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RISD (The Rhode Island School of Art and Design) is hosting an art show—now open and running until January 9, 2015—“What Nerve!” and it spotlights alternative artists, several of them with one foot in cartooning:
What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from 1960 to the present that has been largely overlooked and undervalued. At the heart of What Nerve! are four mini-exhibitions based on crucial shows, spaces, and groups in Chicago (the Hairy Who), San Francisco (Funk), Ann Arbor (Destroy All Monsters), and Providence (Forcefield)—places outside the artistic focal point of New York. These moments are linked together by six influential or intersecting artists: H. C. Westermann, Jack Kirby, William Copley, Christina Ramberg, Gary Panter, and Elizabeth Murray.
All of these artists ran against the modernist grain and its emphasis on theory. Rather than distancing their art through irony or institutional critique, the artists in What Nerve! seized imagery and ideas from vernacular sources as diverse as comics and pottery, pulling and reshaping material from their environments to tackle a variety of subjects with equal doses of satire and sincerity. What Nerve! looks at their distinctive idioms, shown in works that are often earnest, sometimes narrative, frequently transgressive, and always individualistic.
The show is curated by Dan Nadel, who has been spending his time profitably since PictureBox folded.
Nadel has also put together the catalog for the show, What Nerve! , which spotlights all of the above with essays by Nicole Rudick, Roger Brown and more. I WANT THIS BOOK.
The RISD exhibit will have some events as well:
Design the Night opening celebration Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 5-9 pm | free Critical Encounters with Body, Place, and Time Friday, September 19, 2014 | 1-4 pm | free Gallery conversations with artists, curators, and art historians explore key issues emerging from What Nerve! Screenings: Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists Sundays, September 21 and October 12, 2014 | 2-4 pm | free
I said I was going to be happy and puppies today, but I feel I should note that Marvel’s executive editor Tom Brevoort responded to the whole Milo Manara thing on his formspring:
Q: Mr. Brevoort, what is your opinion on the debate over M. Manara’s variant cover of Spider Woman? A similar quarrel happened few months back for one cover on DC’s Teen Titans #1. Personally, I agree that women in comics are often “over-sexualized”. However, I am wondering whether this criticism is going too far. It is sort of becoming more like a form of conservatism. It almost seems like some people want to completely remove sexual thematics from comics.
I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.
By that same token, Milo Manara has been working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say “Manara cover”, his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.
It’s also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye. Maybe others feel differently. But given that the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose, it seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.
But all that said, it’s the right of every reader not to like something.
And fortunately, it’s a variant cover, so people will likely need to seek it out if they want it, rather than it being the display piece for the book.
I think a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point, and definitely seems to be bubbling up from the zeitgeist. That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.
Ya hear that internet? NOTHING GETS BETTER UNLESS IDEAS ARE COMMUNICATED. As in IT’S OKAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS. Drops mic.
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In commenting on his FB page on how drawing a sexy cover got attention at EW.com, artist J. Scott Campbell posted this classic Spider-Man cover, strongly reminiscent of the Milo Manara cover that everyone is STILL talking about.
It is true that the butt-in-the-air arachnid is a classic pose…
…but it is equally untrue that the covers are equivalent. Unless J. Scott Campbell has a forty year career drawing sexy men and is well known for his gay erotica…
Reading the EW comments, the false equivalency of the objectification of men and women in comics is brought up once again. As it is every five minutes. Obviously Spidey has always had a nice butt. But the men in comics are drawn HEROICALLY not sexually.
Can you see the difference?
Has this canard—which is brought up any time the over sexualization of women in comics is discussed—been given a name yet? The False Sexualization Fallacy? The Peter Parker Paradox? Wilma?
Cartoonist/comics educator Ben Towle likes to take up half the year in alphabet themed art projects; once it was monsters then animals. This time he drew 26 different musicians in a project called AlphaBands. All 26 are up now, he explains and though not everyone was a hit single, it was also a technical exercise.
