Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Family Loss

Hi everyone, sorry for yet another long break from posting. It's been a month of anxiety and last week had been very emotional. There's been some real-life emergency happening with my family of late, keeping well-occupied from doing any artwork or even from my part-time job.

Just before midnight on Wednesday night, my Dad, Kenneth A.J. McMillen, had passed on while in Palliative Care at Scarborough General Hospital. For the last 10 years, he had chronic kidney disease along with his earlier type 2 diabetes to be treated with hemodialysis, insulin, etc. He'd been in the hospital for a month with showing no sign of improving and finally after suffering a stroke a week prior that basically "killed" his brain, my Mom had to make the hard decision of stopping his treatments and allow him to naturally pass on comfortably. He was 63 years and a half old. My older brother along with other relatives were able to come in to see him one last time (or several) before then.

Dad was a stubborn but loving man for most of his lifetime.  He worked for the Toronto Transit Commission for many years as a vehicle driver, a fare collector and distributor. He grew up to take care of his mother, younger brothers and sisters when his own father passed on from a heart condition and for better or for worse, worked hard and long overtime shifts to support me and my older brother Jason.  He even helped paid my educations at The Art School (Central Tech High School) and at Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCADU) and helped for my late rabbit's medical fees.

In a lot of ways, I do resemble my Dad. His eyes, his temper (when actually provoked), his sense of preparation, planning and work ethics. There were some things with him that he could've tried to help himself with while there was still time but it just wasn't in him strongly enough to make those changes to hopefully improve his life.  With whatever he had left behind now, I have to learn from both his good and bad examples what to be doing more or less of, to help myself to hopefully avoid going out the same way as he did.

For now, it's a big transitional time: Dad's funeral service this Thursday, clearing out some things from the house, fixing things up with the warm weather coming back, figuring out what Mom and I are going to do without him. Don't worry; Dad left behind some coverage for us and we both got our jobs and each other. As I said before, I do want to get back into my artwork soon. Well, I'll have more time for it now.  So, thanks for reading all of this if you got this far. Maybe in another month, I'll have some content to showcase but family matters takes first-priority right now.  See you again fairly soon.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter's Commuters

It certainly had been a while since I've last posted up anything new.  After the holidays (Late December), you would've figured that there would be less hours to fill at a retail store; not for groceries anyways.  Not to sound unappreciated of getting the extra hours still, but it takes you away from many other things going on in your life if overdone. In my case, it's my artwork and online schooling, among household obligations.  

Despite having slim spare time for it, I'm making efforts to keep steady progress on my artwork.  From my most recent TOUSK meet up on Toronto's TTC subway lines, I've started to make ink drawings of people's portraits.  It was easier to sketch the heads than trying to capture the whole bodies, not knowing when fellow passengers will up and go.  I've actually liked how I was capturing interesting head portraits with their winter gear, kind of like they're all dressed up.  Yeah, not really for everyday things but it helps accentuate their appearances, meaning that they look more interesting.

So, aside from that, I'm just trying to keep up with everything (using my timer, set limits on a chore/project per day, etc.) and keeping myself sane yet productive.  Hoping for an early spring with each winter thawing we get (I miss riding my bicycle)!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Happy Holidays and Raving' Retailers

Finally with some money coming in, I'm taking time to go to any events that catches my interests.  The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto during early November had always been a favourite due to the animals.  If people aren't a challenge to draw as it is, animals are fairly similar.  At least they don't get touchy about being drawn, just some about being petted.

Wanting to finally see it in person for myself, I went to see this year's, Toronto's Santa Claus Parade. It was a bit chilly (luckily I thought of packing a wool blanket & hot coffee in a thermos) so I tried my best to sketch in the cold. I've ended up taking a few photos and videos.  

Two more sketches from my last TOUSK group meet up at the CF Eaton Centre. Not too many showed up due to large holiday shopping.

 And this last one on my own time (just before my extra shift at work)

The holidays I have to say are definitely keeping me busy, between extra work hours, winter house chores and personal side projects. I'm doing my best to keep it all balanced though I do admit, I have to put some things off at home for a couple of days at least. Frankly, our Christmas Tree isn't even put up yet. So hopefully after the holidays like New Year's Day, there'll be more time at home to get creative again.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Busy, busy, busy, like a bee!

It's been a few busy weeks for me.  First of all, I'm done with my job-hunting because I FINALLY GOT A PERMANENT JOB!!!!! It's a part-time cashier job where I've been working approximately 20 hours.  So far, it's been good except dealing with my SmartServe Certificate. I'm waiting for my Ontario Photo Card in order to take the test for the certificate so I can start selling the alcohol grocery items at the store.  All I can do is keep studying the material over until I get that card in the mail (4 to 6 weeks their site said) and it's been 2 weeks now. :b

So with all that stuff of my new part-time work, I haven't been making much art lately.  I want to be doing some ink works for Inktober but I'm having other chores around the house like water sealing the back porch for the winter.  Well, I'm going to get some free time for this and my other projects soon, hopefully.

