The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: art

Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains

rice harvestMany know that Chinese characters began by looking like the thing they describe, and even today, many of the characters still do. For example, the character for man (人) looks like a man with two legs.  Other characters, by combing, form other characters, such as the character for forest (森) which is a composite of three wood (木) characters stacked together.

I can’t be the first one to do this, but since Chinese characters are pictograms, why can’t they just be used in a picture wholesale? Thus this illustration, Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains.

On the top left is the rice field, where bushels of golden rice (米) wait to be harvested by the farmer wearing a hat (农) and wielding a sickle. The already-harvested rice simply turn back into fields (田). His field is irrigated by the river that flows (川), and there is a boat (船) that is floating on it. The river is lined by the mountains (山), covered by forests (森).

The path leading from the field leads to the farmer’s home, It is but a simple house, with a single door (門) flanked by two windows (窗) and topped by red tiles (瓦). The house is by a forest, build out of large trees. A tree is essentially wood (木) topped by leaves (叶), yet the difference between wood and leaves are the little circular mouths (口) that feed the tree without the roots.


Alternate Uses of A 100-Hand Slap


Introducing Hundred Holy Hands (alliteration win!), protects player from seeing, hearing or speaking evil.

A Pinch of Me


The Daily Post at posted a weekly writing challenge, titled A Pinch of Me. There, they asked bloggers to write a recipe that described who they are.

However, I think recipes are too boring (even though I cook a lot) and decided to come up with something geekier: a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet!

I generated my D&D stats with this site: What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus.

It was fun time-waster, doing this. When I play table-top, I seldom follow official rules, and I had to look up some of the terms and stats a little while making this.

Le regard neuf de l’enfant sauve même les trottoirs de l’usure

enfantThe fresh perspectives of a child will save even the sidewalk from attrition — Romain Gary

I learnt this phrase from a friend from France who turned up at my weekly circus. We talked about haiku and I mentioned about the naive perspectives of children being one of the most beautiful things about it, and he told me about this quote. I found it poignant and decide to illustrate it.

Every day I wake up less and less sure of myself — I open my email inbox with my breath held, expecting to be disappointed. Expectations were met. No response from any of the jobs I have applied at.

Every time I write I become less and less sure of my ability — I used to think that being capable got you places, and I was sure that I was pretty capable. Now am I less confident that that is the case, or that maybe I’m not that capable after all.

And then I realise that perhaps what I need is a fresh perspective to stop this attrition of the self and of the mind. I left college with a font of hope and optimism, and thought that sufficient to last me till I transition into the next phase of my life; where I start working. I guess I did not consider that this transition might take longer than I expected, and hoping to merely brave this foray with what I had would not be sufficient.

I will need to renew my view on how I take each day that does not bring me the news I so fervently wish.

Illusory Flowers

hana&chouI don’t know how to paint. I just hack away with pencil and brush and call it ‘fauvism’. I never took art classes, learnt how to correctly apply shades and lighting to colours. In the end, I just lighten where I think light should be and darken where I think darkness should be.

I made this painting (acrylic on canvas) a while ago, with an aim to create beauty from my mind. I think of the two most beautiful things in my head: butterflies and flowers.

There is beauty in budding, blooming, and withering. The idea of growth, blossom and death fascinates me, and perhaps in part inspired by the lyrics of one of my favourite songs.

狂い咲き命を燃やす 揺れながら
The life that blooms off-season burns as it trembles

You are dreaming

この世界は美しいと この胸に
This is world is beautiful  in my heart

It is surely blooming

True, the lyrics don’t make much sense, but the beauty of the image in which they conjure is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time, and it has helped me see beauty in many things, because things are surely blooming. It’s been a source of optimism for me, to see beauty amidst blight. Even if things are ugly on the outside, you can always count on the world to be beautiful in your heart.

Timmy the Grape



Timmy the Grape was always under a lot of stress, so much so that one day he turned into wine and cracked under all that pressure.

This is the last of my illustrated short stories for now. I can’t believe this took me 12.5 hours to make from start to finish. Then again, I had planned to draw this for nearly over a year now, and now that I’ve all the time in the world (ahem) there’s no reason for me not to do it.

Detective Spud

detective spud

The dame seemed to be in distress but was otherwise calm and collected. “Alright then,” said Detective Spud, “It seems that you’re in need of a private eye. I’ve plenty to go around.”

This is the second part of a series of illustrated short stories.

The Cabbage Stripper

mmm take it off... oh shit!

Once upon a time, there was a cabbage who wanted to be a stripper. And so it did. It started stripping and stripping and eventually died. The end.

This is the first part of a series of illustrated short stories.

When drop bear meets skunk ape

dropbearskunkapeLast night, I was chatting with someone who was doing a road trip through the Southern United States. He was in New Orleans, I think. As a joke, I said to him, “Watch out for the drop bears.” Which makes no sense because drop bears are from Australia anyway.

It turns out someone else also said to him, “Watch out for skunk apes.” That makes it two people who warned my friend of cryptids on his travels.

I was thinking, why can’t there be drop bears in New Orleans? If my friend could be a tourist there, surely drop bears can too.

Also, what are skunk apes? Looking them up, it is a bipedal ape-like creature that is incredibly smelly. A woman who supposedly sighted one believed it to be an escaped orang utan.

But unlike the skunk ape, drop bears are not cryptids, in that they are completely fictitious, created to tease tourists coming into Australia. According to Wikipedia, “various methods suggested to deter drop bear attacks include placing forks in the hair, having Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears or in the armpits, urinating on yourself, and only speaking English in an Australian accent.”

I kind of really like the drop bear I created. I liked it so much I made it into a logo.



Lessons from a coffee mug on a rainy evening

miloThis evening, as I was sending out more job applications, I decided to make myself a cup of hot cocoa (technically, I made Milo, which is chocolate malt). After a while, I looked at my mug, and I realised that I could see the reflection of the ceiling lights off of the rim of the mug. I decided to look closer and then I noticed the edge of foam that looked like it was climbing out the side of the mug. Other things I noticed were that where spoon touched the liquid, the area around it was slightly darkened, and that the shadow of the top of the mug formed a neat crescent that bisected the cocoa.

I’ve never stared so hard at a mug of cocoa before, and I reckoned if I could see all these individual layers of detail, I must be able to illustrate them out.

I spent a long time trying to replicate each feature accurately: its colour, its location, its details. But after a while, staring so hard at these features, I started to forget that they were actually part of a mug of cocoa. In my excitement at being able to see fine detail, I forgot what the whole thing was.

Have I been similar in my job search? Although I’m trained in journalism and my speciality is international news, focusing only on getting positions that will land you where you were trained to do might have you forget that what you really want to do is write. Maybe applying for business writing isn’t a bad thing. Maybe writing about technology isn’t an end-all (But heavens forbid you write for the New York Post). What you need to be doing is to be moving, because you (I mean me, this is me speaking in second-person again) are currently being stagnant, and that needs to change.

Like what you teach people in unicycling, “Always keep moving. If you stop, you fall.” I should learn to take my own advice more often.

Persisting in fine-graining my search yielded the above snazzy illustration of my mug, but the hot cocoa turned cold, and became slightly less satisfying on this rainy, rainy evening.