So I was listening to the always awesome Asaf Hanuka (on Big Illustration Party Time Podcast), brother to Tomer Hanuka, whom I featured earlier in this blog. Anyway, he mentions how he loves the comic-book aesthetic, and how surprised he was when it became in vogue in the professional illustration world. Nobody could've predicated it really... But if you've been following this blog, you would have definitely seen how a number of artists have taken advantage of this trend.

Nobody knows how long this bubble will last. In the meantime, I'm loving every minute of it. Here's another artist doing the same!!

It's Matthew M. Laskowski, ladies and gentlemen! Lovely, slick style. Gotta hand it to him. He's at his best when he delivers clean, crisp illustration like the one I used for the title.

He's got that larger than life perspective thing going on, which I love. Colors are vibrant, but I wouldn't expect any less in this post-Mirror's Edge world.

The guy loves photography, and for some reason, that always translates well for illustrators like good ol' Matthew.

He's got this original character names named "Maia" from his original graphic novel "Sythesis". Sorta like Artgerm's infamous Pepper. I like quirky stuff like that.


Wonderful individual, great portfolio. Inspirations include the likes of Lucasfilm concept artists Doug Chiang (he left...), Iain McCaig, as well as Kristian Donaldson, Inio Asano, Kiyohiko Azuma. If this sort of information means anything to you.

Like most illustrators these days, he has a deviantART account and a pretty active journal. I am pretty damned please professional artists are posting their art process online as opposed to being all mysterious-like. Go on. Check his portfolio if you've got nothing better to do.

Or better yet, watch how he works:

All of you students and aspiring artists out there looking to break into the art/media industry... read this article. It might just give you the mindset to survive. Here's an excerpt:

We know you've been working very hard on your screenplay, but before you go looking for some professional feedback, you might keep in mind the following piece by A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson.

​I will not read your fucking script.

That's simple enough, isn't it? "I will not read your fucking script." What's not clear about that? There's nothing personal about it, nothing loaded, nothing complicated. I simply have no interest in reading your fucking screenplay. None whatsoever.

If that seems unfair, I'll make you a deal. In return for you not asking me to read your fucking script, I will not ask you to wash my fucking car, or take my fucking picture, or represent me in fucking court, or take out my fucking gall bladder, or whatever the fuck it is that you do for a living.

You're a lovely person. Whatever time we've spent together has, I'm sure, been pleasurable for both of us. I quite enjoyed that conversation we once had about structure and theme, and why Sergio Leone is the greatest director who ever lived. Yes, we bonded, and yes, I wish you luck in all your endeavors, and it would thrill me no end to hear that you had sold your screenplay, and that it had been made into the best movie since Godfather Part II.

But I will not read your fucking script.

Go on. Read the full article

Now replace what you've just read with the specific artistic/design field you're working on and you're good to go. The article was reposted at ConceptArt. You might find some good responses there to answer any artistic turmoil within you.

People have been "pimping" this article for a while now, but for those of you who haven't heard or read it, here's an excerpt:
When you're an artist, people try and take advantage of you in ways they wouldn't if you had a conservative career (though whenever you're self-employed, people will generally try and take advantage of your skills).

They don't know they're doing it, because in a society that doesn't value art for the most part; it's normal not to value artists. And artists often don't know it's happening, because they're part of that society and the trend of devaluing their own work. [...]

That is the culture of art and artists in Western society. People on my friends list are guilty of it. People I meet and hardly know, and people I know very very well are guilty of it. I'M guilty of allowing it (though you can probably tell I'm getting reaaaaaally sick of it now). Friends of mine who are artists participate in this 'I will sell myself short because I'm an artist and you expect me to sell myself short' culture.

It's the expectation that bothers me. It's not like I don't freely give my art as gifts, occasional pro-bono book covers, or haven't sent pictures in the past. I do and have. I genuinely want to.