Also as usual, though, I used this exercise not just as an excuse to draw regularly, but also to learn some new tools. All of these were drawn and colored in Digital Manga Studio on my Surface Pro 2. I also started investigating some of Ray Frenden’s custom Manga Studio brushes. The CCR illustration, for example, was colored with his watercolor wash brushes and you can see some of his dry media brushes creating charcoal-like effects in some of the later drawings. If you want to try some of these brushes out for yourself, you can buy them from his shop here. They’re well worth picking up.
This begins my venture into adding more performance-based designs to the line. You already love the cozy, uber-soft Ezzere shirts that are great at wicking moisture…these sleek new shirts kick it up a notch. These babies are meant to REALLY do work…get you all the way to race day, toeing the line looking fierce and strong, motivate you to dig to the finish…then in true #SweatsintheCity style rock them the whole day after.
As a follow-up to my last post about Queen Anne’s Revenge, here is the man himself—the terrible Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. I show him in close-up so you can see the slow-match fuses he used to weave into his whiskers and set alight before attacking a ship. You can find him in P is for Pirate, now available in bookstores—or drop me a line in the comments for an autographed copy.
Pirate captains were elected by their crews and could be voted out. To keep his crew in line, Blackbeard constantly showed himself to be more fierce, more outrageous than anyone else on board. Seated with his rogues during dinner, Blackbeard fired a pistol underneath the table and wounded one of the crew, just to remind them who he was.
Blackbeard had to be mindful of his crew’s appetite for liquor—for rum, an ardent spirit distilled from molasses. Without rum, a crew would mutiny, as this excerpt from Blackbeard’s log attests:
‘Such a Day, Rum all out: – Our Company somewhat sober: – A Damned Confusion amongst us! – Rogues a plotting; – great Talk of Separation. – So I looked sharp for a Prize; – such a Day took one, with a great deal of Liquor on Board, so kept the Company hot, damned hot, then all Things went well again.’
these two are off to the big apple...and i'm feeling a little bittersweet about it. kinda fell in love with these sweet little faces the last couple of weeks.
it's always such a bittersweet feeling when you let go of an original painting (for me, anyway). i don't know why...maybe because each one of them are like my babies (if i had them). i get so attached. however, nothing makes me happier than custom work and knowing that some sweet little child will be smiling for a long time to come. yep, that's the best part of my *job*...and i use that world very loosely as it NEVER feels like work to me.
Star 82 Review is an art and lit online and print magazine looking for your best original unpublished work and lyrical language featuring the displaced person and the humorous oddness of everyday life. We’re looking for 20-1000 words of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and photos or images you’ve created that tell a story. Combinations of art and writing (erasure texts, tiny stories with photo, etc.) are also welcome. We are currently seeking work for Winter 2.4.
Deadline: November 1, 2014. Optional prompts for 2.4: a new view; talking with someone in or out a window; cameras, screens; glass; story that revolves around keyboards (piano or other); lyrical political landscape; tourists in winter; barriers; misunderstandings; hats See our general guidelines here. Alisa Golden editorATstar82reviewDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
Queen Anne’s Revenge, that is. Queen Anne’s Revenge is the name of Blackbeard Teach’s flagship—though I have to admit I don’t know why he chose that name. Queen Anne ruled Great Britain & Ireland while Blackbeard was alive, so maybe he considered himself to be a privateer on behalf of the Crown? Was he not happy with the War of the Spanish Succession? I’d like it if, in the comments, someone could offer a better reason behind Teach’s name for his ship. Writers Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift & pirate aficionado Daniel Defoe flourished under Queen Anne, so maybe her reign really was culture’s balmiest day—but why did she need to be avenged?
Anyway, he only captained Queen Anne’s Revenge for 3 years before she sunk off North Carolina. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a sunken pirate ship for Eve Bunting’s new book, P is for Pirate. It was also a chance to pay tribute to fantastic illustrator Lloyd K. Townsend. When I say ‘pay tribute to’, of course I mean ‘steal shamelessly from’. I’ve admired Townsend since I was a wee lad, seeing his paintings in National Geographic. One in particular, from 1979, shows the sunken Spanish treasure ship Tolosa. This was my—cough—inspiration for R is for Revenge. Hey, at least I turned the ship around to face the other way!
