Saturday, April 30, 2016

Game Review: Infinity Blade 3

Back with another game review! This time it's Infinity Blade III, the third and final game of the Infinity Blade trilogy. A game launched for iOS, Infinity Blade is just so awesome on so many different levels, that I'm surprised it hasn't been launched on Android officially.

Categorized as a role playing game, Infinity Blade is about, as you guessed it, blades and combat. I haven't played the first two games and this third game was downloaded when it was put up for free in the iOS Appstore for a day. It is otherwise a paid game and I cannot comment on it's story and lore background.

Okay, so I'll review this game with pros and cons. I'll start off with the pros.

Amazing graphics. It's a 3D game and the camera pans around the scenery to take full advantage of it. The areas range from deserts to deserted ruins to rocky mountains and strongholds. My favorite scene must be the temple where it drizzles- gazing towards the sky causes droplets to land and roll down your screen just as it would for real.

Fight controls. To be honest, it's amazing. You swipe the screen and Siris (or Isa, depending on which of the two characters you control now) responds by swinging their blade in the same direction. With this swiping, you can parry the enemy by hitting in the same direction or you could cut down hit points while the enemy is too distracted to defend themselves. There is also the option of blocking, but that too has to be done in the right direction. To win a fight, you have to be able to gauge where the blows will be coming from, from the stance and movement of the enemy.

Soundtracks and cut scenes. The music is great, it's an absolute treat to plug in your headphones and listen as you play. The cut scenes are so well made, it feels like you're watching a movie with the added detail of the characters having voices. The story line is a little hard to follow if you haven't got the back story from the previous game, but the story line is not very complicated.

Now for the cons. I've only thought up of like, two.

There's a steep learning curve. You need fast reflexes and if you can't handle the game mechanism, chances are you can't clear the game. Personally, I think I'm a bit of a slow reactor, so I had a tough time on bosses. I couldn't clear most of them until I had rerun the stage so many times that my character was way above the level needed to clear the boss. Or I just gave the game to my brother who wouldn't need as much of an effort.

The size and demand of the game. 3GB is an awful lot of storage taken up, not to mention the fast battery drainage. With a game that looks good enough to be played on a large screen, it's no surprise that your phone is just barely able to handle it.

To sum up, game is just absolutely beautiful and if you get the chance to play it yourself, DO IT. This was a game that you wouldn't expect to be so good and available on a phone!

What kind of games have you been playing on your phone these days? Any specific type that you prefer? Have a nice day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's On My Phone

Hello everyone! Is it just me or is PicMonkey giving a lot of trouble these days? It won't launch properly, as a result I've had to try out a new site. BeFunky is a bit like PicMonkey and so far, it seems pretty easy to use considering it was my first time. They've even got this really neat font style where letters are outlined. I recommend you to check BeFunky out- and now to the post!

I'm the kind of person who would rarely be found without my phone. It's got a ton of things I need to use throughout the day, whether it's checking up on my academics, my emails, my social media or just playing games. It also turns out to be a great time waster too- top of the list when it comes to ways to procrastinate!

So, first things first. My current lock screen is a wallpaper of a night sky in New York City. I found it while browsing through tumblr and ended up collecting quite a few imaged I could use. Of course I picked the best one to use first and so far, I haven't changed it at all. I like it because it's really soothing to look at it and it's also better than putting my face on there instead.
I realize a lot of people- especially girls- tend to put their own pictures up on the lock screens and wallpapers, but it just seems a little narcissistic to me. I mean, sure, if anyone picks up your phone, they'll know who's it is, but most people don't let their phones out of their hands, let alone their sights. It's just basically you looking at your face more than 50 times a day.

Here's the main screen where most of the important things are gathered like the Calendar (not used very much), the Clock (how else to wake yourself up everyday?) Contacts (because I can't remember anyone's number except my own), Photos (blogging purposes), Settings (for when the WiFi randomly disconnects), App Store (maybe used once a month to get a new app), Weather (once a month, it's just here cause it's blue), DropBox (considering to be used for blogging purposes), Adobe Acrobat (for academic lecture slides and PDFs), Evernote (blogging and note taking), iBooks (academic purposes) and Maps (it's blue).

