Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Depending on where you live, today or yesterday, Duel Masters' non-Japanese reboot, Kaijudo just launched. So here's a sketchbook scrawling of red aficionado Kirifuda Katta to kirikick things off. Who is Kirifuda Katta? Let's let this masked weirdo explain more:

Did that help at all? NO? Good.

Fun Facts: two of our videos have now broken 1000+ views! What a plot fist!


Monday, June 25, 2012


By jagged chopstick-point in an abandoned elementary school, a child of Japanese descent held me hostage until I sketched him creatures out of his animal index.

True story.


Friday, June 22, 2012


At long last, this is the June edition ALT poster for our visiting campus.

This school tends to get fancier posters, I feel, since they don't actually give me time constraints to work in.  One of my pet peeves is when people rush me on artwork.  I feel like, if you want me to draw something nice, give me time to do it right or don't bother asking me.  This school doesn't even care if I don't submit a poster, they are that laid-back! You can see our main campus' poster had to be so rushed I even had to cut colors

Anyway, this edition has refined the old one's information but tweaked it to include more love for Motion City Soundtrack, a streamlined Movie Flop section highlighting Nemo, et al., plus a slicker "New Expression" section that boasts a bonus Radwimps sub-section explaining the English-slang basis of their name!  We also rebooted the booty-offer to the jKids who submit art to the board. This version includes a more colorful Mario-style question block plus a paper-craft Japanese-style red mailbox.  I've been wanting to incorporate 3D elements into the boards, and this was a nice little toe-step in that direction.  Who knows what this could mean for future artboards!  Wait, I do, never mind, stupid question.

Here's our anchor image colored up with Copic Ciaos.  I knew I wanted to do a sequel to the main school's anchor image, and I had planned to draw them actually playing their game of volleyball.  The "story" of that first image is that they're playing Janken (Japan's version of rock, paper, scissors) to determine who's playing first, as they do in Japan. Why volleyball? Because I had recently been conscripted into joining a couple games. 

But like last time's image was inspired by recent events just preceding its creation, this one got inspired by the intervening Sports Day I went to at this very campus.  In it, I saw them play a bunch of sporty games on their sporty grounds, but one that caught my eye was a kind of jousting game where three players tripod a fourth teammate up onto their shoulders and that top dog wears a helmet with paper bunches taped on.  Three of these squads rep their team as they run into the field trying de-bunch the opposing team's squads' helmets.  Once you lose your three bunches, you're booted from the game like a de-ballooned MarioKarter.  It's like flag football, only interesting.

So instead of drawing the girl and the pengies playing volleyball, I had them play that bunch-joust game.  The jCrew was even impressed when they saw my take on their game since I had only ever seen it once in my life and were delighted it had made such an impression on me.  The jKids also really liked this one, too, which just makes my day.  Score! 

Here's our anchor image's lines.  No inks on this one, aside from on the eyes; I really wanted to see what we could do with just pure Copic Ciao power.

Finally, here are some select doodads from the poster. We've got our title, "Hot Culture" because I could think of nothing else aside from my desire to do late 80s-early-90s neon atrocities with my Zebras. 

We've also got a detail on the new iconography for the booty offer, plus an explanation of the dear old Radwimps' name.

I've really come a long way in our time doing these posters. Can you remember when this was buzzworthy?  Man!  You never know how far you've come until you look back.

I love art. 

I love Japan. 

I love life.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I visited me mateys at that tharr elementarry school, yarr?  Too much fun 'twas, yaarrrr.  Drew many a pirate, used many a medium, all for me mini-hearties...YARR!

We spoke many a tell of Duel, um, Duel Mastaarrrrrrrs!!



Monday, June 18, 2012


After runch I thought I'd put on a show for the kids, sketching with the soupy remnants of my miso. Up first was Luffy from One Piece, a monster hit in Japan, but you've probably never heard of it/him.

If you have heard of One Piece at all, you might only be know this character, Chopper, but again, prolly not. Isn't that funny how something could matter so very much to an entire country, but be pretty darn irrelevant to another, aside from some loserish, clingy group stuck in the vast minority?

