Friday, December 30, 2011

Paging Winter

It's been unseasonably warm in Los Angeles this holiday season & the local mountains look like they could use a bit of snow. I can't wait for a few big storms next year and it's off to Mammoth and Big Bear for me.

Hope everyone's having a great holiday season and here's looking forward to a great 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings!

It's been a rough few weeks at work, but it's great to finally get some time off. Dreamworks gives us a week off at Christmas and I plan to put it to good use - catching up on sleep, planning my upcoming Visual Development class at CDA, finishing up various projects and getting ready for 2012.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Here' a doodle I did at work this week. Been playing with color/light as well as abstracting shape. Hope everyone's have a good holiday season and I'm looking forward to spending some time relaxing with family.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What if... - The Bear Parade!

The Bear Parade! 
I did these watercolors for a show opening at Gallery Nucleus this Saturday. It's the off-shoot of the micro shows done at Disney Animation and it features some pretty awesome artists. I'll be there along with my wife. Stop by and say hello. 

You can get more details on Nucleus' website -

What If...
Dec 10, 7:00PM - 11:00PM
Gallery Nucleus  - 210 East Main St, Alhambra CA 9180

Here they are framed. Just to give you an idea of what they'll look like at the gallery. And I believe they'll be selling for the affordable price of $50 a piece.

Sketches for the Parade. I always love these more than the finals. They always seem to have more life, more spark and energy.

 I do tons of overlays and then I transfer my drawing to watercolor paper via saral transfer paper(do people still do that in this age of photoshop?).

Response to the cards has been super positive. This was my dining room table last Tuesday and in the first week we sent nearly 100 sets of Zoom Zoo alphabet cards.If this keeps up, we're going to do a second printing early next year and I'm planning some fun surprises for the 2nd edition.

They were also featured on -
Notcot - Zoom Zoo by Mike Yamada- 11.29.11
Ohdeedoh - "Zoom Zoo ABC Flash Cards From Mika Yamama" (they spelled my name wrong)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brand Spanking New Online Store & More

If you missed me at CTN and you're looking to get your hands on a set of my alphabet cards or perhaps a print, you can find them both at my new online store -
Extracurricular Activities L.A. -

Her'e are a few sketches I've done on cards. The top one is an original that's going to go up on the store.

Also I have 10 of these small watercolor tag sketch paintings that you could randomly win if you make an order from the store during the month of December.

I've also setup a site just to house all my ZoomZOO art in one place -

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The long awaited Raffle Winners & Happy Thanksgiving!

I spent a crazy busy weekend at the CTN expo with my wife. It was my first convention and as soon as each day was over we'd go home to drink a bit of tea and sleep. It was a lot of fun and it was great being able to meet everyone that came by. I can't wait for our next convention.

Photo stolen borrowed from Jason Scheier.

I just joined Motivarti as a mentor for their spring term. Its the perfect program if you'd like personalized art, industry and career guidance. I'm only accepting 3 mentees and thanks to skype and email, you can be pretty much anywhere. Please visit - - if you're interested and want to learn more/apply.

I know a few of you we unable to make it to the convention and we will be launching an online store that will sell our cards/books, prints, greeting cards, stickers and more! All of this will be announced next MONDAY. Just a bit of paint and some tweaks to make it operational.

And I'm sure you've been all dying to know the winners of the raffle. So here they are -

Winner of a set of ZOOM ZOO CARDS

Thanks to everyone that entered and hopefully we'll be able to do another raffle come time soon! If you won, I'll be sending you an email shortly asking for where you want me to send your prizes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CTN Expo 2011 :: Table T-45 :: 3 days left in Giveaway!

This upcoming weekend (Nov 18-20) is the annual CTN Animation Expo. If you aren't familiar with it, imagine a comic con centered around the art and craft of animation. It's being held at the Burbank Marriott directly across from Bob Hope Airport. You can find more information about attending on their website.

I will be sharing booth duties at table T-45 with my talented wife. We're going to have copies of our latest projects - Freckles and Zoom Zoo - along with prints, pins, originals & more. Stop by to say hi and peruse our wares. It's always fun to meet new people and connect faces with names.

We're also doing a few events at the show. You can find them listed on the above flyer or you can follow our twitters for up to date information.

GIVEAWAY! 3 Days Left!

Don't forget about the Zoom Zoo Card giveaway. It continues and the competition is fierce.

I can't believe the positive response. I'm adding a second prize - a small set of prints I'm going to be selling at CTN.

There are TWO way to enter.

1) Comment on my blog from now until November 18th

2) Tweet about it! Use @michaelyamada and mention #zoomzoo for a second chance!

Each entry will boost your chances!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Alphabet Card Raffle & a Print

I've been working late nights and early mornings to make a few prints to sell at the CTN expo. Here's an except of one I'm still spending some time on. I'm big fan of swiss designer Max Huber and trying to capture a bit of the spirit of his work.

I've also received the entire shipment of the alphabet cards and they're now occupying a majority of my dining room.

