You may, or may not know about Sketchtravel. But, let me tell you that this is quite an amazing project that started relatively small, as something fun, and ended up becoming something of a monster-size charity project.
this is the finished poster. Let’s look at the creative process from the beginning….
everything starts kind of like this…. lots of doodles and thumbnails.
Concept started off as drawing a “Maiko” or two. Maiko is a younger version of Geiko (what westerners know as geisha). Both Maikos and Geikos are close to extinct in this 21st century Japan, but in old capital of Kyoto, the culture still exist.
So, this was my initial idea. Dice and I discussed and decided to go with a more contemporary take on Maiko culture. He said he wanted to see more of my “edge”. I was a bit weary at first… but said OK, I will do it.
Second idea. More with edge and tradition mixed with contemporary. Japanese umbrella she is holding makes the shape of Japanese flag: red dot. Cherry flowers, of course, are the symbol of spring. Luckily, the show starts in spring, right around the famous Japanese Cherry Flower season.
This is a typical preparatin stage before moving onto actual inking stage. Add gutter space (in grey) and blow up the sketch to the size I am drawing. For a poster use, I usually go 22″ x 30″. Obviously, it takes multiple print outs from my Epson printer and lots of cutting and taping…
Lightbox saves your time (therefore your life). You can see the traced pencil linse on watercolor paper. this is about the tightest I normally trace. No tracing takes longer than a few minutes. It is more about transferring the sketch composition onto the paper. No more no less. It is my trick to ink fresh lines and not making it look like traced.
Some things cannot use shortcuts. So, I take good old compass to draw out the perfect circle for the umbrella.
Finish figure first, then the rest follows. Face ended up changing a lot from the sketch, but that’s part of the process. Only time I do tight face sketch is when I am doing a portrait.
I initially thought I would finish the drawing much faster, then ended up taking longer, because of large scale, and because of detailed cherry flower drawings.
Yaaay, getting very close to finishing up the drawing. The book on the side was the book I referred to to draw various different types of cherries. Top was very close up, bottom was far away, and petals were drawn on separate paper.
Also, bunch of photos of real Maikos from kyoto, their hair style and accessories were downloaded from the web, as well as the famous five story pagoda, a symbol of Kyoto.
FINITO! (there is a bit of time-consuming process of getting the texture and tone on the finished drawing, which I ask to keep it as ‘secret ingredient’) This gets scanned in tediously in parts. Yes, I do have a large format scanner (Epson Expression 10000XL), but it still takes at least four scans to get everything onto the computer. At least, Photoshop Auto-merge feature works like a dream and saves a lot of time.
Adobe Photoshop CS5.5. I should switch to Ps6…. Wacom Intuos 3 tablet (which died since, and now I am on super shiny Intuos 5). Every coloring process is different, and this is one of the reasons why it is very hard for me to hire a coloring assistant. But most of the coloring starts something like this…
Getting there, but still not many layers. I know, I am a huge fan of masks. It is all about masking and masking and masking stuff….
This is my workspace… I have a large Apple Cinema Display (old one, died once and paid a lot of money to fix) next to the laptop. I don’t own a desktop computer and I never will. (and that keyboard died since then. Now I have a cute code-less.)
Cherry petals are inserted, and the number of layers are doubled. I think I call it done!
Once again, below is the final result, and there is a copy of the backside of the flyer on the bottom, for those of you who are in Japan who are interested in going to the exhibition. I won’t be able to make it to the show, but I am sure it will be super, so enjoy!
I am not at Comic-Con.
Many people asked if I was going, including my DC Comics Vertigo editor Karen Berger, with whom I work monthly on covers for their (ahem, bestselling, woo hoo,) series called The Unwritten.
This year, I received my first (hopefully not last...) nomination for Will Eisner Awards in best cover artist category. I am just happy and honored that enough people thought my work deserved a nomination. I don't want to think about wanting to win, which I may feel, if I was in San Diego.
I rather stay in New York, finish up piled up work before heading out to Italy early next month to teach a week long workshop.
BUT, that does not mean I am not present at Comic-Con.
In fact, I am participating in a one night charity auction event curated by Creterion Collection for Japan earthquake relief. Creterion Collection puts out beautifully packaged collectors edition DVDs with edge, working with many illustrators. I remember dreaming of working with them when I saw a gorgeous package designed by Josh Cochran a few years back.
Eric Skillman of Creterion Collection has curated an auction show of Akira Kurosawa's works interpreted by various illustartors including Josh Cochran and myself. All one of a kind originals. Proceeds will be donated to Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.
So, if you are at Comic-Con, head out to San Diego Wine and Culinary Center across the street from San Diego Convention Center. Friday July 22, 7PM to 1AM. And Buy art for a good cause!!