Arlo’s grandmother wants him to join her for a visit to the art museum, and he is not a bit happy about it. But he’s in for a fun treat when he actually gets there. Far from being the stuffy pictures he expected, this artwork holds a secret behind its serious facade.
As Arlo wanders through the museum, he sees the art as it’s supposed to look, but a flap can then be lifted to reveal the surprise inside. As grandmother comments on the seriousness of the art, Arlo smiles and laughs at what hides behind.
Art doesn’t have to be boring, as Arlo finds out in Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure! And kids will laugh along with him as they enjoy the fun.
The drawings at Brad Young Art capture life’s little moments. From pen and ink to watercolor, and gardening to food to neighborhood spots, it’s easy to get lost sifting through Brad’s mix of doodles and sketches.
Sarah Goodreau, an illustrator living in Amsterdam, has a distinct style marked with the warmth you’ll find in children’s picture books, as well as the mystery of surrealist landscapes. In addition to illustration, Sarah is interested in video and stop-motion animation.
At Citizen Sketcher, Montreal-based artist Marc Taro Holmes chronicles his location sketching, travel drawing, and plein air painting. His work-in-progress is refreshing, from airy landscapes to spirited pieces full of movement. When viewing his work, you can picture his hand moving across the page.
It’s easy to scroll through the black-and-white illustrations at Slightly Chilled Porcupineand lose track of time — at first glance, the drawings are simple, but the messages, while often quirky, are not to be dismissed. (Also, who doesn’t love porcupines?)
Helen: A Literary Magazine is still accepting submissions for our inaugural issue. We're based in Las Vegas, Nevada and are looking for work that honors our city and state.
We are seeking short literary fiction between 500-5,000 words, flash fiction between 50-1,500 words, poems (12 pages MAX), creative nonfiction between 1,500-5,000 words. Please send us work that honors our theme: "Strong Female Lead."
Our guest fiction editor for our inaugural issue is Michael Czyzniejewski and our guest poetry editor is Karen Craigo.
For more information on guidelines, please visit here our website.
NonBinary Review, the quarterly literary publication of Zoetic Press, wants art and literature that tiptoes the tightrope between now and then. Art that makes us see our literary offerings in new ways. We want language that makes us reach for a dictionary, a tissue, or both. Words in combinations and patterns that leave the faint of heart a little dizzy. We want insight, deep diving, broad connections, literary conspiracies, personal revelations, or anything you want to tell us about the themes we’ve chosen. Literary forms are changing as we use technology and typography to find new ways to tell stories—for work that doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre, we’ve created a separate category to properly evaluate submissions of a hybrid or experimental nature.
Each issue will focus on a single theme.
Issue #1 (June 2014): Grimm’s Fairy Tales is available for free download from the Apple store.
Issue #3 (reading period closes Oct. 31, publication December 2014): L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz
Issue #4 (reading period closes Jan. 31, 2015; publication March 2015): Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable
We are a paying market--1 cent per word for prose/hybrid work, $10 flat fee per poem, and $25 flat fee for art.
Please note that at present, the Zoetic app is accessible through iPad only, with future updates to include iPhone and Android versions. When submitting your work, please note that if selected for publication, your work will appear in electronic form only.
For more detailed guidelines, please expand the guidelines box of the genre you’re submitting to on our Submittable page.
If and Only If: A Journal of Body Image and Eating Disorders seeks submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art work for our inaugural issue to be published in Fall 2014. We are seeking works related to body image, the body, and eating disorders in all of their various definitions.
Send up to five (5) poems, 6000 words of fiction/nonfiction, or three (3) images to the editors at:
by October 1, 2014. Please include a brief bio and your contact information along with your submission. All work should be submitted as an attachment. Written work should be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Visual submissions should be in .jpeg or .gif format.
More information and full submission guidelines at our website.
