Jillian Tamaki

Communication Arts Feature

Mar 11th, 2011

I’m featured in the current issue of Communication Arts (Mar/Apr). Thanks to Rebecca Bedrossian and Jim Hanas. Here are a few spreads to look at!


Dec 29th, 2010

UPDATE: the position has been filled. THANK-YOU for those of you who replied. That was surprisingly painless.

I am looking for an Assistant for the next few months. A skilled assistant! Who knows her/his way around a sewing needle!

I need someone to help with an embroidery project, so embroidery skills and a portfolio is a must. There’ll also be errands to run in conjunction with the project (and other studio business). Other stuff:

-You will need to work in my house/studio, at least for the first while. I am located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We have a cat.

-The position is paid.

-Knowledge of crewel style stitching is a big bonus.

-Please be self-directed, assertive, reliable, and efficient. And not a crazyperson. I can reasonably assure you of my own sanity, and I love showering interns with donuts and coffee.

So! Think you got what it takes? Email me with a link to your portfolio at jill (AT) jilliantamaki (DOT) com. Click here for examples of the embroidery style that you will be helping me with.


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).

Desert Island Tees

Dec 13th, 2010

Update 12/15: The offer is over. But watch the Desert Island webstore (or contact them directly)… maybe you’ll be able to snag one there.

Hi, I designed these t-shirts for Desert Island, which is only the COOLEST comicshop in NYC (and co-organizer of the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival)! Hand-silkscreened! Now I’m selling a few for them.

They are printed on heather grey American Apparel shirts. Men’s sizes only. That’s a men’s small on a lady in the picture. If you are a super tiny lady they might be big, but maybe you can work it? Probably. You skinny minnies can wear anything.

Don’t live in Brooklyn, never been to Desert Island? WHO CARES! I assure you it is beyond cool and part of it will be transferred to you when you wear this shirt in your own town!

I will throw in some extra goodies to whoever orders a shirt. Namely some postcards and a copy of the Pencil Factory Newsprint poster pack Smoke Signal comic anthology.

Everything, including shipping: $20. US orders only please. (Ok, if you’re not in America and you REALLY want one, email me and maybe we can arrange something.) Quantities are extremely limited. SOLD OUT!

Just Because

Dec 10th, 2010

Looking in some reference folders, I found these vintage Maclean’s covers (Maclean’s is a Canadian magazine similar to Harper’s). My, how editorial illustration has changed.

The first two are by Oscar Cahen. The second two are by William Winter.

Hellen Jo Follow-Up

Dec 2nd, 2010

Whoa, I wrote an article! It’s about Hellen Jo and it’s in the latest issue of BUST! Pretty neat. I’ve been a big fan of Hellen’s since I bought a mini-comic (Jin & Jam, which is about bratty teens, God I’m a sucker for comics about bratty teens) of hers at MoCCA last year. Thanks to Lisa Butterworth and Emily Rems for the opportunity to share Hellen’s talents.

The BUST article is a bit of an intro to Hellen’s work… here’s some unused material that may be of interest to us art and comic nerds. So here they are in no particular order:

You’ve done a few works about Korean ghost stories or myths. What’s your favourite?
My favorite Korean ghost is the kwishin; she is the dead woman with white skin, white funeral dress, and long black hair featured in every Korean horror movie ever. She was wronged in life, so she haunts her victims vengefully, by means of various methods. Sometimes she sits on the chests of sleeping persons, and paralyzes them as she slowly drains the life from their bodies (also known as sleep paralysis). Sometimes she sits on the shoulders of her unknowing victims, creating a crushing sense of guilt or a herniated disc. She’s often wailing or sobbing, though her mouth doesn’t move.

Do you think teenagers are inherently bored, regardless if they live in suburbs or cities? That it’s natural to be unimpressed with everything at that age?
I do think teens are inherently bored, mostly because their worlds are so limited, but I also think that they adopt a sort of “uber-cynicism” as a defense mechanism. Nerds and geeks are embarrassingly enthusiastic and overeager, and the cool kids don’t ever give a shit ’bout nothin’.

