Whats up everyone,
I've had the pleasure of working on some pretty unique projects since October of last year, so I thought I would take the time to post an update.
First, a logo design project for an independent book publisher called Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC. Since I had the opportunity to work with these clients before(see TMIJ), laying out the vision of the design was straightforward and fluid. This especially holds true since the design is a direct representation of its namesake.
It is also one of the rare occasions where my client had a clear idea for specific details that included size, orientation, color, and complexity. So, upon discussing their needs, I was able to seamlessly incorporate their ideas into my design methodology; moving from concept to completion expeditiously.
Since this project required both a logomark and a wordmark, we reviewed various san serif font styles in tandem to ensure style compatibility and legibility.
After analyzing our choices, I proceeded to finish our initial draft in a vector format using Inkscape. Having a vector image is especially important for print materials since bitmap files don't scale well. Vector images use mathematical formulas to keep the integrity and fidelity of the original design at scale. This was doubly important in my clients case since they needed the logo formatted for banners/advertisement, book bindings/spines, business cards, and icons. You see can each of those versions below, as well as an optional detail oriented design for my clients to consider if they felt the need to liven up the simplified logomark.
Its quite rare for me to work in vector tools, so the experience was really enlightening. I was able to identify areas of my workflow that could help bring about more precise and easily modifiable designs in the future. What do you guys think? What other insects do you think would make for suitable logo designs? Write your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post to see more content in the future.
Until next time,
Hello SunKing Design Blog Fans!
I am UntidyVenus aka Izzy. Today I am sharing with you some of my illustration and drafting process, which I won't lie, I don't document often. It's not because it's some big secret, but because I’m just too lazy and I never thought that anyone would be interested. Then the SunKing himself asked me to write something up and so I procrastinated for… 4 months? Yeah, four whole months. So here we finally go!
I start with an idea. Today I was feeding my pet shrimp (yes I have pet shrimp, that's another blog post) and was thinking about silly shrimp puns. So the idea came for a tee shirt/sticker design. I tried to come up with as many bad and terrible shrimp puns as I could possibly come up with, to get the bad ideas out of the way first.
"Shrimptastic, shrimprific, shrimpzilla, shrimpnado, Shrimply irresistible, Shrimply the best, Shrimply Amazing etc etc etc."
Then I hit Google. There are thousands of types of shrimp. My personal pets are Cherry Shrimp, aka Neocaridina, Taiwanese shrimp red variety, etc. They are tiny, less than half an inch (about 12 mm) so my personal observations wouldn’t suffice and I don’t currently have a macro lens for my camera. After researching the shrimps every last detail, its time to start doodling. Finding your best way to “shortcut” real life is the way to finding your style. After a few shrimp doodles in my sketchbook, which a cat spilled coffee on before I could get a picture (sorry!) it's time to pick a pose and start sketching.
Sketching & LineWork
My preference for sketches is a mechanical pencil with an architect's lead. The lead is hard, therefore very light, and comes in a variety of colors (well, red and blue) that blends in beautifully with watercolor if I am unable to erase it all in the end product. I start with a motion line, or the spine of the subject, and build the shapes from there. Since I work mostly in watercolor I need a waterproof marker for line work, my preference are Sakura Microns.
Now that the line work is done, we need color!
I decided to pull out my never used Koi brand travel set for this. I purchased it thinking it would be great for travel and plein air painting a few years ago and maybe tried it once. So, essentially never used. Whenever working with colors, you need to know how they will react to each other, so I made a swatch grid. After playing with paint on a fresh sheet of paper, its time to jump in! Looking at my references I found the shrimp are red, but also translucent, that is, light passes through them but they aren't totally transparent. So, a warm red with cool red shadows should work well for this.
Tools & Application
You don’t need fancy paint brushes to paint watercolor, but you do need at least one RIGHT brush. A brush that holds a lot of water and comes to a fine tip is really all you need.
I lay down a coat of the warm red for the first layer, thinking about the highlights, where the light would touch the shell, and the shadows as well. While the paint is still wet you have the ability with most colors to drop more fresh water in where you want less paint, and “push” more paint into the parts you want darker.
Once that was dry I added a second layer of the warm red, quickly followed by some of the cooler red. That way I could blend the colors. I live in a very dry and arid area (on top of a mountain in Utah!) so things dry very fast, which means I have to pay attention and work faster.