Buut enough about soccer.

Keep your Majin, nation!


Friday, June 15, 2012


This is the June edition ALT poster for our main campus. Our anchor section rubs it in those lil' Japanese faces that US kids are off on break, sleeping in and not following their dreams while jKids are oftentimes going to school six days a week if not more. We've also got a section, "Band Tourino," dedicated to Motion City Soundtrack, who's coming to Japan next month! Plus we've got a section dedicated to summer blockbuster flops, including the legendary Nemo movie that was rammed full of creative talent all for naught.  You can also see a cameo by two familiar feces paired with another installment of my casual English corner, "New Expression."  The last thing we've got is a new section offering booty to jKids who submit art to the board.  Will anyone take up the challenge? Knowing jKids' reticent temperaments, prolly not, but who knows; I tried making it as easy as possible by having it just be a coloring contest, but you'd be surprised how shell-shock they can get even with straightforward instructions...

Here's a close up of our anchor image's inks.  This image had to be done really fast, so I decided to cut colors this time around.  The pengys were each going to be a different primary, there's always next time I guess. But for added Oda-like flavor, I gave each one a letter for their pengy eyebrow things.  Why volleyball, though?  Because it was recently on the brain, unfortunately. I found that games of volleyball, and most everything involving playing an oppoenent, are preceded by a winner-take-all game of Janken, aka "Rock, Paper, Scissors." If someone ever throws rock and then, seeing you throw paper, rams their fist into their nose, jamming their nasal cartilage into their brain, that's called "Rock, Paper, Kamikaze." True story.

I actually got to have a conversation in Japanese about the translation of the anchor page, as a spectator came by and put in an excellent effort to read it while I was inking up the image, and through our mutually broken language abilities we were able to get the full text across!  Really exciting.

All right, that's one down this month, one to go.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Here's another installment of Homework Sketches, art I scrawl on jKids' homeworkz against their thrill.  So we've got an illustration of the difference between "teach for" and "teach to," an emo-riffic tomato because the student reports she doesn't like tomatoes, a gentle ribbing of a commonly reverse-written d, and we've even got a Crayon Shin-chan shout out. Never seen more than a few seconds of the show, but as I understand it, at least in the US, it's a decidedly adult show in the guise of a kids' show, right? As far as I can tell, in Japan it's a straight-up kids' show.

Next we've got a camera for a kid who accidentally dropped his camera after his school trip(!), a Naruto headband, one of the ubiquitous Mono erasers, a guy getting dome-shot with a soccerball, a Mugiwara straw hat logo coloring-job, a Domo-kun, and then three riffs on my Pizza cat, including a Reborn version.

But our anchor piece is a riff on a hilarious student-written dialog written for a lesson on "May I, Could you." Here's their script:

お: Excuse me, Ms. [Redacted],
  May I speak to you?
た: Sure.
お: Could you speak Chinese?
た: I'm sorry. I'm [sic.] don't speak Chinese.
お: I see.
た: May I ask you a question?
お: I'm sorry. I don't like questions.

I imagined a poor member of the newspaper club earnestly trying to interview her slightly conceited, aloof senpai.  Tragic, adorable, hilarious.  These kids are really talented writers when they try, but also when they don't, but mostly when they do.


Monday, June 11, 2012


Hey, long time no see.

Wonder what these guys are up to.


Friday, June 8, 2012


This is an MO of the Kappa piece I did for the April edition of the ALT News dealio. Our first shot here is a comparison of the first, inked-Copic-Ciao'd version compared against the second, non-inked Ciao'd version we'll be spotlighting today.

These are the lines we worked from. I was concerned my markers might get worn or smeared from the graphite, but it was just like markering over inks, except no odd ink-smears as the markers randomly reactivate the dried inks. After Copic-Ciaoing over pencils, the lines get locked down onto the paper, so you have to make sure the lines are where you want them before taking CCs to them--it may as well be inks you're working with in terms of the lines not going anywhere.