It's the expectation that because I'm an artist, I exist to do art for others, for free, or for nothing more than a 'gee, you're so talented' (I know that, that's why art costs money, because it's a rare and desirable skill that not everyone can do - even with training). It's the assumption that I am some bohemian who basically wants to spend her entire life sharing my creativity with others, but never making money off it - because bohemians live on tea and noodles and tuna and don't want for anything more than that if they have art in their lives. Right? Wrong. Or at least, certainly wrong in my case. Doctor's appointments, art supplies and a mortgage aint cheap.
Full post:

It's a universal problem, probably more so where I live. If you've got 90% of the population that's barely scraping over the poverty line, who's gonna care about your sketch or painting? Nearly everything here's either pirated or shown for free, so paying for a drawing or even a painting seems ludicrous and a tad hedonistic.

Of course, there's hope. One reply referred to an interesting book you probably should seek out and read:
"... It (the post) reminds me of a book called The Talent Code that proposes that it's not so much about raw talent but passion, drive, opportunity, etc. Without those, even the most talented individual may get nowhere. Worth a read, especially if you see it on sale."
Agreed, you need passion, skill, but most importantly exceptionally wealthy parents / spouse to back your career up. I've met a few successful artists who got where they are because of these benefactors. The rest are probably slaving away at some dull, demeaning desk job staring at the office clock.

Fung Chin Pang is another one of those talented Chinese illustrators that has developed a nice little niche in the international market. Like Benjamin Zhang Bin and fellow Hong Kong-er Lokman Lam, they draw girls of legal age pretty well. Cute, innocent, vulnerable... Nevermind.

Commissioned work for some firm.

The guy racks up at least a minimum of 100,000 hits per illustration in deviantART. There's nothing that says "You're popular!!!!!" if you get that sort of attention for your work.

Work for a gaming magazine.

Not that it seriously matters though. The guy's style is quite pleasing to the eye. It's got that Ashley Wood style coloring, which I sadly had to reference when the reality is he's more influenced by Manet, Monet, klimt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Schiele, Hiroaki Samura, Nihei Tsutomu, Yukito Kishiro.

I should know. It said on his deviantART profile. Amazing, isn't it? He's also worked on a book entitled "鶯~EROTICA". It depicts pretty, young things wandering around picturesque neighborhoods...

... Or staring at themselves at the mirror, feeling insecure about their bodies. That sort of thing. You can check out more of the world-famous Fung Chin Pang at his deviantART profile:

Oh, I forgot he did concept work for some game studio...

Anyone aspiring to do their own animation short should probably have a look at what "Tete" has accomplished with "Fumiko's Confession". It's short and cute.

Based on some of the Youtube comments, the translation goes like this in the two speaking scenes:

Fumiko: "Would you be my boyfriend, Takashi!"
Takashi: "Sorry, I'd like to concentrate on baseball club."
Fumiko: "You bastard!"

(She begins to run)

Final Scene:
Fumiko:"I'll make miso soup for you everyday!"
Takashi: "Sorry, I'd like to concentrate on baseball club."


Tete is "...a student who aspires the work of animation" and provides a very detailed look at the production side of things at

Revisit the one, the only lolita-artist with class, Range Murata! Wikipedia, do your thing of explaining who the heck he is!

Renji "Range" Murata (村田 蓮爾 Murata Renji, born October 2, 1968 in Osaka) is a Japanese artist and designer, known for his unique style combining Art Deco and Japanese anime elements. He is best known for his conceptual design work on anime series Last Exile, Solty-Rei, Blue Submarine No. 6 and most recently, Shangri-la.

He's called an experienced doujinshi (self-published) and professionally published artist whose work has also been featured in a variety of magazines, video games, and anime series. Not the erotic doushinji some of you might be thinking. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't know. His style is immediately recognizable by his characters' frequently elaborate clothing and their soft and colorfully emotional appearance.

These are a few of Range's favorite subjects.

