MUSIC / 音楽 / ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗ / ดนตรี / संगीतं


I just finished fully integrating my music into the site, after having it as a separate site for a long time. I haven’t had time to actually make any music for a long time now, but I’ve been going nuts wanting to, and invested in some new equipment and made a nice little home music studio setup in preparation for hopefully having some time later this year. When I finally do make brand new music, it’ll be under a new name, with new gear, new software, and a new sound. Figured a new, prettier, more in-depth site would fit that well! Click above, or here to go check it out!

Also, I added my old pre-2000 albums to the Archive page, just in case you want to read about and see art from my bizarre old “Evil Eye” albums.

There are probably some little errors I need to fix here and there, and I also plan on adding more later, but I have another avalanche of manga work coming up, so this is good for now. Catch you on the flipside!

PS: I’ll be coming to AnimeNYC for the first time, this August! I have no idea what my financial / time situation will be like then, but I got a badge, so I’ll figure it out. no set plans now, but if I end up doing any panels or other events, I’ll post more info on that later!

Store status update

Hello everyone (anyone?)
Just wanted to let you know that the store/shop/emporium is in a little state of flux for a while. I decided to strip all but ten of my works from Society6 (will likely be closing that eventually), and plan on migrating things to a different / more artist-friendly storefront in the future. Stay tuned for that later on! Also in the meantime, there will be links on certain gallery pages to for-sale stuff that is no longer for sale. I’ll update that when I am less tired. (Heck of an anticlimactic post here, huh? I’m posting about taking away stuff, rather than adding it!)

Anyway, be good to each other and I’ll see you later on, when I have more updates.

Ohayocon 2023 in Columbus OH – Come see me!


HEY MIDWEST MANGA MANIACS! I’m taking part in a couple panels at Ohayocon in Columbus this Saturday, 1/21/2023 (I’ve tabled at cons, but this is my first time as a panelist!)

  • 10am – A213-215 (Panel 5): The Manga “Panel”!
  • 4:30pm – A210-212 (Panel 4): Breaking into the Localization Industry

I will be on the panel with talented fellow manga industry folks:

Kristine Johnson (@Kristine_JE)
Lead project manager at J-Novel Club & Japanese-English translator
Jennifer Sherman (@jaasherman)
Editor at Square Enix Manga & Books.

I’m very grateful to them for inviting me to join in on the talks and am looking forward to meeting them IRL!

If you’re near Columbus and going to the convention, come stop by one of the panels! I used to get stage fright really bad as a kid, but I mostly got over it. Come there in person to witness whether it’s come back, so many years after my first time speaking in front of a crowd, haha. I’ll be at the con all day and am looking forward to meeting fellow lovers of all things manga!

VERSION 4.0 (finally!)

Hello everyone, it’s been way too long. Good news incoming on two fronts, but first a quick bit of a life rant / explanation for my frequent absence from my own site… As I mentioned in my last post, almost two years ago, work dominates my life and leaves precious little free time. Having a toddler at home and parents in their 80s who need a lot of help (I am “sandwich generation” defined!), and also having to work twice as much to make it as I did living in Japan… Well, all that eats up said free time and doesn’t leave me really any chance to make my own art. All my creative energies are pushed into publication design work, and after the kind of long hours I have to put in sometimes (I did several 70-80 hr weeks last year in a row) the last thing I want to do is look at a screen more when I’m finished. (often I’m sick from too much screen time.) On top of that, my horrendous attention span (getting worse all the time!) kind of further puts a wrench in my gears across the board in life. ANYWAYZ… Enough negativity, this is supposed to be a fun and exciting announcement!

I started the new version of my site two years ago, and it was supposed to be a small refresh of things (a “version 3.5” if you will) but it turned into a giant project. I dumped about a week into it – adding tons of new stuff, mostly manga lettering work – and redesigned all the pages, but then I decided I was feeling lukewarm on said redesigns, and started redesigning it again. Then I got buried in work for a couple years. 2023 has started with a little less work than normal (troubling for my bank account, obviously, but it’s nice to have a break) so I decided to finally finish this damn redesign! That’s the first point of good news I was referring to. Version 4.0 looks on the surface like a refresh of the last version, but there’s a lot changed under the hood, coding-wise, and I also added a lot of stuff, consolidated a lot of stuff, moved a lot of stuff to the archive, and deleted a lot of stuff. Also there’s more video now, scattered throughout the site. I’m hoping to add more and more video stuff in the future. As far as new work I’ve added, since there’s too much to mention here without making this blog post unreasonably long and self-indulgent, I’ll try to make some posts soon to showcase some of it. In the meantime, just go look around! There’s a lot that has changed.

There are a few incomplete areas, which I’ll get to when I have time. Despite doubling the amount of books shown in the manga lettering gallery, (and adding a ton more content to the existing pages), there are still some newer books, from 2022, that I haven’t uploaded yet. Just not enough time. That will come soon.