Relaxing at a Starbucks after my interview
Been trying out a new RED marker with my latest sketches. A Buick Marker brand, double-tipped with a wide and brush ends. No problem with fluid flow but it can soak thru the paper. It's probably better for thicker papers like illustration board.

Performance Art @ OCAD's Onsite Gallery Opening
Not much I have to showcase here this time.  I haven't been posting up my art video uploads on Youtube so here are the links now.  Hopefully next month, I'll have more artworks to show and also get my SmartServe Certificate at long last.

Youtube Links

Single-Serve Bag, 2017
GingerMan Cookie, 2017

GingerWoman Cookie, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Summer Break is Over (For most people)

Well, now it's after Labour Day and for most people, it's back from summer vacations and either to work or school!  Then again, work and school aren't really restricted from September to June in Canada or online.
Artscape Wychwood Barns, Farmer's Martket

While practicing my art and self-study my Udemy courses, I'm looking for part-time work! Applied to a few locations already but no luck as of yet. It's not so much as finding work you can do adequate but also being able to travel to a workplace in a reasonable commute time.  Unfortunately, finding creative jobs in Toronto is harder than online when you have to travel about an hour each way to a studio on transit.  One of the pitfalls of living in a suburbia like Scarborough, even when it's in the most South-Western end of it.  I would honestly like to live closer to the downtown where it's more of an artist hub and as soon as I can get enough steady income coming my way, the better.

Customers @ Tim Hortons
Anyways, as far as beefing up my portfolio, I've made some game graphics assets with the intent of a Match-3 game. I've even gone as far as record my work progress on these, made fast-speed art demo videos of them and have their links down below. Some on them aren't posted yet on Youtube as they auto-scheduled for weekly updates.  It's still ongoing the project but I could turn them into my first game, maybe on my own or if I team up with a game programmer that knows Unity or similar. Not right now, but maybe soon or just sell them as assets on a game graphics store.

Pigeon @ Sugar Beach Park
Got other examples of works up for the month, so browse around and I'll be back soon (in October) with any new works or sketches for the month. Hopefully with a job.

Splash Pad @ Sugar Beach Park

ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) @ Queens Way & Bloor St West

Photo of ROM Sketch Site

Youtube Links
Flower Cookie
Meringue Cookie
Icing Topper
Flower Cookie, 2017
Star Cookie, 2017
Meringue Cookie, 2017

Icing Topper, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Working out what works best for myself! - Early August

Hi y'all! I've been busy awhile with my artwork and other odds and ends.  Working on filling up my portfolio in genres that I've lacking recent pieces in.  I got some lingering ideas and DIYs out of the way, I'm also working on some of my social media sites, improving them for promoting myself.  And here I'm sharing some of the samples.
Azeem lectures his genie, 2017
Vector Feather Pattern, 2017
Vector Animals, 2017
Vector Animals, 2017
JULY 21, 2017 - DeSerres @ Danforth & Coxwell
Triangular Sandwich Box Template, 2017
Black Box Easel, recently fixed up, 2017
What I'm hoping to get done very soon is create a bunch of assets that I can sell for some income.  Also getting hired on by a temp agency for some regular income to afford professional promotional materials (my printer won't print in black right now unless it's photo paper which I only got in postcard size) :(.  So I'll be busy doing that and hopefully have some news of my successes soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Staying Productive for the Summer - JULY

Well, I'm trying to do more things outside of the house while the weather is mostly pleasant.  Seeing the festival sights and sketching them. Also trying to get some part-time work nearby to keep myself above water while I get thru my current projects and online courses.

I don't know why I have the hardest time getting a job just in this city compare to working illustration jobs over the internet. That's why temp agencies seems much easier to apply for temp work verses getting permanent jobs with big corps; you only have one interview, get hired and then just be assigned job placements without having to always be prepping to sell your skills for each one.  I know that doesn't sound like being a reliable way of living but many people change jobs or even careers throughout their lives. I just need to get my foot inside the door and start making some headway instead of such a slow crawl toward a better lifestyle than forever living with my parents and I know that's not permanent.

Anyways, here's what I done in and out of the house. Feel free to comment on anything here:
Giant Inflated Ducky at HTO Park, Harbourfront.

Tim Hortons' Small Titbits Box

Unknown Foreign CD Tri-Folder Sleeve