I saw someone selling a second-hand Cintiq13HD that's about $230~ (PhP10k) off the price of a brand new one and I'm reeeeeally tempted by it...

Mainly the big thing my jerk brain is yelling is "lol can you justify the price tag for having an easier time doing digital art" since initially I was like "I better make money with commissions by using this" but lately have been trying to be more gentle with myself with "there's nothing wrong in investing in something this expensive even if it's a hobby for me if it's gonna make it more fun for me."

*squints* Iiiii can't decide on a siiiizeeeeee but I don't know if I could plunk down ~$1200 (around PhP50,000, local prices) for a 13HD much less ~$2500 (PhP110,000) just for a big 22HD tablet ;___; (can I do enough commissions to afford one?)

waaarghhh jerkbrains suck
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• I've just registered for the Spanish Language Evaluation Exam, aaah! I was lucky enough to bump into my friend and classmate Bianca, and she kindly offered to handle the payment on my behalf since she has classes every Tuesday and I would have to take a 3 hour 2-way commute AGAIN just to pay, so, YAY!

Also, now I am terrified because I hope my Spanish is good enough, and also I have no idea what the questions will be like. Back then they said it was easy, but my friend took the exam from last semester and said the questions were like...

"What are the characteristics of the dystopian lit genre?"
"Why do they not have free will in the novel?"
And her personal fave, "Do you agree with this literary critic when he says that dystopian lit is our collective social nightmare?"

*gulps because I can get by on Spanish, but admit after a year+ of trying to balance with work (plus my undergraduate background being fine arts), my literature's a bit rusty!*

• I need to go to the bank this week to settle some weird stuff going on with my account, waughhhh.

• I finished coloring the last 4 icons for Icon Day 06! I have one more digital painting incentive I'm waiting for deets on (gonna follow up on it again today) but I think I can at least share the icons after I've scanned them in and touched them up on the computer... hopefully within the week as well.

• The (very cheap, at least) 3.5mm jack to RCA cable I bought to hopefully route audio from my mid-2009 Macbook Pro to our Skyworth smart TV isn't working :( Waughhhh.

• "Wauuuugh" has been my default noise of distress lately.

• I wonder what would have happened if I had focused on finishing off my MA by taking on five million classes and finishing within 2-3 years by not taking on a full-time job rather than the "oh no now I'm on my 4th year and just about to try to start thesis", but... being able to earn my own income and not have to depend on parentals is really satisfying. :(

• Why isn't there enough time in a day I want to register for a bunch of online courses!!!

• Maybe I should start blogging in general on (and transfer the Sunshine Girl blog there?) so I can start building up content for it besides it being a portfolio site?

• I'm still eternally grateful to everyone for helping me get where I am now. I've been trying to pay it forward by pledging baby amounts to my friend's Patreons and pitching in to tiny fundraisers. I wish I could give more but I'm sure I can be at that level if I keep working hard. :)

• I missed dumping random miscellany streams-of-thought here. Hi how have you all been?

• Back to work now. Might infodump again later. Oh, gosh, so much I want to talk about!
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I'm not actually sure where to start o_o I've been so quiet on here.

• I'm now regularized at work!!! If I keep it up (or work even better?) I could be up for possible promotion, so - gotta keep working hard!!!

• Aiken and I did an intense cleaning of the condo yesterday. Bathroom's spic and span! I gotta put all my stuff back though but we're going to go buy some decent containers/drawers to keep things organized.

• My mother gifted me a huge 50" smart TV as a super belated birthday present, what!!! ;___; Aiken and I have been watching Steven Universe, movies, and the occasional old saved YouTube Let's Plays on it and we're loving it. I need to get an audio cable for my Macbook Pro, since it's old and isn't HDMI-compatible, but, what! Aaah! I can't wait to hook it up and play PSX-quality games on an emulator, hahaha.

• I am trying not to stress out over the increasing amount of junk at family!house because I don't live there (err, here - I'm staying here for the weekend) anymore and it's not my problem anymore because dangit I tried.

