Props
My 2012 Drawger Picks
posted: December 29, 2012
Year-end thanks to everyone!

I rarely post or comment here, but I'm always lurking at the edges and enjoying the site everyone here has made happen.

This post is to thank the people who made 2012 at Drawger go over the top for  me. Every word, every image posted here makes me insanely happy, but there were a few that really sent me soaring.

In no particular order...here they are:
 
The Uphill Climb
From Robert Hunt
In which Brian Stauffer and Robert Hunt decide it's a fine idea to climb Mount Everest and do some art along the way. Hello up there? Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!
 
The Embed in the Stan
From Victor Juhasz
Victor determines that it's an excellent plan to go to Afganistan and embed with troops to do art.  Compelling to the point of no return. I have no words to describe how meaningful this is to me and others I have shared this remarkable story with.
 
Teaching in Mexico and Dia de los Muertos
From Ellen Weinstein
Okay, I'm a sucker for pictures of  people and places I don't know about. Ellen flew me to the moon and back with this one.
 
Hello...
from Marcos Chin
I dearly love how Marcos can devine an image, but his prose is perhaps even more sublime. I've read this post  from him dozens of times and always walked away better for it. I'm glad he persued illustration, but if he ever decides to write, I'll follow him there any time.
 
"I told them ... I love you all very much"
from Ross Mac Donald I rarely cry. Ross brought tears rolling down my face with this personal and heart-felt message. I sense he brought this terrible tragedy home for all of us.
 
What I did on my summer vacation...
from Bill Mayer
Bill has astounded me over and over in 2012, but his deft writing and images surrounding a simple family vacation with this one really stuck with me, Not many people commented on it at the time, but I enjoyed it a lot and continue to do so. Posted to his The Lab area, which I follow like a hungry dog looking for treats.
 
Mitt Romney for GQ
from Tim O'Brien
Tim posts some of my favorite articles here. They're always full of unexpected detail and reliable fun. I loved this one so much because he delivered up something somehow exactly right for the long days of a presidential campaign summer. I'm not a political person at all, but he captured all my personal misgivings about a popular candidate with one shot, one image. Also from Tim in 2012 was Illustrations from my students 2011-2012, which Robert Neubecker rightly commented was 'a very humble and honest summation of the teaching experience'. Enjoyed this look at his students work a lot as well.
 
The Obama Conquest
from Roberto Parada
One of the last Newsweek covers we'll see in print, hateful comments that Roberto allowed as part of the conversation, this post had a lot to offer, wrapped neatly and with care like a perfect gift. I for one am so happy I got to open and enjoy it. As with many posts here, the comment area was just as powerful as the article.
 
My first piece for The New Yorker
from Leo Espinosa
I always imagined a community that supports and encourages it's own. I love this post for the comment thread that follows it so much. It's exactly what I hoped for when I started this crazy joint.
 
There were many many more favorites for me, but I'll stop here. Have admittedly left out Kroniger's sublime series under A Box of Magazines, which I looked at again and again and enjoyed so much, along with many others who make this place amazing.

Have a lucky and prosperous 13. Many thanks to all who are here and inspire and to those who are watching and care about this crazy illustration racket.
The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies
posted: November 10, 2011

Once hosted here at Drawger, Lou Brooks (with a bit of help from me doing some weekend and after-hours programming) has brought The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies back!

Do the right thing: Here it is
Working Surfaces Up Close
posted: September 3, 2010
I LOVE work surfaces (where the mysterious magic happens) and was lucky enough to snap a few during a recent trip to NYC. Figured I'd share these, for anybody who feels the same as me. Give it up for the work surface, yo!

Steve Broder's work table above. Forty years of hard labor and mad mad love in grisly detail.

Detail of Brad Holland's chaotic and at the same time serene work area, pictured above.  The piece he was working on at the time (inches away from what you see here) was everything you'd expect from the MAN, and then something more, but you don't get to see that.

Tim O'Brien works standing and as such, his board is as straight-up and verticle as the man himself. Here's a small, yet subline detail of his large working surface at the time of my visit. What else do you want to know? BAM!
Nancy Stahl Studio Glimpse
posted: August 27, 2010
Nancy Stahl invited me to visit her home and studio during a recent trip to New York. I asked if I could take a few snap shots and luckily she didn't mind. Obviously I'm not a professional photographer, but I think these amatuer pics provide a partial glimpse into how this remarkable woman is able to stay vital, current and simply bad ass by surrounding herself with inspiration.









Thanks much for the hospitality, Nancy!

I wonder if I call you if this thing (left) rings. I certainly hope so!

There's no way that I could show everything Nancy surrounds her life with - just a wee little glimpse is all I can show here. Her space is remarkable and I walked away feeling that at every turn of the head, she's challenging herself  to constantly move forward.

