Archive for August, 2011

The Cel Shaded report, 8/25: Drawn to a cause

August 25th, 2011
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It’s been several months since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated parts of northeastern Japan, a tragedy that continues to play out to this day with what’s happening out at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. We’ve seen a number of benefit efforts pop up since then, from fundraisers to drives collecting items for area children.

Then there are the benefit art books that have been released. Viz, in particular, has already released one: Smile: Pray for Japan, a series of illustrations by artist Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Real, Vagabond). For its next benefit book, though, they’re turning to American manga fans/artists like you for contributions. Art for Hope will reflect the ways that different artists interpret and illustrate the theme of “hope,” with all of the proceeds going toward supporting disaster relief efforts in Japan.

Before you dig out those drawing materials, though, there’s one catch: To participate, you have to use Autodesk’s SketchBook software. Those of you who own Apple products have an edge in that regard: The company has a Sketchbook Express app available for free for Macs and iPads. PC owners, you’ll just have to shell out up to $79.99 for SketchBook Pro or cram in all your work through a 15-day free trial available for that program.  (SketchBook Pro is also available in a Mac flavor for users looking for something more full-featured than the bare-bones Express can offer.)

If you’re still able to participate after that, here are some additional details:

  • All characters must be your original creations. In other words, if you were entertaining thoughts of an inspirational team-up between Naruto, Monkey D. Luffy, Goku and Ichigo, banish those thoughts right now.
  • Files should be created in an uncompressed format — PNG or PSD are preferred — with a minimum recommended canvas size of 1600×1200 pixels.
  • Submissions should be emailed to artforhope@viz.com along with the title of the piece; a 50-word biography (include your website and any contact info you’d be willing to make public); additional contact info for Viz to contact you (in case there’s something you don’t want to make public); another 50-word essay on why the art you created represents hope for you; and the device/software you used to create your piece.

Nothing’s being awarded or paid for contributing, but really, it’s for a good cause … surely good karma trumps free swag any day, right? If you want more details, visit www.viz.com/artforhope.

Kahala cartoonist camaraderie

Back in mid-March, a bunch of local cartoonists got together at Kahala Mall to work on a mural promoting literacy. And I was there to take pictures … many of which have never seen the light of day because I’ve been alternately busy/lazy ever since. So here’s another random pic from the pile:

I bring this up again because, as I recall, it was a really fun time for everyone involved. (Also, if I do this enough, a sufficient number of pictures will be released to the point where I’ll have published my entire gallery. Granted, it’ll end up being spread across several dozen posts, but still …) It was so much fun, in fact, that in the months since, they’ve returned to the mall a few times to fellowship and draw stuff together.

Another one of those sessions is coming up Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. They’ll be meeting at the tables near Sunglass Hut — bring your drawing tools (you know, the ones that you put away after I told you about the Art for Hope anthology earlier in this post) and head toward the part of the mall with Macy’s and Longs. As noted on the Comic Art Jam Facebook page (Facebook login required to view):

For those that haven’t been to one, it’s a get together of cartoonists, illustrators, etc (professional and nonprofessional). Artists will start a cartoon or a drawing and then it gets passed around for others to add to it.

One of the artists attending — and the person from whom I got the heads-up on this item — will be Star-Advertiser cartoonist/Gordon Rider artist/friend of the blog Jon J. Murakami. And since I brought up Jon, this bears mentioning as well: It appears that a piece of cartooning history soon will be, well, history. Soon to join Borders, Rainbow Books, Book Rack, Suncoast Video’s Pearlridge store, Tokyopop and the newspaper column version of Cel Shaded in the “things that went kaput in 2011″ file is the original Mechahawaii/Sean’s Shop whiteboard where the adventures of Gordon Rider first came to life. “Maybe we’ll have a raffle to have the original GR white board or something,” Jon posted on Sunday to the Gordon Rider Facebook fan page.

So if you want a piece of recent cartooning history, stay tuned. And if you want to hang out and draw with a bunch of great cartoonists, by all means head out to Kahala on Saturday afternoon.

Meeting roll call

>> MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com.

The Manga Movable Feast: 2 tastes of Fumi Yoshinaga

August 21st, 2011
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The pieces for my contribution to this month’s Manga Movable Feast — focusing on the works of Fumi Yoshinaga — started falling into place around 11:30 p.m. Friday, about two-thirds of the way into reading All My Darling Daughters.

