Saturday, February 9, 2008

Flowing East, the Sea Devil

I feed my mind and the well is filled. And so I cast my bucket deep.

These books are informing my latest project: Pirate-Ninja Yarri-Kari.

The Book of Pirates, is a tome of beautiful illustrations sprung from the fertile mind and able hand of one of the august creators from the golden age of illustration, Howard Pyle.

Pyle's interpretations of the lore of the sea dogs is the standard for all that we think of when we think 'pirates.' (To be fair, N.C. Wyeth was hardly a scurvy slacker to this end, either.)

The romantic rebel rabble is represented with nothing less than grit, blood, and intrepid tales of fascination and thrall.

At 320 pages of paperback portability, which I purchased from the bastion of beauty: the Brandywine Museum, boredom is belayed and adventure is played.

(Yeah, I'm a dork.)

Aside from that half of my character's profession, I've started delving into the mysterious world of the ninja and ninjutsu.

The 1980s saw a slew of skillful assasins slinking stealthily across movie screens. This was due to the introduction of the ninja to the U.S. by Stephen K. Hayes.

The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art, first published in 1981, is an account by Hayes of the meeting of and training with 34th generation master of the Togakure-ryu ninjutsu tradition, Masaaki Hatsumi.

Eastern esotericism is described with succinct clarity within the 156 pages. History, tradition, techniques, and weaponry lurk between the ambivalent paperback covers of this sweet pick.

I'm awaiting the arrival of subsequent books on ninjutsu also purchased on

By now, you know about my obsession with books. Well, today I picked up another gem.

Ukiyo-e, a Phaidon book by Professor Gian Carlo Calza, was a tasty find at the Barnes & Noble today.

So far, Phaidon books have yet to disappoint me. This gem has over 600 illustrations which is more than I could imagine for a book on ukiyo-e.

There's plenty of Utagawa Hiroshige (my favorite), Katsushika Hokusai (not a slacker), and a new favorite of mine, Keisai Eisen.

The landscapes are absolutely wonderful. The compositions are incredible. The characterizations are amusing and the ghosts and erotica are downright entertaining.

I'm positively overwhelmed by the quantity of pictures, so much that I tried to just sit down to read the history associated with the prints, but the Mexican food in my belly curtailed any information absorbtion. This book is a definite must have for anyone into ukiyo-e or the culture of Nippon.

In closing I'd like to mention that the apocalyptic CBS television series Jericho is quite entertaining and is back for its second season which premieres this Tuesday the 12th at 10pm/ET. Likewise, the ABC television series Lost is pretty freakin' rad and absolutely worth watching. If you're not up to speed on either series then don't frustrate yourself with trying to pick it up where it is now. Rent all the dvd's from the beginning and marathon those suckers until your head spins. It will be a ride well worth it.

Oh yeah, my next blog will actually have some of my artwork, in case you were looking. Sorry for not sharing but I'm still researching and developing characters, backgrounds, and stories.

No comments: