Eat the tuna fish ice cream

Phil Goldman was denied the job of male stripper in Tokyo because he was too hairy. But he posed for me, fully clothed, in Bangkok, when I drew the T'ai Chi Long Syllable Form. It's based on the White Crane Yang style long form, which Phil knows well because he studied properly with an accomplished master in Boston. I concealed his identity in the illustration by not drawing any hair. Or facial features. Or face. But if you know Phil, you can still probably recognise him.

He's just started writing a blog online.* He's a fine teller of tales, and he made me laugh a lot when we hung out in the City of Angels, so if you like to read about other people's more interesting lives, catch up on — it's early days so you can jump in now and still be at the begining of the journey.

* As Phil is a man of the world, and (at the start of the story) in Bangkok to boot, some might consider the subject matter N entirely SFW. Just to let you know.


Wii’s influence on fighting style

From the Onion again:

Wii Video Games Blamed For Rise In Effeminate Violence

From an aikido point of view, of course, this is a good thing, because feeble attacks are so much easier to defend against! If someone were to combine aikido with Wii technology, then we could produce a whole generation of super-effeminate attackers, which would not only make the streets of the world safer but also ensure aikido's popularity well into the next decade. C'mon Aikido3D guys, surely you could hack something together?


Pen technique

I'm working on a new Fudebakudo frame at the moment.  I used (and continue to use) the same set of pens, given to me by a special friend, for all the Fudebakudo cartoons.  These are Rotring Rapidograph, and I use four different widths, working on marker pad over a light-box. I usually sketch in pencil or fibre-tip pens first, sometimes sketching the same thing again and again and again before inking-in. Of course other stuff in Fudebakudo is entirely digital (for example, the ninja — although the background was done in felt-tip pen first), and there's even a tiny bit of POV-Ray inside the book (the electron microscope scans of the blades on p.52, if you care). So Fudebakudo really is an MMMA (mixed media martial art).

What prompted today's entry was recently reading a Pixelsurgeon interview with the accomplished American illustrator Bob Staake in which he says:

I love to draw, but I also enjoy pushing around a cursor here and there. Nothing pisses me off more than old-school artists who somehow feel that creating art on a computer is somehow easy, or worse, isn't legitimate. Anyone can drip a paintbrush into some india ink and slosh it across a piece of drawing paper. It takes a special talent to do the same thing with a mouse and a machine that can crash in a moment's notice.

Incidentally, if you're interested in how some people work (and I know most people don't think they would ever be), there's a great little video on YouTube showing his surprising technique (music by the artist, I believe).

You're looking for a oonnection with the martial arts here? Well, there doesn't have to be one, since this post is about production, which is what is concerning me right now. But there is something explicit from my on-the-mat training that crossed over directly to my drawing technique (not to mention the whole business of repetitive practice, and observation, and, well, a whole load of connections actually). And that is breathing.

An old aikido friend, years ago, drew my attention to this and subsequently I noticed I held my breath when drawing long lines (like borders, which often sneak into my cartooning style). In general, especially in the internal or soft martial arts (although some people are surprised to discover it matters when you learn to use a sword properly, too), how you breath is important. Obviously I don't mean exhaling with a shriek or power-grunt when you slam your fist into somebody, but the more subtle stuff in all the movements around that. You're rarely told this to begin with, but later you start to notice that some of the people who are really good have worked it out, and sometimes they even tell you about it when you ask them.*

So when you look at a long line in a Fudebakudo cartoon (yes, the long lines are the ones that tend to wobble a bit) you can be confident that I was breathing out (not in; not holding my breath) when I drew it. A little bit weird, no?


* Not always, though. I was once present when an eccentric Japanese sensei got very angry when someone asked him about how they should be breathing. So pick your moment carefully.