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!
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:
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!
Recently, I made a box set of my music for my friend Ethan, before he moved to Tokyo. For each of the six included albums, I redesigned the packaging and added some new art.I’ll make a post about more of that later, but to start, I wanted to share with you the two new illustrated photography pieces I made this summer for “Silence is Golden”, my 2006 LP. In addition to the original cover and back cover, I used two more photos from my shoot with Dawon to make an inner sleeve to hold the disc, one of which is a track listing. It was fun to revisit this photo shoot and make something new from it. Check out bigger views of this art in the Illustrated Photography section and see the packaging design in the Design section!
Hey folks! I’ve been dreadfully busy, as usual, but I made a little time when I was visiting Michigan recently (where most of my art supplies are) and made some new art. This piece, “Flock Together”, is the fourth in my series of pretty women with cute animals that I’ve been doing each of the last four autumns. I was planning on ending the series with this fourth one. If I get in the mood, I might make a couple more in the future, but for now, four seems like a nice even number to end it on. Click the above picture, or here, to see bonus stuff!
In other news, I went through the site over the last couple days and fine-tuned it a lot. All of the image thumbnails are bigger now, fonts are tweaked, and each main gallery page has a more colorful header. I also moved some more stuff to the Archive page, and took a few really old stuff off said page. I have a few new things I’ve been meaning to add, but will do that soon when I have a little more spare time.
Last year I had the great honor of redesigning the outer sleeves for Last Gasp’s 2016 Kickstarter campaign edition of Keiji Nakazawa’s “Barefoot Gen”. The first four volumes were released in hardcover form to backers, and donated to libraries and schools. Over time, the softcover versions of all ten volumes will be replaced by new editions with my designs. Click here or the above preview to see the sleeves larger and in detail.
For these covers, I scanned-in many interesting and emotional panels from my copies of the 1985 run of the Japanese edition. My books are old and weathered, and I decided to retain that for the images in my final design(hence the back cover of volume 3 having some damage, for example.) For the logo, I made that in sumi ink with a large brush.
I’m very proud of these designs, and very much enjoyed seeing the hardcovers in print, and am looking forward to seeing the softcover editions when they are in print. Barefoot Gen is an extremely important and historic work of art, and I’m happy I got to take part in its new print run.
Feeling deeply troubled by the news of the racism and violence in Charlottesville, I decided to make something cathartic, and a tribute to Jack Kirby’s great 1941 Captain America issue 1 cover.
It seems like history is repeating, no matter what name this hatred labels itself. Alt-right? Nahhhh, Nazis by any other name. I’ve never been a blind patriot, but I’ve always appreciated the multicultural side of America, and the fact that our major metropolitan areas are like microcosms of the world. I think the mix of cultures makes us all stronger, and I deeply sad to see that some people would want to hurt that diversity. If Captain America were real, I don’t think he’d approve. Anyway, this was a fun little thing to make. Click the pic above, or here, to check out a much larger view of this piece, as well as bonus stuff!
Hey everyone! A couple years ago, I added examples of my manga lettering work to the site. Since then, I’ve done a lot more books (I’ve lettered 60 manga volumes to date!), but never really had the time to show examples of that newer stuff here. Well, I just posted a TON of samples of my lettering work, showcasing a wide range of techniques. You can see the extremely complex and challenging lettering tasks I’ve taken on on Real Account, the large amount of hand-written work I’ve done on Forget Me Not, the all-by-hand lettering I do on Land of the Lustrous, the crazy action-packed sound effects of Ninja Slayer Kills, and other fun stuff! Also, check out the work I’ve done on dream-come-true projects such as Akira (for the upcoming 35th anniversary box set), Die Wergelder, and The Osamu Tezuka Story. I’m still in disbelief that I got to work on Akira. I’ve been a big fanboy for that series since I was 13 years old! Also, feel free to take a look at some of the pages for manga that I’d previously posted here, such as Sankarea and Maria: The Virgin Witch, since I overhauled the pages and added new examples. I think in general, the stuff I chose to share gives a good example of my range as a letterer, and I’m excited to finally have something convenient to show to family and friends who are curious what I do. Oh and btw, I went out of my way to avoid using images that are spoilers, so if you’re a manga fan, don’t worry about having stories ruined for you when looking. While you’re checking out the samples, feel free to follow the links on each page to buy the books from their respective publishers! More manga selling means dinner on my table.