I already did have a few thoughts on what I wanted to cover, of course. The fact that this month’s MMF is being hosted by a very enthusiastic Kristin Bomba over at Comic Attack has to be mentioned. Just look at the essays she posted as part of link summaries from days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 for proof. My brain screams for mercy these days whenever it tries to gather coherent thoughts for more than one post a week, so generating that much material over the span of a week is an accomplishment worth applauding.

An essay on Yoshinaga also ought to mention the series that have garnered so much praise among the manga bloggerati and beyond in recent years, like Antique Bakery, Flower of Life and Ooku: The Inner Chambers. But I wasn’t going to have time to start in on those series (although I’d love to sometime in the future … man, that’s becoming a recurring theme in these MMF essays, isn’t it? Ahh, lack of free time … the enemy of innovators everywhere.) The only time I did have was to read two of her single-volume efforts, Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! and All My Darling Daughters.

Save for the fact that both were written by Yoshinaga, it seemed nigh impossible at the outset to reconcile the two in one post, something that I really wanted to do to save time (not to mention that precious brainpower mentioned earlier).

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The Cel Shaded report, 8/17: Art in the family

August 17th, 2011
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Before I begin,  a technical note: Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. recently told me that ever since the Star-Advertiser blog formatting style was tweaked, the links we’ve been embedding in text are indistinguishable from the rest of the regular words. The workaround I’ve decided to use going forward is to highlight all links in bold, underlined type. To illustrate this, here, have the greatest abridged version of the already abridged Dragon Ball Z Kai ever. Let me know in comments whether that works for you.

We now return our regularly scheduled Cel Shaded report — as “regularly scheduled” as a day earlier than the usual posting date can be, anyway.  The next few days — time and energy to write permitting — are going to be pretty busy days here at Otaku Ohana, filled with manga and other comics and discussions about such things. But there are a few events happening locally that I wanted to promote before I dive headlong into all of that commentary.

Chief among the events going on this weekend is Family Sunday, sponsored by Bank of Hawaii at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. This event, held every third Sunday of the month, sees the Academy throw open its doors and allow visitors to take in all the exhibits on display and take part in a variety of activities for the grand cost of absolutely free. This month’s event, with the theme of “Mixed Plate” will also be the second major event where we’ll see the presence of Pen & Ink Works, the new anime/manga-inspired art group in town. Group leader Brady Evans told me that their booth will feature a mini-showcase of artwork from group members and other artists in the fellowship of fandom.

For those of you more inclined to create your own artwork rather than just look at it, Pen & Ink Works has you covered, too, with a chance to create your own “Manga Mismatch” booklet. Brady sent along these pictures to illustrate just what these booklets involve; basically, it takes drawings of several characters and splits them up into head/body/leg sections that can be mixed and matched by flipping pages:

You can find that and a whole lot more Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St. (The Academy itself will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., which gives you two hours at the end to roam the exhibits.) Want to learn more about the Academy? Check out their website at http://www.honoluluacademy.org.

The end of the Rainbow

There’s been quite a bit of attention given to the slow but eventual demise of Borders, but I was recently alerted to another bookstore locally that will be closing its doors for good as well: Rainbow Books & Records, a cluttered haven for bibliophiles in Moiliili (and a frequent stop for me back when I was attending UH-Manoa in the late ’90s) for the past 25 years. The store’s last day is Sept. 25; multimedia journalist Heidi Chang has the story.

Right now, everything in the store is 20 percent off. If you’re going there looking for manga, though, don’t get your hopes up too high — when I visited on Monday, there were only a few random manga volumes on the shelves, and they were from series that were at least five years old, at that. Heck, one of the things that stood out to me was that there were three copies of the first volume of Chicago by Yumi Tamura. (The title Chicago, in turn, made me think of this scene in Victorious, where Trina stages an ear-splitting musical number for her play. But I digress.) Those manga also haven’t moved around very much for months, or perhaps even years — I ended up picking up four volumes of Basara that had thin layers of dust on them. The woman at the counter even sold them to me for 75 cents each, recognizing that they hadn’t been moved in forever. You’d be better off looking through other things, like the small section of random anime DVD volumes, the larger pile of video games (most of which are from the PlayStation 2/original Xbox era and later)

Be careful moving around, though. It’s still quite cramped and cluttered there, and it probably will be until the end. Also, for those of you with sensitive eyes, please, try to avert them from the porno mags and videos that are out and in open display at the end of one aisle. Trust me. You’ll know it when you see it (before you cover your eyes and run screaming away from it).

Meeting roll call

>> Oahu Anime Explorer: The group is shifting its regular meeting dates to the third Saturday of the month starting this month. That said, the first meeting under the new schedule is this Saturday, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com.