Oh, about the blog… I’ve never known how to really make my site mobile-friendly, and had for a long time been keeping that blog as seamlessly integrated with the rest of the site design as possible. I eventually put in some code I found to make the mobile version of said blog switch over to a more stripped-down smartphone friendly design. Problem is, that broke somewhere along the line, and the blog looked all kinds of messed up on a phone. (As in – the right side of the page going off the screen and unreadable!) Then, after updating WordPress, the desktop version of the blog broke too. I decided to just throw in the towel and not even try to match up the design of the blog with the rest of the site. It’s good enough for now, looks decent, and most importantly, works well on mobile! (finally!)

Anyway, the other good news I mentioned, and the reason I “ran out of time” to add 100% of what I planned on – I’m speaking at a couple panels this upcoming Saturday (1/21/2023) at Ohayocon in Columbus OH! That coming up made me decide to hurry up and finally finish (to a “good enough for now” state) this perpetually in-progress beast. I also made new business cards for the first time in ages, hehe. I don’t traditionally get a ton of traffic on this site (nowhere near as much as I wish I did), but I imagine there will be some influx of new visitors soon (hi!) and I didn’t want the site to be too out-of-date. I’ll post more about the Ohayocon thing in my next post. I’m really excited about it, because I’ve never paneled at a convention before! Kinda nervous too, but I imagine it’ll go just fine. I’m looking forward to meeting some of Ohio’s fellow manga maniacs there.

Ok talk to you soon! I hope sooner than two years this time. Best believe I haven’t abandoned the site. Life just keeps getting in the way of art.

BUSY BOY

busy cat

Hello everyone! (anyone?) Just wanted to drop a quick message here to say that I haven’t forgotten about my art site. I’ve just been super bogged down with work deadlines for a long time, and haven’t had time to make any non-work art, or even to update the manga work section of my site. (I’ve done a bunch of new titles and want to show them off!)

 

Lots of major life events too! In the – uhhh – two and a half years since I posted here, I:
Moved back to the USA (and helped my wife Miwa immigrate too, of course!)  I miss Japan dearly, but I had to move back to the midwest for a while since my parents have been having major health problems and needed help. Nice to be living with my cats again though!
Bought a house! I live in Toledo OH. Despite missing Japan, I do love my little house and my wife and I have been having fun making it a home.
Became a dad! Miwa and I welcomed our son Felix into this world on January 31st 2020, you know, shortly before the world as we knew it fell apart. He made 2020 and onward much better for us than it would have been otherwise. Love the little dude.

 

Anyway, things may be getting slightly more relaxed this summer, so stay tuned for a big update. I post semi-regularly on Twitter, if you wanna check out my little missives around manga lettering, politics, and 90s-GIF-retweeting. I started a total overhaul of my website at the start of the year, and that got put on hold and it’s about half done. I hope to get it done this summer. In the meantime, be good to yourself, and to others, and I’ll see you soon.

A Boy and His Bike

A Boy and His Bike

I was feeling pretty inspired after that last post, so I made a new illustrated-photography piece. Pretty rare for me to do self-portraits, and even rarer to do two in a row, but this one is special in a couple ways. First, it’s me, way back when I was seven or eight, at Christmas, receiving my first bicycle. I was playing it cool for the camera, but I was totally stoked! This is also unique in that it’s the first illustrated-photo where I’ve used a photo taken by someone else, in this case, my mom. (Thanks mom!) It was really neat to work on this, because it felt like time traveling 30 years back in time. I still remember that day clearly. That gleaming blue and silver bike. That Garfield reflector. It being a frigid Michigan winter day, but me riding the heck out of my new wheels. Sadly, that bike got hacked up in high school by a friend who wanted to experiment with BMX customization (and he kind of mangled it in the process). I gave it, in its current form, to another friend of mine last year, so he could use it for something. I trust him to put it to better use, and even though I have fond feelings for it, it’s not that usable in its current state, thanks to high school dude. After doing this piece, I feel a bit wistful, and miss the bike. I can’t use it myself, obviously, but now that my wife and I are thinking of expanding our family to three in the future, it would be neat to see if it could be fixed up and given to future kid someday. Oh well, you can’t go backwards…

 

Fun fact, this is my 50th illustrated-photo done on computer, and 76th overall. The first one I’ve done with the combination of CG/Wacom and film photo, and (as mentioned) the first one done using someone else’s photo. Here’s to another 50!

