A Trip to The Farmer's Market

Yesterday I went to the farmer's market in Campbell and it was so much fun capturing all the beautiful colors of all the fruits and vegetables. I've been cooped up in the house all week and it was so nice to be outside. I picked up some plucot and nectarines. Hope you're all enjoying the wonderful fruits that are offered during the summer as well. These were shot with the Fujix100s and light edits and cropping with Light Room.  

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Summer Concert

Today was such a beautiful day for an outdoor concert! My friend and I went to the  20th Annual BFD concert in Mountain View and it was such a blast!! There were over 24,000 people there with 3 stages of a variety of alternative bands and DJs. Concerts are so amazing because for that amount of time thousands of people have come together to watch and share the experience. With lives getting busier and more distracting, it's really special to have that kind of interaction.

What was really encouraging to see was that I noticed there weren't a lot of people constantly on their phones, but just enjoying the moment.

What has been your favorite concert experience?

Main stage lawn area

When Music Hits You, You Feel No Pain

NYC 2013

How did that happen? It's almost been a year since my trip to NYC last year and although I had posted some photos, more specifically the wedding and one snap shot. I haven't had a chance to share photos from the whole trip. These were shot with Fujix100s, which after a year I now have one. No more renting it! After a while, the cost of renting was adding up, so I decided to save up for it and it is one of my most beloved cameras. The lens is amazing and it creates really crisp photos and great for enlarging.

The Coney Island photographs are really vibrant and bright, but that isn't from editing. It really was that bright that day.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Get lost and bring your camera.

Ariel view of NYC from the Roosevelt Island Tramway

Red & Grey

Bay Area Bar in NYC. Felt right at home.

Grand Central Station Break Time Hot Dog Capital Coney Island Over There Coney Island Whirl DSCF0081 Keeping Watch DSCF0093 DSCF0112 Burgers Yankee Stadium Baseball Castle NYU DSCF9143 DSCF9101 The Pink Bike Pouring Coffee Lazy Summer Days DSCF9097 DSCF9027 In Her Shop Chinatown Market Sunset Chelsea Market Waiting West Side Flatiron Building Empire State Reflective Cityscape DSCF9218 Layered Water Towers Momofuku Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan Bridge and Workers Time's Square DSCF9036-2 Statue of Liberty DSCF9050-2 Late Night Eats Rain Exhibit Rainy NYC DSCF9428

Until next time.


New Orleans Snap Shot

My birthday is  next weekend and wanted to celebrate with some friends by getting out of town. I chose to go to New Orleans because it really is not like any city I've ever been to. When you are here, you are in a different world and I wanted my friends to see that. Two of them were able to make it and today was our first day here. It was a travel day, and by the time we got to our B&B at 5, we were ready to get down on the food and walk around to check out all the sites. It was really fun showing my friends what I could remember and wandering around. Can't wait to go back through the streets again in the morning when they can see in more detail how beautiful the architecture of the buildings are.

Here are some photos from today. They are shot with a Fujix100s, my favorite digital camera.







I've always been really fascinated and intimidated with watercolor painting. It seemed so permanent. A light colored area could be tainted by an accidental drip of the brush. I guess that was me being used to working with acrylics and knowing I could always cover up any mistakes with another layer of paint.

On my list of things I wanted to tackle during this time, I wrote down watercolor painting. I  wanted to get over my intimidation of it and dive into something I've always admired. So, I decided this week was Watercolor Week.

I have watercolor pencils, but wanted to start with tubed watercolor paints, so it was off to Michael's. I was able to score paper, brushes and paints for $15, including the use of their 40% off coupon. The brand I chose was Michael's Artist's Loft which is great for artists on a budget, because we know how expensive supplies can get!


I looked up some videos for techniques people have used so I decided to do the wetting of paper and the salt technique. By wetting the paper the paint was able to absorb a lot better and laying the salt on top after I was done. Why salt? For texture.


Sprinkling salt

A little table salt sprinkled on damp watercolor paint creates a delicate flower-like spot. Each crystal of salt chases away the pigment to make a lighter area beneath it. You can use this texture to create a field of flowers, snow, or leaves on a tree. It also creates interest in a background or foreground where not much else is going on. Source

I chose to paint the California mountains against the sky during pre-dawn. I used the salt to create star like textures.


Scanned Watercolor Painting

It was a lot of fun working on this and can't wait to keep making more paintings. The gradation wasn't exactly what I had wanted, but it's my first one and I am happy it wasn't a complete disaster. I approached this like an acrylic painting, so I kept the color less diluted.