A TRIBUTE TO THE FILMS OF AKIRA KUROSAWA
A benefit for Japan Relief, presented by The Criterion Collection and Tr!ckster Tr!ckster is being held at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, 200 Harbor Drive, San Diego. A Tribute to the Films of Akira Kurosawa," is one night only, Friday July 22, 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM.
These are DVD packages I worked with Criterion Collection. The Mikado is an opera-film, and Topsy-Turvyis another film about two men who were behind created the operaMikado. It was fun to work on both covers simultaneously.
Topsy-Turvy, like the title, has the upside down heads of two main characters. It was a tough job to draw both of their portraits on one head and make them look like the actors. Eric helped me a lot with the process. I am happy with the result.
Below are the actors in the film.
my piece is based on Akira Kurosawa's "Donzoko (The Lower Depth)" 11.25' x 14.5" black and red ink on watercolor paper, 2011
Below is the press release
A TRIBUTE TO THE FILMS OF AKIRA KUROSAWA A benefit for Japan Relief, presented by The Criterion Collection and Tr!ckster
TR!CKSTER and The Criterion Collection <http://www.criterion.com/> have joined forces to curate a one-night-only celebration of the works of legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Cited as an inspiration to generations of storytellers, Kurosawa’s films resonate with a singular clarity of vision, and his images last in our minds long after the last frame has played.
This intimate show, curated by Criterion designer Eric Skillman, will feature original pieces by artists from the worlds of comics, animation, and illustration, including: Mike Allred, Scott C., Josh Cochran, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Goodin, Victor Kerlow, Ted Mathot, Scott Morse, ShoMurase, YukoShimizu, Bill Presing, Jim Rugg, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Connor Willumsen. Though the gallery show will be free to enter and enjoy for the general public, all proceeds from sales of these works will be donated to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund. <http://www.japansociety.org/earthquake>
This is a special engagement gallery event, existing for one night only: Friday, July 22, 2011.
Tr!ckster is being held at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, which is a venue across the street from the San Diego Convention Center where Comic-Con is being held. Its address is 200 Harbor Drive, San Diego. Our show, "A Tribute to the Films of Akira Kurosawa," is one night only, Friday July 22, 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM.
Weather in New York is finally neither boiling hot or cold. So, come out to SOHO this Saturday afternoon, and buy art for a really good cause.
My good Japanese artist friends who live and work in New York, have spend months organizing this one night charity art show Dear Japan. All the proceeds will go to Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” (David has posted details earlier too).
170 illustrators and fine artists are participating in the show, and most of them are selling art for a fraction of what they normally sell them for. Everything for sale at the show is $200 for less. Yes, even an original Marshall Arisman print!
my piece: Red Dot Meditation black and red ink on watercolor paper 10" x 10" framed
I took time off from jobs yesterday, and created a 10" x 10" drawing using black and red ink. Since it is not for print media, I have decided to make it all about different textures subtleness of which can only be seen if you are looking at it close enough. All the red dots that may seem like a computer generated pattern are drawn by hand using red ink one by one. This drawing is framed and ready to be on your wall. Hope someone can take it back home with him/her on Saturday night.
I have also picked some of my personal favorite from the show. More exciting works can be seen (and purchased) at the show. Hope to see you on Saturday!
Art Connect New York Gallery Space: 491 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, New York 10012
June 4th, 2011, Saturday 4-8 PM
Purchase by cash or checks
I totally judge books by their covers.
Let's be honest, we all do. I can be categorized as a book-worm, but still I always have piles of unread books sitting around in my apartment, mostly because I couldn't resist buying them for their beautiful covers. To add to this, I have countless design books on book covers, also piling up. I just bought one yesterday, and was drooling on it all last evening. (check this out: The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930 by Richard Minsky)
Non profit organization National Novel Writing Month encourage people to spend November writing the first draft of a novel. John's idea was to invite 30 designers and illustrators, each create a book cover, start to finish, within 24 hours from the brief.
Mine was on November 29th, I was given three synopsis to choose from. The one I picked wasDia'pire by Michelle Zheng.Story about a pathetic and funny diaper wearing vampire.
It was a no brainer for me to pick this synopsis. This was the funniest. Besides, during the 90s, my religious view was "Anne Rice", for real. Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails.
Pick one of the thumbnails I like the best, blow up to the size I want to draw. Cut watercolor paper to the size, get my ink and brush, then go dive into the drawing. I don't have much time!!!
eerie and funny... that is what I am looking for...
I don't have babies nor particularly into them. What do diapers and diaper pins look like?? Yeah, those authentic cloth diapers, of course!
