Industrious Illustrating #5 – AEIOU

Welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! This time, we’re going back to looking at sketches developing a more finished story.

The AEIOU in the title stands for Activities, Environments, Interactions, Objects, and Users, which is an acronym that my Drawing Visualization professor came up with for these sketch assignments. I was supposed to draw at least five sketches per page focused around these topics in relation to a planned short comic.






Not all of these sketches are going to be directly used in my short comic. The short comic will focus on an ex-soldier who contemplates the names he’s been called in the past when he has to decide whether or not he’ll answer to his civilian name of “Toshiaki Mizushima”. Some of these characters will appear in his flashbacks as former friends or current comrades, but they may not appear exactly the same as they appear in these sketches. Additionally, there’s a much longer post-apocalyptic cyberpunk story involving these characters and this world, so the short comic is just a teaser of the longer narrative I plan on telling someday.

Since this comic assignment is due next week, I should have a finished comic to show off for next week’s column. See you guys next Friday!

Scribble #19: Regret

“‘Just wait till tomorrow,’” 

I started off the school year thinking I just had to make it through. Through the day, through the week, through the year, through to better times. I waited all of high school to finally get to college and make friends there, and there I was, in college, waiting for it to be over so I could be on to the next era of my life, a better one with better friends. I fell fully into the trap of living for the future and simply enduring the present.

“I guess that’s what they all say just before they fall apart.”

I’ve learned since then that things change – and with enough patience, a little luck, and a good attitude, they can change for the better. Now, I am able to simultaneously look forward to the future and enjoy where I am in the moment. This past weekend, my best friend from home came to visit me in Ann Arbor. Throughout high school and into the present, she is so special to me because I always feel like I can be my entire self around her. Having her come to Ann Arbor made me realize that I feel the same way around the friends I’ve made here at Michigan – something that I didn’t quite realize was the case until this weekend.

“I was upset, you see, almost all the time.”

It’s a lot easier for me to get through the days, weeks, and months here knowing I am surrounded by the healthiest friends I could wish for, and I find myself feeling like I am enjoying my current state of being as opposed to viewing the present as an obstacle in the way of the better times ahead. I like to think the best is yet to come, but if my present is as good as it gets, I would be able to move through life happily as well – and that feeling is everything that my past self dreamed of.

“You used to be a stranger, now you are mine.”

Listen to Regret by New Order here: 

The Indian Artist: The Art in Teaching

Good afternoon everybody! I hope that you all are doing well! I had a wonderful weekend that I wanted to share with you all. Yesterday was Holi, the Festival of Colors, my absolutely favorite Hindu festival. We all get together, wear white, and play tag with colorful powder, adorning each other in beautiful hues of pink, orange, yellow, blue, red, and more. If you are interested in reading more about Holi check out my post here! If you are interested in seeing the art piece that I did commemorating the euphoric holiday of Holi, click here!

In this post, I wanted to share something else besides Holi. A few weeks back, I was presented with a beautiful opportunity. I was hired by the Ypsilanti Public Library to demonstrate and teach young kids and families how to make Rangoli. Rangoli is the art of adorning pavements and house floors with colored powder or fine colored sand. Traditionally, during holidays, homes and temples are decorated with beautiful mandalas. Generally, natural and pure products are used to create these beautiful designs. When I did Rangoli this time, I used fine colored sand in squeeze bottles to make intricate designs. We decided this could be the best form of creating the Rangoli because it is easy to handle by children.

This was a really wonderful day. I demonstrated how Rangoli is made, creating original designs on the floor of the library. Kids watched and then were allowed to go wild, using the bright colors to create their own abstract and wonderful creations. The kids, of all ages ranging from toddlers to pre-teens, were very sweet, loved learning about the history of Rangoli, and created their own wonderful art!

I really enjoyed this opportunity and sharing it with you all. As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

Looking forward to next Sunday!


~ Riya



Personal website:

Immersive #19: Quotations out of Context

Ah yes, the famous quotes of the literature: the ones that we hear spoken over and over again until one day we stumble across the wording in it’s original form and realize that our initial assumptions have all been a lie. What do we do with this newfound knowledge? Well, probably not very much unless you want to forever go against the flow that is the out-of-context societal understanding that has been developed around the phrase in question. As a result, I want to ask you all this question: when do we let a phrase be taken out of context and let it exist in the singular? Does it even matter to the masses who have never read the original work in the grand scheme of things? Let’s discuss these ever-so-crucial prompts with the high school English classes of the past, found only within our deepest memories.


I am a big animal lover and I genuinely believe animals are better models than humans. They are usually very curious about the cameras so they stare right at it or even approach to see what it is, which is honestly a really nice experience. They do make it hard to take non-blurry photos, but hey, at least there is some challenge to it! This week I decided to look for some of my favorite photos of animals that I took over the years.

For questions, comments, or concerns – you know where to find me 🙂 @akilian_jpg on Instagram and

Into the void


 One night

 I dreamt of a void 

When touched, dark blue ripples 

ricocheted outward 

pulsating on my fingertips. 

Flat, alive, and just wide enough

For me to step through. 


Opaque ground 

Sprawled out 


A Blue forest. 

I stepped 

Around ocotillos 

Weaved through 

Joshua Trees 

And listened 

To the buzzing of bees.


Forest fades 

And buzzes turn into voices 

Singing of freedom 

From fear 

Their hope 

Echoing and elaborating 

In variations 

The cries of their loved ones


Sounds a monody. 


In the void 

I find myself 

In a battle royale with my thoughts 


When it would be best 

To emerge