Tomorrow I will work with a lighter color palette, which I think will bring on another set of challenges that I look forward to working through.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

A Space to Work

So I went MIA for a week because I needed to work on my work space. I occupy two rooms and during the semester, I just worked and slept in one room, while the adjacent room was filled with boxes of my past books and art work that I hadn't had a chance to unpack. I decided to spend the week moving my desk and design books from my room into the adjacent room to have everything in one room, thus making it my studio space.

Although I felt bad about not really producing anything for those days, I decided that it was important for me to actually have a space that would encourage me to design, paint and draw and not feel so cramped and always digging for my materials.

So now that the space is done, I am back on track! I have the space to spread out my art work, a place to store pieces and have access to all my tools. I feel really fortunate that I'm able to have this space and I can't wait to design everyday.

Here's a photo of the space: Work Space

Quote of The Day

1113 I know I didn't post anything all last semester, but this new year calls for more uploads and use of this blog. I'm challenging one layout a day of quotes I find and like. The designs could be as simple or as complex as time allows. The whole point is for me to just practice designing.

Cheers to a new year, everyone.

Font: Bebas Neue

Colors: Pantone 3285, Pantone 192 M, Pantone Warm Gray 1 M


Have you heard of Paul Cadden? I just discovered his work recently and am blown away by it. He is known for his Hyperrealism, drawing beautiful images that look like photographs, similar to that of Chuck Close. 

Smokescreen: Incredible detail has been captured by the hyperrealist artist Paul Cadden, but his work leaves you wondering whether your eyes have been trickedThis is amazing! His medium of choice is graphite. It's amazing what this man can do with a pencil. This is so inspiring and beautiful. The time and dedication to each of his pieces is admirable and I would love to have this kind of discipline. 

Shades of grey: Cadden was shortlisted as Artist of the Year 2011 and can usually produce about seven works per year which sell at galleries for up to £5,000 each

Not all black and white: From a distance Paul Cadden's work looks like a picture. However, a gallery exhibiting his work said seeing the originals up close reveals the extent of the drawing detail

Art in action: Paul Cadden is seen working on one of his pieces. The artist specialises in hyperrealism - a form of detailed drawing that it so lifelike it could be mistaken for a photograph

For more of his work, visit: http://paulcadden.com/

The Grind.

Remember when you were a kid and people told you "You can be anything you want to be if you just put your mind to it."

They forgot a little footnote that says: "Well, first you put your mind to it, then you will need to sacrifice a lot for it and never give up, no matter how difficult it may be. There will be tears, there will be low points, there will be times you will question yourself and skills and there will be times when you feel like it's all for nothing, but you have to keep going."

I am quickly realizing all this and more as the semester is progressing forward. My applications are in and I'm waiting for acceptance or rejection letters. I'm preparing my portfolio all while trying to stay focus during school all while trying to live my old life. Then I had a few weeks of low, low points in which I thought, THIS MAY NOT BE FOR ME. After a lot of back and forth, I understood what the problem was, it was me. I was trying to do everything I needed to do, while still trying to maintain my former life.

No, there is very little socializing to be done when you have 30+ hours of homework and projects to do. No, you cannot buy new and beautiful things because you are saving money for school and rent and eating $.29 ramen. No, you cannot participate in fun things all your friends are doing because they have full-time jobs and can afford it. No, there is no way you can just stay out late and relax because there is no time to just relax. And no, you can't keep socializing with everyone because it gets exhausting trying to reach out to people who don't respond and it will only make you feel inadequate.

Things have changed, because I have changed and this is exactly what I signed up for.

I signed up for late nights of practicing my sketches. I signed up for working on my 10th draft of a design. I signed up for the excitement of finally feeling more confident about life drawing. I signed up for the thrill of finishing a project after hours upon hours. I signed up for all the lows and the highs and I can't waste time questioning it.

I lost sight of this for a while. I felt left out from social activities. I compared myself to others and felt suffocated by my own grievances. I forgot that this was my path, my journey and my pace. I will get there. No good comes from rushing. I want to be the best designer I can be and that means constant learning, studying and practicing. I can admire, but I should not let it be muddled by envy. Let my admiration be my fuel for motivation. Let envy be just a fleeting moment. Let me push forward because there is no going back.

So I'm here to tell you, in case you didn't know, some friends and people may mot be there at the end of this, but those who matter, will. You may not get to do many fun things, but in the long run it will all be worth it and there will always be other things to do in the future. There will be low moments, but you have to push forward because nothing will beat that deep breath you take when you've finally reach your goal.

