Jillian Tamaki

Darkest Light

Jan 30th, 2012

Personally, I think one of the best things about being an illustrator is the reading. When you’re asked to interpret an article or story, you read very attentively.

I became familiar with Hiromi Goto‘s work when a friend raved about A Chorus of Mushrooms many years ago when we were in college. So it was a nice surprise when I was contacted in 2008 to illustrate her YA novel Half World. (Apparently she was a fan of the way I draw rats!) Hiromi’s writing is so distinct… very beautiful and, well, disgusting at the same time. She describes poverty. She’s not afraid to let bodily fluids squirt. I felt an instant attraction to her writing.

Now there is a sequel to Half World: Darkest Light. It’s out tomorrow! What’s awesome about both Half World and Darkest Light is that not only are the covers illustrated, but both books also contain many interior illustrations. Dreamy. With so much debate in publishing circles about what YA covers should look like, it’s nice to know that Penguin Canada felt the first book did well enough with an illustrated cover to warrant a similar approach for the sequel. More illustrated YA book covers! They’re pretty! They work!

Currently the book is only released in Canada, but I imagine a US version is in the works. (If you’re really keen you can order through amazon.ca, I think.)

Thanks AD Lisa Jager and Penguin Canada for springing for the shiny, sparkly cover paper.

NYT Sunday Review Cover

Jan 29th, 2012

I’m in a weird spot right now: one big project is with someone else to be edited, another big project is going to start up at any moment. I haven’t been taking too many editorial jobs these days, and I miss the quick turnarounds and (relatively) instant gratification. So when the NYT called for this piece on political sex scandals and I could actually slot it in, I was pretty thrilled. Plus, it’s for a piece by Gail Collins, one of my fave columnists.

Below are the sketches for this piece. I was pretty chuffed with the bondage mask one, but they didn’t go for it. Can’t imagine why?

Thanks to AD Aviva Michaelov.

Society of Illustrators News

Jan 23rd, 2012

I won two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators this year, in the Book and Institutional categories. HOORAY! This means you can see the original embroidery for Black Beauty (and The Secret Garden) at the show, which runs Jan 25- Feb 18. The opening is Feb 3.

The second gold medal is for this Croquet Poster, which was commissioned by Cramer-Krasselt to benefit the Penfield Children’s Center in Milwaukee. This image will be included in the Institutional/Advertising show, February 23, 2012 – March 17, 2012. Thank you, Society and jury!

Confessions of a Mask

Jan 19th, 2012

Sonoko, from Confessions of a Mask. I didn’t really “enjoy” this book (“joyless” is probably the best adjective to use), but it was interesting enough and filled with very lovely imagery and hence I would like someone to pay me to make some illustrations of it, please.

Was messing around with drawing on the Cintiq today because I’m thinking of doing a short comic digitally. Got sidetracked and made this Sonoko drawing. This was done completely digitally, which is not my normal Modus operandi, but enjoyable. For those of you who were asking on twitter: yes, this was done in Photoshop, on the big-sized Cintiq.

Embroidered Quilt: The Machines Are Alive

Jan 17th, 2012

I just finished another big quilt. I’ve been working on it for about 6 months… mostly picking at it after work (it’s hand-quilted). The theme for this one is “The Machines Are Alive”.

I really haven’t figured out how to get a nice straightforward shot of these large quilts, so these’ll have to do. Maybe one day I’ll get them professionally shot or something.

P.S. You can search all embroidered/quilt/fiber works by looking under the quilts or fiber tags.

Most Awesome

Jan 10th, 2012

A couple of days ago I got an email from a librarian in New Jersey named Julie. Julie had some good news! The library’s Teen Gay Straight Book Club (Ocean County Library, Toms River Branch, by the way) had voted SKIM as “Most Awesome Book” in a recent awards ceremony and could she send me and Mariko certificates?

Um. YES!!

I received the lovely package yesterday. I don’t think anything else this week will top it. Thanks Ocean County library! Thank-you, book club teens! And thank-you Julie and all the librarians. Yours is important work and we authors love you.

Nothing Much

Jan 10th, 2012

My studio at-this-moment. What’s happening in this picture: I’m uploading the 2nd draft of “Awago Beach Babies”, the graphic novel I’m working on with my cousin, so she can have a look at it.

Collage Comic

Jan 2nd, 2012


Jan 1st, 2012

Trying to make my studio a more amiable place to work in prep for a very crazy new year. Getting distracted by the stuff I’m supposed to be throwing away. Made this collage.

Sometimes I wish I was a collage artist. It’s so immediate and direct. I was very into this sort of thing when I was a high-school student, when I discovered the Dadaists and this book of Surrealist games.