Jan 29, 2009

Koi Red

Koi Red by ~bakrsa on deviantART

Design goals update
I - 3 Birthday Cards
II - 1 Blog banner
III - 1 Koi Spring illustration

IV - 1 Deer Spring illustration
V - 1 Thank you card

Wahhhh this took a long time to do because of all the detail in the fish scales but I love how it turned out. It looks like a more fleshed out version of the previous Koi illustration I did. I might go back and rework that one.

This piece started out from a sketch I did back in December that was inspired by the work of legendary Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi III. I really admire all the detail in his work and I find it inspirational since its only recently that I've started to include more detailing in my work. Its time consuming but the end result is worth it.

I'm obsessed with Koi tattoos but I'm excited to get to work on the Deer illustration. The way how I envision it in my mind isn't necessarily spring themed, it might end up with the same color scheme as the piece in my blog banner, but the composition I have in mind was inspired by a panel in a Batman graphic novel. I need to go buy it because the artwork in it is truly amazing.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Rockers to Swallow

I was browsing through last.fm yesterday and came across the Yeah Yeah Yeahs page. I never got into them when their huge hit Maps was out, but I listened to some tracks from their IS IS EP and fell in love with this song and Down Boy. I ended up buying the EP off of iTunes for $4.99 I love how raw the vocals sound at times, the tracks are really great overall.

Second koi piece is about 99% done, all the detail work in the fish scales took like 8 hours total to do or something ridiculous. It looks a million times more detailed than the previous koi pieces that I've done.

Jan 28, 2009



via swissmiss

As a designer it took me a long time to come to terms with the content of that quote because we all come out of college thinking we're going to design the next big thing that NO ONE has ever seen before. In reality when you look around at a lot of commercial graphic design, what you see is a derivative from some other style or its coasting on the trendy style of the moment.

I think as designers we look at the world through a different lens and overanalyze most of what we see, but the average joe is going to gravitate to a design and style that they like and something they connect with on some emotional or superficial level.
As a consumer I gravitate to Japanese inspired motifs or tattoo inspired prints and I'm not alone in that, that's why so many designers use that style because they know it sells and people like it.

Eventually I just realized that you don't have to try to be the most original designer, you just have to design things that people connect with.

I think that's why I got so attracted to tattoo art, there's no pretending in trying to be original, as a tattoo artist you just try to excel at whatever style you like, be it Japanese, Black & Grey or ultra realistic, among others. No one is trying to reinvent Japanese waves and shading techniques you know?

To me the important thing is to become really great at what you do regardless of where the inspiration comes from, because at this point its hard to be truly original, everything is derivative and that's ok.

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire

Currently listening to this after browsing for bands on last.fm
I haven't used last.fm in like 3 years but Coldplay is still the number one most played artist on there! LOL its been like that for like 5 years I swear.

I'm working on finishing up my design goals for January because I only have this week left or probably not even because my birthday is on Sunday so there's going to be lots of socializing going on from Thursday onwards. I'm working on the Koi Spring piece, its going well just have to add the sakura, I hope to finish it up tomorrow or today during the day.

There's a fresh batch of snow on the ground!

Jan 20, 2009


inauguration 2009
The Obamas!

I can't believe this is our new First Family!! I totally cried when he was sworn in. I volunteered for his campaign over the summer and early Fall. Its weird to think that something many of us worked very hard for actually came through! I'll never forget the night it was announced that he won and Philadelphians celebrated in the streets. The whole country seemed to come together in happiness.

I think now everyone definitely feels a bit more hopefully about the future of the country, even though there's a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do.

Also ... In the South American country of Guyana, dozens of work sites closed at noon to let employees watch the inauguration.

"As far as I am concerned, today is a holiday," said Patrick Hazelwood, an insurance agent in the capital of Georgetown. "I have also told my staff they are free to do what they want and take in the ceremony. Today is a serious day for everybody, a historic day."
- Worldwide hopes soar!

Jan 17, 2009

Amtrak to the White House

This Obama train ride news coverage is so silly! CNN has a live cam that feeds footage you can see through the train window. Over on MSNBC Chuck Todd is actually IN the train. And the CNN Situation Room is outside in the freezing cold whereas MSNBC invested in a warm pop up room or something lol.


