Jillian Tamaki


Oct 27th, 2010

The Studio is closed! I return Nov 9.

Details of Dutch Book Tour here.

Some other parting news notes:

-SKIM is on the long list for Canada Reads Novel of the Decade! Wow. Voting is open to ANYONE. Vote here!

-I’m in good company for Robin McConnell’s INKSTUDS book, which is comprised of interview transcripts from his excellent podcasts. I am always cutting Robin off in our interviews. Because I am rude. AND I LOVE COMICS!

-This is a freaking amazing magazine cover.

(Cats above are for MORE Magazine. AD Claudia Ameida.)

Be Interesting

Oct 25th, 2010


Step 2: post exasperated decrees on Twitter! (And get @Drawn to RT you.)

Let me speak a little bit about the background behind this pseudo-proclamation.

Last weekend i was hanging out with Mike Kerr and Renata Liwska. Mike is a former teacher of mine at ACAD and Renata (who also happens to be his wife) was in town collecting a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for her children’s book The Quiet Book. Renata’s work is gorgeous, soft, inviting, and has a classic feeling to it. Renata grew up in Poland (a place with its own history of amazing illustration and design). The books she read as a child and her own memories of the place serve as inspiration for her current work. Those influences tinge her work with nostalgia… not “retro” at all, but an emotional connection to memory.

Also last week, I was discussing with my drawing students at SVA the importance of being culturally aware and how it behooves the creative person to LOOK OUT into the world. Beyond your own brain, your classmates, your peers, your teachers, even your heroes. Because as an illustrator, I’ll just assume you one day hope to contribute to the culture and the world. The notion of artists toiling away in isolation is somewhat of a myth. I’m not talking about Community here (I’ll be honest, sometimes I think Community is overrated). I’m talking about isolation in the sense that sometimes I feel students feel like they should magically improve if they simply try hard enough, spend enough time on a piece, or do something enough times. It isn’t enough. Usually.

Art has been created since the dawn of civilization, so I think there’s a good back catalogue of Masters for you to look at, and learn from. People have been pondering the same artistic problems, visual and conceptual, as you are. For thousands of years.

Besides. Aren’t you enrolled in Art School because you LOVE looking at Art?

Looking at the Internet kind of doesn’t count anymore, in my book.

OK, it counts a little bit. It counts because you can see what is relevant in the industry, what is successful, what people are doing. I was being a little provocative in that last statement (I am addicted to provocative statements now because they land you on Top Tweets).

But there is a distinctive thing that is happening in Illustration, and it’s because Illustration is becoming very self-referential. Many students will cite a DeviantArt blogger as their favourite artist. Whole portfolios are based on mashing together two popular illustrators’ “styles”. Illustration is becoming a “style” unto itself, with no connection to context. Everyone’s creating work that’s influenced by Paul Rand or Alphonse Mucha or Edward Gorey… 250 times removed. It’s like looking at a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy.

It’s a little boring.

But that’s OK. In a way, this is a great time for Illustration. It’s popular and a lot of people are doing it. A lot of Illustration is bad, and it’s visible because everything is visible online. I mention all of this because I hope to push my students to create authentic, unique work that is their own– not a pastiche of whoever happens to be topping the Tumblr charts at the moment. Something that speaks to lived experience, experimentation, hard work, and curiosity.

P.S. Yes! I am @dirtbagg. Follow me if you like, but not everything I tweet is pithy or relevant to Illustration!

SuperMutant Magic Academy: Wufflefluff

Oct 24th, 2010

After a brief foray into sweetness and light (“A Lot in Common”), we’re back to darkness and cartoon gore. Whoops.

Click to enlarge. Super Mutant Magic Academy archive here.

Skim in DUTCH!

Oct 21st, 2010

Skim will soon be available in another language. So far we’re up to French, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch… Italian and Portuguese are to come! The publisher is of the Dutch editionSherpa and they’ll be be shuttling us around Holland and Belgium in a little under two weeks!

Here is a list of events:

Tues, Nov 2
5: Presentation and Press Release, Lambiek (Amsterdam, Holland)

Wed, Nov 3
Lecture/Workshop, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam. (closed to public.)
4-6: Signing, Stripwinkel SJORS bookshop (Dordrecht, Holland)

Thurs, Nov 4
3-5.30: Signing, De Stripkever (Mechelen, Belgium)

Fri, Nov 5
12-2: Signing, Het B-Gevaar (Brussels, Belgium)
4-6: Signing, Het Besloten Land (Leuven, Belgium)

Sat, Nov 6
11-4: Launch and Signings, Stripkunstbeurs/Comic Art Show (Utrecht, Brussels)

(If you’re an illustrator and have no interest in comics at all, please also come say hi! I will not pressure sell to you!)

Killed Kids

Oct 21st, 2010

This is actually a killed cover. I threw in some extra bits from my old sketchbooks to fill in the space left by the type, etc. You might recognize some of these kids.

SuperMutant Magic Academy: Lots in Common

Oct 14th, 2010

Click to enlarge.

Everlasting Boy

Oct 12th, 2010

Little K

Oct 11th, 2010

Here is a crummy repro of a current illustration in O Magazine. It’s about a ballerina in revolutionary Russia. Researching Anna Pavlova was bliss.

Another dancer. Have I mentioned that I love drawing dancers? And that maybe one day someone will pay me to go to dance events and draw dancers? Just putting it out there.

AD Jody Churchfield.

A detail:


Oct 10th, 2010


Oct 8th, 2010

(click to enlarge)

YAY! Marvel has released some preview images from the upcoming Strange Tales anthology I am part of. A page from my (4 page) Dazzler comic is one of them!

From Wikipdedia: Dazzler is a mutant with the ability to transduce sonic vibrations which reach her body into various types of light. This ability seems to operate over a great range of frequencies, including the audible spectrum, and a great variation of sound pressure levels regardless of the complexity, dissonance, or randomness of the sound.

She’s also a law school dropout, has a controlling older boyfriend, and is learning the hard knocks of the music industry as she leads her disco-funk band to fame and fortune! And wears ROLLERSKATES.

CBR says the book is coming out next week. Thanks to Jody LeHeup for asking me to participate.