Jillian Tamaki

Best Illustrated Books 2009

Nov 7th, 2009

(Taeeun Yoo, from Only a Witch Can Fly)

I had the pleasure of judging this year’s New York Times Best Illustrated Books, along with writer Adam Gopnik (!) and librarian Lisa Von Drasek. The process basically involved being sequestered in a room for 8 hours (with a lovely 3-course lunch in between), hashing through many hundreds, if not thousands, of children’s books.

Here are the books we chose. Here is Adam Gopnik talking about the process.

It was an extremely interesting day. Obviously, my exposure to children’s books is almost solely from an illustrator’s perspective. I learned so much from Adam and Lisa in terms of the “other side” of reading/evaluating an illustrated book.

Lisa, in particular, should conduct some sort of seminar for people who want to write or illustrate children’s books. Things like “read-aloud-ability”, continuity, rhythm, surprise, appropriateness of voice… all elements to consider very carefully when creating books children actually want to read.

Thank-you to Julie Just for asking me to participate.


Nov 6th, 2009

Baby’s First Blurb

Nov 5th, 2009

I blurbed. For some reason this seems blog-worthy.

I’m really happy D&Q is publishing gekiga (dramatic, serious comics, for lack of a more informed term). I was surprised to hear Yoshihiro Tasumi say that gekiga is not popular in Japan. It’s nice to know it’s found a following here. Red Snow is the latest venture.

And this is what I think of it.

What I REALLY want to see is a book of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s, but apparently he doesn’t let the stuff be translated/republished. Read about his work here, read “Screw-Style” via scans here (scroll down a bit).

Situational Readymades 4

Nov 4th, 2009

I need to talk about something uncool for a sec.

Let’s be straight: I love animals and I love dogs and I’ve owned a few dogs myself. I know people in the city that own dogs and they’re cool and I like them. That said, I think NYC Dog Culture is very peculiar. New Yorkers really love their dogs, that’s clear, and they kind of expect you to love their dogs too.

I will just say this, and leave it at that: it is NOT OKAY to let your dog drink out of public water fountains. Fountains are for people. And yes, I know my very own hands carry more germs than your dog’s mouth or the average toilet or whatever. But please! DOGS LICK BUTTS. THEIR OWN AND OTHERS!



Nov 1st, 2009

The Marathon snakes a block away from my house in Greenpoint. I always like watching a bit of the NYC Marathon, even though it can be a bit of an inconvenience should you happen to have business on the other side of the street.

Today I was lucky enough to be there just as the elite women’s pack was running past. I got a little teary-eyed, actually. It’s not every day you see someone performing at that level, the culmination of years of training, sacrifices, and regime. You’re watching what this person works towards every single day of their life.

An artist does not perform in this way. Accepting an award is not the same thing. The breakthroughs and struggles are usually experienced alone. But the idea of regime is not dissimilar. Building your skill as an artist is not too very different from an athlete conditioning herself DAILY to perform when it counts.

Sometimes it seems students expect to improve by simply being enrolled in an art institution or completing projects. It’s like expecting to win a marathon simply by owning running shoes or doing a lap or two a few times a week (which, by the way, is pretty reflective of my own running routine). Be prepared to sweat, struggle, and make sacrifices to improve, if that’s truly what you want.