Its kind of a cute idea though. Today is Michelle Obama's birthday, it is also my mom's birthday! Happy Birthday ladies!

There was an article in Philadelphia's City Paper where the author compared the hope and enthusiasm Barack Obama has generated to that of our mayor Michael Nutter. Everyone in the city was excited and were expecting change and a general upswing, but the budget crisis hit and the mayor started threatening to close LIBRARIES and now everyone hates him lmao. So the moral is ... don't get too excited about these politicians, there are outside circumstances that affects the chances of them delivering all the sweet shit they promised in the first place.

Also Obama is having a dinner in honor of John McCain omg. I mean honestly when you think about of all the bullshit the McCain campaign swung Obama's way during the campaign its kind of infuriating. But I guess you got to make some sacrifices and appease the other side in order for Congress to stop being a bunch of babies and get something actually done D: He has to butter up all these egomaniacs so they can vote and pass bills they might not otherwise agree on.

Jan 15, 2009

Fever Ray

Fever Ray - If I had a heart

This is the strangest and creepiest video that I've seen in a while.

The Knife - Bird

I'm really into this song, I've never heard music like this before lol. Its all very strange and whimsical which fits the mood of my designs lately.

Jan 14, 2009


Inspired by model Josh Beech's torso tattoo. I was trying all afternoon to design something but no ideas were coming together so I looked inside my inspiration folder and I was like ohh black and grey tattoos! I love that style.

Revised this design from the earlier version and made it a Birthday card instead because it looks more celebratory lol. I mean it would probably work either way. I made a birthday version of the rose and swallows design above, will probably mess around with it a bit before I post.

After looking at stationary designs at a few locals shops I learned that you don't have to be the most original designer because people will always gravitate to a certain style no matter who designs it. XD

Design goals update
I - 3 2 1 Birthday Card
II - 1 Blog banner
III - 1 Koi Spring illustration
IV - 1 Deer Spring illustration
V - 1 Thank you card

Jan 13, 2009

Type for lines


A Grammy 2009 promo featuring song titles that inspired Thom Yorke. Not the most original idea ever but its kind of refreshing to see it in mainstream American design.

Tsang Kin-wah designs a lot of text/pattern installations like the one featured in this design. In this one book I have they featured one such installation in a bathroom. It was a floral wallpaper, all the lines of the design were rendered in text that spelled out profanities haha.


Thank you card

Thank you card! I actually designed this to send out to a friend who sent me some lovely Japanese charms. I drew these swallows last year but I hadn't used them in anything official yet. Its a bit of Americana tattoo style with Japanese motifs. I really liked how the blog banner I designed came out so I wanted to replicate the style in a stationary design.

So far the design goals are going great! I'm going to try and finish up everything on my list soon so that I can get started on designing some vector packs for sale. I have certain themes in mind already so its going to be interesting to design those. I have to do some research about it before I really get started.

Updated Goals
I - 3 2 Birthday Cards
II - 1 Blog banner
III - 1 Koi Spring illustration
IV - 1 Deer Spring illustration
V - 1 Thank you card

Jan 12, 2009

Design goals update

So far the design goals are on track! I've completed one of three birthday cards and I've completed the blog banner design.

See the banner in action on this blog

Updated Goals
I - 3 2 Birthday Cards
II - 1 Blog banner
III - 1 Koi Spring illustration
IV - 1 Deer Spring illustration
V - 1 Thank you card

Geiko of Kyoto

Inspirational pic of the day!
This whole set by mboggiedown on flickr is a great color palette resource I think, not to mention the inherent beauty of the fabrics, settings and floral motifs.

Philly Walker

I live in Center City Philadelphia, I usually walk everywhere so I have to deal with stupid drivers in the city from a day to day basis. I have some pet peeves.

-Dear Drivers, do you see that zebra crosswalk? Its called a pedestrian crossing area, you're supposed to stop your car BEHIND this crosswalk, NOT in the middle of it, not after it!

