Monday, January 30, 2017


Toss your cookies, it's Sick Little Suicide #30, "Bunksy," in which we throw up that thing making us sick.

Fun Facts: Today's art is based on the famous Banksy piece with the dude throwing flowers.

It is simply cartoonish to believe that orange fraud and his goons are acting in anyone's best interests, at least besides the interests of something extremely sinister. We need more people, especially those among the Republican party, to behave rationally now more than ever. That means defying those irrational, oppressive, and ultimately destructive voices who are enabling this precipitous degradation of our moral and political standing to continue, pushing us towards an unprecedented and potentially irreparable danger.

This isn't about party, it's about country and honor. Do what's right. If the very top public servant has committed an illegal and unconstitutional act--and actively ignores wiser voices--he is unfit for office and should be impeached.

Not normal,


Friday, January 27, 2017


I'm timidly trying digital color studies, so I'm using just Steve Ahn's Ultimate Brush, with as minimal tricks as possible. The only gimmicks were the slight radial blur on the grass flying up.

Easily discarding the the old camera blur routine, the main idea was to draw on as few layers as possible with this no-opacity-change, minimal-width-change brush with no blending, just pick colors and draw. I did cave and put the background, foreground, lightning, and character on their own layers like a pikachump.

I also added the foreground grass at the last minute since the heavy clouds and dramatic purples made me think of a familiar color composition.

Not normal,


Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Mark the spot, it's Sick Little Suicide #29, "X," in which we cross out everything we knew.

I actually drew this for the US's inauguration day proper, though it was the day after for us in Japan ("my" day-of piece was this old number).

Fun Facts: I wanted to draw as minimal a piece as possible with as much packed in as possible, and this is the most straightforward piece I've ever done, two lines over a solid background. At first it was to be a solid field of black, then no more than an x'd out orange field, but these didn't go far enough, so we ended up with the final above.

Easter Eggs: Brown and black comprise the X to signify the minorities who must unite to oppose that garishly omnipresent, loud, orange fraud. The brown dash is closer to us since, hey, that's me. From our perspective, the X centers slightly left, signifying progress and the necessary willingness to insist on some progressive action and coordination regardless of individual tastes. The X also hits upon the orange's right (if it's facing camera in opposition to the X), meaning the X has to target the right, the source of this strife. Finally, I set my brush to solid and 100 so that it is unmistakable that we must be united on this effort.

We have to be in this together because we are. It benefits no one to in-fight or appease the foul. The solution should not be a one-way street of having to understand people who are in league with racist values or who remove themselves from any reasonable understanding of reality; there are certain things that are simply unacceptable today, absolutely least of all in any official capacity. We stand at the brink of an era of actual, genuine evil--harm to the helpless, cowardice to truth, suppression of freedom. We can't succumb to evil. We are the United States of America.

Not normal,


Monday, January 23, 2017


Recoup some faith in humanity, it's Sick Little Suicide #28, "Carry On," in which we keep calm and ponder the nature of how we got here in an existential kinda way.

I have had an extremely low opinion of my native USA since the election, but this past weekend's Women's March almost brought tears to my eyes upon seeing that across the country, including the good ol' boy-riddled south US, and around the world, there indeed exists a thriving sense of good and a rejection of evil. Not only that, but combined with the joke of an inaugural reception, the weekend was a tangible repudiation of that fraud, concrete and undeniably quantifiable.

I wanted to do an illustration to commemorate the event and more generally celebrate females altogether, and I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite pieces by one of my biggest inspirations, Winsor McCay, the legendary yet criminally underrated comicser/editorial illustrator/animator from the late 1800s, early 1900s, whose surface-scratchingly most-known work is Little Nemo. He's been a huge influence on me since college, where I even got to study a giant-sized edition of one of his books for my Yale thesis.

Some of his stylistic depictions are indeed "of the time," but one of the coolest things about him is how he had quite modern views, despite the limitations of popular reflection of say, depicting black or African people. I don't detect hatred in his depictions, and he has been my go-to example of how you can bring artistry and beauty to what can otherwise be stinging imagery. For however trigger-happy PC culture may be today, he did his best with what he had at his iconographic disposal back then, evidenced by the content of his comics, not the strict depictions employed from that era, so I only have love for his work.

One of the reasons his illustration, "Who carries the load? Woman," stuck with me since college was because it was written and published just years into the outset of the 1900s, yet it was such an inspirational message of acknowledging the largely underplayed contributions of females to humanity from before women could even vote in the US! The comic even incorporates Native Americans, another population that is especially ignored in the US today, let alone back then. Maybe some people today might take issue with his depiction of them in the piece, but as someone with some Native-American heritage, I don't, and I even find it a beautiful and caring depiction, especially for early 20th century work.

