Welcome to S.PUNK, the Samurai Punk blog!
I’m Liv, our Social Media & Community Manager, and I’m here to explore the weird and wonderful world of Samurai Punk with you all. We’re that ragtag band of misfits your mum warned you about. Pleased to meet you.
Collaboration is a massive part of what we do, so I wanted to start off with a celebratory post for the wonderful artist behind our ‘I Don’t Like Anime’ (IDLA) collection: QTori!
This collection embodies everything there is to love about Samurai Punk. The incredible Aussie artist behind this collection brought our vision to life with the same passion, heart and silliness that we’ve infused into all Samurai Punk games and apparel so far. You’re going to love them.
I’d also like to give a massive thank you to Ben Harmon for their incredible work on the typography for our IDLA collection! Follow them on Twitter: @GravyStainPants!
Art has been QTori’s passion since they “could remember picking up a pencil”. Heavily influenced by anime like Naruto, Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist, they were surrounded by Japanese artistic influences from a young age and “never grew out of” the anime craze that shaped their teen years. “As others moved on to newer things, I dived deeper in and constantly consumed more”, QTori told me during our Discord chat. They described our IDLA collection as a chance to “channel [their] years and years of bottled up obsession over anime and modern Asian streetwear”, which is just the first of many extremely relatable quotes from QTori in this blog post.
QTori has earned a following of 135K fans (and counting) on Twitter, but it was refreshing to hear that the support for their art started at home. Far too often we hear about disapproving parents chastising their kids for choosing a creative career, but QTori’s mother also loves drawing, as an interior designer, and has always encouraged them to pursue their passion. “It’s because of her that I am where I am today and I hope to pass that on”, QTori told me.
QTori described their initially anime-centric style as “a gateway into the bigger world of creative drawing”, where they now work with “a blend of Western-style bold linework, messy and rough rendering, and the characteristics of contemporary Japanese anime.” They “don't like being repetitive” so they’re constantly pushing themself to try new things with their art. One glance at QTori’s portfolio and you’ll see this for yourself; from original characters to representations of fan favourites, QTori’s work is consistently fresh and exciting.
I’m always eager to hear about other creators’ relationships with art, and QTori did not disappoint. It’s fascinating to find out what inspiration and creative lessons have shaped an artist into the person they are today, and in QTori’s case, one of the most important sentiments they hold close is the fact that “anyone and everyone can do [art]”. While “some aspects may be more difficult than others, creatively we are all capable of it”, which hopefully gives even the least confident illustrators (AKA me) confidence in developing their skills.
My school art classes were largely spent stressing about my lack of coordination when putting pencil to paper, and comparing my pitiful scribbles to the masterpieces my friends created, but QTori’s words still ring true; everyone can create art. It pains me to think of all the neglected hobbies, the paintbrushes and guitars and roller skates left to gather dust in cupboards, all because someone was too frightened of failure to explore what they were capable of. The thing is, you don’t have to be good at something to do it, and I think the world would be a better place if we all pursued the things we enjoy without the pressure of being the best.
QTori went on to say that “if you ever feel like there's something missing in the world, only you can make it. You have that power to make something that's only for you and I feel like that's the biggest part of what art means to me”. I adore this perspective.
As kids we’re told that we’re all unique, but over time it tends to feel like nothing more than a cheesy preteen Instagram bio quote. In reality, what we create has our artistic fingerprint all over it. Similar to others, maybe, but never the same.
When I asked about their art goals, QTori’s initial response was one that hits too close to home: “financial stability”. Conversations like these affirm just how important it is to support our fellow local artists and creators, putting money back into the art and entertainment that fuels us online, onscreen and onstage.
On a less depressing note, QTori told me that their goals “change with every milestone in [their] life”. Currently they’d love to focus more time on the original characters in their fictional universe, “the Zonaverse”, which is inhabited by around “5-7 characters so far” and “has garnered a small following”. QTori says that their success with the Zonaverse has grown “more than [they] could ever ask for”, but I know that the sky’s the limit for this immensely talented creator. In addition to their gorgeous drawings, QTori expressed the desire to grow by creating “small animation snippets that could breath more life into this world [they've] made”.
Despite creating art for our apparel, QTori doesn’t consider themself a style icon by any means, claiming that their “sense of fashion personally is pretty terrible”. QTori told me that they’re “thankful how [they] dress doesn't affect how [they] dress characters in [their] art”, but I’m sure they’re just being modest. (If you also feel like you haven’t found your personal style yet, you could just wear Samurai Punk apparel…)
QTori sums up our ‘I Don’t Like Anime’ collection as “a play on the current sociological zeitgeist around anime, since it’s now more associated with a certain group of individuals”. They love the “tongue-in-cheek” joke of the title, and they appreciate the irony and playful vibe of the collection as much as we do, which just adds to the fun of this collaboration.
If you’ve enjoyed this taste of QTori’s art, go show them some love on Twitter (@QT0ri) and ArtStation (www.artstation.com/qtori)! If seeing their creations through a screen just won’t cut it, you can order some new threads from our ‘I Don’t Like Anime’ collection! Get ready to bask in strangers’ compliments and feel at least 50% cooler as you wear QTori's art out in the big wide world.