So manipulating the lines is not possible after colors lock them down, but you can always still manipulate lines that haven't been colored, and when you look at the finished work, the lines are usually light enough that they don't register immediately, just the finished colors. I've even seen a technique where you erase-lighten your pencils before going in with markers, so I tried that move on my next poster and was happy with it.

Here's a close up of the kappa's beak, using my three trusty yellows. It's really fun going for the shiny sheeniness of beakish material, I found.

Here's some progress shots of the body. I decided to go easier on the sort of freckling texture I used in the first version, but I did freckle closer to the negative spaces. Freckling is great even with just one color if you go in again after waiting for the prior coats to dry--CCs interact with themselves differently depending on how quickly you go back in over the same color after laying down those colors in the first place.

Finally, here's a look at the background elements coming into color. It wasn't until I got up to give this piece a final look over before publishing that I noticed I messed up the text so it makes even less sense than usual. Funny how that works...literally staring at the text for hours and hours and hours and yet, not until it's a wrap do I notice the glaring omission.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I feel better when feel better when I...

Have you near me.


Monday, June 4, 2012


This an unused kappa I drew for an activity, re-purposed for a dictionary-searching activity. Why a kappa? The correct answer is: why not a kappa?

As an added bonus, I decided to color two of the handouts (one with Zebras, one with Copic Ciaos) and randomly insert them into the worksheet stack to be handed out during class. In both classes I ran this random-perk experiment, it seems the kids went crazy for the Zebra job but remained quiet-yet-enchanted with the CC.

Complicating these results, the Zebras happened to be randomly distributed to some of the genkiest kids in each class, while some of the quietest got the CC versions. This is kind of fitting since Zebras are quite in-your-face but CCs are more nuanced.

So do kids respond better to Zebras?  I'm still not sure. Perhaps it's just the more immediate punch Zebras have that makes immediate responses more vocal on the Zebrasiatic front, but I'll have to run another experiment.  I know the kids really, really like my CC-powered ALT posters, and I've had more than a few rando conversations based on kids' wanting to talk to me about them (which is really saying something since they usually don't have much confidence speaking their mind, particularly in English!), so I know CCs have a punch Zebras never could.

These were done on the basic linework, so the eyes are a little frailer and there's no signature thick outline around the figure (the second class got an updated sheet with 20 more words and a newly-thick-rimmed kappa with heavier-inked eyes).  I was a bit timid coloring this, but we pick it up in the next batch, going a little overboard even. 

He's holding a leek, by the way--the concept was a kappa using a leek like a guitar. Up next is the second run of the giveaway experiment. I screwed up the CC gut, but I'm happy with the cross shadows. 

Again, the kids exploded on the Zebra, but I spread the love a bit by including a few eyes-only-colored randos in the stack this time.  The kid who got the CC just kept staring at it and smiling, cheerily showing his delighted neighbors.  The kid who got the Zebra almost got in a fight over disputed ownership of the sheet--they hand the pages back as they receive them from the student in front of them, so I'm thinking he began handing the colored piece back and then balked to keep it for himself when he noticed it was colored! The page got some wrinklage, but survived well enough!  Anyway, that entire quadrant was really vocal about the piece, while the CC crew was just super appreciative and beaming.  What a contrast!

After the rows slowly buzzed about the quieter surprise--some sheets had just the eyes colored--one girl excitedly examined her sheet to see if she got one of the eye-colored versions.  She didn't, but one of the pages in my extras-stack had the final mode change (purple eyes!). So I traded her sheets and she was so, so happy! And I felt like a superhero.

I love this job. I can't believe this is my life.


Friday, June 1, 2012


I was playing some Duel Masters with some students at the liberry one day, finding my once-humble Hunter deck to be a solid contender now. After the sesh, the non-playing spectators asked me to draw them something, so I rattled off a quick little Tanooki. Kinda disturbing how some kids demanded I include the Tanooki's signature...characteristics. Wouldn't be the first time children have demanded I draw some decidedly non-G-rated stuff...

Oh, and speaking of Duel Masters, did you see this?