Yes, put your mind to it, but don't forget what that means. It means fully investing yourself into it. Sacrifice what you can. Trim the excess and push to always be better. Your future self will thank you.


Artist Book

Update: I've found an amazing artist to work with! :) Hello artists!

What: My semester project for my Prepress class is to create a 40 page book about an artist or art show. In it I will be showing my capabilities of layout. It will be a 10 week progress and by the end I will have a professionally printed and bounded book.

Who: I would love to work with an artist who has a substantial body of work to be featured. This book can serve as your portfolio for any upcoming show. What I'm envisioning is about 10-12 pages of copy which can be filled with essays written by you, your colleagues and fellow artists about your work. The rest of the pages will be filled with images of your work with short descriptors.

When: I would like to begin research and collaborating as soon as possible. So, let's talk!

How: They layout will be done through InDesign CS 5.5.

Why: Class assignment and portfolio piece for you and me.

If this is something you are interested in, please email me at: nguyen.n.lanny@gmail.com Looking forward to hearing from you! 

It's A New Semester!!

Horray! I was always that kid who got uber-excited about the first day of school with my brand new notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils.

This time around, I have my new drawing pencils to replace the ones I worn down last semester, sketchbooks for all my drawing classes and drawing pads. I've cleared out my portfolio and I am ready for this semester.

For this semester I am taking six classes. Some may call it crazy, and I agree, but I love being pushed to the limit with all the assignments.

I've gone to 4/6 classes already and I can already tell it's going to be an extremely challenge semester, but I'm ready.

So these are my classes this semester:

Life Drawing - The instructor is intense and I'm looking forward to what I'm going to learn.

Drawing 2- This class is set up to be more of an independent studies class with more research of artists and working with color in my drawings. Excited about all the new projects.

Art 2D- The catalogue best describes this: The course in the visual organization of the elements and principles of design as fundamental concepts in visual problem solving, composition, and color theory. Emphasis will be on the underlying nonobjective and abstract structure of visual art.

Photo Lab Practices- I'm excited to get back into the dark room and learn more techniques in developing and printing. From learning the old adage, over expose and under develop to trying different developers for a variety of film. I've been wanting to take this class for the past 2 years and am ready to dive right in.

Art History- The book is huge. Ready to go to the museums though.

Pre-press - This is the only class that involves a computer this semester. We will get to use all the programs and learn about working with printers and getting images color ready to go to press. I hear we get to visit a few printing studios to learn about the process.

So these are my days:

Monday: Work 6am-10am, class 2pm-5pm

Tuesday: Classes 9am - 10pm

Wednesday: Work 6am-10am, classes 2pm-9:30pm

Thursday: Classes 9am - 10pm

Friday- Sunday: Work and homework!

I value my breaks in between and there will definitely be no time to procrastinate. Coffee will be my best friend and sleep will be a luxury. EXCITED!

Here's to a new semester! Cheers!


"Design is easy. All you do is stare at the screen until drops of blood form on your forehead." - Marty Neumeir *Wipes blood from forehead, and falls asleep for 48 hours.*

This is what I really wanted to do today, but I woke up at my normal time and ate breakfast, then I sat around and thought, "Well, this is weird."

It was weird because I am officially done with my first semester as a design student! HORRAY!! After 5 months and 5 design classes and so many all-nighters that I lost count of, I had crossed the finish line and submitted my final project Monday morning at 12AM.

What a semester, what a year.

This semester my classes were:

Drawing 1


Adobe Illustrator

InDesign/Typography Layout

Webpage Design/DreamWeaver

Many people thought I was crazy for diving in with 5 classes, let along design classes that demand so much time to work on projects and homework. I thought I was crazy, but I really wanted to fully immerse myself and I'm so glad I did.

I will post some of my final projects soon. :)

"The Only Way to Do Great Work Is To Love What You Do"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc] On Wednesday, around 4:30PM, I was in my Adobe Illustrator class and checked my Twitter. And it was through there that I found out Steve Jobs had passed away.

In that moment I could feel the tears welling up and I was blinking them back. I started mourning for a man I never met. I've been thinking about why I felt so overwhelmed by a loss of someone I've never been met. I then realized it was because his vision and creations have been so heavily integrated in my life. From the green screen Apple computers in which I played Number Munchers and Oregon Trail, to my iPod, iPhone, Nano, Powerbook and iMac, his products have been there.

