“150 Years of Japanese Uniforms” illustrated encyclopedia

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RocketNews 24 (by Krista Rogers):

These gorgeous illustrations of workers’ uniforms over the past century and a half is sure to charm lovers of seifuku [uniforms] everywhere!

“Know its uniforms, know Japan.” That’s the tagline of the new illustrated encyclopedia 150 Years of Japanese Uniforms [日本の制服150年], which captures Japan from its modernization in the early 20th century up to the present through the garb of its working population.

With over 180 illustrations lovingly drawn by Naoki Watanabe, whose work includes uniform design proposals for uniform manufacturers, the book spans over 70 categories of uniforms from all walks of life, including flight attendants, JR train workers, postal workers, doctors, nurses, Shinto priests, miko [shrine maidens], carpenters, chefs, ama[female pearl divers], and convenience store workers, to name but a few. The softcover book was released on April 4 and is published by Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc., headquartered in Kyoto.

Let’s take a look at some samples from the 192-page guidebook:

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Interested readers can order 150 Years of Japanese Uniforms from Amazon Japan, who does offer international shipping for this item, for 2,484 yen (US$23).

Artist re-imagines political bigwigs as fearsome mechanized transforming robots

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RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

The leaders of countries are like super heroes on the political world stage to some people. So why not envision them as Autobots, the heroes of the Transformers franchise?

Artist Gunduz Agayev has transformed a number of the world’s political leaders with his art, mashing together heads of state with instantly recognizable vehicles from their country. The floor of the UN national assembly would be very different if everyone could transform into these alien robots.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin

President of USA Barack Obama

President of Turkey Erdogan

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Queen Elizabeth (United Kingdom)

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

 

Bandai to release life-like posable plastic figures to help you draw “realistic” epic poses

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RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

It seems like Bandai really wants us to get better at drawing. First they released the totally awesome and totally-not-just-for-kids Magic Illustrator, and now they’ve announced that they will be selling life-like posable figures for all of your human-sketching needs.

And what’s more, these figures come with dozens of sweet accessories, making it easier than ever to draw a someone wielding a sword, a deadly cellphone, or their own awesome lightning fists. Ready to never again lose friends by asking them to hold a pose while you carefully draw it? Then read on!

Now for those of you who haven’t done much life-drawing before, you may wonder: why would you need plastic models? Can’t you just draw without them?

And the answer to that is a resounding… well, er, uh, kind of. Some great artists can rattle off drawings of people no problem. But for the rest of us, it helps to have a model to work off, especially if you’re drawing something that doesn’t typically happen in everyday life.

▼ It’d be hard to model this scene without someone breaking their neck, but the posable figures make it easy to sketch.making_img

The posable figures themselves are being produced by S. H. Figuarts, a maker of high-quality Japanese plastic figures. They come in two varieties, male and female, appropriately named Body-kun and Body-chan.”

What sets these figures apart from other posable art models before is that these ones are built to only bend in natural human ways. This means you can’t accidentally put the figure into an unnatural pose, which could potentially mess up your sketch. And since they bend in over 30 places, you can get a lot more detail than from other similar products.

The figures also come with a variety of accessories and interchangeable parts, making it much easier to see what certain hand positions look like when interacting with objects.

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And the possibilities don’t end there. Here’s what people all over the internet have been doing to show off the unlimited potential of working with Body-kun and Body-chan:

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If you think Body-kun and Body-chan would make good additions to your artistic arsenal, then be sure to check back in April 2016 when they’re officially released. The models range in price from 4,320 yen to 6,480 yen (US$36 to $54) depending on how many accessories it comes with.

Hajime Sorayama “Sexy Robot” standing model

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Japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama has been drawing his “sexy robot” since the mid-’80s, solidifying his masterpiece work all over Japan and even in the States for publications such as Heavy Metal.
Now you can buy one “Sexy Robot” standing model for 150,000 yen (about $1,200). Limited to 100 pieces, the creation is 300mm in height, then coming with a signed guarantee of authenticity courtesy of Sorayama himself, and packaged in a special premium box. It is scheduled to ship in October.

