Posts tagged books

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Cool little known reference books on vintage postcards

Since we Canadians are coming up to an election I thought I’d share something patriotic. Unless you are a postcard collector you probably won’t come across these books. They’re produced by Michael J. Smith, who has been collecting vintage Canadian postcards for a loooong time. Although written for collectors and focusing mainly on cataloguing, the book I just bought has 900 colour reproductions of cards from 1903-1920 or so. (Image here is from vintagepostcards.org)

You can also read an essay here by Michael on vintage postcard collecting.

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Custom Lettering of the ’40s and ’50s

Last year’s Custom Lettering of the ’60s and ’70s, Rian Hughes’s massive scrapbook of curated lettering samples culled from movie posters, ads, and other ephemera of the time, was one my favourite books of 2010. It quickly gained a permanent spot on the bookshelf closest to my drawing table, it’s such a great reference book.

Its new successor, Custom Lettering of the ’40s and ’50s now joins it on the shelf. Both books are nothing but pure typographic pornography, carefully sorted by style and tone.

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Ivan Brunetti’s little classroom-in-a-book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice is probably my favourite book about drawing comics.

Brunetti gets to the heart of what makes a comic a comic. It’s not a book that tries to teach you the right way to draw, or the proper tools to use. Rather it focuses on the philosophy of comics-making and the distillation of both art and story into simple pictograms and beats.

Previously only available for sale with Comic Art Annual #9 from the now-defunct Buenaventura Press, I’m glad to see that this little handbook has found a new home with Yale University Press.

(Source: youtube.com)

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Cybele Young’s picture book Ten Birds is a lovely, understated counting book full of problem-solving birds and strange contraptions. It’s always wonderful to see a book aimed at young children—even one teaching them to count from one to ten—that doesn’t speak to them like they’re children. 

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Cartoonist Aaron Renier, author of the recent The Unsinkable Walker Bean, created this comic based on Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It’s a lovingly crafted tribute to both Quentin Blake’s illustrations and to the beauty and magic of reading printed books. Growing up having read every Roald Dahl book I could find at my local library, this is pitch perfect — click through for the full thing.

Cartoonist Aaron Renier, author of the recent The Unsinkable Walker Bean, created this comic based on Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It’s a lovingly crafted tribute to both Quentin Blake’s illustrations and to the beauty and magic of reading printed books. Growing up having read every Roald Dahl book I could find at my local library, this is pitch perfect — click through for the full thing.

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heyoscarwilde:

the original artwork to the front piece illustration for A Peanuts Treasury circa 1968.
art by Charles Schultz :: via comics.ha.com

heyoscarwilde:

the original artwork to the front piece illustration for A Peanuts Treasury circa 1968.

art by Charles Schultz :: via comics.ha.com

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Our own Ward Jenkins, to help celebrate Jules Verne’s birthday yesterday, has shared some marvellous scans of a book called Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future, featuring illustrations by Peter P. Plasencia.

Our own Ward Jenkins, to help celebrate Jules Verne’s birthday yesterday, has shared some marvellous scans of a book called Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future, featuring illustrations by Peter P. Plasencia.

(Source: Flickr / wardomatic)

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Fantagraphics Books Deal of the Day | Groupon Spokane / Coeur d’Alene
One of today’s Groupon deals in Spokane is $40 worth of Fantagraphics merch for $20. The deal is only good for the Fantagraphics website, which means it’s good wherever you live (tax and shipping not included, natch). 

Fantagraphics Books Deal of the Day | Groupon Spokane / Coeur d’Alene

One of today’s Groupon deals in Spokane is $40 worth of Fantagraphics merch for $20. The deal is only good for the Fantagraphics website, which means it’s good wherever you live (tax and shipping not included, natch). 

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Seth’s book design process (National Post)

Seth’s book design process (National Post)

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Jolby & Friends

Jolby & Friends

Jolby & Friends is Josh Kenyon & Colby Nichols. They’ve updated their site with some new work, including their fantastically illustrated children’s book, “The King’s 6th Finger.” Wonderful design and characterization. And color. 

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Mascots by Ray Fenwick

Mascots is a beautiful new book by Ray Fenwick collecting a series of color paintings on found book covers. Mr Fenwick is also responsible for the collection of brilliant typographic cartoon strips, Hall of Best Knowledge.

You must all surely concur that this new book establishes Ray Fenwickas the foremost satirist-illustrator-typographer-poet-designer of our time.

(Source: rayfenwick.com)

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Favourite Books of 2010 - John’s Picks

2010 was a great year for books — beautiful, printed, made-of-paper books. If you’re struggling with last-minute gift ideas for the cartoonist or illustrator in your life (or anyone for that matter), here are my favourite books of the year.

Birchfield Close by Jon McNaught

Probably my favourite book of the year. From my original review:

Printed with a restrained three colours, the short book is a gentle, unassuming reflection on time, place, and sound. It’s not so much a story as it is a snapshot of suburban life. The sights and sounds of a sleepy, mundane evening become the beats and rhythms in the poetry of a neighbourhood.

Indoor Voice by Jillian Tamaki

This collection of drawings and sketchbook comics is a successor of sorts to Jillian’s equally inspiring Gilded Lilies. Both books act as companions to her sketchblog, which itself is home to one of my favourite things on the Internet, SuperMutant Magic Academy.

Market Day by James Sturm

A chilling parable for the modern commercial artist, Market Day is a timeless tale of artisan vs. economy. From my original review:

It’s a heartbreaking tale, made even more heartbreaking by its relevance to today’s shrinking markets for craftspeople, artists, illustrators, and of course, cartoonists. The dying newspaper and magazine industries that once made celebrities out of cartoonists, are certainly represented here as the stores and marketplace sellers who can no longer afford to buy and sell handmade goods. To be sure, the book is dedicated in part “to all my fellow cartoonists”.