Anyway, I decided to focus on the depiction of who he labels "Atlas" and "Mother." Note, he came from a generation that was still defining the very mechanics of comics--his stuff still numbered panels, for instance--where I've had generations of artists to study from, so I've always had a difficult time using blatant labeling in my illustrations. Even from when I was little, seeing editorial comics in the paper with screamingly prominent labels always bummed me out. Incidentally, Will Eisner does some incredible typographical integration in his stuff, that's more my speed.

Anyway, I was ok with how this turned out, but then looking back at it as I was about to post, it kinda choked me up! I couldn't believe it! After seeing the finished piece was when the emotion hit me. I was sorta imagining what they might be talking about, even if they aren't even saying anything; the silent understanding they must have. Whatever greatness or renown the guy achieves, he can only lower his head in gratitude and reverence to the female. He's on the shoulders of a giant, who closes her eyes in quiet pride. There's something so beautiful in a silently commanded respect, in doing honest, crucial, yet thankless work.

Here is famous Atlas, who everybody knows...but here is faceless Atlas, who lowers his head not from the burden of the world, but to honor his silent, noble partner.

It depletes me how males--my gender--voted so widely for that disgusting fraud, so I feel inexplicably guilty for that idiot's ascension in some way, however tangential. It feels like we betrayed no less than half of the planet, let alone future generations and our ancestors--not to mention ourselves as well, to be sure. Betrayal is one of the worst things a human can do to another and we collectively agreed to do it. But these marches around the planet Earth...what a reaffirmation that we can and will do the right thing. It will happen.

I loathe the hippy-dippy "love" rhetoric you often get with this generation because it feels so disingenuous or manufactured to make us feel better (just as that fraud's empty promises and fear-mongering tirades are meant to provide a hollow, insubstantial sense of perverse unity), but these marches, like a cheesy or nonsensical love song that finally clicks in meaning one day, make me believe we can be better, and that those vicious forces only won a game but not the match. Feeling emotional at the footage of the overwhelming populations marching around the globe must be related to what I felt seeing this image completed: we must do what we can to show that we know what is right, and further, we will pursue good as a matter of honor and duty.

Having thought on this for years now, I've come to see that I generally think greater of females than males, which is why my stories and art tend to focus on them as the heroes rather than the more "intuitive" male protagonist. The only dude I feel comfortable drawing/writing is Zero. I didn't major in US history but actively sought these classes anyway for the narrative training, and I found it just terrible what males are capable of. Obviously not all of us are evil or dangerous, but confronted with our historical cruelty, and being in a community of such incredible artists almost exclusively consisting of females, and seeing first-hand how strong women can be via my mom's incredible example, it all made me look to females for the "answer," certainly for the more compelling hero.

I believe favoring female protagonists also has to do with why I don't really buy into stories about grown-ups rather than kids, because it seems like a given that adults have an inherent advantage off the bat. So stories about males don't really compel me because we kinda have stuff already working in our favor--we're expected to be tough, fight, and win. That's not interesting. I want to root for the underdog, and I want to celebrate their well-fought victory, and it happens to be that females tend to exemplify these conditions. As far as through the narrative inherent in illustration, apart from that more plain in comics, I hope to bring honor to females in whatever inconsequential way I can, as I hope to have done in today's art, out of gratitude for what inspiration and support they've given me and humanity at large.

This weekend made me feel like a human again, for the first time in a while, and I cannot wait for us to unite against that disgusting fraud as early as the midterm elections next year. Seeing the recaps of the comically ghostownish inauguration was an excellent way to kick off the countdown, and the good times keep rolling...

Not normal,


Friday, January 20, 2017


Question all reality, it's Sick Little Suicide #27, "フラード," in which we lose pride in our country, and lose our country itself, while we're at it.

What idiocy has my country committed? How sickeningly delusional are our people? This orange fraud is not the warrior of the needy, he is not the advocate of the weak, and he is not even the bearer of a believable comb over. But beyond that, you must actively delude yourself if you think he is any shade of a force for good, least of all looking out for those in pain. I get if it's a matter of hatred and that's why you'd vote for him, but it's shameful to act like it's anything more than that. It's insulting. As he clearly is incapable of supporting those who need him, his supporters thus either advocated or condoned hatred and cruel, blatant dishonesty by voting for him; there's no other avenue to voting for such a void of selflessness and character.

