This announcement is mainly for students and young illustrators.
Come hang with me at my talk at Apple Store on 14th Street, Meat Packing District, New York, tomorrow night, Wednesday February 27th (7-8PM).
The event is free and open to the public. (and, it is in the beautiful beautiful Apple Store Meatpacking District) I will do a bit of show and tell, and answer any of your questions. Read more details on the flyer below.
Hope to see you there!
PS: my studio assistant Mr. Bruiser da Chihuahua may join me weather permitting.
This is my personal assistant Mr. Bruiser working hard in the office.
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!
This is what I scribbled yesterday morning.
In June, it will be ten years since I started working as an illustrator.
Many (MANY) mistakes were made, and things were thus learned. These are some of them.
I wrote this as part of a brain storm to make into a presentation I will be giving next week at a design conference in Spain called OFFF. I shared this on my Facebook, and got some good responses from young illustrators and new art school graduates. So, I decided to share this here as well.
Happy graduation to you all. Wishing you an adventure-filled next ten years (and more) to come ahead.
Tomorrow evening at The Visual Arts Gallery is an opening for a show The Influentials. It is a show of SVA female alumni and their mentors showing works together side by side. I don't know how I got to invited to be in this show of mainly fine artists, many of them very established, but anyway, I will be showing, together with Thomas Woodruff, who was my undergraduate illustration instructor, then grad school personal advisor, and currently my boss/chair at BFA Illustration program where I have been teaching since 2003.
I wasn't sure what to show at first. I wanted to show something I hadn't shown anywhere, which, in process, is not illustration.
When last severely cold winter was getting started, University of the Arts kindly invited me to participate in the Von Hess Artist Residency, to create a limited edition multi separation offset print with the master printer Amanda D'Amico. Since the print got finished, I was looking for an opportunity to show. So, this will be what I will be showing. Without Amanda's literary 'master' skill, I would have never be able to make this 6 color separation prints. Although the original image was created last year for Blowup show at the Society of Illustrators, this new version is nothing like digital print outs.
Opening reception is tomorrow. (invite on the bottom of this post).
If you have time, or if you are already planning on opening hopping at Chelsea's new gallery season, please schedule a stop at The Visual Arts Gallery.
Big thank you to everyone at the gallery, everyone at UArts, especially Matt and Amanda, and Thomas Woodruff.
These are the six separations. 1)gray 2)blue gray 3)first red 4)second red 5)skin color 6)white dots for flowers
I had no idea any color on Pantone is pretty much be mixed from generic print ink
inks, inks, pretty but stinks.
cleaning the plate before printing
very old fashioned offset printer. It is a machine, but the result depends on how the master printer adjust the machine according to the image as well as the weather of the day and other factors.
color getting printed...
Amanda checking the alignment. Minor adjustments are made often.
final prints finished on the machine.
This is the beauty of the print that never exist in digital output. White dots are printed last with white ink. To make the color crisp, white was printed twice. For 6 color separations, print was pulled 7 times for the result.
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
Our concept was to create an exhibit of three 'illustrators', to show the power of print, and wanted to share what kind of creative and thinking process go into creating the works.
After a lot of ditched concepts and ideas, multiple meetings (over dinners and lunches), and needless to say, many many hours spent in front of our drawing tables, we are quite happy with the result, but then again, we have to let you the viewers decide themselves. It may not be a typical group show you may have been expected to see, so we are excited and nervous at the same time...
It would be great if you could visit, either at the opening party next week, or while the show is open.
We each created series of new images for the show that were not shown previously, and I am sharing some of my final pieces here. Mine were created using the definition of term 'blow up'.
Blow Up No.3: The Big Bang (original drawing: 22"x 30")
Blow Up No.2: Storm Forming (original drawing: 22"x 30")
Blow Up No.1: The Bubble (original drawing: 22"x 30")
mess on my drawing table...
long long hours of drawing....
In my personal pieces, I figure the composition out as I go. So some parts are completely finished while some are still in rough pencil stage.
I am not posting any photos of the final gallery spaces, because we want that to be a surprise when you come to the gallery. (I may post some photos after the opening party is over). But here are some pictures of work in progress last week.
on the top row from left: entrance area, invite flyer, and Tomer's works n the floor.
on the bottom row: Tomer Hanuka on the left, Sam Weber on the right.
I just got this gorgeously eerie piece from Tomer!
