Monthly Archives: March 2014

Project Rose: Lee Hi Artwork Final

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Finished painting of Lee Hi using watercolour and pencil.

To be honest I’m not completely satisfied with the outcome, the filter males it look better but the final colours didn’t balance well or express the rich vibrance of Rose.

I did do it in a bit of a rush because I’m going home tomorrow and didn’t want to leave it, and my watercolour skills are a little rusty. It seems other might have been better to be more expressive with brush strokes and colours.

Hopefully the video will be up soon. Please anticipate ^_^

In the meantime here are some more filtered pics of the final piece. Critique welcome.

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Designing a Bookazine Cover

Designing a Bookazine Cover

Here, have this instead of today’s sketch. I spent around 7 hours on it after all.

I’m on work experience at Blaze Publishing at the moment, a magazine publisher’s located near my university. If I don’t upload sketches this week it’s because I’m doing this design stuff, OK? *sweats*

This is a design for a cover of a bookazine (book and magazine) about British guitar-making, what do you think? I did everything from scratch except for using the guitar photo and various textures. Not bad for my first magazine cover, right? *goes in The Portfolio*

Thoughts and criticisms welcome, especially if you’re familiar with the original Acoustic magazine. 🙂

It’s all about “The Voice” – sorry, I mean, “The Song”

Here is where I try out another type of post in an attempt to diversify my blog and raise awareness of things I think need raising awareness of. So, to begin…

“What’s this? Surely, like most things on the Internet, nothing that could mean anything to my life whatsoever? I mean, look, it’s in a different language and everything!”

Well, if you don’t like music and good TV then, yes, this post will probably mean nothing to you whatsoever and you should feel free to stop reading here.

However, if you do like music, and good music at that, then please, curb your instinct for cultural ignorance and hear me out.

(Bear in mind, I’ve never written a post incorporating multiple videos and images and attempts to culturally educate the public before, so please continue with some slack to cut me prepared. My WordPress theme doesn’t seem to like this kind of post, but I’m as of yet not learned enough in HTML and CSS to get it to do what I want, so please forgive the amateurish arrangement.)

Anyways, have a look at this:

Sing My Song

It looks like “The Voice”, right? (Kind of.) The blind audition with four judges and neon lights and stuff? In which case, you would be half right, because its format is a legitimate spin-off of the “The Voice”, specifically “The Voice of China”. However, the concept of this show is a little different, and, frankly, in my humble opinion, genius.

It’s basically an audition programme (whose English title is “Sing My Song”) for songwriters, who write their own lyrics, compose their own songs, come to this show to have it arranged for a live band and then sing it personally to a live audience and four experienced and appropriately famous singers and songwriters turned judges.

Speaking as a songwriter, you could not have made me happier with one sentence.

‘Picture’ (Haunting melody and luscious chords. Had this in my head for several days on end. Skip to 0:51)

But, in any case, are we not all kind of sick of the basic formulaic talent show? This show gives a stage to those wonderfully talented and creative people who are so often hidden behind the scenes or the name of a overshadowingly famous singer, when their jobs can sometimes be infinitely harder.

“Not Going to Work Tomorrow” (Best rap in Chinese I’ve heard and actually really good rap, and that is saying something. Skip to 0:54)

Not to disrespect singers or their talents, but when was the last time you heard the composer or lyricist of a song properly credited, on the radio or TV or YouTube? And by “properly”, I mean proportional to the value that they contribute? Unless they are a singer-songwriter, in which case they are hailed as genii, they’re lucky to have a footnote in the album booklet or in the corner of the screen while their song gets performed by someone else.

Which if they are OK with, I’m OK with, but I do think songwriters deserve so much more respect and recognition. Creativity may be counted as a skill, but it’s not the same as a skill like singing or performing. I’ve tried to write songs, and it is DIFFICULT. I honestly think that, for the average person, or even musician, writing a decent song is much harder than singing a song decently (give or take the odd person).

Which is why I love the concept of this show, and they have executed and delivered it perfectly. Having just watched the finale, I was spurred into writing this post in order to share this awesomosity with an English-speaking audience, since Chinese shows don’t have a big enough international fanbase to have dedicated subtitlers or Internet presence outside of Chinese websites.

‘Juan Zhu Lian’ (Heck, I don’t even know how to translate this because my Chinese isn’t up to the level of understanding this superbly high level song. Caused a storm with Chinese listeners, I don’t know how readers of an English art blog might react. Skip to 1:13)

So often a good song is good because it’s so personal and truthful and because the singer channels that. Usually, they can only really channel that if they wrote the song, which is probably why I’ve had goosebumps and tears in my eyes more times than I care to count whilst watching this show.

‘Her Mama Doesn’t Like Me’ (‘Mum’ just doesn’t sound good, sorry. A little bit of funk and jazz and blues and pop? Catchy as hell. Skip to 1:09)

I admit that approximately 40% of the enjoyment comes from understanding the lyrics, but there are some very awesome songs to be found here, so I’ve shared a couple of the gems from the initial blind audition rounds with you, where they compete to be in the individual judges’ compilation albums. These are the songs that have had me playing them on repeat, even amidst the K-Pop and Western music I’ve been listening to. In any case, my Chinese is relatively poor so I don’t understand some of the lyrics anyway. All you need is an open mind.