“desire to discover materials for my work in modern life never leaves me … and, though I have occasionally been betrayed by my love into themes somewhat trifling and commonplace, the conviction that possessed me that I was speaking – or rather painting – the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, rendered the production of real-life pictures an unmixed delight. In obedience to this impulse I began work on a small work suggested by some lady-archers, whose feats had amused me at the seaside … The subject was trifling, and totally devoid of character interest; but the girls are true to nature, and the dresses will be a record of the female habiliments of the time.”
After Gwendolen Harleth’s encounter with Daniel Deronda in Leubronn in Chapters 1 and 2, there’s a flashback to Gwendolen’s life in the year leading up to that meeting, with Chapters 9 to 11 focusing on the Archery Meeting, where she first meets Henleigh Grandcourt, and its consequences. In the England of the past archery was the basis of military and political power, most famously enabling the English to defeat the French at Agincourt. In the later nineteenth century it is now a leisure pursuit for upper-class women. This may be seen as symptomatic of the decline or even decadence of the upper class since it is now associated with an activity which Frith suggests is “trifling and commonplace.” A related symptom of that decline is the devotion of aristocratic and upper-class men, such as Grandcourt and Sir Hugo Mallinger, to a life centred on hunting and shooting.
The Frith painting shows a young female archer wearing a fashionable and no doubt extremely expensive dress and matching hat. This fits well with the novel for Gwendolen takes great care in her choice of a dress that will enhance her striking figure and make her stand out at the Archery Meeting, since “every one present must gaze at her” (p. 89), especially Grandcourt. The reader may similarly be inclined to gaze at the figure in the painting. One might say that together with her bow and arrow Gwendolen dresses to kill, an appropriate expression for arrows can kill though in her case she wishes only to kill Grandcourt metaphorically: “My arrow will pierce him before he has time for thought” (p. 78). Readers of the novel will discover that light-hearted thoughts about killing Grandcourt will take a more serious turn later.
With the coming of Grandcourt into the Wancester neighbourhood through renting Diplow Hall, the thoughts of young women and especially their mothers turn to thoughts of marriage – there is obvious literary allusion to the plot of Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Bingley’s renting of Netherfield Park creates a similar effect. The Archery Meeting is the counterpart to the ball in Pride and Prejudice since it is an opportunity for women to display themselves to the male gaze in order to attract eligible husbands and no man is more eligible than Grandcourt. Whereas Mr Darcy eventually turns out to be the perfect gentleman, in Eliot’s darker vision Grandcourt has degenerated into a sadist, “a remnant of a human being” (p. 340), as Deronda calls him. Though Gwendolen is contemptuous of the Archery Meeting as marriage-market, she cannot help being drawn into it as she believes at this point that ultimately a woman of her class, background, and upbringing has no viable alternative to marriage.
While Grandcourt’s moving into Diplow Hall together with his likely attendance of the Archery Meeting become the central talking points of the neighbourhood among Gwendolen and her circle, the narrator casually mentions another matter that is being ignored – “the results of the American war” (p. 74). Victory for the North in the Civil War established the United States as a single nation, one which would ultimately become a great power. There is a similar passing reference later to the Prussian victory over the Austrians at “the world-changing battle of Sadowa” (p. 523), a major step towards the emergence of a unified German nation. While the English upper class are living trivial lives the world is changing around them and Britain’s time as the dominant world power may be ending.
Though the eponymous Deronda does not feature in this part of the novel, he is in implicit contrast to Gwendolen and the upper-class characters as he is preoccupied with these larger issues and uninvolved in trivial activities like archery or hunting and finally commits himself to the ideal of creating a political identity for the Jews. When he tells Gwendolen near the end of the novel of his plans, she is at first uncomprehending but is forced to confront the existence and significance of great events that she previously had ignored through being preoccupied with such “trifling” matters as making an impression at the Archery Meeting: “… she felt herself reduced to a mere speck. There comes a terrible moment to many souls when the great movements of the world, the larger destinies of mankind … enter like an earthquake into their own lives — when the slow urgency of growing generations turns into the tread of an invading army or the dire clash of civil war” (p. 677). She will no longer be oblivious of something like “the American war.” By the end of the novel the reader looking at the painting on the front cover may realize that though this woman who resembles Gwendolen remains trapped in triviality and superficiality, the character created in the mind of the reader by the words of the novel has moved on from that image and undergone a fundamental alteration in consciousness.
