Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 30, 2012.

Photo-main
Play
00:00
00:00

A parody art project, commenting on the ancient origins of modern Japanese game culture.  浮世絵ヒーロー

Ukiyo-e Heroes online store is now open:

If you missed our Kickstarter campaign, don't worry! You can find all the same woodblock prints and giclées at our online store: ukiyoeheroes.com


Update Log

The Goal

We're determined to create a complete series of hand-made Japanese woodblock prints, just like they were made hundreds of years ago.

Jed Henry has already finished 12 stunning designs, lovingly researched and executed in the Japanese ukiyo-e style. Our woodblock printmaker, David Bull, has carved and printed proofs of our first piece: Rickshaw Cart. If we meet our financial goal, we can produce a run of Rickshaw Cart prints. If we exceed our goal, we'll turn more of Jed's designs into woodblock prints.

This is truly a unique art project. There are only a handful of people on earth who know the ancient techniques of Japanese woodblock printmaking, and David is premier among them. He's dedicated 30 years to honing his craft. We're lucky to have his immense talent on board.

Before we go any further, we'd like to explain our vision a little more.

日本の皆様:ページの一番下に、漫画で分かりやすく、Kickstarterの「参加方法」が、のっています!

日本語字幕ビデオ

What is Ukiyo-e Heroes?

A ton of fun, that's what! Ukiyo-e Heroes is a parody art project that follows the long tradition of popular art in Japan.  

For hundreds of years, Japanese woodblock printmakers worked in a thriving popular art scene.  Their prints depicted heroes, villains and monsters, spanning every genre from satire, to romance, to horror. It was all part of Ukiyo, or Floating World culture. Inventive and fast-paced, Ukiyo culture was the big movement of its day. That tradition has continued through the centuries, down to our modern day, where Japan is still known for its vibrant creativity. This heritage is especially evident in Japan's video game industry.  Boss fights. Invulnerable heroes. Holy swords. Even the classic double-jump can be traced back to medieval Japanese legends. 

Long story short: the Japanese games we love are just the new chapter in an ancient, enduring culture.

To celebrate Japan's contribution to video games, illustrator Jed Henry has taken his favorite game characters, and returned them to the ukiyo-e style. Modern costuming has been traded for the medieval, but the essence of each character remains, proving that you can't take the Ukiyo out of these modern pop icons.

Meet the Artists

Jed Henry is an illustrator, lifelong gamer, Japanophile, and all-around nerd. He grew up copying art from game manuals, and years later, eventually got a degree in animation.  He now illustrates children's books, and dreams up crazy projects like Ukiyo-e Heroes. Jed lived in Tokyo for 2 years, and proudly speaks Japanese at about a 4-year-old level. Jed divides his time between drawing, his family, and wishing he were back in Japan.

Dave Bull has been in Tokyo since before Jed was born (!) having gone there to learn what he could about the craft of traditional woodblock printmaking, and has been making his living at it for nearly 25 years now. For most of that time, he worked as a solo craftsman (carving, printing, self-publishing), but for the past couple of years has been working with younger people to train them in the techniques, under the umbrella of his Mokuhankan publishing venture.

Jed's Designs

Here are Jed's 12 designs. All of them are available as high-quality digital prints. Currently, Rickshaw Cart, Fox Moon, The Hero Rests, Infestation, Soul Eater, Yokai Dracul, and I Choose You! are available as hand-made woodblock prints.

You can see larger versions over on this page.

Our Prints

Giclée Prints

All of Jed's designs are available as high-end giclée prints. These are professionally produced on large printers, with archival inks and a very high quality, acid-free Japanese washi, with four full deckle edges. Every giclée print will be signed and sealed by Jed. They are 12" x 17" in size, a format called Ōban (大判), which has been used for centuries.  

Woodblock Prints

Let's let Jed tell this part of the story: "I knew my visual ideas could be produced as digitally printed posters, but I didn't want to stop there – I also wanted to create actual woodblock prints. So I contacted my friend Dave Bull in Tokyo, to see what advice he could offer. I was in luck. Dave was so excited about my designs, he immediately offered to make a print of one.  He jumped right in and began work, even though I could not guarantee that we would be able to sell them. The blocks for this design are now carved and ready, and Dave has produced some proofs for me."

And here we have one of those proof copies of the first woodblock print in the series, the 'Rickshaw Cart' design:

The handmade woodblock prints measure 7" x 9", or koban (小判) size.  Each print will be signed, dated, and sealed by Jed.  David will emboss every print with the names of each craftsman involved in its creation.

