Gunnersaurus Cartoon for Arsenal fans in Berlin

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Und auf wiedersehen!

Here’s a quick cartoon of the Arsenal mascot, Gunnersaurus that I did for Arsenal Germany, mainly for the fans I met in Berlin. So this is my last full day in Germany before I leave for the UK, and hopefully see my very first competitive Arsenal game in London. And big up to my fellow Gooners in Berlin at the Blarney’s Irish Pub! Met up with some cool folk, Carsten, Marc, Harry, Peter, Rakit & crew. This is something I missed while in Malaysia as when I started following football in 1998, Arsenal didn’t have much of a fan base in Malaysia at that time. But I realised it has grown a lot when I went to see last season’s F.A. Cup finals against Hull at Herris Damansara Perdana, our supposedly “unofficial” Arsenal fan club restaurant.

From Germany, to UK (I guess this cartoon seems apt, then!) my adventure here isn’t done yet as I suspect I’ll be around the area for a while and will be back as soon as Spring next year as I even plan to take an intensive course in German.

On another note, thanks to a tip from fellow friend Jacques, I’m to setting up a Patreon page for folks who can help support my site, cartoons and artworks, news to come soon about that. So I hope for those who read this, fellow Malaysians and those around the world, please give that site a go so that I can keep doing what I’m doing and keep coming up with cartoons and artworks for your weekly pleasure.

Cheerios and see you soon, London!

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Review of Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar Soundtrack

After a long hiatus from movie soundtrack reviews, I’m back! And I don’t come back just for any Tom, Dick & Harry soundtrack. It’s gonna take something special to bring me back, taking time away from my regular cartoons & illustration posts, and no other than Hans Zimmer, like a …. who could pull me out of retirement.

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Interstellar, by Hans Zimmer

And what a soundtrack this is! Epic is too over-used a word, and over-used a genre if you’re familiar with the dime-in-a-dozen trailer music composers that have popped up in recent years. But it takes the Godfather Hans himself who started this whole trend in the first place, of grand electronic synths and sweeping score, reminiscent of huge space battles, wide vistas, and great armies colliding who deserves a spot on my webpage for this soundtrack review.

Before I get ahead of myself, as in the usual trend, I’ll do a track by track review of the album, and give my summary at the end. A brief introduction to the film.

Interstellar (2014), is directed by the masterful Christopher Nolan and stars Matthew McConaughey, MacKenzie Foy, Michael Caine, Ann Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, among others, about an astronaut going into space to save mankind along with that and most of all, his daughter too.

So let the journey begin!

Continue reading

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Bubble Tum Tums

Not a whole lot today, sitting at home, braving the sub-zero Berlin winter. Heck it does really get much colder here away from the ocean. And I thought Iceland, Scotland & Baltimore were cold. It gets rrreeaaaaal cold in Berlin! -3°C with a windchill of -8°C! Went to the Spandau Christmas Market last night and the Glühwein was really comforting thing to have and to hold when your fingers are freezing.

So, I’m taking a quick break to highlight of one of my past projects while in Malaysia called Bubble Tum-Tums. The Bubble Tum-Tums team features a group of misfit monsters in a Bubble Universe exploring new places and discovering new powers with various bubble-themed powers.

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Buntings featuring each character of the Bubble Tum-Tums series

I started doing character design work for Bubble Tum-Tums, a concept for a series of kindergarten-level educational TV series & interactive games with 9Lives Digital with fine folk (high 5 to fellow colleagues Sherry, Lina, Wai Keat, Jerica & co) spearheading character & world development before heading off for my globe trekking  trip.

Bubble Tum Tums Characters rendered in 3D
Bubble Tum Tums Characters rendered in 3D from my character design sketches

 

I wished I could stay with this project as I saw a huge potential in it, but behind-the-scenes, didn’t really come to an agreement to my role in this project so I left and go on this trip to find some inspiration, new ideas & perhaps even a career where I’ll feel more involved and challenged. But I’m still proud of what I created here, and hopefully, I can work on something else like this in the future, with a bit more influence and a sense of partnership with the team instead as an employee.

