A son knows...

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Pre-Order the Harper Design edition of Everybody Dies with 16 new color pages.

Turkey blames himself

It's November 27th and Jacob Turkey knows he doesn't have much time left. Most of his friends and kin are gone already. He blames himself, and his plumage for making him look so tasty. Some will say that he is asking for it. "He shouldn't put on such vibrant plumage if he doesn't want our attention." they'll say. But, is it fair to judge a turkey by his dress? Can any of us, upon sight alone, know what is in the mind of a turkey? Perhaps it is time to try talking to our turkeys before we decide what "they want".
Jacob is a gifted conversationalist.
If you lean in closely you can probably hear him gobble the words..."あとわずかだな。”

Pre-Order the new hardback HarperCollins edition of Everybody Dies: A Children's book for Grown-Ups.

Michael Robot and small tortoise friend.

Michael Robot is one of the only robot survivors of the Platnophian Wars which nearly destroyed all life on the tiny planet of Footha.

Hundreds of years ago, the native robot population of Footha invented a very simple model of human. The early experimental models were extremely large and cumbersome. These basic humans were able to solve simple mathematic equations, and could also tune instruments. In later versions, functioning legs and feet were added making the humans mobile and greatly increasing their potential.
Within 50 years, humans were in widespread use in factories and power plants. 100 years later, the first "human home model" was marketed by the Platnophian Corporation, and soon nearly every Robot on planet Footha had his own human. Robots no longer needed to waste time on mundane chores and menials tasks like cooking, cleaning, and Skeeter repair. It was the dawn of a new era.

200 years later, technology had advanced to the point that humans became self aware, autonomous beings, almost robot-like in nature. All over the planet, humans began to revolt against their masters and soon, large bands of freed humans roamed the streets.
What followed was decades of social turmoil as human's demanded robot rights from the reluctant robot master population. On Thiursap the 21st (Now known as Red Thiursap) humans all over Footha staged the first coordinated simultaneous attack on the robot population. Thus began the Platnophinan Wars.
After weeks of heavy fighting, and widespread robot casualties, the Platnophian corporation had no choice but to enact it's emergency contingency plan. 7 never before tested Hypolermanescent Phillipine Warheads were launched, targeting the areas most densely populated by humans.

The warheads contained a gas that was harmless to robots, but would wipe out the human population within moments. The launch was a success and the entire human population was finally eliminated, leaving only the robots and a dozen small tortoises.
Robots celebrated their victory, and vowed to never again let their own technology master them. But even as they raised their sylar cups in raucous celebration, tiny micro particles of Phillipine dust( a bi-product of the warhead's detonation) were falling down about their fragile robot bodies.
The Phillipine particulates clogged the robots vetrical ducts and stopped them dead in their tracks. The entire robot population stood still and silent as a willburrough. To the surviving tortoises, it must have looked as if time had stopped,

Michael Robot was a Misroboanthope, a hater of robot kind. Anti social, and unable to form connections with other robots, Michael was cast out of robot society. Using a falthine drill, Michael robot dug himself 2 miles into the crust of planet Footha, where he carved out a small nook for himself. He lived there in peace and robotic solitude, only rising to the surface to refill his Glokosoil stock every 120 years.
When Michael next rose to the surface, it was some 75 years after the Platnophinan war. The robot afterbodies still stood where they died that day, but the Phillipine dusts had long settled and sedimentized. The land once ruled by robots now crawled with bright green tortoises, thousands and thousands of tortoises.
Michael Robot found the tortoises much easier to get along with.
Soon he had assimilated into their culture and was treated as
one of them.

Michael Robot and Tortoise will be on display at Cade Gallery in Phoenix Arizona starting May 6th, 2011.

Aquarium Day Planner

Alexander Box Turtle is a practical turtle.

Box turtles are known for their tidiness and their fondness for making lists.
For a box turtle, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing out the items on your list one by one at the end of a lovely day.

I originally drew this picture of Alexander, but when I held up to his aquarium glass, he made a sort of turtle grimace, which I took to mean that he was displeased, so I decided to start over. It isn't easy to please a box turtle.

Blue Kitty

I accidentally drew this blue kitty yesterday. I was trying to draw something else, maybe George Washington, or maybe a small piglet. I think this blue kitty must have been on this piece of paper already, so when I rubbed some paint on the paper he surfaced. I was quite pleased to meet him.

It Will all be over Soon

Fatalistic Chick
"It will all be over soon"

I am back to painting again for the first time in many moons. I spent most of last year making my picture book Everybody Dies- A Children's Book for Grown Ups. I finished it in Decmeber, but then in early January I met Jacob the herniated disc (L5) and Jacob makes it hard to paint because I can't sit down for long.

