Since I work in Japan, naturally I come into contact with other English teachers and since I'm also working as such, I'm pretty familiar to what's popular among the students and have some awareness of contemporary pop culture. I received a commission to create English language lesson materials utilizing characters from the popular anime/manga series Demon Slayer(鬼滅の刃). It was a fun gig that got to explore the children's favorite characters in a school related fan-fiction context. The theme of this particular series is "Yearly School Events and Activities", all of which are universally recurring in Japanese public schools today.
Looking back on some of these after working on my landscape stuff, I can tell that a few of these could do with some value adjustments in the backgrounds. I think its tough to see the silhouettes of characters if the draw distance isn't clarified with atmospheric perspective. I'd probably also change the value or eliminate the linework in the few backgrounds I did draw.
I think if I ever do something like this again with another IP, I'll have a cleaner approach to rendering and clearly stating contrast and points of interest within the composition. Maybe there will be a JuJutsu-Kaisen(呪術廻戦) flashcard series in the future. What do you think? What anime or manga have you been into recently? What's a favorite anime from your past?
Leave your thoughts down below and feel free to like and share this post.
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | Naomi Osaka
Whats up guys,
I haven't posted one of these in almost a year, so I'm definitely overdue for a revision of something. As noted by the title, I decided to remake an old character design of the now 2x US Open Championship winner. Originally I created a turnaround sheet of Osaka early last year, after Nissin's disastrous Cup Noodle ad campaign that featured a totally whitewashed Osaka. Because of that disgraceful mishap, I ended up rendering the turnaround sheet below. You can read more about this design on my blog, here.
For the purposes of animation, the above turnaround sheet serves its purpose, but I can't help but notice that some poses are off model and the execution isn't as tight as it should be. Overall, the piece is not the greatest representation of my knowledge of anatomy and design; which makes it an ideal candidate for revision. So, for this "Throwback Thursday", I've scrapped this turnaround for a brand new composition with different goals; starting with the sketch seen left.
I wanted to focus my drawing skills in areas I'm particularly strong in, gesture, anatomy, and design. Using a few references, I designed a pose that exposes Osaka's power and grace on the court. I knew I wanted to keep Osaka's color blocked tennis outfit, but also incorporate those same colors onto the court in a dynamic way. Since this affects the harmony of the overall composition, I took care to apply value in specific areas, for specific colors to maintain compositional balance in the future.
The differences are obvious but there are a few key areas I paid special attention to. First, in regards to color/hue, the variety and depth of shadows, visible highlights, and subtle temperature shifts. Next, in regards drawing, a consistent line of action, linework, weight, and clothing anatomy(particularly the skirt). Lastly, in regards to design, economy of space, balance, and composition. Though I am fairly satisfied with this render, I still think I can make improvements. What do you think? Whose another athlete I should consider drawing? Whats the most difficult part of the body for you to draw? I had trouble getting the hand holding the racket just right; its super tough. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post.
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | Istanan Wines
Welcome back to the blog.
A few months ago, a former co-worker commissioned me to create a logo for a custom set of business cards. It was a simple identity/branding task, that was aimed at helping my client become established as a distributor of fine South African wines for markets here in Japan.
I've since lost contact with him, but he was extremely satisfied with my work the last I heard. Naturally, as with all my design tasks, I created a Pinterest board to help guide the overall direction of the logo creation(seen below). However, looking beyond the simplicity of a business card, I decided to go one step further and develop his idea into the potential packaging of a wine bottle design.
This time I focused on the unique identity of the people and culture of South Africa. Therefore, I collected various imagery that resonated with these ideas and included those in the board as well. Using the reference materials above, I created various colored drafts and patterns to use in the final design. Though none of the patterns are particularly authentic to the country of South Africa, the purpose of the exercise was to simply interpret the data and create an impression of the multitude of cultures, languages and ethnic groups that the country prides itself in.