- In addition, I may not drive or even own a driver's license but I know some basic fucking road rules, that being when the YELLOW light is on that's a signal to SLOW DOWN and not speed up to run the red light you dumb fuck! To add to this if you find your car in the middle of the crosswalk because you speed up during the yellow light, REVERSE and give me the room to cross the street safely. You should have slowed down at that yellow light signal then you wouldn't be in the middle of the crosswalk D:

- You should ALSO use that thing called a turn signal if you're gonna turn at a crosswalk corner so that I the pedestrian know where your dumbass is going. The turn signal isn't just for the other drivers, its for everyone to be safe on the road.

I also have a pet peeve regarding bicyclists, I know everyone is trying to be all green and what not, and the city isn't equipped with bike lanes but that doesn't give you stupid bicycle riders the RIGHT to ride on the damn side walk! Either man up and ride on the road with the crazy drivers who wanna ram you off the road or don't bother being a bike rider if you're gonna get all up in the pedestrian space.

Anyway today I took a cab home from the train station and my fare was $8, I gave the driver a $20 and he gave me back $52 in change, I was like, "Woah you gave a $50 instead of a $10!" and he was like, "Omg thank you!" and as I leeped out the cab I said to myself, "Yea! Good samaritan deed for the day!"

Its a tough time for everyone, I wouldn't have felt right walking away with his $50, even though an extra $50 would have served me nicely.

Also the Eagles won against the Giants! Yea! LOL! I'm sure bars around the city were ultra happy and extra drunk lmao. Next up we need to defeat John McCain's home team the Cardinals!!!!

Jan 10, 2009

Design Goals: January

I - 3 Birthday Cards
II - 1 Blog banner
III - 1 Koi Spring illustration
IV - 1 Deer Spring illustration
V - 1 Thank you card

Yey goals! I think this will be a good way to get myself designing the elements that I need in order to have enough sample stationary cards to mail out to companies who make cool stationary in the style I like. And also in order to build the collection of work to display in a coffee shop.

Currently working on birthday card #1! Its about 90% done. Three people I know are having birthdays in the coming weeks so its for them and for my portfolio :D

I have three weeks to complete these goals! I shall post the results as I finish.

What I do

Koi Snow by ~bakrsa on deviantART

As I said on my profile I'm currently an unemployed Graphic Designer, I started doing vector illustration about 2 years ago I think and since I first started my work has evolved and become more complex, detailed and whimsical. I use Adobe Illustrator to do all my illustrations, some start from sketches and others start directly on the computer screen.

In college I only ever had ONE course in Illustrator and even then I wasn't taught exactly how to draw in it, it was more of a typography class ... I'm not sure why we didn't have a course in Quark if they meant to teach us typography but whatever LOL. I think back then InDesign didn't even exist but I digress. I learned more about Illustrator when I did an internship in college and did really bad drawings in it, but I've come a long way since.

Koi Girl Tattoo by ~bakrsa on deviantART

These days my main inspiration is Japanese Tattoo style, in the past I used to look at a lot of other graphic designers and illustrators for inspiration, but their work seemed to run together and everyone was doing that cutesy style or the graffiti influenced style and I didn't find that particularly interesting after a while.

Tattoo imagery has always fascinated me and I like the centuries, decades and years of tradition behind the different styles. I find it a bit more pure and not driven by trends as most contemporary illustration seems to be.

The koi fish and black motion lines in the Koi Snow piece were actually hand drawn at first and then scanned it and redrawn in illustrator with the pen tool. The thing I like about studying Japanese tattoo style is that it forces you to actually drawn on a page and learn to be a good hand drawn illustrator and not just one on the screen.

Currently I'm working towards putting together a minimum of 10 stationary designs and another 2 koi themed illustrations. I eventually want to have a theme of illustrations that I can take to coffee shops and see if they would like to display them on their walls. Its a great way to get exposure because you never know who is walking into these coffee shops. Hopefully someone who can offer me a job LOL!

You can see more of my work on my professional online portfolio: http://coroflot.com/bakrsa

Jan 9, 2009

India reimagined


Sita sings the blues - Blue Landscape

Wow I love the illustration style for this animated movie Sita sings the blues. Its fun to see a modern interpretation of classical Indian art style. You can see more colorful examples here.

Big O ... Year I

What we need is not a leader to assure us of our greatness...