The Book of Grickle by Graham Annable

A best-of collection of some of Graham’s favourite comics work. If you’ve seen Graham’s Grickle cartoons on YouTube, or have played this year’s Puzzle Agent game, you know what kind of Lynchian goods to expect in the book. Read my interview with Graham.

Custom Lettering of the ’60s and ’70s by Rian Hughes

A close runner-up as my favourite book of the year, it’s the ultimate reference book for lettering and type nerds who want to capture some retro magic. This fat book comprises thousands of lettering samples culled from advertising, logos, posters, and ephemera of the era — all of it organized by style, from psychedelia to brush script to spooky horror to modern geometric.

Wilson by Daniel Clowes

It’s most certainly the graphic novel of the year. Wilson is the story of a misanthropic antihero told through a sequence of individual one-page comic strips, each drawn in a different cartooning style. It’s a graphic novel that reads like the Sunday funnies, but one with the bitter soul of Daniel Clowes.

Spork by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

It’s the only kids’ book on my list this year, but only because I didn’t read too many. Spork has an identity crisis — he’s not quite a spoon, like his mother, nor is he quite a fork, like his father. He’s a little bit of both.

It’s the perfect kids book for for children of multicultural—or multi-cutlery—families, or for any kid who feels like he or she doesn’t quite fit in. Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations are a fitting hybrid of mixed media and collage, and help make Spork one of the most beautiful books of the year.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

Seth Godin gets to the heart of how to not only set yourself apart in the workforce, but to position yourself as a linchpin — that indispensable, innovative mind that everyone wants to work with. The good news for us creative types, is that the secret is in art and creativity. And for cartoonists who are still afraid to put their work online for free, Linchpin will help explain why the culture and economy of gifts is integral to success on the Internet. And most importantly, Godin helps to conquer your lizard brain — the primal part of your inner workings responsible for your crippling fear of failure. Linchpin helped me better understand my role as a freelancer and a creative mind in a constantly shrinking marketplace in which the most valuable currency is attention.

Diary Comics #1 by Dustin Harbin

A funny and often touching collection of diary comics (first published online at Dharbin.com) that not only chronicles the artist’s life, but also the evolution of his craft. From my original review:

It can be difficult to make every day seem interesting, and minutae can only take one so far. But when you read all of them together as a whole, suddenly you’ve got something far greater — like puzzle pieces coming together to form a larger picture. And in the case of Dustin, you can also see how his rhythms and even the art improve over time as he settles into the practice.

Bent by Dave Cooper

Bent is the latest coffee-table art book from Canadian cartoonist-turned-painter Dave Cooper. We get to drill further into Cooper’s psyche in this book, which continues the celebration of his singular, artistic vision — an alien landscape of writhing, female figures and strange vegetation. Guillermo del Toro describes Cooper’s work perfectly in his introduction: “At play here are both the innocence and wholesomeness of childhood plastic toys and the sweaty, adult realities of desire.”

Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons

What Charles Addams is to the New Yorker, Gahan Wilson is to Playboy. And here we have three gorgeous hardcover volumes of his work - page after page of full-colour cartoons celebrating the macabre and the twisted. Perfect for the creep or the creepy in your life.

Weathercraft by Jim Woodring

Jim Woodring’s masterful cartooning is showcased in this latest graphic novel featuring his familiar cast of characters including Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw. It’s never easy to discern what Woodring’s comics are about, but there is never any question as to what is happening in each panel. Such is the control and understanding he has of both the medium and his tools. Weathercraft is a silent movie governed by dream logic and the id.

See also:

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Favourite Comics and Art books (and more) of 2010 - Matt’s Picks

Hey, here’s my annual round-up of Things I Liked This Year That I Have Little to No Authority to Recommend!

And remember, every time you click an Amazon link, you are helping me buy a bowl of vegetarian chili and survive another day in this harsh world.

Here we go…

Birchfield Close by John McNaught - Quiet, beautiful, spot-printed comics from Britain’s NoBrow Press.

The Wrong Place - Brecht Evens’ insane watercolour-gouache-whatever orchestra has finally been translated into the English by Drawn & Quarterly.

Indoor Voice by Jillian Tamaki. Short and understated, hugely inspiring - this is one of my favourite books this year. I keep looking at it again and again.

Seasons by Blex Bolex. Spot printed minimalism - great for all ages. I recommend anything by Blex Bolex, but this book appears to be the most accessible of his works on this continent.

Epileptic by David B. This book was released four years ago in N. America, but this was the year I finally got around to reading it. It blew my mind. I’ll leave it to more articulate comic theorists to explain why, but it really is an exciting, important comic.

Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl. Karl’s consistently hilarious, profound and beautifully-illustrated webcomic in a handsome hardbound edition.

Or how about one of these awesome handmade robots by Tom Torrey. I love this guy’s work. Note: This is not a book.

Hunks Coffee Mug by Kate Beaton - This is not a book. This is a coffee mug with Hunks on it. Egg Nog tastes better in Hunks.

A beautiful signed print from Matte Stephens’ Etsy store.

Finally… If, like me, you’re a little ambivalent about acquiring more Stuff (as beautiful as it may be), then consider donating to a charity on behalf of someone you love.

Please consider giving to Doctors without Borders - who have been doing amazing things this year in Haiti and around the world.

You can give as little as $5 and you can be sure they’re spending it wisely.

Also check out: Comics Reporter’s epic Holiday Buying Guide 2010. He actually knows what he’s talking about.