Here are links to a series of closeup shots of the print: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

NEW WOODBLOCK DESIGNS! 

Because of your support, we've been able to add these designs as woodblock prints: 

Rickshaw Cart

Fox Moon

The Hero Rests

Infestation

Soul Eater

Yokai Dracul

I Choose You!

You can see our schedule for releasing other designs here.

We've also prepared a video showing the step-by-step printing process.  

Dave and the printers in his workshop are now waiting to see how much interest there will be from Jed's fans in having some of these prints made. The preparation is all done; where we go from here will be up to the fans!

Special Kickstarter extra - Chibi Heroes!

We've worked hard to give you the coolest designs possible, and we're sure you'll love our main line of giclée prints. But we're not stopping there – we're on a crusade to help everyone understand just how amazing Dave's handmade prints are. So we came up with the idea of producing some 'Chibi Heroes'. These are affordable, small-scale woodblock prints (about 2 1/2" x 6 1/2"), printed on the same beautiful hand-made paper as Dave's regular work. They feature Jed's playful sketches of the same video game heroes.

A whole series of these will be available later, but we'll start the ball rolling with these first two: let's call them 'Hammer' ... and ... 'Bow'!  

        

Rewards

Note: Your specific choice of designs will be handled in the order survey, which we'll send after the campaign ends.

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________    

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

_________________________________________________ 

For more rewards, please see the list on the right.

_________________________________________________

Closing Thoughts

 A Closing Comment from Dave Bull

FAQ

  • Now that we've met our goal for the first woodblock design (Rickshaw Cart), we'll soon post a modest stretch goal for the second woodblock design. When we reach that goal, we'll "unlock" woodblock #2, and add it to the rewards list. Woodblock designs #3, #4, #5, etc, will follow the same pattern.

    Last updated:
  • We have a running poll at this link.

    You can vote for your favorites here: http://mokuhankan.com/heroes/survey.php

    And see the results here: http://mokuhankan.com/heroes/results.php

    Last updated:
  • Yes! You can choose which designs you want at the end of the Kickstarter campagin, around Sept 1, when we send out an order survey. We'll write the survey to allow for multiples in one order.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! Just choose a pledge level and add the cost of your other items to that pledge. IMPORTANT: YOU MUST MESSAGE ME WITH THE CUSTOM ORDER, OR I WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! :) Don't forget to tell me!

    Last updated:
  • Yes! We'll send you an order survey at the end of the campaign (Around Sept 1) where you can choose which design(s) you'd like, based on your reward level.

    Last updated:
  • I hired my friend Mike Winget to shoot and edit our movie. As you can see, he's got skills.

    Last updated:
  • Jed found this article, which gives several great examples of framing methods:

    http://www.ukiyoe-gallery.com/framing.htm

    The giclees have a beautiful deckle (rough, fibrous) edge. They would look great framed with some breathing room, which allows those handmade edges to show. Because the Japanese paper is slightly translucent, it's best to layer a white board behind the print. If it's mounted over a dark background, it won't have as much brilliance. Jed personally thinks they'd look cool "floating", mounted on a thick board, which allows the paper to stand out in 3D space.

    David prefers to keep his woodblocks in portfolios or tabletop boxes. This allows him to pull the prints out and enjoy them as 3D art objects. In Japan, there is a tradition of changing framed art with the seasons. For this reason, some people display prints on tabletop stands, which they rotate periodically.

    Last updated:
2,422
Backers
$313,341
pledged of $10,400 goal
0
seconds to go
Fb_profile_picture.medium

See full bio

  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    324 backers

    COLORING BOOK – Ukiyo-e Heroes Coloring Book PDF. Every design in the series, in black and white lines.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $40 or more
    You selected

    408 backers

    ONE GICLÉE – 1 digital giclée print of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping. *Note: You can choose your specific designs soon after Sept 1, when we send the order survey.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    106 backers

    ONE GICLÉE + CHIBI – 1 digital giclée print of your choice, plus one Chibi Heroes handmade print, either 'Hammer' or 'Bow'. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $75 or more
    You selected

    237 backers

    TWO GICLÉES – 2 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping. *Note: You can choose your specific designs soon after Sept 1, when we send the order survey.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $85 or more
    You selected

    51 backers

    TWO GICLÉES + CHIBI - 2 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus one Chibi Heroes handmade print, either 'Hammer' or 'Bow'. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping. *Note: You can choose your specific designs soon after Sept 1, when we send the order survey.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $110 or more
    You selected

