Industrious Illustrating #38 – Sophomore Year Review Project

*Edit 5/11/2023: Fixed image embeds that weren’t working!

Apologies for not posting in several weeks. I was swamped with finals and finishing up lots of other tasks that hit me all at once.

Now that the winter semester is over, though, I can show my finished sophomore year studio project!

I did my sophomore year studio project with the intent of strengthening the concept art/visual development side of my portfolio. The bulk of my project was creating character turnaround design sheets, both for the Bhairava mech and for three of the characters in my sci-fi story concept “Blade of Seafoam”:


To round out my project, I did create some concept art sketches contextualizing my characters in the post-apocalyptic world they reside in, although I didn’t get a chance to finish painting these before I had to present my project before the review committee.

In the end, my sophomore year review went quite well, and I had a good discussion with the faculty review committee about my work and about my plans for the rest of undergrad. I intend to keep working on my character design and concept art skills over the summer, and I hope to share more “Blade of Seafoam”-related artwork here in the future!

Mixed on Campus #8 – Leilani Wetterau

Name: Leilani Wetterau
Mix: Chinese, White-American
Major & Year: Elementary Education; Freshman

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: I have never felt like I have truly fit in on this campus, or in any space in general. My whole life has been jumping from group to group. I always try to smile and laugh, because it’s lighter that way, but deep down I crave belonging. I have a great church community, family, and friends, but my ethnic identity is something that affects me everyday. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t change being mixed for anything. I know I am unique and special, and I hope everyone knows that about themselves too! <3

Mixed on Campus #7 – Gabriela Barrett

Name: Gabriela Barrett
Mix: Peruvian & White-American (Jewish)
Major & Year: RC Creative Writing & Drama; Senior

I am a proud Latina Jew who is thankful for both sides of my heritage: the immigrants from Lima, Perú and the immigrants from Eastern Europe (Romania and Germany). I grew up in a household that was not only biracial and bilingual, but came from two families that practiced two different religions. My siblings and I were raised in a Reform Jewish Congregation like my father, but my mother was raised Catholic. We understood and practiced our faith while respecting my mother’s at the same time. The constant exposure to different cultures, religions, practices, traditions, and beliefs have helped create my identity.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: Being mixed is something no one really prepares you for. If you are mixed, it is usually because your parents come from two different races or ethnicities, meaning they also do not fully understand our experiences. The imposter syndrome is very much a real thing. While I have improved in dismissing this notion, it can be damaging when people do not believe you are who you say you are. It invalidates you. Not an action you might take or belief, your whole identity and being. Whether that be because of your skin color, the language you speak, the music you listen to, or the traditions that have been instilled in your life. I used to introduce myself as half- Peruvian. Well it is the truth. But, as I matured, I realized that my mother tried her best to still incorporate our Peruvian culture and heritage in the suburbs on the East Coast, far away from our Latino family on the West Coast. She did this with music, food, film, and of course, making sure we call up our family members and practicing our Spanish. I was lucky enough to also fly out there multiple times to celebrate holidays. I am a Latina. Yes, there is other blood flowing through my veins that is Ashkenazi Jew, but my experiences and history do not cancel one another. I now say I am Latina (not half). Growing up, I was a mixed Latina raised in a white-jewish community. I am privileged to have been accepted in both communities but there are silent judges who still always make you feel out of place. You sometimes just do not fit in, no matter how hard you try. “My skin is too white or my accent is too weak.” If the Spanish speakers in my family were not as forgiving with my shaky grammar, communicating would be even more difficult. But they love me, despite our different religions, despite our distance, and despite the color of my skin. We understand our bond and our strengthened by the two different sides of the stories we get to tell.

Q: What are you most anxious about right now?

