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1. Does anyone care about the artists on comics any more?

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Art by Jillian Tamaki. Story by Mariko Tamaki, from This One Summer

Yesterday’s retailer poll results, as revealed at Sktchd, made for fascinating reading, but at least one statistic—only 4.8% of retailers order a book based on the artist—got familiar questions being raised about why artists seem to get the short end of the stick so much in today’s comics industry. Declan Shalvey, currently of Injection, written by Warren Ellis, kicked some things off with a tweet and you can check his twitter feed for more conversation on the topic.

The decline of the artist has been getting a lot of play on the twitterverse of late, with Steve Morris also showing a watchful eye for it, even checking interviews to make sure they credit the artist.

Which to be fair, many times they do not.

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Art by Ivan Reis.

The entire “decline of the artist” phenomena has been discussed many times, sometimes at this very blog, and even by Sktchd’s Harper in the past. As I’ve said before, the decline of prestige for comics artists seems especially counterintuitive in an era which is so visually driven by Tumblr, Pinterest and the like. And given the past dominance of artists from Neal Adams on, it seems even odder. The beauty of the comics image has never been more prominent. But the makers of those images aren’t always given the credit they deserve. I have a few more thoughts, which I’ve expressed before but let me throw ’em out there again.

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Art by David Aja.

There’s a LOT of emphasis on cartoonists these days, the Rainas and Piskors who offer a tightly focused worldview and esthetic. And aside from the VERY rare Tamaki/Tamaki, Morrison/Quitely, Lee/Kirby teams, collaborative comics rarely offer that. I think if you were to ask graphic novel readers they might value the artist more, but might prefer the “creator” category.

Also, as we’ve all been saying, the Big Two, especially have been dead set on promoting the Editor-driven era of comics, and even the finest artists have been cogs in an ever grinding machine. Marvel had a few breakouts along the way, mostly on Hawkeye and Daredevil, but DC’s relentless parade of Jim Lee clones during the New 52 era reduced the role of the artist to interchangeable drone. And as fine an artist as Ivan Reis is, he’s no mold-breaking stylist.

The good news is, the Nü DCYou seems to have thrown house style out the window and allowed more idiosyncratic things to creep in. The bad news is Marvel’s new universe is starting to look as blandly homogenized as the New 52. Always a pendulum, this must be.

What do YOU think? Some wondered if casual readers would reflect the same ratios as retailers. With David Harper’s permission, I’ve recreated his questiosn in an open, public poll which will stay open for two days so hop to it! And as a final plug. Sktchd has a followup podcast with Patrick Brower, owner of Challengers in Chicago which I’m sure is worth a listen.

<a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/8992024/”>What’s the most important reason for you to buy a comic?</a>
<a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/8992024/”>What’s the most important reason for you to buy a comic?</a>

16 Comments on Does anyone care about the artists on comics any more?, last added: 7/22/2015
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2. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy Visits The Stately Beat Manor Comics Pull: Best Comics of the Week for 4/29/15

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With great comics comes great responsibility — that’s something that we believe the Legion of Superheroes’ Arm-Fall-Off-Boy perfectly encapsulates. The character created by Gerard Jones, Ty Templeton, and Curt Swan inspires us to write these great pieces as he forces the staff here at The Beat Manor to keep reading until our arms fall off! How many characters have the ability to use their own limbs as instruments of destruction? Arm-Fall-Off-Boy A.K.A. Floyd Belkin’s visit to the mansion came at an important time in comics history as Marvel is now on the very edge of Secret Wars and DC is in the midst of Convergence. The rejected Legionnaire had some opinions on each that enlightened The Beat staff towards forming some new conceptions about these titles that we will share with the general public below. Our time with Belkin was limited, but he shared all the Superman and Legion anecdotes that we could handle in the span of just one afternoon. Without further ado we would like to present our picks straight from Belkin and The Beat Manor for your reading pleasure!


Alex and Floyd’s picks:

AVENG-NEWAVN-WeaverCovers_col

Avengers #44 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Mike Deodato

New Avengers #33 Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Kev Walker

Belkin advised us that Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers saga was one of the deepest and most bold comics events ever, with over 77 issues devoted to the lead-up into the Secret Wars, he told us that there was much ‘proverbial crap’ to hit the fan. We feel obligated to post anything the esteemed hero mentioned, but these pair of issues surely look interesting. How is Hickman and company going to blow up the Marvel Universe and create Battleworld? Bear in mind that this is comics, so it probably is going to be fun but not make any sense.

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The Multiversity #2 Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Ivan Reis

Floyd expressed some interest in taking a break from the big events and talking up DC’s huge Multiversity event for a short while. This saga is bringing some brand new heroes together for the first direct follow-up to the Multiversity labeled as The Multiversity #2, but how or why would the installment could it be labeled as such with a new selection of characters being introduced? One of the highlights of our afternoon with Belkin was a spirited debate between team Beat on whether Morrison could even follow-up Multiversity! When one Beat staffer mentioned that he or she (I will not disclose their identity) didn’t like Brazilian artist Ivan Reis, they were given a stern talking to — they insulted one of Belko’s favorites!


Kyle’s Pick:

shazam

 

Convergence: Shazam #1

Writer: Jeff Parker, Artist: Doc Shaner, Colors: Jordie Bellaire

STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! It’s Shazam versus Steampunk, as the world of Gotham by Gaslight takes on the Captain Marvel family and friends!
I’m not sure about Floyd’s opinion on the matter, though I have to feel like one of the Legion’s goofiest (sorry, dude) cast of characters must have some affinity for what I think is the greatest superhero of all time, especially one with as whacky a history as Captain Marvel/Shazam.
I find most, if not all, of Convergence pretty uninteresting so far, but the draw on this one for me, beyond the fact that I’m a die-hard Marvel family fan, is the reunion of the Flash Gordon team of Parker and Shaner. I’m especially excited to see Shaner’s sunny, beautiful work take on not only C.C. Beck‘s wonderful co-creation but also the Mike Mignola designed Gotham by Gaslight characters. I’m excited about reading Multiversity, but I’m looking forward to admiring Shazam.

Davey’s Pick:

STK667696
Holy F*ck TPB
ACTION LAB – DANGER ZONE
(W) Nick Marino (A/CA) Daniel Arruda Massa
Though we haven’t been able to talk much more about it since the first issue came out in print, Holy F*ck has been a fun ride that makes you feel dirty in the best way possible. A collected edition is the best way to read this:
Sister Maria has recruited two horny drug-fueled weirdos to stop the apocalypse. Their names? Jesus and Satan. Can these biblical frenemies help this nun with a gun defeat an army of pissed off mythological gods?

