Sunday, November 29, 2009

MAD Magazine look at Chris Ware

Found this parody of Chris Ware's work while looking through some of my old MAD Magazines. Click for a larger image--it's big enough to read!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Skull Stroll

One of my favorite blogs for illustration inspiration is Journey Around My Skull. Mostly composed of scans from one man's awe-inspiring book collection, it offers up, on a daily basis, surprising and wonderful influences from around the world.


I could just post stuff from this blog all day. Doesn't each one of these make you sick with jealousy that you didn't draw it? Doesn't it make you want to create stranger, fresher, more unexpected illustrations?

And, Hey! Who's this?

Why, it's MCA alumna Michelle Duckworth! Winner or Journey Around My Skull's Evil Orchid Bookplate Contest! Nice company you're keeping, there, Michelle. Congrats!

Update: No sooner than I post this, but Michelle gets featured a second time. Now you're just flaunting it, Michelle. Knock it off.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And see! oh, what a dreadful thing!

Children's Book suprstar Lane Smith has a fun little blog, Curious Pages, about children's books that should never find their way into the hands of children—and nearly all of which I think I read as a kid. I'm not sure if that makes my parents very cool or very negligent.

via The Beat!

Work in Progress

You guys need to see this.

via my ol' pal Matt.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Something for the comics kids

I was trolling ye old internet earlier for inspiration when I stumbled upon Dermot Walshe. I had never heard of him before so I did a little reading about him. He's been working as a story board and concept artist for television, film and video games for about twenty years now. You can check out an interview with him here and you can check out his lovely comic pages here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Derrick Dent

Speaking of MCA alumni, Derrick Dent has put up a nice post about his illustration process, including not one but two videos of him inking (Because four minutes and twenty seconds just doesn't capture the majesty).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Alex Harrison on Arts Memphis

MCA Illustration Alumnus Alex Harrison talks about art, music, and life without TV while sporting a couple different hair styles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marjane Satrapi at the U of M

For those of you who have mastered being in two places at once: On November 3, 6:45pm, The University of Memphis and Memphis Reads present Marjane Satrapi, creator of Persepolis. This is a very rare opportunity to Ms. Satrapi, as she doesn't come to the States that often. It is free and open to the public.

Bill Plympton at MCA

I highly recommend next week's guest lecturer, Bill Plympton. Funny, perverse, and a rare instance of colored pencils turning into something nice to look at.

There is a screening of "Idiots and Angels" at Malco on the Square, Monday Nov 2 at 7.30 pm (free to students with MCA ID)
and the lecture in Callicott on Tuesday, Nov 3 at 7.00 pm.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sinbad surprises/attacks several students!

Hey Gang, Sinbad stopped by the illustration room last Wednesday to spend a few moments striking poses from some of his more memorable adventures. Such a nice guy! Anyway, you'll find a handful of those poses right here:
Now, you have NO excuse not to have the most beautiful Sinbad illustration in the history of Sinbad illustrations!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

500 Pencils Competition

As seen in The Black & White, is co-sponsoring a student competition to draw 4 scenes for a children's coloring book:
Devise 4 scenes of an original story and illustrate them for a coloring book for children of ages 5-7.
We are looking for imaginative, positive stories and illustrations that translate into fun coloring-in pages for young kids.

You must be a student to enter (winner and honorable mention recipients will be required to provide proof of their student status).
Your narrative and drawings must be understandable to 5-7 year olds.
The 4 scenes must be consecutive scenes, but they do not need to tell an entire story from start to finish.
As with all coloring book illustrations, the drawings must be outlines.
Your story and drawings must be original.

Your entry must include:
• 4 illustrations that follow the requirements stated above.
• A brief description of the scenes and characters depicted.

$500 plus a set of 500 Colored Pencils to the winning design.
Judges may award up to 2 Honorable Mentions to receive a set of 500 Colored Pencils.

You know, I hate colored pencils. Just hate them. But even I would kinda like 500 of them. Imagine the colors!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where The Wild Things Meet Up

Movie Time!

Official MCA Illustrator viewing time for Where The Wild Things Are is 9:15 at Studio on the Square. It is recommended that you get your tickets ahead of time.

And to get yourself in the spirit of the thing, check out the great WTWTA illustrations over at Terrible Yellow Eyes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maurice Sendak

The Rosenbach Musuem & Library, home to the Maurice Sendak Gallery, has a number of interview videos with Mr. Sendak. Sendak brought both incisive intelligence and raw emotional experience to his books, and it's nice to hear some of teh stories behind the pages.

via Drawn!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Strathmore's "How Do You See Green?"

