XP Pen Artist 15.6 : Pen Display Alternatif Wacom Cintiq!

Di Tech Wish list yang gw buat beberapa bulan yang lalu, salah satu wish list gw di tahun 2019 adalah Ipad Pro 12.9. Anak graphic design dan ilustrator pasti tau lah ya gimana lagi hebohnya pesona Ipad Pro sekarang-sekarang ini, apalagi didukung dengan aplikasi seperti Procreate yang saat ini hanya untuk iOs. Sebetulnya gw hampir aja beli Ipad Pro 12.9, saat itu duit gw cuma cukup untuk beli yang 32 GB yang mana harganya 12 juta, dan itu belum termasuk Apple Pen nya seharga 1,5 juta dan keyboard 2 juta lagi. Total hampir 15 juta. Itu buat ngegambar doang bro, udah seharga motor itu mah…

Gw udah semangat 45 buat belinya hari itu karena udah ngidam lama dan udah ngumpulin duit hemat-hemat gak jajan. Pas udah sampe di iBox Grand Indonesia Jakarta, tiba-tiba gw kembali waras dan merasa kalo gw harus berfikir dulu sebelum belinya, soalnya skill gw kan masih ceteeeeknya minta ampun, kok belagu banget udah kayak ilustrator kondang aja mau pake iPad Pro segala. Sedangkan temen gw si Angga, yang gajinya udah lebih 1000an dollar USD (kata siapa seniman itu miskin, hehe. Dulu dia gak dilirik cewek-cewek, sekarang mereka nyesel kali ya nikah duluan, haha) malah boro2 pake iPad (walau pun tetep aja ya MacBook Pronya yang terbaru), tablet Wacomnya aja gak jauh2 dari punya gw, haha.

Terus gw melirik Microsoft Surface Go yang harganya lebih murah, tapi 10 inch buat gw kekecilan. Dan juga laptop-laptop series Yoga Book gitu lah (yang bisa diputer layarnya dan gambar langsung di layar).  Namun endingnya setelah bertapa berbulan-bulan, gw memutuskan untuk bukan beli Ipad, bukan Surface dan bukan Yoga Book, melainkan Pen Display aja! TADAAA…

Buat yang gak tau pen display itu apa, simple pen display (atau kadang disebut drawing monitor) adalah tablet menggambar yang pake layar atau monitor yang bisa digambar langsung di atas screennya. Tablet disini maksudnya bukan tablet Samsung atau iPad ya, tapi tablet sejenis Wacom, yaitu tablet yang gak punya fungsi lain selain untuk menggambar. Beda dengan iPad dkk yang punya fungsi full smart phone.  Kenapa akhirnya gw memilih membeli pen display ketimbang iPad atau Yoga Book?? Karenaa…:

  1. Kalo iPad dkk bukan untuk investasi jangka panjang, karena mungkin 2-3 tahun lagi udah kadaluarsa makenya. Kalo mau upgrade, harus upgrade semuanya. Sedangkan kalo pen display, bisa dipake di hampir semua laptop. Jadi kalo someday gw ganti laptop juga masih bisa dipake.
  2. Karena fungsinya yang seperti smartphone, iPad dkk cenderung bisa ngelag atau turun performancenya, belum lagi kalo mereka kena virus atau keberatan aplikasi yang lain.
  3. Dengan harga yang jauh lebih murah dibanding iPad dkk, gw bisa ngedapetin layar yang super gede dengan pen display! Bayangin, yang 22 inch aja gak lebih dari 12 juta! **tergantung merk dan tipe

Setelah browsing reviews di Youtube dan Google, akhirnya gw memutuskan untuk membeli XP Pen Artist 15.6 dari seller yang udah recommended di Tokopedia dan di Go Courier Instant di Jakarta, seharga Rp 7.000.000.

Dari sekian banyak model dan merk di price range yang sama, alasan gw memilih  XP Pen Artist 15.6 adalah:

  1. Selalu masuk rekomendasi para Youtuber kondang dunia seni digital untuk pen display di bawah harga USD 500, malah lebih bagus daripada pendahulunya yang berukuran slightly lebih besar, 16 inch.
  2. Stylus pen nya gak perlu pake batre jadi gak repot harus ngecharge pena, kapan aja mau gambar bisa.
  3. Layarnya udah dilapisi screen protector yang matte, jadi lebih berasa paper-like pas ngegambar
  4. Low to minimum parallax
  5. Harganya yang cuma 7 juta brooo….
  6. Designnya ramping, tipis dan minimal kabel. Gw liat yang lain pada banyak kabel ini-itu.
  7. Ada 6 tombol express keys

Ada juga yang 13 inch, tapi buat gw screennya kekecilan kalo 13, dan 22 inch harganya kemahalan untuk gw saat ini. Pinginnya sih yang 22, tapi bakalan repot kalo mau dibawa2 saking gedenya. Yang 16 inch, walaupun harganya lebih mahal, tapi stylusnya masih pake batre. Harganya lebih mahal karena packagenya lebih generous, dapet stylusnya aja ada 2, satunya buat cadangan, hehe. Dan udah dapet standnya juga. Berhubung gw juga ngincer standnya Artisul, jadi lebih baik gw beli yang gak pake stand aja. Begini penampakan setelah barangnya sampai:

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Note: enggak termasuk notebooknya ya bokk…

Setelah dibuka kotaknya:

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Semua sisinya dilindungi dengan foam yang tebal dan keras untuk melindungi si hardware. Semuanya juga masih diplastikin, agak gimana gitu bukanya, hehe… Di bagian bawah kotak, ada kotak lagi yang isinya segala perkakas lainnya:

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Di bagian dalam kotaknya:

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Kita dapet colokan buat berbagai negara, jadi nanti klo jalan-jalan ke luar negeri, tinggal bawa colokan yang sesuai aja. Juga dapat glove buat ngegambar, tapi gw gak butuh karena palm rejectionnya XP Pen Artist 15.6 ini udah bagus banget. Kerasa banget bedanya sama Samsung Tab gw!