 
FAS - George Giusti Lesson
posted: January 30, 2010
I was on the phone with Enos yesterday and we were chatting about his days at the Famous Artists School. The talk inspired me to rummage around in my garage and pull out some of the course books I've collected from the school. If you've never seen one of these, they are large (14 X12) and impressive items. The ones I have are from 1959.

I haven't thumbed through these in many years, but once I started, these was no stopping. One of the books, blue cover, Lesson 18, titled Principals of Experimental Design contained a lesson designed by the great George Giusti, which I thought I'd share with everyone.
 
Other Giusti Resources:
Covers collected Alexander Budnitz
RIT Library

And I've set up an album for Giusti right here that I'll be adding to!

Also:
The collected stories of Enos at the FAS
 
Christmas Wish List
posted: December 3, 2009
Dear Santa, most things that I actually WANT, I can't have. But isn't that what Christmas is all about ... Not getting what you really want?

1. I want to go into the MIKIMOTO Ginza2 building in Tokyo, designed by Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects. I would be satisfied just to walk in once and then I would leave, I promise.

2. I want the Optimus Tactus concept Keyboard from Art. Lebedev Studio, designed by Artemy Lebedev. I don't care that this hasn't actually been produced, I want it and yes I deserve it. Yes, this is the second year in a row that I have asked for this but I'm NOT giving up!

3. The Air Genie is a spherical, full-color video-surfaced, helium airship designed by Tom Shannon. Like a lot of things I want, this doesn't actually exist yet. I want it anyway, and I want it as soon as possible. The idea of flying around and projecting whatever I want on the surface of my airship, it's just exactly the thing I want to do.
4. The Lilypad, a floating ecopolis for climate refugees is a concept city designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Hong Kong. It doesn't exist, but who cares? I want to live there anyway. Who the heck doesn't? Come on Santa! Floating cities are cool!

5. The CH4 Wall Decal by Cody Hudson for Bodega is one of those impulse items I know I'll regret later but I can't help it, I want it anyway. Maybe it's just the idea of art you stick to your wall that appeals to me. I wanna do it! I could always peel it off when I get tired of it, right?
6. The MIT 6-D ImageSystem. I asked for this last year from the Santa at Macy's, so I think he's a phoney. I want this and I've been a very good boy THIS year. Please, please, please let me HAVE ONE!

7. Can Steven Heller simply have a legit RSS feed for his Daily Heller column at Print? I'd like to have his feed in my daily news without having to check the Print Site all the time to read what he's going on about...Santa can make this happen, I just know it, it's a no-brainer!

8. I wanna be Randall Enos for ONE DAY. I understand this may be unreasonable, because he values his own body, but I PROMISE to return it (his body) after 24 hours. Image pulled from The Mocha Dick Project.

Ohger - For Students
posted: November 1, 2009
  Did this finally after many stops and starts: Ohger, a site for students and recent grads in illustration.

  What happened: I've been wondering for two years solid whether I could (or even should) do something for students of illustration, to help them find out who each other are, provide them with a site where they can learn about best practices from professionals and quite possibly get exposed to a few art directors along the way.

   Pacing back and forth on the idea, that's what I've been doing. "Yes I should do it!", "No way you dope, it's a really really lousy idea!", "Yes indeed, I must make this happen if I can!", "Get a freakin' grip dude, it's the lamest idea since melba toast."

  I finally stopped pacing and struck a semi-heroic pose in the mirror. Said,  Yes, " I need to make this happen if I possibly can"

  Why oh why: If illustration hasn't yet crossed the border into the Wild West, where the rules no longer apply and the law is nowhere to be found East or West of the Pecos, it looks to me like that unhappy horizon is rapidly approaching.

  Free is becoming the new normal. 

  Sure thing, most working professionals delivered a free piece of art when they were fresh out of school, in exchange for dubious exposure. Perhaps they did a piece for chump change to get a client listing as well. Today, those opportunities are much more pervasive and abundent  enough to start looking like free is gearing up as the new normal. What are the newcomers supposed to do, except to hopefully band together if they can and take a stand? I'm hoping Ohger will be a buttress in that defense.

  I figure that if illustration (which is the only thing I actually like besides kids playing baseball) is going to hold some ground, I can at least help get these students talking in one place if I can. Hopefully the pros will stop in to offer encouragement as well.

  OHGER.COM - for students of illustration and recent grads (one year out only). Hit me!

   Like everything else I try to help with, it may well be dashed to bits on the rocks below. If that's the case, so be it. I'm giving the idea time and effort  now and at the very least I don't have to pace around any more thinking about it.



