It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Studio Ghibli movies. From the spellbinding storytelling to the fantastic art, it seems there’s something for everyone when it comes to Japan’s most beloved animation studio. Today, we’d like to share with you this fantastic digital art by Tianhua Xu, a concept artist and art director for Chinese studio Chiyan Workshop. Join us after the jump as we compare this work to the original still from the film Princess Mononoke.
Nov 22, 2014
While people in Japan don’t send Christmas cards to each other, it’s customary to send New Year’s cards to relatives, friends, and work associates. Called nengajo, these are delivered on New Year’s Day, and typically feature whatever the Chinese zodiac animal for the year is.
However, since the end of the year is a busy time for most people, it’s not hard to imagine that some of the artists, distributors, and even buyers of these cards are too busy to really stop and scrutinize them, which is how one nengajo ended up with a very unusual ram on it.
Nov 22, 2014
In 1974, some farmers in Xi’an, China, stumbled upon a funerary army buried with the first Qin emperor comprised of more than 8,000 terracotta soldiers. Their fierce, noble faces belied their intent to protect the emperor even in death, while their military dress and kit, all recreated in detail, gave them the means to do so.
Now an artist in San Francisco is herself recreating some of these World Heritage statues, but there’s something just a bit off about the faces…
Brown paper lunch bags don’t have to be boring! One mum’s stunning drawings on her kids’ baggies liven up lunchtime, and are so good that it almost seems a waste to draw them on something that’s designed to be disposable.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Nov 19, 2014
It’s hard to believe that Dragon Ball is nearly 30 years old considering the extensive fanbase Akira Toriyama still commands after three decades. But the lines of dedicated fans at the Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary / Akira Toriyama Tribute show in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo proved that Goku and the gang are still going strong to this day. Check out all the cosplay, art, and power-ups after the break!
Nov 18, 2014
Studio Ghibli’s films are known for being whimsical and beautiful to look at. But with all the action going on on-screen, it can sometimes be easy to take for granted the beautiful background drawings that provide the setting for each individual story. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of Studio Ghibli’s most talented background artists, Naohisa Inoue, and take a look at the incredible methods behind his masterpieces.
Hayashi 'Fang' Hougi
Nov 18, 2014
Using clean lines and simple concepts inspired by everyday objects, Chinese artist Shanghai Tango has attracted much attention on Tumblr for his adorable minimalistic cartoons. Each one inspires us to see the world around in a different light and a scroll through his blog quickly enlightened us. Shanghai Tango’s art is nothing dramatic, but every piece brought a smile to our faces. Check it out after the jump!
Most people spend far more time looking into their refrigerator, hoping they somehow missed a plate of tasty snacks, than looking at their refrigerator. Even when the door is properly closed, we’re more likely to be reading the notes stuck there than admiring the design of the appliance itself.
But that’s just because most of us don’t have as eye-catching of a fridge as this tasteful Japanese beauty.
Nov 18, 2014
Very few Japanese homes have installed carpeting. Older houses and apartments often have tatami reed mats, and in newer places you’ll usually find tile, wood, or rubberized flooring.
That’s not to say people in Japan can’t appreciate a nice bit of soft fuzziness between their toes, though. Even without permanent carpeting, many people will toss a carpeted mat on the floor to make their living or bedroom extra comfy, especially during the colder part of the year.
Of course, cold weather also means spending more time indoors, with extra time on your hands, and sometimes that patch of carpeting becomes a canvas for some seriously cool fan art.
Nov 17, 2014
One of the words for art in Japanese is bijutsu which contains the kanji character for “beauty” (美). That’s not to say that art is limited to images of beauty alone, however. Sometimes images considered superficially unpleasant can be seen as beautiful works as well. They have the power to push back the darkness of taboos and help us to overcome our own inhibiting fears and prejudices.
Those are pretty heavy concepts for sixth-grader Chifu Onishi, but she seems to have already excelled at them through her celebrated artwork such as Tsuki Ni Asobu (Play on the Moon) which was chosen as a part of the 82nd annual Dokuritsu Exhibition, an annual event that has featured some of Japan’s greatest artists in the past. This acknowledgement also earns the 11-year-old the recognition of being the youngest artist to ever take part.