It's been two months since I met Jacob, and I am learning to live with him. He's not a good neighbor though. I started painting again a few days ago since I am getting ready for several art shows.

1. This Saturday I will have a piece in Torrance Museum to benefit the quake.
2. It is the anniversary of the Billy Shire Fine ARts Gallery where I had my first show in 2009. They are doing a show with a piece from all artists who have showed there...the work will be published in a book. So I need to finish a piece for that by March 31.
3. I am applying for a museum show in Hokkaido.
4. I have my first Solo Art show in Los Angeles coming up on June 10th in Chinatown.
5. I have a show at Cade Gallery in Phoenix Arizona on the First Friday in May.

So I have to make peace with Jacob and start painting. I made Fatalistic Chick Today.

This is a companion to the piece below which I did quite a while ago. Click here and scroll down and you can see a little bit about the original piece.

I would like to do one more "It will all be over soon" but I haven't though of it yet. I think the thought is coming soon. Yes

Open Day Book Gallery Show in LA starts January 6th

The Open Daybook is a book of 365 works of art from 365 different artists, each drawn on a different day of the year. The book is edited by David Earle and features work by David RAkoff, Miranda July, and me Ken Tanaka, and 362 other very handsome artists. You can read a review at thehttp://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/the-art-of-counting-the-days/ by Steffie Nelson.

Starting this Thursday evening (January 6th) many of the art pieces will be for sale and on display at LACE gallery in Los Angeles.
There is an opening reception tomorrow evening starting at 8pm, which I will be attending and signing books.

LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
6522 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

The piece on the right is mine and it will be on sale at the gallery. I can't remember how much it costs though.

Daily Life of a Superhero: Sunday morning dog walk

Most people imagine that the life of a super hero is action packed, full of battles with super villians, space creatures, and monsters. For my recent project "Daily Life of Super Hero", I have been interviewing super heroes and drawing scenes from their everyday lives.

This is Benevolent Man. His super power is a form of extreme benevolence. When in battle, he has the ability to use his benevolent nature to induce feelings of empathy in his foes. I spoke to B.M. about some of his most recent work.

Ken Tanaka- What kind of battles have you been fighting recently?

Benevolent Man: "It had been a very slow year, up until this week. I think I had, maybe two or three major jobs...and then a couple of little side gigs, like getting frisbees off of a roof, or finding an elderly man who had wondered away from home.

Every time I go to the unemployment line, it seems like I see another hero that I know. Usually recessions are a boom time for us, crime goes up and our phones start to ring. But it's different this time.

The police and civilian crime fighting groups have increased their productivity with new technology like tasers, and such, and they only call us as a last resort. There's just a lot of down time now, and that's been hard. "

K.T.- You said it had been slow up until this week? What happened this week?

B.M.- On Wednesday I got a call from President Obama. It's the first time I got a call from a US president since Reagan asked me to go to San Salvador in '86.

K.T.- What did the president ask you to do?

B.M.- I can't really talk details, but Mr. Obama asked me to fly to Florida to meet with a man who had been making some threats that the President feared could lead to violence or even war.

K.T.- Was the job a success?

B.M.- It looks like everything is fine now, but I may have to go back. It will take a lot of benevolence to keep this man on the right path.

Illustration: Benevolent Man and his dog Timber enjoy a morning walk at Patterson Park.

Collage with Gouache, Oil paint, Acrylic Ink, and dog.


Acrylic Ink on Rives BFK paper.

This is another piece of Scrap Art that I made yesterday. It's made from the paper that is left over after I trim the large sheets that I did my book illustration on. You can see more scrap art here

and here.

Or visit my website to see lots more. Http://www.kentanakalovesyou.com

Baby Racoon Friend and my new book

This is Paulito the baby raccoon. He is a test drawing that I made while illustrating my new book.
Paulito is cute, but he is also rabid, so if you want to pet him, make sure to wear very thick gloves.

In the final version, he looks the same, only he has some foamy saliva around his mouth.
If my book gets popular, maybe lots of kids will want a rabid baby raccoon for a pet and it will start a big trend.
If you are an entrepreneur, you should start collecting rabid coons now.

Actually, Paulito only has a very small cameo appearance in this book.

For the past year, I have been working on writing and illustrating a Children's Book for Grown Ups. It's a kind of parody of a regular children's book.....

