Blog Archives

Ninja Penguin Comic — Oh, Yeah. Ninja Penguins do Exist!

We are working on a side project that has grown to be something fairly large. At first, it was to be a somewhat simple iPhone multiple choice game, but it has now grown to a less-than-simple game and a paperback to boot.

Our hero, the penguin learned his ninja skills while studying under Master Namakemono (a sloth) in Okinawa. But, being a penguin, he had to leave for cooler grounds and before his training was complete. Master Namakemono gives him the final task of traveling all 47 prefectures of Japan. If he reaches Hokkaido, he will become a master ninja penguin.

Here are two over-the-top cartoons I did that will be included in both the game and paperback. The language may change and it probably is too silly, but that is the style of the book:

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These two will bookend the sections for Mie and Shiga prefectures–both of which are historically rich with ninja clans.

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We are having a lot of fun with this project. More comics and information to come…

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A Cartoon-style Book Cover from Start to Finish: Momotaro, the Peach Boy

Clay & Yumi Boutwell have just updated their Momotaro Japanese reader. It will be out in paperback very soon. The ebook version should update tonight. Here is the new cover I just finished.

Momotaro

I thought it might be fun to document the steps I took.

1) First, I sketched out some ideas in a notebook:
(Click any image below to see a larger image)

Idea Sketch

2) Once I had what I wanted in mind (including a few changes), I pulled out the good paper and started sketching there.

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3) Then I inked it. I don’t do many line shadings here. It makes it easier to use Photoshop’s magic wand if the open spaces are left open.

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4) I scanned the image and did a quick magic wand in Photoshop to get rid of the background. (I first made a copy of the original!!) Under Blending Options in Photoshop, I added a thick stroke so I could easily see the dots the magic wand didn’t pick up.

scan-1

5) Next, I put a Blending Color Overlay over the original so I can easily tell where I need to color. Here I did the monkey with flat color.
I just used the magic wand to select the dark brown area, created a new layer called “dk brown” and filled that with brown. Did the same with the lighter color.

scan-2

6) With my Wacom Graphics Tablet (you can use a mouse if you like torturing yourself), I put darker and lighter browns to give shadows and sheen.
Maybe the flat color looked better…

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7) And I colored in the rest of the characters–every color has its own named layer. Don’t be lazy!

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8) And added some shadowing and details and lines:

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9) And added a starburst background using a Brush I found–maybe this one.
I decided the oni needed to be orange.

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And here is how the paperback will look once printed:

momotaro-print-cover

The ebook should be updated tonight. If you’ve bought it before, please email Clay (clay AT The Japan Shop dot com) and ask for a free updated version. The new update also includes the Tortoise and the Hare story as well as MP3s for both stories. Click here to view in Amazon. (If you see the new artwork, it has been updated.)