Thursday, January 14, 2021

Love of things retro and nostalgia

I like to make retro versions of characters I draw at work.
The Glitch is one of the characters who generally represents chaos.
This one is something of a T-shirt design for myself.

Ah, nostalgia.  So, I decided to write this blog post since I've been doing quite a bit of retro art as of late.  It kind of gives me a sense of identity.  Perhaps a feeling of a permission to exist in this increasingly youthful culture.  And, I love inside jokes.  Jokes only certain people get.  This is probably also why I've suddenly gotten into making puns. 

It is not hard to tell that I love things retro.  More specifically, 80's pop culture.  It makes sense since I grew up during that time period. I listened to 80's music, watched its cartoons, played its games, and watched the films.  And, I still enjoy them.

I suppose nostalgia gives us a place to go, a sense of ownership and identity in an increasingly changing and unfamiliar world.  As we are increasingly bombarded with the new, the strange, the untested, and possibly dangerous (to a certain extent), we desire to go back to things that felt like home, sheltered, secure, and maybe safe.  And, you probably were allowed to enjoy some of these things without worrying about finances as you do now.  Perhaps it was when you had more of that child-like hope, when you felt a little more free.  I think as we grow older, we sometimes need that feeling again to move forward.

Currently, I am an art director at an educational game company that teaches kids to code and make their own games.   They are able to make side-scrollers, for example.  Side-scrollers are kind of a retro idea.  You can blame Mario Bros. for that one.  

Back in the 80's, I myself was into educational games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Halley's Project as well as game-making programs like EA's Pinball Construction Set and Adventure Construction Set.  Nowadays, I make a game-making program for kids.  Its funny how things have come around full circle.

Some of the art I'm posting here were either created for marketing, personal T-shirt designs, or general things I've made to amuse myself or people I know.  I'm also a big fan of parody.  Weird Al Yankovic is one of my favorite celebrities.  Since this article is about nostalgia, the images shown here will all be... well, retro:


This one is inspired by Pac-Man and 80's video games.  
Foos are the characters in our game (who represent computer programs). 
The Glitch is also one of the characters.  He represents chaos.

This one was for a personal T-shirt. I had to make a pun, obviously.

This one was for a boss' T-shirt. He liked He-Man.

I'm a Lucasarts fan. This is based on an adventure game called "Full Throttle."

The Glitch is a character in our game.  This one calls back to that 90's movie.
Jurassic Park was all about a Glitch in an amusement park.  
And, introduced Chaos Theory to the pop culture.
I'm a big Charles M. Schulz fan. Beethoven's cool, too.

Remember Tomagotchi? I had these in high school.

I also had America Online.  They were like the Disney of internet, for no good reason.

Ipod was a thing in the 90's. I tried to match the style.

I frequent Starbucks quite a bit.  I always get the Americano.

Ah, trolls... these guys are still around.

If you want to read more on nostalgia, I read and interesting article on which was interesting:

Nostalgia is healthy, Dr. Kate Cummins  (a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist) said, when people use it to draw internal motivation or creativity from the feelings they have about past experiences — for example, when someone remembers a situation or person who inspired them to become a better version of themselves. “When a person travels back to a productive or motivational time, the nostalgic emotions can help push them toward growth and future inspiration,” she says. It’s also a healthy coping strategy and has been scientifically proven to improve patience, help lessen the pain of loneliness, and improve well-being.   

...Looking back on the past with overly rose-colored glasses, on the other hand, might cause your feelings of nostalgia to take an unhealthy twist. “If you look back and idealize what happened, you might compartmentalize the past and remember events differently from how they actually occurred,” Cummins explains. “If you find yourself doing this to feel better about a previous version of yourself or how something happened instead of focusing on the truth, you might feel let down or disappointed with you or your life is today. Even more, if things truly were better in the past, sifting through it might upset you or trigger negative experiences in the present.”

-- from

Well, that is it for now. I'll be working on more work as time goes by. I am already working on various other "retro" style T-shirt designs.  For some reason, when I make T-shirt designs, they are usually mostly retro.  It is probably because most of us like to wear T-shirts that say something about ourselves. When we think about ourselves, we usually think about how we grew up, where we grew up, and type of pop culture we enjoyed.  When I see someone who wears a RUN DMC shirt, I can usually appreciate  the era they probably are from.  Or, a  Jaws shirt.  Or, Tron.  Or, Robocop.  

Monday, November 2, 2020

Inktober 2020 Images!