He is to be a public servant, he is to serve the public. Nothing indicates his willingness to submit this core tenet of his duty, voting for him serves nobody who is in need. This idiotic working class vote narrative is just outstanding in either those peoples' gullibility or their stupidity to think he has their actual interests at heart. Of course, I know the election was a choice between a rock and a turd-stained cyanide tablet, but why would the latter ever seem acceptable under any circumstances? It is simply incredible, this state we're in.

About this piece, then.

Fun Facts: I was listening to a Jake Parker video and at some point he mentioned the parable of the man who builds his house on rock vs. the guy who builds on sand, which comes from Matthew 7:24-27, and then this image flashed in my head. It felt appropriate to have the inspiration for this piece, for this topic, spring forth from a Bible verse about keeping Jesus's wisdom in mind as a lifelong anchoring device--as a moral centering, if you will--meanwhile seeing the utterly heartbreaking statistics of how most Christian voters gave in to following this clearly immoral orange.

I don't know what's more deflating: that people of faith honestly could believe that orange fraud to be good in any capacity, or that they were willing to ignore their own goodness and compassion to not only accept, but reward his behavior. I suppose the worst must be those who willingly or (let's say) "subconsciously" used our faith as a front for their ulterior motives for voting for him, which is to say, they were willing to perpetuate hatred by hiding behind the faith of love as the supposed motivator for their vote for a being that does everything short of outright denounce the faith.

I love this verse for how perfectly it applies to the situation. That orange fraud is incontrovertibly immoral, that is, someone who "hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them," meaning in a loose sense, he chooses to ignore morality, ethics, and decency. Coincidentally, for this piece, I focused on the second half of the scripture, about he who builds on sand, but if expanding to incorporate the full verse, you could just make a corresponding level picture of the White House resting steadily upon some black ba-rocks.

Easter Eggs: The quoted passage includes reference to "floods," which is of course especially symbolic of ruin as per Noah's world-totaling tale, but interestingly, when you write flood phonetically in Japanese as フラード, it gains a double meaning as the phonetic approximation of "fraud," so I tagged the sand with that along the right wing of the piece. Indeed the pockmarked sand in the illustration is the orange fraud's grotesque face, complete with his baldness peeking though the golden decoration standing in for his "hair," itself a symbol of the utter superficiality and falseness that this fraud embodies.

Further, thinking back to the golden calf Moses encountered, I included a golden bull statue here as some typically gaudy lawn decoration to symbolize that fraud's horrifying materialism and exaltation of money, but it also doubles as a marker of his obedience to money itself, with the bull playing a familiar financial symbol here as well. The bull itself is temperamental and generally characterized as thoughtless, and I placed it so it's touching what might be the orange fraud's temples, a gesture usually indicating thought. Thus his thoughts are guided by money, materialism, and most basically greed. The bull is also kissing his forehead, as if the golden idol is giving some kind of anointment or blessing to the fraud. The fraud's sandy eyes and mouth are X'd out for the evil they perpetuate.

More on the nose, perhaps, the flag is at half mast because this is no doubt a time of national mourning, not unlike a time of stately death. Our country's morality, decency, honor, prestige, legacy, and people are indeed in peril, and many literally have their lives at stake in this turn of events as they risk losing their necessary healthcare just so a gang of fools, cowards, and traitors can cheer, "WE WON!"

With no doubt, our dignity and morality as a country will be tested and tattered by the end of these next four years, so it's up to us as individuals not to forget the injustice that is being perpetrated today and to safeguard our country's dignity until a responsible adult comes to pick us from this inept babysitter.

What a waste of a beautifully chilly, rainy day today, by the way...I love the rain.

Not normal,


Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I was a bit frustrated so I decided to digitally ink an old Didi sketch since nothing else felt feasible...the difference in emotion between the sketch and final is kinda neat, come to think of it. I also like how the color version really ties the image more thematically to the comic after all.

I had an art get-together Tuesday far off in Harajuku, and only being able to make it back to my home station around 11:30pm, I got stopped by the police as I was headed for the bus. I've heard these are supposed to be "random" stops, but why on Earth (specifically Japan) am I always chosen for these idiotic quiz shows? Oh, wait, it's because I'm visibly not Japanese, perhaps especially because I have dark skin. I've noticed they tend to search me when I'm at a main station, but no love for the out-of-the-way spots. Racism is fine as long as it's convenient, I guess.