Thank you Anelle, Tim and everyone else at the Society of Illustrators for this opportunity. And last but not least, thank you Mr. David Rhodes for generous support in helping to make this show possible.
this kick-ass flyer created by Attack at Wieden Kennedy NY
It is official.
Tomer Hanuka, Sam Weber and I will be in a three person show at the Society of Illustrators in September.
We will be SO so happy if you could be able to make it.
It felt like it was never going to work out at first. Now, images are in hands of a great printer, new works being created, funding in order, and we are close to ready to hang the show toward the end of the month.
How I Got My First Job, a lecture at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will be held tomorrow evening, March 24th.
I will be a part of it together will fellow Drawgers: Marcos Chin, Fernanda Cohen and Zina Saunders, along with Fred Harper.
The lecture will be open to public.
Fashon Institute of Technology: 7th Avenue at 27th St, New York City Robert Lagary Board Room 9th floor (C Building)
March 24th (Wed) at 6:30PM
To have two of my favorite covers out of 33 covers I created monthly, was a good finale for the project. The project that started close to three years ago, recently ended with the magazine redesign as of February issue of this year.
This monthly gig came during their last redesign. Matthew Ball, a Scottish freelance art director and former Rolling Stone AD who I used to work with often, kindly pulled me into this project. What I thought would only last for a short period, ended up as accumulation of 33 images. I think I got some good pieces out of them which lead to some other jobs and projects.
above are two images accepted into The Society of Illustrators advertising and institutional show. They were both created for The Word magazine supplement CD Now Hear This!
Readership of the magazine is mainly young men, so the only art direction they gave me was to have "sexy girl with music instruments". I had a lot of fun with this lighthearted project every month. I think I did pretty much every variation I think of in the theme within that 32 covers. Things do end when they need to end. It was time for a change.
In this occasion, I decided to post some of the covers I was happy with. You can also see cover image archive here.
Big thank you to Matthew Ball, editor Mark Ellen, AD Jonathan Sellers, production editor Mike Johnson, and last but not least Jerry Parkins who made sure my payments don't get delayed every month.
The new The Word looks really good with illustrated covers by André Carrilho. Take a look when you are at (international) newsstands.
I decided to put all the past covers out and take a photo. Wow, I made so many in less than three years...
above are some of my favorite coverss. Many of them ended up reused in different projects later.
We were so used to working together, most of the month, our process got very simple: one sketch, one final. This, of course, does not happen often with other clients.
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.
surprise or no surprise, lots of Drawger members are exhibiting their works as well as some receiving medals.
Those of you who are not into paying $$ for the party, the show is open to public (free) until February 20th.
With fellow Drawgers: Gary Taxali and Thomas Fuchs, along with our friend Thilo Rothacker, four of us recently finished ultra-limited edition messenger bag project for German brand tausche.
Total of 29 bags will be released and sold at tausche’s Daikanyama store in Tokyo, Japan starting December 4 (Fri) up to the end of the year.Each of the bags were hand drawn/painted/printed and one of a kind.
If you know anyone in Tokyo area, please spread the word! Tausche Daikanyama Store: Sarugaku A-2F26-2 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0033
hours: 11AM ~ 7PM (Fri~Sun, holidays)
phone: +81 3-6802-7668fax: +81 3-6802-7681
e-mail: email@example.com: www.tausche.jp
Map to tausche Daikanyama Store. Easy walking distance from Daikanyama Station in Tokyo, and located in Sarugaku Fashion Area. Showing starts on December 4th.
California College of the Arts (CCA) kindly invited me to speak at their campus this coming Thursday.I am taking ta cross-continental flight to one of my favorite cities in the US, San Francisco.
Lecture is open to public, so if any of you out in San Francisco area is interested, please come stop by. They have a faculty and alumni illustration show on the same evening, which looks like an interesting show to check out.
Venice was HOT. I mean, really...
While I was teaching a six day illustration workshop in the last week of July with a local illustration organization Teatrio, the city recorded “the hottest day of 2009”.In Italy, people don’t really believe in air conditioning. Summer is hot and you just sweat, like good old days. But with 13 students in a classroom? At first, I was not sure if I was able to survive.
It turned out to be one of the best teaching experiences I had ever had.
How much can I teach in just 6 days?
I was a bit nervous at first. My job as a teacher is to let them get their money's worth. But soon, I realized, sometimes short intensive time together can be a lot more effective than teaching once a week for one full school year.
How I try to teach is to work on each student’s strength and weakness. The crucial part is how much students and I can get to know each other in a short period. And this intensive time worked to our benefit.
