Sunday, January 29, 2006

Burbank Anime Fest

Food From The Sea con't:

Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7

(edit 1/31: Okay now it says it's shipping again (after it said it wasn't shipping for four weeks a few days ago). I dunno why it keeps changing but... well... if you want to order it on click here or wait until it's available at your local Barnes & Nobles/Borders in the next week or so~)

Above are the next few pages to my Flight story (first three down here) which I'm working on between projects. It's a great break, and I think it's one of my best so far. I can't wait to ink this sucker!

So today was the Burbank anime fest! It was a cute event with a great showing of at least 200 kids. Thanks to everyone that came out and sat through listening to me and my lovely editor talk about manga/comics/etc.! Thanks also to the awesome librarians that put it together, and to anyone for buying copies of Sorcerers & Secretaries, which incidentally should start popping up in bookstores in the next few days (but gaurunteed to be there at least by Feb. 7th~ sometimes it does take a while though!). It was really cool meeting all of you in the audience, and it makes me so happy so many of you want to draw comics of your own! It just brings back a lot of nostalgia from my old high school days where I used to copy a lot of Takahashi. (well... you have to start somewhere!) :)

Tokyopop also left me with a bunch of books so I'll have some to sell at Alternative Press Expo this year, along with a box of awesome bookmarks they made for S&S (and the Kingdom Hearts comic, I'll give out those bookmarks too! hehe~). It was a nice time~ plus it was just great hanging out with my editor as always. She's a sweetie!

I'm glad to be back home with my Kazu and studio though. Time for some sleep and more comicking tomorrow! We're both getting pretty serious as deadlines are becoming more serious right along with us! >.< Daisy Kutter made it on the ALA's prestigious list of the Best Books For Young Adults 2006?? Argh! He's amazing! Okay. I'll stop gushing now... =P Needless to say, life is still good.

If any of you've bought S&S and read it, please let me know what you thought of it! =D

Friday, January 20, 2006

Chapter 4 marathon -- prep time

Tools for inking....

  1. "c-thru" ruler. Good for making panel borders.
  2. "sakura pigma micron" pen, size 01. Good for inking figures and well... everything. If you press too hard, the pen tip can split in two which is annoying. But the same tip flexibility can create a nice, subtle line variation.
  3. "millenium zig" pen, size 08. Good for panel borders.
  4. "staedler pigment liner" size 0.3. Good for word balloons and Riley's glasses.
  5. "tachikawa school-g" black pen. Good for inking tiny details and distant backgrounds. Has a sturdy nib which hasn't broken on me (yet). Creates a nice, consistant line... but the ink takes a while to dry so you have to be careful not to drag your hand across fresh lines.
  6. "borden & riley" (that's where Riley's name comes from...), 9 x 12 sheets. A nice, affordable, bright blue-white paper that's extremely smooth and holds technical pen ink very well. There is practically no bleeding. The surface is similar to deleter manga paper. Only downside is that it's somewhat flimsy so the pages aren't as impressive in person as if they were drawn on sturdy bristol.
  7. A pile of 30 pages printed in 96% brightness cyan on the bleedproof paper. I scanned all my thumbnails, enlarged each individual page to fit on a 9 x 12 sheet. This is what I'll ink on.
  8. Digital clock to keep me on track. It's easy to lose track of time doing this stuff so I think having a clock nearby is important.
  9. My $1.00 plant to keep me company and remind me of the rest of the world out there (world map is for that, too)
  10. Hand cream. My hands get incredibly dry sometimes, and when they do I find it distracting from drawing. Having a pleasant smelling lotion is a plus because I get tired of smelling paper, ink, and eraser crumbs all day.

So that's my desk right now. I cleaned it with windex so no eraser crumbs will get stuck to backs of pages and create accidental bumpy lines.

Someone emailed me asking for the file I use to print out my thumbnail templates. Here they are for double page spreads and for regular sets of pages. Remember that theses are all formatted to be proportional to Tokyopop book sizes. Comics come in all sizes, so I recommend using these for example only, or if you plan on entering Tokyopop's contest. And also as a disclaimer, all this stuff is just what I use. Everyone's brains and preferences are different, so be sure to stick to what suits you best!

