Posts tagged ‘Illustration’

Nifty Fifty Shmifties

everybody must parade!

everybody must parade!

I haven’t done a design or illustration post in a while, and I need to redeem myself as an illustrator. While paging through an old Print magazine, I came across a book review for Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation. I could only see the cover, pictured above, but I knew that this book was for me, and I will soon be in ownership of it! The author, Amid Amidi has also put together a very nice blog, which I have now added to my ever extending list of bookmarks. This is a great supplement to those fans of the wonderful retro blog, GrainEdit, who wish they would update more. They definitely believe in quality over quantity, and I’m not complaining.

the hardest way to play!

the hardest way to play!

I’ve mentioned being into fun drawings before, whimsical characters and drawings. I have not mentioned Jim Flora, who’s work is pictured. He was a really great designer from the fifties. Now I also translate this appreciation to 50s animation as well. Fifties animation had a great style, that also featured off set inking. (Note for non-artists: off -set is when the ink color and the line don’t match up, aka off-registration printing) It also features really great textures and color themes and mixtures that are really unexpected. I wasn’t able to figure out why I was so drawn to this style until about a month ago when I saw a Mr. Magoo cartoon for the first time in several years.

caution: blind man with a temper stuff in traffic

caution: blind man with a temper stuck in traffic

When I was younger, I really had a thing for old men, Mr. Rogers and Jim Henson included. The cartoon old man Mr. Magoo is really great, and I know why I liked it so much. He’s such a strong willed little man for being blind, and he always knows what he’s talking about. I think I developed a great deal of my personality from watching Mr. Magoo navigate his way around the world. He’s very sassy, which I think I’m pretty sassy. He also inadvertently becomes the center of a catastrophe frequently. Plus he acts like he’s drunk the majority of the time, becoming increasingly demanding and condescending of other characters. The cartoon is a visual feast of stuff I’m about to rip off! Netflix will be delivering a DVD to me shortly.

I think I would like to live here

I think I would like to live here

This brings me to a studio who is cleaning up with their monopoly of this style. Invisible Creature is two guys, brothers, sitting around and drawing, having a grand old time. At least that’s what I imagine, but I know they must be working very hard to be producing the amount of work that they do. I mentioned Grain Edit earlier, and they were great enough to have featured Invisible Creature in one of their artist interviews. These interviews are really great because they usually feature some tips from the artist on how to create these visuals yourself. How wonderful is that? Wonderfully nice! I’m not so nice, I probably wouldn’t reveal my secrets.

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

WOW! Doesn’t this all look like so much fun. Well, it’s the weekend, go off and have yourself some!

-posted by samsquared

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February 20, 2009 at 8:04 PM 2 comments

Adventures in consumption

posted by russellmania3000

We are apparently in the throes of a recession. I wouldn’t know. But I have little doubt that at this point we’re mostly doing it to ourselves. Forget whatever weak housing markets or flawed “financial instruments” or incorrect models you’ve been told of to explain away why. You know what causes a recession to continue? Talking about the recession every goddamn day.

I find it odd that people respond to economic downturn by saving more money, since our economy is defined pretty much by how much we spend, not how much we have. The funny part – as in funny strange, not funny ha ha – is that, if you buy into the Paradox of Thrift, by spending less we actually save less than if we were to spend normally. I know that seems illogical but that is why something like this is called a paradox rather than, say, a law.

Though Sam has lately been on some sort of crazed anti-consumerist crusade, I haven’t personally felt the recession, at least not yet, so I recently posted on some of the newly purchased artwork that I’ve hung in my home, and today I’d like to continue giving props to the creative individuals who have tricked me into giving them my goddamn chips, but this time for neat things that cannot be framed and hung on walls. It’s not my intention to turn Redikulus into some kind of NOTCOT-ish celebration of materialism. I’m simply doing my patriotic duty to stimulate the economy.

By the way, “stimulus package” is my new favorite sexual euphemism. Try that one on and see if it doesn’t tickle you ever so slightly, you gigglepuss you. Okay here we go.

Books

Malfunction - Eric Joyner

I’m currently trudging through Infinite Jest and I have Sidewalk, Collapse, and Godel Escher Bach waiting in the wings. I know, some light recreational reading. So I picked up some lighthearted fare to refresh me when I need a break. I found this Giger book at a local comic shop and it’s way cheaper than any other Giger book you’ll find but just as comprehensive, good quality reproductions and all that. While I was there I picked up Flight Vol. 5 and Eric Joyner’s Robots & Donuts. Flight is without a doubt the most gorgeous and heart-warming series of comic anthologies I’ve ever seen, an absolute joy to look at and read. And Eric Joyner is a terrific painter, even if you’re not into robots or vintage toys.