Heidi’s Pick:

STK668388
Super Mutant Magic Academy
Jillian Tamaki
DRAWN & QUARTERLY
 Lacking arms makes it hard to hold a book, so I don’t know where Floyd stands on graphic novels, but anyone with two hands would enjoy this. I know we’ve been Tamaki-crazy here at Stately Beat Manor, but SMMA, based on the long running webcomic, is a limber, darkly humorous take on the much-trodden “superpowered teens in school” genre, as teens learn that magic powers don’t help where self-esteem, misplaced love and growing up are concerned. As they do.
 STK643238
 The complete Johnny Nemo
 Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins
Tian Comics
Okay technically this is a relisting, but why not take some time to honor the legacy of the late Brett Ewins, with this ode to Newave haircuts, private eyes and goofball futurism that never goes out of style. Milligan and Ewins in peak form.

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3. OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

DQ25 tomgauld OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & QuarterlyD&Q has just firmed up their Winter/Spring titles for 2015 and…well, it’s going tobe another great year, in case all these previews we’ve been publishing haven’t given you that idea yet. As if new books from Jillian Tamaki, Michael Deforge, Anders Nilsen, Seth, Shizero Mizuki and the like weren’t enough to get you drooling into a bucket, there are a few new faces, such as MELODY by Svlvie Rancourt, a lost 80s comic about a woman’s life in rural Canada, and a new book by stunning Norwegian illustrator Bendik Kaltenborn. More Moomin! More Anna and Froga! And yet More Clyde Fans from Seth! Say what you will, but I love by once every two years look into the lives of Abe and Simon Matchcard and their doomed fan company.

PLUS….as 25th Anniversary spectacular with variant covers by Paco Medina and Alex Ross  including tributes from writers including Margaret Atwood (writing on Kate Beaton), Sheila Heti (writing on Moomin), Jonathan Lethem (writing on Chester Brown), Françoise Mouly (writing on Adrian Tomine). The immense tome will also spotlight the history of the company with interviews, photos and many a little of the sassy D&Q style we all love from their website. AND hundreds of pages of previously unpublished/untranslated comics by Kate Beaton, Chester Brown, Michael DeForge, Joe Matt, Jillian Tamaki, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Guy Delisle, Julie Doucet, Art Spiegelman, Adrian Tomine, Rutu Modan, Shigeru Mizuki, and again, many more. Gotta sit down! Too much awesome!

AND there’s the regular line, whose covers and biblio info we share below, but to get more info just go here. 

WINTER 2015

FYH.casewrap web OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

FIRST YEAR HEALTHY

BY MICHAEL DEFORGE

In stores January 13 2015! $14.95 / 6″ x 9″ / 48 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770461734

PV22.jacket thumb OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

PALOOKAVILLE 22 BY SETH

In stores April 14 2015! $22.95 / 6.25″ x 8.5″ / 120 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770461635

TRASHcover web OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

TRASH MARKET BY TADAO TSUGE

edited and translated by Ryan Holmberg

In stores March 2015! $22.95 / 6.375″ x 8.75″ / 272 pages / b+w / flexicover / 9781770461741

adultcontemporary cover72 OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

ADULT CONTEMPORARY BY BENDIK KALTENBORN

In stores June 23 2015! $24.95 / 10.575″ x 8.25″ / 176 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770461758

JERUSALEMcover full OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

JERUSALEM: CHRONICLES FROM THE HOLY CITY BY GUY DELISLE; translated by Helge Dascher

Now in paperback, expanded with sketches from Delisle’s time in Jerusalem!

In stores March 3 2015! $19.95 / 6.5″ x 8.75″ / 344 pages / full-color / paperback / 9781770461765

inteligen sentient OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

INTELLIGENT SENTIENT? BY LUKE RAMSEY

In stores February 3 2015! $19.95 / 10.875″ x 8″ / 64 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770461772

walt skeezix 06 OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

WALT & SKEEZIX BOOK SIX: 1931-1932

BY FRANK KING

edited by Chris Ware, foreword by Jeet Heer

In stores April 7 2015! $39.95 / 9.5″ x 7.5″ / 400 pages / b+w / hardcover / 9781770461789

 

SPRING 2015

SMMA.cover300 OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

SUPERMUTANT MAGIC ACADEMY

BY JILLIAN TAMAKI

In stores April 28, 2015! $19.95 / 6.25″ x 8.5″ / 224 pages / b+w and partial color / paperback / 9781770461987

MELODY.cover  OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

MÉLODY BY SYLVIE RANCOURT

trans. Helge Dascher

In stores June 9 2015! $22.95 / 6″ x 7.75″ / 352 pages / b+w / paperback / 9781770462007

 

DRAWN AND QUARTERLY:

25 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY CARTOONING, COMICS, AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

In stores May 12, 2015! $44.95 / 6.875″ x 9.125″ / 512 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770461994

SHOWA4.cover  OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

SHOWA 1953-1989: A HISTORY OF JAPAN

BY SHIGERU MIZUKI

trans. Zack Davisson

In stores July 2015! $24.95 / 6.45″ x 8.75″ / 552 pages / b+w / paperback / 9781770462014

STROPPY cover OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

STROPPY BY MARC BELL

In stores May 2015! $21.95 / 8.125″ x 10.375″ / 64 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770462052

POETRYcover OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

POETRY IS USELESS

BY ANDERS NILSEN

In stores June 2015! $34.95 / 6.5″ x 8.75″ / 224 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770462076

MOOM10.casewrap OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

MOOMIN BOOK TEN: THE COMPLETE LARS JANSSON COMIC STRIP

BY LARS JANSSON

In stores June 2015! $19.95 / 8.75″ x 12″ / 112 pages / b+w / hardcover / 9781770462021

ANNAFROGA4 OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

ANNA AND FROGA: FORE!

BY ANOUK RICARD

trans. Helge Dascher

In stores July 2015! $14.95 / 8″ x 9.75″ / 40 pages / full color / hardcover / 9781770462045

MOOM MARTIANS OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

MOOMIN AND THE MARTIANS

BY TOVE JANSSON

In stores July 2015! $9.95 / 8.5″ x 6″ / 56 pages / full color / flexicolor / 9781770462038

SALE 0 0 OH BOY! New Tamaki, Nilsen, Delisle, Seth and more coming next year from Drawn & Quarterly

PLUS check out the current 50% off sales running until the end of the week!

