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Work Related : New Enamel Pin & The Process


Sometimes I get overly excited and inspired, and when that happened, I create a lot of things. After the Uber project and several more little projects, I got some money to invest on new things. Things that I've been wanting to make but didn't have enough money.

This time, I decided to create an iron-on patch series and enamel pin.
Let me tell a detail story about how I ordered for these enamel pins first (because I love to share things that I wish other people would share with me T^T).


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The process : The 90s GameBoy 
I actually used my old doodles from my sketch book. I searched for simple items that I drew, that have potential to be turned into patches/pins. So I found the doodles I made for the Malaysian Hobby Expo last year  :


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The designing, vectoring & colouring :
  • I found a small doodle of game boy with my iconic sleeping face in my sketch book.
  • I wanted to turn it into an enamel pin for 90s game nerds (like me). Usually when I think about enamel pins or patches, I think about the message/label it stand for. 
  • So for this one, I decided to make one that says "90s game nerds". 
  • Then I turned the doodle into a vector using .Ai CC 
  • I picked the simplest purple gradient colour (that I currently like for my works) - because I don't have time to experiment on different styles at that time.
  • I'm not sure whether the stroke thickness would be okay, so I just followed my instinct. 
  • I didn't even re-check the colour using Pantone code

The supplier :
  • I searched for an agent through Alibaba (giving a list of request), had a short interview with more than 10 people in one day and I found one that I like !
  • I asked her some important stuffs that I needed to know (like what's the policy, what is the process, the rights, option of materials, etc). 
  • Extra thought : I was worried of being scammed because I have this wild thoughts about business people from mainland of China (like they would do anything for money - and probably not being honest, scams, etc). But I remember those things that I learned in high-school history, about how China man would travel across the sea for business, it is something noble and they would do anything to have a good business relationship with others. I also remember Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, when he talked about his rules of success (watch here) and seeing how much he wanted to create Alibaba so the whole world can reach businesses in China - I think those were the reasons why I decided to try the website.
  • After I chose the agent, I gave specific requests on things that I wanted on my product.
  • She then gave me a quotation and asked me to prepare the file. 
  • Proceed with the order, I make half of the payment through Paypal and waited.
  • Almost 3 weeks later, I received an email saying that my products are good to go and need to pay the remaining balance.
  • After I make a full payment, she then posted the parcel using DHL and the item arrive after 3 days!
This is how it looked when it first arrived (Individually packed)
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The material :
  • I wanted a black stroke instead of the normal silver/gold. So I chose a black nickel plating, most of local companies don't really offer this option. 
  • I also requested for a backstamp of my name 'azreenchan' ♥ because it looks cool (*extra $$$). I wasn't sure how small I should make while designing because enamel pins are small. I was worried about designing it too small until the machine can't get the details in its mold. I didn't see any problems !  
  • I also chose a butterfly clutch because my pins are small.
  • I chose hard enamel pin because I wanted the smooth shiny surface.
  • I love the size and heaviness. 
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The packaging & marketing pictures :
  • And because I really like the result, I think I want to make other enamel pins later (when I got other small investment) 
  • I designed the packaging (back paper) in the most generic way. So I can still use it for other enamel pin designs in the future and just use the same back paper. I didn't have any idea to design as fun as my wandering soul patch that I designed before this because by then, I was draining. I've been using too much of my creative juice that month.
  • I also designed some images for marketing purpose (because it is fun).


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Other things :
  • How much did it costed ? Although I'm quiet transparent with most of the stuffs, I'm not comfortable in telling the world how much I spent for this, so I choose not to answer. But roughly, you need to take into account : the cost of each pin, the molding fees, the extra requirement fees, and the international DHL fast-shipping. Everything in USD, so yes, it is not cheap for us Malaysian. But it is surely quite cheap for others with higher money rate. 
  • How much I love it ? Words can't express how grateful I am in trusting my instinct. I really love the outcome, the detailing and the quality. ♥♥♥
  • And I am super thankful for this chance of having fun days at home creating stuffs that I love. I hope every creative soul will eventually find their true passion and pursue their dreams (even how scary and risky it might look, your days will be packed with so much satisfaction).
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You can order my limited edition enamel pin :
( here - if you are local Malaysian )  and ( here - if you are living outside of Malaysia ).

For my Patreons, thank you for your support & love.  

Little Story 224 : I bought a new Black Shoe


Exactly two years ago I wrote about replacing my brown Converse to a new Navy classic one (read here). I remember I bought it before I went to Tokyo for the first time with Af, it travelled to Indonesia, Singapore with us soon after and even bring it to Japan again this year. It walked with me to places, and I love them to bits. It is not an ideal shoes for travelling, but I like it.


But my Converse is now old and torn, got holes on both sides and also the heels (rainy days were bad days). So I've been making a mental note to search for a new shoes. Buying new pair of shoes is always a big event for me, a milestone (because it is once in several years kind of thing, so I will usually remember about each shoes).
Note : I am the kind of person who owns one thing at a time. That means 1 pair of slipper, 1 pair of girly shoes (for kenduri), 1 pair of running shoes and 1 pair of casual/walking shoes. So I don't go buy extra shoes because I feel like it, I will use the one that I own until lunyai, donate it and buy a new one. 
The time has come for me to buy one. So when we went to Nu Sentral last Friday, I stopped by at Al-Ikhsan. I remember I have this one black shoe that I liked several months back. I specifically wanted to find a well-designed aesthetically beautiful pair of shoes (not too big, not too sporty, not colourful - just black). I wanted it cushioned and breathable (suitable for a long walk). 