He has published more than a dozen books of his work, some of the most notable being Robot, Rule, futurhythm and All The Way Home. He is also voted "Best Artist of the Year" 2006 in the Seiun Award.

"rule" is a mook-stlye (what the hell is a mook) release featuring a look at Murata's design works [clothing, accessories] for his third major exhibit, fa COLLECTION 003. Expect lots of pictures and other sorts of information about his products. The book also includes just a few older Murata illustrations and a look at the work of yoshitoshi ABe, Youki Kanaya, Makoto Kobayashi, and Suzuhito Yasuda.

If this doesn't make you feel uncomfortable, then continue reading.

re: futurhythm is the regular, mass-produced edition of futurhythm. It is bound like an ordinary book and housed in a hard plastic sleeve with slightly varying contents from the limited edition version.

All The Way Home is just another picture book with lots of cutely drawn little girls. Yes, that sounds about right.

Thought I was lying about the little girls part? Order it while supplies last! (Thanks to Jesus_Freak for these scans!)

Here's an excerpt of a 2004 interview from Cosplay Lab, about Mr. Murata's animeworks, as well as this 'fahsion' line he developed, which I won't cover here because, but maybe in the future...

How do you pronounce your name??

Range, pronounced Ren Ji, is a pen name I made up. The character Len in Japanese means lotus and I really like the lotus flower so I wanted to put that in my name somehow.

How did you get into character design?

I used to be a simple illustrator doing magazine cover art and one day I was contacted to do character designs for an anime. Back when I was studying product/industrial design in college, I created things like watches and office products. So when I started to do character designs, I used a similar approach. I start by setting up a role for each character, then draw the character to fit that role. In the real world, everyone laughs in their own way, so I try to design my characters so that, just by looking at them, you can tell that they laugh and act differently.

The character designs for Blus Sub #6 and Last Exile are quite distinct, how did you achieve this level of detail?

The departure point for the designs is the critical difference in creating the animation. When regular animators begin their career, they draw the same art over and over for cels to make animation before they can advance to character designs. They decrease the number of lines to make the characters easier to animate. They may draw silhouettes that don't look very good as a still image, but look really good when animated. That is their particular style. I started out as an illustrator and when Gonzo recruited me, they said they didn't care how hard it was to animate, just to do what I wanted and they'd animate it for me. So I really did design what I wanted to.

I always wondered, "Why do anime characters have such big buttons? Why are the creases in their clothes so deep?" Things like that. And when I designed the characters for Last Exile, I tried to have them wear clothes that could exist in real life.

See for yourself in High-Definition!

With some knowledge of how clothing design works, I tried to draw in the kind of material that would have been used in creating their clothes and try to represent the stitches connecting the fabric. I always try to represent that in my artwork.

After I designed the characters, the animators color it and animate it, so some of the three-dimensional aspect of the characters is lost, and that is the departure point.

The Guild in the Last Exile are from the future, so when I was designing their outfits, I added a more structured and artificial element. It goes back to what their role in the world is, so I keep that in mind throughout the entire process.

How is clothing an extension of an anime character's personality?

Although clothing can show a lot about the character, it really only assists in showing some of their personality. Sixty to seventy percent of their personality is shown in their face, their eyes, their hair and their expressions. So I think the clothing designs only assist in developing their personality. For example, with clothes, you can show what kind of colors the character likes, or how tall the character is.

Samples of Range's toyline.

If it's a female character, you can show a lot about their personality through making her wear pants or skirts. If she's a tomboy, then you can draw her wearing pants. If she's a calmer type of girl, you can convey this by giving her darker, muted clothing. So I think it is only partially possible to show the personality of a character through the clothing. Some anime shows try to go against this convention by drawing a tomboy girl wearing frilly dresses, but I try to approach it in a more realistic way.

