Jillian Tamaki

The Good and the Bad

Jun 30th, 2009

The Good: Skim has been nommed for a Harvey Award! “Best Original Graphic Album”. Nice!

The Bad: after 4+ years, I will not be doing the weekly quiz at cbc.ca/arts anymore. Welcome to the new economy, kids. I would be remiss to not thank both Greig Dymond and Andre Mayer who gave me the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of the site. They were truly excellent to work with and let me experiment and try new things (to varying levels of success). Clients like that are rare.

Above, the last quiz. Test your Canadian Pop Culture 2009.


Jun 30th, 2009

Test your knowledge of Beyoncé.

Naughty n’ Nice

Jun 29th, 2009

Who’s Back

Jun 28th, 2009

Sooo, a lot of stuff happened while I was away? Poor MJ. We were “SHAMON!!”ing all weekend.

First off, thanks to the Illustration Academy for inviting me and Sam down to Sarasota. We always enjoy ourselves immensely.

Second, Skim has won an another award! The Canadian Booksellers “Libris” prize, for Book Design of the Year. Thanks to Michael Solomon at Groundwood, who made the design happen on the book. Readers of the North American version will have hopefully notice some of the easter eggs in the design (hint: take off the dust jacket).

Here’s Farrah for good measure:

Away to Florida

Jun 17th, 2009

A programming note:

I will be going away to Florida tomorrow and won’t be back for a week and a bit. The reason? A self-imposed comics seclusion (with a little break to impart some “knowledge” at the Illustration Academy).

I might type stuff from down there. We’ll see what the situation is. Hopefully I will have lots to share when I get back?

Test Test

Jun 16th, 2009

This is a bumming-around thing for another thing that I’ll show you later.

Skim Twitter Contest

Jun 15th, 2009

A non-Skim picture to go with Skim news.

cbcradio: A @cbcbookclub contest for Twitterers only! Send yr high school memories to be entered to win a signed copy of Skim! Use #highskim hastag. Read others’ stories. They’re like teen-haikus.

Replay the Skim livechat, which was conducted last week.

Thoughts on a Sketchbook

Jun 12th, 2009

As I mentioned, I will not be teaching at Parsons next semester. I’ll miss it, because I find a lot of inspiration working with other people.

Here are a few thoughts on sketchbooking, based on one of my handouts.

– Your personal work (sketchbook) and jobs (projects) are not separate. Your sketchbook work should be experimental and free and represent what truly interests YOU. Discoveries made in your sketchbook can and should find their way into your paid work.

– Make errors. Try new media. Cheesy and obvious-sounding, but true.

-Set out on a page having no clue where you’re going or what you’re doing.

– Try adopting a stream-of-consciousness approach to your sketchbook. The work need not be “finished” or comprehensive. If you find you are stuck, simply draw what is in front of you, faces, or start with random marks on a page and see where they lead.

-I am constantly amazed at the timidness of students. As if screwing something up a drawing is the worst thing in the world. Who cares? Better some crappy drawings thrown in once in a while versus you drawing the same thing, the same way, every time. Actually, if you DON’T have an occasional dog in there, you’re probably doing it wrong.

-“But that’s the way I DRAW/SEE THINGS!”… there is an intangible difference between a drawing that is “true” and a drawing that is “affected” or “put on”. I try to explain this to students and I feel like I’m a New Age hippie or something. I think it (I’ve mentioned this before) comes down to paying attention, being analytical and “conscious” while you’re crafting an image. Or never getting too comfortable with a way of doing things. Or not being lazy/scared to screw up. See point above.

-There is a cult of sketchbooks or sketchbook fetishism that I understand but also suspect can be limiting. Some people are lucky and talented enough to create sketchbooks that are works of art unto themselves. A lot of people aspire to that, but in my opinion, that can devolve into more of an aesthetic exercise, a “look”, rather than a true extension of creativity. It just isn’t the point. If crafting such work is important to you, perhaps keep two sketchbooks: one for that purpose and one for more rigorous exercises.

(By the way, I assure you Ted, whose work I linked to above, is not short on creativity! One glimpse at the war-zone that is his studio space is almost enough to confirm that…)

-If it helps, work on loose paper. ‘Helps get away from the “object-ness” of the sketchbook itself.

– A good sketchbook page need not necessarily take a long time to complete.

-Don’t work with a “viewer” in mind. It’s unhelpful.

– I, personally, rarely make breakthroughs on actual “projects” (paid work). One of the best things I’ve done for my professional self was take a silkscreen class with David Sandlin, on my own time.

– Start drawings as if looking through new eyes, or with a new brain.

– Start drawings simply by asking yourself “what if…?”

Other Student Handouts: Idea Generation

Watercolour’d 5

Jun 11th, 2009


Jun 11th, 2009

Three tiny bits of news:

1. Mariko and I are LIVECHATTING today, Thursday, June 11, for the CBC Canada Reads Book Club. The time is 2 pm ET. Here is where it’ll be taking place; you can sign up for an email reminder too. I think the discussion will be Skim focussed, but if you would like to ask an illustration-y or other random question, give it a shot.

2. I won a Canadian National Magazine Award for my work in the Walrus! Specifically for this guy, “The Lynching of Louie Sam”. Thank you again and again to Brian Morgan who sends these assignments my way. The Walrus is a rare, dream client that provides interesting material AND lets illustrators run a little wild.

3. I will not be teaching next semester at Parsons… need to take a little break and work on my own stuff for a while.