The main tray on the other hand has the solid essentials- Phone, Mail, Messages and Camera. It's there for easy access and lets me see about immediate things I should know about- missed calls, emails, texts to reply. (It looks like I'm really bad at replying to texts but that's because I read them from the notifications center and answer there without going to the messages section at all. So any texts that don't need to be replied to are all piled up. Quite a few are promotional texts from my service providers as well as general advertisements about sales etc).

I only have two screens to switch between- having more doesn't seem very necessary to me. This one has a lot of things piled together. There's Timeful, a really nice time organizing app that I had been frequently using in first year. It's basically like the iPhone Calendar, but it's mostly for every day informal use, like developing little habits and setting small reminders. It was a really nice app and although I stopped using it when exams rolled around (this app requires a lot of maintenance, since you have to plan out your day) but I really want to get back into shape. Next up is Inkling, an educational app linked to most of my medical textbooks. You know how it works- scratch the code in your book and get the virtual copy of it in your phone. It's really nice but I haven't been using it regularly- I have two other books I have yet to load into Inkling but it's just not that necessary for me. Perhaps this app would be more useful on a tablet. Quizlet is all about making flashcards. I was using it regularly in first year and I had promised to use it again in second year but it just hasn't happened yet... My lack of enthusiasm is probably because the flashcards are a little dull- you can't add pictures. alQuran is another app that took forever to find- it's got Quranic texts with translation and you can download recitations for listening to offline. It's really useful and I would recommend everyone to have this (if you'd like it, I mean). 

I've lumped the rest of the apps into folders. Useless Apples is home to all of the useless Apple apps that I can't delete and just clutter my phone. Productivity is a misnomer- a lot of things in there I don't really use. Social has all the media apps, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Tumblr. You'll notice there's no Facebook and that's because Facebook is not that useful for me. I've installed Buffer though, and its a really useful app for blogging. It basically queues posts for social media accounts. I've hooked it up to my twitter and facebook at the moment.

Chrome is just too important to be categorized- I need it to be on hand for browsing (and checking facebook). The last icon you see is for a game I'm currently in to called Summoner's War. I'm planning to review, just like how I reviewed Clash of Clans, so keep your eyes peeled!

What apps do you have on your phone? Do you use all the apps you've installed? Does your home screen reflect what kind of person you are? Have a nice day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

5 Unpopular Blogging Opinions

Today I decided to rant a little bit about some opinions I have that may be considered 'unpopular' or 'impolite' to actually voice out, because, well, they might be considered offensive to some people, or some bloggers might take them too seriously. If you clicked on this post to be offended, be well warned. You will be offended.

Why are there so many fashion bloggers and why are all of them so popular? I don't really have a thing against fashion bloggers, but most of them talk about an outfit that would be the equivalent to the price of my entire wardrobe? I don't understand how fashion bloggers can have an overabundance of expensive outfits they can keep posting about on their blogs. Make-up tutorials and posts make a lot more sense though. Another thing that surprises me is the constant demand for more fashion bloggers. The Blogger's Hub sends me an email every week, updating me about their assignments that bloggers can apply to and almost every single one of them asks for a fashion blogger. I am so done at the moment.

In general, fan girl blogs rub me the wrong way. Blogs like these should stay on tumblr, not migrate to blogger. Don't get me wrong, it's really nice to see people talk about things they love every now and then, but if most of your content is about musicians and actors and singers, I'm going to find the blogger very creepy, not to mention shallow since most of such posts tend to focus on physical aesthetic alone. The fact that some of these bloggers have a huge following just boggles my mind. There is little to no original content except for incoherent ramblings, most of which are eloquently expressed by the size of your capitalized text and the amount of GIFs.

I think everybody already knows about those follow for follow comments. Follow me on GFC and I'll follow you back! There is probably a tremendous amount of followers you can gather this way (and most would be fashion bloggers) but that would really be a hollow victory. So that's why I tend to just follow blogs I really like. There are moments when I reach out first, follow first and comment first, all in one session and sometimes I don't even get a visit back. I'm a busy person- I can't constantly comment on people's new posts and let them know they have a new reader- to be honest, I often can't find the time to reply to comments on my own blog. But that's beside the point.