A: People keep asking me what my plans are for post-graduation which I assume is the most obvious thing to ask to a graduating senior. I understand that. I even do that to my friends in a similar situation. But, as someone whose passion is in the arts and humanities, the future is not as easy to plan out. While a common answer, I am most anxious about my future. This safe bubble of education has cushioned me in my years of adolescence. But now, I do not get that security anymore. It is not just my career that I am unsure about. I’ve heard that the 20s is a time to explore, despite the stigma of knowing what you want to do straight out of college. I welcome the mystery of not knowing what I am going to do yet, but still fear the uncertainty. How will I support myself? Should I still pursue my dream or turn to something more safe? This leads to the other side of my anxiety, a side that is sometimes not talked about. The social environment of 20-somethings, post-college, is something that I am trying to mentally prepare for. Finding new friends, new hobbies, new love. They can be difficult to find, even more so in a new setting. You are met with this new life but without the training wheels that were given to you in the past. I am trying to tell myself I’ll be okay but also trying to be realistic. The people I know who have gone through all of this seem to have turned out okay, so maybe I will too?

Mixed on Campus #6 – Jasmin Lee

Name: Jasmin Lee
Mix: Black & Chinese-Malaysian
Major & Year: Creative Writing & American Culture; Senior

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: Being mixed is a unique experience for everyone, but my childhood in navigating different cultures has allowed me to find similarities with anyone I’m talking to. This has helped me make new friends throughout college and open myself to new opportunities.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: I wish people knew that it can be exhausting to fit into expectations of who you are supposed to be based on how you look. Being mixed is an experience that can be both exhausting and exciting at the same time, but I am learning to be okay with being myself around others and not who people think I should be.

Q: What are you most anxious about right now?

A: I am most anxious about graduating. Going out into the real world and adulting seems scary but I am just trying to take it one step at a time.

Q: What kind of person do you aspire to be?

A: I aspire to be a person who is unapologetic about who I am. I am still working on this but I am learning to accept how my identity impacts my view of the world, and being okay with it.

Industrious Illustrating #37 – Concept Art Sketching

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table during Con Ja Nai 2023 and made it a successful con for me! I had a great time talking to everyone and supporting my other friends in the Artist Alley as well as Maid Cafe this time around. I’m looking forward to the next Con Ja Nai and the rest of this year’s con season! My next con is Anime Park in Canton, MI on May 6th, so I hope I’ll see you there if you’ll still be in the area!

In other updates, I’ve been working on environmental concept art featuring my visual novel story idea “Blade of Seafoam”‘s main cast for my Sophomore Year Project that I will be presenting at Stamps for my Sophomore Review on the 18th. If you’re a current freshman at Stamps and want to watch to see how Sophomore Review goes for a student focusing on entertainment art and concept art, feel free to come watch!

My preliminary thumbnail sketches:

My current digital sketches for the three environmental concept art pieces, based off of bucket wheel excavators, the “Z Machine” X-ray source, and Gunkanjima Island respectively:

And here’s my current sketch for the cover art of this concept art “pitch bible”:

I will be working more on my “Blade of Seafoam” concepts over the summer both as portfolio work and so that I can proceed further in developing this story idea into a fully fledged visual novel with three story routes to be my next project after “Flamechaser” sees a full release. I’ll also post my entire completed Sophomore Year Project in a week or two.
I’ll be making a few more posts before the end of the winter semester here on arts, ink, so stay tuned for more!

Mixed on Campus #5 – Maeve Lucas

Name: Maeve Lucas
Mix: Transnational Adoptee
Major & Year: BCN; Junior

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: It definitely took me some time to find my place on campus freshman year. There were certain groups I didn’t fit into as well because I was mixed and didn’t fully identify as one ethnicity. Mixed@Michigan has really given me a community that has allowed me to grow into myself.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: Almost every mixed person has gone through some type of scrutiny. While everyone’s experience is unique, mixed people often face what most minorities experience. Though we can also be scrutinized by our own cultural group. It’s a very “in-between” feeling.

Q: What kind of person do you aspire to be / who is the most influential person in your life?

A: My mom. Sometimes people feel like transnational adoptees feel like they were “saved” by their adoptive parents, and I think that terminology is flawed. While my mom is my best friend and biggest supporter, she is not my savior. My mom is my mom like your mom is your mom. I aspire to be a mom like her. If I could even be half as great as a mom she is, I would be happy with that.