Saturday, 16 October 2010

Everything will surely be alright!

I'm just posting this here because I don't want to lose it.

V&A Student Illustrator Awards

Not that I think I have the remotest shot at winning, but I just think it would be fun. =]

Other than that, not much to report - just updated the portfolio section of the site and the contact page where you can now find the contact information for my agent, Advocate Art.

So, I know it's only been a day since the last update, but I may as well post an illustrator. =]


ChibiYuuto Fan Blog:

One of my biggest influences, I've loved CLAMP ever since I figured out who it was who created that cartoon I watched on CITV when I was 12; Cardcaptors.

Of course, after reading the manga of Cardcaptor Sakura, I realised that Cardcaptors was just an americanised, toned-down version of a really amazing manga, in fact, one of the best-selling manga of all time. The anime was just as good, and introduced me to anime and manga's official cutest couple in the world, Sakura and Syaoran.

CLAMP consists of four manga creators (although in it's lifetime it's had about seven overall). It's current members are Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, Satsuki Igarashi and their leader and story writer, Nanase Ohkawa. They debuted with RG Veda in 1989, and have gone from strength to strength, right up until their most recent manga hits, Kobato., Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic. Although Shojo (girls' manga) is not all that these girls can do, they really do know their stuff when it comes to romance, it being one of their favourite topics to write about. Infact, they quite literally wrote the book on romance; The One I Love is a series of short manga stories about all different kinds of love and relationships.

However, one of my guilty pleasures at the moment is collecting xxxHolic volumes. xxxHolic is a crossover series with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles that, like Tsubasa, includes characters from CLAMP's earlier series. The main characters of Tsubasa are Syaoran and Sakura, incarnations of the characters from Cardcaptor Sakura. xxxHolic, however, focuses on a seemingly new character; Kimihiro Watanuki and his fickle yet hilariously drunken employer who goes by the fake name of Yuuko Ichihara, or the Space-Time Witch.

Poor Watanuki has had the ability to see and attract spirits for as long as he can remember. This makes for a difficult life when evil spirits constantly find you delicious. So, one day, while trying to run away from a particularly large spirit, Watanuki happens upon Yuuko's shop, which instantly makes the spirit vanish. Going inside, he meets Yuuko, along with Maru and Moro (later joined by the insanely perky Mokona) and strikes a deal with the shop owner; if he works at her shop, she'll grant his wish to not see spirits anymore. Because that is what the shop provides, it grants wishes. CLAMP then tells the stories of the different customers of Yuuko's, how Watanuki faces each problem and deals with people such as his unlucky love-interest Himawari and his self-proclaimed rival, Doumeki, and begins to unravel a bit more of Watanuki's own mysteries about himself.

This particular series' artwork is interesting because it specifically draws on the Ukiyo-e wood block style of the Edo period, something that has been another recent big influence of mine. However, CLAMP's style always seems to follow the more traditional manga styles compared to some other big manga creators; their soft colours and lines could be said to be reminiscent of traditional Japanese art with a twist of Art Nouveau, and their forms quite resemble the style of manga god Osamu Tezuka.

Top: CLAMP - RG Veda
Bottom: Osamu Tezuka - Ribbon Knight

Friday, 15 October 2010

Like a black swallowtail butterfly, I want to fly on magnificent wings!

I went up to London on Wednesday to meet with my agent. All went very well - I seem to have a knack for navigating London, lol. I had to get the tube from Hammersmith to Wimbledon, which seems like a relatively out of the way place if the tube map is anything to go by. I almost got lost at one point, but then I had the good idea of looking on the bus stops to see where I was. =3

So I eventually found it; a small little gallery on the outskirts of Wimbledon Village, and went inside to be greeted by 'Patch', the gallery dog. I met Ed shortly after and he was very nice, very friendly. He was very pleased (as am I, lol) that we'd finished our first job, and showed me some of the other artists they have - one artist actually did all the Halloween decorations for Asda. We talked about my portfolio - I have to get on and send him some more stuff, when I can manage the internet, lol, and my next step is to design some character designs. Easy peasy!

I then met the rest of the team, and they were all really lovely and complimentary. I was nervous enough, and it really helped to have such friendly people there. I'm looking forwards to the next job. =D

After that, I did a bit of shopping at Tokyo Toys and Forbidden Planet, then sat in the middle of Central London for the better part of an hour and a half waiting for Dan and the others, who had managed to get themselves lost.

And that's that. =D

So... the illustrator I want to mention this time is not a manga artist. I thought i'd mix it up a little just to show that not ALL of my influences are manga. =D

Jhonen Vasquez

Have you ever seen that cartoon, Invader Zim? Well, JV is the mastermind behind it. I first heard of JV from my friend Joe who, one day, brought into school a strange looking black book with just 'Z?!' on the cover. After actually reading the book, I was a bit worried that i'd actually gained a weird kind of empathy for serial killers.

'Z?!' is actually the Directors' Cut of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, which tells the story of Johnny ('Nny' to his friends), a guy who is trying to figure out the psychological/supernatural reasons that make him a serial killer. His friends are a talking, floating, dead bunny-head called Nailbunny, two styrofoam figures, Psychodoughboy and Mr. Eff, who act as a kind of angel/devil device for Johnny (disregarding the fact that neither of them have good intentions), and a terminally hopeless and scared-witless little boy for a neighbour, who Johnny likes to call 'Squee'. Squee was given his own four-issue series later on. Johnny also has a brief romance with a female character caled Devi (one date that ended badly with Johnny trying to 'immortalise the moment' by killing them both), who was also given her own little series. The thing that makes the series so funny, however, is the brash, black humour that plays on the readers' own revenge fantasies, making Johnny so completely relatable.

My favourite character has to be Devi - mostly because she's the character most similar to myself. In I Feel Sick. Devi is an artist, who works for a company that likes to suck the creativity out of all she does. She has no time to work on her own work, and can feel herself slowly going insane.

Enter Sickness. The strange little doll that Devi painted once and left to work on actual work. Only now, it's talking, and starting to come out of the painting. And it's telling her to do things.

Jhonen Vasquez has a really good, quirky style that's just on the good side of being totally inappropriate, and the geometric art style suits the black comedy of the narrative. He does, however, like to include a smily face here and there just to show that the world is not all doom and gloom, as his characters would make you believe.

His animated series, Invader Zim, is a lot lighter and smoother, since it was made for Nickelodeon. It's all about a hopeless alien named Zim and his inept attempts to exterminate the Earth. He's accompanied by his malfunctioning pet robot, GIR, who dresses in a dog suit so as to not be noticed by the slightly satirical and oblivious humans. However, Zim, despite his weak disguise, is recognised for what he is by Dib, a boy from his school. It then becomes Dib's main mission in life to foil all of Zim's attempts at annihilating the Earth.

The series still retains some of JV's quirky humour, only a lot less dark and without the extensive amount of expletives that JtHM has.