The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Cover of the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Review by fmarie0122

Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

My mom actually recommended this book to me and one day on a trip to the beach I decided to give it a shot. Through Eddie’s encounters in heaven his life is pieced together, and it allows the reader a deeper insight into the hardships that Eddie has experienced throughout his lifetime. All the people that he meets along the way played a part in his life and they had a story to tell, along with a lesion to be taught. With this Eddies is able to come to terms with what has happened in his life so that he can be truly at peace in heaven. This is a beautiful interpretation of heaven created by Mitch Albom and I would highly recommend that you give the book a chance.


My Hero Academia Art + How To Start Drawing a Picture

By: hannahn281

Hi! I am back with another fan art (I’ve been trying to draw original characters). This piece is of one of the characters, Shouto Todoroki, who has a super power which allows him to freeze with his right hand, and burn with his left. It took about three hours to draw and I used FireAlpaca and my Wacom Intuos 5 tablet (I use it for all of my drawings). I thought this was really fun to draw because he is very unique looking character. I fell in love with his design: his eyes, his hair, everything. His two “sides” gave me a great opportunity to play around with colored light. This was my first time painting fire, and I wish I made it look neater because it kind of looks like a blob. At least I’ll know how to improve on it in the future.

What I really wanted to discuss was how to begin drawing a picture. Sometimes I have an idea of something I want to draw in my head, but I don’t know how to start. It can be very frustrating sometimes. You can feel like you’re so close, yet so far away from getting it onto the paper. Even if it does get onto the paper, sometimes it doesn’t look the way you want, though you can visualize it. I’m sure some of you have felt this or something similar, whether it be for art, writing, or writing music. Today, I have some tips to overcome this problem, specifically for art. This may not help everyone, but it really works for me,

  1. Use references: If I can’t figure out how a certain pose works, I look it up on google. I often struggle with drawing people sitting down, so just search “people sitting”, and you will get tons of images that will show you whatever pose you were looking for. Then, with a real visual on the side, it becomes much easier to use what you thought up in your head and actually draw it.
  2. Make a gesture sketch: This is a bit harder to describe than it is to show you. Basically, bodies have shapes, so before you get into the itty bitty details, it is easier to draw some shapes to “form” the outline of what you want to draw. I usually do this when drawing more than one character. This also makes the picture look more interesting and less stiff. I have an example of this here. It’s pretty messy, but it gets the idea across so you can start building the drawing.
  3. Try again and again! Sometimes when I sketch out something I’m not satisfied with, I redo it. Of course, this can require some patience and is a bit frustrating, but it gives you a fresh, new start. Also, you might know how to fix what you did wrong after doing it once already. Speaking of which, when I was first starting to draw this picture of Shouto, I originally planned to have his hands in the air, but it really didn’t fit the mood of the picture or him as a character. So, I redid it, and I like this version a lot better.

That’s as many tips I can think of at the moment. I’m sure there are more, so I may share them with you later. Thank you so much for reading. Keep drawing!



Another Love Live! Fan Art

Hello everyone! Today, I have drawn and painted another fan art for one of my favorite franchises, Love Live!. Along with the anime, there is also a phone app game called “Love Live!”, where you tap circles to the beat of a song and collect cards of your favorite girls. This angel set of cards was released in Japan, and I absolutely fell in love with the outfits and color choices. (The cards can be found here and here).

This piece took about 6 hours in total, but I did take breaks between working on it. I used a Wacom Intuos small drawing tablet and the art program, FireAlpaca. I knew right from the start that this would be a challenge to draw, since I’m not used to drawing lacey clothing. I also planned on giving the girls serious expressions, which as I have mentioned in my other posts, I struggle with that, since usually draw people with a smile on their face. Lastly, I planned on drawing a background for this piece. Again, I almost never draw “real” backgrounds. As you can see, this art took me way out of my comfort zone. Though I was not used to it, I persevered through it all. When I actually drew the clouds and the sky background, it was actually a lot easier than I expected! This proves to show how trying something new can really result in good consequences.

