Monday, July 30, 2012


We've got a mini design challenge on our hands. The mission: I must have ten 5x10cm quasi-business cards to introduce myself to 10 Japanese people at an upcoming event. They suggested that besides listing my name and 4 things I like, I might include a little drawing on the card. So with these parameters in mind, I set out to make my introduction card.

Rather than make 1 design and copy it 10 times, I decided to make 10 and copy them 0 times.

So on each 5x10 is my name plus four things I like chosen from the categories color, place, food, drink, club, or season. And squared away on the remaining space is a little illustration of one of those likes. This post's categories were food, place, and color.

Miiiight ink these...we'll see.


Friday, July 27, 2012


This is a Homework Sketch I did to wrap my blue period.  It's of Radwimps' Yojiro Noda.  you don't know what 3/5 of the last sentence's words mean and that's a shame.

Speaking of some rock you may not be familiar with, in the latest episode of Let's Japan, we've got an extended cut of one of The Ivy League's songs, "Burn it Up Baby," see if you can spot it here amidst the gooey treats and socially abominable trading card game:

The great Ivy League was helmed by Adrian Simon, who has unfortunately gone on hiatus from his site.

So Simon says.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Ok, this is the last batch of Homework Sketches.  Well, there's one last draw from the set, but more on that later. As I mentioned last time, my red pen finally died so I swapped over to my night-never-used blue pen, which was pretty exciting in my sad, boring little life. For these homeworkz, the jKids wrote about what they will do during summer. So we've got a watermelon, a fish, and a fishing rig.  Plus an Owls of Ga'Hoole for a little Ga'Hooligan. 

They also wrote about whatever, so thanked me for a drawing I did for him way back, so I followed it up with the little chameleon, Leon, for him.  I also drew a dancing dog for a jKid who just asked for a drawing without a prompt.  Compare that with the more specific request for the character Gintoki from Gintama.  jKids, I implore you: if you want something neat, be specific.  I'm in the business of making memories, here, and sometimes they're so good, they are actually remembered. And that chases away the blue.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Hold your breath waiting for gun law reform, it's Sick Little Suicide #24, "The Last Dinosaur," in which we have a second gun-related outrage on President Obama's watch.

It's like our nation is a grown child clinging to his blanky just because he's only ever grown up with it in his grip, even though he's well past blankie-bearing age and all our decent playpals in the global schoolground  haven't used blankies in forever, don't miss them, and face vastly less blankie-related injuries as a result.

Fun Facts: I learned of this story little by little on Twitter, but had no idea what was going on until Saturday night, Japan time, once more less-cryptic Twitter posts emerged. When it became clear what happened, I could most succinctly describe it as unreal.

This comic came about from listening to the President's subsequent Unity speech and feeling anger that this could have been prevented if not been greatly lessened in severity had he actually meant that he had interest in doing all he could "to ensure the safety of all of our people." There was already a high-profile shooting he had to deal with before, and here we are again with another one.  What gun laws have been changed in the interim?

Baa: I am incredulous and humbled that I haven't felt sad in a long, long time, and in fact, since moving to Japan I am the happiest I've ever been in my life, but I felt tears well up as I heard President Obama indicate that even children were entangled in the Colorado theater shooting.

I also felt anger towards the US, my homeland, for permitting this event to occur with its insane sanctity of guns.  People act as if modifying the second amendment will somehow plunge us into some 1984 world, when there is clear, undeniable evidence across multiple countries with varied cultural fabrics--including famously the very country I am living in right now--that stricter gun laws means greater peace.  Slaves were 3/5 a person until we decided that part of the Constitution was wrong, so we changed it.  How blind or stubborn or idiotic are we that we can't come together as a country and agree that widespread gun legality is bad?  I don't understand: there is no mystery, we can study these post-gun countries for concrete evidence, and then make an informed decision.  Yes, there are unique cultural influences that also play into it--for instance Japan's culture runs on the idea that "we're all on the same team, don't be jerks to each other," whereas the US's culture is more based on the individual--but that doesn't mean it's a discriminating case.  Pursuing stricter gun laws in the US should not be an impossibility or in any way an alien idea.

It is beyond me how we can still justify or succumb to those who justify widespread legal gun ownership in the US. I currently live in Japan where it is ridiculously safe. You can purchase guns here, but everything--guns and ammo--is registered with the police and you need a hunting license, the whole deal. I would say even that is too much, but at least it beats this absurd naivete we have in the US. Even if we simply must have guns, why can we not limit the kinds of guns that one person can purchase? The amount of ammunition? If we can limit the amount of alcohol one can have in his system, or limit the kinds of things one can ingest that affect only the user, why can we not limit the kinds of machinery that serves only to harm? How many guns does one person really need? How much ammo?  It's like talking to a spoiled child.  Guns are horrific and you should be ashamed of yourself for defending them.