This Tuesday I completed my last drawing. I think there are about 22 pages total. Some paintings took only one day, but some of them took a few weeks or even a month. Tomorrow, I will go to my friend James' house. He is going to let me use his big scanner to scan in all the pages. Then I'll have to find a photoshop expert to help me get the images ready for printing and correct some of the colors and stuff.

Then I guess it's time to start trying to find a way to publish the book.

Once I have it figured out, I will give out more details about the book, and probably make some videos about it too.

I'm hoping that you all enjoy it, and then I can make more and more.

I have spent most of my art time making drawings for this book, so I haven't been able to do many non-book paintings lately. Now that it's done, I hope to start painting again, and I will probably try to have another gallery show.

You can see some of my newer paintings at http://www.kentanakalovesyou.com

Always Thinking About Flowers

He goes by Judge, and people are never sure if it is his real name or a nickname. He might not remember either. He has a difficult job and he doesn't like to talk about it.

A lot of people think about a lot of things, but he is always thinking of flowers. If this ever changes, the always can easily be removed.

He is made of...
Water color and acrylic ink on print making paper scraps.

Green Cat is listening closely

This is the second animal I did for the art book. I guess the editor will choose between Jacob the Polar Bear and Jacob the green cat.

Jacob the green cat has excellent listening skills. He can hear things that you and I can't. One day he heard me wondering. Another day, he heard me being indecisive. And he even heard me when I was drawing the shadow under his tail. I wonder if hearing all those things makes it hard for him to sleep.

Garage sale Babar makes Sunday happy

I went to one garage sale today and found this Babar linen tapestry. The tag on the back says it is from 1961. Babar is a pretty old elephant, but he's still very fit and healthy.
I didn't go to garage sales yesterday (Saturday) because the waves were 3-5 ft in Los Angeles and they wanted me to surf them. Today I stopped at one sale and found Babar waiting for me. He was three dollars.

I guess one of my main art influences is this kind of soft and happy animal art from the 60's and 70's. I like Babar's family very much. When I see soft elephants I feel very pleasant and happy with the world.

This is a soft animal print by an artist named Robert Van Allen, that I got at a garage sale a while ago. I looked up his name, but there is no other information on the internet. I could only find 2 other prints by him. People call them "Stretched canvas" prints. I would like to get more soft animal prints like this from the sixties and seventies. This Kangaroo hangs at the foot of my bed,so that I can go to bed at night, and wake up in the morning, in a soft animal wonderland.

Make Time for Nonsense

I went to the Los Angeles zoo. A small boy was playing by the elephants. Her mother was tugging his hand "Let's Go". It was time to leave, but the boy did not want to go. He stayed with his hand on the fence. His mother yelled "I don't have time for your nonsense." After she said this, an elephant walked to where the boy was standing and waved his trunk up. He made his elephant noise and looked at the boy. I understood what the elephant was saying. He was letting the boy know that he had plenty of time for nonsense. I like that elephant.
After the boy and his mom went away I stayed and played a game of elephant charades. I didn't leave until the final closing announcement.
It's important to make time for nonsense. If I ever forget about that, I will go back and visit that elephant.

Acrylic ink and watercolor on rag paper (Elephant is actually longer but he would not fit in the scanner.

RAmen in Nagoya Japan with Pay Katsuyuki

Pay Katsuyuki took me to Koonan Ramen in Nagoya where they have his art on display. Pay makes ramen at a different Koonan location. It really is the best ramen I have ever had. Everything there was great, gyooza, eggplant, even meatballs.
I would like to have a swimming pool full of it, or at least a bathtub or small jacuzzi.
Pay is a great artist and I did a whole post about him earlier in this blog

I hope you will take a look at it and see his beautiful art work.

Giant Robot Museum Show with James Jean and David Choe

James Jean
Dave Choe

Saturday October 24th was the opening reception for the Giant Robot Beinnale 2 art exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in LA. The show runs through January 24th, so make sure to check it out if you are in LA.
They featured work from my friend and neighbor James Jean, and his good friend David Choe, who is also a very nice man. They also have work from my friends Kozyndan as well as Souther Salazar, Jeff Soto and many others.

I went with my friend the Gooch, but we could only stay for a little bit because we had tickets to see Mr. Daniel Johnston play a concert in Hollywood.

When we got to the Museum, we were very surprised to find James and Dave up on stage playing music. James was playing keyboards and Dave Choe was playing drums, with Goh Nakamura on guitar. If you have seen my videos of James you know that he is a very talented trumpeter, but he also plays piano and he is an accomplished hand whistler.

Here is a video of James and I last Christmas.