Strathmore, the people who make the stuff you make art on, are having an Illustration Contest.


Entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM (CT) on November 30, 2009.

How to Enter:

  • Create a piece of art that expresses the theme of “green” and “environment” using dry media techniques on Strathmore paper. (pencil, pastel, charcoal, etc.)
  • Scan or photograph artwork for submission to the contest.
  • Complete the online entry form and upload image from your computer.
  • Images must be in jpeg format and no larger than 2.0 mb file size. No mail-in entry is available.
  • Once you have completed the submission process, you will receive a confirmation that the upload was successful.

Who May Enter:

  • Contest is open to all artists 18 years of age or older on or before the date of January 31, 2010.
  • Artists may enter in 1 of 2 categories: student or professional/hobbyist.
  • There are no entry fees. Contest is void where prohibited.


  • Artwork may not have been made commercially available, have won any other prize/award, or been previously submitted to any other contest.
  • Art must be the exclusive original work of the entrant.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Check out Joel!

Our lovely illustration professor was recently featured in Memphis Crossroads Magazine's arts issue as one of Memphis's Top Twenty Untapped Artists. You can check out the magazine online in PDF format by clicking here. Also featured are MCA Professor Cynthia Thompson and student Tommy Kha.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quentin Blake

Here's a swell video of Quentin Blake talking about his process and the purpose of children's picture books. It's always nice to hear a master of a craft discussing their own work, and it's even better when you can see them working.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ben Shahn's Allegory

I should have posted this a couple weeks ago, when I asked the Illustration 5 & 6 students to read "Biography of a Painting" from Shahn's excellent book, The Shape of Content. Here's an image of the painting that is the subject of that article:
Nice, eh?

While I'm on the subject, here's an interesting page that shows Shahn's use of photo-references, which might be of interest to the Illustration 1 classes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Portfolio Day

NPDA Broadside Competition groups are out! They are as follows: (designer / photographer / illustrator)

Alison Castle / Rumi Schultz / Matt Ryan & Josh Duncan
Gina Davis / Megan Snider & Khalifa West / Kayla Cline
Andrew Lebowitz / Michael Peery & Trinity Poole / Michael Vinson
Juliana Lynch / Katie Massey / Devin Taylor
Madison McElroy / Melinda Topilko / Lauren Rae Holtermann & Marie Lauver
Kassey Pass / Natalie Hoffmann / Paul Holiday
Kevin Reuter / Brian Wittmus / Alex Barton
Meredith Shields / Tommy Kha / Marie Provence
Ryan Stewart / Alecia Walls & Maggie Russell / Elliot Boyette
Samantha Taggart / Anna Hollis & Jordan Hood / Rory Ann Austin

In the Mail

For all the glories of electronic communication, there's still nothing like a great postcard to bring your work to the attention of an art director or client. Illustration Promotions is a site that collects these postcards for your enjoyment and edification. There will probably be a lot of promotional postcards in your future, so it's worth developing ideas for them, now.

Wild Things, Influenced

Given the affectionate interest expressed in a certain forthcoming movie, I thought this blog might be of interest.
In October 2009 Spike Jonze’s feature film rendition of Maurice Sendak’s classic story Where The Wild Things Are will hit movie theaters worldwide. The film represents years of work from hundreds of different artists, writers, photographers, musicians, actors, and creators of all degrees. This place has been established to help shed some light on many of the small influences that have converged to make this massive project a reality.

We Love You So via Drawn!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vintage Tooncast

Source of inspiration or procrastination? You make the call. Lots and lots of great old cartoons ripe for the viewing at Vintage Tooncast.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Illustration Annual 2010!

Well, kids, it's that time again. Time for the ol' 2010 Communication Arts Illustration Competition submissions! Just what does this sharky image have to do with Communication Arts magazine? Furthermore, what does it have to do with me? (By "me" I mean "you") This sharky image happens to be the work of Frank Stockton, a fantastic illustrator living and working in New York. He created the illustration on the cover of the 2009 Illustratin Annual. He's so good he'll make you want to quit. Just don't. There's an interesting interview here at Check him out! And check out as well! They have lots of great guest illustrators/writers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Berke Breathed on Comics

I was recently reading my copy of Bloom County 1986-1989 and found this-- Thought it might be appropriate to post.