Kotak item di atas pena stylus itu adalah holder pen nya yang dalemnya terdapat 8 nib cadangan. Bagian belakang kotaknya berfungsi buat ngelepasin nibnya.

Karena screennya matte, jadi lebih berasa natural. Kita gak dapet CD installernya karena langsung di dowload di situsnya sesuai OS kita. Ada satu masalah waktu pertama kali gw coba, yaitu pena dan tablet gw berfungsi untuk menggambar, tapi waktu gw coba jalanin driver Pen Settingnya, tulisannya “Device not found” walaupun sudah gw reinstall berulang-ulang dan sudah gw pastikan gak ada driver tablet lain di laptop gw saat gw menginstallnya. Kalo Pen Setting ini gak bisa dibuka, jadinya gw gak bisa mengatur pressure sensitivitynya dan express keys. Gw udah mencoba menghubungi CSnya yang di China dan US but they didnt help at all, they asked stupid questions that frustrated me. Akhirnya setelah berjam-jam, gw tinggal tidur aja. Besok paginya gw coba lagi, akhirnya berjalan dengan lancar! Plis deh, tau gitu gw langsung tidur aja kemaren!

Kesimpulan gw setelah make ini adalah:

  1. Bener-bener worth it!!! Gak nyesel sama sekali gw beli ini dan gw merasa ini salah satu best deal gw tahun ini!
  2. Kursornya lebih tepat di bawah pena kalo tabletnya diposisiin berdiri miring ketimbang laying flat di atas meja (kayak nulis di buku). Jadi ini memaksa gw harus membeli standnya juga, karena kalo pake buku, takutnya malah jatoh dari meja. Kan sayang bangeet… Mana harga standnya di atas 600ribuan juga pulak! Hiks.
  3. Walau pun designnya slim dan tipis, tapi tetep aja gak travel friendly karena susah nyari tas laptop yang besarnya pas, bahkan cari casenya aja susah, untung aja gw bisa jahit, jadi kemungkinan gw akan jahit sendiri casenya. Dan kalo untuk travel, mungkin gw akan tetep bawa Wacom gw kalo buat travelling.

Ini karya pertama gw menggunakan XP Pen Artist 15.6 ini:

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Bagaimana Cara Gw Menghasilkan dalam Dollar

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Salah satu tantangan bagi orang kreatif adalah bukannya ketidaktersediaan material, tapi menghadapi orang-orang yang selalu mematahkan ide/ gagasan kreatif. Karena orang-orang tersebut gak mengerti bahwa salah satu bagian dari proses kreatif adalah kegagalan. Orang kreatif gak akan berhenti di satu bahkan seribu kegagalan. Entah udah berapa kali gw diceramahin atau dikatain orang-orang bahwa gak semua orang bisa ngelakuin apa yang mereka mau, sebagian besar orang memang harus kerja melakukan apa yang mereka gak suka asal bisa hidup. Iya, gw setuju dengan kalimat tersebut. Anggaplah persentasenya 85% dan 15%, maka itu gw mau jadi yang 15%, bukan yang 85%. Gw percaya bahwa selalu ada cara dimana skill dan level kemampuan yang sama bisa dihargai berbeda. I just need to know how, what, where, when and why. Nah 4W1H ini yang mahal.

Basically gw ini orangnya pemalas banget, gw hanya mau melakukan apa yang gw suka. Sampe gw juga males yang namanya pergi ke kantor setiap hari, harus dandan mentereng,pake seragam, ngeluarin duit buat ongkos, biaya penampilan dan gajinya menurut gw gak lebih dari dari uang jajan yang dikasih orang tua gw waktu gw kuliah dulu. Apalagi kalo pekerjaan itu hanya mengajarkan gw satu hal, karena gw hanya melakukan hal yang sama setiap hari, sehabis itu kalo gw berhenti gw hanya dianggap tisu basah sekali pakai, yang mana penggantinya bejibun, lalu gw harus stuck di satu perusahaan karena kalo pindah perusahaan akan jatoh ke awal lagi dan belum lagi kalo mau pindah lokasi tempat tinggal (misal istri yang ikut suami atau bosen aja gitu di suatu daerah), susah pindahnya karena masalah pekerjaan. Untuk diri gw pribadi, gw mau menjauhi situasi-situasi tersebut. Gak worth it rasanya gw mengekang masa muda gw karena kecemasan apa yang akan terjadi nanti di masa tua yang belum pasti. Dan to be clear ya, gw gak meng-offend orang-orang yang melakukan pekerjaan tersebut, karena kebahagiaan dan situasi orang berbeda-beda. For me, I just can’t see myself there, just like you probably cant see yourself in my position.

Setiap generasi punya keuntungan sendiri-sendiri, dan gw yakin keuntungan generasi gw adalah internet. Ketakutan yang dimiliki oleh generasi orang tua gw gak seharusnya menghantui gw. Internet ada hampir dimana-mana, kalo gw bisa bikin uang dan stable income dari internet, maka gw akan mengurangi kekangan-kekangan dari hal-hal tadi. Lapangan pekerjaan yang bisa dikerjakan secara mobile semakin lama akan semakin luas, sampai puluhan tahun ke depan, masih akan tetap dibutuhkan pekerjaan di bidang teknologi atau kemampuan untuk membawa ilmu tradisional ke ranah teknologi. Semakin cepat dicoba semakin baik untuk mendapatkan first-mover’s advantage. 

