(silence between them for 10 seconds)
(silence between them for 10 seconds)
Summary: This book has got a great title. Rest assured the premise lives up to the promise. This was one of my personal favorite titles from this year's excellent crop of Cybils graphic novel finalists. The autobiographical story of how the author... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
This funny novel is told through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Ellie, but the real star is her older sister Tina. They live in Whitney Pier over the gym where their father, a former boxer, trains aspiring boxers.Add a Comment
Summary: In a recent NPR interview, Joel Christian Gill said, "These stories are quintessentially American stories. I can't say that enough. It's not that I dislike Black History Month. I just don't think Black History Month is enough." I agree... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Summary: Before writing up this post, I honestly didn't realize that El Deafo by Cece Bell had won the 2015 Newbery Award. Well, now it's also won a Cybils Award for 2014, in the Elementary and Middle Grade Graphic Novels category! And I'm thrilled... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
[Very Blessed New Mom Wishes She Had Been Warned More About Blessings – Article]
You may have noticed something happening over at Gawker media.
Things have been way visually cooler over there for the past year, thanks to the efforts of Illustrator Tara Jacoby and Art Director/Illustrator Jim Cooke. Last April (2014), Cooke – on behalf of Gawker Media – put out a call for a “staff illustrator”.
We’re looking for a graphic design and illustration junkie with an editorial focus. You can read a post, conceptualize an interesting visual solution, and execute an image that will make that post better…within an hour or two. You are clever and have a keen sense of humor, and your portfolio reflects this.
Tara Jacoby turned out to be the perfect choice for the job. Her work brings just the right balance of humor, wit, and humanity to Gawker’s incredibly wide range of topics and compelling headlines. Here at Illustration Age we always strive to celebrate the people, publications and organizations that embrace the use of illustration, and next week we’ll be sharing our conversation with AD Jim Cooke about Gawker’s motivations for doing just that.
But first, we think it makes sense to start with the images themselves, so we’ve collaborated with Tara to highlight some of our favorite illustrations of hers and also take the opportunity to pick her brain about her experience working with Gawker over the past year. Enjoy!
[How to Get Your Sex Tape Off the Internet – Article]
ILLUSTRATION AGE: What inspired you to answer Gawker’s call for an in-house illustrator?
TARA JACOBY: I had been working as the graphic designer at the Society of Illustrators and freelancing. I’d looked to change gears and focus on illustration and considered going freelance full-time. To be honest, I had no idea Gawker was hiring. A friend had sent me the link twice before I even read it. When I actually did read it, it felt like the stars had aligned. I had to have it. This job was tailor-made for me. So, I applied immediately.
Sometimes the job feels too good to be true. I cannot believe that I’m excited to go to work everyday. You know when people say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”… well, they were right!
[Here Is What It’s Like to Do a ‘Soup Cleanse’ – Article]
Fun (after the) fact: Jim had me come into the office for a trial day after my interview. I completely blew it. He sat me at the “smelly Deadspin table” and I sat there silently freaking out and frantically sketching ideas, reading and re-reading the assignments as my career hung in the balance. I basically had an eight hour anxiety attack. I still can’t believe that he hired me after that.
[Why You’re So Horny During Your Period – Article]
[Twenty Days of Harassment and Racism as an American Apparel Employee – Article]
IA: What’s it like to work under rapid-fire deadlines on such a regular basis?
TJ: Well, had you asked me that in June, my head might have exploded from all of the pressure. At first, I was completely stressed out. I tend to overthink… let me see… well, everything. The first couple of weeks I was waking up at 4:30 every morning just to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. I basically drove myself insane. I think I hid my neurosis pretty well? I’m not sure. All I knew was, Jim hadn’t canned me yet, so everything was copacetic.
Now, I actually think it’s refreshing to work under rapid-fire. You don’t have time to overthink anything. And being a perfectionist, I feel like this really helped me loosen up both technically and creatively.