[ click to embiggen ]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rhonda Forever

This is a pretty cool video demonstration Rhonda Forever, a 3D Drawing software developed by Amir Pitaru in 2003.

Amir PitaruPitaru is a classically trained musician but makes really badass digital art with his own custom programs. The coolest part is, he has no formal computer programming training; he's completely self-taught. The Design Museum website says he strives to create interactive animations with the same fluency as music, which is pretty obvious once you take a look at his stuff. This one is call "Geisha", also made with another custom software. You can check out more of his work at

James PatersonThe hands & drawings in the video belong to James Paterson (no, not the guy that writes those paperback novels my mom reads), another self-taught software geek. So the interwebz say, the two of them met at a conference in London, then realizing they lived on the same street in Brooklyn, and started collaborating. His stuff is a little more my taste than Pitaru's; kindof purposely rough figural line drawings. He likes to use the computer "like a sketchbook". He's has a few creative outlets on the web but I like most.

BONUS: If you visit the site, there is a field at the bottom of the page to sign up to be a tester. They'll e-mail you a password to download the prototype to play around with. I already got mine!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Speaking of Tibet...

While we have the amazing privilege of seeing the Drepung Loseling monks create a sand mandala in the middle of our gallery, here's some related eye and brain candy:

Peter Sis
Sis is a creator of brilliant children's books, including Tibet: Through The Red Box. This guy won a MacArthur Fellowship—the so-called "Genius Grants"—and it's pretty clear why. He combines media in amazing ways, and takes very complex subjects and crafts brief, clear narratives from them without losing that complexity.

Amazon has a nice blurb on Tibet: Through The Red Box:
As a child in 1950s Czechoslovakia, Caldecott Honor-winning artist Peter Sís would listen to mysterious tales of Tibet, "the roof of the world." The narrator, oddly enough, was his father--a documentary filmmaker who had been separated from his crew, caught in a blizzard, and (according to him, anyway) nursed back to health by gentle Yetis. Young Sís learned of a beautiful land of miracles and monks beset by a hostile China; of the 14th Dalai Lama, a "Boy-God-King"; and of "a magic palace with a thousand rooms--a room for every emotion and heart's desire." Hearing these accounts--some extravagant but all moving--helped the boy recover from an accident. The stories also allowed Sís's father to relate an odyssey other adults didn't seem to want to know about in cold war Czechoslovakia. "He told me, over and over again, his magical stories of Tibet, for that is where he had been. And I believed everything he said," Sís recalls. Still, after some time he too seemed to become immune, and the stories "faded to a hazy dream." With Tibet: Through the Red Box Sís finally pays tribute to this fantastical experience, illustrating key pages from his father's diary with complex, color-rich images of mazes, mountains, and mandalas. He also produces pictures of his family at home--simple, monochromatic images that are just as haunting as their Himalayan counterparts. In one, a wistful mother and two children gather around a Christmas tree, the absent father appearing as a featureless silhouette. Tibet is a treasure for the eyes and heart. Some will ask: Is it for children or adults? Others will wonder: Is it a work of art or a storybook? One of the many things that this book makes us realize is that such classifications are entirely (and happily) unnecessary.
--Kerry Fried

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Concession Safari Queen

Need a little randomization to kick start the creative process? Try the Brainstormer.

You can read about the creation of this nifty little web gadget here, on Andrew Bosley's blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jillian Tamaki on Generating Ideas

Jillian Tamaki posted on her sketchblog some thoughts on developing Illustration concepts. It's worth a read.
Plunking yourself down in front of a pad of paper and scraping the inside of your brain is probably not the most effective way of generating ideas. If we only draw upon the images that already exist within our heads, or our own memories and experiences, we are actually quite limited.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Howie Tsui


You're going to want to see this.

via Boing Boing.

Meg Hunt's Trade Secrets

Insanely talented illustrator Meg Hunt has a tips 'n techniques blog which, sadly, has not been updated in about a year. But it's still chocked full of great information. Check out, for instance, her musing on promotions.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Material Geek

Cartoonists Matthew Bernier and MK Reed have a swell blog, comic tools, where they examine all kinds of materials and dispense all kinds of useful information. Do you know how to make kirbydots? Matt does!

Got a minute?

There's about 30 days left to submit to this:

Nominees fly to Berlin! Winner designs a Swatch!

via Drawn!