Dulu, gw menyangka kalo gw mau jadi pengusaha. Ternyata setelah gw jalanin, gw semakin mengerti konsep kebebasan yang gw inginkan itu yang bagaimana. Yang gw mau adalah kebebasan lokasi, it doesn’t matter for me if gw harus masuk ke dalam suatu tim (in fact I realized I like being in a team, asal timnya adalah orang-orang yang mirip gw. Gw gak bisa banget berada dalam lingkungan kerja yang mengutamakan senioritas, yang kalo mau mengemukakan pendapat harus segan-segan segala lah karena faktor usia dan adat). Dan gw juga mau waktu gw dibayar sepadan. Kalo gw terikat dalam suatu perusahaan tradisional, ‘harga waktu’ gw terikat dengan kebijakan mereka. Sedangkan dengan apa yang gw lakukan sekarang, gw punya lebih kuasa dalam menentukan seberapa gw ingin dibayar. Ya memang bersusah-susah dulu di awal, tapi grafik naiknya kelihatan. 

Selain karena masalah dollar, alasan utama gw lainnya adalah gw mau menjadi location independent, dimana gw bisa kerja dari mana aja selama ada internet. Just in case suatu waktu gw pindah kota atau malah negara (ya namanya hidup kita gak tau kan), lebih baik gw punya skill dan portofolio yang gw bisa bawa jauh ketimbang ngehabisin hidup gw di satu tempat yang ternyata gak akan dihargai lebih di tempat lain. Tapi itu menurut gw pribadi ya…

And to be honest, another reason why I push myself to be able to earn in dollars is because I dont feel optimistic of how this country will be. It’s just getting closer and closer to be the next Syria, while other countries are busy working on developing technology, my country is still busy fighting over what religion a leader should believe in. At least, if the worst happens, I’ll have a career and a name that can help me to make money somewhere else.

Mungkin, kalo dari luar keliatannya gw ini maen-maen aja ya, jalan-jalan terus, kayaknya cuma ngelakuin hal yang senang-senang aja. Gw keliatannya kayak orang yang gak peduli dengan masa depan. In fact, gw peduli banget dengan semua yang berpotensi merusak kebebasan dan kebahagiaan gw. Like it or not, finance holds the key to many kinds of freedom.

So, dari saat gw di Bali awal tahun ini, gw kepingin banget rasanya earning in dollars and spending in rupiahs namun masih tetap berkaitan dengan bidang yang gw kuasai/ nikmati. Menurut gw, the fact that I live in a developing country like Indonesia adalah keuntungan gw yang gak dimiliki warga negara maju, terlebih lagi gw masih muda dan gak punya tanggungan, jatah gagal gw masih banyak. Hence, gw melakukan ancang2 dan akhirnya kesampaian juga, walaupun belum besar, but it’s getting better and more sustainable. Enak ternyata punya dua pendapatan dengan mata uang yang berbeda.

Bisa dibilang, ‘karir’ dibidang cari duit online udah gw mulai dari sekedar jadi sista-sista online shop sambilan, penerjemah online, crypto trader dadakan, sampe ke international marketplace, bukan cuma market place barang, tapi juga marketplace jasa. Yang mana artinya gw bekerja sebagai freelancer yang selama ini gw geluti. Berikut cara yang gw lakukan dan gw tau menurut pengalaman gw:

  1. FIND THE WHAT

Gak semua hal/ skill bisa dibawa ke dunia digital, misalnya aja kalo kemampuan lo mantri sunat, kan gak mungkin mau nyunat via skype. Ada cara lain memang dan bukan berarti buntu, misal, bikin kelas online tentang dunia persunatan, tapi kan bidang itu mungkin gak high demand dan gak dibutuhkan di negara-negara dollar. Cari tahu tentang bidang dan peluang apa aja yang dibutuhkan banyak orang, well-paid dan sustainable. Dari semua list itu, pilih salah satu yang menurut lw, lw mampu atau lo suka, atau yang bisa membantu lo untuk mendapatkan sesuatu yang lebih besar di kemudian hari. Ada banyak banget peluang cari duit dari internet, malah kebanyakan yang seringnya gak kepikiran, tapi ternyata ada ya kerjaan kayak gini.

2. DECIDE WHERE & HOW TO USE YOUR EXISTING RESOURCES

Setelah memilih hal mana yang akan dijalani, fikirkan gimana caranya menggunakan resource yang kamu punya sekarang untuk membantu kamu mendapatkan itu. Juga, it doesn’t mean that we have to learn something that’s really new and different from what we’ve mastered before. Gw memilih bidang yang at least gw punya pengetahuan yang cukup, so ketika gw alternate hal itu ke dunia digital, gw gak harus belajar dari awal lagi (walau pun ternyata fashion design untuk bridal dan untuk apparel manufacturing itu beda total! haha)

Misal dalam kasus gw, bidang yang udah gw pelajari dan gw rintis adalah fashion design, kalo tiba-tiba nyelonong pingin jadi programmer software, kan gw harus ulang belajar hal yang baru lagi. Sedangkan kalo gw tetep di dunia fashion design, gw hanya perlu mencari tau bagian mana dari fashion design itu yang ada market untuk jasa digitalnya, salah satunya adalah Digital Technical Packs (well, gak usah gw jelasin lah ya ini apa).

3. BUT LOOK FOR OTHER POTENTIAL CORRELATED OPPORTUNITIES

Gak menutup kemungkinan kalo kemampuan yang udah lw kuasain bisa dimanfaatkan di bidang lain. Contohnya, apa yang udah gw pelajari dan kerjakan di dunia fashion ternyata bisa gw bawa ke bidang ilustrasi digital. Karena sebenarnya gw menggunakan software dan beberapa skill yang ada kesamaan. Contohnya, gw menggunakan software yang sama, yaitu Adobe Illustrator untuk bikin fashion flats, dan Adobe Illustrator juga bisa digunakan untuk menggambar ilustrasi. Untuk saat ini, gw belum menjual jasa gw di bidang ilustrasi, tapi gw udah mengumpulkan portofolio dari sekarang.