Overall, I love it. Typically, each one of us does 3-5 illustrations in a day, depending on how busy we are. That doesn’t include the other more design-oriented images we make. The three of us are constantly working. By the end of the week we can’t even remember all of the things we’ve done. Over a course of 7 months, I’ve done roughly 500 or so illustrations. I’ve never been so productive in my entire life.
[You Prefer to Date Fat Guys So You Don’t Feel So Bad About Yourself – Article]
[When You’re a Black Woman, You’re Never Good Enough to Be a Victim – Article]
IA: How much creative freedom do you feel like you have on these illustrations?
TJ: The organization as a whole is encouraged to be bold and honest. Nick Denton once said, “We are beholden to no one.” That holds true for the art department as well. We can draw whatever we want with no apologies. That’s the beauty of working for a truly independent media company. They are always challenging you to push the limits and speak your mind. I’ll admit, sometimes we do get a little carried away, but that’s not a terrible thing.
If I think that something might be going too far (or not far enough), I’ll ask Jim and he’ll point me back in the right direction. When Disney Dudes’ Dicks came out I was very concerned about offending the Disney loving masses, but Jim gave me some sage advice: “If you’re not offending someone, you’re not doing it right.”
[How to Keep Photos of Your Naked Body Off the Internet – Article]
[Disney Dudes’ Dicks: What Your Favorite Princes Look Like Naked – Article]
IA: To end on a light note, many of your illustrations deal with sexual themes. What does your mother think about that?
TJ: My mom rules. My whole family does. I could draw pretty much anything and they’d support me. They always have. After the first couple of weeks, they all just accepted that if they ask about my job, they better be ready for some NSFW art. I’m lucky to have a family with a few loose screws and a great sense of humor.
What’s there to say about Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre except what fun! When I first began seeing the book around the interwebs I thought, pfft, how stupid, this is as bad as turning Pride and Prejudice into a story about zombies. But I was wrong. This my friends is a delightful book of humor. Who cares that Circe and Odysseus didn’t have phones? If they did I’m sure they would have texted each other something like this:
where did the pigs come from Circe
i don’t know
a pig farm
a pig mommy and a pig daddy who loved each other very much and gave each other a special handshake
oh my god okay fine
they’re your crew, you got me
I turned all of your friends into pigs
why did you turn my friends into pigs
I don’t know
maybe the real question is
why are your friends
Ortberg is great at capturing the absurdity, oddness, or quirk of story or character, or even real life authors. Like the spoof of John Donne and his poem The Flea:
it means we’re basically married
it has my blood and your blood in it
you’ve technically already had sex with me
and you might as well do it again
but there could be a lot of other blood in there too
well we might have to have sex with all those people too
Or Henry David Thoreau texting Ralph Waldo Emerson:
o you know whos my family ralph
these squirrels and this chipmunk and that crow there
the crow on the chimney?
not that one
god i hate that one
hes not my family
hes a fucking asshole
There are also paranoid texts from J. Alfred Prufrock and texts from the Lorax cracked me up. There were a few I had a hard time relating too since I never read any of the Sweet Valley High books, the Baby-sitters Club or the American Girls. I did laugh at the texts between Nancy Drew and her boyfriend Ned though.
Texts from Jane Eyre is a quick, light book sure to make you laugh more than a few times. I can promise that if you are reading it with someone else in the room you will want to read some of the texts aloud to that person in order to share the fun. And if you enjoy Ortberg’s humor, you can catch it nearly daily at The Toast.
"Mrs. Freeman could never be brought to admit herself wrong on any point." — Flannery O'Connor, "Good Country People."Or by detailing a character’s appearance:
"The baker wore a white apron that looked like a smock. Straps cut under his arms, went around in back and then to the front again, where they were secured under his heavy waist ." —Raymond Carver "A Small, Good Thing"
I've gotten incredibly far behind on my reviewing, so it's that time again: time to cut to the chase and offer quick, no-nonsense book reviews before I completely forget everything about these stories. This past fall was a real bear as far as... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
As an author and zoologist, Jess Keating has tickled a shark, lost a staring contest against an octopus, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she spends most of her time writing books for adventurous and funny kids.Add a Comment
Terrific fun for children aged five years and up, Jasper Rabbit is very fond of carrots and makes a trip to Crackenhopper Field whenever he fancies eating a few delicious treats but one day Jasper has an eerie feeling that Creepy Carrots are following him as he leaves the field. Soon Jasper is seeing Creepy Carrots everywhere: in his house, in the garden shed and on the street. Poor Jasper is petrified! He knows exactly what to do to solve this problem.