There's a new phenomenon in the blogging world- vague blogging and call-out posts. Vague blogging is when you indirectly talk about someone on your blog (kind of what I'm doing at the moment) in the hopes that they'll read it and put the pieces together themselves. If you're adamant on tossing mud around, chances are I'm going to think you're an awful person and I'd quite like to hit you. Call out posts are direct trash talking about a group or person. Once again, it just makes you sound like an overall idiot. I get it, you don't like it when someone who's only read the first book of Harry Potter is super excited and asks why you aren't as excited, you don't like it when people talk about things you like with their friends and not with you, I get it. Does that mean you should start blogging aggressively about it? Um, well you could, to be honest, but I'd throw you out of my feed.

Fifth, and not least, one thing that really makes me mad is passive aggressive blogging. These are the kinds of bloggers who write manipulatively, throwing their insecurities out and expecting to be patted on the back for them. "Nobody likes what I write, I don't get comments, people just look at my blog and don't follow, I should delete my blog. Yeah, I'm going to delete my blog once and for all", writes the typical passive aggressive blogger. I just look at my screen like-

You have over 500 followers. You have over 50 comments on each post. You have 20 times the overall view of my blog. And you show up in my feed to say this. And on the feed of countless other bloggers who are doing much worse than you. And only hours later, your blog will be flooded with positive messages, all saying "don't go! we'll miss you so much!". Maybe if that happened once, I'd be okay with that. But I've come across bloggers who start up on this passive aggression even more regularly than a menstrual period. Every month, on the dot, there will a post "Oh I'm so useless, so boring, I should go, I'll be so easily replaced, no one will miss me" and every month on the dot there will be positive messages spammed by almost the same people. I don't even want to talk about this anymore, it just makes me terribly angry at how pathetically inconsiderate some bloggers can be to other bloggers.

Well, here you have it! 5 Unpopular Opinions I have about blogging! Are there any unpopular opinions that you have? What kind of things make you really mad when it comes to blogging?

Friday, April 15, 2016

#SketchBookArt: Paintin' Your Words

Until I find a decent image that I can try to replicate on my sketchpad, I've been holding back with the scenery and architecture painting and settled for illustrating words. More often than not, these are song lyrics or quotes that I liked. I haven't done many, but here's a few good ones.

And this is how I've been entertaining myself these days. I'm going to be practicing little pieces like this a bit more before moving on to big sheets of paper. I also want to write in a more fluid style- capital letters are easy and I almost have a grip on lower case. But I'd like to try out cursive and- here comes the ambitious goal- black letter!

What have you been up to when it comes to creativity? Do you like making paint messes too? What's your preferred subject when it comes to creativity?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Interesting Things That Happen in Horror Games

[Warning: Graphic Images, Horror, Blood, Gore]

I think you must have gotten tired of me always talking about how I really want to a thrilling horror novel. I'll have you know I'm not all talk! I've been doing research too. By watching horror game playthroughs. Not the most realistic place to get inspiration from, but I've still found plenty and I decided to share them with you today!

The most important and common thing in most horror is the setting. More often than not, the setting of the story will occur in a mental hospital, the deep dark woods, the stinking sewers, the experimental labs and occasionally, there will be a school and how can anyone forget churches. Of course, all, if not most of these locations will have blood splattered everywhere- on the walls, on the floor, on the furniture, on the roof, you name it. There are exceptions, of course, like some plots involve a house, others involve supernatural horror instead of human derived blood, but let's face it. Have you read any horror novel that involved shopping malls, airports, office buildings or amusement parks (the potential for horror there is quite a lot!)?? Well, looks like I've found a setting for my novel!

Every story needs to have some sort of background that is referred to throughout the story. Some common backgrounds of the main character include being a police officer, a journalist, a detective or someone just stumbling into the setting while looking for someone. These characters can be divided into two categories, those that can fight back and those that can't, which can provide an interesting character background and can serve as character development. Another thing very common in horror games and stories is that if there is science experiments and mental hospitals involved, you will most certainly find references to WWII and the human experiments of that era. Linking the fictional world to the real world can always be effectively introduced through this. Despite being overused, it never fails.

