Terra’s Black Marker

Terra's Black Marker
I recently got to meet one of my very favorite artists, Katsuya Terada at the opening of his art show, Terra’s Black Marker, at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon. Terada is a prolific artist known for his work in video games, comics, animation and commercial illustration. If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work before even if you don’t recognize his name.

Katsuya Terada was the character designer for many video games including Sega’s ground breaking fighting game Virtua Fighter 2:

Katsuya Terada illustration for Virtua Fighter 2

He set the look for the short film Blood: The Last Vampire, a work so gorgeous it made James Cameron exclaim “The world will come to consider this work as the standard of top quality in digital animation.”

Terada has done illustrations for Marvel Comics:

Katsuya Terada cover for Wolverine Soul Taker no 3

Terada's take on everybody's favorite Canadian Mutant

Katsuya Terada's cover for Iron Man

I love how the striations in Iron Man's armor recall coiled steel (which is echoed in the rubble he's standing on)

He’s worked on live action films such as Hellboy, Godzilla Final Wars, Sucker Punch, Cutie Honey and Yatterman (which on a related note was totally awesome):

Movies that Katsuya Terada has worked on

And he even designed a shoe for Nike!

Katsuya Terada Nike White Dunks
Old school gamers and other hip cats might recognize his contributions to early issues of Nintendo Power including these evocative scenes from The Legend of Zelda:

Katsuya Terada Legend of Zelda Illustration for Nintendo Power Katsuya Terada Legend of Zelda Illustration for Nintendo Power Katsuya Terada Legend of Zelda Illustration for Nintendo Power Katsuya Terada Legend of Zelda Illustration for Nintendo Power

All the above is just a fraction of the full breadth of his work.

Terra‘s Black Marker was Katsuya Terada‘s second official art show in the US. The show mostly consisted of black and white drawings culled from his sketchbooks.

Katsuya Terada Bearbrick for Terra's Black Marker Show at the Compound Gallery

There was also a really sweet Bearbrick.

Katsuya Terada Terra's Black Marker Show at the Compound Gallery

Pencil sketches for the long running role playing game series Wizardry

Katsuya Terada for Terra's Black Marker Show at the Compound Gallery

These were probably original pieces created for the show.

The centerpiece of the show was a series of marker illustrations created just for this exhibit simply titled Spiral # 1 through 6.

Much of the artwork was completed on site, with the illustrations jumping out of the page, past the frames and into the wall of the gallery.

Katsuya Terada at work

Terada hard at work. This image is from Terada's blog: http://cacazan.blogspot.com/

Katsuya Terada's Spiral #1

Spiral # 1 - a rose for "The City of Roses"

Katsuya Terada Spiral Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery

Spiral # 2 (left) and Spiral # 1 (right)

Katsuya Terada's Spiral # 2 for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Detail of Spiral # 2

They were astonishingly precise illustrations, drawn freehand with no underdrawing using just a black permanent marker.

Katsuya Terada's Spiral No 5

Spiral # 5 - suggested listening: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi by Radiohead

These were fearless works of art with confidence in every stroke.  There’s a thrilling sense of performance to each illustration as your eye moves across the page, especially considering that there was no room for mistakes and back tracking.  There are so many interesting little detours throughout each composition, but they all flow into a coherent whole.  It must have been a thing to behold Terada drawing these!

Katsuya Terada Spiral No 5 Terra's black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Detail of Spiral # 5

Katsuya Terada's Spiral # 4 for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Spiral # 4

Katsuya Terada's Spiral # 4 for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Detail of Spiral # 4

Katsuya Terada's Spiral # 4 for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Detail of Spiral # 4

 

Meeting Terada was pretty dang cool.  I’m happy to report that the show was a great success.  I arrived about an hour after it opened and most of his pieces had already been sold by then.  Luckily I was able to snag 1 of each limited edition print from his spiral series.  I’ve heard anecdotally that the night before the show opened, the president of Nike purchased every original Spiral drawing for about $6000 a piece (which I think is a bargain). I don’t know if the buyer was really the president of Nike, but I do know that they were all sold out before the show opened. It makes me very happy to know that a world class artist like Terada is able to live comfortably from his work.

