Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New Trials Chapter 72 Part 2 is up on ff.net

Apologies for the two-week delay but Chapter 72: Almost Left Behind Part 2 is up on ff.net. I've been working diligently to post this before I head off to vacation this weekend. I thought I could edit this half quicker, but it's hard to get through more than one scene at a time per sitting because I've been so busy. When I'm at home, I almost always have the New Trials Word document open though I'm not necessarily working on it, to squeeze in any editing or writing. The problem with going on vacation is that it takes more work to take time off sometimes. 

I'll publish the final edited version of Chapter 72 on my website when I come back. A bulk of Chapter 73 is written, and I'm taking my laptop with me so hopefully I can work on that a little bit over break.

Hope all of you are enjoying your summer and staying cool. 

Music Spotlight: One of my favorite pianists Yundi Li performing Paganini's La Campanella, in reference to Chapter 72 Part 2. 

 




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Syaoran 2016!

The last time I updated the blog was for Sakura's birthday! I'll keep this short, but to the point. Chapter 72: Almost Left Behind Part I is up on ff.net. Part II should be up within several days--I was trying to have the whole chapter up, but I just didn't have time to finished editing. The truth is, Chapter 72 was so long that I had to split it up into two chapters, so a bulk of Chapter 73 is also written as well.

But without much ado, Happy Birthday to our dearest Li Syaoran! I am so excited about the new Card Captor Sakura Clear Card series to celebrate Card Captor Sakura's 20th anniversary. But I will focus on finishing up the next few chapters first before I start gushing. 

Question of the day: Does anybody know which song the title of this chapter was inspired from? Hint: the answer can be found in a past blogpost. I had the hardest time coming up with a title for this chapter, though I already have a title for Chapter 73. It's probably because it was supposed to be one chapter. 

Music Spotlight: Lukas Graham's "7 years old"  




I probably should have a more cheerful song for Syaoran's birthday post, but this song makes me tear up.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Card Captor Sakura 20th Anniversary Artbook Review (Happy Birthday Sakura!)


I posted over on the New Trials Facebook group on whether I should get the Cardcaptor Sakura 20th Anniversary 20th Anniversary Illustration Collection, and of course, I did give in and buy it at the bookstore on April 1, for Sakura's birthday. The main reason I debated on whether to buy this artbook was because it is a compilation of older, already published artwork, and I wished it included some of the newer pictures CLAMP drew. There are 100 pictures supposedly handpicked by CLAMP, and while the book did not include all the pictures I liked, since there are so many out there, it included many pieces I do love. I knew I had to get it after seeing the book in person, though it is somewhat pricey, and more pricey because it's imported. I believe its 3,600 yen in Japan. There are several books that I really regret I was not able to get a hold of, such as the Card Captor Sakura Nakayoshi 60th Anniversary Edition Vol. 9 Special Edition version. Another limited edition artbook I've been dying to get my hands on is the Card Captor Sakura Animated Artworks. Please do let me know if you any of you have any information on how to get a hold of these for a reasonable price!



First off, when I picked up the 20th Anniversary artbook, which I've been debating purchasing since it was released one week ago on March 24, I was very happy with the size and how it fits in my hand. I don't like oversized books, and this one is just the perfect size. The books is hardcover and pink and pretty, with new artwork on the cover of a dress that will be a collaboration project with lolita brand Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. I was introduced to the brand through the 2004 film Kamikaze Girls, an awesome movie. I love that the artbook comes with a clear plastic case, which is printed with a gold border. I guess to better to protect the book's pretty cover. I love the back just as well because it has Sakura's two magic circles in gold. And the chronology poster, above, I don't think I will unfold again because it's so huge, I could barely find a flat surface large enough to photograph it. But it is very interesting, looking back at the "history" of CCS. 



As for the artbook itself, I would say it is very Sakura-centric, as can be said about the entire CCS franchise. If I have a secret confession to make, I could do less with less solo Sakura pictures in general and more group pictures. Which is why I'm loving all the new artwork that has been streaming out. I don't think there is a shoujo heroine who has had more solo pictures of her in different outfits than any other franchise. I have included some of my favorite spreads though. Some pictures I like were missing, such as Touya playing the violin. But I do love how some of the artwork was paired, and there was clearly thought put into their arrangement and order. I wish I could read CLAMP's descriptions in the back though. The spread with Sakura with the clear flowers on the left and Sakura and Syaoran holding the star on the right might be one of my favorite face-to-face pages in the book because that is probably one of my favorite solo Sakura artwork, while the star picture as you know is used on my website, and I think the picture that best represents the two together.


