Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Alfred Hitchcock Christmas


My favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life." My favorite Hitchcock film is "Rear Window." I'd love to see a movie that combines the two. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Op-Ed Illustration


This illustration appears on today's NY Times Opinion page, alongside a letter suggesting the creation of a progressive third political party to caucus with the Democrats. The drawing was a self-initiated challenge in drawing equine legs. Thanks to art director Alexandra Zsigmond for the gig!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Life Drawing


Becoming a first-time father brings the irresistible urge to write about it! Just ask Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, and Colin Meloy. At some point, my perspective on fatherhood may turn slightly less sentimental - maybe closer to Randy Newman.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life in the Woods


For some thoughts about my process and a couple of my sketchbook pages, check out this write-up about Incidental Comics on the illustration blog Ape on the Moon. 

You can order a poster here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Investment Advice


“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.”
-Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, November 2, 2012

Literary Consolation Prizes


You can see this comic in print in this Sunday's NY Times Book Review! Meanwhile, the finalists for the National Book Award can be found here (I'm pulling for Junot Diaz).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anticipation


My wife and I are expecting our first child in six weeks! How to comprehend such a life-changing event? Turn it into a comic. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brainstorm



You can order a print of this comic here. (Creative breakthroughs and amphibians not guaranteed.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ban This Book.


I drew this comic to celebrate Banned Books Week! This great op-ed by James Klise shows one author's experience with a challenge to intellectual freedom. The American Library Association has compiled a list of frequently banned and challenged books. Here are few of my favorite books from the list: 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Theories of Autumn


Last weekend I drove along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway to see the beautiful fall colors of the Rocky Mountains. The vibrant hues and high altitude had a peculiar effect on my brain. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sketchbooks of the Pros


Keeping a sketchbook is essential for the working cartoonist or illustrator. It's a place to draw freely without the fear that someone will see your poor rendering of a bicycle. It's a place to return for reference about what a bicycle (sort of) looks like. It's a place to stow away underdeveloped or misguided ideas, in hopes they'll someday amount to something. It's a place to search madly for usable ideas when faced with a serious creative block. A visual artist who doesn't keep a sketchbook is like an author who can't find the time to read: they may be able to get the work done, but they won't have near as much fun doing it. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pig Latin Redux


As "Wayne's World 2" definitively proved, the sequel is never as good as the original. Still, I wanted to find out what happened to that intrepid pig.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Dialogue Illustration


After spending a couple days on the beaches of New England, I had the opportunity to illustrate the Sunday Dialogue for the New York Times Sunday Review. The topic was the (unfairly?) maligned baby boomer generation. I shamelessly included images from my seaside sketchbook: a sailboat, rocky coastline, and an aggressive seagull. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Toque Cada Dia Como Jazz


The inimitable Iris Abramof offered to translate some of my comics into Portuguese, and I happily said yes. She's tackled a number of my favorite Incidental Comics from the past couple years. I'll post the Portuguese translations regularly this month along with links to the original versions. My hope is that I can parlay these drawings into a trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Summer Olympics - maybe I could serve as ambassador of webcomics? Thanks again to Iris for her help.

Read the English version here: Play Each Day Like Jazz

Please note that posters of the translated comics are available at my print shop.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pig Latin



In my exhaustive research for today's comic, I read that John Steinbeck often signed his books with a drawing of the Pigasus, a mythical flying pig. He also included the Latin motto "Ad astra per alas porci":
"To the stars on the wings of a pig."

You can order a poster here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Suburban Planning


I didn't feel like sitting at my drawing table for this week's comic. I decided to walk outside and sketch my neighborhood!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Painting for Non-Majors


The extent of my painting education was a half-semester of independent study in high school. I learned the dangers of using turpentine brush-cleaner in a poorly ventilated room, the frustration of using watercolors on thin, cheap paper, and the incredible length of time it takes for oil paint to fully dry. A couple years later, I gave up painting for the boundless rewards of cartooning. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Art Theft for Amateurs

I recently read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It was a thoughtful and inspiring book, but it gave no advice on how to literally steal art. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Opening Night


This comic peripherally references Life in Hell, the great and recently-concluded weekly comic strip by Matt Groening. The overmatched protagonist is wearing a Bongo costume. After I drew this comic, I found out that Groening's strip was ending its 32-year run.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dancing about Architecture


"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." 
- Famous saying of indeterminate origins

"Dancing about architecture is awesome."
- Not-so-famous saying

You can get a poster here for your architecture/dance studio.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Murakami Bingo, Translated


I coerced a friend and classmate (who wishes to remain anonymous) into translating my Murakami Bingo comic into Japanese. Big thanks to this mysterious person for her hard work! 