Anyway, you may notice that I’ve changed the location of my manga lettering pages from the Design gallery, to the Comics gallery. Even though I do plenty of design work as part of my manga job, as a whole it seemed like it would fit in better in the Comics gallery, not to mention adding a little life to that page (since I never seem to have time to make my own comics.) Go ahead and check out the Comics gallery to see everything, but if you want a handy little list of all the titles reflected there, here you go!:
Akira | Barbara | Cat Diary: Yon & Mu | Complex Age | Die Wergelder | Forget Me Not
The Ghost and the Lady | Land of the Lustrous | Livingstone | Maria: The Virgin Witch
Ninja Slayer Kills | The Osamu Tezuka Story | Panorama Island | Real Account
Sankarea | That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime | Tokyo Zombie
PS: I also relettered a volume of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order a couple of years ago (another dream title, seeing as the original Battle Angel Alita is what introduced me to manga in the first place), but since I just handled dialog balloons, I figured there wasn’t too much to show of that.
What else is new? Since last I typed here, I had a crazy busy month of work, then a lot of preparation for my wedding, then the big day itself, then showing my parents around Japan for a couple weeks during their first visit here, then a couple weeks of recharging my batteries, then more work. I’m in a brief time of respite at the moment, then back to more work soon. I have another post ready to share with you soon, however, about another neat comic-related thing I worked on. Stay tuned!
Honne (本音) and tatemae (建前) are Japanese words used to describe the contrast between one’s personal feelings (honne) and the facade that one presents to the world (tatemae). While it certainly depends on the person, in Japan it’s often difficult to get past the wall that people put up and get to know someone’s true feelings. Generally this “wall” is a friendly one, mind you, but sometimes not genuine. I don’t think this is a uniquely Japanese thing, and I think we all conceal parts of our true feelings. I thought I’d explore this idea a bit since I find it both fascinating and frustrating.
One thing I often found unsettling while teaching English in Japan was how many of my students would wear a mask, not just when they were sick, but in general. Some kids wore it every day. Once in a while, during flu season, I’d walk into a jr high classroom and every single kid would be wearing one, and I’d be unable to fully “read” their social cues. I think for most people it’s a matter of stopping germ transfer when a bug is going around, but for the folks who wear them every day, it seems like the tatemae mask takes on a literal form.
Anyway, as usual these days for a lot of my art, you can pop on over to Society6 to order a print of it, or cell phone case, pillows, tote bags, whatevs!
In other news, this has been a crazy busy year so far with manga lettering, but pretty front-loaded. From now on I’ll have a bit more free time here and there to make more art and hopefully music. One of these days, I badly need to update the lettering section of my design page since it only reflects four of the 17 different manga series I’ve lettered, but that’ll have a wait a bit more. Right now, after a nice stay-cation, it’s time to get to work on the next book.
I will say, I got to work on a dream project earlier this year. I got to re-letter Akira for the 35th anniversary boxed set that Kodansha is putting out this fall! It was amazing! I’ve always deeply loved that manga, and it was a huge inspiration on me growing up, and to be able to observe Otomo’s art with the level of intimacy that working with it on my own computer brought, was a truly special experience. More on that later.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and even longer since I’ve had much new art to show. That said, I recently did a third piece in my cute girls + cute animals series, “Honey Bunny”. Click the pic, or here, to see details!
Anyway, not much else to say, art-wise. It’s strange to have a site dedicated to my art, but not have anything to post for a long time due to being too busy working in art to make my own art. I’ll post more examples of my manga lettering eventually, when there’s time, but basically that’s been dominating my life for a while now. I don’t totally mind though, because I’m working on some cool stuff! (I’m especially proud of something that I’m starting this month that I can’t announce until sometime next year, but it’s “dream-project” status.)
In other news, I’m living in Nagasaki again! I got married in August and decided to come back to Japan to live here with my wife while we do the immigration process for her and wait many, many months for that process to bring her to the states. Anyway, more later. Just wanted to tell anyone reading this that I’m not dead!