Digitization & Clean-Up
I now take the watercolor to my scanner, and scan them as super high resolution. I personally have an older Epson Workforce that scans around 600 dpi, dots per inch. Thats MUCH more resolution than I need for almost anything, but I like having extra pixels during the clean up process. I bring the file into Adobe Photoshop, and select and copy a shrimp. Each one will be its own file from now on. Shrimp one gets pasted into a high resolution file, and I proceed to use the eraser, clone tool and zoom to delete the background so he is transparent (and yes, this is a male shrimp I did not paint a “saddle” or the ovaries into him) and use levels to correct any color changes in scanning.
I take my puns very seriously, so I select a font that matches my line weight on my art, have someone outside double check my spelling (autocorrect doesn't know shrimply, so will miss my SHIMply!) and save for use!
These guys are now ready for upload on your favorite sites! I have them available on Teepublic and RedBubble, as well as stickers on the way from StickerMule!
Welcome to another edition of Toriaezu Tuesday. This week I've decided to reflect on some of the music I've been listening to over the past couple months as I prepare for the JLPT(Japanese Language Proficiency Test). As that is the case, this list will be dedicated to exploring Japanese music exclusively. Now, I'm not sure what your impression of Japanese music is, but the production isn't tailored for everyone when considering the pop or rock aspect of the music industry. These 2 genres are by far the most popular among the general population, but fortunately for you guys, I have no horse in that race.
After digging through the proverbial crates, I've compiled a playlist of alternative, smooth melodic sounds that aren't so grating to the ears. I've only selected a handful of artist this time around, but if you're interested in hearing more or knowing the titles to the full on Japanese song titles, leave your request in the comments.
What do you all think? Are you interested in other genres of music? What would you like to hear next time? Perhaps more of the same artist? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, dont forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
I was debating whether I should submit my work on this little design project I produced for an acquaintance. There wasnt any meaningful amount of time spent creating this, but a concentrated effort to produce something that functionally delivered my client's request.
First, some context. Pio2i is an independent business consultation service based in central Tokyo. The specifics surrounding this enterprise are lost on me, but one thing was made very clear by my client, "boobs". He wanted his logomark to incorporate female breasts in a subtle way only obvious to himself. Normally I would decline this type of assignment since I cant really reciprocate such a low level of maturity, but the challenge was too tempting. Thus, I folded and explored just how creatively I could execute such a plan.
Per usual, I started my endeavor by researching competitor logos and cataloged the types of imagery that communicates corporate identity. Admittedly, most of what I found was very vague or too straightforward. I think most designs were uninspired, which granted me the flexibility to make something more dynamic a creative(considering my source material).
The next step was finding a method to not only simplify the shape of the shape of breast, but maintain the design integrity as it was manipulated into other objects. So, after drawing a select number of breasts from varying angles, I settled on the best candidate for the job. Doubling back on some of the iconography often utilized by corporate culture as well as some keywords often associated with it.
My explorations eventually brought me the image of an eagle, a bird that rises above and perseveres, strong and determined. All qualities I think most successful business' would like to project. I think being able to confidently express this part of the design process is paramount in receiving a positive response to any proposed logo or branding material. This way, the client can feel contributory in helping realize the vision of the design as it relates to the mission of their business.
After refining the shape design, adding color, and mocking-up the design across relevant stationary and corporate letterhead, I think I was quite successful in marrying these 2 contrasting ideas. What do you think? Would you think twice about the origins behind the images you see? What other objects should I turn into a logo? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
This coming September, Japan will host the Rugby World Cup at various venues all across the country. Rugby isn't very popular in America but is a sport that has seen rising interest throught this country since its formal introduction in the 1930s. In fact, the Japanese National Team are strong competitors, currently ranked number 11 throughout the world and are by far the best team in Asia. Which is all very cool, but in order to keep with the design theme of my blog, I wanted to specifically inform you of the brand new World Cup ticket designs introduced last week.