Catch more of this interview here: Cosplay Lab 

Before I forget, there's this other series Range has helped Gonzo develop, called "Shangri-la", according to the site, it's an "... anime series based on the highly acclaimed novel of the same name which was written by Eiichi Ikegami and won the first place in 2005 Japanese Sci-Fi Novel Award."

The story is another one of those bleak futuristic settings filled with very cute female protagonists. Tell me if the story sounds familiar... "...It's set in a neo-futuristic age, in which Tokyo has turned into the world’s largest “jungle-polis” that absorbs carbon dioxide. A tower city called Atlas houses the rich and privileged, and is the object of yearning of all that are not allowed to enter. But Atlas also has ancient secrets which cause a sudden whirl of events. Festooned by colorful characters such as a riotous teenage girl, a child genius, a juvenile princess, a drag queen, a female doctor, an army major, and an elderly gentleman and lady, SHANGRI-LA’s hard-core world view plays out as an anime action saga."

Great! Another animated show which won't strain my eyeballs at bad design. The world needs more of those! Of course, story is always a concern, but who really watches Murata's shows for that?

I jest. Still, that intro in high definition looks pretty slick...

All hail Range Murata!

Let's revisit an infamous artist known saucy women with barely-there outfits, twisted anatomy – The one, the classic Hyung Tae-Kim.

Hyung-Tae Kim (born February, 1978, Seoul) is a Korean manhwa artist. He has designed characters for video games such as the Magna Carta series, and the later installments of War of Genesis series. He also's worked on OXIDE series of artbooks.

Get a load of that scapula! And those glutes...

As a manhwa artist, he specializes in a weird deformation technique where the artist disregards anatomical accuracy to achieve a specific feel to the character. This is an interesting point because this is what makes manhwa, well… manhwa. Honestly, despite my being new to the wide world of anime and manga in general, I have yet to see another artist with the style this guy has.

Hyung has also made some stuff for Udon Studios. Notably for the Street Fighter, "Robot" and the "Apple" artbooks. Pretty slick stuff.

According to a fansite, “Hyung-tae Kim designs his characters with perfect structures, including stylish and dazzling outfits.” The exemplary use of colors helps flesh out his characters well beyond most conventional anime-style artists. Hmm... I did see one of Mr. Kim's art pieces where there was a fat guy...

Kim's body of work has achieve such worldwide acclaim that he was even hired for various art commissions in Japan! Can you imagine that?? An artist so good even the Japanese would take notice!

He’s also done some work in a Ragnarok Online art book. For those unaware what I'm talking about, Ragnarok Online is a game that kick-started the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game culture in my home country. I actually haven't seen Mr. Kim's art for this game or the book, but despite his familiar style not being in the game per se, the manhwa art-style is still prevalent, from character designs and to the items, etc. I forget to mention the 'muted' color palette that manhwa artists seem to love so much.

Okay, fine. Let it be known. I've never played any of the Magna Carta games, but that’s just because I've never owned a single console gaming system since ever. But that doesn’t matter, because I've seen some of the stuff from the game, and to tell you the truth, the 3D models and the game worlds themselves don't seem to do justice to Mr. Tae-Kim's beautiful work.

Yeah, maybe his art isn’t for everyone. Maybe some of you cynical artists want an artist prefer more... anatomically possible characters, or they just hate the "anime" style. (a term of derision among many artists) I don’t know, whenever I see this guy’s art, I get all inspired. There’s something to this guy’s style that is just surpasses most other anime artists I’ve seen in the past. Seriously!

The Apple artbook is features some of Hyung's best.

Anyway, It's time for me to end this post, with a video that might actually be relevant this time! My dear, Void, I leave you with the promo video for Blade and Soul. See for yourself if Mr. Kim's designs were translated well to 3D. Go on! Watch if you have nothing else better to do!

