Friday, March 30, 2012


Puff, puff, pathetic.

Zero Like Me #182:


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 1. Today's guest star is Umezawa and a reference to that one thing that happened at Harkness a couple years ago...

Fun Facts: Japan is quite smoking-friendly--or as the jKids call it, "smorking." There are vending machines everywhere that sell cigarettes. The cigarette ads all look like deodorant or sports-drink ads. Like it's a refreshing drink they're selling. There's also no non-smoking sections in restaurants or bars or anything--if it isn't designated a non-smoking establishment, you can assume people will light up at will. That foul stench will catch you out of nowhere if you're not careful.

Baa: On the plus side is that drugs are highly illegal here, so even if you have to deal with smokers, at least you don't have to deal with random onslaughts of weed stench. That's the one thing that life at Yale doesn't have over life in Japan: no surprise weed bombings.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This is the final ALT News of the year, where in we march into the "see ya." This one is for my main school, so I wanted to put together extra punch, hence our first width-spanning illo, featuring a Totoro-y catbus, while also keeping it personalized with references to them leaving school behind and other subliminalities. We've also got my favorite Conan quote as well as some fun and/or games for the jKids in the form of a classmate-guessing game. I don't care if they prolly can't understand the memories listed, those were really just for me. And if you look really closely, you'll spot my very first comic written in Japanese. So much growth this "year!"

This is a detail of our anchor image in progress. This was my first change to really test out my Copic Ciaos (combined with my old Zebras) and I'm pretty happy with how it went for a first go. I learned a lot and the final image looks really neat in real life. I've added more greens, blues, and yellows to my arsenal since, and I taught myself how to color grass, skin, and fur better using CCs, so I'm pumped for our next major coloring piece.

This is our title image WIP. I wanted to make our final header extra special so I spoofed the Final Fantasy logo, which took a long time to do by hand! Plus I challenged myself to do that same color blending the real logo has and I'm pretty happy with how it went, particularly since I used only one single Copic Ciao to achieve that blend! It's was almost all hard-color Zebras plus this brand called Mildliner. M's are tricky because you have to get in and get out as soon as possible otherwise they can start to eat up the paper, but on the plus side you do get some nice, soft non-CC-able colors. The sky in our anchor image starts up top with a CC but blends into my blue M, which is also a "paint-able" brand, you just have that harder edge and a shot clock before the paper gnarls!

These are some off the some draws of some of our rogues gallery. I decided to test myself and draw these from memory, no reference, just whatever stuck out in my mind's eye, and I am really satisfied with how this went. I happened--happened--to be passing by this poster's hallway as some kids were checking it out and I could hear them giggling guessing the gang. How great was that? Very.


Monday, March 26, 2012


A gift of silver and negative space for one who is gold and positive.


Friday, March 23, 2012


This is the last ALT News poster for one of my schools. The Japanese school year ends in March, so it's quite that's-all-folks-y. This month's features include my favorite quote from the most unlikely life-coach slash underdog, Harvard millionaire comedian Conan O'Brien. Who saw that coming?

We've also got a recap of the stuff the jKids like that I also like (including Duel Masters, pizza, and Obata Takeshi!) but also stuff they like that I can't stand, such as AKB48. Haha. I wish Bill Burr would rant about them, but unfortunately no one outside of Japan, Indonesia, or overzealous Otaku fanclubs in the US, gives a flying fart about them!

Here's a breakdown of this month's anchor image, powered by my newly unleashed Copic Ciaos (still use my Zebras and Midliners, though). Which came first, this or that? This. I had this art penciled already so I traced it onto a new sheet to speed up that other sooner-deadlined drawing.

Here's this month's doodad art. It's a breakdown of the wretch known as the graduate, followed by an innovative, interactive move-the-tassel-to-graduate-this-sad-sack display game, which is in turn followed by a hastily sketched, inked, and colored Duel Masters card back and pizza.