 

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4. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/5/15: Man hideously mutilates his face to look like hideous Marvel character the Red Skull

§ Ugh DISTURBING pictures in the link of a guy who cut off his nose and got horrible tattoos and implants  so he could look like a disfigured comic book character. People are strange.

jojosbizarreadventures

§ Viz is bringing out an attractive hardcover editions of Hirohiko Araki’s  JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 1 – PHANTOM BLOOD, a much liked and very strange manga.

In the series’ opening volume, young Jonathan Joestar’s (JoJo) life is changed forever when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out, and thus begins a long and hateful relationship!

I got a review copy of this and I look forward to sitting down and reading it.

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§ It was hourly comic day last weekend and some people did draw comics all day, like Raina Telgemeier. 

 

§ And Sophia Foster-Dimino

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§ Meanwhile, Carolyn Belefski drew comics for the White House.

§ I saw this headline “Bastian talks ‘Nain Rouge’ during event at Green Brain Comics” and thought, what a new book by JEREMY BASTIAN the amazing creator of Rogue Pirate Girl, and got real excited, but then I read

“Royal Oak-native Bastian has become one of the foremost scholars on the the mythos of the legend since he started researching it for a book several years ago. He spoke in depth on the topic at a recent book signing at Green Brain Comics for his newly released graphic novel titled simply “Nain Rouge.” It was the first time working in the graphic medium for Bastian, who has also authored a trilogy of young adult books based on the legend.”

and I realized it was JOSEF Bastian, who made a graphic novel about a local cryptozoological legend. Two guys named Bastain in Michigan…crazy.

§ At Paste magazine, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki take their victory lap  after their historic honors in the Caldecott and Printz prizes

Paste: Right, in 2007. And this past fall you also picked up the first Governor General Award for Children’s Literature Illustration given to a graphic novel. What does it mean to you to be recognized for non-comic-exclusive awards?

Jillian Tamaki: I think that’s great. I think that by being recognized by, say, library associations — and it’s great to be recognized by comics people as well — I think it just means that a wider variety and range of people are reading comics, which I think is a good thing for creators and the medium itself.

Mariko Tamaki: I think that comics have been kind of emerging in stages. One way to say it is that it’s a fad and publishers are getting interested in graphic novels, but I think in the larger scheme that more readers are collectively understanding that there’s a variety of ways to absorb a story. And comics being included with other literary awards is sort of a nice recognition that comics are literary, and as much as they’re beautiful, that they also can tell complex stories, which a lot of comics before this have been able to do.

 

§ Another con with a dubious marketing campaign. 

§ Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo came out and admitted ‘We suck at dealing with abuse’ displaying the kind of far sighted observational skills that earn you a $11.5 million a year in stock options.  In an internal memo that was leaked he wrote:

I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing. We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.

The big question for me is whether this surpasses or merely equals Roger Goodell in the “What CEO can get the most po’foced over abuse he didn’t want to see for years.” I’d say far surpasses, because the Twitter abuse thing is so out of control beyond anything anyone with any sense of customer service, let alone human decency, would tolerate. I wonder how Costolo would feel if his daughter or mother got abuse such as Anita Sarkeesian documented, and is super common for people (male and female) who speak on certain topics on Twitter. I only get tweets like this very occasionally, but even one can be enough to take the wind out of your sails. So good for you, Dick Costolo, maybe twitter shouldn’t be a free for all for abusive ***holes.

 

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5. Oculus Launches Story Studio to Explore VR Cinema Possibilities

Led by former Pixar artists, Oculus wants to inspire filmmakers to start creating virtual reality animation projects.

0 Comments on Oculus Launches Story Studio to Explore VR Cinema Possibilities as of 2/13/2015 4:19:00 AM
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6. Mariko and Jillian Tamaki on This One Summer winning the Caldecott and Printz Honors

1-this-one-summer-opener-580

By Harper Harris

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki‘s This One Summer was one of the most highly acclaimed graphic novels of 2014, popping up on a great number of top ten lists as well as winning an Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel. To say it was an attention grabber for the already heralded Canadian creators is an understatement.

Just last week, this tale of two childhood friends on the cusp of adolescence was awarded with the prestigious Caldecott Honor, being the first ever graphic novel to do so, along with the Printz Honor (and joins Gene Luen Yang‘s Boxers & Saints as the only other graphic novel to notch that award as well).

Mariko and Jillian were kind enough to join me for a brief Q&A regarding the recent wins and the creative process on this landmark work.

Where were you each when you learned you won the Caldecott Honor? Who called whom?

Jillian Tamaki: I was in bed.

Mariko Tamaki: I think we eventually texted each other about it.

Is there a sense of accomplishment or “I’ve made it” for winning such a prestigious award? Jillian, how does it compare to your Eisner nominations or the Ignatz award that This One Summer also received?

JT: The feeling is one of gratitude. I’ll never felt like “I’ve made it!” until I’m like a hunched-over old person still making things.

Is it more gratifying to get recognition outside of the world of comics, which you’ve done multiple times at this point?

JT: Both are gratifying. Honours granted by librarians are special to me because it represents a knowledgeable, discerning audience that actually works with young people. Honours granted by comics people are special because it means perhaps I am creating something of value within the medium.

Were you relieved that you both got nominated for this award, rather than one or the other as in some past awards?

MT: When one of us gets nominated, I generally see it as a misconception of how graphic novels work.  So, yes.

Do awards matter to you? I hope that’s not a weirdly loaded question.

JT: Um, they are nice, yes. Especially when there is money attached, because comics are not lucrative. But I try to not let outside validation determine the micro and macro decisions I make as a creative person.

MT: I guess awards help sales.  There are many awesome comics and books out there that have not been nominated, so we’re in good company either way.

This One Summer ended up on many top ten lists for 2014…how does it feel to have one of the most critically acclaimed OGNs of the year among fans? Is it rewarding to see that fans of more mainstream comics are picking up and really enjoying works like yours?

JT: Of course!

As cousins, were you making comics as kids together? When did you decide to pursue sequential art collaboratively?

MT: We lived in distant cities as kids, so there was little comics making.  It wasn’t until we made our first mini comic of Skim back in…2006 (?) that we started working together.

How long has this idea been gestating, and how long did it take to actually script and illustrate This One Summer?

JT: It took probably 3 years in total. It took a year of solid work to do the final artwork.
MT: Roughly 6 months to script.  Plus changes.

What was your working process on This One Summer? Especially since I understand you don’t live near each other? Was there an initial script first and then an art stage, or was it done in a more section by section basis?

JT: We Skyped a lot. Mariko scripts the dialogue with occasional actions. I do a sketch version. We edit it together, a lot. Then I do the final art.

Where were your individual high and low points in the creative process of this book? Were there any parts that drove you crazy or were difficult to pull off?