K. M. Newton is Professor Emeritus at the University of Dundee. He is the editor, with Graham Handley, of the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.
For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog. Subscribe to only Oxford World’s Classics articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.
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Image credit: The Fair Toxophilites by W. P. Frith. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
The Articles were the pirates’ ethical guidelines which set out rules for behavior & working conditions aboard ship. New crew members signed them before becoming part of the ship’s company. Did you know that the pirate captain was elected—and could be voted out if he didn’t meet the crew’s expectations?
Pirates who couldn’t read or write made an X at the bottom of the contract and a clerk would write next to it, “John Manders (or whatever the sailor’s name was), his mark.”
This will be the last By Its Cover for a few months, so I thought I’d do something special. Today we’re going to look at the Image Expo teaser images shown at SDCC 2014.
To be clear, these aren’t necessarily covers. In theory, they’re teaser images intended to get people interested in each series, though half of the teasers look like they just used the first issue’s cover art.
When Torsten Adair suggested the topic, I was initially hesitant. I made a conscious decision to focus on the best covers each week – partly in hopes of inspiring people to create more visually diverse covers – but these Image Expo images range from great to distinctly not-great. Though it’s possible for us to learn just as much (or more) from seeing people’s failures as their successes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I almost feel like the column you are about to read needs a warning. I was going easy on the covers before; we’re about to go critical.
Methodology: I purposely avoided reading the descriptions of each book until after I’d looked at the corresponding teaser image. I then showed the images to a couple of friends who also knew nothing about the books, to see if their impressions differed. What follows are the results.
I’ve decided to go through these in reverse order from how the books were announced, because I wanted to start off with an example of perfection. Sleek and stylish, this teaser doesn’t say much, but in a tantalizing way that makes me want to know more.
The way the syringe icon doubles as a pill is perfect. The texture inside the icon wasn’t really necessary, but it works regardless. Futura is one of those sturdy, timeless fonts that’s ridiculously overused, yet never gets old. And like any proper teaser, it tells me the month and year it’s coming out.
That said, based on my own experience, I’m betting there are a lot of non-designers out there who consider this image boring. But I’m not sure that can be helped.
Tooth & Clawl? Tooth &…Crawl? Crawl? Clawl?
It took me two minutes looking over this image before I realized it said “Tooth & Claw 1.” I can understand putting the “1″ in there so that the ampersand is centered (and it’s a great ampersand, by the way), but the number’s similarity to the lowercase “l” hurts the title’s readability. Plus, what do you do with Tooth & Claw 2 and beyond? Since all other numbers are wider than “1,” the ampersand will either no longer be centered, or the title is going to look cramped.
Also, the lowercase “l” looks weird with the upper serif coming off the wrong side like that.
But the title treatment isn’t the only problem. My friends and I all found this cover to be visually boring, and I couldn’t figure out why. I’m a fan of Busiek’s writing, so I want to like this. The image is well drawn and well composed. I dig symmetrical compositions. And it’s an image of a warthog doing magic! So why does it make me want to scroll away quickly to something more visually pleasant?
The problem is the colors. Instead of being used to create depth, they’re flattening the image out. The old staple of warm-and-cold contrast is being used for the background, but the gradient meets in the center as a dull gray. The blue orb sits in the cold area of the gradient, where there is the least contrast, and likewise all the brownish red elements sit in the warm area of the gradient.
The warthog, who should be the focus of the piece, is colored entirely in very desaturated colors that push the focus to the less gray background elements. Even the glowing light in the character’s hands is gray, instead of a vibrant white. The glowing objects around the character are separated from the light blue background with a strange warm gray glow that flattens them out, making it look like the character is sitting (well, floating) in front of a painted wall instead of summoning light. From a distance, the image balances out to dull gray and brown.