I should mention that I am not much of a Rugby fan either. I actually don't know anything about the sport, but these designs have definitely peeked my curiosity into learning more. The front of the tickets show depictions of players engaging in battle, reminicent of old Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints popularized throughout the 17th~19th centuries. I really like how the designs are stylized in a traditional manner, but simultaneously maintain a refreshing pop of color and refinement that push it them into the modern era. The gold backgrounds and delicate patterns are also nice details that do well in elevating the cheaply printed tickets to a classier level. I also appreciate that there is more than one design, which adds incentive to collect them in the long run.
I wouldn't mind just receving a used ticket to paste on my sketchbook to be honest. Which leads me to believe that the designs were crafted with foreign audiences in-mind. A lot of contemporary Japanese design tends to lean into the "ludicrously cute" territory. What do you guys think? Do you prefer this antique Japanese style or the cute stuff? My girlfriend said she would have prefered to see the Rugby mascots, Ren-G, gracing the face of the tickets, but understands the appeal of this traditional approach. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
As I mentioned before, the next few post will be related to the commission I had for the Musicks in Japan podcast. That said, I wasn't entirely sure how to approach "Toriaezu Tuesday" in regards to that, but I figured post in this section ultimately relate to art and creativity in some pretty obtuse ways. Therefore, I decided to keep that trend and share some music with you all.
Its no secret that many people, creative or not, enjoy listening to music while on the job; I'm no different. Music is a particularly fun way to help me get into a creative mindset and focus on the task at hand. If you are like me or just enjoy expanding your music selection, this post might be for you. Below you will find a short playlist of the music I listened to on my journey throughout the creative process for the Musicks commissions. Beware, my music taste is super eclectic, so I have a tendency to jump from genre to genre. I also must mention that this is a constantly evolving playlist so feel free to add it to your soundcloud as well. Enjoy!
What do you think? Who are some of your favorite musicians/producers/DJs? Would you like to see more music related posts in the future? I guess I should also mention tht my personal taste in music is by no means a reflection of the views independently held by the Musicks themselves. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
If you weren't aware, I work freelance taking commissions in the art space for anything graphic design and illustration related. Since my graduation from the Academy of Art in 2015, my services have been primarily utilized for graphic design such as logo design and typography. I didn't study either of these disciplines in college, but the Fine Art training I did receive is applicable in numerous ways that make me well suited for the job. Thankfully, as a freelancer, I have steadily gained many experiences that continue to diversify my portfolio. Adding to this ever growing list of experience is my newest commission for "The Musicks in Japan".
The Musicks in Japan
The Musicks are an American couple that share their unique perspectives on life in Japan as well as insights on hobbies and wellness. Honestly, to be fair, the content on their website is much more diverse than what I am giving them credit for. Please take a look at their website, they post regularly!
In anycase, the Musicks publish a podcast that was in need of a splash image. I reached out to them via a Facebook page to offer my services and subsequently acquired the commission. Through our correspondence, I've become very excited to work with the Musicks to add that extra bit of brand identity to their passion projects. Over the next few weeks you can expect to see more blog post centered around the development of their artwork. Therefore, a few of my regularly scheduled posts, such as "Throwback Thursday" or "Freeday", will be postponed until the completion of the project.
But, I don't want to leave you guys without any art to look at, so here is the first round of sketches for the wordmark/logo to be used as the header for their podcast.
Since the Musicks have plans to merchandise the art I produce for them, it is neccessary to be concious of varying facets outside the joys of creating artwork. For logos, that obviously includes legibility, but also composition, style, and longevity. To aid that process from a typographical perspective, I included pairs of typefaces that I considered to be the best reflections of the Musicks personality. I have no intention of using these fonts, instead opting to fuse them into one potential font for any given pair. So far, they have selected option C and typeface 2. I'm excited to take the project to the next step, and bring you all along for the ride.
What do you guys think? Do you need any art commissioned? Have you had any art commissioned before? What was your experience like? Leave your thoughts in comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
I've been addicted to watching the web series "The Young Guns" published by youtube design channel, the Futur. I previously recommended the more art and design savvy readers of the blog, to check my list of youtube channels to watch in 2019; Among that list was the the Futur channel. After browsing through various videos, I came across the "66 Smart Words" logo challenge from Bachir Bachchar. The goal is to create logos designed after words in which their meanings are visually represented. You can get a better idea by referencing the examples below.