Next up, I'd like to discuss some common plot devices. One of my favorites must be the 'accidentally killing the only person in this place trying to help you'. Twists like these should be done nice and slow- let the reader familiarize themselves with the victim and begin to appreciate the character before killing them in the first perspective. Of course there's lots of different ways to do this like "I have no choice, I have to leave them behind/kill them" or some sort of mind game (which should be long running) that causes the main character to kill in self defense or something. Make sure to apply bandages on wounds and rip off as many times as possible before this trope becomes annoying.

A plot like that would work even better in a setting where you can't tell who's the enemy and who's not. Blurring the lines so much that it clouds even the reader's judgement is a fantastic feat that again, I haven't seen pulled off in many books (but was definitely done in 1989 by George Orwell, my favorite book of all time). Having two completely separate villains working independently is also interesting although I must reiterate that the villains should be in no way related to each other, although their effect on the story may overlap.

Coming back to horror games, here's a couple of things that you might come to expect to see
- Doors opening and closing by themselves. Admit it, even hearing doors creak and slam shut when it's windy outside tends to make us jumpy. It's no surprise that an ordinary scare like this would be utilized. 
-Natural threats and use of medical kits. Sure, a crazy maniac running in the woods looking for you is pretty scary but imagine running into a den of wolves? Or tripping over a snake? How about earthquakes or floods or hurricanes? These natural threats can be pretty terrifying if written well. 
-Witchery and black magic. The fact that these things are very real might not be as horrifying as much as knowing what exactly these supernatural powers can do and what better way to induce fear than to exaggerate? Call in demonic stars, black candles, violent cults, each with a life of their own!
-Cameras. There's always cameras involved- whether to document your own adventures or to keep a watch on the seemingly harmless environments to catch a glimpse of what you're up against, not to mention the night vision features some cameras have! 
Do you like reading or watching horror? What kind of horror tropes have you already come across? Which kinds of horror cliche is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! Images were taken from "Outlast", a video game published by Canadian video game developer Red Barrels Studio.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Alphabet of Neurosciences

It's April, which is basically the month for the A to Z blogging challenge where you were supposed to blog about each letter of the alphabet every day! Now I'm not exactly a punctual blogger so I was not able to even properly formulate a plan about this event, let alone even attempt is, but here's my little contribution to the blogging community. Mixing it up with the latest module I've been studying, I've decided to share with you the ABC's of neurosciences in the hopes that you might learn something new today! And just to help you feel accomplished, I've even added a short quiz at the end. Are you ready? Here we go!

Disclaimer: This is by no means well- written explanations. I have purposely left out a lot of major detail to make things easier for the average reader. If any of this interests you and you want to learn more, let me know in the comments below and I can direct you to helpful reading sources or videos or perhaps write something extra for you.

A is for Aphasia. If you look at the word carefully and try to figure out what it means, you can break it down into two parts, 'a' meaning without and 'phasia' meaning phases. So Aphasia meaning "out of phase". This term is used for incoordinated movements, when you want to perform a task but you can't because your muscles aren't working together in phase. Aphasia is a general term.

B is for Broca's Area. This is a very special area in the brain. It functions to gather your thoughts in response to a question and plan out how you're going to say it. The Broca's Area sends the "speech" plan over to the cortex of your brain that controls the muscles and that's how you're able to flawlessly speak, using all the teeny tiny muscles in your voice box as well as the muscles in your tongue. If there's something wrong with your Broca's Area, you won't be able to form a proper reply, your speech muscles will be out of phase and whatever you say won't make a lot of sense with several pauses and difficulty saying words. This is called speech aphasia.

C is for Cerebrospinal Fluid, also abbreviated to CSF. This is the fluid that surrounds your brain and makes it float inside your skull. Your brain is made up of so many folds that if it couldn't float in CSF, it would collapse on itself and become very deformed. CSF also helps cushion your brain when you hit your head, protecting your brain from hitting hard bone and injuring itself! Too much CSF can be a bad thing though, you could end up compressing your brain as it fills with CSF. This condition is called hydrocephalus, where hydro means water and cephalus comes from cephaly, or head.