Yesterday Obama gave a speech regarding the economic crisis this country is facing right now. It contained that rhetoric about how America has the best most productive workers in the world and other such b.s. I wish politicians would stop spewing. It sounds like pandering and it sounds too self involved, you know as if other countries around the world have really lazy workers and workers who aren't as productive. Also it reminded me of rhetoric John Mccain would dole out during the campaign when he flubbed his line on the American economy being strong.

Obama's speech was short on specifics and contained much of the rhetoric he's been doling out for the past few months regarding investing in infrastructure in order to create jobs. However I wish his people would outline what these specific jobs would be, because I would imagine that construction workers would benefit from this, so would managers and secretaries, but would architects and other type of designers? Its just that the type of work it seems to imply isn't something that the population at large can say, "Oh wow once that happens I'll have a job for sure."

I'm a graphic designer and every time I hear about this infrastructure business I'm like how would that benefit me and other people who are in creative fields of work? Hell even some Senate Democrats are expressing their distrust in the plan, in this NYT article, Senate Allies Fault Obama on Stimulus.

There is talk about sending out another round of stimulus checks, because that idea worked so well the first time around.

Several Democrats on the Finance Committee earlier in the day questioned the proposal to give tax credits worth $500 to individuals and $1,000 to married couples. Several senators said that initiative would provide a token sum of money, which taxpayers were likely to save, not spend.

Did the last round of checks help the economy? NO! People used those checks to pay their bills, they didn't go out to buy luxury goods or new HD tvs and they did nothing to improve consumer confidence. I mean honestly when you're an unemployed individual an extra $500 isn't something you look at and go, "Wow I can finally go on that shopping spree." Its money that goes into your budget to pay off your bills, if you're a fiscally responsible person trying to support yourself that is.

I think the main thing is that businesses need to have credit and incentives in order to start creating jobs outside of the infrastructure sector. Obama acknowledge the skepticism and said,

 “I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan,” he said. “Our government has already spent a good deal of money but we haven’t yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence in our economy.” But he said his plan “won’t just throw money at our problems. We’ll invest in what works.”

I dunno, still sounds like a gamble but hopefully it has a good impact to lower the unemployment rate. I feel really bad for people every time they release the new job loss numbers, because as a someone who's been unemployed for the majority of 2008 and continuing to do so now in 2009 I understand how hard it can be for people. And frankly it takes a toll on you mentally, the lifestyle you'd grown accustomed too is ripped out from under you and applying for jobs day after day and getting no replies back can be very depressing. It was a very dark time for me when first got cut from my job so I can sympathize with how helpless and insecure people are feeling.

Jan 8, 2009

Just in case...

I have  a blog over on livejournal however there's been some speculation over whether or not that site will survive in the long run, so I decided to make another blog so that my friends from over there can still keep up with me if LJ dies lol. Plus that journal started out for one purpose but it doesn't really fit me completely anymore so its nice to have another place to post random stuff that I'm interested in.

Hopefully LJ doesn't die because there's a lot of stuff over there that I would be saddened to lose, specially my old jrock posts with contain valuable info, pics and clips regarding the old 90s jrock bands I used to be obsessed with. Its a great archive and resource that I think is useful.

I've been blogging since I was about 17 I think, I'm currently will be 25 in Febuary, so its been 9 years! I actually never looked back on how long I had been blogging. As a child I kept diaries, but diaries and blogs are not things that I actually re-read. I guess I use blogs as a means to pour out what's  inside my head at the moment. I'm the kind of person who obsesses over things if I don't  get the opportunity to talk about them or write them down. So I guess blogging is a nice means  to let out that extra energy in my head.

Anyway currently I'm an unemployed graphic designer looking for my dream job ... well any job actually. Many people are in that same boat, and at this point I feel as if I need to become fluent in another profession in order to survive  in the future. So I am looking into pursuing a degree in Art Education because there is ALWAYS a need for a teacher. Plus I like working with kids and have taught them before. 

So on this blog I shall be posting musings on my life, current obsessions, music, movie reviews, thoughts on trashy reality shows and my artwork. The illustration in the header of this blog was done by me. It was for a series of holiday cards that I designed to send out to my friends. You can check out my portfolio site here: http://coroflot.com/bakrsa