Since I intend to keep myself motivated to continuously produce art, I thought pursuing this challenge would be fun. I also wanted to test the notion that "no idea is a bad design, just bad execution" philosophy. With that in mind, I would take the very first idea for any given design and continuously work on that until its "perfected". This is contrary to the typical process of working through various iterations of a single design until said "perfection" is reached.
The first word I decided to tackle is "thick". I knew whatever this word would become, would have to have a bold typeface, but also have a distinct character. Since I am first and foremost a character designer, I like to challenge myself by utilizing elements of story to carry my designs to the next level. Thats where I decided to incorporate the snail within the design. Snails excrete a slimy mucus that has viscosity some would describe as "thick". So, it is through that word association I developed my idea.
What do you think? What imagery do you associate with the word "thick"? What word should I do next? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Last week I mentioned that new designs for the Japanese currency had been announced to start circulating by 2024. However, at that time, I skipped showing you guys what the currency would look like. I, instead, focused on who is currently represented on the bills, since most of my readers are probably unfamiliar with the look of Japanese money. You can read that first post here. Without, further ado:
Next Generation Designs
Per last time, I will describe the significance of each historical figure in ascending order.
On the obverse side of the new 1000 yen note is Shibasaburou Kitasato. Kitasato was a physician and bacteriologist, best known as the co-discoverer in finding the infectuous agent of the bubonic plague in 1894. More impressively, his accomplishments neither began nor ended there. He is also credited for working on antitoxins to combat anthrax and diphtheria, and is also recognized along with his student Kiyoshi Shiga for isolating and describing the organism that causes dysentery, and founding the Institue for the Study of Infectious Diseases with assistance from Yukichi Fukuzawa(currently featured on the 10000 yen note). Kitasato was later nominated for the First Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his colleague, Emil Von Behring, in 1901. However, unlike Von Behring, Kitasato was failed to be awarded for his contribution in the discovery of the diphtheria antitoxin serum. In anycase, Kitasato went on to become the first dean of medicine at Keio University and the first president of the Japan Medical Association.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Hokusai's famed "Great Wave off Kanagawa". The original image was created as a woodblock print, first in a series that viewed Mt. Fuji from 36 angles.
The front of the new 5000 yen notes features one of the most inspirational historical figures I've had the pleasure of sharing with you all so far, Umeko Tsuda. Umeko was born into a devoted christian family that, unlike most, thought highly of the education of women. That being the case, her father sent her to live abroad in America at the age of 6, living as a student until 18. During her time abroad, Umeko excelled at math, science, music and language; especially English, French and Latin. However, upon her return to Japan, she'd nearly forgotten her native tongue, which would go on to hinder her re-adjustment to Japanese society temporarily. That aside, the pressure to conform to the lower status women had in patriarichal society also didn't sit well with her coming from the more progressive United States. Umeko would eventually leave Japan again to pursue higher education in Biology and Education in the United States. It was during this time that she became driven to try and provide the same educational opportunities to other Japanese women by fundraising scholarships. After returning to Japan for a second time, Tsuda would become one of the highest paid (female) educators of her era. She would go on to publish several dissertations and make a number of speeches for the improvement of women's status in society. With the aid of Princess Oyama Sutematsu, Umeko would found the Women's Institute for English Studies, later renamed Tsuda College; still recognized as one of Japan's most prestigous institutes for the higher education of women.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Japanese Wisteria. They typically bloom around mid Spring, carry a strong fragrance similar to grapes, and an grow up to 30ft long.
The new face of the 10,000 yen note is known as Eiichi Shibusawa. He is is commonly referred to as the "father of modern Japanese capitalism". After the Meiji Restoration, Shibusawa served as a pivotal character in reforming economic policy. This is in part due to his exposure with Europe's industrial and economic development as a member of Tokugawa Akitake's delegation to the Paris World Exhibition in 1867. After returning from his travels, Shibusawa realized the importance of these elements among western cultures and societies, taking it upon himself to introduce such practices to Japan. He is credited with founding hundreds of corporations and government entities still in service today. These include the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and "The First National Bank", now known as Mizuho Bank; first of its kind to function via joint stock ownership and the power to issue its own notes in Japan. Though Shibusawa, founded countless numbers of companies, he refused to be the primary stakeholder in any of them. He was an advocate for the harmony of good ethics and business. This virtuous thinking would later develop into the spearheading of projects that would ultimately better society, involving himself in over 600 projects related to the higher education of women and social welfare.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Tokyo Station, specifically the Marunouchi side. It is one of the largest and most heavily trafficked stations in the country. It is visited by over 900K commuters daily, ranking it number 4 in the nation.
