“Tonoharu: Part Three” Progress Report (Summer 2014)


The last Tonoharu: Part Three progress report was written in 2012. Wow. I mean, I’ve never been super diligent about updating, but that’s ridiculous even for me.

As one would hope, I’ve made a lot of headway since then. In fact, just last weekend I passed a pretty significant milestone. The artwork for Tonoharu: Part Three proper is now done.

This is really awesome of course, but unfortunately I still have a ways to go. The third and final volume of Tonoharu will be made up not only of Part Three proper, but also a set of appendices and an epilogue. These sections will be comprised of about 54 pages of comics, and I still have those left to draw.

If I’m able to finish a page a week (a big “if”, but I’ll do my best), the remaining pages will take a little over a year to draw. Then once all the artwork is “done”, I need to do all the post-production edits. Those edits shouldn’t be nearly as extensive as with the last two volumes of Tonoharu, but they’ll still take time. Those, along with the cover design, should take… six months maybe? Then I’ll work with the book printer and wait for them to produce and ship the books and blah blah blah. That’ll probably be another six months or so I would guess.

So at present, I’m projecting that Tonoharu: Part Three will be available for purchase in about two years, so Summer 2016. Amazingly, this is the same projection I made twenty months ago. Usually my projected release dates keep getting pushed back ad infinitum, so it’s encouraging I’ve actually managed to have one hold this long.

I’ll do another Tonoharu: Part Three progress update entry next year sometime I hope. Or if you prefer, I tweet every time I finish a page, so you can follow me on Twitter if you prefer updates that are more frequent and less meaningful.

But next week, I’m going to have the first major artwork sneak peek from the new book. Exciting! Stay tuned!

Thrilling “Tonoharu: Part Three” Chase Scene!

Whoops! Between jetlag and trying to get back into the swing of life in Japan, another week slipped through my fingers and I didn’t have time to compose a blog entry again. So here’s a some Tonoharu: Part Three art.

I’ll try to have something a little more substantial next week!

Tonoharu 1 Paperback Promo Flyer


Above is the promotional flyer I designed to send out with review copies of the Tonoharu: Part One paperback. You can click the above image to see a larger version (but one that’s still compressed so it won’t take forever to load). Or if you’re dedicated, you can download the PDF in all its full resolution, 3.7 megabyte glory here:

As you can probably tell, I’m going for a “film festival” vibe, with the laurel wreaths and all that nonsense. I figure Tonoharu is more likely to appeal to a literary crowd than to, say, anime or genre fans or whatever, so I geared my design in that direction.

That said, I also wanted something that would grab the attention of reviewers right off the bat, since you don’t have much time to make an impression. So I lead off with the $10,000 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle thing, even though it has nothing to do with the actual content of the book. Hopefully that’ll be weird/interesting enough to get a few more reviewers to at least thumb through the book, which is maybe all you can hope for.

Anyway, if anyone knows any reviewers / blogs / YouTubers / magazines etc. that might be interested in a review copy, please let me know. Thanks a million! (^0^)/

“Tonoharu: Part One” Paperback Glamour Shots (plus Amazon pre-order!)


Here are some pictures of the new Tonoharu: Part One paperback, as well as a few notes about them:

You can order a signed copy of the new paperback right now, and I’ll ship it out this week:

Or if you prefer, you can pick it up at your favorite retailer this fall. In fact, Amazon pre-orders are now open if that’s your preference!

Get the “Tonoharu: Part One” Paperback a Few Weeks Early—Order Now!


Exciting news! I finally got my hands on some advance copies of the Tonoharu: Part One paperback, and it looks great! But don’t take my word for it–here’s your chance to get your hands on a copy a few weeks ahead of the official release in September!

I’ll have a very limited number of copies I’ll be bringing back to the States when I head back for a visit this week. Right now I’m thinking I’ll be bringing back about 20 copies. If there seems to be enough demand I might bring back as many as 30, but I probably won’t have room in my luggage for more than that.

I’m coming back this Thursday, July 17th, so copies ordered by then will be sent out by Saturday July 19th via first class mail.

For books shipping within the US: $20 USD ($15 for the book plus $5 for shipping)
For books shipping internationally: $30 USD ($15 for the book plus $15 for shipping*)


As I say supplies are severely limited, so if you want a copy order now!

*Note: If you live in Japan and don’t mind waiting until mid-to-late August for a book, it might behoove you to hold off on your order; I’ll probably have some copies for sale when I return to Japan for a lower shipping cost.

Genuine Imitations

proofcloseupPictured: Tonoharu: Part One Proof Detail

Until the latter half of the twentieth century, most books were printed on a letterpress. Rows of raised metal letters were arranged on a block, inked, and then pressed into the paper. The pressure required to transfer the ink created an indentations on the printed page. Master printers strived to have the letterpress “kiss the paper”; to use only as much pressure as was strictly necessary to transfer the ink, leaving the paper as smooth and indentation-free as possible.

These days, laypeople reproduce documents on photocopies and laser printers, and most books are printed using offset lithography. These technologies leave no indentations on the page at all, and are considerably cheaper, easier, and more versatile than a letterpress.

So when letterpress printing is employed now, it’s for aesthetic rather than practical reasons. The designer wishes to evoke a traditional/classic feel that letterpress printing imbues. And the main characteristic that distinguishes letterpress printing from modern methods is the indentations.

So rather than try to eliminate them, modern letterpress printers try to make the indentations as obvious as possible. They use durable, thick paper stocks, and apply as much pressure as they can to really dig those letters in. What was once a defect has become a feature.

These thoughts occurred to me as I was preparing files for the forthcoming Tonoharu: Part One paperback. The hardcover editions Tonoharu were printed on cream-colored paper stock, but I’ve since learned there’s a more cost effective way to get a similar effect. It’s actually cheaper to print on the interior pages on standard white paper, and then coat the page with cream-colored ink to simulate cream paper stock.

At first blush this seems completely counterintuitive. Can you imagine trying to save money by doing this on an ink jet printer? But commercial printers play by a different set of rules. And if makes sense when you think about it. Mixing inks is a lot easier and cheaper than making colored paper from scratch, so rather than having small qualities of a million different colored papers, they can just buy white paper in bulk and custom mix ink to whatever hue their customers want.

The simulated cream paper is cheaper than actual cream paper, but it’s not free of course. Giving the pages of Tonoharu the cream treatment added about 10% to my production costs.

So basically, I’m paying a premium to make the pages of Tonoharu look like they’ve been yellowed with age; to give them a more “natural” feel than the artificial, bleached white paper. It’s kind of ironic, right? I’m taking great pains to obscure the actual paper stock in order to foster the appearance of authenticity. I thought that was kind of funny.