Friday, August 31, 2012


At least now you can add self-pitying to your resume's special skills section.

Zero Like Me #185:
Mates of States

Easter Eggs: "Yale" on menyu, the Magikarp salesman's been working out (still a fishmonger, though). Today's setting is actually the first place I ate at when I arrived here, and I was so relieved the food was actually pretty solid, for a soup! The shoulder puff in panel 2 is Umezawa. I don't believe I've ever heard Mates of State, but I do enjoy their name. The classmates in the states mentioned in this comic are fictional. Some are not.

Fun Facts: This restaurant is actually three fused together--the second panel is a from-memory of the exterior shot's eatery, and the third panel is a combination of an octo-ball-and-ice-cream joint mixed with my favorite pizza shack. I contemplated going back into the exterior shot restaurant for photo/gastronomic research, but decided it wasn't worth the culinary risk. I do see eating (particularly at restaurants) in Japan as a quasi-gambling experience, you know.

Irasshaimase, by the way, is something shopkeeps and clerks of all stripes shout at you to get your business. It's like, "Welcome, please let's do bizniz," so it's supposed to be inviting, but sometimes they say it reeeeeeeally loudly and it freaks you out. And by "you" I mean "me."

Baa: No matter where I am on Earth, I hate eating with people. The squishy sounds they make as their lips and cheeks smack pockets of food, the way they have to push their witty vocal diarrhea from behind globs of undigested food, the way they constantly click-clack at their food with determined chopsticks and jerk the precarious load of food into their saliva-swinging mouths...I imagine the sound of chopsticks must fill many people with fond foody memories, but I only associate them with a hassle-y technology that makes it harder to shovel food down my gullet at my usual lightning pace so I can get back to not having to orally dodge creepy textures and flavors apart from the nescapably sampled fleshy chunks of my own tongue. I feel so primitive eating with chopsticks, like a monkey stabbing sticks into an ant mound hoping to luck out and acquire grub when not losing out to gravity most of the time. But sometimes the food is great. Have you had Japanese stew? That's money. Instantly makes me think of my imaginary childhood growing up in Japan when my mom would make us stew on chilly autumn--or best of all winter--days. And everything felt safe.

Man, I miss being an imaginary Japanese child.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Dis is da finale, kid, as Lt. Soij famously said. This is last of our Ghibli set Episode Sway's here, A-NoKay's yore, and the Kikz chronicles koko desu. This one's is based on one of the very first anime I ever saw.

It was so confusing...but at my young age, I couldn't put my finger on why it was so different than anything I'd seen before. It was like they were in some world that was like ours (being that the US is/was the world to me back then) but not quite--Why were they boiling themselves?

I don't want to suggest Totoro is hacky at this point, but he was far and away the easiest one for people to guess, but jPoppers really liked it! Particularly since Totoro is so iconic I tried to mask him with the composition, which seemed to add to their joy when they invariably detected him.

In the sketch he was a bit more feline. I didn't want to just redraw the same old Totes everybody knows, but we lost a bit of that scrappiness in the final.

So it goes.


Monday, August 27, 2012


I love Endling's work, style, etc. and recently discovered his guide on how to clean up pencil lines--turns out he in fact never inks!--and fascinated, I tried out his method, even stabbing at his monochrome coloring technique, too. I believe he's the reason why I decided to mainly stick to grayscale comics, although I added a couple key colors out of guilt for having that be possible, and to make the online version feel more exclusive.

Fun Facts: This is an old drawing (inspired by Endling's style), by the way, done about a year ago during a meeting I had to go to. Well, the waiting period before the meeting, since I got there early.

Like your mom.


Friday, August 24, 2012


Here's the third of my four and a half part Ghibli series I did (Sway be here and A-Nokay's 'ere.). Today's quarter-A3 poster's from that one with the girl with the ridiculously cool name. You know the one.

I knew a girl in college who went by "Kiki," but I could never bring myself to collar by anything thinner real name, which was also crazily cool (I feel weird calling people by nicknames unless they explicitly invite me to call them by that name). Anyway, something neat, they say she's the granddaughter of a certain famous whom I always confuse with the original singer of this song.

These are the pencils. You'll notice these are quite different from our sketch. That's because I had forgotten my sketched-on envelope at school, so I had to go offa memory, particularly on this freshest sketch. And since I felt more moved by the early stages of these pencils and time was ticking on the deadline, I just went with this take. I ended up really liking the expression here, but I do miss the mini-stories present in the sketch.

This is the sketch in question. It wasn't even drawn with the original four--it was drawn off on in the distance on the long envelope, away from the cluster of OGs since the original Beatle slotted for this space got cut. I didn't even show this sketch to my AD, I just went with the green-lit pitch from our initial meeting "How about Kiki?," churned this out, and it ended up being one of my favorites. So I guess everything turned out well.

Just one Ghib remains to jab. What could it be????



Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This was one of my original four sketches I pitched for the Ghibli project, but not a single Japanese person could identify the movie! Can you?

Rather than rework the image, we decided to just go for an infinitely more fun Ghib to draw...but more on that Friday.


Monday, August 20, 2012


I can't quite remember what these illustrations were for, but I'm am pretty sure they were of or relating to either "still" or "just," as in Did you get Ichiro's autograph? No, he has just left, but the big fan is still waiting. or I have just read a scary story.

But that doesn't make any sense... your mom.