I'll be honest. I can't say much about the Hong Kong artist known as 'Lokman'. When I first encountered his work all those years ago, it was by simply by accident. Nowadays, he's everywhere in these niche art blogs and online portfolio feeds. His work certainly is interesting... His work is... difficult to put into words... because you just stare at them... If you're a guy...

One might describe this guy as... having a bit of a fetish. Phooey to that! Let the man do what he pleases!

As you can see, he does a whole other range of commercial / personal art that doesn't involve big breasted asian warrior women wrapped up in bondage gear and... and... I...

Aw hell! Perhaps these images are for a new ice cream commercial?

These images indicate Lokman's models are enjoying their cool treat very much. Lokman truly captures the essence of enjoying a stick of ice cream. Naturally, Lokman's creative range extends far wider than this since he's an Art Director for some visual design firm! According to his site, he's working for a company called Imagi International Holdings Ltd. Maybe you've heard of it?

One of the classic Lokman art I stumbled upon all those years ago...

This guy climbed from the bottom, and showed everyone his "wonderful" talent. In 1999, he began as just a comic assistant! Awesome. Then he got promoted Illustrator a year later, then yes, to Art Director.

I wish this guy well. Thank you again, Lokman! Thank you for sharing your unique creative vision to the world! And congratulations to your little feature at ImagineFX!

I think I'll do a touchy-feely artist post today. Hmm... Let me scan for something I can talk about... Ah! Here's one: "Why do you draw?" Perfect!!

So why do YOU draw? Oh right... You don't respond. But the people in ConceptArt sure do! They're a nice bunch. G A I A originally posted the question because she didn't know drawing was simply a habit or some kind of a addiction that doesn't seem as fun as she would like to believe. I have days like that.

Sebastard said:
"In the words of the immortal Nietzsche, conflict and strife (including inner conflict and personal strife) will shape a man into something better then he once was... Why do i draw and write? To eventually become one of the greatest fantasy/fiction artists/authors this world has ever seen - that simple . No telling if i'll ever achieve this goal, but i believe in setting lofty ambitions because: "Man's grasp exceeds his reach." To me, it doesn't really matter whether drawing is fun or not. Goals do not need, indeed will often not be enjoyable or fun 100% of the time - that's part of the "conflict" bit. To preservere through the times that are harsher then others and may not be as fun :p.

No, nothing is really "just" a hobby to me.

Blackspot said:
It's an itch and I need to scratch it. It gets worse if you ignore it.

Crass said:
Because I want to make my inner worlds come alive, for me and whoever else that wants to see.

 Maybe he needs to draw...

The Original [E] said:
Other then because if I don't draw and get my ideas out then my mind will overload me with ideas and I won't be able to focus on much until I get them out.

The other more important reason is, to me art and my creativity is like a muscle, you have to keep working it out and constantly give it stimulation or it will atrophy and die. Thats why I draw and paint every day for hours on hours. Have you ever known a person who used to draw and stopped because of one reason or another?

FranciscoShreds then said:

I guess it's because I have the exact opposite mentality as you. I always want to draw, everything I see in life makes me want to draw, makes me want to reproduce what I see or expand upon it. Only times I feel like shit is when I don't draw and I could have. If I slept in, if I forgot my moleskine or sketchbook and I see something very interesting.

My thoughts:

Wow! Yeah! Cool! I wholeheartedly agree! Saying anything would be redundant. Maybe making a list would suffice. Okay, so it seems artists draw because:

1.) It's fun and addictive.
2.) We're all gonna die sooner or later.
3.) It's a form of escape.
4.) To capture / realize imagination. (Hmm...)
5.) Money (Eh?)
6.) Self-Improvement / Therapy.
7.) I heard this from Artgerm in Singapore - "I just want to draw something beautiful"

And as a very odd aside, I decided to embed several videos of artists and their "moleskins". (Some dating back to 2006)

This one's kinda funny.

Here's a nifty one from a real fine artist.

Buy your moleskin today and feed your art addiction!! (That's a plug right there...)

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