There’s a interactive game already up and you can check it out at the iTunes store for free!

 

 

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Cartoon Daydreams at Ernst KaffeeRöster

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Oh, all the ümlauts! I do love ‘em.

So here it is, the 2nd edition of my Travel Daydreams cartoon features Ernst KaffeeRöster, located at Bonner Straße 56, Cologne/Köln. If you do come around these parts, go for their specialty coffees here as they’re one of the best in town. Not to mention, it’s perfect for my digital nomad needs, with wifi & power outlet. So, for the students or other digital professionals out there, definitely check this place out.

Scene at Kernst KaffeeRöster
Scene at Ernst KaffeeRöster

What’s this cartoon about? (including the one before at Café Feynsinn earlier) It’s half cartoon, half art, half daydreaming random silliness, free association, subliminal messages, and little stories inside the piece that almost makes some sense. For this piece, there’s some personal & inside information. For one, I’d played this German board game called “Activity” (in the style of Taboo & Cranium for Englischsprechers) with roommates Alex & Inka, and one of the answers was “Air Defense System” in German. So there’s the inside gag there, fighting the coming winter as the art was done in early October. Also, to join forces, is the music playing in the café (London Grammar was playing at the time), warming the hearts, battling the incoming cold frost coming from outside. I’m also a fan of Game of Thrones so there you go, Winter is Coming! See if you can spot other inside gags & hidden stories in the cartoon.

This one’s a month late since I left this wonderful city about a month ago. Art does take a while to finish! Maybe I can try to find a way to be more timely in my cartoons.

Where am I now as I upload this artwork? I’m at this atmospherically artsy Berlin bar located in Kreuzberg called Café Jenseits, having coffee & glühwein and this looks like another perfect place for me to do a Travel Daydream Cartoon.

In the past month, I’d:

  • joined a critical mass bike ride in Hamburg
  • seen the Welcome to Night Vale live show
  • visited Sofia & Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria with pal Marc from England
  • attended the Mauerfall 25th Anniversary celebration, the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • staying up to watch the Rosetta/Philae comet landing
  • took a short trip to Poland at a town called Slubice
  • and hung out with my fellow Gooners at Blarney watching Arsenal’s win over Borussia Dortmund

Thus I think it’s been a pretty productive month so far even though a lot of it is a lot of sitting around in cafés and lazing at my friend Marc’s place (top mate, bearing with my month-long presence) and soon, on to London, UK!

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Frau Möller Cartoon Daydreams (A Quickie)

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I’ve yet to finish my Travel Daydreams cartoon for Ernst Kaffeeröster featuring good pal, Sabrina, but I wanted to post one quick one out first here, one I quickly drew up in Hamburg for a couple of Couchsurfing friends. Carolin introduced me to the beautifully melancholic works of Dylan Thomas, in particular, “Under Milk Wood” after I told her about going to see “Welcome to Night Vale”. And I must say, I can see where the inspiration comes from.

Also, right after that, I went to see that almost amazing film Interstellar and to my surprise, a famous Dylan Thomas line was used as a mantra in the film. “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night”. To quote Siobhan Thomas from Anglophenia who is hilarious, (by the way, you should check out her videos, in particular, this one!)…

“I Love You Dylan Thomas!”

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Pink Floyd & A Memorial to Cats

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Here’s a piece I did a few weeks back after visiting Ksenia’s place in Zurich for a week. Spent a lot of time at home entertaining Tigra & Leo, her lovely Norwegian Forest Cats.

Okay, here’s something funny. Both Ksenia & I love, and I mean, luuurrrv Pink Floyd, (Shine On You Crazy Diamond our absolute faves!) and when their album cover of Endless Came out, I swear to you I didn’t see it before I did this piece, reminds me a whole lot of the colour scheme of this illustration.