D is for Dopamine! Dopamine is a very important neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are small substances that are passed from one neuron (nerve cell) to another neuron and essentially carries across messages. Dopamine functions in emotions by giving us the drive and motivation to do things. Dopamine also triggers the reward centers in our brains and can thus lead to drug seeking behavior. Have you heard of Parkinson's Disease? It's a disease where the neurons that talk using dopamine are destroyed, as a result, it's hard for people with Parkinson's to move since the motivation is gone.

E is for Epinephrine! Also known as adrenaline, epinephrine is another important neurotransmitter that functions mostly in the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of our nervous system that instantly prepares us for fight or flight. That means that epinephrine will increase blood flow to our muscles so we can run, dilate our pupils (make the little black windows in our eyes bigger) so we can see better and releases more energy so we can use it to keep moving! Epinephrine is also released by the adrenal medulla.

F is for Frontal Lobe. This is the part of the brain that is at the very front- right behind our forehead! This is a very important part of our brain since this is where our thinking takes place- problem solving, planning as well working memory. The frontal lobe decides what to focus on. When you're reading this, you are focusing on the words in this line, not the words above or the words below. Similarly, if you're in class and your teacher is talking about something but your friend is making faces at you, it's your frontal lobe that decides to focus on your friend's antics and totally tune out whatever the teacher is saying! Of course, your frontal lobe is you, so blaming it for focusing on the wrong things is really blaming yourself xD

G is for Gangrene. Gangrene is, in simple terms, the rotting of a part of your body, most commonly the ends of your arms and/or legs. It usually happens when the blood supply to these areas is not enough. The cells and tissues there starve and then die. If left untreated, gangrene can result in amputation of the limb since the rotting flesh can spread over to the healthy parts, not to mention how perfect such dying tissue would be for bacteria.

H is for Hemorrhage, pronounced hemor-rage. No, it doesn't have anything to with rage. Hemorrhage refers to blood leaking out of the circulatory system. While a finger cut could be referred to as a hemorrhage, it's a term usually saved for more serious types of bleeding. It's especially dangerous for hemorrhage to happen in the brain because brain cells are not equipped to work without oxygen. Blood pooling in the brain can also squish parts of it and this can in turn affect our control on our body.

I is for Ipsilateral. This is an anatomical term that basically means "same side". The anatomical term for opposite side is "contralateral". For example, the right side of our brain controls the left side of our body. Anatomically, we can say that the right side of the brain controls the contralateral side of the body.

J and K stand for Just Kidding.

L is for Limbic System. This is a system inside our brain that controls our emotions. This is what tells you to be mad at the right moment and also gives emotional context to experiences. Remembering a memory that makes you smile involves the limbic system. It also plays a role in memory and learning through a structure called the hippocampus.

M is for Myocardial infarction. Often abbreviated to MI, myocardial infarction is when the blood supply to your heart is disrupted and the heart muscles just start dying. Dying cells release a lot of substances that can cause pain, so myocardial infarction is a painful condition. After all, how else can your heart get your attention except by causing you pain?

N is for Neuron. A neuron is basically a nerve cell. Neurons have their special shapes that kind of look like those cute girly pens that have feather pompoms on their ends. There's a rounded side that receives information from extensions called dendrites, then the message is carried all the way down the long end, called an axon. Axons can be really long, going from your spinal cord to the muscles at the end of your foot.

O is for Optic Chiasma. Optic refers to the eye and chiasma refers to crossing over. The optic chiasma is the X shaped part of the optic nerves. Before the optic nerves can go to the eye, they cross over each other. It looks kind of like this

P is for Pulmonary Embolism. This is a little like gangrene and myocardial infarction- a small piece of debris makes it's way into the lungs and gets stuck there, disrupting blood supply. Since blood can't move forward (there's a traffic jam!) it gets difficult for blood to become oxygenated. As a result, there is low oxyen levels in the blood, rapid breathing rate and rapid heart rate. Oh and pulmonary refers to the lungs while embolism refers to a piece of debris, usually a blood clot, that was formed somewhere else, got picked up by the blood and stuck somewhere else.

