Pulse-quickening, pulsating punished posteriors. Sizzling, steamy and well-spanked. Humorous and hot. And quite often wonderfully cherry red. . .
Those are some of the reasons I call fetish and spanking illustrator Kami Tora the “Renoir of the red ass,” whose fantastic, scarlet hued, drippingly feverish spanking artwork has graced these cherry red pages many a time.
Simply put, he is one of the best spanking illustrators I have seen. And there’s something I dunno, indescribable, about his work that, well, just makes you feel good about being a spanko.
But who really is Kami Tora ?
Let us journey behind-the-scenes and inside the mind of Kami Tora, learn of his muse, his inspirations and techniques, styles of spanking art, his thoughts on anime and manga, other fetishes besides spanking that he draws, and more. [Related Post: Kami was featured in an interview focusing on 5 of his pieces on CRR in this September 2007 article.]
**On a side note, I also want to say a special thank you to Kami Tora. Via correspondence over the past few years, he has been very cool and gracious, humble and kind to me. And for that, and for his stunning artistry, I am most grateful.**
Thank you Kami Tora for taking the time to chat with The Cherry Red Report. It is an honor and a pleasure. So Kami Tora means “paper tiger” I believe? Why did you choose that name? and what does it mean?
I thought Paper Tiger had a good double meaning, since I draw a lot in a manga style, but I’m not Japanese. And of course I draw on paper. The word “kami” has a few other meanings in Japanese, including “God,” which sounds even cooler, but I’m too humble to use “God Tiger.”
Well I thought of a new nickname for you: the “Renoir of the red ass.” What do you think?
Heh, well I would never consider myself actually among super artists (old or modern), but I’ll admit my work resonates with true connoisseurs, heads of state, and the raincoat crowd.
lol and the spanko blogger crowd….So when and how did you first get into drawing the spanking fetish?
I can’t really remember. Probably, I was doing an “ecchi” (softcore) pic, and thought it was too lifeless. I gave the character some emotion by adding a red butt and a pout. Boffo. I also might have been influenced by another drawing that I thought was interesting/provoking. Then again, I might have been doing a bondage pic, and realized, “What can you do to such a girl, all trussed up?!?” Aside from reading bad poetry to her, hey, you could give her spankin’!
No doubt about that. Would you consider yourself a lifelong spanko/spanking enthusiast?
Well, definitely. I mean, there are so many deserving girls out there, one couldn’t possibly spank them all in one lifetime (^_^).
Indeed. But what is it about spanking that appeals to you ?
That’s hard to pin down. I find the legs/butt of a girl the most fascinating part of her body. Spanking it seems like such a natural urge, it’s hard to explain. I don’t really mean the way spankings are depicted in my art (which is often waaaay over the top), but just a loving tap or pat speaks volumes. Is it a gentle sort of “alpha” expression? Probably.
There is also the aspect of having a woman’s undivided attention. I think most women are hopeless multi-taskers, and it’s nice to think of ways to get them to focus on the moment (OTK for an example). No subtext, no dwelling on tasks undone, no thoughts about the future, she’s getting a spanking now. Plus, a girl with her ass in the air is indescribably transcendent.
I read in your intriguing illustrated “meme” that you created for AnimeOtk that you are “obsessed with the female form”? And tanned bottoms as well ?
Well, female bottoms yes, although they don’t necessarily have to be spanked. I find it really interesting, almost annoying, how easily a woman can make a man take notice simply with a look or a pose. Honestly, seeing a good-looking woman arching her back or bending over never fails. One would think it would eventually lose its luster! Maybe when I’m 100 or something.
What spanking scenarios have you not drawn, that you would like to someday?
Tough one. I’ve drawn a LOT of scenarios, and have tons of sketches waiting for finishing. I generally try to pick a scene that I haven’t done recently. I find myself going for more “women in authority” getting spanked, than schoolgirls/brats these days (which is kinda too easy).
I do have some upcoming themes that I haven’t had time to do. One is sort of a modern “Sweet Gwen” without the John Willie bondage, more about a hapless girl who can’t hold a job without going over someone’s knee.
I also have a retro ’50′s-’60′s zone buzzing in my head. A lament, really, about the “good old days” of domestic discipline where the man was still king of his castle. Kind of an “I Spank Lucy” show. Another one is an F/M series (again DD) about a married couple in their late 30s/early 40s. They live in a suburbia filled with hot teen girls who constantly tease the husband with lascivious behavior, and the wife must constantly “correct” him.