JT: The most difficult part was the editing of the sketch phase. As it is with any book, I’m sure.

When I started reading This One Summer, I almost thought it was autobiographical…do either of your personal experiences play a role in the story? Were any of the designs of the characters based on real people?

MT: Nope.  There is an actual cottage area that inspired TOS, up in Georgian Bay, Ontario, which I highly recommend people visit.

What is it about the adolescent stage of life that attracts you?

MT: I think most people spend their whole lives trying to figure out how and what to be.  As I understand it, it’s not something that stops with adulthood.  I think adolescence is interesting because it’s the start of this process.  Everything is just that much more on the surface that it is when you’re an adult.

I love how you use Rose and Windy watching horror movies as a kind of metaphor for seeing the world in a more adult way…are you big classic horror movie fans, or how did that aspect of the story develop?

JT: No, I am a chicken. It was easy for me to draw the freaked-out kids.

Your capturing of the pre-teen voice and body language is wonderful…where do you pull that from? Is it based on your memories, or did you embark on any research?

JT: I am fascinated by the storytelling potential of bodies. We are very attuned to what they are communicating and I like to stretch that to effect. Sometimes I get very hung up on tiny details that I’m sure no one will see, but I think it adds up to an overall sensitivity.

MT: I am a chronic eavesdropper.  Although the other day on the subway I was pretty sure some kid called me out for doing it so, I’m going to have to learn to be a little less gleeful listening to teenagers talk.

Rose’s family is fraying apart for much of the book. Why was it important to highlight the onset of familial strife, particularly seen from the eyes of a younger character?

MT: Who doesn’t have a little familial strife in their lives these days?  It would seem kind of weird to me not to include it, whether writing about kids or adults.

This One Summer is considered to be all-ages, but there are different elements that clearly resonate with adults, which sort of mirrors how Rose is beginning to see the world as well. Who do you feel is the intended audience for the book? Or do you feel like This One Summer is fairly wide-ranging in its appeal?

JT: I only think of a few ideal readers when I work on the book. Some of those readers are real people, some are imagined. They’re usually not young kids. Some are teenagers. Most are my age.

MT: I think a books audience is self selecting.  I don’t see a 10 year old reading this book cover to cover.  Beyond that I think the idea is to write about not for.

What made First Second your choice of publisher, and why return to them after Skim, specifically?

JT: Groundwood, which published SKIM, put out TOS in Canada, and they have done a wonderful job. First Second made sense in that they had very strong ties to the American library system, in addition to the Macmillan network. But I think it has been excellent having both publishers, as Groundwood can prioritize the Canadian industry. After all, we are Canadian authors and the content is largely Canadian.

How are your next individual projects coming along? Mariko, I understand you’re working on a new YA novel, and Jillian it sounds like you’ve got some more “irons in the fire” in addition to your work on Adventure Time.

JT: My webcomic “SuperMutant Magic Academy” comes out in book form in April from D&Q. Also in April, Youth in Decline is publishing a short story of mine called SexCoven. It will be part of their “Frontier” series.

MT: My next prose YA book, Saving Montgomery Sole, will be released by Roaring Brook/Penguin Canada in Winter 2016.

This One Summer is available through First Second and on sale at your local book retailer

1 Comments on Mariko and Jillian Tamaki on This One Summer winning the Caldecott and Printz Honors, last added: 2/15/2015
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7. Oh man. Jillian Tamaki’s Supermutant Magic Academy just...



Oh man. Jillian Tamaki’s Supermutant Magic Academy just keeps getting better. Nothing else like it!



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8. Jillian Tamaki takes my breath away. In her words: A 6-page...



Jillian Tamaki takes my breath away. In her words:

A 6-page visual essay for Print Magazine’s “Trash” issue. Over about four weeks in April, I surveyed lost, abandoned, and discarded items on three blocks surrounding my apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The “trash” ranged from the mundane to the bizarre to the seemingly-poetic.

Click through to see the full post, which is beautifully drawn, beautifully painted, and beautifully paced. *sigh*



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9. Your Dreams, My Nightmares interview


While in NY for the SCBWI conference, I snuck away to spend a bit of time with two of my art homies, Jillian Tamaki and Sam Weber. They ambushed me and forced me into recording an episode of Your Dreams My Nightmares. You may listen to the hilarity here.

Please, let me apologize for a huge faux pas. Lift Every Voice and Sing was written by James Weldon Johnson. I mistakenly said that it was Langston Hughes during the interview.

From the site:
Your Dreams My Nightmares is an audio side project hosted by Sam Weber
Your Dreams My Nightmares is available as a free podcast via itunes.
Your Dreams My Nightmares is on Sound Cloud.
You can follow us on facebook and Twitter

For the time being any inquiries can be directed to (917) 719-0086

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10. INTERVIEW: Mariko and Jillian Tamaki on ‘This One Summer’

As Summer 2014 starts to break onto the horizon, one of the first big launches of the year sees Mariko and Jillian Tamaki working together for a new graphic novel, This One Summer, published this week through First Second.

A story of two girls, Rose and Windy, This One Summer is a tale of growing maturity, of dealing with the oncoming threat (or pride) of adulthood. It’s also a gorgeous, lush piece of work, with the creative team completely in-sync as they go about creating a memorable, surprising holiday experience for the two characters.

To find out more about the book – which I’m purposely not explaining to you in too much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything – I spoke to Mariko, who writes, and Jillian, who pencils; about the book what it’s like to work together, and how This One Summer came about.

tos

Steve: What made you want to tell this specific story? What was it about the idea, or characters, which really struck you as something you wanted to explore?

Mariko: I’ve always wanted to do a summer story. Plus the cottage is such an interesting space. It’s not home, but you’re with your family. It’s your vacation spot but it’s someone else’s every day. The rules are totally different because you’re not at school. Even the landscape, you know? With the trees and the lake and the stars and everything. It’s a little magic.

Steve: This marks, I believe your first work published through First Second. How did they come to be involved with the project?

Jillian: I’ve actually been in informal contact with Mark since around 2004. Before First Second even had a name or before we had published Skim or I’d moved to New York. He had seen some of the illustrations that I had done for the New York Times Op-Ed––some of my first jobs ever after graduating art college––and thought my work seemed suited for comics. I was only making minis during that time.
During one of my trips to New York to visit my boyfriend (who was attending SVA), we met for lunch and had been in touch on-and-off since that time.

Steve: When you first start work on a new project, do you find that you start off focusing on the story, or focusing on characters, or both?