Preschool and kindergarten teachers will find all sorts of wonderful (and orange) ways to extend the learning with this delightful book. Whether designing their own carrots or a different solution to Jasper’s problem, this book is sure to inspire fun. Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! would be an excellent companion story.
Flannel Friday: Flannelboard and TemplateAdd a Comment
Today would have been Elvis "The King of Rock'n'roll " Presley's 80th birthday. It is generally believed by most that Elvis is no longer with us as in gone to that great jam session in the sky. However - love those howevers of life - there are those who believe he arranged for his disappearance and is out there somewhere, doing gigs. What if they're right? You just never know.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
An over-weight bordering-on-obese man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head
Anna Koontz is Dean’s remarkable dog, who is poised to follow in her dad’s footsteps with her first advice book for canines. She will soon become the advice columnist for the canine world!Add a Comment
As I sit here typing, I am staring at a poster for last year’s Caldecott winner, Brian Floca’s Locomotive. Would the committee that honored that wonderful book have given the time of day to the utter silliness that is Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads?
Of course, I have no idea. Anyway: new year, new committee. (That’s one of the best things about these book committees — they are new each year.) January will be filled with reading and rereading; making notes and formulating arguments; looking over the list of nominated books and reading over the written support for each book. When they see Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads on the list (for I cannot imagine a Caldecott world that does not include this book on its list), some members will scratch their heads and utter the words I often uttered when I served on the committee: “What the heck? Who nominated this? Now I have to read it again???” Yes, you do, fellow members! Bwahahaha.
And here is why someone (or maybe several someones) will nominate this book.
1. It’s so dang funny. COME ON! Look at that cover. Here we have a little white-clad hombre named Ryan. His foot rests on a tortoise. Ryan seems to be pondering hard about something. Look closer at him. His belt buckle sports a dinosaur. And, to the left, we see three dudes (the Toad brothers) staring at him, evil intent in their eyes. Well, most of their eyes. The middle guy, whose teeth are loosely sprinkled across his gums, has an eye patch. And — ewwwww — his ear is half-bitten off. The bottom dude has a gunshot hole through his hat, and the top guy has a righteous scar on his nose.
2. Use of color. Have you ever seen so much brown in your whole life? The end pages and every illustration is chockablock full of brown. Because of All That Brown, the eye easily notices the occasional guy in white riding a tortoise or the whitish cow being kissed by outlaws or the red tongue of an outlaw insulting Mayor McMuffin.
(COME ON — I just typed that a cow was being kissed by outlaws and someone was riding a tortoise! And the mayor is named McMuffin?! You know you want this book! Right now.)
3. Use of line. With all that brown going on, Lane Smith is going to have some artistic magic up his sleeve. He does. You know he does. First the town is awash in vertical lines. The mayor’s pants are decorated with straight lines; even his round ample belly is made up of straight vertical lines. The most dramatic scene, where the sheriff is measuring for the jail, uses shape and line to extend the story. The legs of the Toad brothers menace the page with their size and sharp angles while our hero measures the jail door.
It’s not until the varmints have been tricked into entering the jail that those vertical lines disappear as we see hats being thrown into the air and townspeople dancing. Oh, and some lady in a ginormous pink bonnet has her fist raised.
4. The humor. Nuff said. Having the sheriff come into town on a tortoise taking two full page-turns is genius. (“Give him a minute.”) Making the boy’s only area of expertise dinosaurs will make any kid laugh. Out loud. For real. Every single spread has funny stuff going on. Slow down. Look.
Will this be enough to catch the eye of the committee? Yes. Will that translate into votes for the book? That is a whole ‘nother thang. Will the committee love talking about this? What do you think?
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Did you hear it?