To celebrate the arrival of my cards and my inevitable sleep deprived lead up to CTN, I decided it would be fun to give away a set here. You have one TWO ways to enter to win a free set of Zoom Zoo Cards-

  • Leave a comment on my blog from today - November 7th - until the first day of CTN - November 18th (quick! you have 11 days!)
  • Now a second way to WIN. Tweet about it! Use @michaelyamada and Mention the #ZoomZoo Giveaway for a second chance!

The Winner will be announced November 19th.

ps. I'm still slowly working on some of the originals from the prior giveaway. Patience young padawan.

EDIT : Added a second way to win.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kamen Rider doing a wheelie

I was invited to be part of a show celebrating the anniversary of two epic Japanese shows - Kamen Rider and Super Sentai(you probably know them as Power Rangers). Stop by tomorrow to check out the show and Chris Mitchell's really awesome store - Q POP.

Find more info on the show below or on the store's website -

Q Pop, Anime Jungle and the JACCC invite you to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Kamen Rider and the 35th Anniversary of the Super Sentai series(Power Rangers) creation!!

Over 150 local and international artists will pay visual tribute to some of the most famous pop culture icons in Japanese history and their creator, manga god Ishimori Shotaro.

Opening Reception: Nov. 5, 2011 7PM-10PM


128 Astronaut E S Onizuka St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 687-7767

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center
244 S. San Pedro Street, Suite 505
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 628-2725 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our next project - A Cabinet of ...

In the lazy days after my wife and I wrapped up our individual projects for CTN, we had a great idea for a collaborative project. We're hoping to involve lots of other artists - friends, heroes, legends - and create something really fun.

Here's a quick teaser image I did exploring the world. It makes for a great Halloween piece & it will be ready to share a year from today.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

WIP - work in progress

It always seems to be a busy week since I got back from the honeymoon. Here are a few things that are in progress and I'm hoping to finish up tomorrow.

Make sure to check back on Monday for announcing a new project!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Originals for CTN Expo

I can't believe that it's less than a month to CTN. The bulk shipment of my alphabet cards should arrive in the upcoming week and I have all sorts of things keeping me busy. One idea I had was to convert leftover tags from my wedding into small(and affordable) pieces of original art. Look for these at CTN or on my store when that goes live next month.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

He has a gun!

I'm a few days back from my honeymoon and I'm totally not ready to head back to work. I realized not too long ago I needed to do my post for the week. I'm a bit rusty after a few weeks off of painting and I was trying a few new things I saw on Robh Ruppel's blog. I tried a bit of Robh's painting with the line tool and i integrated that with a few smudge brushes I use. Seems to work pretty well, especially in the pool areas. 

I'm thinking a secret agent rabbit has some potential. Maybe Richard Scarry meets James Bond and Yuki 7.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Greetings from the past! By now I should be married and having a good time somewhere tropical. I didn't want to miss my weekly art post so I spent some extra time to whip up a piece for this week and scheduled it to post.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Incoming Zoom Zoo

A few days ago I received an advance order box of my Zoom Zoo Flash Cards! It's really amazing seeing your work in such a real way. I've been working on setting up a website and a storefront to make web sales, but both still need some more work before they go live.

If you're one of the lucky few that work at Dreamworks, there is a small "comic convention" happening there on October 12th. I'm going to be off on my honeymoon, but my sister will be there selling packs of the cards, sets of pins, and perhaps a few originals. If you don't happen to work there, I'm going to be selling at the CTN expo in Burbank, CA and web sales should also go live around then as well.

Some pics of the cards and their unboxing as well as a set of pins (there will be more than 3 animals. they're all random).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wedding flipbook back cover

I'm getting married this upcoming Saturday and that has been consuming a lot of my attention. There obviously hasn't been much time for art with small wedding related things popping up. One of the fun things we're planning to have at our reception is a flipbook booth. Here's the illustration I did for the back of the flip book.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tiger Tree

Another quick sketch for this week. Inspired by the big cat paintings on Clio's blog -

Hopefully will have time something more involved next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

They took my wheels!

It's been another busy week and I realized today that I forgot to update the blog. This is a sketch painting I've been playing with for the better part of 3 years. I'm guaranteed to repaint the whole thing each year. I finally thought I should share even though I'm planning to work on it some more.

Monday, August 29, 2011

AI Weekend Demo

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking before the students at the Art Institute of Inland Empire. You couldn't have asked for a better audience and I wish them all the best in their studies.

At the end of the talk, I had time for a quick demo and I wanted to share it here. I saved out a few steps, although not as many as I would have liked. I have a very similar step by step painting demo that I will hopefully be able to finish soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Late night Cat Party

I've been playing around with my process and how to create finished images quickly. It's a sort of holy grail for artists everywhere. I'm very happy with the subtle variation in color in the bottle, but over I'm not quite sold on the over-all look. It's a bit "filtery" to me even though I didn't use any.

We own two cats and the older one (pictured here) has a fondness for waking us up by vomiting. I always imagine that she's boozing it up while the humans are sleeping.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Study for a Painting

Since I finished with the cards, I've been working on the paintings for the raffle winners and catching up on all the things I neglected during the month I was working on the cards. This is a study for one of the raffle paintings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Raffle Winners!!! Zoom Zoo in progress!!