Mariko: For me it starts with character. I do a lot of writing (random stuff) to figure out who the characters are before I get started on a script. I write a lot of letters and just stream of conscious poems and whatnot to figure out what the characters think of each other, what they’re afraid of, stuff like that. I think it’s essential to understand who you’re writing. If you understand your character, you understand what they will do when your plot happens.

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Steve: The story follows two girls, Rose and Windy, two childhood friends whose families go on holiday together every summer. It would be tempting to assume that elements of the story draw off some of your own experiences growing up…. would that be fair, though? Does the story draw on any elements of autobiography for either of you?

Mariko: I went to a cottage a lot like this one, but the characters in this book are very different than the people that populated my summers as a kid. I really tried to pull in a diversity of kids and adults and situations to tell this story, a lot of which were more inspired by people I’ve met as an adult than the people I knew when I was a kid. It’s a lot easier to observe kids as an adult than it was as a kid.

Jillian: I didn’t grow up going to the cottage. My family didn’t live near Mariko’s; we were on the other side of Canada where we don’t really have that type of thing. What I was more pulling from was the emotional landscape. We took a fact-finding/reference-gathering trip to Muskoka, the area depicted in the book, before we started and that was the most influential thing, because I wanted the book to be very sensory.

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Steve: The two girls feel like fully-realized teenagers of the moment, and their dialogue feels contemporary and authentic. How do you get into the minds of the characters, and put words in their mouths? Can it be difficult sometimes to write younger characters?

Mariko: I do a lot of teaching in high schools and I check in (aka eavesdrop) on kids all the time. I think the thing is less to try and write/talk like a young person, and more to try and remember where that character is in his/her life. In a way the adults can be harder to write, especially in this case, because their words are so much more thought out and calculated.

Jillian: My job is to support the dialogue, and add depth to what is being said. There’s actually quite a bit of latitude there because obviously a word or sentence can have infinite meanings depending on the timing, body language, expression, etc. Thankfully, Mariko is not too precious about the words; I can skew them different ways and she’s cool with it. She is an excellent collaborator.

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Steve: Tonally, how did you approach the story, both in the writing and pencilling? Despite the young lead characters, you address a number of more adult issues and concerns with a real streak of honesty.

Jillian: Well, thanks. That’s a real compliment and something we hope to achieve. Neither of us, for better or worse, approaches a story with a particular demographic in mind. Mariko has a knack for pinpointing social zeitgeists, I think.

There are three distinct groups of people in the story: the two little kids, the townie teens, and the adult parents. To return to your question, I didn’t try to worry so much about “will a kid get some of this adult stuff?” I think a reader will interpret the three groups differently depending on his or her age– hopefully it creates a textured experience.

Steve: This One Summer feels like an exploration on adulthood or coming of age – with one girl pushing away from adulthood and the other moving towards it, and both looking at their parents from new perspectives. Would you say that the nature of “adulthood” is perhaps one of the core themes and interests of this story?

Mariko: I think this book is about adulthood but from the perspective of kids. I’ve started describing the book as anthropological research of adulthood conducted by kids. Which makes sense, because adults have such a huge impact on kids. You’re basically at the mercy of the adults around you when you’re young. Also you’re fully aware you’re supposed to BE an adult at some point, which makes them worthy of study.

Jillian: Adolescence is the time when you stop taking everything at face value, including your own parents.

Steve: How do you plan out the structure of a long-form work like this? Do you work on specific scenes you want to hit at certain points in the story, and then work backwards and forwards from them, or do you write in a relatively chronological style?

Mariko: Typically I start with the characters and I have a sense of the main turning points going into it, then I just try to work it day by day.

Jillian: Mariko and I edited a lot during the sketch phase. Much more than Skim.

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Steve: Jillian, I believe you’ve said in prior interviews that you chose to have your art reflect the style of vintage manga. What motivated that decision? What do you think the style brings to this story?

Jillian: No, the art style does not reflect manga. Just the purple-y tone of the ink, which seemed to be prevalent in manga from the 60s – but I chose it because I thought it’d feel warm and unusual (and cool). I don’t consider manga a huge influence on my work (but there is some Miyazaki in there). The drawing in This One Summer is pretty workhorse-y in that I can capture a degree of realism, which was important to the story, but it’s also fast. I would not want to do a 360 page book in a put-on style!

Steve: At what point do you start storyboarding or pencilling the story? Does it tend to happen as the story is being written – allowing for moments where you decide to space out a scene or beat, and so on – or do you finish the script and only then start pencilling?

Jillian: Mariko scripts, then I sketch the thing out, and we went back and forth a lot. The story changed a bit after the sketches. But I don’t add a ton more than what’s in there. The constraint is fun.

Steve: How do you both find the creative process with one another, in general? Do you think being family makes it easier to work together and compromise when you disagree – or can it actually, at times, make it harder to create?

Mariko: I’m not sure if we have a familial connection to these kinds of stories. We do seem to have a similar sensibility around character and story. Maybe it comes from having similar dads.

Jillian: Mariko is a great collaborator, like I said. Not sure it has anything to do with being family.

What else do you have coming up, following the release of This One Summer? Do you have any future plans to work together again?

Mariko: At the moment I’m editing my next YA book (fiction, not a comic) and prepping a few new projects.

Jillian: Probably a collection of my webcomic, SuperMutant Magic Academy. Another not-announced mini-project. My Adventure Time episodes will come out! Illustration stuff.

As for working together: maybe!

-

Many thanks to Mariko and Jillian for their time. Thanks also to Gina Gagliano for arranging the interview. You can find Mariko on twitter here, and Jillian here. This One Summer was published yesterday, and should be available at bookstores and comic stores near you.

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11. Summer Reading…and a little fun.

School finally ended. I took a week off to empty my brain of all things MICA and am now ready to wrap up this book. My plan was to finish et the end of the semester, but like a few of my students, I fell shy of my original goal by about three pieces. Those that follow me on facebook know how excited I get about my students and their work. My Advanced Book Illustration class ended with a bang with their end of semester reading to students at the Enoch Pratt Library. What a treat! You can see a few pics from that day on the MICA blog.

Since school ended, I read Matthew David Olshan’s “Marshlands“, an allegory of the excesses of empire. I liked the story and felt that Matthew did a wonderful job of painting the portrait of life in the desert marshes. I did feel that there was an emotional distance from some of the horrible punishments inflicted upon the inhabitants of the land. Some of the described tortures hit hard, but there was still a calmness in the reporting. I wondered after I read it, if that was the reason I was able to read it so quickly. I never needed any distance from the story, and with the backward story structure, my interest was held throughout. 