Who meets deadlines? I do! Speaking of which, here's a new, postmodern art-video-collage from my AV department.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This is a panorama pic of my very last day teaching at one of my schools. I invented several English-learning games that use Duel Masters cards as a component to them and they go over pretty well.

So this was the ultimate iteration of such a "DM" game, an English-powered battle royale brawler between three teams: team Kappa, team Ojiisan, and team DJ Sprinkle.

Since this was their last day of class, they had a year's worth of English to work with, so we went for conversational more than ever before. So basically the way it works is they use English to rally communal charge points and once everyone's out of ideas, the last team to opine gets to bank the points and choose a team to attack, using the charge points as damage. And then to cap each battle, we use DM cards as a randomized power/defense booster, as well as a special attack mechanic.

Even though we had a ridiculously short class period that day, that poor kappa took managed to take a BEATING.

Anyway, can't wait to try this with older kids who can really go even further with it. Gosh, I miss these kids! But fortunately, we're back for round two next year!



Monday, March 19, 2012


This was a poster I did for my third year students who are graduating. It was done in record time, literally hours before deadline! Why cut it so close? Because this was an emergency assignment on top of two other major assignments. Tricky to figure out what could be drawn and inked easily enough to meet deadline, and also to include text that was super-duper simple for people to understand, but I'd say this worked for what it was supposed to do.

Easter Eggs: The chalkboard on the far left has that famous hiragana guy, the center is a total rip off of a certain other image, and the far right is based on an actual photo...).

Fun Facts: I totally didn't think to cut the poster into a unique shape to dress up the emptiness. Imagine a negative space trick in the corners! Ah well.

Baa: I miss them already.

Say, I wonder what those other more time-consuming pieces look like...


Friday, March 16, 2012


One of my senior jKids asked for a picture of Doflamingo, which was a novel One Piece request. I wish I could have gone all out and inked/colored this, but no time unfortunately.

But as an added bonus, I drew it on the back of a scrapped page-format ZLM. So hopefully he appreciated it. All year he kept asking to see more of my comics, so there he got a sneak peek at a then-upcoming dealio.

Ok, very little time, unfortunately, but fortunately we're just about done and relatively in the clear in a week, then it's back to business as usual!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This is the very last run of homework sketches for the year, and fortunately it was with one of my more playful classes, so a bunch of homeworks had drawings on them for me to riff on.

One kid drew a princess; one kid drew an otaku/nerd sorta picture; and one kid drew what looked like a random doodle between both ending edges of their homework so when combined they make a Mad-Magazine-like fold-in, so I tried something similar--it's an incredulous and surprised dude when combined.

So the kids are fond of drawing poop, so I made a cute little poop to go with their textbook definition of cute poop.

One kid wrote about the family rules he will have for his future runts, and he says he want to prohibit video games, hence my horrified little sketch for him.

Last we've got some jams from my elementary school visits. On the right is an amalgam of different One Piece characters the kids shouted out for me to draw. The idea was for me to make the simplest evocation of the prompted character, all starting with a smiley face.

The last drawing is of Nami from One Piece. They didn't actually want me to draw her, they just wanted me to draw not expecting that. It was a little girl who kept whining for me to draw them, but just to mess with her and her pals, I took all session to draw Nami's head. The kids then went in and drew everything below the collar bone. And they also drew me. on the left and right. Either that or Spongebob.

All in a day's work.


Monday, March 12, 2012


In my last batch of homework sketches for this school year, one of my senior jKids asked for a picture of Chopper. So for a twist, I made a sad Chopper.

He's sad because he realizes,

unlike everyone else,

that it's more appropriate

to offer


rather than


for graduation.


Friday, March 9, 2012


This is beginning to feel like the dawn of a loser forever.

