Transformation 2B

I haven’t been making much new art lately. A few months ago, I started hand painting some fabric for a skirt, but that has stalled for now. It’s probably the largest scale illustration I’ve ever done, to be honest, and it’s hard to find subject matter that I think is nice and that I can also freehand comfortably without worrying about messing it up… I only really get 1 shot at painting on the skirt 😛

I haven’t been working on the skirt for awhile though, and I guess my brain needed something a little more complete-able. Last Friday, after having too much caffeine and sugar, I started working on a digital painting using MyPaint, an open source painting program that has a pretty amazing brush engine. It’s a little hard to get used to, and it isn’t totally user friendly yet. But you can get some very nice painterly effects in it. I sketched my underdrawing and did the initial paint in MyPaint, then switched to Photoshop to edit the proportions/skew some of the features to get it to look more human. Back into MyPaint to do more painting over the gaps from transform-tooling the features. Then back into Photoshop to lay down some photo textures. I think I used 1 photo of space, 2 different photos of cracking paint, 1 photo of some paint smears I made, and 1 photo of some paint smears someone else made.

I used a photo of myself as reference, but quickly got sick of trying to make it look like me. I’ve never had any knack for accurate portraiture. As a result, it looks exactly like my imaginary second-cousin, which is fine for the purposes of this image.

Sometimes it’s fun to try my hand at realism, since it’s not something I’ve pursued much. Generally I like line-work better, and it tended to be my stronger suit when I was drawing more. But after doing nothing but hand sketches of sweaters/illustrator flat sketches of sweaters (along with the line work on the skirt I’m painting), I found myself wanting to be more painterly. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Accurate portrait of my imaginary second-cousin

Accurate portrait of my imaginary second-cousin

Transformation 2b-closeup

Someone asked me to post my underdrawing too. Here’s an animated gif of (some of) the process:


My line art is pretty rough since I know I will paint on top of everything. I’m mainly concerned with getting the perspective correct, and having some basis to start laying in darks/lights. I didn’t have any screenshots of the chiaroscuro phase, in which I splat a bunch of approximate colours in approximate places. I usually start with the brightest areas (not including sharp highlights). Then I will lay in the darkest colours into the shaded areas. After I have this, I blend between the two, adding in different colours for some interest. I didn’t do any colour adjusting, which I’m pretty proud of. I have a fairly decent eye for colour subtlety, and I picked all the colours using the wheel (no eye-dropper from reference photos). You can see that there are some drastic changes in the facial structure between the 3rd and 4th frames; this is where I went into Photoshop to adjust the proportions. My sketch was kind of messed up in the first place, and then painting on top until I lost the line work exacerbated things.


I’ve been playing D&D 5th Edition with some friends every week. Being a bard for the first time is fun. I somehow managed to roll a couple of 18’s, and then got a bonus somewhere and ended up with 20 Charisma! So I’ve made a drawing of my beguiling bard, Lyra.



I’ve been thinking for awhile of doing something with Men’s wear. My inspirational husband loves patterned clothing. He is a very dapper fellow:

Apparently it’s very difficult to find fun clothing for men that isn’t cheap and gaudy, even in NYC. Scotch&Soda is a good place, and so is Topman. But usually their patterned offering is limited to shirts, and maybe a couple pairs of pants. Maybe even a suit. I made a custom colorway of my rose print, and am going to get it printed on some twill. It would make a fabulous pair of pants, and perhaps a blazer. What do you think?


Spacemaster Cucumber



Another one of my hobbies this summer has been gardening in pots. Erin bought me a packet of Spacemaster Cucumber seeds, which I tried to start 3 times before  finally getting some surviving (and thriving) plants! The first few batches were either eaten by our roommate’s cats, or killed by night-time temperatures. After much ado, we finally got a little cuke!