So I found the same shoes that I liked, but now discounted (RM 360 to RM 259) - yes, it is still expensive for me but I've been coming back to this shoes several times over the year now. So I decided to buy it. :F A little present for me, for finishing the Uber project.


Extra note : Plus, I always got confuse over the sport shoes brand (because there are so many of them), so I don't quite remember the brand until I loudly repeated the word "Ok, this is Nike, Nike, Nike" not Adidas after I bought it. 

Why I didn't buy another Converse tho? :
I think I've been using Converse for 6 years now. It is the nicest casual shoes to wear when you go anywhere near. I really like my shoes. BUT, not when you do heavy walking i.e when you are traveling and you have to walk over 10km in one day. You will need to soak your feet in iced water by the end of the day, because your feet will badly sore (there is no cushion in classic Converse). 

That is why I searched for for a cushioned shoe that I can use to travel, but I don't like colourful sport shoes, so I opted for a full black sport shoe. The one that won't shout for attention. Just black, so it will blend in with my jeans and my invisibility. If that make any sense at alllll.

So that is how and why I bought a new pair of shoes ! :D

Event : From Pen to Paper 5.0


Preparation :
I joined another event several weekends ago (I applied for 2 events in July). The application was awhile back, so I was almost fully prepared for it. I printed and cut sticker packs as much as I can wherever, whenever I was free. I think I cut thousands and thousands over the year, I became so good in cutting stickers (I'm a pro !). I also printed several artprints and small greeting cards (to replace the ones that had been destroyed by the small flood in my room several months back). And ordered several new stuffs ! This time, I was fully prepared with so many stuffs.

Things I collected from the event.

Event day :
We went to Battery Acid Club before for Etsy Made Local 2016 , so it was a familiar place and familiar faces (I remember the owners and several booths participants). I think there were only 1-2 booths owned by Malay on that day, everyone else were Chinese. It is common view (guys, where are independent businesses own by Malays nowadays? I hardly see you guys in creative events) :F

We opened our booth, outside (because last time we attracted the crowd outside of the cafe) but it was really hot and we had to wait in the sun later for several hours. The worst was around 3-5pm. Challenging day.

The good :
  • The event only lasted for 7 hours (11am - 6pm), so it wasn't a super long day.
  • I met several familiar faces (so they do remember me ❤ )
  • The sales was goooooood. One of the highest sales I ever got in an event.
  • I saw several potential local illustrator !
  • Journaling station with lotttts of free stuffs to use.
The bad :
  • It was so hot later that afternoon (we did really stand under the sun for several hours)
  • No 'surau', you need to walk a bit to reach the nearest surau in the area.
Outcome :
Sales : RM 757
  • Booth rent : RM 80 (shared with Aja, so it became RM 40 per person)
  • Lunches & Dinner : RM 15+ (Tapau Meggi Goreng from the mamak for lunch, free coffee from Battery Acid Club)
  • Gas & Toll : RM 10+
The best sales so far ! 
Mostly by selling sticker packs. Thank you random strangers 
For letting me create all the things that I love to make and support me all the way. I'll keep making new things and experiment, so you'll have reasons to keep supporting me !

Images from Af's video snippets (I didn't have time to take any photos !) :





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Anyway, the money I spent on making new things (like the patches, enamel pins, lots of printing new stuffs and paying for future events) were around that figure or even more, so you guys actually helped me making new stuffs and restocking. And I really appreciate this support  

Here is the video that Af compiled & edited for me :


See you guys again soon,
Next event : Comic Art Festival Kuala Lumpur
in Dewan Bunga Raya in Campbell Complex, KL on the 29th & 30th July 2017.

Work Related : Busy June + Eid Season


Heyy,
I just compiled these video snippets for the whole June yesterday.
If you follow my Patreon page, you should already know how busy I was in June T^T I was focusing on my Melaka Travelogue project that I was supposed to submit before Eid (but I failed). There are another 10 pages to go as I am typing now. 


Anyway, I rested for 2 weeks since that first week of Raya. We went back to Pekan on Raya and we went to Kuantan again the next weekend for my cousin's wedding. We stopped by at Pantai Air Leleh near our village and there, I felt so calm, that peacefulness that I forgot exists. Because I've been working so hard and stressed out in this 2 months, I forgot there is this-kind of feeling. It was crazy and exhausting T^T We need more of this, peaceful nature and less heat (dear God, the weather nowadays is challenging).


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In this video :
  • My Etsy stuffs packing session
  • CNY Angpow for reference (Melaka travelogue) 
  • First iftar outside (instead of at home almost everyday) at Sushi Zanmai
  • Melaka Travelogue update : 41/100 page
  • My packing station (postcard used for thanking each customer, tapes, stamp & sticker collections for personalised packages)
  • Frannerd's parcel that I ordered 3 weeks before from Hasting. I bought 3 of her zines (1 on her doodles + 2 of her travel zines) + free postcard
  • The evening when we just arrived at Pekan, we stopped by at Pantai Air Leleh (the nearest beach from my village). It was clean and beautiful and serene. 
  • Umang-umang !
  • Little baby crabs making holes.
  • Starfish crawling and making doodle on sand.
  • We hunted for a sunrise on the 2nd day of Eid. We woke up at 6am, washed our face and did Subuh prayer, and headed to Pantai Air Leleh to hunt for a morning sunrise. We got that right !
  • A lot of starfishes in the morning, I saw more than 7 :D
  • Around 130k steps of walking and jogging sessions all around.
  • Food fiesta on the 2nd day of Eid at my aunt's open house.
  • Clear stamps repacking for this Saturday's event at Battery Acid Club.
  • Short stop for Mango Cheese Cake at Kula Cake by Lila Wadi in Kuantan before we headed back to KL
  • Page 76/100 from my Melaka Travelogue and Awan !
  • Baby-faced looking Awan thanking youuuu, my Patrons.