Marathon part 2 starts on... Sunday, I think. Tomorrow is my day off. Have a great weekend, everyone! =)

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Some doodles above~ First two are monster sketches for my flight story and the bottom is of course darling Josh. click the Josh image for a larger version~

Things otherwise are good. Been heading out to the Tokyopop offices for the sake of getting out of the house and being "adventurous", and I also bought a whole mess of LA stuff to get to know the city better. It's an interesting place, very scattered and lacking a central feeling outside of the fact that the entertainment industry is here. The weather is very reflective of many things about LA, how the fog and smog conceal the city itself (LA has huge and beautiful mountains everywhere but you can't always see them because of the fog and smog). You can get pretty much anything you'd ever want in LA and there's no better place for artists trying to work in the entertainment industry, but you really have to go out on your own and find it because things aren't apparant.

I guess all I'm trying to say is... I love LA so far but boy do I miss NYC! >_<>

Friday, January 13, 2006

Preview copy and appearance schedule

Yesterday I dropped by the Tokyopop offices for some writing and chit chat with editors n stuff. Here they gave me a preview copy of Sorcerers & Secretaries book 1, and man... it looks AWESOME! XD I'm soooo happy with it! A year of my life, packed into a little 10 buck book! Hopefully this will be the first of many. It's great because now I can carry the book around for reference instead of my black binder of loose papers >_<

Also it finally lets me know whether or not my panel layouts worked ok for graphic novel form, as well as whether the pacing of the overall story fits for its length. I'm really proud of it and can't wait for it to hit shelves and be available more widely (aside from at the TP offices!). Feels good! =)

And for those who are curious, I posted a list of upcoming places I'll be at for signings/panels/etc. to the left. Click the dates for more information.

Yesterday Kazu and I met some great Japanese illustrators who trekked out here to LA to chill with some drawing board members. They were super nice and had excellent art to boot! Check out some of their amazing stuff:

Marty Ito


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Publisher's Weekly and good-bye Hawaii

Publisher's Weekly recently conducted an interview with me via phone where I had a great conversation with Kai-Ming. In it I talk a bit about working with Tokyopop and my feelings on webcomics in general~ check it out! =D

Tomorrow morning Kazu and I board a plane and head back to our cozy apartment in LA. I can't wait to have my space back, trek out to the Tokyopop offices for some work, and continue my on-going efforts to settle into my new city. I feel like this trip is exactly what the doctor ordered, and I'm more motivated than ever to pump out some awesome comics!

Between this and the previous news entry, Kazu and I went on a small romantic excursion (the first time I ever went on vacation solely for the purpose of relaxing. It was pretty sweet!). Here, he proposed to me yet again, and now I have the ring to prove it! I will wear it proudly~ =D For those interested, here are some random photos from that little trip to Kauai, one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited, and that will now always have a very special place in my memory. I believe there's also a couple photos from Oahu, where Honolulu is.

My editor also tells me that the sample copies of Sorcerers & Secretaries are in my mailbox. My fingers are itching to hold it... man... getting paid to draw comics, being engaged to one of the most beautiful human beings on the planet... life is awesome. =)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Started Flight Thumbnails

This is a panel from the third page of my Flight 4 entry, "food from the sea". I struggled with this for a while because I was going to try and mimick that sort of miyazaki/watercolor/sketch look. After much failure, however, I realized I shouldn't use my comics as practice grounds and decided to just do what I usually do instead. This is working out much better and I'm having so much more fun! XD It's a silly thing to realize, but I don't keep a sketch book and I barely ever "practice" anything because I don't have too much interest in the craft itself... I'm too focussed on story and storytelling, which is good because that's what interests me the most but I should expand my repetoire through practice somehow and stop just plowing forward via the comics medium hoping it'll come out okay. I guess this means I don't make a very good student. I dunno. Either way, I'm having a blast with this, it's such a breath of fresh air after focussing on romantic comedy for the last year. ::dizzy::

If you'd like to read the first three thumbnails of my flight entry, just click here:

Food From The Sea page 1

Food From The Sea page 2

Food From The Sea page 3