Spacemaster cucumbers are bred to live in pots, so they are smaller plants (and I assume, smaller cucumbers). I might try to raise some indoors this winter. I have to say, there’s nothing that can beat the taste of a fresh cucumber from your garden. Unfortunately my plants got a terrible case of powdery mildew and probably won’t produce another any more cucumbers this year. I might get a UV light though, and keep some plants around the house. We have some thriving basil, ginger, and jackfruit that I would like to bring inside for the winter…

cucumber and strawberry

cucumber and strawberry




Knitted Sweater




A few months ago I bought a sweater kit from Wool and the Gang, because one of my goals this year is to teach myself to knit. How better than to learn by making a simple and cute sweater? If you’re on a budget, this is a big indulgence (especially because of shipping). But I really love the yarn they gave me in the kit, as well as the wooden knitting needles. The pattern also looks great, and I recently finished it. It took me a very, very long time as I would only knit a couple rows every week. It’ll be nice for Autumn at least…


Assassin Sweater

I’ve been thinking a lot about starting my own business for quite some time now. My idea for an online-only boutique that pre-sells items before production spawned the website I just linked to, but there are a lot of behind-the-scenes things that have to happen before I can get my first product on there. Since I currently have a full-time job, and I don’t really know what I’m doing, things have been slow going.

When I do finally get things off the ground, the first product I want to offer is my Assassin Sweater:

assassin sweater

Because of my background as a game artist/my particular love for Character design, I’ve always thought of fashion design as a type of character design for real life. In illustration you change the silhouette, proportions, texture, color, and mood of a character’s physical body to show who a character is. I was taught using fairly Bauhausian principles, so form always follows function. Are they evil or kind? Do they prioritize freedom of movement (very physical, or more stationary)? Are they rich or poor, have they moved around and seen a lot?

In fashion, you show all those things using outfits. I want people to put on the clothes and become their character. But this is different from cosplay/costuming; you are the assassin, not a facsimile of some existing assassin. The character is built off you, and the clothing adds to you instead of defining you as something that you’re not. Clothing should give you freedom to move between roles, and offer you a way to express different facets at different times. And combinations are also important; the assassin sweater worn with fitted shorts and combat boots is different from the same sweater worn with skinny jeans and stilettos. The people who might wear these combinations could be the same person, or totally different people. But the piece itself offers you options to move between these roles without sacrificing your character. At least, it does in my dreamer version of the world.

The brand I want to start has always been called RPG. Geeky as it is, that’s how I really feel about how we dress and present ourselves; we are taking on different roles and playing them throughout our lives. One person will play many different roles in life, and I want to provide a playful and expressive wardrobe for all those occasions.

Feminism and Video Games

Yesterday my boyfriend informed me that the first sponsored, all-female League of Legends team was announced. He showed me what I thought of as an inexplicably cheesy and scripted video of their “launch”. I’m sure there were all-female LoL teams before this, but none had sponsorship. I don’t know much about the sponsored gaming team scene, to be honest. From my understanding, a team gets sponsored because they are highly visible in some way; a lot of people look up to them or watch their streams, and when the team goes to the tournaments, they wear advertised uniforms/gear in front of millions of people. So, if the stats from their cheesy launch video are true, there are very few all-female teams, and that makes them an interesting niche in the market. From a sponsorship perspective, that is very attractive. They have a hook that automatically draws in an audience, and it seems to have worked; it’s had a hugely polarizing effect (of course), and people either love them or hate them. Either way, I’m sure it’s drawing tons of viewers to their streams. Of course, gender is at centre of this.

“They’re attention whoring by using a gimmick instead of being a really good team!”

I think this is the biggest issue that people have with this team. According to the in game stats, they formed on April 17th, and have played 52 games since then. Their team is ranked Gold I, which means they are in the top of Gold Division. This sounds really great on paper but in order for them to be LCS tournament material, they have to go up 2 more tiers, each with 5 divisions within them. That means there are many hundreds of teams ahead of them in the standings. So they are relatively new, and for a “pro” team, they have an extremely low ranking.

So we’ve established that no, they’re not one of the best teams in the League, and typically only the best of the best teams get sponsorship. But from a sponsor’s perspective, you don’t need to be the best team; you need to be a very highly visible team that stands out. If being female makes you stand out (which it unfortunately does in most video games), then you can get sponsored for being female. Some people are shouting “That’s wrong! LoL should be a meritocracy where only the best players get sponsored!” Well, Riot Games DOES sponsor only the best players; but that doesn’t stop independent sponsors from paying for their own teams. League of Legends is still a meritocracy; the sponsorship of Team Siren (an awful name if you ask me), has not given them a free pass into the LCS by any means. It just means that someone has decided it’s worth money to pay these women to play LoL publicly, and maybe it means that the team owners are making money off the spectacle of women playing video games.

