Ken Tanaka's Bucket List

One of my very handsome YouTube subscribers was kind enough to get me a special Christmas present...a free Skype session with a Life Coach. I told the life coach all about my life and the Smiths and the new version of my book Everybody Dies that I finally finished. She said I needed to focus on what I wanted in my life, and where I wanted my life to go. Her main suggestion was that I make a bucket list. She said it would help me visualize my life goals. So this Boxing Day morning I woke up and started my list.

#1 Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Pail

I'm not sure if my life coach will accept a pail at the #1 position of my bucket list. She didn't really explain the rules very much. If it's not okay, I will make a separate pail list. This pail is advertised as being "ready for dumping". I like a pail or a bucket that is always ready to do some dumping even if it is gloomy outside or it has other plans, or it is suffering from the flu or cholera. Also, this was the only bucket with a face on it. With the other buckets, I wouldn't even know which side to talk to or give a kiss to. I think Melissa and Doug really are bucket geniuses. What a happy pail!

#2 Rubbermaid Brand Neat and Tidy Bucket

This is a classic white bucket that I think is very useful and well shaped. I think many people have a bucket like this outside int their yard, filled with some rain water and earth and little baby mosquito larvae. It's a good bucket, friendly and not pretentious.

#3 Metal Bucket Party Accessory

This is a festive party bucket, for when you are throwing the kind of party that requires a number of colorful buckets. They are made of metal, which is refreshing, and they come in some of the colors of the rainbow (but not all...because some rainbow colors are not identifiable to the human eye). This would have been #2 but it was not quite as tidy as the Rubbermaid Brand Tidy Bucket,and tidiness if very important to me when I'm choosing a bucket. Very important.

#4 Carrand 94102 Car Wash Bucket - 3 Gallon Capacity

This bucket is not only handsomely grayish, it's also made for a very specific purpose. It's a car wash bucket. Please do not try to use this bucket for fence painting, vegetable gathering, floor mopping or as a party accessory. This bucket is only to be used for car washing. Do not use it to wash a dog either, unless the dog is in your car...then it is okay.

Well, I only got to #4 and it took me several hours. I felt a lot of pressure to choose the right bucket. I don't feel any different about my life yet, but my life coach did say that the changes wouldn't happen right away. I guess after you've made a list of buckets you have to wait a few days to feel the effects. One thing I did learn is that making lists is fun. I'm going to make a list of marsupials next. Who do you think will be #1?

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Kindle sale and Christmas Cats Hurray.

To show the holiday spirit , today I put on a Kindle sale of the Everybody Dies: A Children's Book for Grown Ups E-book. Click the amazon link above and you'll see it's just $2.99 ( previously was $6). This is the original version of the book which will only be available till 2-28-14. In May of 2014, the new harper design version of the book will come out.

Christmas is a good time for buying books, but it's also a good time to think about very small and handsome kittens. I mare this song and video of my friends kitties last year. They are bigger nows but still very frisky.

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Getting ready to publish my new book

My book is finished and I'm now getting it ready to publish. The above drawing is not really part of the book, but it will appear on the inside cover.

Last weekend I sold my t-shirts and some advance, home made copies of my book at Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. It was very fun, and I met many nice people. I also saw a lot of friends from the art world and people I had met at Comic Con in San Diego.

I haven't found a publisher for my book yet, but I did give a copy to the Mcsweeney's publishing booth at the Expo. So far I have only shown it to 3 publishers. I am also looking into making a few hundred copies myself to sell online.

After the Expo, I was contacted by a Professor at a California State University who said he would like to use my book for a class that he teaches. I didn't really understand what kind of class it was but he said some words like "Post modern comic literature and the new economy".... He said he will need 150-300 books depending on his class enrollment. That was very exciting, but I am not sure how I will get so many books so quickly.

I got many emails from people wanting books and shirts and prints after my last video. If you would like one, you can send me an email at kentanakala (at mark) gmail (dot) com.

That is the email address that I live in.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Ken Tanaka Loves You.

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

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.

Jacob the Polar Bear

On Monday, I got a message from a person editing an art book who asked me to contribute a painting. The deadline was the next day, so I only had one day to do it. I did two different paintings.

This is Jacob (Lighting) Hal the Polar Bear. Lighting isn't his middle name, it's just a nickname. His friend Trudy (Fresh Produce) Whistlecap gave him the nickname when she saw him chasing a murre. He is very fast.

I'm not sure what is happening in this painting. I thought maybe Jacob is trying to become an explorer. He is sailing west on his chunk of ice, and is looking for the Northwest passage. He has a long voyage ahead of him. Maybe he is thinking about Trudy, and wondering if he will be forgotten.

Drawing Drawings and Painting Paintings

I have been working on illustrating a new book. It's kind a children's book for grown ups but I can't tell you what it's about yet. My goal is to finish the book and have my next art show feature the drawings and the book for sale.

For page one, I drew 7 cute animals. Right now I am working on page 2 and I am drawing 7 scary animals. Today I have been drawing sharks. It's not so easy to draw an animal exactly how you want him. Sometimes I have to draw the same animal, over and over again all day or all week, 100 times, till I finally get him to look right. I spent a week just to get a nice cute elephant done. I think I drew 117 of them. Now my room is covered in elephants.

I'm having a harder time with the scary animals. I'm not sure which animals to include. This is what I have so far as possible scary animals.
Sting RAy
Jelly Fish
Pit Bull Doggy
Lion or mountain lion

If you have any comments about these animals, or any ideas of other scary animals, please let me know.

The drawing above is one I drew yesterday while I was doing sketches of alligators. I couldn't get it quite right, so I decided to color one in just to see if that would make it look better. This alligator doesn't look how I want it to look in the picture book, but that doesn't make him a bad alligator. He just wants to be loved, so he has crawled out of his swamp onto land to see if someone will love him. Will you love this alligator? Serious replies only please.