There is a lot to unpack here, but through my research I can honestly say I've learned a lot. I've never been this curious about the presidents on American money, so its quite interesting to see individuals from other parts of society recognized on currency. Out of the 6 individuals I introduced over these last 2 post, who interested you the most? Did you learn anything new? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
If you didn't know, Tuesdays are not only dedicated to various points of interest among my hobbies but developing stories in technology, art, and design. Today's topic will revolve around Japanese currency. In a surprising turn of events, brand new designs for the one thousand, five thousand, and ten thousand bank notes have been annouced to start circulation in 2024. So, I thought "hey, maybe people don't know what Japanese currency looks like"; so here we are. For the sake of brevity, I will reserve the explanaition of the new bills until next Tuesday
Considering that most of my readers are unfamiliar with the current Japanese bank note designs, I will show and discuss the individuals on each note, whilst briefly explaining the design motifs adorning the reverse side in ascending order.
On the obverse side of each note is a portrait of a historical figure that has been recognized as being a major contributer to Japanese society. The person chosen for this honor on the 1000 yen note is Hideyo Noguchi. Noguchi was a prominent Bacteriologist in the early stages of the 20th century. His most famous contribution is his identification of the causative agent of syphilis (the bacteria Treponema pallidum) in the brain tissues of patients suffering from partial paralysis due to meningoencephalitis. However, his legacy his marred by many inanccurate medical findings and ethically questionable scientific practices in his latter years. The inaccurate findings in his medical research may actually be contributed to Noguchi's untreated contraction of syphilis in 1913, likely developing into neurosyphilis by 1928.
On the reverse side of the note is a decorative image of Mt. Fuji and Cherry Blossoms that was originally adapted from a photograph by Koyo Okada.
The front of the 5000 yen note features the Meiji era writer and poet, Ichiyo Higuchi. Though she died at a young age, Higuchi is highly regarded as one of Japan's first prominent writers of modern times. Famous for her fictional short stories, Higuchi is particularly noted for her classical Japanese prose derived from the Heian era. Due to the beautiful nature of her writing, many of her stories are not translated into contemporary Japanese. However, this purest mindset leaves alot of her writing inaccessible to modern Japanese people. On the flipside, her most famous stories have been adapted into movies; themes usually circulating around romance as well as the ambition and cruelty of the Meiji middle class. Unfortunately, Higuchi tragically died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.
The reverse side of the note depicts a section of the famed "Irsis Screen" by artist Korin Ogata.
Lastly, the 10000 yen note is the largest denomination of all the Japanese bank notes. The front features a portrait Yukichi Fukuzawa, a prominent author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur, journalist, and leader who founded Keio University and the Institute of Study of Infectious Diseases. Though he was never appointed to any form of government position, Fukuzawa is largely regarded as one of modern Japan's founding fathers due to his advocacy for governement reform and ideas involving the structure of social institutions as a normal citizen during the Meiji period. Fukuzawa spent a great deal of time travelling on missions to the US and Europe as a translator on behalf of the Tokugawa shogunate, subsequently becoming well informed on all things western. This, no doubt, led to his progressive thinking on Japan's behalf to remain free of western Imperialism, instead using his knowledge to inform society about the benefits of adopting aspects of western society for the betterment of Japan's future. This even extended into the advocation of women's rights in most circumstances. However, Fukuzawa was not without his flaws as he was later criticized for his nationalist attitude for supporting the First Sino-Japanese War. Fundamentally, he believed in the independence of the people and nation, modeled after observations made in America and European societies.
The reverse side of the note features a drawing of the Hōō in the Hall of the Phoenix.
As I stated previously, I'm going to save our converstation of the new designs until next Tuesday. At that time I'll make a side-by-side comparison of the current and succeeding bank note designs. Hopefully, you guys learned some interesting things and are encouraged to do more research in the future.
What do you think? I believe the United States Treasury announced some new currency designs last year. Is there someone you believe should be recognized on your nation's currency that isn't? Maybe someone that shouldn't? How often is currency redesigned in your country? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,