There were many other professional artists in attendance at the show, from local comic book artists to animators and concept artists who had flown in from Hollywood. They were easy to spot since they tended to be the people geeking out and asking Terada for his autograph and a picture (I am guilty as charged).

Katsuya Terada signing autographs at Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Usually that sorta thing is considered a big party foul, especially if you’re a professional in the same field, but Terada’s art has a way of bypassing people’s guards. It was very refreshing!  Terada took all this in stride.  He was very down to earth and had the relaxed demeanor of a man who is doing what he was born to do.  I joked that he should charge much more for his art (OK actually I was completely serious), and he just laughed and pointed at the walls and said these are just sketches.  They’re just for fun.

That really stuck with me.

For all his decades of experience, the tens of thousands of hours he’s poured into his craft, he’s still having fun.  And that fun is infectious. The best thing I can say about Katsuya Terada is that his artwork is so exuberant that it always makes me want to draw draw draw!  If you feel the same, I highly suggest you grab some paper, put the pen to the page and just see what happens!

Long live the Rakugaking!

Richmond Lee Tako No Ken

Some doodles I did after the show.

Additional Photos from the Show:

katsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

katsuya terada illustration of Devilman for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

Oil painting of Devilman!

katsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregonkatsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

katsuya terada illustration for Terra's Black Marker at the Compound Gallery in Portland Oregon

For more information on Terra’s Black Marker, please visit the Compound Gallery website, where you can see more work from the show and purchase original artwork and prints:

main website – http://compoundpdx.com/
Terra’s Black Marker show website - http://compoundpdx.com/Artist/currentshow.html
Browse and purchase artwork - http://compoundpdx.com/Artist/index.php?main_page=artist&cid=42

If you’re interested in learning more about Katsuya Terada, here are some great links:
Terada’s Personal Website –  http://cacazan.com/
Terada’s Blog – http://cacazan.blogspot.com/
A great retrospective of his work (in French) – http://www.catsuka.com/focuson.php?id=terada_katsuya&page=1

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed this article, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates on future articles.

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About Richmond

I am a professional game artist who wants everyone to love art as much as I do!
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22 Responses to Terra’s Black Marker

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  8. Simon says:

    I have been following his works since more then 7 years ago but was never lucky enough to be able to visit his exhibition or even meet him in person. You sir is one hell of a lucky guy. People say a picture speaks a thousand words, his art is just infinite. No words are enough to describe just how awesome and brilliant those pieces are. The images just suck you in and you’ll be totally immersed and mesmerized by every single intricate details. Every glance at it makes you feel like you have yet to see everything about the drawing. Truly a Rakuga GOD.

  9. Cristobal says:

    Ah, you are so lucky. It sucks to be a fanboy without money like myself, but I’ll conquest the world soon!

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  11. Lateef says:

    What an amazing event! You totally deserve to have been able to meet him and SPEAK with him! I’m glad that you took away his message of just having fun with your art. I know its something that was a bit of a revelation in your life within the past year as well. Great writeup of a spectacular event. The work itself, is described by no words…I’ll just leave my jaw dropped to encompass how I feel at the moment!

  12. Sara says:

    Amazing exhibit, and great post! I love that so much of the work was done on-site, and I think the name of the show also captures that sense of fun you felt from the artist: Just a dude with his weapon of choice, doing something that he loves. Awesome.

    • Richmond says:

      Glad you liked the post! I love your description of the show, it was indeed very punk rock in spirit, much like your awesome clothing and cooking posts!

  13. WEIGY says:

    My favorite contemporary artist. Truly able to do no wrong, I haven’t found a work from him that I don’t like. “It’s just for fun”, sent shivers down my spine.

    Glad you were able to meet our hero and one of the most internationally influential artists out there. These pictures are killing me, I wouldn’t mind filling up entire houses with those walls.

    • Richmond says:

      The world of art is the world of Kung Fu. Artists such as Terada have attained the God Hand. I have shook that hand (it was surprisingly soft, i bet he moisturizes–gotta take care of that God Hand!). That power can be in our grasp!

      With the proper good habits, we can be as good as our heroes! Let’s draw and ascend to immortality!

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