Artist depicts kill count of major Dragon Ball heroes in cool illustrations

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RocketNews 24:

Insofar as you can say that a character in the Dragon Ball  universe can really “die” (Krillin has supposedly “died” so many times we’re suspicious he’s actually a Terminator) there have been a lot of major deaths in the franchise, and the large majority of those kills are, unsurprisingly, at the hands of the series’ primary protagonists.

Even though the series is ostensibly a kids’ show, the weighty subject matter, with battles often fought to determine whether or not entire worlds and/or solar systems will be blown up, basically demands that somebody’s gotta give up the ghost once in a while. But it’s hard to get a handle on the true extent of the carnage, given that every major death is typically punctuated by nine episodes of people yelling and grunting.

Now, though, we can finally get an at-a-glance picture of how many kills each hero in the series has racked up, thanks to these neat illustrations by DeviantArtist, Alberto Cubatas.

It’s not entirely clear what medium Cubatas used to put together these amazingly detailed pieces which emulate series creator Akira Toriyama’s art style to a T, but to our (admittedly untrained) eyes, it looks a hell of a lot like they’re hand-drawn and colored. So far, Cubatas has put together kill-count illustrations for series heroes Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo, Yamcha, and Trunks:

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Now, I’m not going to even pretend that I know who most of these murdered villains are – which explains why, to me, Goku’s kills kind of just make him look like a serial animal abuser – but it’s clear that Cubatas has done a pretty exhaustive job of representing each character’s victories. Still, we’re well aware a lot of our readers are hardcore DBZ fans. If you notice Cubatas has missed a corpse or two, sound off in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out Alberto’s page over on DeviantArt.

Asian American graphic novelist explores racism in Deep South

"Southern Dog" features illustrations from artist Alex Diotto. Writer Jeremy Holt says the story, as well as the imagery on the pages, sprung from an interesting source: a dream.

AsAm News/VPR: 

Jeremy Holt of Middlebury,Vermont has written a series of four graphic novels titled “Southern Dog” about racism in the Deep South.   The series is illustrated by Alex Diotto and published by Action Lab Entertainment.

Southern Dog is about a teen who is dealing with the after-effects of a wolf-bite and his family’s connections with the Ku Klux Klan.

The issues feature illustrations from artist Alex Diotto and Holt says the story sprung from an interesting source.

This story actually stemmed from a dream I had of a werewolf fighting off a bunch of [Klu Klux] Klansmen,” Holt said. “And that imagery was pretty intense, but I didn’t know what to do with it so I sat on the idea for a while. And it wasn’t until I started to do some research into the Klan — more specifically around Obama’s inauguration — that kind of stemmed the idea for the story.”

Although it’s selling well in book stores locally and worldwide, Holt said he thinks his story is a hard sell. “It’s a hard sell for the reader. It’s a hard sell for a publisher to talk about racism, which is something that I think we all want to believe is kind of going away.”

He said that as an Asian American, he feels racism is alive and well, and he’s experienced it in every city he’s lived.

Holt wanted to explore those issues in graphic novel form through the eyes of his protagonist and, fueled by the imagery of his dream, began to write.

Towards the end of the writing process, Holt noted in his Tumblr blog, “I haven’t loved writing a story more than this one. At this point in the process the characters speak for themselves and I love that. I’m gonna miss hanging out with them.”

 

Everyone’s favorite blue-black-white-gold dress, now available in anime/manga fan art!

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RocketNews 24:

The blue and black (or white and gold to some) dress took the Internet by storm recently, splitting netizens into two major factions: team blue-and-black and team white-and-gold. I, for one, thought it looked somewhat like discolored blue and gold.

While most people were still busy debating with friends over the color of the dress (which has already been revealed, by the way) or getting creeped out by how the dress “changed colors” right in front of their eyes, some creative netizens basically went all “Who cares what color that dress really is, let’s just create a fandom for it!” and created these blue-black-white-gold inspired illustrations!