The annual Inktober has been one of those events I've always looked forward to every year.  It helps that there are many others who also participate in drawing something once a day based on a given prompt.  This year had the following:

As usual, I used my sketchbook and my watercolors to make my daily drawings.  The drawings are not necessarily Halloween-related, but oftentimes one can't help but try to match the usual seasonal motif whenever possible.  As much as I'd like to, I do not always sketch a colored drawing every single day on my sketchbook--just lack of time due to job and family.  Inktober kind of forces me to draw daily... or at least draw 31 drawings whenever I have the time to do so.  

Here they are:

Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) is a true classic. When I think of words like "blade", I think samurai.  Always good to find an excuse to draw Toshiro Mifune.

The Lost Boys (1987) is the classic vampire horror/comedy flick.  Pretty much everything works in this film, including the dated 80's fashion and special effects.  Iconic music, acting, and storytelling.  I also love the title of the film, which is lifted from the Peter Pan mythos.  

When I think of the word "hope", I think of the classic movie Shawshank Redemption (1994).

"It's a trap!" -- a classic line from Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi (1983)

So, everyone knows the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. However, I hear that Swedish people feel that he acts more Norwegian than Swedish.  And, yes, Swedish people find him annoying.

Beetlejuice (1988) is a fun comedy--more wacky and strange than hilarious to some.  

Dig Dug, as a classic 80's video game, had its own special style.  What other games have been quite like it? Not many. Like Q-Bert, Pac-Man, and Frogger, they are just so original.  The good ol' days when it wasn't all about shooters. 

Buddy Holly, to me, is someone who is now more iconic in terms of his look than his influential music, many of which I often don't recall.  With that said, "Everyday" is a song that really sticks in your ear.

The Blues Brothers (1980) is perhaps the most cinematic of the movies that came out of Saturday Night Live.  Certainly one of the most action-packed with a sizable budget.

"Power laces! All Right!" -- Marty McFly, Back to the Future Part II (1989)

So, that's it! Got all 31 sketches done on the month of October. Another nice little accomplishment. This year's pandemic has affected a lot of things, but it's nice that Inktober can still go on as before.  

The year is almost ending.  Pretty sure everyone is thinking we can put 2020 behind us.  October came and went.  Halloween probably wasn't the most festive this year, but I did enjoy them via arts and crafts, Netflix, Zoom, and just hanging with people close by. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Creating a new post is hard... but at least I have pictures.

Creating a new post is hard...especially if you've been out of practice. The last time I wrote on this blog was before the pandemic.  Secondly, posting on facebook makes you post less in a blog.  I remember back when I used Xanga, which was sort of like Blogger, but mostly for younger hip crowd..or so I thought.  Anyways, that was then, and this is now.

One of things I still do is to draw.  And, more specifically, draw on my sketch journal.  I think I've gone through more than 16 of them by now.  Some are horribly drawn, but the idea is to keep a consistent habit of it, whatever it is.  It's usually only when I look back at the art that I realize I've done anything at all. 

Daily Drawing Challenge is a facebook group I occasionally frequent.  They post photos, and people like me would draw what we see.  It was a black and white photo I saw.  A sketch never comes out quite the way it actually looks.  It's all lines, no gradients.  Thus, it becomes all about the strokes.  Well, at least strokes have personality.

This is my backyard.  We've been growing green onions and tomatoes.  Now, we've added some cacti.  Desert plants add a bit of "California" to any garden.  

Ennio Morricone passed away recently.  He made the secret sauce in the Spaghetti Western.  You know, "sauce" because it's in spaghetti?  That's me trying to be clever.  Speaking of clever, Sergio Leone, the father of Spaghetti Westerns, was clever.  He really knew how to showcase a good soundtrack.  One could argue the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns were an extended music video--the music was done first and Mr. Leone made images to match it.

More Daily Drawing challenges.  The above image is supposed to be Prince, with half of his face in Joker makeup.  This was back when he was doing the music for the 80's Batman movie.  Michael Keaton is strangely more appreciated now than he was back then as Batman.  Certainly nostalgia has helped us appreciate older films even more as our lives have become intertwined with them.

Making morning coffee has been a common thing for me ever since I've been working at home.  Kona coffee has been my thing.  Too bad they're so pricey.

My afternoon sketches during lunch time in Pasadena, CA, which was where I was working before the pandemic. I still work at the same company, but I work at home now.  Quiet moments are quite rare now since I have a kid.  Moments to sketch are rarer as well.

Here are some more drawings of Pasadena before the pandemic.  I kind of miss Pasadena.  I mean, I don't miss the long drives, but I do miss the food and atmosphere.

Here is my latest sketch.  I was at San Diego Zoo this past weekend with family and another couple.  My baby's first zoo visit.  Pretty cool.  The zoo happened to be open as San Diego cases haven't been as severe.  You still had to wear a mask, keep some amount of distance, and there were no rides in operation, but it was still pretty functional as a zoo.