Q is for Queen I guess. Can't think of anything relevant.

R is for Reticular Formation. This is a part of your brain stem that functions to activate your brain, or wake it up. If anything happened to your reticular formation, you wouldn't be able to wake your brain up! The reticular formation is also located in a strategic position- right between the brain and spinal cord, so it is always updated with what kind of information is being sent up to the brain and what's being sent back down. When you're asleep, for example, there are a lot of things that your body can feel but doesn't get registered, but if someone was to give you a painful slap, the pain information goes straight to the reticular formation which immediately wakes the brain up!

S is for Stroke. A stroke is basically any derangement of brain activity that results from disturbance in blood supply. This can be either having a traffic jam in the blood supply and some tissues not getting any oxygen or blood leaking out of the vessels and pooling in the brain, called a hemorrhage (did you remember that? Good job!). Strokes can have a wide variety of effects since there are specific areas of the brain for specific tasks. A stroke in the Broca's Area would cause difficulty in speech, or speech aphasia. A stroke in the reticular formation would result in a coma, where the brain would never be able to wake up.

T is for Thrombus. A thrombus is related to an embolism. While an embolism was a travelling piece of debris, a thrombus is where it all began. It's basically a local clotting of blood that may or may not accidentally end up blocking the blood vessel. It could be that while trying to block a vessel, a piece breaks off and that piece is called an embolism.

U is for Upper Motor Neuron. This is a neuron that is an upper class neuron designed to control muscles (hence, motor). How is it upper class? Well, it comes out from the brain directly! Any neuron that carries motor control and starts from the brain is an upper motor neuron. This neuron goes all the way down to the spinal cord before ending and passes it's message on to the Lower Motor Neuron. The lower motor neuron's job is to carry the message to the muscle itself. Simple enough?

V is for Ventricle. These are little spaces in the brain filled with CSF, or cerebrospinal fluid. We have a grand total of four ventricles in our brain, two lateral ventricles, a 3rd ventricle and a 4th ventricle.

W is for Wernicke's Area. This area is where we understand language, whether it's spoken or read. When you read these words, it is the Wernicke's Area that is turning these miniscule curves and lines into something you can understand. When you listen to someone talking, it is your Wernicke's that turns the sounds and tones into something you can understand. If your Wernicke's Area didn't work, it would probably be very much like suddenly being in China where you can hear and see the Chinese language everywhere but you have no idea what anyone is saying. As a result, if anyone asked you anything, you would reply fluently along the lines of "I have no idea what you're saying, nothing makes sense" and this tells us that your Broca's Area is doing just fine, you can make a language response, even though it has no context to the question you were asked.

X is for X-ray. Need I say anymore?

There's no relevant word I can think up of for Y or Z!

Alright! You got through the ABCs of Neuroscience! Here's a small test to see how much you learned!

Q1. When you are exercising, which one of these is busy making your heart pump faster?
a. Dopamine
b. Epinephrine
c. Acetylcholine
d. Serotonin

Q2. Which one of the following is responsible for consciousness, or waking the brain up?
a. Frontal Lobe
b. Optic Chiasma
c. Reticular Formation
d. Pain

Q3. The anatomical description for "same side" is
a. Medial
b. Lateral
c. Ipsilateral
d. Contralateral

Q4. Which part of your brain is responsible for problem solving and planning?
a. Frontal Lobe
b. Parietal Lobe
c. Occipital Lobe
d. Temporal Lobe

Q5. If you had a stroke in your Wernicke's Area, you would
a. Be unable to read
b. Be unable to hear
c. Be unable to taste
d. Be unable to smell

Write your answers in the comments below and I'll let you know how well you've done on this test! Did you think you learned something new and interesting today? Would you like seeing posts like these again some time? I certainly had a lot of fun writing this! Have a nice day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My 2016 Blogging Routine!

Alright I'll admit it. I'm not the most organized person out there, despite how organized I may look. I do keep a planner and I do make lists. Unfortunately, most of the tasks I set for myself are not completed- the same can be said for my blogging routine. My routine for blogging is haphazard and hasty to say the least but I think I've got a decent grip on things and that's what I'll be sharing with you all today.

