Jillian Tamaki

Pencil Factory Studio Space!

Jun 28th, 2010

Oh! And hello, amazing opportunity:

There are 2 studio spaces available in the Pencil Factory here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If you are sane, respectful, and don’t work with toxic chemicals, check out the info here. An amazing opportunity to share a space with some of the best in the biz.

Odd Jobs

Apr 20th, 2010


Here’s a picture of old-timey Catwoman I did at the request of the Doug Wright Awards.  When Brad MacKay, Chester Brown, and Seth ask you to do something, YOU DO IT. It will be auctioned off to benefit the Awards next month. I will mention it again closer to the date. The Doug Wright Awards have been so supportive of my career, so it’s the least I can do.

My D&Q Petit-Livre Indoor Voice, has NOT been released yet, as is proclaimed on Amazon. I will let you know when it is.

I had my final meeting with my SVA MFA Thesis Student, Anat Even Or, today. You can see her final project in the “Comics” section of her website. But really, someone should put it out as a book. Viewing it online doesn’t do it justice.

Such a melancholy and exciting time for students, this time of year. Especially seniors. Us teachers wish you only the best as we kick you out of the nest. If you’ve worked hard and made the most of yourself and your time, you’re ready. I saw two former students on the same day last week and I was unnaturally happy for the rest of the day. I really do grow attached to them!

Hopefully, wherever you are, there are cherry blossoms.


Apr 5th, 2010


I WON’T have a table at MoCCA this year, but I WILL be on a panel.

YA? Why not!
Young Adult graphic novels are swiftly gaining popularity among librarians, teachers, and most importantly, young readers! Join Hope Larson (Chiggers, Mercury), Jillian Tamaki (Skim), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Baby-sitters Club), and Tracy White (How I Made it to Eighteen) for a discussion about their work, their influences, and their audience. Moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald.

69th Regiment Armory
68 Lexington Avenue, NYC

I will cart along a few copies of Skim in case you want to buy one.

This should also be a fun event: Drink and Draw Like a Lady is a pre-MoCCA party for  comicbook womenfolk.

Friday, April 9th, 2010
7:30 to 10:30pm
192 Books
192 Tenth Avenue at 21st Street, NYC

(P.S. The adorable poster is by Lucy Knisley; thank-you to Hope Larson for organizing.)

Artist as Author: Parsons Symposium

Mar 25th, 2010

I think I’m going to try to check this out this weekend. I caught a bit of the last Parsons symposium and there were some good speakers. Others were a bit dry (such is the risk at any conference-type thing).

I applaud Parsons (particularly Steven Guarnaccia and Nora Krug) for trying to speak about bigger topics concerning illustration. Many of these panels, talks, etc., are about self-promotion, getting started in the industry, demos, etc. Information people want to hear, for sure, but in my mind, less inspirational.


The Artist as Author — a symposium on self-illustrated texts in history and contemporary practice.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 3 – 8:30pm
The New School, Wollman Hall, 5th Floor, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
Free and open to the public

Patrica Mainardi (CUNY Graduate Center) on Popular Prints and Comics.
Emily Lauer, (MA MPhil CUNY) on William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair illustrations
David Kurnick (Rutgers University) on The Theatrical Impulse and the Illustrated Novel.
Ben Katchor (Parsons The New School) on Picture-recitation.
Jerry Moriarty (School of Visual Arts) presents his latest project: Whatsa Paintoonist?


Too-Busy Bees

Mar 25th, 2010

I’m on the NYTimes Op-Ed page today, illustrating an article (by a University of Calgary professor no less!) about an alternate take on colony collapse.

This one was a nailbiter. Thanks AD Aviva Michaelov.

Smoke Signal #4 + Other Stuff

Mar 9th, 2010

Hi All,

Dirty Mike has been published in Desert Island’s Smoke Signal zine. Thanks, Gabe!

It’s available in-store (540 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn) and online.


♪ I will be at San Diego Comic-con.

♪ I will be on a panel at MoCCA.

♪ Skim will appear in my foreign translations! Edicoes SM (Brazil) will publish the book in Portugese and Uitgeverij Sherpa (Holland) will translate to Dutch. NICE!

♪ I’m attending this year’s ICON event in Los Angeles, where I will eat many, many burritos.

Thoughts on Context, in which The Author rambles on Sloth, Musical Instruments, and Public Television

Jan 31st, 2010

Gourd Drum (Ipu Hula or Ipu Heke), 19th century, Hawai’i

I’ve been feeling shitty about not going to museums lately. I mean, why exactly does one put up with the crappy things about the City if not to take occasionally take advantage of the wonderful things?

And I missed the MoMA Bauhaus show. Boo.

Anyway. I was thinking I might go somewhere tomorrow. This Met exhibit of Oceanic instruments looks pretty cool. They’re something so beautiful about an object for which you intuitively know its use. Sam and I were talking about this the other day when we observed that he immensely, surprisingly, enjoys kitchen supply stores despite the fact he doesn’t cook.

For many of the instruments, you can listen to curators speak about cultural uses and hear audio of them being played. The site is simplistic, but it offered a glimmer of how museums could harness interactivity to reach many more people and, more importantly, deliver a more thorough understanding of the subjects at hand.

Context is important.

I’m currently working my way through a PBS documentary series called Art: 21, about fine art in the 21st century. 3 or 4 contemporary artists are profiled per episode, and the experience is so RICH. You’re brought into someone’s studio, peeking in on them working, speaking to their family, oftentimes their subjects, hearing memories of their childhood. So much more compelling and accessible to hear it from the artists’ mouth versus reading a curatorial text. You realize how much of creativity is simply exploring things that perplex you or that you’re curious about. Didactics come later. Or, perhaps, full meanings are discovered through the process of creation.

On illustration. Illustration has always been a late adopter, often reinterpreting or refashioning artistic “styles” several decades after they were conceived by the art world, and applying them to commercial purposes. It’s kind of a nostalgic form. No judgment on that (that should go without saying!). And yes, it does go the other way sometimes too (see: pop art). But! I think there’s a valuable lesson illustrators, particularly students of illustration, can learn from Fine Art… that work should come from a place of exploration and introspection. To copy a “style” is simply a superficial appropriation of someone else’s context. Someone else’s life experience, interests, travels, tics. It’s just surface. There’s nothing underneath.

Flute (Pūtōrino), ca. 1800–1820

Aotearoa (New Zealand), Bay of Plenty region, Māori people

THURSDAY! Brooklyn Public Library Event (1/28)

Jan 27th, 2010

Live, Laugh, Learn

Jan 12th, 2010

New Year’s Resolution 2010

Society of Illustrators Silver Medal

Jan 9th, 2010

Wowee, what a way to kick off the year. Yesterday I received a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators for my Newsprint piece.

I feel bad because I never can manage to come up with anything beyond “… thanks!” when accepting things like this. Everyone else just seems so witty and funny and charming. So let me say it here: nothing means more than being recognized by your peers. Rewarding this particular piece, which originated in my personal sketchbooks, is a huge confidence boost. It can be a struggle to retain a sense of creativity and personal vision as a commercial illustrator. I always tell students it’s their JOB to make assignments interesting and engaging for themselves. Because believe me, it doesn’t get any easier when you graduate!

Speaking of students, I was thrilled to see a former student of mine, Lulu Wolf, was also included in the show. Check out Lulu’s lovely work here.

The show for Uncommissioned and Sequential works is on view at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, Jan 3 – 26.