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Small shout-out about my Patreon :
  • There are also free posts for any of my Patreon followers without any pledges. 
  • I post random videos, podcast and updates for Patreon pledges as well. If you are interested in following my work progress or just simply want to support an independent local artist, you can do so and I am forever thankful.
  • I'll be posting more things on my current workloads and projects and items that I'm making and plans for the future as an independent illustrator ! 

Doodle : In-Between Series & Work


How's your Raya, so far so good? 
I've accumulated a lot of mini pimple breakout since the 2nd day of Raya because I've been eating a lot of things without filtration. Not only on my face, also several spots on my body - God knows what I'm actually allergic to this time :F 

Anyway, I want to post the quick process video of my "13 Reasons Why" fan-art series that I did last week while resting from my travelogue work. 



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If you are not familiar with the series, well it is on Netflix. It is a story of a teenage-suicide, of a girl named Hannah, and the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. She recorded her story on 7 tapes and passed the tapes to the persons related to her story. It is quite a depressing and heavy story on teenage bullying, depression, and suicide. 

I doodled this on my sketch book while watching the series (when we first started the series) and I digitized it right after we finished the whole first season. 


Work Related : Send an Eid e-card


Heyy guys, it's been awhile !
There are 2 things that took a huge chunk of my life in these past 2 months since I resigned from Fin. The first project was : Uber #ridetoreconnect campaign and the second one is : Travelogue Melaka with Lejen Komik (still got 20/100 pages to go). 

#ridetoreconnect campaign has just been launched 2 days ago on this website :


I was at Mines with my family when I got an email from the client telling me that they launched the campaign and I was so excited ! I've been keeping this as a secret for almost 2 months because I can't tell anyone before the launching. This is my second project with international client and heyy, for a small self-learned noob illustrator - I am still finding this very hard to accept. 

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R/GA Singapore contacted me 2 months ago when I was still working - right after I sent the resignation letter. So I felt like it was a great sign that I was doing the right thing, because to start on becoming a freelance illustrator again is still scary (especially without any backup plan). That's how I started my first 3 weeks of the journey : by working on 4 illustration relentlessly, discussing with the Art Director, coming up with the sketches, and finally working on the illustration. I had to update every 2-3 days for the 3 weeks project, so there was no rest, no weekend kind-of-thing. I hired Af to do the animation using After Effect because I wanted to focus on the illustration alone. 

Sure, it is not my best work. After all, I am still a noob in this area. I didn't quite like the vector work, and I felt like I wish I had more time to play around with the idea. But I was supposed to work on the project fast (1 week ideation) and I had to accept my flaws (2 weeks digitizing and amendments). Af had only 2 days to work on the animation because I took my time (big kudos to him). 

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How to use ?
  1. Click on this link : #RidetoReconnect
  2. Pick your greeting card 
  3. Write in the name (to send the card to) and the Eid greeting
  4. Click "Preview Card"
  5. Share to Facebook




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Inferiority issue :
I looked at all the other works from Yellowmushmellow (Singapore) and Putri Febriana (Indonesia), and I felt so bad ! I felt like somehow Uber picked me by mistake and I was the most noob one among all :F I have a huge online crush on Yellowmushmellow for years (I finally met her at Public Garden booth in Singapore last year and I was sweating all over + I was super awkward), and she was so nice T^T When I got the call from the client, I asked them who was the representative from Singapore and heck, they mentioned her name. I took that chance to text her to discuss about the project *smooth, right? :D Anyhow, I'm learning to avoid feeling less appreciative towards my own work and promise that someday, I'll be better. 

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So, yes, don't miss this chance to send these awesome animated Eid ecards to your friends. These campaign will only last for a month, so you can play around with it. And please tag my facebook : @doodles.by.azreenchan and #ridetoreconnect , I want to stalk your post *just to feel happy and appreciated over the crazy 3 weeks of May - haha :F

and, Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir & Batin guys  



Little Things 236 : Wandering Soul & Past Life


This is my carefully curated playlist since 2014 on Spotify : Wandering Soul.
I posted this in this blog before: the playlist is packed with mellow and relaxing songs that gives a serene solitary feeling *at least to me la. I've been adding songs that I found over these 3 years, so I'm bored with most of the top songs in the lists because I've listened to them repeatedly. 

You can listen to the playlist during your travels, or 'alone time', because I specifically set the mood to that while listening to this playlist. Thus the name 'wandering soul' - the ones that feel like they've been wandering on this earth, not knowing what home is. 



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Here is my favorite cover song last week :



Note : That's Kina Grannis' husband.

Old Songs :

I started to develop a personal likings to old songs since I was 14. Before that, I mostly listened to what my older sister had in her collection. Like the boy bands : BSB, N'Sync, 911, Westlife, etc.

I secretly listened to all my mom's & dad's collection and started to scan through what I thought I would like to hear again. 'Secretly' because I was a teenager, and being a teenager - we automatically want to blend in and be accepted, it wasn't normal for a young teenager to like old granny songs during that time. So I had 2 lives - the normal teenager and the old granny. My siblings used to call 'Lagu2 Reen' or 'Lagu pagi Ahad' because I usually put it on speaker on Sunday morning.