What materials I need when I blog:

I'm that one person who carries around a pouch filled with the brim with colorful pens- colorful in appearance as well as when it comes to ink. I can't help it, I need my stationary arsenal to study properly with and so of course I need a blogging arsenal too, right?
My blogging notebook has doodles, occasional notes, drafts and vague lists of blog ideas. Recently, I've turned it into an art journal of sorts.
My pens. I have special pens for each occasion. The pen I wrote this blogpost with is a pen I got from the CRASH 3 trial- I love it because it's red! And red is my favorite color!
Paints and paintbrushes. The latest addition to my blogging arsenal! I've found that painting tends to clear my mind and puts my in the right frame of mind I need to work! A good 20 minutes of painting lets me focus on important tasks afterwards whether its studying or drafting a blog post. It's for this reason that I've also started painting in the pages of my blogging journal- peace of mind AND aesthetics! Two birds with one stone!
My laptop. How can any blogger survive without their laptop? It is here that you can google up interesting fasts, pictures and quotes to add to your blog post, not to mention the use of picmonkey to create text graphics for your post. I also tend to keep Youtube open in another tab and have one of Markiplier's videos on play.
Phone/Carl the Camera. If you can take your own relevant pictures for the post, well, why not?! I personally find myself keeping Carl ready on stand by, sitting on a stack of textbooks where I can easily pick him up to snap a couple of pictures with, mostly when it comes to art posts, such as this post on truck art or this one on water colors.

My schedule is usually like this.

Scribble down ideas I get every few days. I often end up thinking about why I can't think of any ideas on the other days. It's a bit of a cycle, really.
Start drafting. I paint myself a catchy title to motivate myself to continue.
Take relevant pictures and edit them.
Open blogger and start writing.
Add pictures when I get tired of typing.
Press publish!
Realize that you're a day late on your blogging schedule.

What's your blogging routine? How do put yourself in the mood to blog? 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Let's Art! My Experience with Truck Art

One of the most prominent things you'll see on the roads in Pakistan are the decorated trucks, a variety of colors and motifs splashed on the sides and backs with bells jingling on the edges. Colorful and catchy, I thought it would be a great idea to try things for myself. Of course, before attempting any art, i always try digging through references. With some googling, I came across a couple of images that I thought I could integrate into my work.
I really wanted to draw peacocks so I picked up the design from here. I found it a little weird to have a fish in the tail and a pigeon on the back so I improvised the tail and kicked out the pigeon and the other fish.

Peacocks are a popular motif when it comes to truck art. Other popular animals include horses, tigers and birds. Again, only peacocks are drawn with geometric shapes while the other animals are drawn with realism. Illustrations are also complimented with couplets from poems or popular phrases. The most commonly seen include "yeh sab meri maa ki dua he" (this is all the prayer of my mother) and "dekh magar pyaar se" (look but with love).

This one has text written on balloons. "Tipu yar" (Tipu, bro) "tang na kar" (don't annoy me). Now what that has to do with an eagle holding balloons, I have no idea.

Of course, you can't have abstract drawings without borders! I spent a lot of my time looking for a good border to use. Most borders are again, brightly colored and involve flowers, most prominently roses, encased in shapes and bordered with leaves. Vines are also used to form a variety of shapes. Another thing that really stands out is the use of eyes. A lot of trucks have eyes placed in borders. While somewhat creepy, they certainly fit into the outlandish art.


Drawing the peacock wasn't hard but proportions were a bit difficult to handle. Was this really the center of the page? Did the shape look fine like this? Should I tilt the page a little? I used as many vibrant colors as I could, filling in the gaps with shapes rather than just colors. The border was a little tricky too, again thanks to not being in practice with regards to shape. 

So here's the finished piece. I had thought to have it scanned and color it in digitally but I haven't had the chance to do that and probably never will. In the end, truck art is an interesting form of art and I would most definitely try this again some time. If you found this interesting, feel free to try it for yourself! This art has plenty of room for messing around!

Have a nice day!

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