• I've been studying Spanish on-and-off using Michel Tomas audiobooks and Duolingo. I finished all the items in the Duolingo course and the Michel Tomas basic and advanced CDs, wahhh!! Tomorrow I'll drop by my university to enroll for the Language Evaluation Exam that's required for me to move on to thesis and oh gosh I am so nervous what if I fail I've already been in residency status for almost a year I wanna graduate with my MA already I have until 2017 to graduate without getting penalty courses AAAAH!!

• Attempting to finish off Icon Day 06 today waugh!!!

• Depression and anxiety is still awful but I've been having a lot less horrible times with it since I moved out. thank goodness.

• I need to stock up on first aid medicines.

• Also need to stock up on home DIY cleaning solutions.

• I really love buying stuff for the condo. We finally got that cloth thing with pockets for mail for the fridge.

• I wish we had space for a laundry machine.

• Now I'm just listing random things in bullets.

• I'm going to bleach-shampoo my hair this week because I want my pink hair already gosh darn it.

• I really like the new beep tap cards and they work across all the train stations now and that fills me with glee and I love that I can reload them at a machine w/o having to talk to a cashier. TECHNOLOGY. (Mostly I love how it won't expire until four years later. Yessss.)


• I should get back to work now.

Love Meme!

Oct. 12th, 2015 07:45 am
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October love meme!
original image by Flickr user nafmo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
captioned image by [personal profile] alexseanchai also CC BY-SA

the meme   my thread
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@MelGCabral: Anyone in the US willing to help me grab a Nintendo eShop card? I can pay you back via PayPal :D My credit card doesn't work w/ the eShop :
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Long overdue image post that is not on Twitter...!

This is the longest Icon Day I've ever conducted and I will definitely implement lessons learned in the next one, whenever it will be. T_T (I probably can't offer as many incentives/freebies as I did this last one, for one thing, but it was good practice!)

I finally got my hands on my hard copies at Family!House so I could scan them in. I learned the hard way - I'm never leaving in-progress commissions in the house I more rarely stay at ever again, esp. if it's the place I sometimes don't get to visit for 2-3 weeks. x_x

I'm still going to touch them up in Photoshop but more or less I've got 3 in progress, 33 completed (as soon as I touch them up ask and get Nadine's scans), and 9 left to do. I'm hoping to do at least 1-5 more before I leave to go back to Work!Home tonight. *crosses fingers*

Nadine will scan in two more chibis she did, and Nadine and Krink might be able to help me out with more icons, so I'll update this post when I get a copy of them. :)


itsamellama: (THUD zzz)


Annnnd I started my shift one hour ago, hahaha. Kinda feels like freelance, except this time sharing an office with people annnnd it's not your house...

Rgghhh, I wish I hadn't thought to leave my Icon Day works in progress at the Family!House (I decided to, because I had more space for art materials there); I wasn't able to get home because it was also raining badly all weekend, and I could've done them while waiting around the office hoping for the floods to subside, but ohwell. :(

I'm probably going to do the icons in a tiny sketchbook or something next time if I were to go traditional again, haha. Something I can always bring around with me, so I can do it whenever. And probably with a more portable medium like portable watercolors maybe? Markers aren't easy to carry around if you use buttloads of them for shading T_T I might go digital with the other icons if I still can't get home, just so I can finish them off.


I am so so sorry for taking forever with them. T_T I have 10 or so to gooo...
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I did the thing that I've been saying I'd do for the past two years!

Image under cut. )
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After five million years, an update! A quick one, but an update regardless.

I really, really like making status reports. For good reason! I talk a little bit about what got me started doing this practice - how it helps me be in a good-enough mindset to be more productive - in today's blog post.

Why I Make Daily Status Reports on Kasiyahan

Want more? Please support my art and writing on Patreon! smile emoticon


The irony about making this quick post was that jerk brain was actively fighting against me. "It's so rough, maybe you should just set it aside for another day, Mel... could use some edits..."

Then I glanced at my Drafts folder and was greeted to 22 unpublished drafts - all unfinished articles because I had listened to jerk brain and set them aside for later so I could perfect them... a later that never happened.

So, eep, ack, oop, I am trying very hard to Not Let Perfectionism Stop Creativity (TM) and Just Make Stuff, Dang It! (Also TM, except not really.)

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend, y'all!


I'm Mel, a Filipina artist and writer. I'm an MA Creative Writing student working on her own projects at the same time. Nice to meet you!