 

And this spread with Tomoyo, paired with the Eriol and Clow Reed reflection.They go so well together. Surely CLAMP secretly ships the two based on that spread. The artbook progresses to the Card Captor Sakura Movie 2 artwork toward the end, and generally does a good job in including most of the iconic S+S artwork. It also includes Sakura in her most most popular outfits as well. I love CLAMP's new artwork and the details in them, as well as the more sophisticated coloring style. But I rather prefer Syaoran's old character design, where his features were sharper and less shouta-fied. 
 

Based on the selection of this artbook, I'm very confident a second compilation artbook will be released in the near future with the newer artworks, for there were definitely key artwork that I think could have been included in this one and were purposefully withheld. Or so I want to believe. One of my favorite pieces with Sakura and Syaoran in the tree with their teddy bears was missing. So, hopefully, this artbook sells very well, which can warrant a new artbook, whether it be at the end of this year, or more likely, the next anniversary or special occasion. But I hope we don't have to wait till the 25th anniversary for a compilation of the new artwork. And this artbook is definitely a wonderful trip down the memory lane, 20 years back into my childhood, and will be much treasured.

In other news, I've been working on New Trials Chapter 72 like mad to make it in time for Sakura's birthday. And didn't. Hides under a rock. I think I might be able to have Part 1 of 3 up by this weekend, though no guarantees. Who knows, this could be the April Fools' Day joke. My fingers are achy these days and I am sleep deprived.

I included the listing of artworks included for reference, for I'm sure there are those of you wondering if your favorite artwork was included. 


 




 Happy Birthday Sakura April 1, 2016! So pretty.

 

Highlight for spoiler for Chapter 72:


Syaoran! Syaoran! Oh my gosh, Code Red!” exclaimed Meilin, her black pigtails streaming behind her.  



Syaoran bolted up from his seat. “What is it? Is the Tang Clan attacking? Is Uncle Wutai staging a coup d’état? Don’t tell me it’s Wu Zino again! Or is it Wu Zilai?”

Meilin shook her head rapidly. “No, it’s worse! Much worse!” She slammed both hands on Syaoran’s desk. “Your sister’s coming to Japan, Syaoran!”

Syaoran paled and gaped at his cousin. “Which one?”

Fuutie,” replied Meilin, catching her breath. “I heard directly from Wei.”

Syaoran groaned. “Why?”

She’s always been threatening to come to Japan forever,” replied Meilin. “You know that Cousin Dairen’s business delegation’s arriving in Tokyo—for the Li Group Japan’s board meeting.”

Oh, they’re flying in next week, right?” asked Syaoran. “We’ve got several days to prepare.”

No, she’s flying in today—Wei already went to the airport to pick up Fuutie,” replied Meilin.

Syaoran turned sheet white as he pushed back his seat. “We’ve got to go find Leiyun.”  


 

I also saw the first cherry blossoms of the spring today. How befitting on April 1 to celebrate Sakura's birthday! 
 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016!!!


Tomoyo and Eriol in Seijou High School Uniforms by wishluv on DeviantArt

Do you ever feeling hiding in a hole and not coming out? That's how I feel whenever I do not finish a chapter by my mentally implemented due date. Which is every time. But I thought to drop by here, anyhow. I'm about 90% finished with Chapter 72 of the New Trials of Card Captor Sakura. I think if I had about 48 hours of consecutive uninterrupted time to work on it, I would be able to finish it. Unfortunately, that is impossible. The chapter itself came about quite smoothly, but I've been writing ahead, so it's been taking longer. So, thank you so much for being patient, and it's nearly getting there!

This is a really old fanart, over 8~9 years old, that I decided to post up since it might never see the light of day anyway. It was a character study of Tomoyo and Eriol in their Seijou High School uniforms, a precursor to the Seijou High School uniform group picture. It's not completed; I didn't even shade it. Just think of it as an old character sketch. I was working on a couple Sakura and Syaoran fanart but thought I should focus on finishing the new chapter rather than new artwork.

Happy Valentine's Day 2016! I realized this is my first blogpost of the year, so Happy New Year and Happy Lunar New Year as well!

Music Spotlight: Shimizu Shota - Dream



This feel-good song is a recent discovery, and it fits Valentine's Day, I think. It's the kind of song I would draw to but not cannot write to. Here are the English lyrics.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!!!


Touya, Yue, Sakura and Kero-chan at Christmastime by wishluv on DeviantArt


Can you believe another year as passed? Quoting John Donne's "Song," I'd like to ask, "Tell me where all past years are?" I'm currently on holiday, so I had to prepare the fanart of Yue, Touya and Sakura last week, before I took off. I thought it was funny because I was working six day weeks and didn't have time to pack or really prepare for a trip beforehand, but I was determined to finish that fanart. I never drew a fanart of Yue before. I always wondered why Yukito's fake birthday was Christmas Day--it's an idea for a side story someday.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2015!!!

