Some people just have too much talent…save some for the rest of us!
If you’re one of those people who’s insanely jealous of natural-born artists, then you may want to stop reading now because you’re about to get supremely frustrated.
We’ve seen a fair number of impressive drawing skills over Asian social media, especially insideoftheclassroom, but this next stuff blows it out of the park.
Prepare to be amazed by Twitter user @PonkichiM, an illustrator and occasional manga artist who has produced artwork for prominent video game companies such as Square Enix, Sega, and Capcom. He also teaches at a drawing school, where his “casual” whiteboard reference drawings (for the benefit of his students, of course) have the rest of us retrieving our jaws from the floor. Check out some of his recent gems:
“A collection of medieval armor and warriors that I did for my students which includes the names of the various parts. For any drawing you’re doing, research the subject, accumulate new discoveries, deepen your fundamental knowledge, and from there everything will become habitual. Your breadth of artistic choices and designs will expand at once so let’s work on researching our drawing subjects even more and deepening our knowledge.”
Sadly, erasing his work seems equivalent to a funeral…
“Everything is hand-drawn. The students worry about me because I don’t eat lunch and use the break to keep drawing (lol). If I just leave the drawings on the board without erasing them the school staff will get mad (the drawings are just too big and hard to erase), so I erase it like this with big swipes.”
OK, this one might be our favorite one of all:
▼ Canine warriors about to set off on an epic quest!
“#Cat and owl #Tanabata (the Star Festival, traditionally celebrated with branches of bamboo and written wishes)”
If you’ve enjoyed @PonkichiM’s artwork and want to see more, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his online gallery of work for (mostly fantasy-themed) video games and trading card games found here. For the rest of us, who aren’t as talented as Japan’smanyartists, it’s time to go back to basics…
You’ll want to zoom in on this picture to catch all the delicate details.
Yoshitoshi Shinomiya is a deservedly respected force in the Japanese animation industry, not in the least for overseeing and creating some of the most beautiful shots in Makoto Shinkai’s box office miracle “Your Name“.
I was curious about the authorship of the striking flashback in Your Name, since it's all credited to Yoshitoshi Sh… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…
Shinomiya is a particularly prodigious talent in that he dual-wields skill sets – not only is he a capable and innovative animator and background artist, but a talented illustrative artist too. Being great at animation doesn’t always preclude that you can make a good illustration – conveying a story in one image is a wholly different challenge to a combination of moving ones, after all.
With the Pokémon franchise rolling out the second edition of its animated reboot movie line, Pokémon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, the PR machine is really gearing up into overdrive, and hiring Shinomiya to illustrate the movie’s posters is a super-effective decision. Check out Shinomiya’s gorgeous painting of the Everyone’s Story cast below.
This stunning, sunlight-dappled scene introduces us to the core cast of the movie – of course the eye instantly scouts out series protagonist Satoshi (or Ash, in English-speaking countries) along with his trusty Pikachu, who is gallantly catching Satoshi’s hat out of the air for him. The surrounding cast of quirky characters are less familiar: the reboot movies each have their own characters with matching mini-arcs, all brand new for each movie.
Much of the movie’s PR is centered around that cute blonde girl with an Eevee in front, Lisa, who is a total newbie to training Pokémon and is voiced by ex-AKB48 member Rina Kawaei. Walking in front of her we have the green-haired, recalcitrant scientist Trito, played by actor Gaku Hamada. Behind Lisa is another girl, Largo, who lives alone in a forest. Largo is played by Mana Ashida, a renowned child actress who you might recognize as baby Mako Mori from Pacific Rim!
Watching over the proceedings from a balcony is Kagachi, a horror fanatic who can’t stop telling tall tales – he’s portrayed by actor Kohji Okura. But the real star of the show in my opinion is that funny little old lady leading the procession – Pokémon-hating senior Hisui, who is played by none other than one of the greatest seiyuu of all time. That’s right – it’s the eternal voice of Goku, Masako Nozawa!
Shinomiya’s poster does a great job of giving all these new characters their own spotlight, using lighting and body language to tell us how things might play out in the movie itself. It goes without saying that the art is beautiful; the dreamy, misty color palette pairs with the obvious motion of wind in the picture and perfectly highlights the tagline in the center (“Let’s get going while the wind’s still blowing!”).
It’s unsurprising that he pulled off such a stunning visual, though. This is, after all, Shinomiya’s second time producing artwork for the Pokémon reboot movies. Here’s his gorgeous take on the first film, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!.
If gigantic anime figures are your idea of fine art from Japan, you won’t want to miss this free event in Akihabara.