The structure was a little disorienting at first. While reading it, I was lost and knew that the experience of reading it would be akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle…which bothered me a little at first, but again, the visuals of the story wer
e so rich that it stayed with me. I do enjoy stories that make you wait for answers later. I don’t enjoy being spoon fed details from beginning to end.

I am now finishing “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. It is mesmerizing, but pretty taxing. In contrast to Olshan’s calm and matter-of-fact telling of Marshlands, Diaz’s storytelling is full of colorful language, historical footnotes (still told in a conversational tone) and current cultural references that crack me up, but also wear me out. It’s a sad sad story of one Dominican family and how they came to continue their lineage in the US showing us what it meant to live in the time of Trujillo and how long-lasting and far-reaching his dictatorship was. Diaz intersperses the story with Spanish phrases (that make me wish I paid more attention in Spanish during high school). Fortunately, my Spanish is decent enough that I can keep up without having to translate too much, and most of the phrases are easily understood in the context.

Next up, I will read “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. I plan to digest some NK Jemisin and Danzy Senna on the recommendation of Deb Taylor. I also want to reread “The Summer Prince”, another story that had me disoriented at the beginning, but which I fell in love with completely by the end.

As for my own books, well, I am finishing one project and then beginning another, both written by other authors. After that I will begin work on my first story where I am author and illustrator. This summer, alongside my making and reading, I will write as well. No ideas are bursting forth at the moment, but my mind is too focused on current projects to allow any other story ideas to bubble up. I am sure that once I finish this book, my mind will relax a bit.

Oh! I do plan to get out and about in July. I will head to Maine with my mom and Deb Taylor to visit Ashley Bryan and The Ashley Bryan Center in the first week of July and after that, I will head to Seoul to visit with Taeeun and work on sketches for the next book. So, big plans ahead.

What are you reading this summer?

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12. Illustrator and Cartoonist Jillian Tamaki

Sometimes, you get stuck at a crossroads between two things you really love doing. For me, it’s being an illustrator and a musician. Years ago, I thought that I’d eventually have to drop one to wholeheartedly pursue the other. I was never able to decide what I loved more, because although different in myriad ways, my love for playing/creating music and my love for creating art are completely equal in nature.

Jillian Tamaki is a bit of a kindred spirit in this sense, although hers is a tug-of-war between illustration and cartooning. She’s been able to integrate both of these passions into an impressive creative career, having released two graphic novels with her cousin Mariko Tamaki and two books of personal work on her own–not to mention the plethora of illustration awards she’s achieved. Her ever-growing client list includes the likes of The New York Times, National Geographic, Penguin Books, The New Yorker, and WIRED.

Jillian grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and went on to study illustration at the Alberta College of Art & Design. While she originally intended to focus on design, she fell in love with illustration and began freelancing after a brief stint at Bioware, a Canada-based video game company. She works both digitally and physically, showcasing her general badass brushwork and drafting skills in addition to embroidery (!!!).

Her creative process is impressively flexible, shifting between rapid-fire deadlines and long-term projects.

This One Summer and Skim, while not necessarily limited to the teen reading section, exemplify the Tamaki cousins’ wish to expose more nuanced examples of teenage girls in literature (“not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth”) and graphic novels/comics. They don’t shy away from the heavy stuff–sexual identity, suicide, being a general loner. And perhaps there’s no better way to tell the stories of these painful experiences than through Jillian Tamaki’s gorgeous, expressive linework. Skim went on to win The New York Times’ award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2008.

Jillian’s exuberant, sarcastic personality is only complemented by her genuine desire to help others, especially in the creative community. She’s provided a wealth of advice on her website in the FAQ section, and also welcomes questions on her blog.

You can follow along with her at her websiteTwitterblog, and Tumblr. She also runs a webcomic at Mutant Magic, which will soon be published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2015. Jillian also teaches illustration at School of Visual Arts.

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13. CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens

The Beat took pictures at CAB 2014! Some of them are Hipstamatic. Live with it. This was a good show, as usual. I came back with a bag full of books and immediately started reading them, one of the virtues of the home show. Although jam packed the show was surmountable, and I thought I would go once around the room and take photos of every one so I would have good file photos for when someone wins the Nobel Prize or marries Taylor Swift. This plan did not go as well as anticipated as you will see.

CAB 201402 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
The cotillion for young cartoonists was arranged by experience. It takes a few years to get to tyro.

CAB 201403 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
This book, The Jacket, by Kristen Hall and Dasha Tolstikova is lovely. Published by Enchanted Lion.
CAB 201404 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Enchanted Lion publisher Claudia Z. Bedrick on the right, I forgot the young fellow’s name alas.

CAB 201405 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
That’s Laura Lannes on the left, cartoonist of the mini comic The Basil Plant which got a rave review on the Comics Journal the other day which had about 200 times more words than the comics. but sometimes that’s how it works. She’s good! On the right is…another cartoonist from the Paper Rocket studio whose hand cleverly covered his name badge. I’m really awful with names, people.
CAB 201407 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth spring into action as Paul Karasik looks on and Olivier Schwauren sketches away. This show was action packed!

CAB 201409 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Secret Acres creators. One of them is Theo Elsworth. Help me out here, people!
CAB 201410 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Sophie Yanow and Sam Alden are shocked to see all the action at the show. These guys have moved beyond Tyro class even!
CAB 201413 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
People looked at comics sometimes buying them.
CAB 201414 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
I was trying out this new Hipstamatic filter I just bought. A little too blue?
CAB 201417 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
The animated Leslie Stein.
CAB 201419 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
John Pham was at the show! I didn’t even know he was going to be there!
CAB 201421 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
The mad talented Lala Albert. Her new comic from Breakdown Press was a sellout.
CAB 201422 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Patrick Kyle, returned from his tour more or less intact.

CAB 201425 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Dean Haspiel and Z2 Publisher Josh Frankel.

CAB 201426 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Nick Bertozzi is chatting to SVA’s Keith Mayerson, I believe, That’s David Mazzucchelli in the hat but don’t worry you’ll get a better look at that later. Bertozzi has developed quite a varied shelf of books. I adore his latest one, Shackleton

CAB 2014271 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Gregory Benton of Hang Dai and Target.

CAB 201429 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Jillian Tamaki, Keren Katz and Mazzucchelli. David and I embarrassed Jillian by telling her how amazing her work in This One Summer is, and then David explained how tiny gestures can changes every drawing. A collection of Jillian’s funny and painful SuperMutant Magic Academy is coming in the Spring from D&Q.

CAB 201431 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
I know this isn’t a very good photo, but CAB is full of magical moments like Keren Katz yakking with Ben Katchor while James Romberger and Marguerite van Cook stand nearby.

