Find Beauty In Your WorldZōsan is an illustrated book about a little elephant who discovers that his world is far more than he ever imagined. Along the way he finds new friends, pushes past his fears, and brings joy to others.
Song to Story
Zōsan began as a small project to create illustrations to go along with a Japanese children's song. My first son was born in 2011, and I heard the song on a CD we bought. I also was reading daily to him, and my interest in illustration started to bubble. I sketched out the entire idea… and then forgot about it. Being a new parent is hard…
The idea grew in into an short story with an audiobook component. I hadn't written in a long time, but it felt no less natural. I forgot how much I loved it.
I loved stories on tape as a kid — the kind with multiple voice actors and music, and would often do book reports on tape because it was an option for me. The audio book gives me a chance to do some composition, audio editing and sfx design, other side hobbies of mine.
The book is printed as a softcover and a casebound edition, printed entirely on an vandercook proof letterpress. This unique casebound edition has Japanese book cloth, hand sewn perfect binding in the three signatures, and hand-painted watercolor end sheets on Arches hot press paper.
My project was fully funded on Kickstarter in August 2016, I received the final element, a handbound box that contains all three versions (Letterpress, offset and audiobook) in one place. The campaign ran from 5/29/2015 to 6/28/2015. You can follow the along via Facebook, the official site, or on twitter.
AudiobookHere's a short sample of the audiobook, which is available for purchase either with or without the book.
Tamaishi started just after I finished Zōsan, as a small idea about a pebble and boulder. Over the the last two and a half years I've worked on that story and the illustrations. In March of 2018, I successfully ran another Kickstarter and now the book is in production. It will be available in limited quantities on September 1, with the full press run and case bound editions being finished by the end of October. You'll be able to purchase Tamaishi in early November.
Tamaishi is the story of Tama, a pebble in the valley where all the little things live, who discovers the secret of Korobu, the enormous boulder looming on the mountaintop.
Tamaishi (玉石, lit. ball, sphere, + stone) generally refers to a garden stone, perhaps a geode or jade, but in concept it means sort of a "diamond in the rough", or a thing that has a hidden wonderful quality. It also appears to be irrespective of size, meaning it can refer to a pebble, or a boulder.
The entire process of creating is the most important thing — the book will be printed on a 2-color Ryobi offset press, with Mohoawk Superfine eggshell stock and an embossed cover. The casebound version will be produced in a limited run of 22 copies, with Japanese bookcloth, silk headbands, and letterpress or watercolor endpapers in two separate editions. There is also an audiobook version: an hour and 45 minutes long, complete with a sound effects and a soundtrack.
Where All the Little Things Live
A 2020 Royal Dragonfly Winner!
What began as a simple origin story for one of my characters in Tamaishi grew into another full chapter book. I started in 2018 just after fulfillment on Tamaishi was finished, sketching out som early ideas in my sketchbooks. I originally wanted it to be a collection of shorter stories, hence the title. But the pull of Naio's story was too strong and I ended up making that main story arc, while still including two shorter story ideas.
Naio the feather doesn't quite fit in. She gazes at the clouds each morning, feeling lost and out of place. A sudden icy storm sweeps her into sky, where she discovers the truth of who she is and true nature of the clouds.
As with my other two books, the process is what's important. I get to write, illustrate, record, perform and compose. The book is printed on a 2-color Ryobi offset press, with Mohoawk Superfine eggshell stock and an embossed cover. A limited casebound run of 17 copies were made by Windy Weather Bindery, and five two-color letterpress prints were printed by Tiger Food Press. Japanese bookcloth, silk headbands, and letterpress or watercolor endpapers in two separate editions. There is also an audiobook version in production, an hour and 45 minutes long, complete with a sound effects and a soundtrack.
Man of La Mancha
at St. Dunstan's @ Cranbrook academyI love photographing theater. This was a production of Man of La Mancha. If you're looking to purchase photos you can find them at my companion site iantm.com/photo.
Staring at an empty page is terrifying.Writing, sketching, anything. The placeholder scribble is courtesy my son Eliot.
My Monster EngineThis is one of many of my Nephew's drawing I "enhanced". I used this project as an excuse to push myself to use Procreate on the iPad with a Pogo Connect Stylus. I was inspired by the work of Dave DeVries. I had originally modified Donutman too much, and it was okay, but there was something inherently wonderful about his original composition that I did it again, this time not altering the fundamental structure. The result was much better, so I continued on with six other drawings that way.
Get Ready To Fly
Unlike many of my illustrations, this was done mostly Sketchbook Ink on Android. I sketched out the initial idea on my iPad then forced myself to use Sketchbook to see what I could do with it.
Sketchbook Ink has some advantages over Illustrator for line work—cleaner curves better control over line widths.
Best WishesThis illustration was created for a friend going through surgery. I thought about all the things people make wishes with, then put them into these categories.
Four Block EmpireThis illustration + logo of my band Four Block Empire shows our four piece ensemble: guitar, drums, bass and keys.
Long Live the Buddha BellyMy friend turned 40. He loves bacon. He has a big belly. We love him.
Exiled to MotownA book created by the Detroit Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). It features interviews with members of the JACL following their stories from the Internment Camps to their struggles afterward in Detroit. My grandfather, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 93, is one of them.
Unfortunately, very few of those in the book are still alive, but this book — over 300 pages of transcribed interviews by Scott Kurashige and others — is for all future generations to experience.
The book is now available! Email me or find the page on Facebook if you're interested.
EmmaEmma is a rather self-confident canine, who wonders what's so special about retirement.
"So you get to run around all day and do whatever you want?"
"What's the big deal?"
BirdsA commissioned work for a baby's nursery. Watercolor on cold press paper.
Get to BusinessBecause sometimes, you need a rocket jetpack and grit to get to where you want to go.
NYC Natural History MuseumI spent several hours in the NYC natural history museum sketching on an Android tablet using Sketchbook Pro. I used to bring a large 11x17 pad of paper (see Canis Latrans). I found the tablet was a great alternative to a pad of paper, though it has one disadvantage: the room is dark, and looking at a bright screen to a dimly lit subject proved to be challenging. Otherwise, I loved using the device because it was portable and every bit as good as using a sharp pencil.
New AdventuresIt's always sad to see someone go, but I tried to put a positive spin on it… new frontiers ahead!
Birds of a Feather
IllustrationValentine created in absentia for my colleagues. I drew them all as birds on our little island. Next year: some other animal, similar idea.
SOCHI logoI designed the logo for the University of Michigan School of Information organization SOCHI (Student Organization for Computer Human Interaction). I had several different designs, but this one derived from the works of Da Vinci and Susan Kare, was the best.
CHCR logoThis logo started with the core ideas of the Center: a spark of inspiration, the four core groups (tech, design, behavioral science and project management) and harmony between those groups, while also including the letterforms.
Pencil & PaperI love drawing in natural history museums. These were all done with pencil and 11x17 paper, something in spite of all the digital means of creation I still enjoy using.
Eat it to Save it…is something my dad says and my grandfather used to say. I probably will too. Yes, I realize there is a typo in the text. Bummer.
Watercolor an gouache on cold press paper using one of my favorite brushes, a Black Velvet sabel.