4. FIND A WAY TO SEE AND TO BE SEEN

Put yourself in the map, what is the map?? The internet. Banyak platforms yang mendukung agar orang  lain yang belum kenal kita (misal future employer) bisa mengetahui kemampuan kita, tapi jangan asal menyampah ke semua platforms juga ya bok, pilih yang strategis dengan tujuan lo.

Bisa diliat ya, gw ada di Youtube, blog, etsy, dribble, etc etc. Namun semua yang gw lakukan bersinergi dalam stream yang sama yang membantu satu sama lain. Sehingga kalo ada future employer, dia bisa liat kalo emang gw punya kemampuan. Apa yang gw tebar itu portofolio online gw.

Banyak yang sangka, gw itu cuma ngebikin dress/ gaun pesta buat wanita, trus bengong nungguin baju gw kejual. Kenyataannya, kalo gw cuma bergantung dengan menunggu baju gw kejual doang, gw mau makan pake apa ciiinn, mana pula gw pemain baru dan yang gak punya koneksi siapa-siapa. Gw juga gak pinter peres sama ibu-ibu sosialita. Saat gw menaruh foto-foto hasil karya gw di interenet, gw gak menaruh harapan besar mereka akan kejual. Karena gw sadar itu sangat sulit, dari awal, sales itu bukan tujuan utama gw. Tapi itu portofolio gw. Gw harus bisa nunjukin kalo gw punya passion dan kemampuan di hal itu.

Gak usah malu buat memulai bikin portofolio. It takes time and hardwork dan buang jauh-jauh rasa malu, but it’s worth it. Jujur aja, gw itu bikin youtube channel juga bukan karena gw kepedean atau pingin terkenal. Gw bukan anak ABG lagi bro yang mikirnya masih begitu. Bisa diliat kalo sebenernya gw itu gak nyaman ngomong di depan kamera. Tapi ya gw paksain aja, karena gw yakin salah satu strateginya adalah ini. Ternyata sekarang subscribers gw udah mau 4000 aja. Kemungkinan sih, akhir Desember nanti gw udah mencapai angka 5000. Bayangin ya, ketika temen-temen gw malah pamer foto anak-anaknya di sosmed atau foto undangan pernikahan, gw malah ujug-ujug bikin youtube channel buat dunia perjahitan. Pasti lah banyak yang sebenernya ngetawain gw di belakang saat itu, ngapain coba ni orang udah umur segini malah kayak dedek-dedek, maenannya Youtube. Haha! Tapi, percaya atau gak, Youtube gw itu udah membantu gw mendapatkan trust dari orang-orang yang gak tinggal di negara gw! Haha!

Peminjaman Textbook Import Murah di Perpustakaan Online

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Buku textbook atau buku pelajaran memang lebih susah nyarinya ketimbang buku-buku populer. Buku populer (apalagi yang cinta-cintaan), lebih gampang cari PDF gratisannya walaupun baru kemaren terbit. Sedangkan buku textbook, lebih untung-untungan, kadang nemu di Scribd, kadang enggak. Jadi seringnya kita harus mengeluarkan usaha dan biaya lebih untuk membacanya, salah satunya adalah dengan meminjam di perpustakaan online.

Ada tiga buah buku fashion yang lagi gw cari-cari banget, yaitu tentang apparel manufacturing, dicari kemana-mana juga gak dapet yang lengkap versi PDF gratisannya. Semua link yang ditemukan selalu aja bersifat subscription. Mau beli buku aslinya, pas check harganya Rp 2,5 juta satu bukunya, kalo ditotal buat beli buku bisa Rp 7,5 juta, itu mah udah cukup untuk beli drawing monitor segala! Kalo kaya sih gapapa beli buku segitu, tapi kalo melirik dompet, gw harus tau diri dan pintar-pintar cari cara lain.

Awalnya gw melirik buku bekas di Abebooks, harga-harganya yang murah banget dengan banyak pilihan ongkir yang gak mahal, membuat gw memutuskan untuk beli disana aja. Namun karena ongkir murah, gw gak dapet tracking ID dan kepastian kapan sampai, alhasil setelah penantian selama 1,5 bulan, pihak toko buku mengkonfirmasi bahwa buku yang gw beli kemungkinan besar udah lost in transit dan uang gw direfund. Duh! Rasanya nyesek banget karena waktu gw udah terbuang lama menunggu dan jadinya sia-sia. Kalo harus membeli yang harga 2 jutaan di Periplus, rasanya gw juga udah gak sabar lagi kalo harus menunggu, apalagi mendekati musim liburan gini, bisa-bisa baru sampenya bulan Januari 2019!

Pilihan lainnya, gw menemukan banyak link yang bersifat subscription seperti Scribd namun dari Usenet. Hhhmm… enggak deh kalo Usenet, karena menurut reviews sih ini adalah salah satu scam terbesar dan terniat yang bakal mempersulit kita ketika akan mengcancel. Kalo aja di Scribd ada, gw akan perpanjang subscription gw di Scribd, sayangnya gak ada.

Hampir putus asa, akhirnya gw menemukan Bloomsbury Fashion Central (BFC). BFC adalah salah satu perpustakaan online khusus untuk textbook di bidang fashion. Banyak juga sih perpustakaan online lainnya, tapi BFC khusus pada textbook dan fashion. Koleksi bukunya bikin menganga dan pingin pinjem semuanya! Wadaawww…

Di luar negeri seperti UK dan USA, ada beberapa perpustakaan yang menyediakan peminjaman buku lewat online, namun hanya untuk buku fisik. Sehingga orang-orang di luar negara mereka gak bisa pinjem. Berbeda dengan BFC yang menyediakan versi paperback maupun ebook.

Lah kalo ebook, rentalnya gimana? Bukannya bisa didownload aja??

Jadi begini, BFC ini bekerja sama dengan software-sofware book reading seperti Adobe Reader, yang mana kita hanya bisa membuka PDF tersebut hanya lewat aplikasi-aplikasi tertentu dan dalam jangka waktu tertentu dan hanya bisa dibuka jika ada koneksi internet. Jadi aplikasi akan menghitung sampai dengan deadline peminjaman kita, setelah berakhir, kita gak bisa lagi mengaksesnya.

Pilihan jangka waktunya ada 3; 6 bulan, 12 bulan dan tanpa expiry date, yang artinya bisa selamanya, jadi sama aja kayak kita beli PDFnya! Namun bedanya adalah kita harus terkoneksi dengan internet kalo mau baca.

Jujur aja sekarang-sekarang ini gw lebih prefer buku dalam format digital karena hidup gw sering pindah-pindah. Alangkah repotnya kalau gw harus bawa-bawa buku setiap kali gw pindahan, karena memang buku-bukunya tergolong yang penting buat karir gw.

Harga yang gw bayar untuk peminjaman satu buku adalah 11 Euro selama enam bulan. Sebenernya bakalan lebih hemat kalo aja gw ambil yang tanpa expiry date, hanya 31 Euro! Tapi karena baru pertama kali mencoba, jadi ya gapapa deh. Masih lumayan juga daripada gw beli buku harga 2 juta kann…

Gw juga masih berharap buku yang gw beli di Abebooks akan sampe (mungkin dia akan sampe setelah gw berhenti berharap, hehe), kalo memang gak sampe juga, gw akan memperpanjang sewa ebook gw di BFC ini dengan mengambil yang tanpa expiry date seharga 31 Euro (Rp 500ribu).

Keuntungan yang gw rasakan banyak, apalagi kalo melihat ketersediaan buku textbook fashion yang susah nyarinya. Namun beberapa hal yang menurut gw kekurangannya adalah:

  1. Bergantung kepada internet dan aplikasi tertentu,
  2. Makan waktu lama untuk import dari file ke aplikasi,
  3. Kalo aja BFC bangkrut dan gulung tikar, maka hilang juga investasi gw dan gw gak bisa mengaksesnya lagi! Hiks!

Oia, untuk pembayarannya hanya bisa dengan credit card, yah!

How I learned English (I’m still learning until now though!)

Many people asked me about how I learned my English; both locals and foreigners. So I’ll write this post so that later I can just copy-paste the link to them. And I’m writing this not because I feel so confident about my English, in fact, on the contrary, I realize how imperfect my English is even though I’ve worked a lot for years since I was in middle school to master it, still I will never be close to native, not even advanced level. At first I hated it, I hated myself for not being good at something that I like. I hated the fact that my English is far from perfect, that I have a strong accent sometimes in speaking and you can feel it too in my writing that English is not my first language (even though my writing is better than my speaking).

Maybe for many Indonesians, they consider my English more than enough. Many people hope that they can speak English like I do. Many foreigners were also surprised with my English, but I think they’re not amazed with my English, they just didn’t think any Indonesians would be capable of communicating in English because we are from a poor country and our education is not our best quality.

Also, I’ve been made fun of and mocked because of my English, sometimes not in a friendly way, and even by a guy I was dating at that time (a foreigner). He said, “How pathetic that you are an English graduate but your English is sh*t.” , when we were having an argument (that’s not even related to my English, he just suddenly said that to hurt me).

I realize that when a westerner (especially those who like to call themselves “expats” instead of immigrants) speak broken non-English language like Bahasa Indonesia, it’s considered cute. But when non-native English speakers like me speak broken English, we’re considered less educated, less important, or have lower thinking ability. I realize how easy it is for someone to feel more exclusive than others just by a language, even if English–their mother tounge–is the only language they speak/ understand.

My story is just one of Indonesians’ stories about how hard we work for something that we dont easily have access to. Especially for people like me who don’t come from the upper class where they speak in English more than they speak in Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesians in big cities and the upper class minority speak English very very well, they study and travel overseas. One example of this class is the breakthrough young rapper, Rich Chigga/ Rich Bryan. People won’t think that he’s an Indonesian if you listen to his English and music.

My parents sent me and my brother to the best private school in the our city at that time, it’s quite expensive and far from where we lived, so my friends were from families who are richer than us, that every time I was invited to my friends’ birthday parties or just to play at their houses, I was amazed by how big their houses mostly were, felt like mine was the smallest and modest. Many of my friends already went to English courses since very early, kindergarten maybe. My parents, even though they understood the importance of English, they couldn’t afford that for me and my brother. So it’s like we started the marathon late, because we did not get any English courses until we’re in middle school. At that time, there’s no Youtube, there’s no internet and kids didn’t play 80% of their days with tablets/ phones. Even I had to go to my neighbor’s house every afternoon and Sunday morning to watch cartoons because he was the only one who had TV cable in our neighborhood.

I never realized I was good at learning languages until I was given the opportunity to learn other language, that’s when I was 13 y.o. My parents could not afford the expensive English course for us, so we went to the mid price, none of the teachers were native. That’s when I realized I fell in love with this subject, I didn’t know at that time if English is important, I didn’t know how it’s gonna help my life in the future, I just fell in love, I enjoyed it and I want to be able to speak it. I have no target nor expectation from my self-study. I think that’s the purest kind of love, when you love something/ someone with the least reasons.

I only got 4 hours of English lesson in a week from that course, two hours per meeting. I realized how little it is, that it’s not gonna be enough. I asked my parents whether I could get another English classes, like 4 times in a week or everyday, but my mom was angry. She said I have to learn math, YUCK!!