Give any kid a piece of chalk, and they’re likely to draw some quick doodles on the board. Some stick figures; the logo of some group or team they’re especially fond of; perhaps even a wang or two if there are no adults around. But some kids will use that same piece of chalk to create veritable masterpieces that are so good, you’ll never want to erase them.
You won’t want to miss this collection of impressive chalk art after the jump! Here’s celebrating the talented work of artistic Japanese students.
Nov 15, 2014
The major train stations in urban Japan almost seem like small cities, packed with restaurants, hotels, and shopping space. Things are usually pretty different out in the countryside, though, where many rail stops are little more than an awning with a short bench to sit on while you wait for the trains to roll in.
We say rural stations are “usually” simple, though, because in one town up north in Aomori Prefecture, you’ll find a station guarded by what looks like a massive alien.
Nov 14, 2014
Every year for Halloween I carve a pumpkin for myself and for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy, usually based on a popular Hollywood movie with costume potential. To commemorate my post at RocketNews24, however, for this year’s jack-o’-lantern I chose my first ever anime theme! I went with one of my favorites from this fall’s line-up, Gugure! Kokkuri-san (繰繰れ！コックリさん), available on Crunchyroll.
Both heartwarming and twisted (for the non-anime-initiated), the series is an outrageously wacky, slice-of-life comedy adapted from a four-panel comic strip by Midori Endō. The large cast is led by Kokkuri-san and the young girl Kohina; the former is a motherly, lonely fox spirit (originally from Japanese folklore) with both human and animal forms, and the latter is a hardcore bocchi (loner) with a cup noodle addiction who claims to be an emotionless doll.
Read on to learn a little more about the show and the design process, as well as to get a nicer view of the lit-up pumpkin. There’s also a time lapse video that condenses 30 hours of carving into just over 11 minutes!
The following photos of Japanese rooms and buildings perfectly capture the nostalgic atmosphere of Meiji and Showa-era establishments. But can you figure out the truth behind them? Take a look through these stunning photographs and scroll down for the big reveal.
Every year, farmers in the village of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture, plant beautiful natural murals in the fields using different varieties of rice. The practice began in 1994, and now hundreds of thousands of people visit the tiny village each summer to see their rice paddy art.
But it’s not just planted rice they’ve been drawing pictures with. Underneath one of those rice fields, another hidden gem has been lurking – a world map! And it’s there for all to see…on Google Maps.
Nov 6, 2014
We like latte art, and its frothy 3-D variant, as much as the next group of visually stimulated coffee sippers. But as nice as it is to have a trained barista decorate your drink with a kitty or smiley face, most of us don’t have the time, equipment, or manual dexterity to add illustrations to drinks we make for ourselves.
But now those artistic flourishes don’t have to be something you can only have when you go out and pay five bucks for a cup of coffee, with new products that’ll let you enjoy latte art at home for about as much effort as tossing a cube of sugar into your mug.
Nov 5, 2014
A quick look through the shelves of a bookstore or the inventory of online retailers will turn up tons of guides for how to draw manga. When still getting the hang of the basics of dynamic drawing, a book is the ideal way for many people to learn, since it spares them the embarrassment of having anyone else see their painfully produced yet still subpar early work.
Still, there’s only so much you can learn from on you own through reading and independent practice. That’s why toymaker Takara Tomy is releasing a kit that includes not just the tools of the trade, but demonstrations by a published manga artist and feedback from professional instructors.
Nov 3, 2014
In many ways, art is one of the most human activities we can take part in–it leaves behind not only an expression of the person who created it, but also becomes a part of the narrative that future generations use to understand their history. In this case, the art is literally one of the oldest depictions of a Korean face known–and it certainly seems to be adding to the narrative in South Korea!
It’s also drawing laughs due to a similarity to a certain South Korean rapper…
Japanese animation and video games have a long-standing tradition of creating cute and/or super powered versions of prominent figures from the country’s history. In the U.S., we don’t really do this as often, and you might jump to the conclusion that the deck is stacked in Japan’s favor, seeing as how so many of their rulers were also katana-carrying samurai.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of action protagonist potential among American presidents, from Abraham Lincoln’s wrestling skills to Andrew Jackson’s well-documented love of shooting dudes. And as for making them adorable? Leave that to Utah artist Brandon Dayton, who’s reimagined nine Pokémon as U.S. heads of state.
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