Saturday, May 8, 2010
The "illness" strip is actually the first Shrimp Art sketch I drew. But I had to wait till a winter magazine release to use it. January seemed appropriate.
Whenever there are leftovers from meetings, they wind up in the pantry to be picked at by the rest of the staff. The children's division seemed to have a lot of meetings when we were up on their floor... Yen Press isn't really formal enough for any official meetings, aside from our weekly status update, which means no goodies. That's okay. There are plenty of late night karaoke sessions to make up for the lack of soggy catered sandwiches.
Also, the reason JuYoun dubbed this month's strip a "Tania Special" is because we realized poor Tania hadn't actually appeared in Shrimp Art since the first one where we introduced the team. Sorry, T.
At the time this was an exaggeration, but JuYoun's desk is actually starting to look a little like this...
I'm sure I'll have occasion to mourn sliding punctuation standards another time, so I'll bite my tongue for now. But seriously, people. I know we live in a world of texting, chatting, and tweeting, but don't let social networking destroy our language as it has destroyed the necessity of actual conversation. I beg.
Wintertime! It's harder than you'd think to draw these seasonal caricatures. Generally, winter means skiing or sledding or building igloos, but it's difficult to represent those things when you're drawing someone from the shoulders up... Still, I'm pretty satisfied with the way these turned out. By the way, the bearded man here is Kurt. For a while he was alternately bearded and clean-shaven. I tried drawing him with the beard for a few months but soon gave up. Facial hair is tricky on a chibi.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Because it takes almost two months for YEN PLUS to hit stores once we've sent files to the printer, I had only just seen the first issue of YEN PLUS when I drew this one. It was a very nerve-wracking time because we weren't sure how fans were going to react to the anthology. And I was worried about getting hate mail...
The absolute happiest moment in Shrimp Art history happened at New York Comic Con 2009. I was working the Yen Press booth, handing out freebies, etc. There was a high school girl hovering in front of our table, seemingly unsure of whether or not she wanted to approach. At her friend's urging, she finally walked up to me...and asked if I would sign her magazine. ...HUH? I hardly knew what to do. Her friend said, "She's been wanting to talk to you all day," at which the girl promptly dropped her embarrassed gaze to the table. I think I was probably more embarrassed, though... So I autographed her magazine, and she told me she really liked my drawings (and I briefly wondered if we were talking about the same Shrimp Art). It made my day, just hearing from one girl that something I'd created mattered to her. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to draw a little something for her, but I was rather shocked and only barely scribbled out my signature. So Stephanie, thank you. Every Shrimp Art I draw, I think of you and hope that you are still enjoying. *^^*
My first real business trip was to an American Library Association conference with Rich. I was terribly nervous, but I soon found out that even high-level comics people are still...comics people. At a particularly memorable ALA conference in Anaheim, most of the graphic novels aisle was engaged in a rubber-band battle of epic proportions. "Ah, I've just lobbed a rubber band at a Dark Horse VP...RELOAD!" Yes, we are children. But if you thought you could get away with this kind of behavior at your job, you would too.
The second one probably doesn't make a lot of sense, I now realize. We were handing out Haruhi Suzumiya slap bracelets at Comic Con(?), and JuYoun wasn't exactly being upfront with the poor children...I can only be funny so much of the time.
I love when Halloween comes around because I love parody and imagining myself and friends as characters from our favorite shows. Here we have JuYoun as Rang from One Fine Day, Rich as a kendo player from Bamboo Blade, Tania as Miharu from Nabari No Ou, Abby as Max (after dressing up as Max for real at NYCC), Kurt's been possessed by one of Higuraahi's demons, and Kirk as Soul Eater. Kirk actually used the Soul Eater image to make the name placard for his cube! And it's still there a year and a half later! It continues to make me happy...
September 2008 starts the double strip style for Shrimp Art. I thought the reading order was pretty clear, but when I first showed the comic to my friends, they couldn't figure it out (though maybe that's just 'cause my jokes aren't very funny). For those of you who've never read a four-koma manga, each column is a separate entity, starting with the left column (though in most cases it doesn't matter if which side you read first).
Here's where the name Shrimp Art came from, quite against my will (I was tossing around "Yen and Ink" or "Insider Ink"). JuYoun thought it was funny that "Abby" sounds much like the word for "shrimp" in Japanese, as did her friends, it seems. At least the nickname has persisted. She still calls me "Shrimp" from time to time, and even though it sounds nothing like "Abby" or "ebi", her Korean friends know me by the Korean word for "shrimp". Ah, I wonder what they must think of me...