Mostly, I learned English from my self-study. In this case, movies and music helped a lot (remember, at that time internet was so rare). My interest in English turned me into a nerd. I skipped playing with friends just to have some hours to watch english movies or read books over and over again. I used to watch every movie three or four times. The first play was to enjoy the story, the second to take notes of the english, third is to repeat how they are used in conversation, forth to practice speaking it during the movie ( I dont think I can do that anymore, because we have abundance of options now that I even can’t play Youtube videos or podcasts in normal speed anymore because I’m afraid I dont have time to watch/ listen to others).

At that time, english books were not easy to find. So I went to my english course’s library almost every day just to read English books. No matter what book it was, I just needed something that’s written in English. I compiled my own grammar notebooks (those notebooks were even photocopied by my friends in college!).

I had no one to practice my English speaking. So after I watched english movies, I spoke by myself to repeat the conversation in the movies. Then a DVD rental just opened near my school and it had a promo of 6-month free DVD rental if we bought a DVD player from there. So my brother and I begged to our parents for that, and we finally bought a DVD from there. Literally EVERY DAY, we rented movies, we could only rented 2 movies max every day.

I knew about internet earlier than many Indonesians did at that time. I didnt really have much time to play with other kids, because I would rather  either watch movies or be in internet cafes. Internet cafes were very very rare, only 2 in my city at that time. If I could fly, I would fly to the cyber cafe as soon as my school finished, everyday. And the internet was very very slow, to load a page could take like 5 minutes (wow I just realize how patient I was before, now I can’t even stand a pop-up dialog box!). I signed in to mIRC (chat rooms) in order to chat with westerners. I thought that was the cheapest conversation class! Well I had to lie about my age, otherwise no one would talk to me. I had to keep a dictionary next to me every time I was in front of the computer, then I would write them down, whatever I learned from every day.

Then I started to write something in English everyday, at least for one page. Anything, it’s just for practice. I would not review my writings right away, because I would think it’s perfect. But if i give it time and just review it after 3-5 days, I will able to see my mistakes easily. Then I train myself to start to think in English rather than in Bahasa Indonesia. In 2009, started to write a blog. Unlike this one, my old blog was 85% in English, but I didn’t write as often as I do now.

Even though my English is still not perfect, I’ve been able to make money from it. Started from teaching, translation projects, and now it helps me A LOT in my job that I can make money in dollars. I can get my other skills valued more because I can bring it to international marketplaces. I’ve worked with foreigners since I graduated uni, and I’ve made friendships with non-Indonesians. Not only in my job, but also in love life, I havent dated Indonesians anymore for years (trust me, the cheapest, and most enjoyable way to learn conversational English is by dating. Haha!! But dont get me wrong, I didnt date them because they’re foreigners, I never planned to fall in love with them, it just happened.)

One day, I stumbled upon this video, and it made me feel like that’s probably what my future kids will feel about me. But I wont be the sad broken-english speaker parent, I dont care that much anymore if people wanna laugh at my English. At least from their laugh, I learn something. And my broken English means I’ve worked for something. I’m proud of myself even with those limitations I’ve had, I’ve made it this far. And my brother, he got scholarships from his university in Australia until Ph.D. Not perfect indeed, but like my lecturer ever told me, “It’s okay if your best is not good enough, but it’s not good when your good is not your best.”

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From Bridal to Technical

IMG_20181111_212953My achievement this year is that I managed to launched my first bridal collection and sold some of them as well as got custom-made order in my first year as a fashion designer. End of last year, I took patternmaking course, I had totally zero experience and knowledge in garment construction before.

I can’t afford fashion school, both the fee and the years. So, I made my own curriculum and research, where I can learn about fashion. I am so lucky that I live in this internet era that saves a lot of education money and bridges people from all over the world. I’m so grateful for people who share amazing free contents on platforms like youtube and online libraries or even cheap online courses like Udemy and Skillshare. Because of them, I can learn the theories and process that they learn in fashion schools as long as I’m willing to put in the dedication and commitment. But still, for some fields, I need professional training, especially when it comes to construction. Even the patternmaking course alone is already expensive for a regular person like me ( I was so lucky that at time I got my bitcoin money went five times higher).

In the beginning, I just wanted to be a designer, any kind of designer, it does not matter. I just wanted to get my designs out and I made it. I think, me not taking a 4-year fashion study is also a benefit for me in terms of getting the realization of how the fashion business works faster than those who do. Many people who had the opportunity to really go to fashion schools are more relaxed and not as ambitious because they enjoyed the status of being students and once they graduated, they didn’t really think it’s gonna be like that and what’s really needed and which one are more sustainable careers in fashion. That’s why fashion design major is much more favorited than product development major.

Unfortunately (and fortunately at the same time), I got to travel a lot this year, like every month, which I am thankful for it but at the same time, it slowed my progress down a lot. Eventhough I was only 2-3 weeks on holiday, it takes at leat 1-2 weeks to really get back in the mood to study and practice again, and then 1 week after that, I traveled again. Anyway, even with that travelling schedule, I still make progress.

I’ve begun to realize what kind of fashion designer that I wanna be and which parts of design jobs that I wanna do, at least for the next 15 years of my life. Being a designer and entrepreneur is indeed fancy, but it’s crazy, I have to admit that at this age, especially as a sarcastic introvert, it’s too hard for me to handle. This one-woman show thing is tougher than it seems, because I have to do the design, cutting, sewing, finishing, marketing, photography, fabrics shopping, etc etc. I ended up doing more non-design works than designing. I tried to employ someone before and it doesn’t fit me because I’m a perfectionist and at the same time I hate being a nagger and depending on others. One thing that bothers me as well is the fact that I had to be location-dependent. I love travelling, I wanna be able to work from anywhere as long as there’s internet.

One thing good about me is that I react to situation fast, if something doesnt work, I need to do something. If I only waited for my gowns to sell, I’m not gonna make it. I can’t wait until I’m famous.