If you’re an anime fan, odds are you want a figure of your favorite character decorating your home. And, naturally, if you’re a really big fan, you want a really big figure.
So in recent years, with the otaku culture boom showing no sign of slowing down, Japanese companies like Figurex have started producing life-size figures of popular characters. However, once you get past a certain point a figure stops feeling like a figure and starts feeling like a statue, and so wouldn’t it make sense to display them for the public, just like museums do with fine art sculptures?
Figurex agrees, which is why later this month, it’ll be holding an exhibition of its life-size figures in Tokyo. Rather than the art museums of the Ueno neighborhood, the event will take place in otaku mecca Akihabara’s Radio Kaikan, one of the district’s most venerable venues for anime figure display and shopping.
Figurex has yet to announce which exact figures will be on display, but its life-size Kuroneko/Ruri Goko, from My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, seems like a shoo-in, considering that pre-orders for the 139-centimeter (54.7-inch) statue just started in June. Only 10 unites will be produced, priced at 1.48 million yen (US$13,580).
Among the other display candidates are colorful maids Rem and Ram from Re:Zero−Starting Life in Another World, who stand 149 and 154 centimeters tall, respectively.
Figurex has one more My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute character on its roster: Ayase Aragaki, who at 162 centimeters is tall even by life-size anime girl figure standards.
162-centimeter vocaloid Yukari Yuzuki has gotten the life-size treatment twice, once in kimono-style waitress garb, and once dressed as a policewoman.
▼ The kimono version is even equipped with a speaker so you can hear her virtual idol voice.
Rounding out Figurex’s life-size lineup are Ichimatsu Matsuno, of Osomatsu-san and anthropomorphized electric razor (seriously) Izumi Matsumoto (exact heights undisclosed)…
…and pint-sized Kanna Kamui (from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid) and Renge Miyauchi (of Non Non Biyori), both 125 centimeters tall.
The Figurex exhibition is scheduled to take place at Akihabara Radio Kaikan from July 28 to 30, and admission is free. It’s your best chance to see so many life-size anime figures in the same space, unless you happen to be friends with this guy.
Venue; Akihabara Radio Kaikan 10th floor/ 秋葉原ラジオ会館 10F
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 1-15-16
10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Before you head to Mori Building Digital Art Museum: EPSON teamLab Borderless, there are a few things you’ll need to know.
People around the world added a new destination to their Japan bucket list on June 21, when world-leading Japanese digital art collective teamLab unveiled their new awe-inspiring permanent digital art museum.
Produced in collaboration with local urban landscape developer Mori Building Co. Ltd., the amazing light displays are housed in their very own building, spread out over two floors in a huge space in Tokyo’s Odaiba district.
Described as “Tokyo’s most Instagrammable spot“, we decided to stop by to see the place for ourselves, and as soon as we stepped inside we were blown away by the truly amazing works.
▼ Take a look at our video below to see some of the beauty in store for visitors.
Given that this is unlike any other experience in Japan, the Mori Building Digital Art Museum is quickly becoming one of the country’s most popular destinations. However, there are a few rules and tips you’ll need to know before going, so we’ve prepared a visitor’s guide to help you get the most out of your time at the museum.
So come with us as we walk you through our visit, complete with 10 tips on how to enjoy the space and a run-through of the highlights you won’t want to miss.
1. Wear white or light-coloured clothing.
You don’t have to do this, of course, but it makes things a lot more fun, as you get to blend into the light displays as they float across your body, creating a much more immersive experience.
Dark-coloured clothing tends to blend into the shadows while light colours capture the light and reflect the patterns much more vividly.
It’s the small details that make a big difference, especially when it comes to capturing the perfect Instagram photo!
2. Wear flat shoes
This is an important point, as there are a number of places in the museum where heels and sandals aren’t permitted. And if you think the organisers aren’t serious about this then think again – if you don’t have the appropriate footwear on, you’ll be sent to the shoe rental area where you’ll have to borrow a free pair of shoes.
Some of the places that require sensible footwear are: The space-themed “Multi Jumping Universe” trampoline area…
▼ The interactive “Sliding through the Fruit Field” slide…
▼ The climbing trees in the “Light Forest Three-dimensional Bouldering” area.
▼ Another climbing area, called “Aerial Climbing through a Flock of Colored Birds“.
And the Floating Nest, which was so popular when we visited it took us half an hour to get in. One of two light shows play here, while viewers lie in mid-air on a netted trampoline-like structure.
3. Stow your backpack in a locker before going in
While staff permit backpacks in the building, they do a good job of suggesting you stow them in the free lockers at the reception area, and for good reason. Some of the installations are set up in tight spaces that can become congested during busy periods, so if you have a backpack on (and not even a very bulky one at that), staff will ask you to wear your backpack on your front before entering some of the rooms.