Friday, August 17, 2012


Here's another installment from the Ghibli series I did (Sway's here), this one's from that one movie where everything's A No-Kay.  The final version was on poster board, about a quarter of an A3 sheet and just black and white, but I thought I'd throw on some thematic colors for the digital version here.  What did the "final" look like? Why, like this, you silly goose:

This one was hecka relaxing to ink, all the leaves and moss and stuff. But it sure took a while...!  Fun facts: Yale-drop-out Claire Danes did the English voice for this character.  Isn't that neat?  Don't answer that, you party-pooping jerk.

Here are the lines, which I debuted on youtube, actually, hence the more prominent url.  Although I'm not really into movies, this is one of my favorite "escapism" sort of movies, where you turn it on late at night as you're rebelling against sleep, and then you get taken to a nonsensical world that you couldn't even decipher at full alert.  Maybe you succumb to sleep before the credits roll, maybe you make it to the end.  But either way, you've escaped the real world for a bit and feel oddly inspired to match the movie's beauty in your work and make dang sure to surpass its confusion.

This was our sketch, measuring about four thumbs-end-to-end long by two or three thumbs tall.  I forgot my sheet of sketches at the office the weekend I drew these, so I was going off of memory from the sketches.  Got pretty close, though.  I sketched this off the top of my head, so the forest here was just off of memory, not entirely sure what the in-movie forest looked like, of course did my research for the final.

The jKids and jCrew liked this one.  Gonna be a hoot to show the elemKids this, bet they'll like the kodama


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I drew this a while ago and colored it up in several versions. This pure Zebra marker version's a recent iteration to inspire jKids to do art and tell stories (in English).

It was a fun challenge writing a story that basic English-learners can get, while still striving to make it as interesting a story as possible. I was inspired by the elementary school textbook's telling of the Peach Boy story. It was beautiful and poetic, but everything you needed was there, even if in its most primal, basic state. "I am strong! We are strong!" goes a long way, for instance. So the goal was to approach that kind of code-worded storytelling to fire off imaginations without using a single word that could stumble the jKids.

I had to travel for work last week and we had to write a skit with some older jKids, and it's this whole writing for English-learners angle that really gets you thinking about story essentials. What tale can you communicate when your chief weapon--language--gets dulled at the forge before you ever get to wield it? It's a fun exercise, and we managed to tell a great story AND even work in wordplay (even winning an award for it, but I felt a bit guilty since it was more my idea than the jKids') but I am glad to be out of that damping zone and back writing more language-empowered stories.

In any case, regardless of how many arms I must have tied behind my back, I do love scratching that story-telling itch.


Monday, August 13, 2012


These are three more intro cards from my intro card set that I gave away.

Today's categories are Club, Season, and Food!

Really cool thing I didn't see coming: once people saw that I was handing out not only cards with non-rudimentary drawings on them, but each of the 10 was custom-made and tailored to whomever I was meeting (i.e. a black card for someone who likes black), I got swarmed with people wanting to meet me for my cards! People even stopped to watch when new people introduced themselves to me, just so they could see me unveil new cards! Golly! It's almost enough to make a cripplingly introverted hermit not shun society!



Friday, August 10, 2012


I drew a series of Ghiblis for a recently wrapped project. This one's "Spirited Away," a movie I never really got--but that's true for all Ghiblis, except for maybe "Porco Rosso," but I can't even remember that one too well. They're primarily just beautiful and fascinating visual arts to me. I am suspicious of anyone who says they get them though, unless they're Japanese, in which case, I just smile and nod politely.

I do love No-Face, though. I absolutely love the rules involved with mythology and folklore--that's why I have a fascination with Kappa, for instance: what do you do--what must you do--when you encounter this creature? Don't screw up, or you die! I love those strange, secret rules that you either know or you don't, and if you do, then you survive only because for some reason the cold-blooded creature is bound to respect those semi-arbitrary rules governing its interaction with people.

jKids never know what this movie is by its English title; the Japanese title is quite long. Speaking of which, the finals of these Ghibz were on posterboard about a quarter of an A3 sheet big, so if you outstretch your palm the piece is the hand's length from heel to the middle finger's tip, by the length from the origin to your thumb.

I was originally going to have the bath house in shadow and just have the lights in negative space but as I roughed in the details to make the ensuing silhouette accurate, I ended up just keeping the details in. Since I had to get these done at a relatively quick clip, I decided to freehand the house, but had I known I was going to keep the detail, I probably would have wanted to use more ruler, cowbell.

Here's its sketch, which is about the size of two thumbs tip to tip, and one thumb tall. It is so hard to preserve the energy of a sketch through to a final, but this one still got oohs-and-ahhs from the crowd, so that's a victory in my book.

Now that this project is wrapped, I can finally start working on some comics!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012


These are three more intro cards from my intro card set that I'm giving away.

Today's categories are Season, Place, and Drink!

*SPECIAL LEGAL NOTE: These intro cards and their associates are in no way affiliated with, endorsed by, or pikachu'd hereinto by Loft, Co. Inc. Ltd. LLC. ASCAP. etc.


Saturday, August 4, 2012


Here is the making of our anchor image for that one ALT Poster. You know the one.
So these are the pengies, inspired by Eiichiro Oda's pengies. Really fun to draw them, but agonizing trying to color them without losing the lines' vivacity.

This is a close up of the anchorgirl we markerpainted. Experimenting with coloring skin. My current color palate only allows for whitish skin colors, but I'm gonna see if we can start getting some darker tones up in this hizzy without it lookin' all...ya know.

Here's a more contextual look at the making of her.
Sky's still a challenge, but I believe we got pretty darn close to nailing it in our next piece...


Wednesday, August 1, 2012