Monday, April 30, 2012


More expressions from last time.  This one's supposed to look "smart."  In a related story, why does nobody ever call anyone out on calling themselves smart?  I noticed there's a recent trend, particularly in comedy, of  people flat out calling themselves "smart" or just overusing the word to describe anyone who references a some decidedly unintelligent thing like a reality tv personality.  I've been wondering for a long time, since getting into Yale, actually--what does smart mean?  I grew up thinking it meant someone with great intelligence (or a kid talking back to an adult) but now I know: it means a dude with some mean glasses and phantom math etchings floating around him. 

This dude is surprised I'm still doing all this all these years later. Me too, but no surprise there.

This was maybe the trickiest.  It's Nervous.  I thought I nailed it, but guess not...y'know? I dunno.

This one was ridiculous fun to draw.  It's "cool," but really fun hearing what the jKids came up with.  My favorite guess of theirs was "wild" and/or "rocker."  Neat.  I was surprised to see these printed out and in color, but they actually look pretty neat on paper!


Friday, April 27, 2012


Here's the sequel to our first foolish April poster.  I was strapped for time, so I decided just to copy over the last poster, with small fixes to the lineart, and most importantly, I decided not to ink this one.  The good think about going inkless is giving our Copic Ciaos a chance to take center stage.  I'm definitely going to try inkless again. 

This is our revamped anchor image.  I got a bunch of positive feedback on it, which is surprising since I still feel like the kappa stole the show.  Especially as I was painting the kappa, I got a lot of really nice heat on it from passersby.  But at this poster's intended school, people were buzzin' 'bout the bunny.

Anyway, a cool little thing to do: open this in one tab and the first version in another tab and compare and contrast.

I'd say this lineless version wins it.  Although I keep wondering if some solid black lines would be good here and there.  The old version had all lines inked, but with heavier inks on the light-distant areas.  So maybe the best compromise between techniques is inks in those darkest areas and not even pencils on the lightest areas (notice how I erased out some of the ears, paw, and head).

These are the doodads from our second May Poster. I really like that caramel egg, and I want to say the peep turned out better than last time, although I'd say the basket took a step backwards (partly cuz I wanted to kill my dying E33 marker, but also I didn't have a good intermediate blue between the basket and the shadow tone).

And here's our little kappa.  I really, really like how this guy came out compared with our old version.

But there's something...amiss.  Laughably so (see the full shot above for the giveaway).

More on that later.

This month's art was colored with help from new tech: after our first run on this poster, I added a few key colors to our team, including those oranges in the binocs and some softer and darker greens for the grass, flag.  Really happy with the new recruits, but after completing this one, I realized my blues still aren't quite up to snuff--the doodads' basket and pants were too intense, as was the jump in blues for the kappa's water, so I drafted some new, softer blues I'm really excited about.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We're working on updating the outstanding backlogged posts, but my statistician informs me this is my 800th post published. And it only took 5 years!  This is my first post using the new blogspot interface, too.  A bit jarring, but so far it's better than the atrocious revamp they did last time.

Anyway, here's a recent selection of art I did for a lesson on expressions and how you're feeling. So with that, let's get emo, shall we?

This one was fun because I love drawing people crying. The jKids got a good laugh on this one, which was great.  The pattern in the back is a riff on the Japanese symbological graphic for despair--that snaily shape.

This was one of the two I drew on the day-of. I lugged my gigantic laptop and my trusty tablet to school and jammed this one out as well as one we'll see in this post's sequel. I knew I was facing 2 hours of sleep, so I knew I wanted to draw this one the morning of the presentation.  I was slightly worried they might guess his emotion was "Drugged-Out-of-His-Skull," but fortunately they guessed "Sleepy."

Sleepy's one of my favorites.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Here is the long-awaited sequel to the first half of this ALT news poster.  This half has our main anchor image, featuring our main theme, Easter.  This month, I tried including a little prize pack thingie on the bottom right, full of extra handouts and stuff for the jKids to pick up, and that seemed to go well, so we'll try more next time.

Here's a close up of the Easter Bunny.

Apparently the concept is alien to the jCrew.

They giggle at the word bunny because in Japan they simply associate the word "bunny" with Bahnee Garoo, or "bunny girl," for the layperson.

Anything with long ears, a fluffy tail, and an affinity for carrots gets the label of "rabbit."

You're missing out, Japan.

This, as everything else, was colored basically completely with Copic Ciaos, except I lined it with my Staedtler pens, more heavily on the light-distant areas.  I've since picked up a lighter blue and gray, so I'm eager to try those out to communicate volume on white.

Here are our doodads from this half.  It's a chocobunny plus a caramel egg, jelly beans, and a peep, all collected into a Easter basket.  Easter Eggs: actual Easter eggs.  And M&Ms.  Really happy with that egg and the caramel!  The bunny's also nice for essentially not planning my color, just going in and winging it.

These are today's lines.

I have to say I've been underwhelmed with Japanese candy.  They absolutely get A for effort, as most desserts look delectable, but they typically taste pretty weak, almost nothing makes you clamor for seconds.  Only pure Ghana Chocolate or Meiji or even Morinaga have satisfying chocolate impact.  But chocobread, for instance underdelivers on the regular...miss you, US-choco.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


This month's ALT news is the first of the new school year, and it's my first, fully-illustrated joint. No Internet printing, everything's drawn and colored by me. Everything colored on the paper is tuned up with my Copic Ciaos, with guest vocals by my trusty Zebras. We've taken the Copics for a spin or two before, but this time we're utterly reliant on them.