Publishers Picks 2008 at Drawger
posted: December 3, 2008
poster by Marc Burckhardt

In which the unlikely publisher of Drawger points out some personal favorites from the year 2008 in no particular order what-so-ever. Thanks to everyone who made 08 one heck of a great read here. I love this place!
To my personal picks without delay:
Drawger launched into 08 with a fabulous post from Richard Borge where he documented his Jessica Hoop Video. This post remains one of my all-time favorites. Borge is the man in my book.
Okay, so I'm a real sucker for any type of detailed documentation of process. My favorite series of the year was back in July and August when Chris Buzelli posted his documentation on the Trophen Museum work. Chris gave us a really great look behind the curtain. Here's July posts on Trophen and here's August. Thanks Chris!
Anybody who didn't appreciate the Mingering Mike the Soul Supa-star post by Laura Levine back in February is just a bummer. I loved it and so should everybody else!
Zina Saunders caused HUGE traffic spikes at Drawger all year. Her Sarah Palin Bags a Big One may well have been the single most popular post at Drawger in all of 08. I liked it plenty myself, but my personal pick from Zina was her marvelous Marshall Erismon Profile. Simply yummy.
It's a given that Edel Rodriguez posts extreme coolness at a pace that makes the average bloggers head spin. His A Show in Spain documentation from January was one of my personal favs of 08 until he posted All About My Father in June which had me bawling like a baby. I also really appreciated his send-up to Tom Trapnell.Thanks Edel, I love you man!
No doubt about it, Steve Brodner has created a real show-stopper with his Person of the Day series. Traffic arrives here from far and wide to gobble up the brainy antics of this thoughtful master. His 4000 Persons of the Day was my personal favorite from 08 - as well as Steve's righteous and mighty Support Barry post which almost brought our dear server to it's knees. Thanks for keeping my brain buzzing this year Steve! I don't know what I'd do without you at this point.
Like I said, I'm a sucker for process posts. David Goldin's The Fruit of Our Labor post back in March was just coolness with a cork. I loved it and even got to taste it!
Fernanda Cohen's Illustrator Travel Kit. Nuff said. Too cool.
For the past three years, Tim O'Brien has documented his New York Marathon experience with the same degree of bravery and thoughtfullness as the amazing run itself. This year was no exception and it was his best run and his best post to date. Marathon is a great read and an amazing accomplishment. It also needs to be said that Tim's Cover of Rolling Stone post was easily one of the most viewed posts at Drawger this year, and for all the right reasons. Totally amazing.
Anita Kunz had me at hello with My new intern (I loved this too much for my own good) and Burn Baby Burn remains one of the most mind-bending posts I've ever had the extreme discomfort to witness. Thanks Anita!
Hanoch Piven does for Drawger what Captain Kangaroo used to do for me when I was two...keep me waiting for the next episode of wonder and delight. His Garbage Mountain post and his Keith post were both real keepers in my book. A world without Piven at this point is simply unthinkable. I salute you sir!
Rob Dunlavey has brought us some of his thoughts and insites into the state of affairs in Zimbabwe over the past few years. I really enjoy his contributions on this subject. Here's a look back at some of my personal picks from 08 - Hey Buddy Can Your Spare 50 Billion Dollars, Mugabe.
Harry Campbell (the undisputed king of spots) doesn't post a lot here, but when he does it's always some of my favorite stuff. His Op-Ed for Wednesday was my favorite from 08. I love to see the doodles that lead to the conclusion. Harry gives it up!
Linzie Hunter's Left or Right Brain? hooked me bad and her Back by Popular Demand! was a tastey treat as well. Thank God for the Brits!
Way back in January, Adam McCauley started a great conversation with his What is it article. I really love this kind of post. Represents the best of what Drawger does. Thanks Adam!
Do you like to get really close-up details of work, see all the brush strokes and cracks? Me too! At Drawger, Marc Burckhardt is your man. He posts a piece and then lets you see it up close and personal. BLAB! Show Los Angeles. Mmmmmmm.
Donald Kilpatrick was probably a journalist in a previous life. His posts are always a solid read. His touching tribute to Joseph Solman was a real stand out for me this year. I loved it and if you haven't read it, read it now.
I like childrens blocks, always have. I have a small collection of them. It should come as no surprise that I also liked the ABC post by Greg Mambly a LOT.
If Joseph Fiedler wasn't the worlds greatest living illustrator he'd probably be a documentary film maker. He has loaded Drawger with some amazing accounts of travels, events and studio tours. The one that really hooked me in 08 was his Marin Studio Visit: John Hersey in May. Cool details, expert timing, just what I needed.
Bob Staake has a way of writing his posts where the reader feels like they are getting a personal tour of his ever-expanding brain. One of my favorite examples from 08 was his super-cool Roomy Enough For Two Cockroaches And Up To Eighteen Deer Ticks article. And, being a complete sucker for any post that documents process, you can't beat My Odd Way Of Working from January! Thanks for memories Bobster!