I finished my alphabet card project Monday night at 12:30am(technically tuesday) and prompt sent it off to the printers in China. I'm very proud of the fact that the entire project took one month from start to finish. However, it very much seemed like Parkinson's Law was in full effect - "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." I intended to wrap up the whole project a week ago and instead I worked all the way up to my deadline.

On to the raffle winners!  

If you're any of the people listed below send me an email with where you want your prize shipped. 

I'm going to start on them tomorrow and hopefully you will receive them within the month. If you have any requests, I'd be happy to consider them.

If you didn't win, don't worry. I have more things in the works I am planning something when my alphabet cards come in. Keep watching here or follow my twitter if you want updates.

Many thanks to the random number generator on

Monday, August 1, 2011

Extra Bonus Round Raffle. Let's get to 400.

Wow! 182 new Followers and 97 Comments last month. I'm doing the raffle tonight for the 4 pieces of art I promised.  So if you haven't commented or followed the blog by then, now is your chance to sneak in.

We're really close to 400 followers. Right now its 18 more people. If we can get to 400 followers by August 9th, I will do a special bonus raffle for one additional piece of art selected from the follower list. It's really easy. Just click follow on the right side of the blog.

I'm still working away on the Alphabet Cards. I'm very very close, but still have a lot to do. In other news, I was hoping to do a kickstarter for the cards, but was sadly rejected with no reason. It's not the end of the world, but I was hoping for some help making the cards an affordable price.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ZOOM ZOO Alphabet Cards - I is for Iguana

Here's another card for my alphabet flash card set. Iguana are one of my favorite animals and I'd love to have one as a pet. I tried to convince my fiance to let me adopt one from the local humane society, but she is a little freaked out by them.

Everything goes to the printers a week from tomorrow. There's still a lot to do, but its nice to see the project coming together. I'm going to try to do a few tweaks to the type - I want to add lowercase letters, but not sure if there is the space on all the cards. For those of you that asked, I'll be selling them online. I haven't worked out pricing, but it should be similar with Bill Pressing's "Intercontinental Cuties" playing card set.

In other news, just 6 days left in my original art raffle / giveaway. Leave a comment or follow me to enter. I'll announce winners on August 9th. Find the rules HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Alphabet Car(d)s - my CTN project

Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on for this year's CTN. I'm doing a set of animal/alphabet/automobile flash cards. Originally the idea started as doing a children's book and the idea evolved into flash cards. Everything is very much still in progress, but I want to share what I've been working hard on. I have exactly 2 weeks left until I need to deliver the final files so wish me luck.

Speaking of two weeks, only 2 weeks left in the original art raffle. Follow my blog or leave a comment to be entered.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to train your dragon - OOP

An old, incomplete painting from "How to Train your Dragon." In an earlier version of the story, the kids are taken to a training ground high up on the island and they spend the night in a rickety old cabin. I started this painting with a rough marker and pencil sketch to establish the design. I added rough color in photoshop using color balance and then painted and dropped a few textures on top.

Don't forget about the original art give away! Here are the copy/pasted rules from last week.

You have 2 ways to enter -

  1. Be a follower of my blog by the first of next month (August 1, 2011) 
  2. Leave a comment on my blog during the month of July (quick! you have 3 weeks!)
2 winners will be selected out of each category.
Winners will be announced August 9th.

For more info on how to follow Click Click!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Original Art Raffle! 200 Followers!

I never thought I would make it to 200 followers, let alone 100. A big thank you to all of you.

So in celebration of that, I decided to raffle off 4 pieces of original art. You have 2 ways to enter -
  1. Be a follower of my blog by the first of next month (August 1, 2011) 
  2. Leave a comment on my blog during the month of July (quick! you have 3 weeks!)
2 winners will be selected out of each category.
Winners will be announced August 9th.

For more info on how to follow Click Click!

Thanks again everybody!

A small peek at what I'm up to. I'm insanely busy doing art in order to meet my printing deadline for the CTN expo. It's a lot of fun and pressure working on such a tight deadline.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Contemplating a Cheese Poof

I'm getting married this fall and my fiancee has been dieting in preparation for her dressing sizing. She's doing a diet called South Beach which involves 2 weeks of cutting out all carbs and sugars. One of her favorite things are cheese poofs from trader joes and I saw her guiltily sneaking a few.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Extra-Extracurricular Activities - a supplemental sketchblog

I just started a new blog on Tumblr for my daily moleskine sketches. I got in the habit of carrying around a tiny pocket sketchbook earlier this year and it's become second nature to start drawing in it. Thanks to the magic of the tumblr iphone app (get your act together blogger), I can upload my daily sketch right to the blog.

I'll be updating it daily and of course this blog once a week. You can find the new blog at - 

It's going to be a busy summer for me. I'm making plans to have a table at the CTN expo this November. Also, I'm doing some original art to give away when I reach 200 followers (we're almost there!). More details on that coming later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cartoon Rhinos always drive Rocket Cars

Started this yesterday and finished up at lunch today. This is most definitely not Kung Fu Panda 2, but I'll throw up a post next week taking you through my design process for one of the locations. And that will be it for panda. I promise.