Tag Archives: artists

[Artist’s Special] Kanzaki Hiro

31 Jan

かんざき ひろ (Kanzaki Hiro) is an artist you may safely consider a Jack of All Trades. In addition to being a professional animator & illustrator, he is also a doujin artist, Vocaloid music composer and professional trance music artist. Being a huge fan of all these fields, I felt he was an individual worth recognition.

Kanzaki may perhaps be best known most recently for his character design work on this past season’s anime series Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii wake ga Nai! (aka – Oreimo).

Kousaka Kirino Character Designs

He also did the original illustrations for the OreImo light novels which the anime is based upon; this particular image being the most famous. It has now become a famous meme across the Japanese internet to re-draw this particular image with various characters from different series. (My personal favorite being this Harry Potter one.)

The Birth of a Meme...

Kanzaki’s doujin circle is called tabgraphics. His doujin work these days largely features Hatsune Miku with some other fanart thrown in. This comes as no surprise considering how much Miku he has to draw in order to animate his own Vocaloid videos! Of course, he also has a Pixiv account. You can check out scans of some of his doujinshi works at oreno.imouto.org, I recommend tabgraphics works summer100815 & tabgraphics works winter091231.

Plug Out

As producer of Vocaloid music, Kanzaki Hiro goes by 鼻そうめんP (HanaSoumenP) or HSP for short. He specializes in Miku Trance, which is my personal favorite genre of Vocaloid music. You can find his music videos on Nico Nico Douga and YouTube, and even purchase his “Incarnation” EP from the U.S. Amazon.com. His videos are highly worth a watch as they have really lovely animation done by the artist himself.

"Unfragment" Miku Designs

Kanzaki’s birthname, and the name he goes by as a trance music producer is 織田広之 (Oda Hiroyuki). His music has been recognized and published under trance legend Armin Van Buuren’s prestigious Armada music label and played on his A State of Trance radio show. Thanks to this recognition, there is a wealth of Oda’s trance MP3s available internationally on Amazon.

It’s worth mentioning that fellow blogger Polymetrica also has a fantastic and informative post on this artist that you can and should read here! Perhaps my post proves redundant, but I’ve been meaning to start featuring artists for awhile and I really wanted to give the multi-talented Kanzaki Hiro a mention.

All images used in this post are from oreno.imouto.org.

Kamijo Eri’s 2010 “Colors” Calendar

25 Dec

Every year during the Christmas season, I go on vacation to Walt Disney World. Being an anime nerd as well as a lifelong Disneyphile, I will tell you that you can spend tons of money in Disney World without ever actually purchasing any items related to Mickey Mouse. In fact, if you’re an otaku or simply a lover of Japanese culture, there is one store in Disney World that you will go crazy in, and it’s called Mitsukoshi. It is located in the Japanese pavilion of EPCOT’s world showcase, and it is one of the largest stores in Disney World not dedicated to character products. This store is actually a “miniature” version of an actual department store chain based in Tokyo, Japan.

Browsing through Mitsukoshi is ridiculously fun, and as any department store should be, it is divided into different sections such as food/dishes, clothing, anime/manga collectables, stationery and more. Every year I manage to spend a lot of money in this store both on myself and on Christmas gifts that are otherwise difficult to get outside of ordering them from Japan. It really is the highlight of my trip to Disney World every single year!

This year, in addition to picking up some rad presents for my friends, I scored a really fantastic calendar that I’ve photographed to share with you all. The artist of said calendar is named 上条衿 (Kamijo Eri) and her website is called digipop. In addition to her calendars, Mitsukoshi sold all kinds of art prints, stickers and postcards with her work. I was immediately attracted to her cool shoujo art style, which is done in vectors.

Opening the box!

What really sold me on this calendar is the fact that it comes in a sleek white 8×10 frame, so that you can display it on your wall the same way you did any framed photograph or artwork. You’re buying the calendar primarily for the art, right? So it is only appropriate to display it that way!

In addition to coming fully framed, the calendar comes with a sturdy black cord to hang the picture with. Handy!  They’ve included everything but the wall to hang it on.

The above image is the cover artwork. Check out the details on those fingernails!

The artwork for January and February is this lovely geisha illustration. I’m liking the mix of the traditional Japanese theme with the modernistic feel of vector art.

The March and April illustration is the piece of art that caught my eye, and the picture that the sample on display calendar had in it. I’m not sure why, but I absolutely love pictures of girls with berries, or even food in general. It makes a sweet girl even sweeter, perhaps? ^_^

May and June get a goth-punk girl illustration. I’m not really into this theme, but I do like this image nonetheless. The girl’s hair is especially cute. Her outfit looks an awful lot like Himamori Amu’s (of Shugo Chara!) doesn’t it?

July and August get my 2nd favorite illustration in the calendar. It could be because my favorite color is purple, which goes wonderfully with black. This image is a great combo of cute and sexy, with frilly lace, butterflies and a little bit of provocative chiffon. :D

September and October get the appropriate color scheme of orange and black, with a sexy wand-wielding witch girl… and a skeleton.

November and December get a beautiful girl in snow, of course! Her rosy cheeks really make this picture feel complete. It’s too adorable! All it needs is a snow bunny.