CAB 201432 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
I grabbed a bite with tireless Torsten Adair at this little sandwich shop called re.Union which was around the corner from the church. Their sandwiches were JAMMIN’ but everyone turned backlit. Scott Eder of the Scott Eder Gallery was at the next table and we passed a pleasant half hour or so talking about shows and art.

CAB 201436 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Here’s the Breakdown Press gang, which is, I believe Simon Hacking and Tom Oldham. Breakdown is a small English publisher and they’ve put out works by Cossé, Conor Willumsen, Connor Stechschulte, Lala Albert, Joe Kessler and Seiichi Hayashi. They are kind of killing it. Seriously, loved every book I got from them. They also filled me in on some of the background of the UK’s fast growing indie scene. (Thought Bubble is already on!) I pointed out that once the English think something is cool, American hipsters have to go along, so all our hopes rest on these guys. They also told me a possibly apocryphal story about a cartoonist who had spent the night on a park bench and still managed to make a mini comic in the process.

CAB 201438 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Karl Stevens! He’s backed by Sam Henderson.

CAB 201441 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Action Austin English! Those Domino Books people totally use a hurry up offense.

CAB 201443 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Of course an actual wedding was going on at the church. What would a comics show be without a wedding nearby?

CAB 201444 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Adrian Tomine. A new issue of OPtic Nerve is on tap for 2015 he told me.

CAB 201447 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Annie Koyama and Gary Groth exemplify the love that is CAB.

CAB 201453 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Flash Forward to Day 2! There was some confusion over people thinking that there would be books for sale on Sunday, but there weren’t Only panels. Here’s Paul Karasik talking to Art Spiegelman and Roz Chast. This was a blockbuster panel by any definition, and I love Paul Karasik, but I kind of wish more had been devoted to the two talking about their parents. I don’t mean to gripe. Karasik put together a marvelous slideshow of both their work and of course both Chast and Spiegelman were witty and wonderful.

CAB 201457 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
Then Josh Bayer interviewed Raymond Pettibon, the famed punk artist. This was a priceless, you-had-to-be-there moment as Bayer would ask a question and Pettibon would go off on an amazing rant about something, every line quotable. (I put a few really goods ones on Twitter.) It was a pretty unstructured talk but Bayer knows Pettibon well and quickly rushed through a slideshow that included work by Harold Gray and Jack Kirby, both obvious influences. Petibon clearly has comics hopes and dreams (Caniff and Frank Robbins were also cited as influences.) but luckily came up at a time when someone of his talents could make a ton of money doing commercial art and selling paintings.

If I may shift into diary mode here for a moment (I wasn’t already?) I experienced one of those weird time circles. Back when I lived in LA I went to a blockbuster show at MOCA that included Robert Williams, Pettibon, and Manuel Ocampo among others. It was called Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 90s, and it was a pretty incredible show, I have to say. The work of Pettibon and Ocampo and Williams very clearly referenced comics imagery in a respectful way. This was long before comics were as accepted as they are now, but I saw clear flashes of it back then. A few months later I was at that cafe in Silverlake we all used to hang out at (Jeebus what was it called?) with Phil Yeh and Alfredo Alcala and Ocampo and his fellow Filipino art crowd, because it turned out Ocampo idolized Alcala and the other cartoonists. Anyway flash forward 24 years, and Bayer asked Pettibon if he liked the Filipino comics school, and he said “Yeah, Alcala and…” So, see, everyone knows every one!

I saw Robert Boyd at the show and he was taking notes at this presentation. I look forward to his notes on the event because he knows a lot more about art than I do.

CAB 201463 CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens
For a finale, Pettibon did a live drawing based on a Jack Kirby drawing of Spider-Man. It was awesome. CAB was awesome.

You can see the finished drawing here. WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK! REPEAT NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

2 Comments on CAB 2014 in Pictures! With Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Raymond Pettibon and a cast of dozens, last added: 11/11/2014
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14. Jillian Tamaki wins Governor General Award for This One Summer

ths one summer Jillian Tamaki wins  Governor General Award for This One Summer
Another win for a graphic novel as Jillian Tamaki won canada’s Governor General Award : for This One Summer in the Children’s Literature Illustrations category. This is a prestigious Canadian literary award, and its the first win for a graphic novel, although cousin Mariko Tamaki was nominated for their previous collaboration, Skim, and Mariko was nominated in the Children’s Literature category this year. Jillian gets the hometown hero treatment from the Edmonton Journal (she’s a native of Calgary.)

It’s the first Governor General nomination for Jillian Tamaki but, strangely, not the first time her work has been nominated.  There was controversy back in 2008 when Skim, the first book she created with her cousin, was nominated in the text category but not for illustrations. Tamaki argues that separating illustration and story into two categories for comics does not make a lot of sense,  suggesting that it may be time for a separate category for graphic novels.

“It’s the same strange divorce of text and image for this one as well,” Tamaki says. “I think we are both creators of the book. You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honour and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.”


The National Book Awards ceremony is tonight where Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a finalist. Fingers crossed!

[Via Comics Reporter]

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15. On Drawing Animals by Jillian Tamaki

It takes restraint not to re-post everything Jillian writes on her blog over here. But take a moment to check out her advice on drawing animals in this post – “There is no formula to trick to drawing animals, or anything else for that matter. Only observation (ideally from life) and practice will give you a fundamental understanding of structure and form.”

Check Jillian’s illustration gallery here to see how uses animals in her illustrations regularly to evoke motion and emotion to great effect.


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16. Now let us praise famous jacket artists – 2010

Due to the sheer proliferation of book jackets featuring photographs rather than illustrations, I think the time is right to offer a little ode of praise to our brave illustrators who work so hard to give us great illustrated chapter book covers.  In an age when it feels like all the teen covers are dedicated to giving us variations on the same theme, it’s refreshing to consider that some artists do more than just Photoshop a girl’s dress from pink to blue.

That said, sometimes it’s hard to tell who the cover artist is on an individual book.  A lot of galleys and advanced readers copies may refuse to mention the jacket artist’s name, perhaps because they are reserving the right to choose a different cover at any time. As for the artists themselves, they’re not usually all that prompt with their online portfolios.  With that in mind, these are the only artists I could think of off the top of my head that are doing more than one chapter book cover in the year 2010.  If you can think of someone I’ve missed (or can identify another 2010 cover that is by an artist listed here) please let me know and I’ll add them as time permits.