A better approach? Glowing objects are hard to convey against light backgrounds. A lightsaber doesn’t look as good in front of a white or pastel wall as it does behind dark colors. If the warthog was floating in front of a black background, everything lit only by the green objects emanating from the character’s hands, that would be one dramatic image.
(Yes, I realize Jordie Bellaire just won an Eisner for Best Coloring. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.)
Whoa, look at that title logo. That’s crazy. I never would’ve attempted something so wild and chaotic, and that’s why I love it.
I also love the expressiveness of the painting, and the color palette is solid. I don’t quite get the light blue circle (sun? moon? something else?) that’s overlapping his face, but since they’ve already consciously broken all the rules with the rest of the composition, I feel like I should just go with it.
My first guess as to the story was “a western set in space?,” and the description pretty much confirmed it, so it’s a success there too. All it’s missing as far as teasers go is a date. It doesn’t count if you hid it in those seemingly random dots, guys.
The image of the kid behind the moon works really well when I’ve seen it cropped down on other sites, but otherwise the composition is a little awkward. I kind of want the kid’s eye line to be pointing to the title and credits, rather than just under them and over to whatever is to the right of the image.
There are a few different approaches that I think might work a little better. I don’t think the typeface used for the title works very well spaced out like that. A taller typeface would probably work better, like the one used for the creator’s names. But there’s so much space for a title at the top of the image, you could go even taller.
Or, the image could be cropped in so that the moon is centered horizontally, and the title and creator names could be centered within the moon. Or, the image could be cropped in so that part of the left side of the moon is cut off (the kid being places on the left side of the rule of thirds), and the title and creator names placed small in the upper right corner (not overlapping the moon).
Am I the only one who hadn’t heard of the constellation the Southern Cross? Maybe that just shows how ignorant I am of astronomy, I don’t know. I initially thought the dots in the “O” were an attempt at making it look like a moon, until I saw the symbol in the Image logo, and still didn’t realize it was a constellation. Make fun of me if you want.
So my first thought looking at this teaser is that the story takes place in the south, and is about some sort of angel or winged main character who is transporting a ghostly corpse a la Hellboy. After I was informed about the constellation, I still figured it was the same story, only set in the southern hemisphere.
The story description tells me I couldn’t be more wrong. It doesn’t even take place on earth! It’s about a tanker flight heading to Titan called the Southern Cross, and what I took to be wings are probably the frame around a window. The corpse might be hitching a ride, as I thought before, or it might be trying to strangle the character.
It’s well drawn, but isn’t quite getting across the concept. It’s described as “The Shining on a haunted spaceship,” but I got neither a spaceship nor The Shining from this. The look of internal peace and calmness on the character’s face does not convey a horror vibe.
In terms of type, it’s kind of distracting to me how “SOUTHERN” is in very clean Futura, while “CROSS” is in Futura that’s been roughed up to look hand-drawn. They should either both look hand-drawn, or both look clean. Or maybe the hand-drawn word should look more hand-written (instead of a roughed up geometric font), but it might be tougher to get that to work. I also kind of want to see the Image logo moved up below the logo and resized to the same height as the “01,” to balance out the top half of the image.
A collage like this could’ve completely fallen apart, but I think it works. I immediately get that this is two locations combined into a single image, rather than two people finding a cave filled with ships flying away from a tiny planet. I think the ships flying overhead behind them helps a great deal in terms of that.
The only thing I’m not sure of is the stream. Is it lava? It looks like they’re standing in it, so I assume not. Is it just water colored red because artistic license? It’s the one element that isn’t really working for me, because I don’t really like how it flows behind the ships.
It’s not an elegant cover, but it does a perfect job of getting across the concept, assuming that concept is “Planet Of The Apes meets The Wild Angels.”
A critic who likes to be cruel for the sake of comedy might say: “Intersect is about a boy with a wolf for an arm who encounters Alice Cooper,” but I like to think I’m above that.
