Creator / Writer
James Smith

Co-creator / Art / Design
Brandon Lee Kitajchuk

Tabi No Hana logo by
Tim Kamerer

Edited by
Kelly Malone


Deep in the swamps, during an early age of steam, Kaiashi Numa lives with his family in Hiyokuna Shitchi. Running from his past, he has put his entire family in danger with his genius invention: a time traveling pendant.

 

This video was created to showcase the first issue of Tabi No Hana on our Kickstarter page. Music by Rémi Boille. Video production by Brian Swarthout.

 

Tabi is a story about a families struggle to cope with misguided decisions. The tale begins in the swamps of Hiyokuna Shitchi, a fertile swamp valley in the middle of an island continent. Kaishi Numa and his family are living here, hiding from his past life as a military scientist. The families unassuming tree home stands tall in the abundant farming district of the town and things seem to be relatively quiet and peaceful. However, when you’re running from your past, that past has a tendency to catch up with you.

 
 
 

I fell in love with Tabi right away. James created an immersive world with characters that cut right to your emotional center. The world is highly detailed, so the descriptions in the script are loose and simple. James left the visual interpretation of Tabi wide open for me to explore and as the illustrator and designer for the comic, this working style is much preferred. The open interpretation allows me to dial in my own expression of the characters and their world that are subtle yet inviting. I can, for instance, invent the families pet cat right on the page or give Utsu her own, quirky sense of humor by having her balance a spoon on her nose at the dinner table.

 

Tabi is single handedly the largest creative undertaking I have endeavored. We all wear a lot of hats taking on these personal passion works. For Tabi I have quite the hat collection. For the comic I assume the role of penciler, inker, letterist, colorist and book designer. I also design all our graphics from social media to Kickstarter campaigning. I design and develop the website where you can read Tabi online and in real-time, sort of like a webcomic ;)

I work with our local printers, make bookmarks and stickers and any other little designerly thing you can think of. I love it. I’m a maker by nature and by trade. I work. I like a body of work. And above all I love storytelling. So does James. And he’s good at it. We share the love of meaningful and emotional storytelling. Tabi is our story. We’re telling it. We’re living it.

 

Our first Tabi book. We print and bind locally in Portland, Oregon with Minuteman Press Gresham and Portland Bindery. The book is 120 pages, perfect bound and chronicles the first three chapters of Tabi’s epic tale.

 

In a way we approached making Tabi somewhat backwards. It seems there are two key ways to go about making an indie comic aside from just funding the entire thing yourself. 1) Do a webcomic and grow an audience you can bring to Kickstarter or 2) Develop a series bible for the comic and shop around for a publisher. James and I just dove right in. We had no following on social media. We had no webcomic people already liked. We had no funding and we didn’t even consider a publisher. We just started making the first comic and launched a Kickstarter campaign on a hunch we could get people interested in the comic by streaming on Twitch and hopping into the indie comic community on the fly. This is what we call the “from the hip” method.

Things ultimately worked out. We now have that beautiful book pictured above and it was created and produced 100% in Portland, Oregon. Along the way, we learned a lot and often changed directions. We’ve had two successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns for Tabi. James and I have attended a handful of comic cons including Wizard World, Rose City and EUCON. We have personally distributed about 1,000 copies of Tabi No Hana: In All Its Forms ( our first single issue comic ). This covers Vancouver, BC down to Eugene, Oregon and somewhere in the mid-west. Road trips with boxes of comics in the back of the car. Walking into comic shop after comic shop. Pitching your comic. Succeeding. Failing. Making friends. Getting turned away at the door. Experienced all this plus so much more. But hey, driving around Seattle all day with your Deadhead uncle listening to music and pushing your comic on all the local shops is actually a great time :)

 
 

What I love about Tabi is the constant need to continue exploring it. Whether its illustrating the comics, concepting future chapters or figuring out how to get 250 books made in your hometown: Tabi delivers on all fronts. You could call it a grind, and maybe it is in a lot of ways. But to me its an exercise. I love drawing, creating and telling stories. I want to make comics. I consider myself pretty lucky to have Tabi as my focus in this arena. Tabi is the largest body of artistic works I have ever produced, and its only the beginning.

James and I are going to continue telling the story of A Flower for Every Time through to its end. We hope you follow along and enjoy this epic tale with a timetravel twist. We’ve already shown you so much about the world and story of Tabi No Hana, yet there’s still so much more to show and tell. Every time I finish illustrating a script I already can’t wait to start the next one. I hope you can’t wait to read the next one :D

I’ll leave you with a taste of our first book. And remember, the adventure continues over at tabinohana.com!

 
 
 
 
 

More works…