Jillian Tamaki
 

Fame

Apr 8th, 2014

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So I was on Colbert yesterday… um… sort of.

From the NYT. And thx, Erin McGuire for the eagle eye!

Birdseed

Apr 3rd, 2014

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My friend Christine Zounek died last week. I drew Christine for my Trash the Block essay for PRINT magazine, where I included a bit about the Soup Kitchen where we both volunteered. (Christine was there at the Soup Kitchen’s inception about 6 years ago and was Head Chef.) She loved this picture I’d drawn of her, especially the patch of light on her butt, which I had done for no significant reason but she thought looked like she’d wiped flour on her pants.

Our friend Emily Gould wrote the following tribute to Christine which encapsulates who she was: a larger-than-life personality and one of the truly good people in this world.

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After my friend Christine’s dad died, she gave everyone who worked with her at the soup kitchen a plastic bag filled with birdseed. The bags had a little tag on them with a picture of cardinals and a note about how her dad loved feeding birds, so we should feed them in his memory. I had never met her dad and I only knew Christine from the hours we spent together every Wednesday afternoon cooking alongside a lot of other volunteers, but it was also impossible to be anywhere near her and not know her. She let everyone in to her world, which was fascinating, larger than life. She had been so many places and known so many interesting people. All the New York things I’d read novels about, Christine had experienced, and she also knew the people who wrote those novels. Now she worked as an art restorer and spent a lot of time cooking and dishing out food in a soup kitchen in Greenpoint.

I didn’t have a backyard or birdfeeder, so I just put the seed out on my windowsill. Birds came and ate it, which seemed slightly miraculous. How did they know to come? After the bag ran out, I bought more. More than a year later, I still put some out every morning. Mostly mourning doves come, but occasionally also juncos and finches.

Christine took her own life last Friday — I’m now hearing she had a bad chemical reaction to newly prescribed antidepressants, which makes the senselessness of her death extra horrible. It seems impossible. She was so much more alive than most people.

This morning I heard the unmistakable metallic chirp of a cardinal and went to watch him eat the seed. He sang as he ate, loud and full of life, with his majestic crest flaring in the early sunlight. Christine, I thought.

I know the idea that someone who has died comes and visits you in some reassuring form is silly, childish wishful thinking. I believe that at the same time that I believe that Christine’s spirit is in the world still, in birds and cats and people, in everything that sings loudly and proudly and is absolutely always purely itself.

Ingrid and Jake

Mar 30th, 2014

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Stoya

Mar 8th, 2014

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For the New York Times.

AD Aviva Michaelov

Sketchbook: Nancy

Feb 23rd, 2014

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Watched the ESPN doc “The Price of Gold” (Netflix!) and figured Nancy should also get a drawing, since she also got kind of a bum rap (apart from the whole, y’know, clubbed-in-the-knee thing). The doc and catching some of this year’s schmaltzy NBC Olympics coverage has got me thinking about the tyranny of Narrative. Horrible. And irresistible.

Here’s Tonya:

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Chair’s Message

Feb 20th, 2014

My year of chairing the Society of Illustrator’s annual show is over. Below is the blurb which will be published in the annual book. It’s a rah-rah speech, which I thought was appropriate to share today, when the Student Competition results were announced. The portrait below is by Kris Mukai.

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I don’t think you’re allowed to declare a “Golden Age” while you’re living in it. But isn’t it fair to say that this is a particularly fruitful moment in illustration? Far from being the final deathblow, The Digital Revolution has reinvigorated our industry with new energy and enthusiasm thanks largely to the generation who grew up online.

Context used to define what illustration was. Then the pirate ship that is the Internet stripped illustration of that context, and to some degree, the client, which made us very unhappy and afraid. More fundamentally, this reversal also untethered our notions of what illustration should look like, where it should live, and what it should do. As a result, the community, which is now thriving online, is deeper and more diverse than it has ever been.

Young illustrators, seemingly unfazed by the fact illustration was declared dead 60 years ago, are getting on with the business of making stuff. Not only individual images, but also showcases for those images: anthologies, collaborations, galleries, self-published books, games, visual essays, products sold directly to fans. (Illustrators have fans now.) How thrilling to see illustration cross-pollinating with journalism, comics, design, art, animation, and other disciplines that barely have names yet. Conventional clients have taken note. Why wouldn’t they? It’s good work.

The best young artists are seeking to define their careers on their own terms. I see this in my students at the School of Visual Arts. For better or worse, they are not content to be someone’s hired hands. They desire to be professionals, yes, but not to create work that only “solves the problem”–it must be meaningful on a deeper level too. It must have soul. When I was a student, I was happy just to render fruit in markers, if that’s what was what my teachers requested.

I’m pleased to see so many new names in this year’s annual. Their work sits comfortably amongst that of seasoned professionals. And while I think there is still more work to be done, the Society of Illustrator’s mission of celebrating illustration and its evolving manifestations seems on track. Congrats to the selected winners of this year’s annual, particularly those new to the Society. Let’s push each other higher and harder and see where we go next.

Thank you again to the jurors of this year’s show, Chris Buzelli and John Hendrix for their help and guidance, Vivienne Flesher and Chelsea Cardinal for their work on the poster, Director Anelle Miller and her staff. Lastly, thank you to Kate Feirtag, my right-hand lady, for her patience, preparedness, and dedication to The Society.

ThoughtBubble!

Feb 19th, 2014

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I’m going to talk at you at ThoughtBubble comics fest this year! Leeds, England. November.

Keeping a list of tour things here.

If it’s easier to keep up elsewhere: Tumblr, Twitter

This One Summer: the book

Feb 13th, 2014

It’s a very snowy day in much of the USA; I thought I’d share some snaps of our very summery story with you. Bathing suits! Jumping in the lake! Bonfires on the beach!

This One Summer goes on sale in May. We’ll be launching it in Toronto at TCAF. I’ve posted a very rough schedule of events here.

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Sketchbook: Tonya

Feb 9th, 2014

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Another 20,000 Leagues teaser

Jan 16th, 2014

My interpretation of the most famous (although, in reality, curiously minor) scene from Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Seas, available this Spring from the Folio Society.

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