Kobe - FreeDarko

But far and away the best book purchase I’ve made lately is FreeDarko‘s Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. This book has been getting a lot of good press from every angle, but I’m not sure about this “you don’t have to like basketball to like this book” idea that a lot of reviewers have been floating. I work in the NBA so whether I like basketball or not isn’t really up to me, but the Almanac makes me like it more but for bizarre, twisted reasons. The book is an otherworldly amalgam of gorgeous illustration, inventively hilarious charts and sports writing that intelligently weaves in science, history, art, and mythology to paint players as cosmic archetypes of style and super- (or sub-) human feats. Their blog is good, but doesn’t even hint at the analytic onslaught the reader is in store for. And the authors occasionally, though more so in the blog or other writing, let the fact that they’re Jewish peek through, which is … what’s the word I’m looking for … charming.

Clothes

Candy Floss

My man Gene, who works up at Dock Street where they make delicious beer and pizza, has a fledgling clothing line going called Candy Floss, and their stuff ain’t cheap but it’s quality. FreeDarko and Damon Soule also make classy shirts in addition to their prints, books, toys, etc.

World of Goo

Games

At a younger age, I used to insist that video games were an art form, but now that this idea is largely accepted and I’ve moved on from wanting to design them for a living, I’ve stopped evangelizing on this. With more demands on my time and better things to do, I don’t really have as much interest in games as I used to. But every now and then, a game comes along that reminds me of both why I loved them so much and the creative potential in the medium. Right now that game is 2D Boy‘s World of Goo. It’s also gotten press and a few award nods lately, though some of you may have been hip to this thing back when it was Tower of Goo at Carnegie Mellon’s Experimental Gameplay Project. You won’t do much better than this for $15 (Wii) to $20 (Mac/PC). It’s got intelligence, humor, charming visual direction, strangely touching music, memorable levels and a well-designed progression of difficulty and physics-based play mechanics. I do so hope 2D Boy makes fleshing out The Swarm their next project. Also, though it’s not by Kyle Gabler and it probably wouldn’t make a good finished product, On a Rainy Day is pretty great batty fun.

Music

It’s been over a month since I attended Blip but I’m still sort of on a chiptune/electronic music kick, though much less than in the days immediately following. Except for a few rare instances, I haven’t been in the habit of paying for music for many years. So as luck would have it, most of these 8-bit artists are total computer nerds and put out a lot of their music for free online anyway. Of the guys I haven’t already given nods to, recently I’ve been favoring Trash80, Stu, and Nullsleep. Speaking of which, Nullsleep is playing 8static (who knew there was a Philly scene for this stuff? Not I.) on Feb 7, and Starscream are no slouches either so I’d consider showing up if I were you.

January 19, 2009 at 4:47 PM Leave a comment

Your ankles are mighty sexy..

There are some people out there who believe they were born in the wrong century. I must admit, I sometimes feel this way too. However, upon a recent discussion, my friends were talking about how the 1800s were really where its at. I had to disagree. If too much of your ankles were showing at this time, you were a harlot! And I love wearing jeans a whole heck of a lot. Seriously, you had to pretend like you had no sex drive, and you couldn’t even discuss sex. I sometimes wonder how people even knew how to do it back in the olden days.

recently-deflowered-girl-01-thumb

I do like old ‘racey’ illustrations. Today I found these Edward Gorey illustrations. This is a great article, because this guy is as much into Children’s writers getting all pervy and weird with their adult material as I am. Many people are unaware of the favorite Childhood authors, who also have amazing adult works. One of my favorites is Roald Dahl’s short stories. He used to write for Playboy starting in the 60s, and one story has the subtle title of  Bitch. Bet you didn’t borrow that from your local library when you were a kid.

The problem with a few of these stories and illustrations is that some of the content was only relevant at the time. Some stories but mostly the comics leave me feeling out of the loop. Do not let this deter you, there are far more that are surprisingly timeless. An example of this is cartoons and stories by James Thurber, who used to write for the New Yorker. This guy fathered all cartoons that have the mentality of, ‘Wench, go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich’. He is also capable of making fun of men, he’s just not as good at it.

wildwomen01x2

So we can suggest it may have been better to live in simpler times, but lets not forget the horrible places you could have ended up back in the day. For example, the Puritans were back in the day, and they were pretty much one big no-fun zone! Also, being that I have red hair, there were several civilizations that were convinced we were Satan’s spawn. I’ll stick with  the non-witch burning openly sexual time I was born into. The 1980s. Bitches and blow.

