Fall Semester Begins at CCSF
Today ends our first week of instruction at City College of San Francisco. Due to scheduling constraint, I am unfortunately unable to continue with my Japanese studies. Thus far, I have completed one beginning kanji class, one beginning conversaitonal Japanese, and four semesters of the language and grammar classes. I think I made mention in the previous post of my near life-long fascination with Japan's anime and manga drawing styles. I was first introduced to these images in print through Japanese robot model kits. The instruction sheets and other inserts often included stills from animation cells, or other hand-drawn illustrations, often line art. They always had this incredible delicacy, even on complex mech designs, that allowed the color to breath freely within the lines. I've been trying to figure out how much of the drawing style reflects a cultural temperament or possibly even tradition evolved and transformed over time.
In studying the Japanese language, I discovered how useful mechanical pencils were in writing the language, particularly the kanji. Chinese characters, when written clearly with a sharp writing implement, can be difficult to draw at smaller scales, especially ones with many strokes. This is less so with the hiragana and katagana, which share the compact openness seen in Roman letters.
If I could confirm for myself the exact types of drawing tools (pencils, pens, etc.) that were used for animation cels, or the kinds of insert illustrations shown above, and the kinds of reproduction processes that might have been involved, I might be able to start incorporating these kinds of marks into my own work.
Fortunately, I have plenty of examples to study. My Mega Man X Official Complete Works (CAPCOM), for example, has tons of sketches and finished art from the games and animated series. I've only played the game a few times at a friend's house on the Nintendo 8-bit system, but I was really inspired by the vast universe of bizarre character and robot designs featured in the book.
In other news, I've started mapping out the core structure and some content for the Afroid site. The Afroid/Power Coil concept is a science fiction story that centers around a strange phenomenon that enables children to control their hair with their thoughts and a strange, new technology.