Interesting Doo-dads

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On the inside flap of the Italian Volumes:
(thanks Corra for the translation)

Tsutomu Nihei was born in 1971. He studied in architecture. After he got his degree he worked with (and still does?) a construction enterprise (Architectural Firm?) in New York. Back in Japan he decided to become a mangaka and went to the editorial staff of Afternoon Monthly (Kodansha). He was hired for a short while as an assistant to Takahashi Tsutomu, the artist/author of Jiraishin. He later debuted himself in Afternoon with his first work, BLAME!. He admits that he is influenced by la bande desinče (french comic strips) while his first passion, architecture plays a prominant role in constructing his backgrounds.


Theories on the name

I was chatting online with Guren one evening when he mentioned this little interesting tidbit of information. The katakana that is used when sounding out the title is "bu-ra-mu'. Which...actually sounds like it would translate over as BLAM! (like the sounds coming from his gun). NOT BLAME!... the katakana for BLAME would most likely be 'bu-re-mu' or perhaps 'bu-rei-mu'. (And yes, they're different) In which case... the title is a very very lucky mispelling. BLAM! is just silly sounding in English, while BLAME! gives it a cool artsy feel. Unless, of course... the English title came first and whoever did the japanese couldn't figure out how to switch the sounds over. But still, it's interesting to think about.


Comickers Interview:
How to Draw Like Tsutomu Nihei

Alright...There's this Comickers interview of Tsutomu Nihei that's being passed around online. (First shown on Ziggurat's site.) For the uninitiated, Comickers is a trade book for manga artists and illustrators that features articles about various art products. The most interesting about it, is that each issue features a different artist where they will show the readers step-by-step how they typically do a piece of artwork. (Usually an illustration/splash page.) Anyway, I haven't found anyone that could translate the article...but I've gone through art school and I am trying to do freelance work I believe that I'm informed enough to be able to squint at the pictures and sort of extrapolate/make fairly edjucated guesses at what he's doing. Keep in mind that the methods I mention are not iron clad and there are other ways of doing this, but I think what I mention will be fairly close. *grins* So, here it goes!

Step 1: Nice pencil drawing.
Step 2: The next step is dependent on what sort of paper you want to do you illustration on. If you want to do it on plain Bristol, then you can simply redraw/trace, using a lightbox inorder to get a cleaner/finished image. If you want to do it on illustration board, then you'd need to make a graphite sheet and then transfer the image over. Or if you wish to do it straight, you can start off with illustration board from the begining and erase a lot after inking in the finished line drawing.
Step 3: Use black ink or gouache to outline/darken the lines while throwing in a some pale washes around the shoulder area. From what I can tell, he's using gouache which appears to be a popular medium for Japanese manga artists. It's very expensive, however, so often, for a similar look an artist will use watercolor or acrylic paint. After's not WHAT you use, it's HOW you use it that counts.
Step 4: Outline and fill in the darkest areas.
Step 5: Paint in the hair.
Step 5b: Once you've finished the previous steps. It should look like this. It idea is to get all the darkest/black areas BLACK. While throwing in some places as a note to yourself as to where you want the greys to be.
Step 6: Break out the red paint and start filling in the wires, making sure to leave the highlight areas white and paint free.
Step 7: Clean off your brush, and grab the grey paint. Fill in the Gun. Grab the red pain and smear it around a bit to get the rust/blood effect.
Step 8: It's hard to see in this picture. But he's using the grey to add highlights in Killy's hair, which he'd previously painted entirely black.
Step 9: Fill the arms in with the grey, making sure to leave the large highlight areas white and paint free. It's not necessary to fill in everything completely with color. Sometimes the simple -suggestion- of form is much mroe effective than perfect photo-realism.
Step 10: Fill in the small details. In this case: Killy's eyebrows.
Step 11: Using white paint and a thin brush, put tiny highlights in various places. Little shiny spots that would bring out the...contrast in shades, and such. It'd make the image look more dimensional.
Step 12: The finished product.


Old photos stolen from the Japanese Kodansha site:
A signing event at a store somewhere

After the signing, it looks like everyone left for dinner. Beer and food, it doesn't get better than that! ... O_O it just me, or does he look really young?


Links to other things:
That may or maynot be useful

Interview at Kodan Club with Tsutomu Nihei Where Tsutomu was nicely ambiguous about whether Killy has a 'thing' for Cibo. I like to give the great web shout out "Remember Mulder and Scully!!!" ...because Male/female partnerships work BEST under that strange 'Are they or are they not in love?' tension. LOVE IT.

Summary Very indepth breakdown of BLAME up to volume 6 by Ian Finnessey. He's really exaplined it well, so if you're having trouble working through my jumbled mix of translations, go here to get a clearer understanding of what the hell's happening. It certainly made -me- go "Aaah..."

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