There’s a case that is very common among Indonesian designers. Indonesian designers mostly dont have formal education (which is okay, just like me) but what is not good is that many of them dont have strong will to learn from the basic. Because it’s easier in Indonesia to be a boss and call yourself a designer because the labor cost is not as expensive as in other countries. So, many designers just take exactly the same models from Pinterest, modify a bit (sometimes not even bother to modify), and pay tailors to make it. Hence many designers don’t even have unity in their designs. And they survive by arse-kissing the socialites. They got fame eventually, but it’s temporary. Because if you let your clients dictate you, you wont survive when they have new favorites. I witness this right in front of my eyes especially since I was a runway model before I became a designer. The designers that I used to work for, they’ve disappeared now, outshone by new fashion designers who can get a long better with the new generation of the socialites. So these old folks, they ended up depressed and broke. They’re used to being bosses, their career jumped without learning basic skills, so once they’re out of orders, they have nothing to offer when applying for jobs in fashion companies. That’s why not a few of them turned into fugitive (taking people’s money, selling drugs, prostitution etc).

It’s so easy to be like that if I never evaluate my steps. I dont wanna be like them. I want a sustainable career, I want a skill that allows me to work from anywhere and needed in and by many countries. Just in case Indonesia someday turns into the next Syria, at least I’ve been preparing my escape, or if my future husband wants to move to other countries, one of us does not to worry about starting a new job anymore, because I’ve already started my career in remote freelancing. I may need to hustle more now maybe triple than what I’ve done, but I believe it’ll be worth it. I reached out to and consulted with some technical fashion designers that I found online (because they make content, like podcast etc), the career is really promising. But I have to struggle a lot in the beginning since I lack field (factory) experience.

It started with me learning computer drawing because I was looking for ways to make money beside waiting for my gowns to sell and I am interested in graphic design. So I started with Adobe Illustrator and made garment flats. Then I started to dig more, and it’s sooo challenging, drawing flats is like only 20% of the job of a technical designer. The whole tech packs is another new level. So I started selling my flat sketching online. My skill now is still limited in simple garment, not enough yet to draw flats for more complicated garments, but at least I’m making steps and I have to start somewhere.

Now also I just started my new job that’s not related with fashion at all. I realized that I need to keep a day job instead of just throwing myself to the unknown world of entrepreneurship. It keeps me sane because now at least I know I’m having a stable income every month. I keep the learning and freelancing on the side, so I work from 6 am to 2 pm, after that my day is full with study, practice and yoga until late at night. And repeat. I’m also happy that finally after 10 months of travelling every month, finally I have a peaceful month to work and be committed. I was supposed to travel to Bali this month (I already booked the tickets), but I cancelled because I got scared of flying with Lion Air after the tragic incident.

Next year, I plane to move to Bali. So I’m saving my money for that. I have plans to pitch to apparel manufacturers in Bali that’s managed by foreigners. I’ve stalked them already since last month, I’m gonna pitch for an internship opportunity, because I have to gain field experience if I want to increase my rate. This is gonna be a long process. It’s gonna take me another year probably (lol my boyfriend has to deal with my poverty for another more year! Be patient, hon. I’m working for us too! Hehe) But I have to learn how to crawl before I can jump. I have to start somewhere, and if it means doing small steps, being rejected many times and etc, I’ll take them.

Wacom One: Pen Tablet Murah untuk Graphic Design

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Untuk mengikuti perkembangan dan tuntutan zaman, kita harus bisa membawa kemampuan kita ke ranah digital dan mentransformasinya menjadi sebuah produk digital, termasuk menggambar. Buat yang pekerjaannya berhubungan dengan menggambar/ membuat design digital (baik graphic designer, fashion designer, illustrator etc) mempunyai pen tablet adalah salah satu kebutuhan yang membantu efisiensi, dibanding kalo menggambar dengan mouse, apalagi trackpad (tapi ada juga lho yang mampu ngedesign pake trackpad dan hasilnya bagus!).

Wacom One CTL 671 adalah pen tablet pertama gw yang baru gw punya sejak bulan Juni 2018 ini. Ini juga gw dihadiahi sama orang pas ulang tahun gw dan kebetulan emang gw udah ada rencana buat beli pen tablet sebelumnya tapi menunda-nunda mulu (ada hikmahnya juga ya procrastination, hehe…). Sebelumnya, gw mengincar Wacom Intuos Pro yang harganya 4x lipat, tapi gak kebeli-beli karena harganya mahal. Namun manfaat yang gw rasakan dengan series One ini juga udah lebih dari cukup kok, udah kebayar kok sama dollar yang gw dapat dari kerja menggunakan produk ini, hehe!

Series One by Wacom ini adalah pen tablet kelas entry level, katanya sih menyasar golongan kreatif anak muda dan pemula (yang masih kere-kere gitu deh, kayak gue, hehe), makanya harganya bisa dibilang sangat murah agar bisa bersaing dengan para merk pendatang baru seperti Huion. Series One ini terdiri dari dua ukuran, CTL 472 adalah seri Small dengan ukuran 210 x 146 x 8.7 mm (active area 152.0 x 95.0 mm). Sedangkan One by Wacom CTL 672 (yang gw punya) adalah seri Medium nya, yang memiliki ukuran 277 x 189 x 8.7 mm (active area 216.0 x 135.0 mm). Dengan berat nya masing-masing adalah 251 dan 436 gram.

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Di harga yang masih di bawah 1,5 juta (yang Small malah cuma 900ribuan), kita akan mendapatkan:

  1. Tablet
  2. Pen
  3. USB cable
  4. 3 standard replacement nib
  5. CD installer
  6. 1 nib remover

Ada beberapa serian warna, kalo gak salah merah, biru, hitam dan hijau. Bagian tabletnya rasanya seperti menggambar di atas kertas, jadi keset gitu, walaupun gak berasa se-natural menggambar di atas kertas. Di bagian penanya ada bagian yang bisa dipencet seperti fungsi mouse. Atas untuk klik kanan, bawah untuk klik kiri.