I have no idea how these songs feel more connected to me than current hype songs of my days : my hypothesis is that I did live in those years before this, they were the songs of my previous live ! :D Or else, I'm not sure how to explain the emotional feelings triggered every time I listened to those songs :F

Here is my 'Past Life' playlist on Spotify :




Little Thing 235 : Patreon & Latest Video



I am super occupied with my travelogue project until Raya, so I can't update my blog/IG as much as I want to (and without morning caffeine, everything is twice harder). But, if you want more updates on my works and projects, you can pledge at my Patreon here, as low as $1 and you will have access to all the latest and super-secret projects that I'm working/planning on, work process & technical stuffs (if you like those), random blabber when I'm stressed out and random free gift-aways.

I'm trying to balance up my life, but it is hard when I have too much going on with my life, so I just update things fast & short in my Patreon for now.

Patreon is a place for people to support other people to create/make stuffs for a living. 

Here's a video compilation of week 3 & 4 as a full-time freelancer :
(of course, I don't really record myself working because that's like a whole daily boring repetition - so I just took snippets outside of my working routine) :


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Little Thing 234 : 2nd Anniversary & Video


Can't believe it's already been 2 years !

To the love of my life, Af.
I LOOOOVE chu, 
and Happy anniversary.

❤ ❤ 

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If you want to see the process video :




This is my first attempt in screen-recording while digitizing my random doodle. My MBP lagged a bit while drawing, but it is still a decent-kind-of-slowness. This process took around 30 minutes, which for me was a bit too rushed ( but I was trying to set the timing here so I had to close my eyes and ignore the flaws ). I'll try to post the fast-drawing session in my Youtube every month ( my fellow Patreon will get the the latest updates and even request a video tutorials ).

Software : Adobe Photoshop CC 
Device : Wacom Tablet - Intuos
Video : Adobe Premier CC & Photoshop CC
Song : Free-licensed song - Good for You by THBD


Osaka - Kyoto 9 : The Videos



Can't believe it's already 2 months since we went to Japan. I think I already wrote almost 10 posts on the last trip, I'm not sure whether I want to elaborate more detail on that escapism (because I'm already planning on a new escapism project for the end of this yeaaar) :D

Af compiled the part 2 for our Osaka - Kyoto - Nara trip last weekend. The video started with some shots in Nara, Expo 70 (Bampaku-kinen Koen) and Kyoto (on our final day), all taken after my family went back home and we got extra days to explore together. A lot of green and nature walk than usual walks with my family. Here is the video :



Note : 
  • I noticed the doves in Japan were almost twice bigger than those in Malaysia (not sure whether if it is because of the cold whether), but they were all huge, chubby and adorable.
  • Garden, parks, and forest are accessible everywhere. I think the Japanese tries to utilize the nature as much as they can. So people can get their dose of nature all the time. It's therapeutic. These places are soothing, calm and very clean T^T I was so happy I could cry T^T

And here's for the part 1 :



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Event : Urbanscape x NicheMarket + Week 2 Video


Urbanscape x Bookit's Niche Market :

Last minute event ! The organizer contacted me and asked whether I wanted to open a booth for that Sunday. It was a last-minute fill up so I wasn't sure, but they gave me a discounted booth fees because it was last minute and I told her I can't afford pricy booths for now. So I just joined the event :F

Preparation :
I was busy because of the client-based project I'm currently working on, but I had to steal some time here and there. I managed to finish up the version 3 of Japanese foods and snacks ( I think that's it for now, we'll move on to different stuffs after this ). We went to print out the new and old stickers, and also did the cutting and packaging in short amount of time (+ a lot of Pretty Little Liars series).


Most of my postcards and greeting cards were destroyed so I don't have those to sell anymore T^T I sold mostly sticker packs and the latest Eid money packs. Pheww.

Event day :
The event was held for 12 hours (one of my longest event), it was mostly slow paced (because of the crowd - there wasn't enough people for such a big event), so basically, it was a boring one. Af was sleepy throughout the whole day, and I managed to cut all my Japanese stickers (there are more than 40 new packs - so can you imagine the time I was having).

Also in the building : 
Photography exhibition and arts classes on the third floor, and exhibition on the second floor, music and lights exhibition on the first floor. We were on the ground floor : Niche Market and open mic sessions.



Their branding illustrations are the best : you can see event's posters, signage, labels all around the place, and they are definitely inspiring !


After-thought :
Even though the event was super slow and long, I think it was a success because any booths with sales over RM 500 is a big success to me. Imagine I just sell mostly sticker packs guyyyyys.
Sales : Rm 526
- Booth (last minute discount) : - RM 100
- Parking (Central Market) : - RM 26
- Foods : +- RM 50
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Here is a video compiled for this week's activities : 

Mini Escapism : Sungai Kanching + FRIM


This week's outing + picnic session : Sungai Kanching, Rawang and FRIM, Kepong.

We were excited about the picnic that we planned since our last outing to Bagan Lalang. I told Af that I wanted to go to any rivers in the area and after some research, these 2 places came into our attention. 

So we bought some foods and snacks to our mini picnic the night before. I cooked Japanese rice that night because I wanted to make some onigiris in the morning (but failed because they just won't stick together - I guess I can't leave it cool down the whole night, I should have done it right-away) :F So it turned into fried rice instead.