Pink Floyd Endless River
Pink Floyd’s Endless River

What’s this sorcery? Or is it serendipity. Hmmm…

Perhaps it flows through the subconscious, the mindset that Pink Floyd bring to their followers  with their dreamy tunes & meandering rivulets of melodies brings to mind the gentle colour scheme of sky blue, cloud grey and sunset orange.

And with this, I just took a listen to Endless River and by jolly, how I enjoyed it! It feels more like an ambient album than the rock anthem style of days gone by but it still really works its way into my brain, typical Pink Floyd. How I’m going to miss them. But then again, they have spawned many other bands to come after them, and inspired by them. Speaking of which, I’ve just discovered Archive after seeing the trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, with their song “Bullets” found in their album, Controlling Crowds. Bloody awesome! They remind me of a cross between Radiohead, Pink Floyd & Muse, and that can only mean great things. Go check them out! Also their song, “Chaos”, bloody great!

Anyway, that’s it for now. I think this blog may have an identity problem! I started out with an illustration and I end up talking about music. That’s how my mind goes, one place to another, blending elements, one starkly different to the other, kind of like a Pink Floyd record.

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Doctor Who, Adventure Time & A.I.

Here’s a quick quiz. Choose 3 pop culture references that best reflect who you are as a person. Not your favourite, not the best, but your sentimental favourites. If we’re judging based on IMDB style ratings, Inception would be at the top of the list and for TV, Game of Thrones, of course!

But for this test, what I’m choosing are those which aren’t perfect but affects you in a more emotional and visceral sense that you keep going back to again and again. More likely, we’re talking about something that describes your deep dark soul and not how you want to project to other people, when you feel the most vulnerable, these 3 pop culture references could be that soft blanket that can keep you warm whenever things get cold… emotionally, mostly speaking. Perhaps, a psychiatrist could ask this question and in an instant understand much better the person than a whole long list of Q & A’s.

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So what’s mine? Hands down, it’d be Steven Spielberg’s A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), Doctor Who, and Adventure Time… aaand a little bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sprinkled in. I also feel compelled to combine Adventure Time & Doctor Who as they appear to overlap in terms of its whimsy & joy of curiosity and adventure.

Nevertheless, here’s a quick rundown why I chose these three. Why A.I.? Because of the sense of not belonging, but still yearning to be loved. Why Eternal Sunshine? Because of the strong sense of nostalgia and lost loves. And why Adventure Time/Doctor Who? Because behind all that, there’s a sense of pure unadulterated joy of discovery, randomness and love for the world.

Whenever I get really melancholic, the emotion that I seem to identify with the most is that of David in A.I. I mean, poor kid. Misguided and on a fool’s quest for the impossible. Like a young Don Quixote. Seeking love in the wrong place, or perhaps just trying too hard, all he needs is a little bit of that adventure. And I fantasise David & Teddy going on adventures with the Doctor, Jake and Finn, finding himself instead of finding love from others. That’s what he needs. That’s what we all need, even real people, right? To find our own adventures and along the way, discover new people who could perhaps you can grow to love.

And maybe, that’s one of the core meaning of love, to find someone with whom you could go on an adventure.

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Art inspired by “Welcome to Night Vale”

So last week in Hamburg’s Mojo Club, I checked out Welcome to Night Vale‘s live show with a friend and I can barely keep my eyes open during the show. Becauuuuse…, hear me out…

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… I’ve always been listening to the podcast before I sleep! I’m a big fan of the podcast, with their surreal Twin Peaks meets Gormenghast meets Cthulhu meets almost all of the stuff that happens in my dreams, and there where the conundrum lies, I always listen to the podcast just as I go to bed. It’s dreamy, surreal storyline is great replacement to Ambien, that pill to pop just before sleepy time! That background music which reminds me of twilight. The baritone silk brush of a voice by Cecil Baldwin, painting a story about a weird little town with Lovecraftian tendencies like how Edvard Munch paints the Scream. Of serpent-like librarians who whispers your name in the mist. Of dog parks where hooded figures linger and faceless old women live in your home in that dark corner just beyond the edge of your vision.