Combining this patchwork of artistic identity would eventually lead to the painting seen below. Foregoing the typical paper labels pasted on wine bottles around the world, I decided a fabric label would not only heighten the perceived quality of the product, but better align with the more earth-bound and natural essence of the people. I believe my design evokes the unique hand-dyed and spun fabrics of kente cloth found in many communities and countries across the African continent.
I was quite happy with the result of my bottle, especially taking into consideration it was completely made in a brand new program that I have yet to become proficient in(Krita for those interested). However, I was still curious as to how I could make a proof of concept for potential advertising. So, I took this design to the next level and created a mock-up for a billboard. At this point, I imagined Istanan Wines to be more than a distributor of established wine brands, but a full fledged winery. Because...why not?
What do you guys think? If I go back and make edits, I would probably drop the contrast of the text by using an alternative color to black since it doesn't actually exist in nature. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the end product. What product should I design next? I'm considering making a package for my ChaTo project or moving on to something completely new; animation perhaps? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post.
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | ChaTo
I haven't done a Throwback Thursday in quite a long time, so I figured today would be a good time to get back into it. Unlike, some previous versions of this post, I won't be redesigning anything, but instead releasing a new design that has been floating in my head for quite some time. Today, I decided to return to the ChaTo brand and expand on what I developed 3 years ago.
For those that don't know, ChaTo is a boutique retailer specializing in Japanese loose tea, ceramics, and gifts exported from business' all across the country to their location in San Francisco. Previously, I created the wordmark for their brand, which is still proudly being used today.
I think this logo is quite nice, but I thought it lacked the flexible use a self-contained image might have especially when it comes to branding. When I consider the type of enterprise ChaTo actually is, the image of ceramics and tea isn't always clear even though there are elements within the present design that express that. Unfortunately, third party individuals wouldn't likely notice these subtlties and often need imagery to be more obvious. After re-evaluating the current wordmark from this perspective, I decided to go with a design that was a bit more straightforward but remained in-step with the previous design.
The idea was to create a secondary logo that could live harmoniously alongside my previous design. In order to test this idea, I mocked up some business cards in which this new design is used as a watermark on the back side of the card.
What do you think? Do you think the wordmark works well in communicating the business practice on its own? What designs should I revisit next time? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | Cookieholics
Today is "Throwback Thursday", so I decided to revisit a logo a made for a bakery about 4 years ago. Instead of just re-posting the logo, I took the opportunity to update the character. I've become much more familiar with the pen tool at this point, so I thought I could simplify some shapes and add an extra level of refinement. The thing that bothered me the most about my original design was expressing what ecstasy looks like. The idea of the average joe eating these cookies in an unconstrained manner, leading to addiction; a cookieholic.
I think simplifying the expression by opening both eyes to look upward and doubling down on the glowing rim light, makes it seem like a heavenly experience. Whereas the character in the previous image has a more perplexed expression directed toward the cookies that isn't quite clear. There are some elements in the older image, like the level of contrast, that I still appreciate but I'm not so certain it would be necessary in the end. Perhaps I'll come back to this image in the future.
What do you think? Which image do you prefer? What image from my portfolio should I update next? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
Throwback Thursday | Pirate
Welcome to the very first TBT!
I decided to take time this week to revisit an old character I created in college. For some reason, I haven’t been spending enough time developing my character design skills, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit and #drawthisagain lol
5 Years Later...
Wow! What a difference time makes!
When I originally drew this character, I had a basic idea of the pirate archetype and some French elements. That aside, there honestly wasn’t much in the thought process. I recall it being a homework assignment, so I only aimed to complete it and move on. I think the end result came out nice. I like to think of her as a “Sea Witch” more so than the pirate she was intended to be.
Have you ever revisited an old character and made drastic changes? Or do you prefer to start again from scratch? Though I don’t mind designing from scratch, I sometimes feel it’s wasteful of me to produce things incompletely. Therefore, expect another one of these character makeovers next week.
Until next time, peace.