What sickened me about this latest stop was how thoroughly they searched me. I don't know if they are legally allowed to do that and were taking advantage of me for a power trip--in the US, police need a warrant or probable cause to search you legally. I have been lightly searched before, but it was gross how closely they examined my belongings, including my wallet. I've said it before and I'll say it again, though, I'd take Japan's annoying racism over the US's violent racism any day.

As much as I love Japan, don't kid yourself, this place is racist, and I experience forms of racism on a nearly daily basis. Most of it is entirely innocuous, like people giving you WAY too much space when walking around you on the sidewalk, if they hadn't already dashed to the other side of the street first--an old lady nearly sprinted to do this one time. Some will walk right in the middle of the road to avoid being within breath of you. I like to play a game where I match these streetwalkers' pace so they have to keep walking on the street if they want to refuse to join me on the sidewalk like a human being. The best part is if they act like I'm being the jerk.

Back when I used to take the train daily, people seemingly would rather ride the outside of the train than sit next to you, but whatever, in that case, excellent--less people crowding you in cramped quarters. There's also the phenomenon of people blatantly staring at you, like you're a monkey in a tutu reading a newspaper, but while I ordinarily dislike eye contact, nothing is more satisfying than staring down people who don't even try to hide that they're staring at you. Again, they often act as if you're the problem when they finally look away, flustered.

Anyway, those racist police apparently had an issue with the scissors I kept in my bag, which I've always had since the rural school days. They acted like A) they had never conceived of people carrying scissors, B) they couldn't imagine why anyone would have scissors at all, and C) I might possibly have had notions to use this as a weapon some day. I hate how they have to (over)act so clueless, as if they have never experienced or could adapt to experiencing such an event as someone having regular old, convenience-store-bought scissors--this includes any time any JP service is confronted with a situation that isn't strictly textbook-training routine. They have to put on a show like they are trying their darndest to gee-golly figure out the situation for ya, but it's a plumb noodle-scratcher, by gum.

How brain-dead are you that you can't either adjust whatever limp hamster is running your processes, or at least give the person you're inconveniencing and degrading the courtesy of not putting on the middle school drama club production of "Man Checks Bag"?

They know they are delaying me but they always act like what is going on is beyond their control, as if they are running a computer program that is simply loading and we can only sit and watch until the status bar fills, but meanwhile they keep going over and over the same thing, down to measuring how long the scissors are and asking what they were for, multiple times, respectively. Assuming both steps are necessary, addressing them once should be enough for competent police of non-goldfish descent.

I have complied with all your stupid questions, allowed you to search me despite feeling it was unwarranted, and satisfactorily provided my walking papers, get out of my face and let me catch the bus to get to my foreigner-permitted housing, which is as always, a racist million miles away from any convenient station.

Oh, wait, I missed the bus by one minute and literally saw it drive away as I approached the bus stop, so now I have to wait for half an hour in the ~0C degree cold for the next one because the bus schedule guts itself after midnight. Yes, also, it is now after midnight, you idiots. No, your smiling, aww-shucks chuckling, and apologizing for keeping me doesn't magically remedy the situation.

I got home and felt sick, exhausted, and unable to continue work or even sketch. Plugging away on this the next day helped, I guess. And so that's the story behind this piece and why I made Didi's shadow smile. Because of those idiots. Those racist idiots.

That said, I'd rather fear being delayed by racist cops than shot in the head by them. So there's that.

Not normal,


Monday, January 16, 2017


A Vicky sketch after seeing someone wearing something similar at the station. My pocket sketchbook helps me be a little less precious, including live-inking the background with one of my lesser-used brush pens.

The background text is basically a summary of Coverage Draft's premise, written as illegibly as possible to still remain legible. I wanted to get wacky with the pose and kinda blew it.

Not normal,


Friday, January 13, 2017


This is a mock-up poster/cover for Rish Outfield's fantastic short story, "Rest Stop," which he performs solo on his podcast, "The Rish Outcast," while he's not co-manning The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine or the That Gets My Goat podcast.

I randomly messed around with the snowfall layer and discovered a particularly spooky look here, which I could buy as a final, but it felt just a little too dead-on "horror." I didn't want the image to be too blatant; it had to feel mysteriously sinister, like a sinking feeling something bad might happen.

I initially started with the hag's mug looming over everything, but it just didn't feel correct, so I ended up abandoning this take after checking on and liking the hagless version. I like the empty space building suspense as you travel down the image, plus it allowed for a super subtle face in the snowfall.

Ultimately, it felt more important to emphasize it's the dude's story and the hag is only vaguely part of it, making it feel wiser to keeping her merely implied. The hood was briefly story-accurate brown, before going green-black to blend into the hair/forest/depths, so the hag does still survive into the final image.