Some have a distinctly Chinese feel to them, but let me tell you, that is by no means a bad thing. Skip to the performance (unless you think you can understand what they’re saying solely by body language). English lyric translations can often be found by scrolling down to the comments. Please do look at them, they make the song, and I’ve heard better lyrics here than I have in the whole of the UK Top 40 chart for a long time.

‘On My Own’ (Smooth and classy girls’ rock. Skip to 0:53)

There are a LOT more, but I’ll move on to the second round, where the individual judges helped rearrange and improve (arguably) their chosen artists’ songs and perform them for votes by industry professionals. Actually, one of the most interesting parts of this show was hearing the rearrangements and development, especially given as they were basically playing the same songs every week or two. I personally found that the songs that were originally awesome and which I replayed continuously weren’t rearranged to my taste, whereas songs I didn’t feel at first were rearranged fantastically and a lot of dark horses ended up coming through. Perfectly demonstrated by the fact that a lot of the initial round songs I’ve posted here aren’t the ones whose rearrangements I post further down. I would recommend listening to the original arrangements as well or even watching the whole series (comment if you want links).

‘She’ (Nice bittersweet pop-rock with an air of British rock. Skip to 0:43)

But I don’t want to spam this post with videos I know you won’t watch, so we’ll just go on to the final stages, where the winners of the last round rearrange and perform their songs again (but amazingly we’re still not sick of them and in fact love them even more, the best kind of song) and a final winner is eventually voted on by a studio audience. But don’t worry, all the best songs that passed the first rounds get to be on the judges’ respective albums, which I am frankly willing to pay even money for.

“If I Am to Die, I Die in Your Hands” (Yeah, that’s what they thought too. Skip to 1:42)

‘Juan Zhu Lian (Re-arranged Final Version)’ (Skip to 1:30. Also the final winner)

Particularly, I loved the range of genres; if you can’t be bothered to watch it, throughout the series there emerges songs of blues, jazz, rock, pop-rock, dance pop, hiphop, rap and many others I cannot even classify. Seriously, a music lover’s dream come true.  What other TV show are you going to hear great new music from all of these genres delivered cleanly and smoothly?

Regardless of who was the final winner, this show brought so much to the table that is audition shows. I genuinely hope it gets exported worldwide, because the influx of great new music that would result is something people are absolutely dying for.

…They just don’t know it yet.

A Sketch A Day Project: Day 9

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“I wish exercise was this easy to make a habit.”

Daffodil.

Had to venture out into the cold for this one, for want of something interesting to draw. Temperamental British spring weather as usual, a mix of heavy rain and gentle sunshine and freezing winds. Highlights included being told by my phone’s weather app that it was currently “cloudy” whilst being drenched by rain and trying to draw a daffodil with numb hands. The things I do for art.

Still life seems to be getting a little repetitive, but bear with me as it’s the Easter holidays and there are few unwitting strangers around I can draw, short of drawing my flatmates, as if they don’t think I’m weird enough. Plus I have to make the most of spring while it lasts.

In other news, I bought an acoustic guitar! A lovely sunburst cheapest-in-the-shop-not-that-I-could-tell-given-my-acoustic-guitar-playing-ability. Maybe I’ll draw that for you tomorrow.

A Sketch A Day Project: Day 7 & Project Rose

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“What’s that? I missed two days? Don’t be ridiculous, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Rose.

I was writing two essays in two days, OK? Plus I was holed up in my room so had little inspiration *makes excuses*

This also marks the official start of Project Rose, though I’ve technically already done about half of it.

Basically, Project Rose is inspired by a beautiful song and music video called “Rose” by a fabulously talented and terribly young singer Lee Hi, as seen here. Full of rich visuals and subtle colours and sensitive composition and inspired fashion and a great concept and stirring lyrics and a sultry voice.

As such, Project Rose will consist of a rearrangement of the song, recording of the cover, fan art of Lee Hi, rose-inspired graphics and edits as well as a YouTube video collecting it all, to mark the start of my YouTube Journey.

The above Sketch is the beginning of the fan art. Having already completed the rearrangement and much of the recording, please anticipate each chapter of the Project as it arrives.

A Sketch A Day Project: Day 6

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“I’m too tired… I was travelling and then I had to do four fifths of an essay… Here, have this bonus Sketch from yesterday… I knew it would come in handy!”

Horse and rider.

From yesterday when we went to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Didn’t get to see much and it seemed to be over very quickly but there was a lovely grey horse (and policewoman) I just had to sketch. Horses are hard, though.

Sorry, too busy today, Camden Market and Heathrow and train and essay among other things. But thanks to my OCDness I feel obliged to post, especially since it’s only been 6 days.

Dear God, what have I done?

A Sketch A Day Project: Day 5

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“Day 5! Now it’s been long enough so that I can just start referring to my Project by its acronym!”

Morning.

A Sketch of a seat on a London train, complete with morning sunlight streaming through the windows and no smoking signs.

Perfect weather today, enough to merit much photography especially when it came to sunset at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Photo spamming with Twitter filters to follow.

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Somewhere near Churchill War Rooms.

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Hyde Park.

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On the Thames cruise tour (I’d never been either) going under a bridge featuring the beret of the man in front.

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More sakura blossom at Hyde Park.

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Tower Bridge via boat.

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More Hyde Park. I think I really like this park.