Yang gw suka dari produk ini adalah:

  1. Harganya murah (padahal bukan gw juga sih yang beli, hehe). Jadi kalo lw bisa ngehasilin duit dengan modal barang murah, rasanya tuh lebih bangga aja gitu ketimbang pake modal hardware mahal, haha.
  2. Ringan, mudah dibawa kemana2. Handy dan designnya simple.
  3. Menurut gw sih udah cukup responsive. Gak nge-lag.
  4. Hampir 80 persennya adalah aktive area

Yang gw menurut gw adalah kekurangannya adalah:

  1. Gak ada express key, jadi tabnya itu cuma datar aja gak ada tombol shortcutnya. Otomatis kita harus bisa ngelatih diri kita dengan tangan kiri di keyboard dan tangan kanan menggerakkan pena.
  2. Gak ada slot untuk wireless/ bluetooth. Jadi hanya bisa dipake dengan diconnect via USB. Agak rempong aja sih gw kalo kabel USBnya ilang.

Gw belum pernah pake pen tablet series lain jadi gw gak tau juga perbandingannya apa, kata orang-orang sih designnya dan nibnya kerasa murahan. Tapi lah gapapa murahan, yang penting bisa ngehasilin dollaran, haha. Beberapa temen gw yang udah jago banget graphic design/ ilustrasinya hanya menggunakan produk yang sama dengan gw ini (lah jadi kalo mereka aja yang penghasilannya udah segitu masih pake yang sama, ngapain gw nyusah-nyusahin hidup buat maksain beli yang mahal, hehe). Tapi jujur ya, suatu saat nanti gw akan upgrade ke  Intuos (maunya sih ya Cintiq, tapi entah kapan ya bookk…) kalo sudah pada waktunya. Untuk level pemula, ini udah lebih dari cukup!

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Flying Under

Just this week, my country was shaken by a heartbreaking news of a plane crash that killed 189 people on the 29th of October 2018. Until now, we’re still mourning.

The news made to international news agencies. The plane JT610 was supposed to fly from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang but never made it as it blew off in the air and fell down to 30 meter below the sea, just 10 minutes after take-off.  The airline, Lion Air, has made itself to top 5 for the worst airlines in the world for years. Yet, this low-cost airline has never got its license taken off despite the number of accidents, constant delays, lies to customers and enslaving its employees.

It’s very rare to find Indonesians who has never had bad experience with the airline in the plane and at the airports (by their management). Yet, it’s one of the most selling one in Indonesia because of its cheap price and it offers many schedules in a day (which turn out to be just lies, they will eventually just merge the flights into less flight schedule. By doing this, they make more profits with the ticket price difference). My rants about this company could fill up a book.

Before you start telling me, “Dont blame the airline, it can happen to any airlines, bla bla blah…”, well, do your own research first about this airline. It’s so easy to point fingers at them in this matter by looking at their track record of lacking both safety and sympathy.

But to say that I never flew with Lion Air would be a lie, especially in the last 2 years since I quit my job and hit my rock bottom. Before I quit my job in an international organization, I never ever flew with Lion Air. Especially if it’s paid by the office. Even if I paid by myself, I always booked either Batik/ Sriwijaya/ Garuda Indonesia. But then I slowly couldn’t afford them anymore, so I booked my first Lion Air flight.

I remember I was so nervous that I was sweating before and during the flight. It was full of turbulence. But then after one and two flights with this airline, I gave myself excuse to fly with shitty airlines all the time. In fact, just a day before the crash, I flew with Lion Air from the same airport and the same boarding lounge where the victims were last before their deaths.

The same plane flew from Bali to Jakarta the night before the fateful morning. Bali-Jakarta is one of the routes that I fly often. Thinking of the many possibilities just gives me thrills.

I am getting more skeptical about the airline since I’m dating a pilot who works in Indonesia. Every month, he needs to fly from different cities to his bases. My boyfriend himself says that he won’t ever choose Lion Air unless he doesnt have any choice anymore. I remember that whenever he booked me tickets, it’s never Lion Air, but I was the one who always asked for Lion Air because I didnt want to cost him a lot.

If non-pilots dislike Lion Air, I will think it’s not as worrying as when pilots dislike Lion Air, because I believe they know more than us about what’s going on with the turbulence, the hard landing and even whether it’s a good decision to fly or not considering the weather.

I actually already bought return tickets from West Sumatra to Bali with Lion Air, which means four flights of 2 hours each. That’s too scary to imagine, I’m not gonna risk my life in those eight hours of terrors. But it’s already too late now to book other flights, the price has already surged. In the end I decide to cancel my visit to Bali that I’ve been waiting for months.

It’s so heart-wrenching to watch about the victims’ story in the news, everyone of them had a story and loved ones waiting for them. Especially when the SAR team brought up baby shoes from the plane that has sinked down in to the sea, two babies were in the victims list.

I get worried sometimes with my boyfriend’s flying in and to remote areas with less facility in case something bad happens. One day I read a news about a small plane that crashed in the location of his work, my heart literally skipped a beat at that time to load the news in my phone, hoping it’s not his airline. Even though I knew he’s a good one (Well I dont know anything about flying but I can feel when someone makes you feel safe when his driving/ flying. Also his friends told me that he’s good) and I know how much he loves his job, it’s just still not easy to not worry about someone you love. I cant imagine what his parents feel when their son’s gonna live in a third-world country with poor healthcare and safety procedures. (But then told my self, “Why the hell are you acting like a white person from a developed nation? Look at yourself, you’ve survived 28 years living in this country! hehe)

Deepest condolence to all the victims, hope that justice will be served to whoever took responsibilities of this case because their lives matter.