Monday, April 30, 2012

inspiration: maya hayuk

I discovered Maya Hayuk's art yesterday while I was actually on a WEDDING BLOG of all places. One of Hayuk's pieces was featured on an inspiration board, on Green Wedding Shoes (which is a pretty good wedding inspiration site if you're interested in that sorta stuff), and I was immediately drawn to her painting. I love the unconvential use of colours in the artwork:
shades of grey + fuschias + peach + lavender + teal.

*side note: in case you were wondering, the ring (Morganite & Rose Gold) is sold by onegarnetgirl and can be found here on Etsy.


I love Maya Hayuk's work because of her colourful, geometrical designs. Recently I've been fascinated with this type of rainbow-hued art and cannot wait to have spotless white walls of my own to absolutely MURDER with colour.

Here are some of her fabulous murals! ("monster island walls")

She has a TONNE of stuff on her website including album covers, photography, paintings, and murals. Make sure to take a look!

inspiration: Philip Tseng & Mike Mitchell

The designers who create Threadless T-shirts have always amazed me. Some of them are just SO GOOD!!! That's how I stumbled across San Diego illustrator Philip Tseng and LA artist Mike Mitchell... both amazingly talented drawingfolk.

I love Philip Tseng's work because many of his doodles are  food-related - which definitely piques my interest! His ZOMBIE BREAD t-shirt design is pretty KILLER! Reminds me of my old high school days when I'd find moldy sandwiches in the bottom of my backpack. And then I'd pawn them off to innocent civilians.

Breaaad! by Philip Tseng

He also has an amazing series called ALPHADEATH where he drew the whole alphabet in fruits and vegetables being cut up... it's morbidly marveloussss!


Mike Mitchell reinvents pop culture icons into cute cartoon form. He has a whole collection of these cartoons called "Just Like Us". I love how they kind of look like "Miis" (those personalized characters you can make on the Wii). The characters below are from three of my all-time favourite shows/movies. Do you recognize them?

 1) Dwight from The Office
2) Gollum from Lord of the Rings
3) Tobias from Arrested Development

I was SOOOOO EXCITEDDDDD when I saw the Tobias one. haha... Calling all NEVERNUDES!!! There are dozens of us... DOZENS!!!!!!! (if you didn't get that, just slowly walk away... slowly walk away...)... Right now they're selling that Tobias print on a T-shirt here on Threadless, and I am seriously contemplating buying one... then immediately make myself some CUT-OFFS to wear it with.

If all of these subtle references are glossing over your head, please kindly educate yourself by watching all 3 seasons of Arrested Development... NOW!!!! NOWWW!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

the raw beginnings of my artistic journey...

NOTE TO READER: This is a ridiculously long blog post.

DISCLAIMER: Your eyes may fall out after reading this entry due to the excessive outpouring of words, sudden barrage of stylistically-inconsistent images, and possible monotony from an overload of my personal ramblings. However, if you do have the extraordinary patience to attempt conquering this entire entry, I hope you will be able to identify with a part of my artistic journey or find some sort of inspiration from what I've written below. But if you finish reading the whole thing and it's not your cup of tea, then you can scroll back up here and remember that you can't blame me, because...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


Lately I've been wanting to blog a lot, and my mind has been absolutely INUNDATED with craft ideas but half of them require sewing... so I'm patiently waiting til July when I shall be reunited with my sewing machine (and I guess my family and fiance as well, but that's secondary). HAHAHA just kidding. (or am I...)... ANYWAY, since I ran out of image space on this account, I've been scouring my archives for images that I've uploaded online already but never posted on this blog. I found some pretty random stuff so I thought I'd share. Besides, this blog has turned out to be super random and inconsistent with its content anyway, so there are no rules anymore as to what I post. bahahaha. I do want to keep posting NEW content though, so I think after this I will get some kind of photo-uploading account and figure out how to bypass those blogger monthly payments in order to keep blogging... (sorry Google, I need to save up for a wedding hahaha)...

If you have been my friend for many a decade, or used to follow my ancient kwok's kreations blog, then you'll probably recognize some (or most) of these images (and will probably complain about me re-hashing old material, but deal with it!) hahah... But part of the reason I'm posting them again is because I don't really know where all the original files are anymore, since they're from so long ago and they're scattered all over the place. So at least if I post them here I'll know where to find a copy of these images.

Also, I've included some descriptions (aka. mini-essays) for some of these images because even though they are not my best works, they are very dear to me since they represent a time in University (around 2 years ago) when I actually started drawing again. Many of these images were inspired by hilarious memories back in my University days, which seem SO LONG AGO (even though it's been exactly 1 year since I finished classes last April)... so here's to the wistful yearning caused by the drug called Nostalgia and to all the great company, nonsensical doodling, and memorable moments in the past few years.