Felix Sockwell occassionally stops in here to give us a lot to think about and I for one sure do appreciate it. His Tour De Force explanation of his iphone icons in his new iPhone nytimes GUI article was just solid amazing. I also love it when someone at Drawger sends out props to out-going art directors and Felix's send-up to Brian Rea was really cool.
Stephen Kroninger uses Drawger to talk about other people and show us what inspires him, which is cool. Very occassionally he will give us a peek at his own process and that's when my ears really perk up. His Nation Cruise for The New York Times post from February was one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing Stephen!
Robert Hunt cleaned his brushes in April and built a model of a dragon so he could paint it in November. Both of these posts had me blinking in disbelief and awe. Unreal.
For one reason or another, Drawger inspires some collateral activities. One of the funniest this year was Nancy Stahl's Drawger Scrabble Tournament which was documented here all the way to the winner. Another very cool contribution from Nancy in 08 is the Women's Work show which gets a TON of traffic and has over 200 brilliant works on display. Yeah Nance! Woo Hoo!
Carl Weins uses Drawger to talk about his family life, his sons, his brother, his life at home, his travels. I love that stuff and it's a really cool use of Drawger. His Last skate post from March is a great example of letting people see Carl in his natural habitat.
If Drawger has any lasting historical value, internet archaeologists will almost certainly point to Randall Enos' widely acclaimed My Life on the Slanted Board series. This year, we only got one instalment, but it may well be the best one yet. MY LIFE ON THE SLANTED BOARD...Chapter 28, "Stripping For Playboy". Brilliant!
If Drawger had a face, it would be the face of David Flaherty. My favorite stuff from David is his documentary work, whether it's an opening, a pool party or just a simple trip across town. His Quest for the Wacksman's Passage is best of show in 08 in my book.
An 08 highlight for me was Peter Kuper reporting from Mexico. I felt like we were getting a direct feed from the dusty streets. I'm really glad he took to time to document and post Mexico Street Art especially. I love that kind of stuff. Keep em' coming Kuper!
I'm a real sucker for babies. Gina and Matt let us have it with New Employee. Loved it loved it loved it.
A. Richard Allen tends to show just about everything that he can squeeze in. I love that. I especially love all the process sketches he shows. How To Live to be 100 was just one of my favorites from 08 - especially the annotated sketch on drag, which was hilarious!
In April, Leo Espinosa posted Friday Pencil Fiesta, in which he just started collecting and posting pencil drawings people would email to him. All of those drawings got relocated to here, and that single post resulted in the ongoing Pencil Fiesta gallery here at Drawger, which Leo bravely manages and edits. Yeah Leo! I love you like a rock!
Brian Stauffer has really put together a string of hits this year at Drawger. I really appreciated the insight into his thinking process with The Tough Ones in February and in March his Spitzer OP-ED post really showed how quiet and confident art direction (in this case from Brian Rea) can lead to amazing results.
Lastly not leastly, Lou Brooks uses Drawger to mostly post up things that inspire him, tracing his roots to jazz and pulp. It's always great stuff. Every so often he lets us in on a good inside story as well. The You and Your Turntable article was a cool insight into how illustrators can often effect smart editorial decisions and that's the kind of stuff that really gets me going. In June, Lou posted that his Art Supply Museum Tops '100' Mark!, referring to his Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies show here, which continues to be one of the most visited areas of Drawger. Way cool. Lou is the man.
. . . . . . . .
That's it for now! I probably left some of my favorites out, but I can definately recommend all of the above as a sample plate of what Drawger does best. Look forward to 2009!
All the Art That's Fit to Print
posted: November 3, 2008
 In 2004, Jesse Sunnenblick interviewed Jerelle Kraus for The Columbia Journalism Review. When I read the article, I thought to myself: There's a book here! In fact, I thought: There's one heck of a GREAT book here!... Little did I know, the book was already well underway.
Four years later, the lucky folks who attended ICON 08 got a small taste of that book, dished out from Jerelle herself.
Now  you can bite into the whole thing.
All the Art That's Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn't): Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page, by Jerelle Kraus
Stepping boldly out on a limb here: This may well be the most important book ever written on the subject of editorial illustration to date. It's a chronicle of where ediorial illustration has been, how it got to where it is today and shines a bright light on where it should go from here. But don't just trust me, the esteemed (is he a Knight yet?) Ronald Searle said it's "Certain to become the illustrator’s bible". Everybody's in it - recognize any of these names?
In or around NYC? Attend the book party at the Strand, November 13th. She'll sign a book for you! Buy one for a friend. Buy one for your least-favorite art director. Buy two for you favorite art director, for sure!
Not around NYC? - Buy it online
Oh and - Jerelle has agreed to do an interview with me over at illoz, so look for that coming soonish. Should be fun!