The first time I used Photoshop was in 1997, and I learned it on an iMac. From that class in high school,  idea that I could do art and design one day was forever implanted in my mind.

And later, when I was in college, it was on my PowerBook that I've done countless designs for invitations and logos, typed up papers and reports, researched and kept in touch with friends. I still have my Powerbook today, 7 years later and it still running as strong as it could.

I've created playlists for running, driving, thinking, sleeping and so on with iTunes and uploaded it to my iPod, Nano and now my iPhone. My iPhone has been there for me to bid on my beloved Hasselblad, text with friends, email family and friends, share photos and videos with people far away. It has kept track of all my text messages, from my heartaches to happy news, it has documented it all for me. I've tweeted, blogged, emailed, called, photograph, journaled in my iPhone. And now, with my iMac, I'm able to do all my design projects. I have been able to do so much more with all the products this amazing man had envisioned and designed.

My respect for Steve Jobs goes beyond all his products, I admire him for his philosophy and work ethics. He was living proof of what it meant to live out your dreams. And what was even more inspiring was he had experienced failures and setbacks, but used he never gave up. He learned and grew from them. He threw all of himself into his work and demanded only perfection, a trait I greatly admire.

The man was not perfect. He had many faults, but he learned from them and this just shows we can do the same. We will all inevitably make terrible mistakes, but it's how we handle and move forward from them that will build our character. He was philosophical and understood that life was a gift. He understood that the time we have is extremely limited and we cannot waste it living a life we don't believe in. Watching the commencement video, you can see this. This video continues fuel me to keep going on my personal quest.

Although he has passed, his work and life will live on and continue to impact for generations to come. Thank you for all you have done for the world. I will continue to stay hungry, and foolish.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the speech:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Using the Grid

magazine collage For my next drawing assignment, we were directed to find 3 black and white images in magazines which a good range of tone to lay out. From there, we are using a grid of 5" x 6" to draw the complete layout on a 20" x 30" illustration board.

This is my final layout that I created. I chose the cloud image because I really liked how it looked as though it was coming out of his mouth, as though he were whispering something to the female model.

I've also been researching more of Chuck Close for inspiration and his method is so meticulous, it's amazing the works he's produced. Here's some information about him and you can see his work there  as well : http://www.chuckclose.coe.uh.edu/life/index.html

It's already going to be challenging to transfer this to a 20" x 30", but for Chuck he produces works that are well over 6' tall. So very impressive.

I'm looking forward to using the grid system for this project and moving away from seeing the whole image and just concentrating on all the lines and shadows for each one inch square.

I will show you the progress as I work on this for the next three weeks.

Happy Drawing!

October: Challenges

October is always bittersweet for me. It marks the true beginning of fall, but also marks the last three months of the year. This brings on excitement and sadness. Excitement that the holiday season is coming and that means hot chocolate or apple cider, warm dinners with family and friends and wearing layers upon layers (fall/winter clothes are so much cuter). However, this also means that the year is quickly ending and it just never feels like there was enough time to get everything done. Instead of looking at the last 9 months too critically and being too down on myself for all the things I didn't get to do, I'm going to look to October as an opportunity to tackle some challenges.

I've moved a few times in the past 3 years that I've been living here in Orange County and each time I've moved, the heaviest and most precious things to me have been my books and cameras. I have collected a variety of design books like it was my job (one day!) and although I pour over those pages diligently, I haven't pushed myself to try projects from these. So as I was taking my morning walk, I decided I needed to do those projects to push myself in designing and learn more.

The book I am choosing to work from is a packaging design book that my friend Erin had given me when I told her I was serious about doing graphic design and focusing on packaging design. In it there are photos of the finish package and then a template to work from to design your own package. For this month, I will take a pattern and put my own design in to create a finished product. As soon as I can photograph the book, I will post it right away for you to see what book I am working from.

My second challenge to myself this month is to begin creating my 2012 calendar. Four years ago I bought clear CD cases with ambitions of creating calendars for all my family and friends. Sadly, they have sat on my bookshelf at home in San Jose collecting dust. So, this month, I will start working on concept and layout everyday and hopefully by the end of November I will have a calendar to print and give as gifts.

Posting these two challenges online will help me stay accountable. I'm looking forward to doing other work besides school projects which can help with my portfolio in the long run.

Here's to a great fall with brown riding boots, hot chocolate, dark orange and early mornings at the computer and drafting table.

Happy Fall!