Zero Like Me #181:
Fear Science


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 3. Today's setting is a car. For the third comic in a row, today's guest star is Umezawa (intentional) and today's title is another indie rock reference (unintentional), this time to the band TV on the Radio. If it didn't blow the punchline, I would have called this comic TV in the Radio, so instead we'll just reference their album, "Dear Science." We've also got a shoutout to my favorite Japanese comedian and unwitting Japanese-language-coach, Megwin!

Fun Facts: You cannot have a drop of alcohol in your blood stream while you drive in Japan (or knowingly be in a car of a driver who has even a drop of alcohol in his or her veins while driving) on pain of arrest. You cannot use a cell phone while you drive in Japan, on pain of arrest. You CAN have and watch a TV that's built into the car's dash, right where the radio should be, while you drive in Japan, on pain of possibly crashing, dying, and/or manslaughtering.

Baa: You can't even ride a bike with earbuds in your skull or hold an umbrella while biking in Japan. Yet I've seen people do both, as well as seeing cell-users in cars. But the most intense spit I've ever seen was a mother smoking in her car with her baby in the front passenger's seat (relax the window was cracked a little, sheesh). I don't know if that last one is actually illegal, but dude, that's brilliant! Imagine how much dangerous second-hand smoke smokers would spare inflicting on innocent people if they all carted around babies with them to act as human smoke filterers? Smoke can't spread to unwanted people if the baby sucks it up first, now, can it? That's just considerate.

And Japan is all about being considerate.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


These are development sketches of our new character, Umezawa Azami.
An easy character to write, difficult to design...


Monday, March 5, 2012


This is an emergency gift I drew for someone because I screwed up big time.

It's his favorite Reborn character, Tsuna. Plus a little Sartorialist.

I'm an idiot, dude, sorry.

Wasn't the first time, won't be the last.


Friday, March 2, 2012


At least you don't have to sit at the back of the chibivan.

Zero Like Me #180:
Tokyo Police Club


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 2. Today's setting is not actually Tokyo nor a police club, but it is set in Japan, for what it's worth. Today's guest star is Umezawa. Today's title is a reference to the band Tokyo Police Club, who coincidentally has a song called "Your English is Good," which I'd argue's possibly their weakest song.

Fun Facts: Japan has a thing for light skin. It's undeniable. Lighter skin's best--from the ultra-white make-up of traditional Japanese beauty care to the depictions of their historical figures in ancient scrolls, you don't want to be dark. And yet when I came here, I discovered many Japanese people can be pretty dark! dark. Shocker given how much press light-skinned Japanese people get abroad. Being dark is a not a death sentence, but it's something of a dangit (for Japanese) or a novelty (for foreigners); the ideal is to be as light as possible.

Baa: I dunno. Is light skin is aesthetically more pleasing? I feel like I've been conditioned to think that. I read a ridiculously fascinating article a while ago about why there are basically only white-looking people in anime/manga. I wish I could find it again...but to put it roughly, it argued that Japanese people are so psychologically insulated that any drawings are made like how we westerners make stick figures, except the assumption is that unless otherwise specified, the person is assumed to be Japanese, if anything at all.

The article introduced the idea of a stick figure analogy. If I draw a stick figure what do you know about it immediately, with no context provided? It's male. It's white. Now if I draw that stick figure with a triangle-dress, what is it? It's female. It's white. In order for me to communicate this is a black man, I'd have to tell you that this stick figure represents a black guy. I'd have to go out of my way to make explicit the context of the stick figure otherwise it is assumed it's a white male, assuming you stop to consider what the figure represents at all beyond "this is a human."

And so it is, the article explained, with anime and manga characters: they're just humans, but pausing a second past that, they're Japanese if we must assume nationality. If we make the character pronounce our language weirdly, or dress him in ridiculobviously non-Japanese clothing, or otherwise make it painfully clear he's not from around here, then he's a foreigner. This then gets around to why all "Americans" in anime and manga are blond/blue/white people, but that's another discussion.

Wish I could find that article again...