Thank you for supporting New Trials for another year and hope you all great tidings, joy and laughter during the holiday season! 

Pentatonix is so talented and I love their new version of "First Noel" which used to be one of my favorite Christmas carols, especially the Pachelbel's Canon First Noel version.




 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!!!


Kaitou Magician's Flower by wishluv on DeviantArt


For some odd reason, I thought I would be able to finish Chapter 72 in time for Halloween. That was way ambitious, considering I'm probably only 50% finished with the new chapter. Though I did mention I had been writing ahead again. I love how people on Facebook or the Yahoo Group very shrewdly pointed out they do not expect an update till December. You guys know me too well. It's a very self-indulgent chapter, so I've been having fun with it, when I do get a chance to write.

I haven't posted a Meilin and Kai fanart for the longest time, I realized. They are one of the most popular pairings, and I love seeing other people's fanart of them. I'm not sure why it took so long for me to post a new fanart of the pair--I think the first of the Mei+Kai pairing that I posted on DeviantArt. Shocking, since we have Kara Reed and Mikai one up already. I grew sick of finishing my main Halloween fanart (of Sakura and Syaoran) and started finishing up an old doodle, which is how "The Magician's Flower" piece came around. In my original sketch, Kai was a vampire though. I like the idea that Kai wears more accessories than Meilin does--because she does martial arts, I get the feeling she wouldn't want to bother with accessories, besides the on Kai forces on her. 

Kai is a funny character. I never really planned for him to get together with Meilin or for him to become a part of the main cast. And I used to hate Meilin when she was first introduced in the Card Captor Sakura anime. It's such an embarrassing thought, since I adore her so much now, and I have felt obligated to love her ever since. 

Thank you so much for all the birthday wish over on Facebook. Totally made my weekend! Do check out the awesome fanart and other fun posts over there! How cute are chibi Sakura and Syaoran by the oh-so-talented Joyce Pantaleon?

Happy Halloween 2015!!!

Music Spotlight:
 


When I first heard Magic's "Don't Kill the Magic" I immediately thought of Kaitou Magician. I decided it would be a good choice for his "character song."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy International New Trials Day!


Deja vu: The Transfer Student from Hong Kong by wishluv on DeviantArt


Has it been 16 years already? How surreal. All I remember is how I had an itch to write about Sakura's continued journey as a teenager, even before the Card Captor Sakura and manga and anime had ended. It was during the summer of 1999, the year I had fallen about as hard as I could fall for an anime. And I published the Prologue and first couple chapters that fall in CCS fanfiction sites that have long since closed down. For me, it was clear in my mind that Li Syaoran was going to have to return to Hong Kong at the end of the anime, but there was so many ideas flashing in my mind on how that story would continue on, how to bring back Syaoran to fight by Sakura's side once more. I did not know it would take 16 years to tell it, however. I've matured since the teenage girl I was then, but I hope that someday when I look back at this fanfiction, it can capture a moment in time for me. And I hope that is the case for the readers too.

It wouldn't have been possible without all of you, my readers, and the great support all of you have given me. I think I was lucky in choosing CCS because it a series that has retained popularity nearly two decades since it was first published. I've been excited to see CLAMP's new CCS artwork with the new Nakayoshi 60th anniversary special edition manga volumes, and I am happy to see how CCS may be gaining new fans and bringing back old fans. 

Two weeks ago--I'm writing down the date because I might want to recall it some time in the future--but it was Friday turning into Saturday, August 22. I remember it vividly because I finished the last leg of planning New Trials will end. I mentioned before that since Arc 4 I have been keeping an outline for each chapter. I didn't all through Arc 1-3. Scary, isn't it? But during that period, I trusted keeping everything in my head. Unfortunately, my memory's not what it used to me anymore. I've already planned out the general framework and epilogue some years ago. But I guess there was some last details I had to configure, and I stayed up all night, unable to fall asleep, lying in my bed, plotting and plotting. It was really one of the most emotionally exhausting nights I've ever had. I hoped I could remember all the details enough to jot it down the next day. Now, a smart person would jot down notes while they are being formulated. But I find that sometimes writing disrupts thinking, if that makes any sense. Anyhow, I had to go out that night but I remember sitting on my bed that afternoon typing away notes like crazily before I had to leave. I'm kind of scared to look back to see if I wrote cohesive notes though.

The next chapter will be a fluffy one compared to recent ones, and I haven't had much time to write it until recent weeks, but I look forward to finishing it up. This fanart is from Chapter 72, actually. 

Happy International New Trials Day 2015!

Music Spotlight: Mandy Moore - "It's Gonna Be Love" 

I just had this song stuck in my head for some reason while drawing this fanart. I love good old sugary pop circa 2001, the time when CCS was also at its zenith.