Ghibli, say 'yes' .... please!

... a web site to gather support for a proposed woodblock print project ...

[Spring, 2016] Woodblock printmaker David Bull speaking from Tokyo ... For quite some time, I and my crew at the Mokuhankan workshop have been thinking that we would like to create a series of prints based on some well-known scenes and characters from the Studio Ghibli animated films. I tried to approach the Ghibli people about licensing their intellectual property for this use back in the autumn of 2014, but was rebuffed without even getting a chance to explain what I wanted to do.

Since that time, we here at Mokuhankan have been extremely busy with our new Asakusa shop, but I have not forgotten about this. I felt that their refusal only came because I had not actually had a chance to make a proper presentation to their staff. I felt confident that if only they were somehow able to hear my proposal - and see actual woodblock prints that we had made - they would respond more positively. So over the past few months I have snatched some spare time here and there, and have pressed ahead and actually produced a few copies of a woodblock print of the type that I have in mind for a Ghibli project - carving and printing it by hand completely with the traditional Japanese methods.

Our idea is that we would produce an initial set of 12 designs, issuing them one per month over the course of a year, including a storage case that will also act as a display stand, as you see here. The images would be sourced from a selection of Ghibli animated features, and it is important to note that I am not intending these images to be adaptations or 'parody', of the type we have been making with our well-known Ukiyoe Heroes prints. I wish to play it 'straight', adapting the original scenes only as much as is necessary to bring them to life as beautiful woodblock prints. I want to get proper permission for this project, get their input on each design as the project moves forward, and of course compensate them for the use of their IP.

So this is where it stands - as of the end of March, 2016. I have prepared the sample print, and must now try and present the idea to the Ghibli people. The last week in March is the time when most Japanese organizations change their personnel into different jobs, so I intend to wait a bit and head over there in early April, to try and arrange a chance to present my proposal.

I have in mind to keep the prints priced as reasonably as possible, in the same range as our current Ukiyoe Heroes subscription prints. I will make no limited editions - I want to keep our young craftsmen/women as busy as possible!

If you would like to add your voice to the people who would like to encourage the Ghibli Studio to allow this project to move forward, please use the form below to do so. The input will not be sent to Ghibli directly; I have no wish to annoy them. Simply I will collect and collate the responses, and take them with me when I visit. Your encouragement may help this move forward, or it may all be for nothing. We'll see ...

Here's a shot of the initial sample print held under raking light to show the physical texture of the blend of pigment and paper ... I can't wait to get this project up and running!

Update (fall 2016): Last spring I was able to deliver the package to a young lady at the Ghibli office, who promised that it would get to 'the appropriate person'. Months and years have gone by, and I received no reply, so the next step was the production of this video