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September 19, 2013

For The Wit Of It



You want to know what I like about Michelle Last's illustration style? It's not pretentious or overly complex. Instead, it's always witty. And if you read her blog, you'll discover that such a description fits her personality perfectly. Visit her Flickr feed for plenty more goodies.

Oh, and as an aside: If you haven't joined our Flickr group, do so. It's one of the first places we check for talented artists like Michelle.


August 23, 2013

Tumblr of the Week: Emmi-Riikka Vartiainen

This week's Tumblr is Emmi-Riikka Vartiainen, an illustrator from Finland, whose Tumblr is filled with woodland creatures and Japanese school girls. Her drawings remind me of the fairy tale picture books and anime shows of my childhood - a time when everything was simpler.





July 31, 2013

The Work of Kymia Nawabi



I first met fine artist Kymia Nawabi at her graduate thesis show while we were both students at the University of Florida (we later became roommates when I first moved to New York). I was immediately drawn to her large scale mixed media work, filled with texture, disfigured bodies and limbs, swirling around in a controlled chaos. The pieces felt like surreal dreams or memories, deeply personal and sometimes bizarre or disturbing.

Kymia's latest work continues to explore new narratives and mythologies with expertly rendered figures, beautiful lines and intricate detail. I'm constantly blown away by her skilled use of different mediums, her drawing ability and the conceptual nature of her work. Her talents were on full display in 2011 as winner of Bravo's reality competition show "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist", resulting in a solo exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. You can find more of Kymia's work at www.kymianawabi.com.


July 25, 2013

Drawing with Carly Jean Andrews



Carly Jean Andrews is an illustrator and artist based in Brooklyn, New York. We've been friends for a decade now, and I've watched her drawings and artwork evolve and grow throughout that time.

When I look at someone's art, I usually judge what's in front of me, the skill involved in making a specific piece, or the concepts and ideas behind it. I sometimes forget about the thousands of drawings, sketchbook pages, and hours spent defining an original style and point of view. Having followed Carly's work for the past ten years, I see that time and commitment in everything she does. She draws more than anyone I know, and it's evident in her confident linework, unique portraits and exploration of color and figure. These are some of her most recent drawings, and they remind me how your art can change and progress through years of constant practice. I look forward to seeing how this work continues to evolve over time.

For more of Carly's art (some NSFW) go to http://carlyjeanandrews.tumblr.com/


July 19, 2013

The Daily Battles of Mu Pan

Mu Pan is a New York based artist who creates some of the most visually rich work I've ever seen. I was lucky to meet him earlier this year and got a chance to talk about his process, while also getting a glimpse into two of his sketchbooks. Each page of these books can stand alone as a work of art. As a whole, they represent a daily exploration of his life, thoughts, and experiences melded with historical events, cultural icons, symbolism and epic conflict. Mu's art is his life's work, and he's fully committed to pushing it to its farthest limits. There's a lot to see in his paintings and drawings, so make sure you visit his website and blog to fully enjoy the scope and detail of it all.


July 14, 2013

Make Comics with Josh Bayer

Josh Bayer is a prolific cartoonist, independent publisher and teacher based in New York City. I took Josh's Comics and Cartooning class in Brooklyn last year and learned a ton about the history of comics, ranging from early newspaper strips to Marvel's Golden Age to the alternative comics being made today. He also taught us his process, storytelling, drawing and inking techniques, and encouraged us to make our own comics using a number of different methods.

One of the best things about the class was being able to see Josh's sketchbooks in person. He usually works on a bunch of projects at once, over multiple sketchbooks. The pages are as intense as the drawings themselves. Layers of corrections, obsessive hatching, watercolor, and ink carved into the paper. Josh lives and breathes comics, and his artwork reflects that dedication and craft.

I had a really difficult time choosing just a few images to share here from the mountains of work he's created over the years. For more of Josh's drawings and comics, go to his tumblr, portfolio site, and online store. His latest comic is the amazing Raw Power 2.


July 4, 2013

Collabs with Boyd Shropshire

Boyd Shropshire is a talented graphic designer, musician and artist. He's also one of my old friends from the UF design program, my roommate when I moved to NYC, and frequent collaborator since 2005.

Our first collabs happened accidentally. While drawing on the same piece of paper, he crossed out what I had done and wrote some words on top of it. I think that unlocked something in my mind, that the drawings weren't precious. They could be fast, loose, weird and free. These pieces of paper lead to large-scale ink drawings, a two-person art show called Vernacular Shlamacular, collaborative sketchbooks, collages, songs, and creating the artwork for Kurt Vile's album "Childish Prodigy" on Matador Records.







Our two distinct styles created a third style, where you couldn't tell who did what. But the overall feel of the stuff we made was that we really didn't care what anybody thought about it. The important thing was to make the work.

Drawing is usually a very solo process. Just you, your sketchbook and pen. But I think collaborations are essential to revealing parts of your work that you didn't know existed. It's also awesome when you get to draw with your friends.

For Boyd's art and design, check out www.boydshropshire.com. He also runs a label with his girlfriend Cassandra called Wonderland Archives, where you can find his music alongside some other great artists.









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