30 June 2022

2022 June Roundup

It's the last day of June and summer temps have arrived. The sky right now is so bright and blue and cloudless that it's difficult to look at ✨๐ŸŒž✨ Usually, I open my curtains when I'm at work in my garden floor studio, but recently I've kept them closed to tame the light and block the heat. So it is now. I've got ambient nature tracks playing on my Google speaker, some lemon iced tea at my right hand, and my list of topics to cover in this roundup propped up on my left. I'm excited to examine June and prepare to enter July, especially because I'm going to enjoy a staycation during the week of Independence Day ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŽ† So without further ado, let's begin!

Patreon Rewards

My most recent illustration was finished on the 10th and reproductions were mailed to studio members a week later. Over half a dozen postcards featuring my Birthday Gryphon were sent into the world ๐Ÿ˜Š It takes so long to complete all the handwritten messages that I have limited the Pen Pal, Writer, and Collector tiers to just 10 members each. Once all the spots have been filled, I will open new tiers that replace the personalized handwritten messages with printed ones addressed to the community at large. There are still four Pen Pal spots (a single handwritten postcard every month), seven Writer spots (three blank postcards with a separate handwritten note), and all ten Collector spots (a full-size museum-quality print with handwritten note) available ๐Ÿ˜„ Check out the images of June's rewards below, I think they turned out lovely~✨

Final physical media work (watercolor and ink on 300 lb cold press watercolor paper).
Final digital media work (Adobe Photoshop).
Postcards professionally printed and ready to be filled out!
๐Ÿ’– Happiness in Your Mailbox ๐Ÿ’–

Twitch and YouTube

We're now in the middle of week six of regular art livestreaming on Twitch! I started streaming on May 25th and haven't missed a day yet ๐Ÿ˜„ I'm fairly confident in saying this is the most consistent my streaming schedule has ever been. As I mentioned above, I will be taking vacation in July, so be sure to check my Twitch schedule to know which days I'll be on! You can click the "Follow" button while you're there, to sign up for notifications whenever I go live.

YouTube uploads of the stream recordings continue, as well. Here is the most recent video posted there, a Chibi Friday first, where I worked on two chibi drawings during the same stream!

Writing Updates

I continue to work daily on my illustrated novel project, which has already been years in the making, with many more left to go. My goal for this year is to finish the manuscript first draft. My goal for June was to finish chapter three, which I accomplished on the 23rd ๐Ÿ˜Ž I've made it over 1,200 words into chapter four already, so I'm feeling good about my rate of progress!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter or Facebook to see all of my writing updates. 

deviantART Uploads

I'm slowly getting caught up posting my art to dA! Eventually (I hope) I'll be completely caught up and there will be no need to mention it in these roundups, since it will be the same art already featured in my Patreon blurb. But since I'm putting in the effort, and I think it's fun to revisit older work, here is my most recent deviantART post. It was my holiday greeting card from 2020, which featured my cat, Bear, who had passed away that year.

Click here to comment on deviantART.

With that piece, I am now only one and a half years behind on posting to dA ๐Ÿ˜‚

Monthly Recommendations

Now it's time for the most unique part of my roundup posts, my monthly recommendations! I've added a new category this time. I wonder if anyone will notice what it is... Also, I thought it might be prudent to mention that I'm not receiving any compensation for my recommendations. They're all just parts of my life that I love and want to share with you ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐Ÿ“• Book of the Month๐Ÿ“•

 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase by Douglas Adams

I started using a new book tracking site this week (just so tired of all the little problems with Goodreads; I've been there almost ten years and I'm ready to move on ๐Ÿ˜ฉ). It's called StoryGraph and has some really cool features! Here's my reading stats page, for instance. Unfortunately, it doesn't have embedding for reviews yet, so I'm just going to copypasta this month's recommended book review. In reality, I am not recommending a single book so much as a series of radio plays on Audible! The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, to be precise! I listened to all six entries this year and absolutely loved them all ๐Ÿฅฐ Here's my review for the first one.

5.0 ⭐

It's been ages since I last listened to the radio show for Hitchhikers. Like many people, I have fond memories of listening to it on cassette tape, recorded from an original copy and shared friend to friend, family to family. I don't know who got her into it, but it was my mom who first shared those tapes with me, when I was aged only in the single digits. I've remained a die-hard fan ever since.

The show was just as hilarious as I remembered. The jokes still fly today, even when I've already heard them a thousand times. The acting and sound effects come together wonderfully to make you feel like you're right there with the characters. I really loved the extra documentary episode at the end, too. Not only was it interesting learning about what went into the creation of the show, learning that Douglas Adams struggled with procrastination and perfectionism makes me feel less worried about my own creative efforts!

Click here to see my entire review on StoryGraph ๐Ÿค“

๐ŸŽง Music of the Month ๐ŸŽง

At Wit's End by Hans Zimmer

Aside from generic playlists that I put on when I'm relaxing at the end of the day or as background noise while I work (like my current ambient nature sounds) all this month I've continued listening to the same playlist that I featured in my May roundup ๐Ÿ˜† To make this post a bit different then, I am featuring just a single track from that playlist. It comes from my favorite of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, At World's End, and every time it comes on, I'm so moved I have to just stop what I'm doing and enjoy the magic~

By the way, I've been a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean ever since I was a little kid. My parents and grandparents took me to Disneyland several times when I was young and Pirates was always the ride I looked forward to most. I didn't even mind when we had to wait in line for hours, which is saying something, since I'm sure I normally had no better an attention span than any other imp of my age ๐Ÿ˜… Even though interest in the movies seemed to die down after the third one, at least among my circles, I've enjoyed all five of them and have been recently entertaining the idea of doing a movie marathon!