Very intriguing! If I may ask, do you have a lot of spanking experience in real-life?
I wouldn’t say I have “a lot” of experience, Every girlfriend I ever had has gotten a playful spanking at one time or another. It’s not something I insist on or anything, it just eventually kind of happens. I definitely enjoy turning a girl’s tush a little pink.
Amen to that. I’m wondering if you draw for a living or do you have a regular, vanilla day-job?
I do have a normal job, but at least it sometimes involves art and drawing.
If you were to pick the top-5 artists that influenced you the most, who would they be and why?
–Satoshi Urushihara-for his clean, deliberate style and character design.
–Minnarm-for his twisted mind and raw depictions.
–Bill Ward-for his gravity-defying women, his style, and his massive body of work.
–Don Martin-for his effortless ability to tell a story.
–Whizzer Black-for his brillant imagination.
And how about favorite current artists, erotic or otherwise?
I very much enjoy the art of Gil Elvgren and George Petty, though they aren’t really current. It’s fascinating to study classic pinup artists who were trained illustrators. There’s no way for me to channel their talent, but I like to think that they leave an impression on my subconscious when I get to the drawing board.
Do you read graphic novels and comics and such for inspiration and ideas?
I don’t read much current stuff, but I do collect the post-Golden age mags like Creepy, Eerie and old Heavy Metal.
What are your thoughts on anime/manga and how your artwork fits into that artistic culture?
The Japanese manga culture is singular. At the same time, it’s massive. I am occasionally asked to contribute my art to “doujinshis,” which are sort of amateur fan mags (both adult and otherwise). Twice a year, the Japanese hold Comic Market, where all these books are sold and shared.
These shows are maybe the biggest in the world! Ironically, my anime-styled work is more readily accepted by true manga artists than Western fans of the anime genre. Hmmm. I actually don’t really dwell on critics’ opinions, I’m my own worst critic, and I sometimes cringe when looking at some of my own artwork.
Your art, in my opinion, combines sizzling, very expressive erotica with good-natured humor and fun–is that something you shoot for when working on a new piece?
I think my greatest artistic strength is my ability to get an idea across, not in my actual artistic talent. I try to use a lot of cartoony language and find a focal point to emphasize. Sometimes it works, and it brings a lot of energy. If I can convey energy and expression, the viewer can forgive my less-than-perfect rendering! I often think of humorous/silly things as I draw, and try to incorporate them into the pics.
My subject matter sometimes gets heavy/violent/intense. Some viewers dislike these aspects and think, “Man, this guy’s f***ing scary!” That’s the danger of doing SM/rough themes, and I don’t censor myself much. If I can take the edge off with some humor or funny gags, I’ll do it. My artworks are just sexy drawings, not a window to my soul or anything deep. That doesn’t mean I don’t take the work seriously, I do.
You also have an amazing skill for drawing a bottom that looks like it is actually glowing. How do you do that?
When I do a spanking pic, obviously two things are paramount: The face and the bottom. The facial expression sets the tone of the whole thing, and that part’s done in the pencil/ink stage. The “glowing” butt is usually trickier, and I experiment a lot in Photoshop here.
I always do the final “red cheeks” in the last few steps, since background color, flesh tones, hair colors, etc will determine the colors on a girl’s tush. I won’t get technical, but it does take some time to get the “glow” the way I want it. It’s a part of the pic I can’t afford to screw up.
On average, to create a color illustration, how long does it take from start to finish?
On average, probably about 5 hours from start to finish, sometimes less, sometimes a LOT more. If I get the line art right quickly, it’s good, because I still have the interest and energy to color and experiment. If the line art is giving me trouble, I usually don’t color it the same day because I’m burned out by then.
And what is your technical process in terms of drawing and sketching? i.e. do you start with a sketch first and then…? is it pen and ink and then..?
I start drawing with a blue pencil. If things go well, I can ink right on top of the blue. If things go bad, I might use a light table to keep the parts I like and take another shot at “saving” it. If things go REALLY bad, I start over. I often won’t ink, since I suck at it and sometimes you lose a lot of personality with ink. Depending on the pic, I might add some pencil shading before scanning it into Photoshop.