 

spacecadetbling-nightvale-liesel-and-the-librarian-800wAnd here’s the thing, I love it because it helps me fall asleep and I rarely ever finish an episode because it’s that good! The show does a great job at leaving me in that half-dreamy surreal state that it became almost a Pavlovian reaction that when I hear Cecil’s somnambulistic-inducing announcements, I always think of snuggling into my bedcovers and off I pop into dreamland.

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The cast of Welcome to Night Vale at the Mojo Club, Hamburg.

So, it’s a little strange to actually see the voice actors in real life and feeling compelled to stay awake so as to be polite lest the imaginary lurking librarian in the theatre who could steal your soul at a moment’s notice! In short, I loved it! I especially enjoyed the hypnotic moment when former mayor Pamela Winchell relates the story about the 3 huddled figures, previous incarnates of former eons, lingering at the edge of the known universe. It’s deeply philosophical and nonsensical at the same time.

With that, here’s a couple of Welcome to Night Vale inspired drawings. The first, a summary of the show, and the other, a scene of Liesel being terrorised by one of the “librarians” during that night’s show.

Till my next update and quoting Cecil as he signs off… as always… goodnight, Night Vale… good night.

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Café Feynsinn Cartoon Daydreams

 

spacecadetbling-traveldaydreams-feynsinnAnd off we go! Here’s the first official post for Space Cadet Bling since my world trip and updates should be more frequent since I’d started getting all the rust and kinks out from the inner workings of this website. After a few days stint in Amsterdam & Frankfurt, I’d stayed in Cologne for a month in my travel/work/adventure trip.

What can I say about Köln? (or Cologne as the Anglophiles would call it) I love this place, and it does feel a bit like home away from home especially after a month here, knowing the soul of the city, where to get good deals in the Rewe supermarket, hanging out with friends new and old (Hi, Sabrina, Alex & Inka!) who made me feel at home and welcome as a part-time Kölner, going for park runs at least once a week. Even mundane stuff like getting a haircut & watching football at local Irish pubs and chilling for hours and hours in cafés with wifi which is how this project came about.

Pretty meta eh? Taking a photo of me drawing a scene of me drawing a scene
Pretty meta, eh? Taking a photo of me drawing a scene of me drawing a scene

So, this cartoon drawing started about a month ago as a random doodle sketch while trying to figure out what to do with my life as a nomadic digital artist. I found a nearby place called Café Feynsinn through Google search and since it was the closest well-reviewed coffee place I just went there without any plan and this idea, out of boredom just came out of nowhere. It started with the flowers and the little “easter eggish” stories and gags and the idea of the meta drawing myself drawing within a drawing expanded from that. Cappuccino was decent, waitresses were nice and ambience was charming and rustic. Sadly I didn’t stay long enough for the evening meals or return to feel a closer attachment to this place but for the next one, at Ernst KaffeeRöster which will be my next Café Daydreams update, I did just that!

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Space Cadet Bling Site Announcement

Hi visitors of Space Cadet Bling. Just a quick announcement that there’ll be interesting changes coming to the site as I make my way around the world. The site will blend some travel notes along with random comic stories. So, this post is a mission statement of sorts, a way for me to keep my discipline in check.

Firstly, I’ll post a series called “The Week that Was” with highlights of what I’ve done in the past few days. Photos, interesting observations of people, events and places. Even some sketches of random ideas that I’ll do from time to time.

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And secondly, there will be a series of short stories of a bizarre nature but ultimately poignant.  These are the reasons why I’d to leave the comforts of my country in the first place, to find stories, to be inspired, to challenge myself, to find the best in people and to understand the worst, to revel in culture and different societies, and also my first love that is nature.

So let’s see in the coming days how this works out.

Space Cadet, out!

 

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A little corner of the web with cartoons, art & musings that make you go "that's nice, dear, now eat your breakfast".