So without further ado, I bring you a brief history of my random artistic endeavours during my University years:

I suppose I started rediscovering my passion for drawing when Randy bought me a drawing tablet one Christmas. I do have to thank him for encouraging me to start up my art again. This little duckie was one of my first digital freestyle drawing experiments, and although he was conceived in a moment of spontaneity and was birthed in less than 5 minutes, he remains one of my cutest creations and because of him, the world is blessed with a little more colour. 

When I started drawing again in University, I was very impatient with my artwork (and well actually, I think I still am). I usually cannot work on something for more than a day so all the art that I do ends up having a very "rough-draft" kind of feel, probably because it really is just a rough-draft. With my art, I have a bad habit of wanting quick results and instant gratification. This is one example of those "fast doodles" that took less than 10 minutes and really had no meaning to it other than the fact that I love pigs, wanted to make some sort of lame superhero, and was playing around with gradient effects. But I suppose this is truly the most gratifying type of art - when it has no rhyme or reason, is not intended to please anyone else, but ultimately satisfies my spontaneous need to create... something. anything. 

I remember shortly after getting my tablet and installing Photoshop, I was playing with the default effects that come with the program... like "Bubble Wrap" which creates that puffy 3D texture... so that's why I decided to draw "Petey the Pufferfish" - also because I've always found puffer-fishes to be obesely adorable.

...I really do sympathize with the pufferfish's plight. It must be annoying to automatically bloat every time something unexpectedly frightening happens.

As I started drawing more and more, I also realized that one of my favourite subjects to draw was FOOD. Specifically CARTOON FOOD that came alive... complete with eyes, facial expressions, and in the case below, DIAPERS.

Around this time, I also started to self-identify myself with BURGERS... and consequently, began drawing burgers almost every day in the margins of my lecture notes...

...I think the Happy Hamburger is one of my all-time favourite drawings...

...(this was the banner from my old blog)... which features, not surprisingly, a burger drawing.

Then there were those drawings that were created from interesting conversations with my University classmates. We would be talking about something and then I'd often go home and draw something that was related to our conversations. I don't remember what this one was about but we were probably discussing something Star Wars related or marveling at how wise (or cute!) Yoda is. That, or we were complaining about how young'uns these days have no idea what CASSETTE TAPES are. Growing old, we are. 

I clearly remember drawing this mock advertisement in class one day when I was randomly thinking of Star Wars and Princess Leia, and how I always thought her hair looked like a pair of hairy brown earmuffs, and how Princess Leia Earmuffs was actually a potentially marketable idea...

...only to find that they already existed (and can be purchased here on Etsy). haha!

Looking back, I wonder what I did with all that time I had after attending classes?! I would always get my assignments done on time but I would also procrastinate a lot. Prime procrastination example #1:  I should have been studying but instead I was wandering around my kitchen looking for something to eat, and noticed this strange piece of GINGER on the counter... and for the first time in my life, realized how odd ginger actually looked in its natural state... and started dreaming of all the weird contorted doodles that could result from this deformed food-type. This suddenly became my immediate priority and all thoughts of cracking open my textbooks were instantly banished from my mind.

 Thus, I made those weird contorted food doodles a reality.
 Can you guess what this ginger cluster really is?

One of my daily drugs during University was Tim Hortons Coffee, only because it was the closest and most convenient food place on campus. Their French Vanillas kept me warm (and awake) in class all winter. I kid you not, my parents actually thanked Tim Hortons in helping me graduate because going there for donuts would always motivate me to study more. I was such a loyal customer. Yet every year when "Roll-Up-The-Rim" season came along, I would never win anything. Other people would be hoping for the big screen TV or the car, but I would be ecstatic if I just won that darn donut. It never happened. Hence the birth of this woeful drawing.

I would whip out my tablet from time to time when I was inspired to draw something that was out of my comfort zone, or at least not my usual "cartoonish style" of art. I remember the first time I watched Ironman in theatres, I didn't really like the movie that much but I was inspired to sketch him afterwards since I have to admit he looked pretty cool. 

But I have to say that my hero is the REAL IRONMAN below. The one that keeps my clothes all crisp and classy.

There was also a time during my University years when I wanted to design T-shirts. So I bought some fabric paint and painstakingly painted them by hand. I did a few custom jobs but soon quit because I was pretty clumsy hand-painting on cotton. In the few weeks where I actually kept this mini-project going, I learned that it's okay to take a risk and try something new, then fail at it and realize that it's not really what I want to do in the end. I'm not even really a T-shirt person to begin with. But it was fun while it lasted, and I suppose there are a few rare people in the world who are floating around with one of my custom t-shirts.