▼ Backpack on your front when making your way through the “Memory Of Topography” experience…
▼ And also in the Crystal World room.
4. Wear trousers
This might sound like an odd tip, but when you look down at the floors in many of the rooms you’ll understand the downside of wearing skirts and dresses in the museum, given their expansive use of mirrored floors.
▼ This is the floor in the Crystal World room.
▼ The floor in the Light Sculpture room.
▼ And the floor in the Forest of Resonating Lamps
This isn’t something that’s gone unnoticed by organisers – outside these rooms are racks with black wrap-around skirts, along with a sign that warns visitors about the mirrored floors, advising them to use these to protect their modesty.
5. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind tea ceremony at the En Tea House
Depending on when you go, there might be a line to get in as this experience is incredibly popular with visitors.
You can stop and take a quiet break here, with four different types of green tea drinks available to purchase, all priced at 500 yen (US$4.50) each.
There are three wrap-around benches inside, where visitors are served tea in a serene, dimly lit environment.
Staff will come and place an empty tea bowl in front of you, on the straw mat surface of the table, before pouring your green tea for you.
And that’s when the magic begins, as your tea slowly starts coming to life with different floral patterns forming on the frothy surface.
The light display continues inside your cup until you lift it up to take a sip, and then the flowers burst on your table, sending petals scattering out in all directions.
It’s a zen-like experience that makes you feel like you’ve left Earth and gone to another world, with everyone lost in their own thoughts as they gaze into the unique patterns in their cup.
6. Touch everything
Part of the beauty of the museum is that guests are free to explore and make discoveries on their own. Nobody will tell you about it before you go in, but if you touch the images on the walls around you as you walk around, the images will react to your movements.
▼ These ghost bunnies will turn and face you if you touch them.
▼ And these musicians will turn around and give a wave to those who give them a tap.
This ghostly installation, called “Peace Can be Realised Even Without Order” consists of a seemingly endless number of life-sized holograms, which react to movements individually and together.
One of the most popular places to play with light is this tiny room, where visitors can manipulate sound and images on “A Table Where Little People Live“…
And on “A Musical Wall Where Little People Live“. Watching the little people and other cute little objects interact with you is a mesmerising experience that both children and adults enjoy.
7. Download the App
TeamLab have a number of light shows that can be manipulated by visitors using a special smartphone app that’s free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. Inside the museum, the Crystal World changes in colour and pattern as users participate in the light show with the app, adding to the interactive experience.
8. Be prepared to lose your inhibitions and act like a child again
From climbing light trees and swings to zipping down slides and stepping out on to a floating nest, the museum aims to stimulate all your senses and help you lose your sense of gravity in a fun, exciting way.
Even when you’re walking through the balloon-filled Weightless Forest of Resonating Life, you’ll feel like a child again, as playing with your surroundings here will set off lights, sounds and patterns that enhance the experience.
There’s even a special interactive “Sketch Aquarium” where visitors can create their own digital sea creatures. Simply pick up one of the templates and use the coloured pencils to add some colour and design to your creation.
Once you take your completed masterpiece over to a member of staff, it will soon appear on the wall, bobbing about underwater for all to see.
9. Take your time
There are so many areas and displays to enjoy, and with no time limit on how long you’re allowed to spend in the building, you can easily spend an entire day here. A visit to the museum is something you certainly won’t want to rush so be sure to allocate at least a few hours here to really enjoy the experience.
▼ After all, where else can you spend some time colouring in and relaxing as colourful whales swim past you?
The “Black Waves” room is a beautiful place to relax and rest your legs, with bean bags in the centre and Japanese-style waves crashing about on the rounded walls all around you.
▼ You won’t want to miss the laser light shows…
And you’ll need to allow some extra time for lining up to view the more popular attractions like the Floating Nest and the Forest of Resonating Lamps.
10. Don’t forget your camera…and your manners!
All the works in this museum are just begging to be photographed, with moving light shows and all the colours of the rainbow on display, making it perfect fodder for Instagram junkies. While there’s a lot to capture on camera here, the number one spot everyone is interested in is the insanely beautiful Forest of Resonating Lamps.
▼ This particular colour display is called “One Stroke“
The lamps here change in colour and intensity when they sense people near them, and this movement creates a number of different patterns as the signal is sent out to other lamps nearby. If you’re worried about getting to see all the patterns, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to see most, if not all of them, in the time it takes to wait outside before entering the room.