Now, some artists like to color, but not me. Unless I have some VERY specific things buzzing in my head about color, it’s a real chore to choose the colors. And the coloring stage is hard to push through to completion, since it’s kinda busy work, and I already know how things will turn out as I’m coloring. Rarely, I’ll stumble into something while I color to make the pic a whole lot better, and that’s cool.
Generally speaking, where do you get your ideas and inspirations from?
Everywhere. Really, everywhere. Sometimes I’ll see a photo that screams for a spanking treatment. Sometimes I’ll see another artist’s pic and either adapt an idea from it, or reverse the roles, or something. I never simply re-draw or mimic a pic, rather, I use it for a pose or a look or lighting, etc and change as much as I can to make a new scene. Sometimes I’ll just pull something from my brain that’s been buzzing around.
I’m sure you receive a lot of feedback and fan-mail on your artwork? Any memorable letters that you recall ?
I do get lots of feedback, which is really, really fun. Artists are vain, and they want acknowledgement more than anything else (which is why they always die poor). I’m always looking to contribute to other sites and forums. The tonnage of notes and comments always encourages me to continue. I guess “memorable” could mean a lot, but I often get requests that are VERY specific and personal.
While obviously I wish you drew spanking illos 100% of the time, I know you draw many other erotica/fetish styles, such as, I believe it is called futanari[?], which is not my thing at all, but can you describe this particular fetish briefly, and what its general appeal is? I”m also wondering why, as your animeotk meme states, it’s not really your thing, so why do you draw the, ummm, well ‘chicks with dicks’ fetish?
There are a bunch of subgenres of “futanari.” Some are characters with both male and female parts, some are girls with giant clitorises (clitori?), some are just males altered to look like females. I don’t draw men that look like women, I draw the first category; females with male parts. I’m not really surprised there’s a “dickgirl” (futanari) fetish.
Straight porn, in general, focuses on two things; the girl and the dick. Straight men don’t care about watching a man, but they totally identify with cock. It seems a natural progression to combine both aspects on one character to “avoid the middleman” so to speak. I have lots of women who want me to draw this particular fetish, too.
I guess women like to fantasize about having male parts (if only for a while), to experience the other side of the coin. Not very often will I draw a confident dickgirl, rather, she’s confused or apprehensive when she discovers her new “equipment”. I guess it’s just a goofy scenario that can be amusing, especially when she can’t keep her hands off her dick, which is what men struggle with every day!
Out of all the fetishes you draw [bondage/futanari/spanking/etc], which one is your favest?
That’s a tough one. It really depends on my mood/attitude, and I enjoy them all for different reasons. Probably the easiest to draw is femdom, since visually it’s effortless to depict, and scenarios are simple to come up with. The most difficult would have to be bondage, because of the elaborate trappings of even the most straightforward scene, let alone scenes with fetishistic gear and clothing (one can only draw so many latex suits, buckles, and D-rings before going insane).
The most emotionally charged, or dramatic pics are the spankings, since things can really play to the character or theme. I could do, say, an “after spanking” pic and send a totally different message depending on the look on the girl’s face; is she petulant, horny, defiant, satisfied, etc.
When you are not illustrating amazing erotica, what are some of your non-kinky, vanilla hobbies and interests?
The DVD/BlueRay has given me a chance to revisit old TV shows I remember as a kid, and also discover what’s known as “Grindhouse” [pulp fiction] flicks to a much greater degree. Other than that, the usual fun crapola; going out with friends, etc.
Speaking of side interests, anything good playing on your CD player, or iPod, these days?
After the death of Grunge, I had sort of given up on music, but the iPod/mp3 revolution and a few great new bands have energized me. I listen to lots of Radiohead and Gorillaz along with greats like Elvis Costello and The Doors.
Actually, it makes a mildly interesting side note that many of my hentai/erotica is deliberately titled after songs or song lyrics. I must have gotten the idea from a Japanese bondage artist way back in the day known as “Union of the Snake.” I thought (and still do) that’s the coolest name for an artist: Union of the Snake.
Any future plans for the art of Kami Tora that we should be aware of?
I’m doing a hardcore story for the BANG! paysite (sorry, no spanking in that one). Still finishing requests off from 2008, and just a few more to go. I’m still kicking around some more pics for my spanking-themed deck of cards. Lots and LOTS of sketches laying around waiting to be completed.
Sounds great! Thank you for your time Kami Tora, and keep up the wonderful artistry
Thank you, Dave, for the interview, and I appreciate you for all your work!
* * *