Then there were those random times in class where I would dream up in the clouds (Ha! blog name reference! ...just like those cringe-worthy lines in movies where the main character is forced to awkwardly incorporate the movie title in their dialogue). Anyways... during these times of tuning out the professor (unintentionally of course), I would think of little vignettes between cartoon animals with subtle puns (which I thought were hilarious but only induced condescending head-shaking from my classmates).

I realize that none of my art really links together and I still haven't fully developed any kind of "style" that I stick to. One day, I'll feel like I want to start painting flowers on canvases, and the next day I'll feel like I want to draw cartoon food characters. I really admire those artists who have a certain look to their art and when you see one of their paintings or drawings, you immediately know it's thires. Well I suppose I do have a style - it's called RANDOM. haha. But here's something I realized awhile ago: at the end of the day, I draw whatever I want to and I draw to make people happy. My favourite artworks are the ones that I draw for friends & loved ones, and those are the ones I really put extra heart and effort into. 

Drawing for people is what fuels me to attempt crazy personal projects like drawing an entire FOOD ALPHABET (well, that and my love for food!!! haha).

So there you go - a quick look into the beginnings of my art... I hope you enjoyed that semi-chronological summary of my drawings & doodlings over the past few years. This unusually lengthy blog post was therapeutic to write, actually. I mean, sometimes I regret not taking art in high school - not even drawing that much in high school - and not realizing I even had a passion for art until "later in life" (I'm making myself sound like an old fogey...)... but looking back on these old drawings I realize that it's never too late to start.   I've still had some dry spells where I'll go on for a month or so without drawing anything, but eventually I revisit my neglected unfinished sketchbooks, leave behind all my worldly worries, and just doodle until my eyes start twitching and I start to get hand spasms. For me, it's a constant cycle where I'm either in a state of surging creativity or stressed-out captivity (the latter being in the mistaken mindset that I don't have time or energy for art).

If you're one of those people who has that same spark for comfort drawing as I do but often feel like you don't have time for it, I hope reading this blog post has encouraged you to dust off your art supplies and create a piece of art that you're truly proud of. 

I do believe the world needs to be coloured with more art - at least in my life, art is what colours my world. 

hey, that could be a good quote of the day!
poor man's copyright (c) Laura Kwok 2012 ... hahaha.

I'll leave you all with one more doodle:

If you've read this far, you are absolutely awesome (and are probably crazy, a borderline-stalker, and have too much time on your hands). But you're AMAZING in my books!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

birds, faith, potatoes, and randomness

When I start sharing random things on my blog, I usually talk about my weird quirky adventures or show you all photos of creepy things I've seen in public. But today I wanted to share a little something different so if you're a highly committed blog reader, got time on your hands or just bored enough to give my rambling prose some pity... read on, dear friend.


This week at work has truly been a blessing. It wasn't that it was different from any other week. In fact, there was nothing extraordinarily new about the work environment at all. I would say that it was more of an inner feeling that bubbled up inside of me like a plump little pimple ready to pop (that's a really awkward and disgusting description and I have no idea how I thought of that and am still willing to publish it in this post). Some of you know that my job is pretty stressful considering it's my first year teaching + it's my first full-time job + I'm in a foreign country for a year + it's my first year living alone... so it's pretty crazy that I've survived this far. My coworker told me recently that when he first met me last September, he thought I was really young, energetic... and that I'd only last until December. haha! Well by the grace of God and His strength, it's Term 4/5 of the school year and I'm still here (maybe a little less young and energetic, but still kicking!) haha.

Sometimes at work  I feel like A MILLION POTATOES are thrown at me all at once (and these are rock-solid raw potatoes I'm talking about, not the buttery greased-up ones I love to consume). I suppose the potatoes are a metaphor for all the tasks and responsibilities at work but really there is no reason why I chose to mention potatoes other than the fact that I'm really hungry right now which greatly inhibits my ability to make any sense.

Well anyway, I wanted to share an experience I had at work the other day... It was actually after work and my friend and I were singing and playing guitar near the rooftop while gazing out at the amazing mountain view that surrounds our school. I suddenly thought how crazy it was that here I was in Hong Kong, in a very interesting/unique workplace where I could actually do weird things like sit on the stairs and sing at the top of my lungs with my coworkers (I mean how many workplaces can you actually do that in?!... and how many coworkers can you actually do that with?!)... Few things make me happier than being in nature singing praises with a guitar, and in that moment I remember thinking how silly it was to worry everyday when simple moments like these could fill me with so much joy. And even though I sometimes feel beat over the head with a giant potato sack full of daily stresses and burdens, I have nothing to fear because I rest in the comfort of what God promises... I was reminded of that verse that talks about birds (because ya know, I like birds!):

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?...

...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Matthew 6: 25-27, 34

Immediately after that, two black and white birds appeared seemingly from nowhere and flew across the vast expanse of sky in front of my eyes. I think this was one of those times where I couldn't stop smiling to myself because I felt so joyful, and I had one of those creepy permanent grins stuck so hard on my face that my cheeks started hurting. haha. It was a good moment. Creepy, but good.