▼ “One Stroke, Flame“
Once you get in, though, you’d better have your poses planned, as staff members time each group’s entry and do a good job of politely guiding everyone out after their allotted time, which seems to be limited to just one or two minutes.
▼ This is the ending of “One Stroke, Fire On Ice“
While TeamLab encourages visitors to photograph the works in the museum and share their experiences on social media, staff make it very clear before you enter that the use of tripods and flash photography are not permitted, and if you bother other patrons they reserve the right to escort you off the premises. So as long as you watch your manners and consider the people around you while capturing the awe on camera, you’ll have a truly awesome experience.
One other tip is to buy your tickets online in advance before going to the museum. Once the tickets are sold out online, they won’t let other people into the museum on the day, so if you turn up without a pre-purchased ticket, you’ll be turned away at the door.
Tickets are currently available to purchase online at a discounted price of 2,400 yen (US$21.67) for adults until 31 July, after which time the tickets will be priced at 3,200 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children.
Mori Building Digital Art Museum: Epson teamLab Borderless
Address: Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Aomi 138, Odaiba Palette Town
東京都 江東区 青海 1 3 8 お台場パレットタウン
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu: 11 a.m.-9 p.m./Fri: 11:00 a.m.-10 p.m./Sat: 10 a.m.-10 p.m./Sun: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Website
Design stunning characters and show them off to the world. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!
Ever wanted to make your own unique 3D anime character but stopped because it’d take countless hours to create one that resembles a virtual YouTuber? Such was the case in the past, but times have changed.
Pixiv Inc., the company behind Japanese artist community Pixiv, has just announced their free streamlined modeling software called VRoid Studio, allowing both aspiring artists and veterans alike to swiftly design characters as they see fit.
▼ Creating your original 3D anime character has never been so easy.
VRoid Studio is packed with features to take the hassle out of character creation, so let’s take a closer look at some of them.
With the “Procedural Hair Design” feature, artists can use the stylus to create 3D objects like hair and tweak a ton of customization options via slider bars to adjust thickness, direction, or even the way hair tips curve.
▼ Draw a few strokes, modifying each lock of hair…
▼ …and tailor your character’s look effortlessly.
VRoid Studio also comes with “Texture Painting”, a powerful tool offering users the ability to directly paint onto 3D objects in the program. Conventional texture mapping techniques require pre-made textures to be wrapped around 3D models, a monumental task for those who aren’t tech-savvy. But VRoid Studio streamlines the experience and lets artists fully concentrate on drawing instead of grappling with 3D modeling concepts they aren’t familiar with.
Brush pressure sensitivity is a must for software like these, and VRoid Studio is no different, allowing artists to express their creativity with bold and light strokes of the stylus.
▼ Not satisfied with the stock eyes? Add as much detail as you want.
▼ A real-time preview on the side helps users focus on their work.
There’s a wealth of customization options for hair and eyes, but Pixiv Inc. hopes to push the boundaries and provide more tools for other body parts to give artists a true sense of drawing on a 3D model.
The recent rise in virtual YouTubers, virtual reality, and augmented reality-based communication has in turn resulted in a steady demand for quality 3D character models. However, existing software are often complicated to operate and require a huge time investment to learn their techniques. Pixiv Inc. hopes to fill this void with the easily accessible VRoid Studio.
▼ This Twitter user went for a
warrior look on his character
Available to Windows and Mac users, VRoid Studio will undergo closed beta testing starting late July, and signing up is as easy as heading to the official website here and plugging in your e-mail address.
Development of a platform called VR Project is also underway, which lets people use their created anime characters as avatars to communicate in an online world, all done using virtual reality or augmented reality. That doesn’t mean its use is limited to only social purposes though, as utilizing it for 3D animation or game development is just as feasible too.
As a company that encourages and supports artists, Pixiv Inc. envisions both VRoid Studio and VR Project to pave the way for even greater 3D content. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, why not give the program a whirl? It’s good to be prepared for when you can enjoy a date at a cafe with your virtual crush!
Japanese Twitter gets a good laugh out of these great examples of a common elementary school exercise. Happy Father’s Day!
Many countries celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June, and Japan is no exception. Friday, June 17 saw the gifting of many an adorable hand-drawn card, not to mention huge amounts of beer, cake sets and bitter chocolate. Sometimes even local shops get in on the action, having customers (presumably young children, but not always) construct crafts or draw pictures to celebrate their ever-toiling papas.
Twitter user @NITKC_gorilla snapped a picture of a particularly grand exhibition of these drawings and shared it with Twitter. It’s so lovely when children put in hard work to capture their parents, isn’t it?