Know nothing about type. How sad, but true. At least I can tell what looks good. vampire: gothic type, duh.
So, to hide my non-knowledge, I carefully hand draw each type, so it looks better than it actually is.
How ESL of me. Didn't I know that it would never spell "vampia"????. Go back to the drawing table to fix this up.
minor details: the bat drawings in the original drawing were needed to shift, move and flip around, because after the title type was in, they didn't work the way they were originally intended. After a lot of back and forth on where they should be, the final result is as below.
Finished!! All within 24 hours or less. Phew! But I am so nervous if it lives up to all the beautiful 29 other covers other designers have created. Either way, I had FUN!!!
Many of fellow Drawgers have posted their head drawings/paintings already. My belated contribution... black/blue/green ink and red seal on watercolor paper. 100 Heads for Haiti is a group show organized by Dave Plunkert and Spur Design. Each head, done by various illustrators, will be sold for just $100 each for charity purpose to raise money for Doctors without Borders.
Show opening Saturday, April 12th at SPUR Gallery, Baltimore, MD.
Please buy my head and help Doctors Without Borders (a charity I never forget to donate to every year)
I have moved to New York form Tokyo 11 years ago. The first apartment I found was on Upper East Side with a Haitian roommate. We only lived together for three months, but we became a long time friends since. She has cooked me Haitian dishes, taught me how to prepare Haitian mint tea, and told me about her family.
I have never been to Haiti, but I feel close to the country because of her.
To create this image, I researched the word Haiti in Chinese. It is written as "海地". 海 means ocean and 地 means land. What a beautiful name. So I drew in her diving glasses one side ocean and one side land.
Brooklyn-based boxer John Douglas posing cool in The Gap shirt.
OK, so I have to be absolutely honest. I do NOT wear t-shirts. They look horrible on me. Over the years, many t-shirt design gigs came and went without fruitful results. It probably has something to do with my t-shirt illiteracy.
But that does not mean I don’t like t-shirts on other people. In fact, they look great on almost everyone, well, other than me.
The Gap (PRODUCT)RED was patient enough to work with such a person like me to come out with my first (I hope it is not going to be the last!) four designs this season.
I cannot explain my excitement seeing people looking great in them, especially knowing that the proceeds will help women and children affected by AIDS in Africa.
Thank you, thank you and thank you, for those who bought, and those great design and technical team at The Gap who transformed my digital files into awesome shirts.
top row from left: Yausi Mora and Emilia Casana in Puebla, Mexico, Yuki Ikezi from Santa Clara, California.
second row: Juan Carlos Vazquez Padilla in Acapulco, Mexico, John Douglas in Brooklyn, NY, Jack Tse in New York. third row: Michael Thorner from Toronto, Canada. Bottom row: Sam Gorrie in Las Vegas, Nevada, Aida Aguilera Rocha from Xalapa, Mexico
There are four designs in total. All of them in women's sizes and right two are also available in men's sizes. Top left was original image created for this project, and the other three are pre-existing images adjusted for the shirts.
There is only one shirt that was created originally for the project (fortune cookie). Yes. But that does not mean I didn't squeeze my t-shirt-dummy-brain to come up with various ideas. In fact, I think some of them are not at all bad although they were not made into the production.
Anyone interested in realizing them into final products? Well, contact me and let me know. We can discuss!
Read more about (PRODUCT)RED, how it helps Africa, and to purchase shirts here.
I have to say, it is a different kind of excitement I feel when I see my work on wearable objects and displayed in stores like this!!
chew on this, and support next generation of creative minds
at first, you don't notice the thousand nipples...
I heard on the news recently that people feel most happy and fulfilled not by monetary insentives, but by rewarding feelings we get from doing something for others, regardless of our income level, type of jobs, race, age, etc. I love the fact we artists can contrubute our artwork, and go way beyond what we could have contributed in money. Sticky, a creative agency in Chicago and Retail Advertising & Marketing Association came up with a very creative idea to raise scholarship fund for students at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio.
Four artists, including myself was invited to design gum packages based on the stories Sticky has created. 12 packs of gum in a carton is sold for $25, which will fund Randy Curtis Memorial Award.
My image is based on a trippy story about a third nipple escaping a girl's body, travels across the continent and go surfing. ( Yes, you read it right. ) Because the story was so out there, and the package features a surfer on the wave of thousand nipples, the gum got rejected from production at the last minutes.
But of course, it is the bunch of creative minds who are working on this project, they ended up managing to produce this gum, as a "banned and limited edition". If you are interested, you can also buy this gum, chew on this, all for a good cause.
Here are two sketches I initially submitted. We ended up going with more subtle one, which, we think we made the right decision.