Lantern

Lantern

I moved to Nagasaki Japan in January 2013, and as I type this at the end of 2018, my chapter here will likely soon be coming to an end. If all goes according to plan with immigration, my wife Miwa and I will be living in my home state of Michigan soon. All these years in this lovely Kyushu city have fundamentally changed me. No matter where I go, I feel that the experiences I’ve had here have made me look at the world differently and helped me to better shed some of my own cultural baggage and biases. Living abroad has helped me to feel stateless, in a good way. The distance I’ve had from my home country has made me feel more distant from it in some ways, and other experiences have brought my heart closer. My time in Japan has etched a part of that culture into my heart, while some experiences have reminded me how foreign I am in this archipelago. If it makes any sense, it’s brought me closer to myself as an internationally-minded person.

 

My previous illustrated-photography piece, Tatemae, dealt with the “masks” that we all wear when interfacing with the world. This deals with some of what’s behind my mask, and one of the things that will forever be a part of me is Nagasaki.

 

I made this work to be an album cover for a hopefully-upcoming album of my music. I’m way out of practice with making music, and despite my rabid desire to get back into it, and my wealth of ideas, I am always too busy with work to really get down to it. I finished this art seven months ago, and rather than let this artwork wither away without anyone seeing it, I’m posting it now, in hopes that I will get that album done later when there’s time.

 

While it may look like a simple wireframe, the image of my inner-self is that of an illuminated paper lantern, modeled after the giant, beautiful lanterns on display every February in Nagasaki’s Lantern Festival. The eyes, contain pentacles, which may look vaguely occult to some folks, but it’s actually the logo from the flag of Nagasaki, and can be found on official documents, and almost every manhole in the city!

 

Click the image above, or here, to see the gallery page for this, with details of the artwork.

 

Bonus! For the first time in several years, I made a “making-of” page for one of my works. If you want to read an in-depth guide to the (admittedly fraught) process of making “Lantern”, and find out more about the cultural meaning behind it, please click here or the banner below!

 

the making of

catching up with the Deathscape Navigator

Deathscape Navigator

Added some recent album packaging designs, one from this past summer and one from last year (belatedly). Above, you’ll see the cover and back cover of my album “Deathscape Navigator”. Click above, or here, to see the rest of the packaging art! Below, you’ll see the cover and back cover for the mix CD set I made for Ryan last summer. Click below, or here, to see the rest of that compilation’s art!

 

Catching Up...

Party on!

“Cacciatore” – remastered

Cacciatore

I revisited an old friend. Since I’d lost the original files for most of my circa 2007, 2008 work, I’ve gradually been remaking some of them here and there, remastered and able to be printed huge. In 2012, I redid my old favorite Automaton JDM. This time I decided to revisit “Cacciatore”, which I not only no longer could make big prints of, but always felt a little bit conflicted as to how the final product turned out. Here’s the original:

 

Cacciatore - original

I liked the general elements of the piece, but was always a little unhappy with the size and placement of the guy (my old roommate Patric) with the background, and was planning on fixing that before, when I had the original layered file. Also, while the whole splattered blood thing seemed pretty cool to me at the time, and I was going for a bit of a giallo Italian horror / crime movie vibe, over time I felt a little weird about it. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve become more and more anti-gun over time… I realized a lot of my old pieces had guns in them, and I’ve been trying to steer away from that in recent years. This new version still has the gleaming golden gun, but I opted to tone down the general violent feel a bit. Maybe I’m just becoming an old softy.

 

For this new version, I scanned the 8×10 print I’d made for the original, and used that as a a base at first (for the outlines on Patric’s suit), then used the original two photographs (Patric, and the Alfa Romeo & spokesmodel) as a base and ended up redrawing the whole thing, adding new textures and changing things such as the highlights and shading of the car, as well as including the girl’s arms and showing the dash lit up. I thought about maybe having the woman more visible, as I went to the trouble of redrawing the whole background, even the stuff that can’t be seen in the final product…. but opted not to. The thing is, I took the photo of this spokesmodel and the Alfa Romeo Brera at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, when I was there doing freelance work for Intersection. Since it was press day and she was paid to be there to be in published photos, it’s fine for me to show her face in the Motor Show pics I have online, but I felt a little odd about having her face in the final artwork that I’m displaying online, since it’s unrelated to the original reason she was there. Plus, I think leaving the pic as it is maintains the mystery of the original piece.

 

Anyway, it was a fun project. Even though I have it further back in the gallery, with the other 2007 stuff, it’s basically a new illustrated-photography work from me. I’ve been in the mood to make a lot more, after taking a few years off from working in that style. I have some ideas that I want to get done, when I have time. Problem is, my manga work keeps me busy enough it’s hard to find time to work on my own stuff. Hopefully I can get another new piece done in December, since things will be mellowing out for a couple weeks mid-late month. I’m also still really wishing I could find models to work with here, but it’s hard in Nagasaki, where it’s a bit more conservative and a lot of people are shy. I’ve been really missing setting up big shoots with models, props, makeup, and wardrobe, and then making crazy illustrated-photography pieces from them. I may at least revisit some old photoshoots and make illustrated photography from them in the meantime, just to cast a new light on things. Anyway, stay tuned!