Not the sound of traffic rolling or the chirping of nature out the window. No, that was a distinct sound. It was a rip. I’m sure it was a rip.
I don’t dare look down. I can’t be positive it was me that ripped. It could have been someone nearby – or if it was me, maybe it was a piece of my shirt. That kind of thing happens all the time.
Shirt tails spontaneously rip when exposed to direct light. It happens to guys over forty mostly because they don’t ever tuck their shirts in. I think they feel better if the curve of their belly isn’t accentuated. That way, people don’t know they’re wearing a 2XL. Sorry if that is rude. I’ve been there. I know what it is like to wear a 2XL. I don’t want to be mean, but HEY! You’re interjecting yourself into my stream of consciousness and trying to subvert the point. The issue at stake isn’t even whether I tuck my shirts in or not! The issue is whether the sound I heard was MY pants ripping.
I swear they aren’t too small. I’ve never been one of those guys to wear tight jeans. I certainly couldn’t pull off the whole skinny jean thing. Reason number 328 that makes me glad I’m not a girl (#1 being that we guys can pee anywhere). I hate tight pants. Okay, so I’m not dead, I don’t mind them on some people, but there should be a government application you have to fill out before you can wear your pants too tight. Mine would get rejected instantly!
Besides, I hate wearing anything tight or constricting. I remember when I first joined the working world and business casual had not yet become acceptable. I had Walter Mittyesque daydreams about wrestling a bear and being drug around by my necktie. Well, they weren’t actually daydreams, I fell asleep at my desk often because I wasn’t quite used to being out of college. So I guess they were just dreams.
HEY! There you go again. Stop it!
Will you look down? I don’t want to. I’m afraid.
If you look down, and my pants are ripped, then our relationship could enter a very awkward stage. Our friendship would never be the same. Kinda like when the strainer from the faucet flew off and sprayed water all over my pants. I lost a bunch of friends that day because everyone at work thought I’d peed myself. And when I said I loved that guys can pee anywhere, I wasn’t talking about the break room at work. I was more thinking in the woods. The great outdoors – manly stuff like peeing on trees or a fire.
Who says we have a relationship anyway?
I mean, you won’t even tell me if I have a large gaping hole in my pants… which would be bad. Real bad. Why does it always happen in public? Why not when you get them out of the dryer and you put them on in the privacy of your own home? A rip there would be much more pallatable. More forgiving. I could laugh it off and change clothes without anyone else knowing. But it never happens that way. Pants have a way of telling a story unlike any other article of clothing.
Uh Oh! I feel a breeze – and not a natural breeze unless you live in a special colony or ride a boat and stick your leg up on the side.
Oh well. Here’s to a rip-roaring New Year. Now that we’ve got this embarrassing sequence finished on day 3, maybe we’re covered on humility for the balance of 2015
It's time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter.Add a Comment
Just when you thought you were safe from puns for the rest of the holidays…
Why not take a stroll on over here for links to see what the rest of the HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.
Oh, and if you are wondering what the heck HoHoDooDa is, check this out.
I consider myself a war buff. I love reading historic accounts of combat. I don’t discriminate between time period or conflict. Because of the volume of material, I have probably spent more time delving into World War 2 than any other. When I was in the Army, I drove a beat up WW 2 era Deuce-and-a-half and always wondered about its history.
Historians argue about which battle is the greatest – Waterloo, Stalingrad, Hastings, Yorktown, Thermopylae, Guadalcanal, The Battle of the Bulge, the list goes on. Like everything else in life, no one can seem to agree. When compiling such a list, the qualifiers become important. Things such as lives lost, duration, strategies, and conditions all come into play when deciding which is supreme.
It’s not that I don’t have an opinion, I’ve got plenty of those. I just don’t like to argue in general. I get distracted or flustered and lose my place like when I drop my book and reread the same pages over and over again before I figure out where I left off. Only an argument is live, verbal combat. When I lose my place, I sit there open-mouthed wondering if I look as stupid as I feel. So like everyone else on the losing side, I hone in on one point and try to drive it home even if I am totally wrong and know it.