๐Ÿ“บ Show of the Month ๐Ÿ“บ

Spy x Family on Crunchyroll

This anime has been extremely popular ever since it debuted this season and I can confirm that the attention is well deserved! While there's surely nothing truly perfect in this world, right now, whenever I think of Spy x Family, perfect is the word that always pops up first ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’• It's got beautiful animation, impeccable music and voice acting, lovable characters, an intriguing plot, and a fabulously balanced blend of humor and action. Check out this official trailer:

The only negative thing about Spy x Family is that the first season is already over! The twelfth episode aired five days ago and now I have to wait until October for more ๐Ÿ˜ญ

๐ŸŽฎ Game of the Month ๐ŸŽฎ

Olympia Soirรฉe for Nintendo Switch 

I haven't had much time to play video games this past month, but when I did, it was often this one ๐Ÿ˜ I'm a complete freak for Otomate's visual novel otome games (i.e. choose-your-own-adventure romance games) and this is no exception. Olympia Soirรฉe has all the hallmarks of Otomate's best work: beautiful visuals and music, dreamy voice acting, compelling characters, and perhaps most important of all, a deep and complex story that continually expands in unexpected ways as you complete each character's route. Here's the game's opening animation, which also stands as its official trailer:

So far I've finished two routes out of six, Kuroba and Riku. They were so different and I enjoyed them both, but Riku's was definitely the more surprising! I honestly didn't think I would like Riku, based on his behavior in the common route, but the genius storytellers at Otomate showed me, once again, what they're capable of ๐Ÿ˜†

Now I'm starting Tokisada's route, and I think I might have given myself some clues as to his past when I looked up his home of Amakusa on Wikipedia. It's a real place with some interesting (and dark) history that explains a lot about his jumpiness and distance...I'm really looking forward to learning more about him during my vacation next week ๐Ÿ’š

๐Ÿฝ️ Vegan Victuals of the Month ๐Ÿฝ️ 

immi Ramen

I've been a pescatarian for many years but I've been slowly working my way to full vegan. This year I've finally cut out all remaining animal-based products and for the past month or two, I've been able to maintain a 100% vegan, nutritionally complete diet without feeling deprived of my favorite comfort foods. It's thanks to all the insanely delicious vegan foods that have been popping up and how easy it is to get a hold of them through local grocery stores and online ordering.

immi ramen has become a lunchtime staple for me. I ate so much instant ramen as a kid and young adult, but as we all know, that stuff is unhealthy nutritionally, ecologically, and ethically, so I hadn't eaten it for years. Enter immi ramen. It satisfies the cravings for my childhood noodles but is low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber, animal-free, and DELICIOUS. (Also, no pea protein, which I am mildly allergic to.) I eat it about three times a week, stir frying some veggies while the noodles cook in the microwave, and then adding some yummy cut wakame before slurping away ๐Ÿœ✨

๐Ÿ‘Ÿ Workout of the Month ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

Ring Fit Adventure on Nintendo Switch

In anticipation of the hot summer weather, I switched from running to strength training via Ring Fit Adventure. I was very excited to finish the main story, after years of on-off playing, earlier this month!

Just today I finished another fun but challenging workout. I'm so glad that even after the long and rewarding main story mode, there's still plenty left to do! I intend to keep using Ring Fit for my indoor workouts every Tuesday and Thursday for most, if not all of the summer ๐Ÿ’ช✨

๐Ÿ’ธ Charity of the Month ๐Ÿ’ธ

Predator Defense

Predator Defense is another charity for which I have a regular monthly donation set up. I also have my Amazon Smile account set to support them. In a nutshell, this organization helps protect my favorite animals in the world, wolves, other predator animals such as cougars and foxes, as well as domestic animals like dogs, that get caught up with tragic results in the horrific traps set by humans to kill our wild animal cousins. The American war on wildlife is one of the most heartbreaking ongoing tragedies in our history. It's my deepest belief that all animals deserve to live out their natural lives without "management" by self-serving humans. We can coexist peacefully, especially considering the depth of modern knowledge and the power of modern technology. I support Predator Defense in order to help make this possibility a reality ๐Ÿค๐Ÿบ๐Ÿงก๐ŸฆŠ๐ŸคŽ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’›

Starting this month, I'm going to use my monthly unique viewers count on Twitch as the base for a new donation system. For every unique viewer in the past 30 days, I will donate $0.10 to my charity of the month, with a minimum of $10 and up to $100 USD!

In June, I had 26 unique viewers, so I've just now made a $10 donation to Predator Defense ๐ŸŽ‰✨ This in addition to my usual monthly amount. I will do my best to spread the word about my donation system and I hope you'll join me on Twitch (and bring your friends) to see how big a donation we can generate for next month's charity! Of course, if you're able, please do make a donation of your own to Predator Defense as June's featured charity ๐Ÿ™

That's all for my June roundup! It took me all day to put together ๐Ÿ˜† The sun is getting ready to set, my tea is long gone, and it's perfect timing for my usual evening walk~ I hope you enjoyed reading this post, that you'll try out some of my recommendations, and that you'll look forward to next month's roundup ๐Ÿ’–