I clearly remember doodling this in my first design class at Southwestern, while viewing the animated Beatles film, Yellow Submarine. I later enhanced it on Photoshop Elements with Pharrell’s HP commercial in mind.

At the time, I thought the final product was an astounding adjective sandwich of awesome and amazing, but the six years of constructive criticism and inadequacy that followed made me cringe at the sight of it.

It’s no cliche, art seriously tortures the soul. I thought that everything I created looked like a piece of shit compared to what others made, but I know those emotions were exaggeratedly exponential because I felt like a piece of shit human being and my heart wasn’t in the right place. Was it the art that reflected the soul, or the soul that reflected the art?

During the final days of school, my classmates and I lamented on the understated difficulties of our major, especially with our cultural backgrounds: “art is hard, design is tough, creativity is soul-sucking, coffee is life, and the fuck is sleep?” But during critique days and collaborative projects, everyone had a unique way of looking at things, and in an unconventional sense, we all shared a mutual admiration of each others’ individuality and novel/innovative thinking in an easily competitive environment and it was beautiful. No one is trying to one up the other, we’re all in this together, like High School Musical(punches self in face). At the end of the day, the only person you should compare yourself to is you–be a better person today than the person you were yesterday. Never stop creating, never stop exploring.

Life got the worst of me in the formative years of my early 20s, and thankfully I’m not those girls anymore: the lost girl at 18, the reckless girl at 21, and the hopeless girl at 23. But I’m seeking inspiration for this drawing challenge from those outdated versions of myself to create. To borrow their mindset, without the pre-packaged negativity and drama. Because despite the personal wars that constantly played in their heads, they always had their minds dipped in ink, ready to be clumsily spilled onto paper, with no project or agenda at hand, just pure love for visual self-expression and passion for the craft.

Hello rain. And hello again, 2AM.

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