I like the texture of the painting, but the composition isn’t working for me. Then again, it perfectly matches the book description, which opted for text with a lot of flavor that doesn’t actually tell me anything.
Please tell me this is going to be a really tall comic.
This image certainly has a lot of energy, though it seems strange to have this exciting lightning bolt! and exciting title! and then this person just standing there looking bored. Normally I like contrasts, but his boredom in the face of excitement makes me feel like I’m going to be bored.
I don’t understand why those decorative flourishes are only on the right side of the page, unless they did it just to drive people like me crazy.
Let’s talk about the logo first. I get that the looseness of the letters is meant to convey that this is going to be wacky, but it really just looks sloppy. While it conveys madness, it doesn’t really convey god-ness. If the word “Valhalla” had been written in that font used for the rest of the text, and then “Mad” was in a zany comedy font, the logo itself would have a visually interesting contrast that better communicates the story.
The teaser would then be improved by having the rest of the text in a plain font, except maybe the year (which could mirror the logo’s “Valhalla text.”
Also, y’know what would be better than text telling us its a story about “three lovable gods just here to have a good time?” A silhouette of three godly-looking people laughing and holding mugs. You could even build that silhouette into the logo Final Fantasy-style, and it’d be perfect.
I like the decorative shapes being used here. The knives are a nice touch, if they represent that one character wants to backstab or is the enemy of the other. If that’s not what the knives are communicating, then I would’ve left them out.
The title text needs work. Serif fonts like that work well for small text, but they make for extremely plain logo text, even when hand-traced to give it an indie look. As much excitement as the illustration tries to convey, the plain non-logo title undermines it.
The red shape behind the title looks nice, except the hatch lines inside it don’t quite fit with the fully filled in colors in the backgrounds of the three main shapes. Instead of looking artsy, it looks like “I was filling this in with a marker, but got impatient and gave up.”
The placement of the Image logo looks like an afterthought, or a “I don’t know where to put this now, I’ll just wedge it in here.” A better place for it might be centered in the shape created by the overlapping red and light blue, or centered below the feet of the central character.
My first impression of this image was that it was two people sitting on the nose of a runaway bike as it was popping a wheelie. It seemed pretty clear to me what direction they were moving, from the speedlines behind the back tire, and their relation to the horizon.
After staring at it for awhile, I realized a few things. What I thought were speedlines was actually the reflection of the bike on a shiny black surface. In fact, they’re not moving at all – the guy’s legs are firmly planted on the ground, not on the foot pegs, and the background image represents a completely different view angle. The only thing I’m still confused on is why there are bits of krackle to the left of the front tire if they’re not moving.
In short: this cover isn’t working. Even if the intent was to confuse, my question is “why?” It doesn’t make the cover more interesting to look at, it just makes me want to look at an illustration that makes visual sense.
If you removed the bike and left just the strip of background, with the logo filling the black space below, I would love this image. If you removed the strip of background, moved the bike up a little so it’s more clear that there’s a reflection under then, and moved the logo to the upper left, I would call this a strong image. As is, it’s not working.
See you in a few months.
Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.
You are all invited to an exhibit featuring the winning works from the past 31 years of the PBBY-Alcala Illustrators' Prize. The exhibit will be at Corredor Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines Diliman and will open 3 p.m. on August 18.
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Here is one of my favorites from P is for Pirate, the notorious Grace O’Malley—Irish queen & pirate captain. She was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I and reportedly had an interview with Gloriana (who, after all, had a soft spot for buccaneers).
Queen Grace has been the subject of songs, at least one play and even a musical. So far as I know the swashbuckling Maureen O’Hara never played her in a movie, but what perfect casting that would have been!
I show Queen Grace in an Errol Flynn pose with her ruffians behind her. In the sketch I thoughtlessly drew a baroque-looking ship like we’re used to seeing from piracy’s golden age. In the final painting I used the Mayflower—much closer in style to a ship from Queen Grace’s time—as reference. Same deal with the costumes: they’re Elizabethan. I first drew her in men’s clothes but thought she looks much cuter in a dress.