Most Seattlelites recognize the cartoons of Steven Weissman since he's been drawing I, Anonymous for the Seattle Stranger for quite awhile. In this weekly letter column, he pens the diatribes of the angry, bitter, self-loathing and oblivious. Last month's was a favorite of mine, a huge fan of the C-word, handled with the utmost care (see above). Weissman's love of duotone, gray shading and dot-matrix-heavy shading makes his drawings perfect for print and they look hella fine on the web too. Weissman was sweet enough to answer some questions about how he approaches the weekly illustrations.
Q: Do the letters appear on your doorstep in a huge sack just steeped in vitriol?
A: [Art Director] Aaron Huffman sends me a letter sometime between Wednesday and Friday each week after Stranger associate editor David Schmader or some shadowy 'they' pick the letters.
Q: What is your process like for a weekly drawing based on someone else's ideas?
A: I've usually scanned the letter once by Friday. I'll print it out on Sunday night, underline key phrases and make a couple of sketches. By Monday morning, I have a pretty clear idea of what I'm drawing.
Sometimes the Seattle-specific letters can be puzzling (I'm in Los Angeles), but I can only think of one where I was completely stumped, and all I remember about that one is my solution being some guy eating a toaster waffle.
Q: Have you ever been contacted by the people who wrote the letters or the ones who figured out they were the subject?
A: I've sold drawings to people related to the letters before. They make great gifts for friends recovering from messy breakups (35% of I, Anonymous letters are breakups). Original art is also a great way to say "I'm sorry I gave you V.D."
Every great once in awhile, like a giant locust swarm happening on the same calendar day as a solar eclipse, Ivan Brunetti offers a page of original art for sale. This time it is the page below (detail above) from The New Yorker, the December 21, 2009 issue.
The Peppercorn Saison is the first of many beers in the newest collaboration between a Fantagraphics cartoonist, Jim Woodring this time, and Elysian Brewing Company, who created the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse based on Charles Burns' Black Hole art last year. The Oddland series will feature gorgeous full-color labels with a hint of bright, shimmering foil and artwork based on the ingredients. From the Elysian press release: "Head Brewer Dick Cantwell and his brainstormy gang get an idea; they run it by Woodring, who sketches his two cents' worth and sends it on back; then the recipe is tweaked, the ingredients secured, suggestions made as to visual format, and away we all go, to Oddland."
Weird ingredients are once more very much the order of the day--black, green, white and pink peppercorns for the first go, pears, cumin and cardamom for the second, and who knows what for the third--focused, inverted, enlarged and then made small again through the Woodring lens. The labels will both disturb and amuse you; the beers intrigue, refresh and engage you.
The Oddland Peppercorn Saison will hit stores in 22-ounce bottles, restaurants and bars on draft and Elysian's own taps around May 15 of this year. You can drink it down at home even while reading Weathercraft, Congress of the Animals or the soon-to-be-released, Fran. Keep your eyes peeled and throats thirsty for a fun keg-tapping event featuring the Oddland ring-and-inkmasters, Jim Woodring.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund continues to bless objects with Jaime Hernandez's artwork. They have taken his Libby image from the Membership Card seen below (and shirts and hoodies) to make gorgeous limited edition prints. Utilizing the press at Aardvark Letterpress and help from CBLDF Member Store The Secret Headquarters in LA this 11 x 14 inch print is available to people pledging at the DEFENDER Level ($250) and higher.
Here Jaime is approving the design by cartoonist Malachi Ward to accompany his own artwork. Deputy Director Alex Cox states, "Mr. Hernandez was involved in the design process, and as you can see, an enormous amount of love and care went into to getting these prints just right." Visit their site to see how the prints turned out, here's a hint: GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLDDD.
As a recent thank you to Publisher Kim Thompson and editor Kristy Valenti (and more) for moving offices, I hatched up a scheme to paint the library door in our basement. If you haven't visited the Fantagraphics office recently, the lovely 70s shag carpet was ripped up awhile ago leaving the basement aesthetics a bit similar to that of a cattle kill floor. NO LONGER!
Inspired by Guy Peellaert's smashingly neon art in Jodelle, Office Manager Steph Rivers and I pulled out the carbon paper to adapt the drawing to our door. Also called graphite paper and available at art or architecture stores, it is an invaluable tool for mural making or large scale painting projects.
And then we let the Vitamin-C-infused paint hit the door. Now our library door matches the library door in Jodelle! Steph on the left as I sneakily took a photo.
The finished product may have worked too well. Now everyone at the office wants a new door. Maybe a Graham Chaffee one or Johnny Ryan....
Now time to paint all the book spines to match the ones in this library. Mwuhahahaha!
Fantagraphics' veteran Jeremy Eaton continues to draw his mashup characters or Jumbles since his show last fall in Seattle. Luba and Olive Oyl is one of our favorites, good thing that iconic Luba hammer exists for the sake of Olive Oyl's shoes (created by Gilbert Hernandez and E.C. Segar respectively). Jeremy's posted more than a few of his 'jumbles' onlineso check it out today! And try to name all the characters jumbled together below.