Just in case you are wondering, this is the back of the framed calendar. There’s two loops for you to tie the enclosed cord to in order to hang the calendar on  wall hooks or nails. You could also buy some picture hanging wire if you’re worried about the cord not being strong enough (although I’m sure it works fine.) One interesting thing to note about the calendar that I didn’t notice until long after I bought it is that the glass actually isn’t glass – it’s hard plastic! You’d never know it just from looking at it, so don’t let it detract you from buying this calendar. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it is a cheaper buy than many Japanese calendars tend to be. Each picture is quality printing on card stock.

You can purchase the “Colors” calendar for $25 USD at Mitsukoshi in Disney World or you can order it from FEWMANY for 1575円 using a deputy service or other means of purchasing products online from Japan. It appears that the artist also attends Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con, so you may have opportunities to purchase her work at those events in the future if you go to them.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at Kamijo Eri’s calendar for 2010. I do apologize for the quality of my photographs, but they get the job done of showing you what the calendar is like. If you love it as much as I do, please consider buying a copy to support the artist, and don’t forget to visit her website!

I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A Few Fantastic Resources for Artists

30 Nov

I thought I’d take a breather from my current illustration project to share with you some wonderful online resources for artists. The internet is a treasure trove for free educational tools and materials, so let’s take a look at some really fantastic links that will get your creative juices flowing. These are some of my personal favorites!

One of the most important tools for digital illustration is the graphics tablet. With Plastic Shards’  Wacom Beginner How-To, you will learn everything you need to know when it comes to choosing, configuring and drawing with your tablet. I recommend reading through this site even if you’ve had a tablet for awhile and you feel you are adept at using it. You might learn something new! I can’t recommend this guide enough.

One of my favorite “secret weapons” is  Posemaniacs.com. I probably would have never known about this site if I did not discover it through a Japanese artist’s webpage. Posemaniacs is a 3D human model that you can use for your drawing reference. Take note that in addition to full bodies, you can also view specific body parts such as hands in many different positions and rotate those models 360 degrees. This is fabulous if you cannot take a life drawing class or can’t afford to buy books from the VirtualPose collection. If that isn’t cool enough on it’s own, there’s also a FREE Posemaniacs App for iPod Touch and iPhone, which is mega cool for drawing on the go.

It is important to realize that when painting digitally, the result of your work is largely reliant on your technique. Your mileage will vary with the tools you use, whether it be Photoshop, Painter, OpenCanvas, Paint Tool SAI or any other number of programs that are popular for digital coloring. That being said, there’s no “right” way to color, and I’d discourage anyone from ever settling on one specific method of painting until they have tried many different kinds and found what works best for them personally. Armed with that information, you can confidently browse through thousands of online painting tutorials, with the knowledge that none of them are a definitive guide. The best place to get started is most likely DeviantArt’s Drawing/Painting/Airbrushing Tutorial section, where you can choose the software you’re using to paint with and start perusing. Doing a search works just as well, if perhaps you’re looking for something more specific like cel shading or blending.

Any Photoshop guru is familiar with custom brushes and the many sites online that can provide you with them for free download. However, you may not be aware of the variety of special brushes that other artists create that are made specifically for painting. These brushes usually try to replicate natural media or make it easier to apply textures or fill in details such as foliage. For Photoshop, you should definitely check out My Brush Pack by adonihs and Essential Illustration Brushes by fox-orian. If you are looking for Painter brushes, try out what-i-do-is-secret’s Brush Pen or Morgalahan’s Painter Brushes. I can guarantee you’ll enjoy using these more than default brushes for drawing and painting.

Hopefully this humble yet powerful collection of invaluable resources will help you in creating fantastic new works of art. Good luck!

6 Pixiv Users Worth Following

7 Nov

In my first post, I showed you how to sign up for an account at Pixiv. Now that you hopefully have your own Pixiv membership, you are ready to start browsing through some of the most incredible CG artwork you’ll ever see. While you can probably find a lot of good stuff through random clicking, you’ll get more out of the site once you’ve been directed to some of Pixiv’s most esteemed and talented users. This post is meant to introduce you to just a few of my own (and the Pixiv community’s) personal favorite artists who reside there.


Mushimaro Tachikawa, otherwise known as “Bimo” on Pixiv, is a fantastic artist whose otherworldly digital paintings have been featured in video and trading card games by well known companies such as Broccoli and Taito. He even keeps in touch with the English speaking community via his DeviantArt account.


Capura L is best known for her stunning artwork of Touhou characters. Her breathtakingly magical images often feature a colorful, sweeping sky laden with flowing, luminescent flower petals and particles of glittering light.


Korean artist Dmyo‘s irresistably cute girl illustrations will make your heart ache with warmth. Sweet smiles, soft (yet bright) colors and round, jewel-toned eyes are perhaps what makes her characters so very lovely and inviting.


Nardack, another talented artist from Korea, paints vibrant, dreamy illustrations with romantic Fairy Tale settings that span the Globe. Her illustration series “Fantastic World” features colorful characters who reside in Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, and Italy, to name a few.


Sayori is an extremely well known and beloved Chinese Pixiv artist whose detailed, colorful moe illustrations have earned her a massive fan following throughout Asia. Sayori’s special attention to cute, dainty details give her adorable lolita characters a double dose of sweetness and charm.


While he is not an illustrator of anime-styled characters, Ucchiey‘s epic vistas are a wonder to behold and should not be missed. The superbly detailed architecture, magical lands and exotic creatures which he portrays will literally take your breath away with their magestic beauty and unbelievable intricacy.

While there are literally thousands of talented artists worthy of admiration and praise currently on Pixiv, these are just a few select illustrators whose works of art show great persistence in both their quality and craftsmanship.

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