    139 backers

    THREE GICLÉES – 3 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $130 or more
    You selected

    30 backers

    THREE GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 3 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus both Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    27 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 4 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Infestation' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    5 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 5 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Soul Eater' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    152 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 2 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Fox Moon' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    53 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 3 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of 'The Hero Rests' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    149 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Rickshaw Cart' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    19 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 7 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'I Choose You!' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    7 backers

    ** T H E _ M A I N _ E V E N T _ 6 ** One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Yokai Dracul' design. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $145 or more
    You selected

    60 backers

    FOUR GICLÉES – 4 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $155 or more
    You selected

    29 backers

    ** WOODBLOCK PACK ** – One authentic, hand-made Japanese woodblock print of the 'Rickshaw Cart' design, plus both Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $165 or more
    You selected

    13 backers

    FOUR GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 4 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $180 or more
    You selected

    179 backers

    BENTO BOX – A little bit of everything. 1 handmade woodblock. 1 giclée print. 1 Chibi Hero print. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $20 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $180 or more
    You selected

    39 backers

    FIVE GICLÉES – 5 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $200 or more
    You selected

    12 backers All gone!

    PRINT PARTY! – Visit David Bull's studio and get a lesson in printmaking! Plus, you receive 1 of our main woodblock prints, and both Chibi Heroes prints. (Transportation to Ome City, Tokyo, not included.) Various dates available.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $200 or more
    You selected

    11 backers

    FIVE GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 5 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $215 or more
    You selected

    25 backers

    SIX GICLÉES – 6 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $235 or more
    You selected

    7 backers

    SIX GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 6 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    SEVEN GICLÉES – 7 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $270 or more
    You selected

    106 backers

    DOUBLE WOODBLOCK! – 2 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Double up on one design, or get one of each.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $270 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    SEVEN GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 7 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $285 or more
    You selected

    4 backers

    EIGHT GICLÉES – 8 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $305 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    EIGHT GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 8 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $320 or more
    You selected

    5 backers

    NINE GICLÉES – 9 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $340 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    NINE GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 9 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $355 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    TEN GICLÉES – 10 digital giclée prints of your choice. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $375 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    TEN GICLÉES + DOUBLE CHIBI - 10 digital giclée prints of your choice, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $405 or more
    You selected

    35 backers

    TRIPLE WOODBLOCK! – 3 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Get multiples of one design, or mix and match. *note: Delivery dates will vary based on what designs you order.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $445 or more
    You selected

    14 backers

    THE COMPLETE GICLÉE SET – Giclée prints of every design in the Ukiyo-e Heroes collection! $50 off the usual price! SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $465 or more
    You selected

    5 backers

    THE COMPLETE GICLÉE SET + DOUBLE CHIBI - Giclée prints of every design in the Ukiyo-e Heroes collection, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints. $50 off the usual price! SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $540 or more
    You selected

    19 backers

    FOUR WOODBLOCKS! – 4 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Get multiples of one design, or mix and match. *Note: Delivery dates may be be later than December, based on what designs you order.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $600 or more
    You selected

    19 backers

    THE RONIN RAID: THE COMPLETE GICLÉE SET + DOUBLE CHIBI + ONE WOODBLOCK PRINT – Giclée prints of every design in the Ukiyo-e Heroes collection, plus BOTH Chibi Heroes handmade prints, and one woodblock. $50 off the usual price! SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $15 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $675 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    FIVE WOODBLOCKS! – 5 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Get multiples of one design, or mix and match. SHIPS FREE IN THE USA. For international orders, please add $15. *Note: Delivery dates may be later than December, based on what designs you order.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $800 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    WHOLESALE PACK A – 25 giclée prints of your choice, for resale at your own shop. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $50 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $810 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    SIX WOODBLOCKS! – 6 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Get multiples of one design, or mix and match. SHIPS FREE IN THE USA. For international orders, please add $15. *Note: Delivery dates may be later than December, based on what designs you order.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $945 or more
    You selected

    4 backers

    SEVEN WOODBLOCKS! – 7 handmade woodblock prints. You can specify design choices in our September 1 survey. Get multiples of one design, or mix and match. SHIPS FREE IN THE USA. For international orders, please add $15. *Note: Delivery dates may be later than December, based on what designs you order.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,150 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    WHOLESALE PACK B – 10 of our handmade woodblock prints. SHIPS FREE IN USA. For international orders, please add $50 for shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)