Sungai Kanching :
We took off in the afternoon, after I posted my parcels at the post office. We took around 45 minutes to reach Sungai Kanching. I was so excited ! It was a work-day so the place was quite peaceful, only families of foreigners were there and surprisingly hundreds of monkey!


Monkey Stories :
We hiked at least 2 levels up and sat right in front of a small waterfall where no one was around. We even bought a bamboo mat and the picnic location was perfect :D Af was taking pictures after pictures and I was settling our bags when one big monkey came. It followed us when we were hiking up the stairs, and slowly it came closer and closer to us. From 50 meter to 20 meter on the bridge behind us, and slowly it walked to the big stone right in front of me, and just when I looked over suddenly it was sitting right next to my slippers. I was shocked and terrified :F It peeked to our bags and I started to collect all our stuffs. Af said we should go down where there are more people. Slowly I stood up and took all our stuffs, the monkey showed its teeth alarmingly when Af tried to take my slippers. The other monkey on the bridge even tried to snatch one of my bag when we passed through >.<

So we went down and then we settled to one of the public gazebo where there were more people. 
Again, slowly one by one monkeys came around the gazebo =.= I was annoyed and still terrified because there were a group of monkeys trying to snatch our bags plus foods and we haven't even had our lunch. Af said maybe we should just eat in our car instead, so we finally did. 

Note : These monkeys are dangerous, they walk in a big group of 20-40 monkeys around the area and they do snatch things from people. There are big groups of monkeys everywhere :F Some people bring huge stones and tree branches to shoo them away. Don't bring bags or foods, if you want to go for a swim. I think just bring towels with you. These monkeys aren't kidding guys, they are quite aggressive. 

Next stop : FRIM
The incident in Sungai Kanching annoyed us, so we decided to go to FRIM instead because it is located not so far from our location (around 20 mins).


We went to the picnic area in FRIM. 
Note : There are no bicycle renting during weekdays, the skywalk is closed (and soon forever closed), the river is gloomy compared to Sungai Kanching, most of the forest pathways were almost destroyed and closed.

Let's conclude our outing for this week : it felt almost like a failure. 
The beaches were dirty and contaminated with rubbishes from God knows where.
The rivers were depressingly gloomy or terrorized by a community of monkeys.

I'm not quite sure where to explore in the area - we already did KL city and Melaka. We explored to places a bit farther as well, but nothing seemed good enough to be plastered in my mind and be a place where I want to go over and over again :(

We should definitely plan on our next long big escapism (already have one big international event coming up! )

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Work Related : Skillshare Scholarship 2017



Oh, oh, oh!
Last week I received an email from Skillshare stating that I won their Skillshare Scholarship by Mailchimp! So I received a one-year premium subscription :D

How did I win this scholarship ?
  1. I've been using Skillshare Premium on and off, every time I received a promo or referral.
  2. I wanted to use Skillshare more so I tried to search for an alternative. 
  3. That's how I found Skillshare Scholarship list
  4. I applied for Mailchip Scholarship for Small Business (explaining and answering their question about how I started my business and how I've been using Skillshare to help me improve my skills)
  5. And after a few months, I received an email saying that I won the scholarship !
I was so happy that morning when I read the email !
I've been taking a lot of awesome classes by remarkable artists, designers and illustrators. Some of the classes are very fun and useful. 

Try for one-month FREE :


Classes that you can try in that one-month :
Note : I'll update the whole list by time, because I'm still taking classes during my work-time. 

Reckless Life 8 : End of First Week


Well I've always been wanting to become a fulltime-freelancer so I can't get over this excitement. I'm planning on sharing more to a freelancer and illustrator life online (Patreon, blog & Youtube), so here's my outtake on compiling a video + simple animation for my weekly activity. Thanks my Patrons, you'll be getting the latest news every-time, don't you worry !


On video compilation :
I'm usually very-very-very lazty to learn another new software because I want to focus on illustration alone, but Af said it is better if I can explore another skill along the way. So he taught me the basic on Adobe Premier (at first the UI seemed a bit hectic compared to Ai + Psd) but he makes it look less scary - that's why people take classes guys :F Plus I'm also very impatient because I rather do illustrations than spending hours on video editing, so this only took 3 hours of basic learning from him and the simple animation (I figured this out!) were done using Psd. Now I can compile my own video without disturbing him :D - and I bet you did not noticed the "azreechan" by the end of the video? Well, that's a typo I'll change in the future videos guys, I noticed I spelled my own name wrong. Hah.



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Other than that, this week :
  • Other than my freelance works,
  • I posted all parcels,
  • had a nice ice-cream day,
  • I went to Bagan Lalang for a sunset hunting with Af,
  • we went to Tasy's engagement partayay,
  • celebrated Mom's day with both Af's and my family
Hope you guys had a great week.

Note : I hope I'll make more video compilation and tutorials soon. 
I'll try to be super productive and share inspiring things that help me get on with my never-ending mini projects. 

Plus, congratulation to Tasy + Ashraf for their engagement ! 

Mini Escapism : Bagan Lalang, Selangor


Another mini escapism with Af.
He wasn't happy about not getting any good shots when we travelled to Kedah 2 weeks ago. So on Fridayay,  he told me that he wanted to go to Bagan Lalang - he's nature-sick :F He needs his dose of nature every once in awhile. Plus he is more to ocean/beaches guy and I'm more to greenery (and I don't fancy water) so, I wasn't full-heartedly excited as he was. 