If you haven’t got the slightest idea what this whole blue-black-white-gold dress controversy is about, you probably haven’t been online for the past couple of days.

▼ This is the much talked about image posted by Swiked on Tumblr that went viral over the past few days.

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The actual color of the dress has been revealed to be blue and black, but no one really cares about that anymore because something more fascinating has surfaced over various social sharing networks – fanart inspired by the eye-tricking, mind-boggling dress!

Kantai Collection’s Kongou insists that it’s white and gold.

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Who would have thought Levi and Eren could be influenced by a dress? Guess this just goes to prove that artists are inspired by anything and everything!

Tokyo artist creates photo-realistic drawings with colored pencils

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RocketNews 24:

Hey that’s a nice photograph of a peaceful oasis in Tokyo. Wait, it’s not a photograph? It’s a drawing? Made with colored pencils?!

Ryota Hayashi has been bringing the Nakano Ward of Tokyo to life for the past several years through his breathtakingly realistic colored pencil renditions. He’s recently been getting a lot of attention on social media, and it’s not at all hard to see why.

Ryota is a graduate of Waseda University’s Art History Department, and he worked as a graphic designer until he took up colored pencils in 2009. He looks for inspirationall around where he lives in Nakano, such as “the water shining beautifully on the water” or “the colors on a hill that look like a natural gradient.” It takes him about 20 minutes to fill up a B3 (13.9in x 19.7in) size piece of paper, and he holds colored pencil classes all over Nakano.

Unsurprisingly, when Ryota started sharing his work on the Nakano Facebook page, he immediately started racking up the likes and shares, bringing in lots of followers of his own.

Here’s a taste of what they saw:

Ryota was featured in the American art magazine COLORED PENCIL Magazine in 2014, and last month had an exhibit in Nakano featuring his work. Ryota commented: “I’ve gotten a lot more students in my colored pencil classes thanks to social media. I hope that my artwork inspires even more of them to take up the art. I want them to experience the delicacy and warmth that colored pencils provide over oil or watercolor.”

If you’d like to see more of Ryota’s work, then check out his Facebook orTwitter pages. And if you ever find yourself in the Nakano area with a box of colored pencils and you’re itching to draw, don’t be afraid to stop by one of his classes.

Doodles by legendary Japanese author Osamu Dazai

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RocketNews 24:

From the Heian period to today, Japan has had more than its fair share of great writers. While Ki no Tsurayuki and Murasaki Shikibu are this humble writer’s favorite members of the Japanese literati, today we’re talking about someone a bit more modern: Osamu Dazai. Famous for his first-person and often morose stories, such as the world-famous novel No Longer Human, Dazai was one of the more troubled figures of Japanese literature–and he eventually died in a double suicide when only 38 years old.

Considering his turbulent life, it’s probably no surprise that his classroom doodles, drawn in his English and Ethics notebooks, are so fascinating! Even if you’ve never read a single word by the author, you still won’t want to miss these drawings.

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On first glance, you might miss the doodle in the notebook above, but be sure to look closely at the left page–the profile of a slender male face with an absurdly large nose can be seen at the right edge.

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As you can see in the pictures, Dazai apparently loved drawing these men with large noses–some could even be called “handsome middle-aged men,” at least in the opinion of Japanese website Karapaia.

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It’s not clear who exactly was being depicted in Dazai’s numerous scribbles, but he almost seems to have been more interested in these faces than his studies! Which may well have been the case as Dazai apparently became a horrible student after his favorite author committed suicide.

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The notebooks were preserved and uploaded to the Internet for all to peruse by the Hirosaki University Library after they were donated by a son of Masafumi Ono, a scholar who wrote about Dazai. The Ethics notebook was partially used, with the first 73 pages filled with regular notes and the remaining pages containing the bulk of the late author’s doodles.

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And here are a few doodles from his English notebook as well. It looks like he found the class about as engaging as some Japanese students do these days, and, as with the Ethics notebook, filled up many pages with his sketches.

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You can view high-resolution images of every page of both notebooks on the Hirosaki University Library website. The English notebook is here, and the Ethics notebook is here.