Of course, there are things I don’t like about this art, like You’s face or the weird lens flare in the background (I don’t know why I did that). There were a lot of things I could have added, like making the line art colors match up to the other colors of their clothes. However, I can see that I have really improved on shading and highlights as well as drawing more details!

In the end, I feel that this piece has helped me conquer a lot of struggles that I’ve had while drawing. I hope I can continue to keep drawing and get better and better. When I get struck with something challenging, I won’t just ignore it. I will try to find ways to fix it. Of course, this one drawing is one of many other ones, but each and every tiny drawing that you make will push you forward on your artistic journey; you just have to make it happen.

Hannah, 9th grade

Lunar New Year Drawing + Tips for Young Artists.

Chuc mung nam moi! That’s Vietnamese for “Happy New Year”, even though this post probably won’t be posted exactly on Lunar New Year. I am Vietnamese, so lunar new year is a huge part of my culture. My family comes together, and we eat delicious food like banh chung (Vietnamese sticky rice cake), and play fun games. After dinner, we do “li xi”, where the children wish adults a happy new year (in Vietnamese), and the children get red envelopes with money in them. In joy of this celebration, I drew a picture of two characters, Noiz & Koujaku, from one of my favorite anime, DRAMAtical Murder. This piece took about five hours. I really loved drawing it, because I’ve never drawn these types of clothes before, and it was a great, new experience for me. Isn’t it ironic that I’m drawing Japanese outfits when I’m Vietnamese? In general, there are a lot of things I want to fix about this drawing. I was running low on time, so I couldn’t add as many highlights as I wanted to, and I didn’t have time to change the line color, so the line art looks really harsh. I also want to fix Koujaku’s nose. Enough, with my self-critiquing. Even though I know I’m not an expert at drawing, I wanted to share some tips for young artists, like me, who are just starting out.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others! A big reason why people don’t even want to try drawing is because they think “Oh, I’ll never be as good as…” So what? Even if you think you won’t be as good as them, you should still try. You should set yourself to your own standards, and even if it isn’t that good, be confident. Be confident in your abilities, and tell yourself “I will get better, I will get better”. My old art was really, really bad, but I kept improving because I believed in myself.
  2. Find inspiration. A lack of inspiration really stinks when you want to draw. Instead of sitting down and waiting for it to come to you, go look for it! Some ways you can look for inspiration include looking at nature, exchanging ideas, getting your own art critiqued, or, my personal favorite, thinking about your favorite characters in funny scenarios. After getting inspiration, drawing should come easier.
  3. Learn the basics. Go watch some YouTube videos about anatomy. Read tutorials on color theory. This part of drawing isn’t fun, but it is a fundamental of learning to draw. You should learn a broad range of art information as well. I, sadly, did not do that. My weak points are definitely drawing animals and architecture. When I started out, I only focused on drawing people. This is why you should start out learning many things.
  4. Practice! Practice! Practice!!!!!! I know every artist tells you this, but it is true!! The only way to get better is by practicing. Like sports and school, practicing your skills is so incredibly crucial. I am so impatient, and I even explained how frustrating I was in my last post. However, as I also said in my last post, improvement comes over time, so you have to learn some discipline and work hard. Right now, I’m still practicing to get better.

I really do hope you liked this post and try to use the tips I gave. I would love for more young people to discover the fun of drawing! Thank you so much for reading through this long, boring thing. Bye bye for now! Try to save some time for drawing in your agenda this lunar year.

Hannah, 9th grade

sunrise, in the key of lonely


I love when the sunrise isn’t just average

cotton candy pastels are a dime a dozen now

and Technicolor sunrise is a bit too bright for me


I much prefer:

pale and luminous light on the film of water

left clinging to the ground after a rain

when detached from the world, I can sit calmly

and watch the road slide smoothly by

like an oil slick or an opal,

shimmering with soft flame


And also when:

the sky goes muted with the coming sunrise

and the world tinges sepia and purple

like an ancient photograph

of an empty city

and the ghosts in my headphones

are too powerful to ignore


But I’ve forgotten

about the beauty of the silent sunrise

when the sun slips up red as poppies

flaring in the sky like someone painted

dragon fire on the horizon



the full moon, sitting over my neighbor’s attic

self-assured and aloof

pinned onto the velvet night

far fairer than the sun, and far colder.