Since there's so much art in this month's poster, we're splitting it up between two posts, this one focusing on the bottom quadrants (that's not a euphemism for something, you cheeky tanooki, you!).

I wasn't sure how to close the poster out, so I thought I'd try something I've always wanted to do with these ALT News posters: introduce a new, practical, non-text-booky expression to the jKids. As a rain enthusiast, I was loving the rains we've been having recently, so I went with, "April showers bring May flowers."

With that quote, I knew I needed an illustration to go with it. Something that celebrates the rain. Enter the kappa. I love rain, and so do they. Fuelled with the immediacy of the eureka moment, this draw just flowed, but then I mouse-cookied myself into having to Ciao it to the nines.

Coloring was ridiculous fun, and I could feel the leveling up, but it did tack on another day of labor onto the already vaguely-due poster. But I'd say it was worth it, I'm quite happy with how it came out and it looks pretty neat live.

This is what the kappa quadrant ended up looking like. Did you catch the cucumber reference?

Easter Eggs
: Kappa love cucumber, so I figured he'd sport a cucumber-themed umbrella. But wait, there's more! The brella's bright yellow to mimic the elementary school umbrella "uniform" since kappa are often associated with young kids. Further defining him a good-guy kappa (as opposed to other sorts of kappa), his cucumber's cut into a smiley face.

Fun Facts: When discussing this piece with a Japanese man who saw me working on it, I out-Japwnd him on kappa trivia! Take that, Japan! USA! USA! USA!

This is quadrant III of the poster, a breakdown of April Fools' plus a description of how to Easter Egg hunt. I was running short on time, but I knew I wanted to try stylizing a bit, so I went with a traffic light coloring scheme on the fool illo and a restrained, graphic style for the Easter Egg hunt bits.

Next time, how we anchored this image, proper.


Monday, April 16, 2012


School's back in sesh and these are our first homework sketches.
Just warming up.




Friday, April 13, 2012


I love kappa.

They're cute, but cool.

They're quiet, but strong.

They're sometimes known to emerge from Japanese rivers and drag unsuspecting, at-play children down into their murkiest deep blue depths, and after successfully drowning their helpless victim(s), these child-like creatures commence in a nigh-cannibalistic feeding spree on what is more-often-than-not confused for a weak kappa being furiously consumed by its former school of fellows, at least, as is discerned between plumes of freshly red-wrought river.

That last part is unrelated to why I love kappa.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


If you can think of a better way to show Japanese children that their pronunciation sucks, I'd like to hear it.

The dog has a bone in his mouth...


Monday, April 9, 2012


Hello. Howayu?

Super busy, but I'll post up our very first AV for this new school year, if that's all right. I trust it is.

It's Chopper, of course.

The kids LIT UP when they saw this (well the above version, since they have to learn their ABCs via dot-to-dotting letters.), so it was just a lightning way to get back into the school year (the Japanese academic year starts in April, and then there's a summer break during which new ALTs, for instance, can rotate in).

This was served up short order, pausing the coloring I was knee (knuckle?) deep into, but it came out pretty nice, considering.

I drew two candidates for dotting possibilities, but our old Kappa pal here didn't make the cut.

I had a monstrously fun time drawing him, though. I printed out a copy of him and colored it to take a break from my other major coloring piece, and golly that was fun. There's something so Oaklandishly satisfying about green and yellow together.

But why kappa? More soon, but for now:

Happy 5th anniversary, Removal!


Friday, April 6, 2012


Puff the tragic drag on.

Zero Like Me #183:
Quitters Never


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 2. Today's setting is Chokubu Junior High School. Today's guest star is Umezawa plus good ol' kocho-sensei.

Fun Facts: This is our first Japanese architectural study!  Isn't that exciting?  Well who asked you anyway?  Japanese people love smoking.  Oh, they love it.

Baa: I am feeling the crunch of four panels.  You can get magazines full of 4 panel comics here in Japan, but if I could have my wish, I'd do sequentials for Weekly Jump...


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


These were the pencils of some recent draws I've done.

First was a gift to one of the strongest English students I've met.

Next was our biggest ANP anchor image, spanning two pages.

And last was a birthday gift for someone who is either way off in left field or right down the broadway, I can't tell.

Also, just so you know, Toriko is like a cheese grater on the eyes.

But you know that Toriko guy's raking it in like crazy, though.


Monday, April 2, 2012


I designed some bumpers for some videos I made. The one above was pulled and tweaked from this old draw, to back my byline page. The cards only start showing up at the end of our second video here, though:

This next bumper was designed for our main credits, pulled from an old sketch I did almost a year ago! It was meant to be the least invasive since the information scrolling there actually deserves to be read (as opposed to my credit, which can just be safely assumed or extrapolated).

My first video only had a title card, no end cards, which was a nice start, but I definitely want to get more design practice in, as well as editing, cuz I'm finding this an interesting little new art universe I've stepped into.

So there are my first two Duel Masters videos live from Japan. I kinda like this film stuff, but man, it's time consuming...I feel the power though. I feel the power.