Why are people SO EXCITED about Hellen Jo, even those she’s still in school?
Because they must be confusing me with some other person! Also, people are always mystified and charmed by bad students, no matter what they’re achievements. I dropped out of school to make comics, and I re-entered college life reluctantly to make better comics.

What is the best burrito in San Francisco?
My favorite burrito is the chorizo or al pastor super burrito at El Farolito (the one on 24th & Alabama, not 24th & Mission).

Is the writing in your work as important as the drawing?
Absolutely. In comics, writing a coherent narrative is the challenge. The drawings are very important as well, and both serve the other, but in the end, I know that a poorly drawn, well-written comic will be more moving than a beautifully drawn, badly written comic.

I hate questions about “influences”, but let’s try this: I find some things are “conscious” influences, for example, buying a artist monograph or watching a lot of French New Wave films because they speak to you in an artistic way. But some influences are “subconscious”, like your favourite picturebook you studied for hours as a child, or a piece of art that was in your childhood home. Do you agree? What are your “conscious” and “subconscious” influences?

I’ve always believed that everything you consume or absorb or witness in life, whether you liked it, hated it, or had no opinion about it, influences your creative output in some way. As much as I can control the quality and content of my work, I can’t completely filter what I see or hear, nor can I really control how those things will affect me. I definitely agree with you that there are “conscious” and “subconscious” influences, and I’ve had many of both. As far as “conscious” influences go, the most obvious ones are my favorite comic book creators, including Taiyo Matsumoto, Xaime Hernandez, Julie Doucet, Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, Junji Ito, Suehiro Maruo… the list goes on and on. All of these cartoonists deal in some way in their writing and art with the horror of coming-of-age, which is my primary motivation. Similarly, coming-of-age horror films fit that niche nicely for me, of which my favorites are Tale of Two Sisters, Let the Right One In, and the Whispering Corridors.

In terms of “subconscious” influences, I’d say the most important one was probably the Japanese girls’ comic, Candy Candy. As a comic, I can’t really say much about it, because I owned a Korean version when I was too young to be able to read it, but the drawings! I’d always liked drawing when I was a kid, but I think Candy Candy was the first book I’d seen where I thought the images were absolutely beautiful. The characters had large sparking eyes, they were constantly surrounded by furious floral windstorms, and everyone wore a tuxedo or frilly lace dress at all times. I stared at those drawings for hours, and I think I was eventually convinced that the only good art was pretty art. I don’t believe that now, but it has definitely affected my preferences in comics and the style in which I draw.

What are your upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on Jin & Jam #2, which I hope to finish this fall, and I’m developing a single issue, watercolored horror comic for next year, to be published by Koyama Press. I also plan to post several of my old zine comics and the entire issue of Jin & Jam #1 on Jordan Crane’s new comic website, What Things Do.

A Certain Fancy

Sep 20th, 2010

“He was a hard-working, capable man who did not drink and was not without a certain fancy and feeling for the form, but was nevertheless an atrocious tailor. His work was ruined by hesitation. The idea that his cut was not fashionable enough made him alter everything half a dozen times, walk all the way to town simply to study the dandies, and in the end dress us in suits that even a caricaturist would have called outr√© and grotesque.” -Anton Chekov, The Privy Councilor, 1886

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.


Jun 15th, 2010

Doug Wright Awards Auction: BUY NOW!

May 6th, 2010

The Catwoman piece, which many of you seemed to enjoy, is now AVAILABLE ON EBAY.

I really went all out on this one, folks. It’s watercolour on REAL WATERCOLOUR PAPER!

You can see what other people (Chester Brown, Michael Cho, Kate Beaton, Bryan Lee O’Malley, others!) did here. Look all you like, but remember you want to buy the purple lady.

All proceeds will benefit the Doug Wright Awards.