But being there wasn't all that bad, yes, the beach is still dirty and I always feel saddened by it. Next time I come to these places, I'll bring big plastic bag and a picker to pick up all the rubbish in the area la. So depressing thinking about how human can make such a irresponsible thing. 

Note : It took almost 1 hour 1/2 to drive from my house to this location. 
Next week we'll hunt for different spot :


I sat at the marble bench, waiting for Af to take his video shots. I think he was super excited, because that night he edited the video right-away. He didn't even sleep the whole night. Usually it takes him several weeks/months to finish a video editing (when he isn't inspired) :p 


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Now, you can enjoy his video :


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Anyway, after that we went to HM Bagan Lalang for a seafood dinner : we ordered 2 ekor sotong celop tepung - ( RM 19.90 ), expensive weyy! and  200 gram of lala masak sambal (RM 7), mixed veggie (RM 4), mushroom fried rice for Af and half plate rice for me. Super full. After this we should consider to reduce the food ordering, we've been trying several time and still not quite sure how to order 'just enough' for both of us yet. 

Osaka - Kyoto 8 : Our Album


We did different thing for our trip this time. 
  1. Flikr album
  2. Our own printed album book
Why ? If you read my posts religiously, you must have known about the story where I lost almost all of my digital pictures since 2009 - 2016 because of my corrupted external hard disk. Never again, will I rely solely on digital keeping. 

So 2 weeks after our trip, we bought some coupons to print out album in a book form. For RM 29.90 each (8x11 inch - portrait with soft cover) , we got ourselves a mini project - to compile all our photos from the trip and turn it into a book. Of course we kept the coupon and did a last minutes job :D Af and I did separate books because we have different styles and likings (and I don't want to argue with this - being both designers are not always easy, guys). My pictures were all taken using iPhone SE, and I was too lazy to make any colour/light correction, so I let all pictures as original as the day they were taken. Note : Pictures taken on this phone are almost perfect ! 


3 more weeks later, we finally managed to compile it and sent it to print. In almost 5 days, the book arrived at the office. Super excited because the images are nice, didn't like the super soft cover (but we chose for the cheaper version, can't complain about this) but the main thing about it all was the book's spine : it wasn't glued properly, so the first few pages were almost teared from the book. Ditto Af's album.

So I reported a complain regarding the issue, saying that it is not our fault and all. The customer service was so nice, guiding me through the process and we finally got a new version. Now we both have extra albums.



Ohh, and if you have noticed, no, I don't have pictures of my family or selfies. As introverted as I am, I noticed that even my pictures tell a story about things, buildings and foods only - there hardly even people in any of my images :F Lonely pictures ! I don't know what's my issue with the human :F

But anyway, I love my album.

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Reckless Life 7 : Week 1 All over Again


On being a full-time freelancer :
I've finally decided to become a full-time freelancer again !
This is actually my third time of becoming one (You can read about my previous stories here). After 9 months of working with a start-ups in Cyberjaya, creating and making things - I've decided that being in a boring-comfort-zone-life (even with high salary - normal day job) is no longer suitable for me. I've tried! I just can't work with corporates and day-to-day repetitive life anymore. Free spirits need to be free.

I kept on asking myself almost every day, and I've been asking Af so many time : "why I'm helping people reaching their dreams if I know I can work on reaching my own dreams?". So I've finally decided, this time even without the backup plan : THAT I SHOULD MAKE THIS WORK. I know the struggle, I know the tough decisions and the frugal life that I'll be having, but I was born to make and create things that I want to make and draw every day. I'm super excited with my little plans and I want to make every single day memorable for me. Ma isn't excited with my decision (of course), but I like told her : I'll never know if I really can make it work or not IF I don't try - again).

So I sent my resignation letter from the company's directorship chief designer. 
2-weeks notice, flat, decided and sticked with the plan. 

On working studio :
We already have our own studio office now, we took the master bedroom and turned it into one. I don't want to use the big space only to sleep, so I suggested to Af, that we should really make use of the large master bedroom and turn it into our office instead. Our office needs new paint, and a lot of recovery but we'll manage by time :)  

On clients :
And thankfully, right after I sent the resignation letter - I received a freelance project for this month (will due by the end of this month). It's a very tight schedule, but quite a big exposure and nice pay-check for the upcoming Eid season. So I'm super thankful because I got to live for another 3-4 months after this and will be focusing on the book project that I've been delaying. This is a sign telling me that maybe I made the right choice on becoming a full-time freelancer again.

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On the 9-months startups projects (Aug 2016 - May 2017) : 
Check out 3 of my latest projects, those are some of my works for that duration of time.

On my online shops for local :
All packs bought from the shop will receive several postcards for free - from my wrinkled artprints and postcards mini flood incident.


On Patreon :
And yesss, Patreon! If you want to help/support me in my freelance journey and also get snippets, knowledge sharings, personal updates, random free gifts, you can pledge as low as 1$ on my Patreon :
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Osaka - Kyoto 7 : Halal Restaurants in Osaka, Kyoto & Nara


Compared with my previous Japan trip, this time we tried so many halal Japanese foods. We clearly spent below budget after the first week stay, so in the second week after my family went back, we hunted for as many halal restaurants we could cover. I wanted to taste the original Japanese ramen, sukiyaki, udon, soba, syabu-syabu, mochi, and takoyaki. So we did! 

I dreaded to write this post, because I had to do my research on the location & find images from my phone =.= I am so lazy...