The Baltic Sea is in New Mexico. It isn’t? I will repeat that thirty-seven times, forcing you to get out your phone and Google it, which allows me time to escape the fracas unscathed. I’m gone, therefore I win.
This leads to my opinion of the greatest battle which I believe is a conflict going on today – right now! RIGHT NOW!
You might think I am waxing philosophically about a moral or ethical conflict for the hearts and minds of people. Think again, I’m nowhere near deep enough for that. No, I am talking about the Battle of the Christmas Tree going on in my den as I type.
This battle has two combatants: The cats vs. the presents. The cats investigated the tree the minute it arrived. They united their forces and conquered it quickly. It is now their territory and they are very protective of it. The two of them alternate on watch and have made a formidable occupation force. Their confidence never waned… until the presents arrived.
As presents do, they marched in slowly but steadily. They landed through the front door and also surprised the occupiers from the garage entrance. Strange men in brown uniforms delivered them, but some were brought in by the woman-thing who seems to be working for both sides. She pets and feeds the cats, yet adds to the stack of presents assaulting from every flank. She is a crafty sort. Worse yet, she puts little ribbons on top to lull the cats from their strategic high ground. They can’t avoid the ribbons, which are almost as alluring as the ornaments with bells.
I have no idea who will win this battle. Epic is too small a word for it. The cats seem to rule the night while the presents hold the day (sounds like a Billy Joel song). It is a seesaw affair likely only resolved by the Take the Tree to the Chipper Treaty.
That landmark agreement is coming soon. Until then, may peace reign in your home unlike mine – where it appears to be an elusive dream.
1. Think how silly fruitcake is. Think of times when you received fruitcake as a gift. Draw fruitcakes. Contemplate why there are hard things in a cake. Who designed fruitcakes? A dentist?
2. Be grateful for all you have. There are so many who are less fortunate. Oh no. You are empathic so now you are thinking of those who are unfortunate. You can FEEL their pain. Now you feel deep guilt. Maybe you shouldn’t have so much. Maybe you feel guilty for not having more and WANTING more. And those poor people. No, don’t think about the whole gratefulness thing. Just go to the next one.
3. Avoid holiday music unless it is by Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole. Those dudes could really kick it. Dreamy, right?
4. Count the amount of people on Facebook that go on and on about the real meaning of Christmas and how you are so materialistic because you like gifts and cookies. Now laugh at them as you eat your sprinkled-laden gingerbread while playing with your new computer.
5. Drive around and watch blinking lights in the neighborhood houses and have mini seizures like the kids in Japan who watched crazy animation.
6. See how many people you can knock down in the sale aisles. Like bowling. Better yet, head to Walmart and see how many people and carts can fit into one teeny tiny narrow aisle. One? Two? Three? Four?!
7. Don’t listen to I’ll Be Home for the Holidays. I warned you on this one. Just don’t. Whoever wrote that song is a sadist.
8. Treat yourself to a fairy alphabet deck. (Oh c’mon, I had to throw in one of my products, right? And sign up for a class at an early bird rate. Oh now, I am really pushing it, eh?)
9. Watch Rudolph and laugh and repeat “I want to be a dentist,” about a million times. I just love that line! You can hang out with the Misfit Toys and not feel different. Dang it, I want to find that island! Road Trip!
10. Have a happy holiday, how ever happy looks to you, even if it is sitting under a tree in the middle of the forest with a color pencil set.
Happy Holidays from,
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein, is about a madcap competition where kids search bookrooms based on the Dewey Decimal system, examine mysterious library cards, solve rebuses, compare assigned readings, and encounter holograms of authors who offer timely tips.Add a Comment
The multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen have perfect pacing in Sam and Dave Dig A Hole. Ages 4-8Add a Comment
Use funny words to make your writing more humorous.
In this follow-up to The Rosie Project, Don and Rosie are back for round two, this time in New York and with a new twist to challenge Don’s linear, logical, not-so-flexible way of interacting with the world: Rosie is pregnant. This sequel is just as funny as the first book. Books mentioned in this post [...]Add a Comment