Here's a preview of the sassy Libby aka Lady Liberty as drawn by THE Jaime Hernandez for the 2013 Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's card. And they must have answered my prayers because I've been wanting a new baseball tee for a long time. I'll let Deputy Director Alex Cox tell you more below:
Legendary cartoonist Jaime Hernandez rings in 2013 for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by providing the art for this year's membership program! CBLDF protects the freedom to read comics by providing legal aid, resources, and education in the service of protecting the comics medium's First Amendment rights. Members provide the monetary foundation CBLDF needs to protect perform that important work, and this year every member is being rewarded with a membership card designed by Hernandez. Members who can afford to join at higher levels will also be able to receive exclusive items featuring Hernandez's striking art, including a member exclusive t-shirt, a limited letterpress print, and more!
Jaime Hernandez is best known as the co-creator (with brothers Gilbert and Mario) of the of the epoch defining masterpiece Love & Rockets. His characters Maggie and Hopey among the most iconic characters in the history of independent comics. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of LOVE AND ROCKETS' debut, and the CBLDF is proud to have Mr. Hernandez's insightful take on Lady Liberty as the mascot for our 2013 membership program. When discussing helping the CBLDF, by creating this extraordinary piece of art, Mr. Hernandez stated simply, "It's pretty much a no brainer. We need the CBLDF."
This year we're asking everyone who supports the freedom to read comics to become an intellectual freedom fighter and join the CBLDF! As a member, you will be an active part of the field's most proactive advocacy group, and ensure that our important work protecting the right to read, create, own, and sell comics can continue to grow. Your support will help advance our important legal and education work from courtrooms to classrooms and beyond. Your membership contribution makes you an essential part of the team that helps protect and advance the rights of this incredible art form. All members will receive the 2013 membership card by Hernandez. When you join at the $100 Advocate Level, you will receive an exclusive long sleeve t-shirt, available only to members, as well as button pack and sticker set! This shirt features the gorgeous Jaime Hernadez line art, and will only be available to members who join the CBLDF in 2013! Other levels offer other incentives, including a limited edition signed and numbered letterpress art print, and CBLDF branded items including sports bottles, hooded sweatshirts, and embroidered polo shirts. All of these premiums thank our members for their generosity, and let them show that they're a proud member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund team, who are always ready to stand up for the freedom to read comics!
While trampsing around the suburbs and backwaters of Texas, I happened to find the majestic Webb Gallery in Waxahachie for there lay a treasure trove of Esther Pearl Watson paintings. With fading painted trim in still vibrant oranges and teals matched with iron statues and odd toys from people long since dead, it reminds you of an open range and that mix of culture which is a side-step from Southwestern.
Watson's paintings, unlike her Unlovable comics Fantagraphis printed, are deeply personal and autographical. As the daughter of the local color, Watson watched her father build several large-scale UFOs. Out on the lawn.
Bitter-sweet nostaglic scenes in dirty brown skies and abandoned women's clinics, Watson paints a darker time in her childhood. But that ever-hovering presence, the idea of 'what-if', the UFO. (They Might Be Giants might have called it her 'hovering sombrero')
Compared to Watson's Unloveable, which also runs in Bust Magazine, the unapolagetic Tammy Pierce is nearly the opposite of these quiet moments with tension bubbling under the surface. Each canvas, most of them wooden, are akin to a diary page created in paint, dirt and the occasional glitter patch instead of words. Notes are scribbled in the corners of most of the paintings to enhance or detail the scene. Often a new town, a new landscape to explore.
Details of the paintings. They practically vibrate.
So all these gorgeous paintings hang on the high-ceilinged walls of the Webb Gallery amongst their antique carnival posters, including Coney Island originals. The perfect place for the painted recollections of hazy memories. Something almost most too incredible to believe.
The Webb Gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 or by appointment, (972) 938-8085. A quick 30 minute drive from downtown Dallas or 2 hours up from Austin, be sure to see it! 209 West Franklin Street Waxahachie, TX 75165. The current exhibition by Esther Pearl Watson will be up through January 20th, 2013.
Looking for that special something to give to special someone you love? (In my case, that would be me.) Order a commission directly from an artist! Josh Simmons of The Furry Trap, House and Jessica Farm is one of the many artists offering his service to you. Simmons said he is very flexible and can tailor things to peoples' budget, or something like the Witch-King of the Nazgul painting above is the most time-consuming, would go for the highest price. When I asked if the highest price was money, the soul or a bucket of blood, he agreed any of the three would do. Horrifying.
But like most cartoonists, artists, people of note, Simmons can create for children too! So for the parent who wants an original drawing but needs G-rated content, Simmons has a sweet side too. Well, it's still spooky.