So-called attention whoring comes into play because for a team to be sponsored, they have to be highly visible. Nobody wants to own a team that doesn’t generate money in some way. This team is not likely to win any big tournaments for the next little while, so how do they keep the sponsors happy? By getting a lot of attention, of course. I don’t think that the players themselves necessarily want the attention. They might be fine with it, which is why they joined a specifically all-female team, but that doesn’t mean they paid for the cheesy video to be produced, and had control of how they are portrayed in it. You have to remember that sponsorship and having a corporate team means that someone else gets to decide who you are now. If the sponsors don’t like how you portray yourself, your sponsorship gets pulled. So I don’t think these women are “attention whoring”, which is just calling attention to yourself for the sake of attention (a dubious accusation anyway). Their team owners or sponsors have a specific agenda that they are trying to further, and will manipulate the images of these women as they see fit. I might let someone do that if it meant I could play video games professionally/could handle the hate river that I know would ensue.

This all may seem like I am arguing completely in favour of Team Siren and against their vocal opponents. But this is not the case. I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of marketing and packaging women as a spectacle of any kind. While unavoidable in this kind of sphere where women are such a rarity, I dislike how it’s been handled. I feel like they portrayed them in a really cheesy manner, instead of promoting them as human beings with skills. When you see them it is obvious that they’re all female. There isn’t any need to draw special attention to that, as they have in the video. There is also no need to tell anyone that the LoL community is mostly male. That’s also common knowledge. However, if your goal is to promote women in LoL, you have to be kind of in-yo-face about it because otherwise nobody knows who you are. I am torn because I feel like this might be one more way for advertisers to objectify women, but at the same time having an (in)famous all-female team really does help the community along in terms of gender inclusion. Calling attention to the fact that they are female is addressing the very real gender gap in LoL.

When I was 13 and playing a lot of Starcraft, there was SCGirls. They were a pretty elite group. They weren’t sponsored, but just the idea of there being an all-female guild of kickass players was really amazing to me. I only happened to find out about SCG because my guild played some games against them. We got pwned. And I was amazed! Wow! There were other girls out there playing SC, and they were really awesome! And in an all-female team, nobody can say that you only made it because your (male) teammates saved you/did all the work. That was really heartening for me.

Sadly, it’s still not widely socially acceptable for women to be in the same games as men. Barriers do exist, and I think there are reasons outside of raw ability that there isn’t even one female player in the pro teams across the entire world. The community, while better than it used to be, is still harsh. I don’t know how much of a chance Team Siren have at LCS, but I’m glad they exist, cheesy video or not, and I hope they inspire some 13 year old girls to keep playing LoL.

Alice Skirt (Tutorial)


I’ve noticed a lot of people arriving here from Pinterest, looking for my Alice Skirt tutorial! Because it got obliterated in the transition from one wordpress blog to the next, I have to rewrite it from scratch. Fortunately, I am now much wiser in the ways of skirt making; unfortunately I don’t remember the exact measurements I used for the skirt fabric pieces. The process is pretty simple though, and I hope it gets you interested in making your own fun skirts for summer!

The Alice Skirt has a self-lining, and fastens using the ties in the back. I will take some detail pics so that you can see how I finished certain things. If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I’ll try my best to help you out!

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why hello there,

Unfortunately I neglected to export the content from my old wordpress, so I don’t have much of the fun stuff I had here before. I’ll try to post the skirt DIY again, as that seemed to be very popular! I’ll slowly be adding more artwork to the portfolio part of my site, and update that stuff here too.

If you are new to this site, let me introduce myself! I’m Andrea Lam. The one who isn’t a concert pianist. Surprisingly, there are a lot of Andrea Lams in the world, but I might be the only one who is an artist and fashion designer. I used to make casual video games for Ph03nix New Media, and worked on PC titles such as the Curse of the Pharaoh series consisting of 3 games, The Tarot’s Misfortune, and Poker Genius for iPhone. Now, I am dedicating myself to fashion design, and want to start a new online boutique for my designs (and perhaps those of a few friends).

I might start up my “what I wore today” drawings series again, so watch out for that soon 🙂