And sometimes it’s the crescent moon

like a baby’s cradle in the sky-river

Or no moon at all

no harmony to the sun’s melody


Finally, the morning star.

most like me, the same every day –

patiently waiting

for the celestial bus.

“Inktober” Drawing of Chika Takami + A Discussion About Art Style

Hello guys! Today, I have drawn yet another character from Love Live! Sunshine!!. I usually don’t draw Love Live! that often, so its a kind of a coincidence that I’m uploading two in a row. During the month of October, artists all over the internet draw something using ink, calling it the “Inktober Challenge”. I saw it and immediately thought it was a great idea, so I got out my inking pens and drew! I was not really used to using ink to shade, so this definitely lives up to its name as a “challenge”. However, it was a really good exercise, and I recommend that every artist should step out of their comfort zone at some point. Though, I’m talking about this now, what I really want to talk about is art style.

An artist’s art style, I would say, is the distinct way an artist draws. Every single person has a different, unique art style. Before the summer of 2016, I had a very solid, distinct art style. I had drawn in the same manner for about 2 years, but I felt unfulfilled. I like drawing cartoon-y people, but the way I drew back then was just TOO cartoony. This realization came to me when I tried drawing a graceful, mature character, but they ended up looking goofy and unrealistic. After this artistic failure, I tried in every way possible to force myself to change my art style. I looked at other artist’s styles, I drew so many things but ended up hating all of them. Another thing I did was copy other artist’s styles, which is something you should never do. After all, art style is the way you draw, so there’s no point to it if you copy someone else. Over the summer, I experimented with a lot of different styles. My Mari Ohara drawing from about a month ago was one of the many experiments I did. That time was so, so frustrating. I didn’t even know the way I drew anymore; it’s like my art wasn’t mine anymore. After being stressed out for so long, I decided that I needed to take it easy. If I wanted a more “realistic” art style, I shouldn’t have forced myself to do it. As I have previously mentioned, your art style is how YOU draw. What’s the point of drawing if it isn’t natural for you? All I needed to do was practice and be patient. You can’t just expect your art to get better or more realistic in just one day. I began drawing like I used to, and it became more fun and less frustrating. Eventually, after practice, studying, and lots and lots of sketches, I ended up with a fairly stable art style that I was comfortable with. Though it’s still not super realistic, it is a step up from where I was before, and it was original for me and me only. The lesson of this discussion is that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. If you want to see a change in your art, don’t copy other people and don’t force yourself. Let the art change itself naturally when it wants to, through experimenting, using references, and tons of practice. Everyone feels insecure about their art sometimes; its completely normal. No matter how you draw, you should still be proud and embrace the way you do it. That’s about it for this long post! What you should take away from this is that you should never lose hope in your art and most importantly, keep drawing!

Hannah, 9th grade

Drawing of Mari Ohara from Love Live! Sunshine!!

Hello! This is my first blog post, so I figured that I’d draw something. I couldn’t help but notice the lack of artwork here. I know I’m not the best artist, but I hope to encourage teens to share their artwork with the world. I feel insecure about my art sometimes, but posting it to a community helps you get positive feedback, constructive criticism, and it can also inspire others to draw. I drew Mari, a character from Love Live! Sunshine!!. Love Live! Sunshine!! is an anime about girls who make an “idol group”, which is pretty much a band of people who sing and dance for their school. The music is really good and the character designs and outfits are super pretty. I’m not really that into anime, but I really like this one. I recommend it to anyone who wants to try it out. This piece took about two hours in total, and I used a Wacom Intuos Small Tablet and an art program called FireAlpaca. All in all, it was really fun making a fan art for this show. I hope that more teens will post their artwork in any medium. Don’t be afraid, because no matter how you draw, posting your art will make you get better and better and boost your confidence. I hope you are now inspired to draw. Bye bye for now!

Hannah, 9th grade