I hope whoever sold the shooter his guns and ammunition bought something nice and shiny with the money from those sales.  And I hope that if the thoughts of the people who died because of your life choices don't keep you up at night, then I hope that at least the glare off your shiny trinkets makes it just a little harder for you to find rest.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Just when I think I'm done, they keep pulling me back in slash giving me more papers to correct, so here's what I thought was my new final Homework Sketches. But then I got even more papers later, so this is still not our final batch.  But if you look carefully, you'll see the final pic I did with my trusty red pen before it died (Chopper x Zoro) mash. Followed by the first draw I did with my new red pen, 'arry Po'er. But we've also got a ghostly Michael Jackson, a heartsy-fartsy soccer ball, a shocktacular Pikachu, and Totoro because someone actually asked specifically for one, what a relief!

What happened between red pens? Curveball coming next Homework Sketches time...


Monday, July 16, 2012


Oddly proud of this illo for a worksheet. My challenge: make it look like something you could actually see in a textbook--an "exciting" not-exciting pic.

I will say, though, that Japanese textbooks usually have killlllller art direction. Quite jealous of what the jKids get to work with. Perfect comparison is my learn-Japanese textbook, they got one guy to illustrate it all and it's some of the most boring art you'll see in Japan.

Also, Fighting Foodons.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Here is our final homework sketches for the school term!  The jKids have been hard(ly) at work these past few summer months, and come next week, we're finally on summer break for a couple weeks!  You should see how much they freak out when I tell them in the US we get 2-3months off!

Anyway, here we go.  First we have a girl for a guy who wishes he had a girlfriend(!).  Next is an quick little illustration after a jKid hipped me to Nichijou. We've got some Mickeys I drew and modded for a worksheet.

Then we've got a hamburger for a student who asked me to draw something for her but didn't specify what (as well as a squirrel thing for a similar unspecified request).  Then we've got Buchyake from Duel Masters Victory V.  We've also got an Anorith and Chikorita for a jPokeFan and a bananamod from that same Mickey worksheet.  They're bananas talking about Duel Masters...ya know, like they do.

Finally the anime-y dudes in the set are the teacher from GTO, Great Teacher Onizuka, which has been making the rounds amongst the jKids since its dorama recently launched.  I drew from the manga, though, cuz believe it or not, I'm not great with likenesses and I don't really enjoy drawing real people anyway.

Oh gosh, it's getting sweaty here in Japan...


Monday, July 9, 2012


Here's a new version of art I actually debuted on youtube first! It's Ben from Ben10. He's kind of an underground hit here in Japan...jKids either love the show or have no idea who he is. Funny how it took uprooting my life and flying to and living in Japan just to find people I can actually semi-talk to about stuff I'm interested in.

Speaking of Ben10, doesn't it sound like they're saying Ben10 in this song, or is it just me?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Today, four years ago, I first stepped foot on Japanese soil. I love Japan with all my heart. I am the legitimately happiest I've ever been in my whole life, including my Yale years. This is unbelievable to me.

But on to the show!  The jKids wrote little letters to me for their composition practice, their first time writing directly to me, rather than responding to some prompt and then me riffing on their responses.  So many jPeeps took the opportunity to ask for sketches, so this is a special, request-line edition of Homework Sketches.

First up is some K-On!!, a series I've heard much about and have seen a ton of incredible promo art for, but I've never actually read/seen the comic or show aside from clips from the JapanCast podcast.  But it's inspirational how accurate the art is to real-life: costume, setting, situation, all of it makes you want to see Japan, live Japan.

One jBandito asked which comics I like, so I recommended the under-appreciated mangaka behind Oumagadoki Doubutsuen, Kōhei Horikoshi. He(?)'s got a new SF series that debuted just recently in Weekly Jump, but from what I've seen, it's not terribly gripping...hope it gets better! Speaking of animals, one dude asked about my favorite jFood, and it's gotta be that fish on a stick, easy.  All day, man, bring it. Fish on a momofuku stick.

An aspiring artist asked me for advice so I wrote back a bunch of tips plus titles/artists to check out, and even included a grammatical diagram for a new base word: "illustration." 

One jCat asked if I "played" kendo, and although I want to give kendo a ken-go, unfortunately I haven't been able to.  I think it's mainly a high school club sport... Anyway, for a kid who asked about my video gaming habits, I drew a hybrid Pokemario dealio. I haven't played vidja games with any intensity since maybe my first few months of Yale.

I got a request for a Zoro and a Luffy, so that was a snap. Trickier was a request for Brook, a character I had no experience with: when I left the US, we'd just met Robin on TV, and she was still a villain; in the comics, we'd just got Sanji on the team!  Next we got Naruto, who I had to squeeze in between lines of text.  The draw looks cool peeking out of the paper, though, sneakily like a ninja.  I have to say, I'm so used to the first generation of these time-jumped series, all my Choppers wear the cuter pink top hat, none of my Narutos are tall and lanky. Gotta brush up on the new hotness...

Last question I got: what do I think about Japan?  Guess, my little jCrew member, guess.


Monday, July 2, 2012


A jKid asked for a Luffy, but I had to leave early and I forgot to ask his name, so hopefully this reached him after I left it for someone on the regular staff to track him down as I ditched the eSchool to return to the big bad world of pre-high school thug life.