Jillian Tamaki

NYTimes Op-Ed: More Than Kin, and Less Than Kind

Jul 25th, 2011

Here’s an Op-Ed about the Shakespearean overtones to the Murdoch affair. Initially I was a little hesitant to do something so obvious, but the more I fiddled the more it looked like a crappy political cartoon. In the end I think this was probably the right choice. AD Rodrigo Honeywell.

Ergo: Quilt Type Experiment

Jun 18th, 2011

Ballroom Marfa Poster

Jun 16th, 2011

Don’t do collaborations very often, but they’re fun! Here’s a poster I made with Jon Han that will eventually be silkscreened at about 36″ tall. It’s for a music show at Ballroom Marfa, an arts/culture space in Marfa, TX.

Andys for New York Magazine

May 23rd, 2011

Seriously though, drawing Andy Warhol for New York Magazine? Awesome.

Whenever I draw a portrait of someone, I form a tiny connection to them. For me, celebrities are kind of divided into two camps: I’ve drawn them or I haven’t. I did weekly portraits for the CBC’s Arts page for about 5 years, so that’s a lot of people. The process of researching and studying someone’s face really allows you to reflect on a person and what they have achieved.

The loose idea for this multi-portrait was to portray the different ways he projected himself and was seen by others. I had read a long time ago that Warhol suffered from very low self-esteem as a young person, so I wanted the full-body Andy to be very dashing.

AD Raul Aguila.

NY Times Op-Ed: Palestinian State

May 17th, 2011

I illustrated today’s Op-Ed. I think this is probably the highest profile author I’ve ever been paired with — Mahmoud Abbas. Normally I get a little twitchy when I’m asked to do political images… I think there are people out there that do it much better. I try to go for a more emotional solution than an iconic, powerful one.

AD Aviva Michaelov.

The Great Night

May 6th, 2011

A piece in this weekend’s New York Times Book Review It accompanies a review of “The Great Night”, by Chris Adrian: a retelling (of sorts) of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer’s Night Dream”. AD Nicholas Blechman.

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about consistency of “style”. Which, of course, I interpret to mean, “your work is inconsistent. I thought that was bad?” Har. Anyway, my personal thoughts on the matter:

– a consistent style is definitely beneficial when you’re just starting out as an illustrator. I would recommend a tight portfolio of about 12 quality images.

– there are other things that define and link your work than surface appearance.

– you’re not a machine and you’re allowed to evolve and change. Illustration is such a fad/trend driven industry; that what is popular today will likely be dated sometime down the road. I actually try to see experimentation and change as an investment in my own longevity. Maybe I’m naive, but that’s what I tell myself.

Best American Comics 2011

Apr 14th, 2011

I’m honored to have done this year’s Best American Comics cover. The guest editor for this year is Alison Bechdel, the series editors are Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Here are some alternate sketches. They’re done completely on the Cintiq. I don’t really use the Cintiq for final art, but I’ve found it a boon to the sketch/planning phase. The embroidered Penguin covers were also completely “sketched” out on a Cintiq. I like the ability to scale, rotate, crop, etc. It can be hard to make those big decisions on paper sometimes. Plus, I mean, CMD+Z.

Baby’s First Obama

Mar 26th, 2011

This is the first portrait of Obama that I’ve done! Crazy! For New York Magazine, AD Raul Aguila.

I used the White House Flickr stream to find reference photos for this. It’s a good resource because the photos are very high res and are US Government Works, which are not subject to Copyright restrictions (with exceptions). Hence you’re quite free to make derivative works from them. The White House photostream itself is quite amazing… lots of very powerful and humorous images.


Mar 3rd, 2011

I have always been thankful that I did my Foundation year in a Fine Arts environment. (I went to Queen’s University.) To have spent time around fine artists has shaped the way I think about images, make images, and my understanding of Illustration.

One of the exercises made quite an impression on me was one that involved charcoal powder and reductive drawing. Lay down a ground of charcoal powder down (you can make your own powder by rubbing charcoal onto sandpaper) and pick out the light with erasers… kneaded/sharpened with an xacto, etc. This relinquishing of control can be frustrating until you learn to accept the media on its own terms. Because the elements are typically very foreign, it lends itself to a sense of play, which is entirely the point.

I did the aforementioned exercise with my students today. They came up with some entirely unexpected and delightful results; some looked like silkscreen prints, some looked like etchings, some looked like constellations in the sky. Still so many of them seemed skeptical. As if by virtue of NOT spending countless hours slaving away on a picture somehow invalidated the whole thing!

Portrait of Christina Rossetti (sketch)

Feb 10th, 2011

Sadly unused.