Scott Altmann

Here’s a guy that sneaks up on you.  You don’t notice him for a while and then BLAMMO!  The dude seems to be everywhere.  This year Altmann’s been impressing youngsters with …

The Smoky Corridor by Chris Grabenstein:

The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean:

The Shadow Hunt by Katherine Langrish:

The Ring of Five by Eoin McNamee:

On the other side of the pond Altmann gets his own fair share of work.  I was pleased as punch, for example, to see that they had reissued Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia the Robber’s Daughter over there this year.

Not that I don’t still love the original Trina Schart Hyman illustrations from over here.

While fellow artist Brandon Dorman does the Fablehaven books in the States, Altmann is doing them in the UK.  He’s also doing the Charlie Bone series over there as well.  All the more interesting that he didn’t do the UK versi

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17. YA Lit Symposium Pre-Conference: On Beyond Stonewall

The morning began with Michael Cart giving an overview of some of the important social and political events related to LGBTQ issues. Next, Cart and Christine Jenkins presenting a list of all of the books with LGBTQ content from 1969 to 2010. They booktalked many of these, highlighting some trends (resolution by automobile crash, melodrama, impossibly good looking gay men and the women who love them), the breakthrough books, and the real dingers. It was like being back in library school, taking a class on LGBTQ YA Lit, but it was compressed. If you want to spend more time with these books and these issues, check out Cart and Jenkins’ book from Scarecrow Press, The Heart Has It’s Reasons.

If you get your hands on their bibliography and were not in attendance, please note that this is not a list of recommended books. Some are good and some are not so good. During introductions, we each chose books from the list to highlight. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Levithan got the most nods, along with the graphic novel Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. Please add your own recommendations in the comments.

After lunch of sandwiches and delicious chocolate cupcakes, there was an author panel consisting of: Lauren Bjorkman, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Malinda Lo, and Megan Frazer (hey, that’s me!). We talked about what brought us to write our books, the challenges we faced, and what we hope to see in the future. We compiled a list of links that are on Malinda’s site.

After the author panel, I had to dash to the Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance in Contemporary YA Fiction pre-conference (which I hope someone else blogs about, because when I came in they were sharing some awesome ideas and resources), so I cannot give a first-person account of the breakouts that occurred — if anyone else would like to chime in, please do.

If you are in Albuquerque but missed the pre-conference, you can still hear about LGBTQ issues today at 1:30 at the breakout session: The New Gay Teen: Moving Beyond the Issue Novel.

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18. Jillian Tamaki reminds us there was a time when Maclean’s...



Jillian Tamaki reminds us there was a time when Maclean’s actually used illustrations on their covers (this cover was by Oscar Cahen). I don’t think I’ve ever seen them use an illustrated cover in my 41 years. (By the way, this is me dropping a gigantic hint to whomever is the Art Director there right now.)



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19. “Count Me in Kids” Interview and stuff…

A few things, first, check out the interview I did with Casey Ahn over at Count Me in Kids, a new blog whose goal is to empower the next generation of Asian-American children by exposing them to books, artwork, television programming and movies that reflect their faces and their lives. Casey featured my work last month and I chimed in to say thanks. She then asked for an interview; we chatted on the phone for about half an hour and the rest is history. The interview is very concise as she was typing as I talked, and I am impressed to see that all of the bases were covered! Thanks Casey for taking the time to share my work with your readers~ Stop on over and share your thoughts with her.

Secondly, a big THANKS to Jules over at Seven-Imp for sharing my “Spring Splash” print on her blog. Check that out along with the work of Amy Shimler. You’re in for a real treat.

Lastly, Stone Mountain Patch is stopping by the studio today. Look for that interview soon~

In non-Shadra related news, a big congratulations goes out to Jillian Tamaki for her AMAZING Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics. Here is one of the covers taken from her blog. Head on over to her sketchblog to see the rest and how she did them. They’re awesome.

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20. Nice Art: Best American Comics 2011 cover by Jillian Tamaki

201104151154.jpg
This year’s edition of the compendium is guest-edited by Alison Bechdel, with series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. Pre-order here.
Via

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21. A Century Later: The Secret Garden

Illustrated by Robert Ingpen, Sterling, $19.95 (hbk)
Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved tale of a neglected girl and the secret garden that transforms her life and the lives of her uncle and ill cousin turns 100 this year.

Published in 1911, The Secret Garden is the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox, who goes to live with her reclusive uncle after her parents' death and restores a garden that inspires them all.

As she tends the garden, Mary transforms from a standoffish, sour girl who never knew love to a caring niece who helps her uncle overcome grief and her unhappy cousin find the hope to get better.

In celebration of its centennial year, I've posted two beautiful new editions of the book, one illustrated by the inimitable Robert Ingpen and the other with cover art by needlepoint artist Jillian Tamaki, along with favorite quotes and a fun fact.

Both of the following quotes are from Chapter 23, "Magic," after the garden comes alive and Mary, her friend Dickon and her wheelchair-bound cousin Colin are brimming with joy at seeing the plants burst to life:

Cover embroidery by Jillian Tamaki, Penguin, $16 (pbk)
The first describes the return of roses to the secret garden and echoes the positive feelings growing inside Mary and Colin as each realizes that thinking good thoughts can makes their lives happier.

"Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks

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22. "Think about the marks you want to make on the paper in front of you… the ones that bring you..."

“Think about the marks you want to make on the paper in front of you… the ones that bring you pleasure and satisfaction. You can’t control what other people think or if they’ll give you a job. You can only control your own actions and the work you produce. You have to be a little delusional to pursue a life in the arts, so throw caution to the wind and make pictures that excite you and hopefully the world will agree.”

- Some great illustration advice and questions answered for students (and non-students) in Jillian Tamaki’s new FAQ

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23. Jillian Tamaki’s Super Mutant Magic Academy is my...



Jillian Tamaki’s Super Mutant Magic Academy is my favourite thing on the Internet.

mutantmagic:

Art Project



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24. Weekend reading: SuperMutant Magic Academy

201203231814 Weekend reading: SuperMutant Magic Academy

How on earth have we somehow never noticed Jillian Tamaki’s webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy? It’s a bit of a dark look at the mutant/magic academy genre. You know, Ronald Searle for the Hunger Games generation.

She’s made a mini comic with added strips but it’s already sold out. She assures us more is coming. More had better be.

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25. mattforsythe: Supermutant Magic Academy Fan Comic. I made this...



mattforsythe:

Supermutant Magic Academy Fan Comic.

I made this fan-fic comic for one of my favourite webcomics ever made - Jillian Tamaki’s Supermutant Magic Academy.

It’s kind of a reverse nod to the character Everlasting Boy, who might be the only webcomic character who’s actually made me think pretty hard about how I am living my life.

YES YES YES. Panel #4: I love you. 



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