This piece involved a little unconventional processing for me. Normally I'd fully draw and color everything then go over with heavier core shadows, but this time, I just colored the rim lighting after getting the figures' structures down. Painting the snow was perhaps my favorite part, it's just so relaxing as always.

Here's the original sketch that started all of this. While listening to "Rest Stop," I kept envisioning a cool/creepy poster like this, and am happy to have been able to translate it into a finished piece. Rish Outfield is an excellent storyteller in the entire sense--that is, a phenomenal writer and performer of story--and his stuff really fires up my imagination, so I'm eager to try my hand at another story.

Not normal,


Wednesday, January 11, 2017


One of my New Years' resolutions was to get a series of comics done this year, so I've begun doing just that, and this was a test run on my materials plus possible post-treatments, such as the straightforward cel-shader above, and the thematically colored shadows below.

I don't have the heart to go totally digital on comics yet, though, maybe I should do something micro to beat the preciousness out of me...

Anyway, I drew these with pencil and G-Pen inks on IC comics paper, and it was a dream...the drawing feels so smooth. I thought I could ink digitally, just doesn't feel quite right yet.

So given these two floating figures, I thought I'd give them a couple rough color treatments, like some red-intensives for the "black and white and read all over" ethos (I don't anticipate any other colors in the actual pages of Coverage Draft), as well as full color.

Ultimately, I just went with the backgrounds I used for the tester images of Fred and Vicky for a kind of mock cover.

All right, I believe that'll do. Paper's great, inks are great, and we're all tested up and ready to draw some finals. Right now, I'm warming up on comics in general by drawing Splinter, but hope to have Coverage Draft under way soon enough, though probably want to do the other short first, too.

Not normal,


Monday, January 9, 2017


It's been rainy in Tokyo, so I've been pretty pumped. I love the rain. So I decided to draw Nyao in New Haven, beneath an arch, with Harkness Tower looming, after looking over some beautiful photos of Yale.

Apparently it's snowing there right now! This concept was also probably a little inspired by my old classmate's film, which just gut punches you with nostalgia if you love Yale and love the rain and love the snow.

Plus this doubled as some relatively quick painting practice. I'm trying to get faster, and I was able to turn this around in about a day, which is great, for me at least.

It was supposed to be a loose sketch, but I keep wanting to go to the next step and develop the piece further, so it's always tough deciding where to stop. Originally I just wanted a few chilly, blue saturations.

But eventually we went to refining the drawing, and then going full color and using post-production effects.

Regardless, this was quite relaxing to work on. Nyao is always there to make things better.

Not normal,


Friday, January 6, 2017


And now the swilling conclusion to our Pan-art series, Pan-Pizza pondering a pint-sized personaje, though did I hear right, he doesn't actually use a stylus?! Take it easy there, Adam Hughes.

His comic, Loki IRL has a couple real-world undercurrents to it, and that's what makes the comic really resonate with me, though the more fantastical elements are neat ruminations on common influences, too.

As for his webshow, it's inspirational how well and thoughtfully he puts his work together. One of the things I hate the most is people passing off poorly-made stuff as good enough, and you see that constantly on the Internet, like people don't even want to try.

Do or do not, but there is no excuse to not-try.

Not normal,


Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Ok, continuing our Pan-art series from last year is ChewPoe from Loki IRL by Pan-Pizza.

One Mehxican to another, I'm pretty sure ChewPoe's name is a pun on chupo from Spanish. Anyway, this was the character that made me want to do this whole series (the previous ones were just sorta warm-ups), because I wanted to try drawing this dude with negative space and detail his mouth with color pencil.

The trick from the get-go was not overdoing this one, or I'd lose the ghostly effect I was looking for. I wanted to color his entire body with the same white pen I used for the stitches, but...that felt like cheating on the negative space restriction, I compromised with some soft shadows near the bottom.

Milky Mint here was the piece right before Chewie, and she was tough because it wasn't quite clear how she was constructed, so I felt more liberty to interpret, but then you don't know what's too far to antithetical.

I knew her being featureless was a defining feature, so I had the Copics do most of her facial definition. Again, the trick here was not going overboard on the figure, though being experimental in the other direction felt right for the background.

I'm not into the Yu-Gi-Oh school of rando shapes and colors as backgrounds, but thought some kind of spotlight/pixel-y vibe might work since she's in media. This was the first piece where I started inking with one of my colored pens, rather than just using it for finishes, inspired by Scott M. Fischer's bold inks.

Ok, Friday's the Pan finale...wonder who it could be...

Not normal,