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Places we ate in Osaka :

1. Bulls - Sukiyaki & Syabu-syabu
  • Type of foods : Sukiyaki, syabu-syabu & steak 
  • Rating : 4/5
  • Location : OCAT building, Naniwa-ku, Osaka
We went here with Ishijima Sensei, so she ordered all the foods, several sets of syabu-syabu and sukiyaki (it was my first sukiyaki). I've never tasted meat so nice, all cut in really thin slices, put inside the syabu-syabu for several minutes and dipped in raw egg before eating. It was the best syabu-syabu experience - we've done so many syabu-syabu at home, but it never tasted this nice. It was a different kind of taste. Note : It's near the JR Namba Station


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2. Halal Ramen Osaka Honolu
  • Type of foods : Ramen 
  • Rating : 5/5
  • Location : Motomachi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka
This is a 'must-go' place for a ramen lover. All the energy spent on walking so far away from Namba City in windy coldness was worth it. I ordered spicy ramen from the machine, waited at the ramen bar (there's only around 8 seats so first come first serve) and got the best halal spicy ramen Osaka had to offer to me T^T I felt like crying, because it was so spicy like how the Malaysian likes it and it was so delicious! I don't mind coming here again for a hot spicy ramen during winter.


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3. Cafe Bintang
  • Type of foods : Indonesian Food 
  • Rating : 1/5
  • Location : Chuo-ku, Osaka
Oh my god, it was such a waste of money. 
Af spent around 1,000 yen for Ayam Penyet set that didn't taste anything like what we have here or the one I eat in Indonesia. The set was just white rice, small skinny fried chicken, salad and tasteless spicy sambal (?) - it was expensive even if I compare to all the other Japanese food restaurants we tried there. While I ordered a tasteless Bakso for 850 yen - there was 4 beef balls, glass noodle and plain soup (I think he forgot salt?). Isk isk isk. I hope the owner will improve their foods, or lower down the price for food sets. It doesn't resemble Indonesian food at all. 

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4. Mithilia 
  • Type of foods : Indian Food 
  • Rating : 3/5
  • Location : Chuo-ku, Osaka
Oh, we went here secretly without Ma & Aja, the night we went to Dotonbori for a nightwalk with my little sister. We tried to find halal takoyaki in the area, but I couldn't speak that much Japanese to converse in a food stall. So we just tried to find any halal restaurants near us using Google and we found Mithilia. After some consideration and discussion, we finally settled in a cozy packed Indian restaurant. We ordered some rice set, cheese naan and matcha lassi. The food was nice, sure it wasn't Japanese food, but it was still nice :) I loved the environment and the matcha lassi !


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5. The Soba Dining
  • Type of foods : Udon, soba, Japanese food
  • Rating : 4/5
  • Location : Expo City, Bampaku-kinen Park
Oh, we found the place by accident ! We were at a shopping mall called Expo City after spending one whole day in Expo 70' Park, didn't even thought we would find any halal restaurant because it was quite far from the main city. But there it was, right next to the escalator, the 'halal' sign on the glass door. I was so excited. I ordered a Clam soba set, and it was so good T^T I shall remember each moment I found a great Japanese restaurant. 

Halal Soba in Expo City

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6. The U-don
  • Type of foods : Udon, soba, Japanese food
  • Rating : 4/5
  • Location : KIX Airport
On our final day we slept over at the airport for the second time. 
There were several restaurants in KIX that offer halal foods, and after several discussion on which one to choose, we decided to go to The U-don. For 920 yen, I ordered Niku Soba (beef) at the counter, waited for my order and tasted another nice Japanese food T^T Well, I love anything with good soup so the Niku Soba was really good (for me) ; just a simple hot soup, udon, slices of beef and leek.



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Places we ate in Kyoto :


7. Naritaya Ramen
  • Type of foods : Ramen Japanese food
  • Rating : 3/5
  • Location : Gion, Kyoto
  • Facebook
It was one of our first meal in Japan and we didn't quite like it. We tried different meals so that we could exchange and taste everything. Unfortunately we didn't like any of it. For me, the miso ramen was too salty - too salty, and I just can't. I personally think because of our bad first experience, we spent our lunch money on onigiris everyday afterwards. None of my family suggested dining out after this restaurant :F Note : The friend chicken was nice though.

In Gion, Kyoto

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Places we ate in Nara :


8. Jinnayyah Ramen
  • Type of foods : Ramen, Japanese food
  • Rating : 3/5
  • Location : Nara
  • Facebook
We found the place after we got lost in the maze of buildings. It was so cold and we were so hungry. We walked several km before finding it T^T We were the only customer during that time, maybe because it was one hour before their closing time. I asked whether the ramen would be spicy - 'spicy' and he nodded yes, passing me an Indonesian chilies powder for extra spiciness. 


Unfortunately I didn't like the taste. It was between curry and spicy soup, not sure how to write this down, but I just didn't quite like the taste :(

Halal Ramen in Nara

Pictures of us :D



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Ways you do to find halal foods in Japan :
  • You can refer to Halal Japan
  • You can download and use app : Okashi Checker for a list of halal foods that you can buy in kombini. They will probably update the list from time to time.
  • Or try Kansai Muslim Friendly guide app on Android or iOS
  • Ask people to read the ingredients (preferably vegan/all plant based to be safe) - if you can speak Japanese, or simple English + visual from smartphones (be creative, they are very helpful, don't worry)
  • Note : Even some drinks like instant coffee got non-halal animal fats/emulsifiers so it isn't that hard to check before you buy. There was this one coffee we really liked when we went to Tokyo, and after consuming almost daily, we found out that it got pig-based emulsifier. That was after we got back from the trip (because I did random checking). I didn't feel good about it later, so I learned from my mistake. 