*side note: these pictures were taken last year by my talented photographer friend, Michelle, when I made this little felt bird pin in class and she set it up for a mini photoshoot. Visit her wedding photograph website here!


Last thing I wanted to share is this song from a one-girl + one-boy band I found called All Sons and Daughters. I'm really liking their sound and in some songs they use banjos! Anyone with a BANJO is an immediate hero in my books!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

just a little crazyyy...

My super talented friend made this GIF animation of me and Randy... in my defense, we were testing out the multi-shot function on a camera so I was trying to make as many weird faces as I could in 10 seconds... hahaha...

...who knew there were so many awkward possibilities in the realm of facial contortions?!??!?!?'s even funnier when this page starts lagging as the animation tries to load, and my face becomes frozen... oh how flattering. =P

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Good Morning Starshine!

Today was one of those monthly Saturdays where we were called into work again. I must say it was a highly productive day for me. For one thing, I drew this doodle... recognize the quote?

 Good Morning Starshine, the Earth says Helloooooooo!!!

Willy Wonka says it in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Tim Burton version). It's one of my favourite quotes because it doesn't make any sense. haha.

Also, my coworker and I had a drawing challenge where we had to draw something with the theme "FAIRYTALE FIGHT" with a time limit of 30 minutes. I think we both spent the first 15 minutes thinking up overly-ambitious ideas then ended up scrapping them and coming up with something shoddy in the last 15 minutes. I think my artistic self-esteem was lowered with my failed attempt but here it is anyway. HAHA. I suppose it's not really a "fight" since the evil red ridinghood has somehow scheduled the impending doom of the poor wolf by way of brick clobbering, but I tried... haha. What a morbid interpretation, right? This image is pretty SAD... in more ways than one.

...and speaking of Little Red, here's another random doodle I did a few weeks ago. At first, the speech bubble for the cupcake was blank so I asked my coworkers to give fill in a quote, and one of them suggested, "I've lost my cherry".

So apparently I'm a pretty sheltered person and I didn't find out til later that that phrase meant losing your virginity. HAHAHAHAHAHA. So once again, another fairytale has been given sketchy undertones.

Really though, I'm pretty sure that all fairytales are secretly twisted and dark. Go read some of them again (the ORIGINAL versions) and you'll find that they're not really stories for kids...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


doodle of the day.

drew this at work. (after work hours of course)...

if only. 

one can always hope. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

off to the races!

Here's an adventure that I was in the middle of blogging about but forgot to post halfway. A couple weeks ago, I went to the Hong Kong Jockey Club (in Happy Valley) to watch the horse races for the first time. Horse racing is huge in HK so even though I'm definitely not a gambler (although I do have a love for BINGO - I'm such a grandma right?), I thought it would be interesting to tag along with my other two Canadian friends and see what the hype was all about.

It was a huge stadium with a whole tonne of people. Obviously, there were all these gung-ho horse racing fanatics who actually had memberships and could afford the box seats. Us commonfolk just paid $10HK to get in and watch from ground level (where all the other tourists were). haha. Apparently though, if you bring your passport along with you, you can actually go and get better seats up-top with something called a "tourist ticket".  

My friends actually ended up betting money and both of their horses won. Beginner's luck! One of the best parts of the night for me though was eating a giant FOOTLONG HOTDOG and getting SPARKLY PURPLE BOWTIES! Since it was Easter, I kept on seeing people at the stadium walking around with either a purple sequined bowtie or furry white bunny ears (all these European guys were walking around with beers + bunny ears. you might spot a couple of these real-life playboy bunnies in some of my photos below ).

Anyway, I really wanted a bowtie so I tracked down the booth where I thought they were selling them. But unfortunately they were all out of bowties. I was walking away with a depressed face when suddenly I saw this guy holding a whole bag full of the purple bowties!!! I instinctively pointed at the guy and probably yelled a slightly toned-down version of "WHOA!!! THERE THEY ARE!!! ATTACK!!!" The guy saw my overly-excited face, and gave me four bowties for free, probably so that I wouldn't harass him. That totally made my night. HAHA. I love free stuff.

After the races were over, we took the TRAM to a nearby ROOFTOP LOUNGE called Wooloomooloo Steakhouse where we had drinks surrounded by a gorgeous 180-degree view of Hong Kong. I didn't try the food but I would just go for the view. If you're in the Wan Chai area, I would definitely recommend that place to visit at least once!

Okay enough nonsensical narrative. Here comes the PICTURE ONSLAUGHT!

Isn't the view gorgeous? Aside from my occasional complaints about the poor air quality, the stifling pollutant smog, and the heavy humidity, Hong Kong is such a beautiful city. =P

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