Each of the papers is labelled ‘A Picture of Dad‘. The gentleman on the left, allegedly drawn by “Yusuke Hayashi”, has very expressive eyebrows, and appears to be alarmed by the spectral images surrounding him: perhaps a creative imagining of the classic angel and devil on the shoulder? Though wait, the craggly stick figure on the left of him is labelled “Me”. and the one to the right is labelled “Mama”. Whoops.
Mr. Hayashi thanks his father for “always working hard at your job and making our days bright”. We wonder if he got some assistance with this piece? The stick figures seem to be drawn by an entirely different hand, and display none of the technical knowledge of shadow and light that went into depicting his father. We also have a weird feeling we’ve seen this face before?
▼ 57th Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe
Must just be my imagination.
Moving on to the image in the center, “Moemi Taki” has drawn her father with a dignified and curlicued hairstyle and distinctive crow’s feet. Pretty obvious that her dad is a foreigner, what with the pronounced, lengthy nose compared to the other portraits – so it’s unsurprising that her message is in flawless English. “Thank you for being awesome!” isn’t said to enough dads in general, is it? Though, uh, now that we think on it, this dad looks familiar too…
▼ 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump
The last portrait is of a jolly looking dad in glasses. The message by artist “Takahiro Fukui” is cut off, but seems to be the tune of “Thanks for all your hard work!”. Again, we have some beautiful interplay of shadow here, particularly to define the features, and – wait, hold on a minute!
▼ This is just a traced picture of 1st Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung!
The first two artists cite their ages as “22 years old”, which explains the dexterity with which “they”(?) recreated these politicians’ images. Presumably Fukui is the same age, but we can’t see it in the picture.
The original poster helpfully provided a nice comparison image.
In the resulting thread there was a copious amount of laughter at the uncanny resemblances, applauding the obvious adult who pulled it off, and puzzling over why the artist chose to draw Kim Il-sung rather than his more currently relevant grandson Kim Jong-un. One user lamented “I wish they’d drawn Ms. Akie Abe more accurately”, but hey, Mother’s Day was back in May. It’s officially Mr. Abe’s time to shine.
More than one user questioned the veracity of the pictures, but @NITKC_gorilla stood firm that the posters were hung up in a local supermarket. Personally, I think it looks like one child’s father saw his kid working on a portrait and was inspired to whip up his own art in response, and here at SoraNews24 we’re all about that kind of mutual creativity!
Last year, Coca-Cola introduced a line of regional slim bottles, baring beautiful artwork saluting cities and regions including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Yokohama. With thirsty travelers getting ready to make their way across the country during summer vacation, the company has announced six new designs that collectors and Japanophiles won’t want to miss.
Up first is the Sendai bottle, featuring the city’s feudal samurai lord Date Masamune, in the same horseback pose as his statue that greets visitors to the largest city in the northeastern Tohoku region.
While every design in the series is rendered only in Coca-Cola’s traditional red and white, Nagoya’s new bottle is bold in gold with its depiction of the kinshachi, a mythical creature that adorns the uppermost roof of Nagoya Castle.
Connecting Chiba Prefecture with Tokyo, the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line expressway, which runs straight across the bay and offers breathtaking unobstructed views, is the subject of the Chiba bottle, which also gives a nod to the coastal prefecture’s renowned surf spots.
The national high school baseball tournament has been a highlight of summer in Japan for decades. The championship game is always played at Hyogo Prefecture’s Koshien Stadium (roughly halfway between Osaka and Kobe), and the venue serves as the inspiration for the fourth new bottle.
And for even more baseball, there’s the Hiroshima Boya bottle, which bears the adorably determined likeness of the mascot of Hiroshima’s professional baseball team, the Carp (whose colors, like Coca-Cola’s, are crimson and white).
And last, Coca-Cola gets cultural with its Meiji Restoration (Meiji Ishin in Japanese) bottle, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1868 event in which the emperor was restored to power over the shogun, ending Japan’s centuries-long feudal period and ushering in modernization as the country opened to the outside world. Seen on the bottle are politically progressive samurai Saigo Takamori and Sakamoto Ryoma, both key figures in this turning point in Japanese history.
▼ The 250-mililiter (8.5-ounce) bottles are priced at 125 yen (US$1.15), and go on sale June 25.
Each design will primarily be offered in and around its respective city/region. The Meiji Restoration bottle will be offered in west Japan, in recognition of Saigo and Sakamoto’s respective birthplaces of Kumamoto and Kochi Prefectures, and since Kochi is on the island of Shikoku, don’t forget to pick up Coca-Cola’s Shinto shrine pilgrimage/anime girl bottle too while you’re there.