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Yeay for writing these post!
Hopefully it will help you find great halal authentic Japanese foods in Japan 

Note : 
We usually cook our breakfast and dinner at home.
You can find affordable raw foods in market (like eggs, tofu, veggies, fruits, rice, mushroom) and do bring instant cooking ingredient from home.




Mini Escapism : SK - Alor Setar - Sg Petani - SK


Short weekend !

We've been waiting for our short weekend escapism since I received the invite to my former best friend in school 2 months ago. It was supposed to be a group trip with my sisters and Tasy (and her partner) but they had other plans that weekend - so Af and I continued with our original plan. 

We booked the hotel in Alor Setar a week before the weekend using Agoda, paying extra to collect AirAsia points :D We opted for a hotel instead of Airbnb because I really wanted a special treat this time. I wanted the fancy bathroom and clean towel and comfy pillows and breakfast buffet and all those in package. I couldn't find decent Airbnb in Kedah so I didn't mind paying extra for a hotel instead of budget motel (it is not even that much of a difference in term of the price). 

We woke up quite early that Saturday morning, by 630 am we were already in the car. Af drove the whole way, while I slept on and off (because I'm a terrible partner and the worst morning person if I didn't get enough sleep). We arrived at Alor Setar around 1230 pm, a bit too early for the wedding. I changed to my red kurung at the public toilet near Alor Setar toll station and because I was famished, we headed straight to the wedding :D

I greeted her parents and her brother as awkward as I can. 
I asked Af why I was there (because she came to my wedding and she used to be my best friend and we wanted a reason for an escapism) - I agreed. 

The wedding was nice, I didn't see any familiar faces at all (none of friends from school). After one whole hour, I reached out to the newlyweds, wished her congratulation and she was a bit busy, so I bid her goodbye. That was it :F 

Come to think of it. 
We were really-really-really close for 5 years in school and now we are hardly friends. I wish I can explain to her about my introversion and my lack of connection was due to me trying to find myself in those silence that I needed so much. But not many of my friends understand, and I didn't understand it as well during those time, so I lost almost all of my friends in the process. But hey, the one who stayed matters.

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Restoran Ikan Bakar Anjung :

Anyway, after we checked in and rested for a few hours, we headed to the nearest beach spot in Alor Setar. We used random Google Map search because there was no nice beach spot recommended by anyone. There's hardly any beautiful beaches in North region - we explored so many, most beaches were very-very depressingly dirty. Remember : Lumut - Tanjung Sepat - Pantai Morib ? These places were very dirty, the pollution is bad, guys.

We headed to a restaurant near the beach hoping for a nice sunset view, but we only found a dirty beach, again T^T I was a bit disappointed, so I only took several pictures and went straight to order foods. Bonus point : The food was nice, we ordered several seafood dishes that costed RM 40 (nasi putih, tomyam campur, sotong goreng tepung, lala masak lemak).



The map :


The storm came soon after so we headed back. We didn't go anywhere at night because I like to stay indoor when the night comes (I have no idea why). It is one of my paranoia I guess.

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Menara Alor Setar :

Day 2 - For RM 9, you can reach the observation deck at Menara Alor Setar (88m) and get the 360 view of the city. You can see Gunung Keriang from afar as well, awkwardly separated from other mountains like a sore thumb. It reminds me of me when I stand among others in events.

There's nothing else you can do on the deck other than take photos, maybe you can eat ice cream, because they do sell ice cream and random snacks. That's about all :F There isn't many things to do on the deck, they should have done some interesting stuffs (like what they have in Japanese tower buildings).


Google Map :


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Restoran Ikan Bawal, Sungai Petani :

For lunch, we headed to a random restaurant in Sungai Petani. This is a restaurant specialized in Kari Ikan Bawal sets. We wanted to make random stops along the way when we headed back home, so we found the place via Google. The food was decent, for RM 8.50, I got a plate of ulam and sambal, ikan bawal, nasi putih and a small bowl of curry. 

It was a really sunny afternoon, very hot and uncomfortable, I got my usual headache soon after. 



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We headed to Pantai Redang Sekinchan after our lunch, we were so far from everything (4 hours+ from Sungai Petani) after almost 2 hours drive from Alor Setar. It was so weird, everything was extra farther that our previous trips. Not sure whether because we used alternative roads or because we just picked the wrong way to get there. Halfway through, we were in the palm plantation area and the rain started to fall heavily. The super bad one, almost no cars around us and it was hard to even see the road. I suggested that we head home instead of going to Pantai Redang (I don't feel good about the trip), so Af agreed. That itself took around 3 hours more to reach home ! It was just a bad trip + bad weather =.=

When we got home, surprise, surprise, our room and kitchen were flooded by the rain + wind from the previous thunderstorm that afternoon. The wind was so strong, it opened all of our windows and rain fell inside. I was so frustrated and demotivated, seeing most of my postcards and cards were destroyed, the bed was 1/3 wet, the floor was wet T^T and I was super exhausted from the long travel. But Af was there, things wan't so bad if he's there with me. 

He said that maybe it's time for me to make new postcards, more artworks to sell, now my local e-shop is available and it's okay if things like this happen from time to time. It is just a reminder :F


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That's the end of our short escapism to Kedah :F