-posted by samsquared

January 15, 2009 at 4:42 PM Leave a comment

Got the look

trends of a feather

Russ and I went to First Friday a few months ago, in order to see the Todd St. John show. He is the brains behind HunterGatherer. I really loved his work, and was even happier to have a design show to see in Philadelphia. Although, a friend left the show unimpressed by his work.

I recently discovered that I tend to notice trends, either that or I’m OCD and find mundane connections between unrelated topics. Other people, like my friend, blaze their own trail and make trends. Maybe it’s my eye for pop culture. I’ve noticed what looked cool to me since I was 13 and started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins. I even owned a pair of silver pants. That said,  I’m an illustrator who hasn’t quite found her style, but loves to draw and create, I pay extra attention to what I like when I see it.

I’ve liked Charley Harper for a few years.  A classmate recommended looking at his work, as well as that of the local Eleanor Grosch. It was helpful because they love birds and I was illustrating The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde. (I highly recommend it for you pessimists out there) I loved what I saw from these two, and Eleanor states she draws inspiration from Harper. I recently noticed how this style is everywhere now. The style of simplistic shapes and retro fitted colors seems to be on everything.  Todd Oldham (who is already the cat’s meow) has put together the first complete retrospective of Harper’s work. Another big book I truly can’t afford but would love to own. Even if this is on it’s way to jumping the shark, I’m going to argue for it.

This “minimal-realism” style is getting good looks from everyone. And has been for a few years now. Yet those who are on the brink of the next wave are those who are stepping further away from the computer. Whether it’s the addition of textured brushes in Illustrator, or just scanning in a penciled drawing for an illustrator line. Hand-done quality is going to grow in popularity. As the computer grows, and the increased belief that anyone can use Photoshop, appreciation for quality hand skills will inevitably be produced. I really like where awesome people like Mike Perry and Damien Correll are taking this boat. Mike Perry also made some cool books, slightly more affordable than the Harper book.

A teacher of mine once told me that it was important to do what your happy with. He lived through the trend of 1980s and 90s airbrush. He refused to trade in his ink pen for the airbrush to get work. It’s now becoming retro and almost vintage, but for now, it’s still ugly.  Harper is a retro classic, and we’ll see what outlasts the next wave.

-posted by samsquared

December 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM 1 comment

Something to see, who’s comin’ with me?

Photo by Mike Mergen for the NY Times

Photo by Mike Mergen for the NY Times

There’s a little place in Philadelphia called the Rosenbach Museum. Now, I haven’t been there yet, although the women I e-mailed with was very cordial. You see, I was trying to get in to a members only event, Sendak on Sendak. No, I couldn’t come and have food and drink on the Rosenbach without being a member that night, but there were plenty of hours in which I could come and see the show. I sincerely hope you aren’t asking yourself who Sendak is, because you, my friend, are about to be a bandwagon fan. Oh yes, that’s right, with the advances in computer animation, a Where the Wild Things Are movie is going to be released that is going to be awesome. The only place to have a clip of this still is Gawker. It’s old, but still poignant news for the rest of you.

Get ahead of the times and get your copy of Where the Wild Things Are. If you lost it over the years, invest in the book, because those stocks are going to go up come next year. In spirit of awesome artists whose work appealed to me as a kid, here are some more artists you may have forgotten about:
My numero uno over the years was Keith Harring. Just look at that picture, if he came back today he would be the hugest hit with the hipsters at Urban. His work was fun and being that we came from the same town, he was a hero to me. He was taken too early by AIDS. He still has an awesome store in NYC, and I recently saw a great heavy book that provided a collection of his life’s work. He also made a children’s book or two that I own and love, called Nina’s Book of Little Things. This is a book for you to paste little things into, a sort of guided sketchbook for kids just getting started. (I’m in my twenties and still getting started, lay off the young.)

Chris Van Allsburg was insane (and I believe under the influence of an
earlier form of aderol, or maybe just a really smart brain). Everyone
liked him when we were little, although his work has been forgotten by
most people who don’t have a child. All of his books have some serious
dark humor to them, almost as Charles Adams does, but with much more
subtlety.

Which brings us to Charles Adams, and I swear my friend was raised by
invisible friends who were all characters of Charles Adams’ twisted
world. We can also thank that man for his heavy influence on Tim
Burton as Burton himself created a large part of our childhoods with A
Nightmare Before Christmas and books like Melancholy Death of Oyster
Boy and Other Stories.

Please add your favorite youngster types. Get on Shel Silverstein and comics. Archie? Anyone? Bueller?

-posted by samsquared

December 10, 2008 at 5:59 AM Leave a comment


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