We spend all 6 days together. Other than class time, we had morning café latte together, had lunch together, ate dinner together and sometimes had drinks late into the nights. Not that we had to, we just wanted to. And by the end of the course, we all felt as if we were the oldest friends! It was really sad to leave.
Thank you everyone. You were not the only ones who learned in those six days. You all taught me a lot to be always be passionate and love what I do, work hard, and also trained me to be a better teacher. Hope to see you again soon. And, I hope to go back to Venice again for another workshop.
The students were mostly Italian with one Canadian and one British, age and level all varied, from some in middle school all the way up to professional illustrator level. Everyone was just so nice, motivated,hard working and helpful to each other. A few of the students even decided to stay in the school whole night before the last session, so they can finish the assignment.(I did not make them stay, everyone!) The assignment I gave this year was “create a superhero who saves Venice from sinking underwater”.We didn’t have good internet connection, but with this project, they were able to find inspirations and references all over the city!
Ilaria Grimaldi saw an old woman on the street, imagined her llong life in Venice, then turned her into the superhero.
Ruggero Asnago got addicted to Venezian sandwitch Tramezzini, suffered from tight curfue of hostels, and turned a ghekko into superhero who has lots of 'useless' powers.
Beatrice Naomi Davies' heroes use bottles and cans to rebuild the city's old base. By the way Beatrice just finished high school and hoping to apply to art college in the US next year. What a talented young woman!
Peter Diamond used old plague doctor mask and San Marco. Peter is a Canadian now lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Flavia Soprani's idea was vain-like canals turning into a big tree with bridges. I love that everyone's work and styles are so different!
Kalo Chu made herself into Chinese acrobats, balancing and lifting the city as well as all things she experienced during her stay in Venice. Kalo is Chinese from Hong Kong now lives and works in London, UK.
Michele Boscagli turned signature Venice architecture into a monster of his own creation.
all the students (and me) with their certificates of finishing the course.
I dreamed of becoming a comic artist when I was child. Just like any other Japanese kid growing up in economic growth of 1960s and 70s. It was the first golden age of manga and anime: Astro Boy, Cyborg 009, Galaxy Express 999…. When I was in college, I even drew my first (and the last) 40 page comic (note: I was a business major, not art) which made me realize I was not a story-teller and comics were probably not my calling. I stopped reading comics and dreaming of one day creating one.
About 20 years since then, I am back to comics. But completely in a new way.
I love challenge. I love working on different projects and push myself to a new direction. Working on covers for new DC Vertigo series The Unwritten is a perfect way to revisit my childhood dream.
Luckly I was able to team up with the best of the best, and the nicest of the nicest (writer: Mike Carey, artist: Peter Gross, editor: Pornsak Pichetshote). Story is extremely well written, intelligent, interesting, also a really good page turner. I just heard that the first issue completely sold out in just ten days after initial release. Wow!
PS: If anyone is interested, I will be at MoCCA Festival's DC Vertigo booth signing the covers this Saturday from 1-2PM.
One of the challenges of being comic cover artist is to recreate and re-interpret the story and the character without too far removed from the original. Bottom row is the main character Tommy drawn by Peter. Top row is variations of Tommy drawn by me. He has long sideburns and chooses bowling shirts as everyday fashion.
It took a while to warm up to the new series. It is always difficult on the first few issues when I am not used to the story and characters are not developed fully yet. First 4 sketches were OK, but not great...
the first first cover. Both the editors and I were not feeling it... So we decided to ditch it and start from scratch.
more sketches that didn't fly... But looking back, I do like some of them a lot.
finally, everyone agreed on the bottom left one.
The first step of final illustration is to draw with india ink (Dr. Ph. Martin's Black Star) with Japanese calligraphy brush.
In this case, drawings were in three separate sections: main drawing, letter layer and a book. They are scanned in and put together on Adobe Photoshop.
PS (June 6, 2009):
Thank you for those who stopped by to MoCCA DC Vertigo Booth today. Here are some photos. Right is with my editor Pornsak Pichetshote and long-time friend and an amazing colorist Jose Villarrubia.
School of Visual Art’s MFA Illustration Thesis Project show will open tomorrow, and there will be a reception next Tuesday, May 5th.
This is the program I graduated from in 2003, and now I personal-advise one student a year. As a lot of the peers know, it is one of the best illustration programs out there, and it is getting better and better every year. (I doubt I would even get accepted now that it has become so popular and competitive!)
Spring is here in New York, so come out, come out to Chelsea on Tuesday night. I will be there!