The translated version is also available as a poster.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kinetic Sculpture


If you haven't experienced the sculptures of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, first visit the artists' website. Then make a pilgrimage to see one of their giant household objects in person. Here's a quick list of the iconic pieces I drew for this comic:


Shuttlecocks, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Spoonbridge and Cherry, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Clothespin, Centre Square Plaza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Steampunk Summer


For a great introduction to this science fiction subgenre, I recommend Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. Kelly Link's story "The Summer People" is phenomenal, as is the rest of her work.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Haruki Murakami Bingo

I've spent the last few years devouring the books of Haruki Murakami. Twelve novels, three short story collections, and one memoir later, I came up with this comic. If you have yet to experience the genius of Murakami, keep this Bingo card handy as you delve into his work. I recommend starting with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, or Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. You can find this comic in print in Sunday's New York Times Book Review.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cycles of Life

 

In less than 6 months my wife and I will be learning to ride cycle #5! It's sure to be an exciting and terrifying course. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Economic Signaling Illustration

I had the privilege to illustrate this week's It's the Economy column for the New York Times Magazine. Adam Davidson's article described consumer signaling, messages sent by companies to suggest the superior quality of their product. This assignment gave me the chance to brainstorm a wide range of products for discerning individuals and conquer my fear of drawing cars. 

Also: two of my recent literary comics, Behind Every Great Novelist and The Book of the Future, are now available to purchase as prints at my poster shop.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dear Graduate


This comic offers a far more feasible alternative to my previous invention: The Infallible Career Path Generator. It may prove to be just as helpful to your future as your new diploma. Happy Graduation!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Behind Every Great Novelist

This illustration appears in the New York Times Book Review alongside a review by Christopher Benfey of John Sutherland's "Lives of the Novelists." Sutherland's book profiles a long list of notable writers and the personal events that may or may not have influenced their creative output. I tried to distill the typical experience of a literary icon into nine small panels. I'm certain that many of our great writers have worked in a coal mine and owned a small poodle. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Riff Illustration

I made this small illustration for the Riff column in this week's NY Times Magazine! The topic was the decision to not award a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year. I hewed closely (perhaps too closely) to the minimalist style set by Tom Gauld, who regularly draws for the column.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Conspiracy of Colors

 


While browsing the unwanted books section at a local thrift store, I came across an amazing item: The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten. The book's subtitle is "A treatise on the color system of Johannes Itten based on his book The Art of Color," and the contents are full of beautiful diagrams and fascinating (if a tiny bit overblown) writing on the practice and history of color theory. It was definitely worth the $2.99 spent. I adapted some of the figures within the book for this comic. I loved the way Itten wrote of the colors as if they were living, breathing entities, with the capacity for good - or evil.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Architectural Criticism Translated


This comic was inspired in part by this great Opinionator column on architecture writing by Allison Arieff. As always, you can order a print at my poster shop. I sketched these strange and wonderful buildings on a spring afternoon in downtown Denver, Colorado. All four structures - the Denver Public Library, the old and new wings of the Denver Art Museum, and the new Clyfford Still Museum - sit within a convenient two-block radius. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Animal Advocacy


I do not often use my drawings for political activism, but this comic is an exception. It highlights two issues I feel very strongly about.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Book of the Future


This drawing appears in The New York Times Sunday Book Review! See it larger in the digital Times or in the print edition on newsstands today (4/1). My vision for the future involves lava lamps, egg chairs, and outfits that would look great in a B-52s music video.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Creative Process


The creative process is a mess of unrealized ideas, false starts, and revisions. It offers more blood, sweat, and tears than your parents' record collection. Once you experience it, however, it's tough to live without it. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Synesthetic Crayons


"Synesthesia is an involuntary joining in which the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense."
-R. Cytowic, "Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses" 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Internal Decathlon


"In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of track and field."-Alfred, Lord Tennyson