Jillian Tamaki

NYTimes Op-Ed

Feb 3rd, 2011

I did the Op-Ed that appears in today’s NYTimes. It’s about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Thanks to Alexandra Zsigmond and Aviva Michaelov. It’s definitely one of my better Op-Eds.

Yesterday I tweeted [gosh, that sounds obnoxious, but alas] about how drawing Op-Eds, with their extremely short deadlines, can feel like a real test of one’s drawing abilities. This article came in around 1 and was finished by 6. There’s not a lot of time for experimentation or meandering. Rather, you muster up as much skill as you can and off you go. Here is the sketch:

As a final note, I quite like the new(ish) layout of the Opinion landing page. It showcases the amazing art that is produced for the section.

The End!


Dec 20th, 2010

In 36 hours I will be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan eating my German mother-in-law’s lebkuchen. Studio will reopen Dec 30th. Please email me if you need to get in touch.

Here is our crafty tree. We made all the ornaments with Chelsea and Chris. Merry Christmas (or whatever you fancy).


Dec 3rd, 2010

This is the first picture I drew on my NEW CINTIQ! I don’t plan on stopping drawing with actual ink, but I’m more than happy to not have to scan in sketches upon sketches anymore. They’re so much more beautiful with a pencil, true, but no more functional. PLUS, there may be a new graphic novel project on the horizon….

I’m at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival today (Saturday). I’m signing 6-8 at the D&Q table (#42).

But if you see anything at BCGF, go see LYNDA BARRY, who is giving a talk at 1. I saw her this week at the 92 St Y and was thrilled.

Monster Quilt

Sep 1st, 2010

I’ve taken up embroidery in a very enthusiastic yet clumsy way. Here this my first completed project! It’s a small quilt with a monster theme. Fun with a LOT of missteps, but I’m learning.

It was pleasant to work in an unfamiliar medium with some real inherent limitations. And, oddly enough, it was kind of nice to produce something that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. STILL! How to get a great photos of embroidered quilts… ?! It’s tough! If you have experience on such matters, let me know.

Two More Dogs

Aug 30th, 2010

These are outtakes from a to-be-published editorial job, by the way. I’ve been experimenting with my process… doing a selection of finals to present to clients, versus “sketches” in a more traditional sense of the word. This only works with projects that are extremely straightforward, of course. In this case, what was need was “a cute dog!”.

Highly Evolved 8-Year-Old

May 27th, 2010

Sometimes I feel distinctly OVEREDUCATED. I tell students that they should become masters of their chosen medium, and that is true if you’re to be able to survive as a working illustrator. However, as I recently said to Frank, my sincerest wish is to draw like a highly evolved 8-year-old. Drawing from a purer, more instinctual place, not one of virtuosic control.

Smarty Pants

May 5th, 2010

The Seven Year Itch

Has anything been rendered more irrelevant than an ENCYCLOPEDIA? I found one on the street today. It seemed very oddly curated, at least picture-wise. It contains what seemed like excessive amount of snakes, Mesopotamian tapestry designs, and bird species. Not so many, oh, WOMEN.

An Honest Day’s Work (Looming Doubts)

Today I also had coffee with Tracy White, of Traced.com. In addition to the stories, I love the interactivity of her webcomics. It gives the work a reason to exist specifically online. I guess Scott McCloud was  right about the whole comics-on-the-web thing after all. Smart guy.

Our Little Princess

In conclusion, we’ve seen how 1) people have always have the compulsion to organize information, even via (in retrospect) humorously cumbersome methods. The Internet’s main power seems to be its efficiency in organizing huge amounts of information, but in the meantime has become a medium itself, spawning 2) distinct and unique methods of self-expression. I still think, however, people covet the tangible, concrete, tactile. Most of us anyway. Which brings us to 3): Sam Weber is selling a print! Sam has never sold a print before and quantities are limited, so go, go, go if you want in.

Acrylic Frog

Apr 8th, 2010


Mar 15th, 2010

(Click to Enlarge.)

A common foible of learning to work in ink is accepting the fact that ink is not pencil. Most of us learn how to draw (“properly”) with pencils, so it’s the implement that we are most comfortable. Ink is obviously much less forgiving.

I held individual meetings with my 2nd year Cartooning students today and recommended to all of them to keep an Ink Only sketchbook over the summer. No pencil or preparatory drawings allowed. Experimenting with the media in a very pure form will help you learn what is and what is not possible. It’s a matter of adaptation and working with the media’s strengths. Very zen.

(I actually stole this idea from Sam, who kept an Ink Only sketchbook in the summer between 3rd and 4th year. He improved dramatically. )

This drawing is from a similar sketchbook I’m keeping now, experimenting with washes and painting.


Feb 28th, 2010

Radio Silence.

Sorry! I’ve been in Florida again. I’m addicted!

Anyway, this isn’t really anything comprehensive… just a few excerpts from a handout on Animal Anatomy I’m putting together for my class tomorrow. I get asked to draw quite a few animals, so unlike some other things we’ve gone over in class (perspective!), I actually feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject.

There is no formula to trick to drawing animals, or anything else for that matter. Only through observation (ideally from life), and practice will give you a fundamental understanding of structure and form. This might be a bit of a bummer to hear as a student, but I believe it’s the truth and applies to all drawing.