In 2015, Inigo Quilez wrote QuilI, the tool with which I drew every line in "Dear Angelica", Oculus Story Studio's next VR story. I hope that you will all have the opportunity to see it very soon.
I will always draw flat, but making work in VR has changed the way I think about drawing, and has made me better. I cannot imagine not working in this way.
My friends and I are now using Quill to make comics. Please join us as soon as you can.
Barrie Potter and I made this via text at 3AM one night when I was hiding in North Carolina. We were talking about that Degas painting, "Interior", and that other one "The Star". You'll notice in the background of Star what is obvious in Interior. The dark shoes belong to an abonee--a "subscriber"--a patron who paid to sleep with the dancers of the Paris Ballet. I've always wanted to make this revenge piece about the things you see through other people's eyes.
This year four other illustrators and I were commissioned by Zejian Shen to illustrate a piece of the Ramayana in accordion-comic form. This work was made to accompany the Rama Epic exhibition, which will be at the Asian Art museum from October 21. I'm white, and they let me work on this piece. Which is pretty cool. And I think it's not just cool, but okay because the Rama Epic is full of archetypes and myths that we can all relate to. The museum wants everyone to come see the show and see themselves.
They gave me Ravana's abduction of Sita. I like seeing Ravana as a tech prince with many emoji faces. And San Francisco is a lot like Lanka. Very beautiful, and full of demons.
I worked with OZY in 2015 and 2016. These were made for pieces about modern feminism in China, and for a tech philosophy series.
These are crops of some, though by no means all the illustrations for a Grimms Fairytale book, art directed by Tyler Freidenrich. A servant eats a dish made for a king and is suddenly, magically able to converse with animals. This allows him to have many new adventures, and eventually to become royal himself. Everything happens in threes, and everything good happens in this story because someone ate or stole something belonging to someone else.
Here's a short comic that began as a riso printed menu to a 5 course meal for chef Tessa Liebman's Methods and Madness series. Barrie and I put on white clothes and lipstick and papered an entire room white, then inked the place while Maya Tanaka shot us and dinner was served. Then, it snowed, and everything that happened in the comic came true within the following year, exactly as prophesied. My toes are still cold, my skin is peeling, and I wish you were here.
These are pages from that comic I was pitching with Barrie Potter in 2015. We sold it at the end of that year, then we unsold it in 2016. Time, and "personal reasons". It's very sad, but I did so much on this project. For a while, almost 2 years, it was everything to me. I'm sure that Sophie will keep floating to the surface for the rest of everything, like themes do. For now, she can hang out here. I'll be happy to see her again, soon.
This was the first published piece that Barrie and I made together. We sold it to Irene Gallo at tor.com in 2014. It won a silver medal at the Society of Illustrators. I had always wanted to make something about the last man and woman on earth. At first he suggested that the woman be convinced that her husband was unfaithful. But we pivoted to a story about dissatisfaction and changeableness, and uncomfortable compromise in the face of inevitable, incontrovertible facts. Who would like to take a bets on whether either of us will ever be married?
This is a selection of the work I've made by the good grace and inspired spirit of Irene Gallo at TOR and tor.com. She always takes care to give me pieces about women, urban fantasy, and impossible-to-visualize metaphor. Her love of Sci Fi and Fantasy, her approach, and the fact that she's been hiring me since 2007 makes her one of my favorite Art Directors.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Leo Jung, Creative Director at California Sunday, Inc. at a student conference about process at CCA. He asked me to illustrate this set of images to accompany Kat Southerland's performance at the recent Pop-Up Magazine event in Chicago. Her story is about a young girl from the south who moves to Chicago as a creative punk looking to find herself. She finds herself in a nightclub. She eventually moves to the east coast, experiences a few hardships, and finds herself back in Chicago, again. Thanks, Leo!
Here's a selection of drawings made for various Medium/ Matter pieces. Cli-fiction, sexting, motherhood... All directed by Erich Nagler.
This was the second piece that Barrie and I had published, and the last. We pitched it to Len Small at Nautilus. We were thinking about art, technique, and technology. And trying to make something for a science magazine. This fight between Kubrick and Vermeer is one that I've had again and again with friends, family, and colleagues throughout my life. So what we made here was true, if also made to attract a client.
This piece was a pitch for a serialized New York bar review comic. Aside from the work on Nervosa, it was one of the first complete things I ever made with Barrie Potter. A thing happened to me where I moved to New York with my soon-to-be-boyfriend to be illustrators together. The recession had just hit. I became an illustrator, and he became a dishwasher, then a barback, then a server, and then a bartender at a place in our neighborhood: The Manhattan Inn.
He went on to train Barrie on the same track. Adam is now quite a singular bartender at one of the most well known and respected cocktail bars in Manhattan. But the years these two men spent at the Inn are ones that I will remember as some of the darkest of my adult life, and in the lives of everyone I met there. This place was a vortex of fatalistic hedonism that cheerfully drowned the talent and potential of every person working under its roof. The story of death in the service of drunk brooklynites is eternal. Alcoholic victims were an obsession of Barrie's, and what we wanted here was for our main character to be always trying to solve a mystery that he was too drunk to remember, while allowing our readers to tour new bars and retreading an exhausting social roster of usual suspects.
I'd still make it. Funnier, more stylized, but I would do it. I pitched it to Lucky Peach, The New Yorker, The Times... I pitched it to Vice and was roundly rejected by Nick Gazin, art director and butt blogger. His email to me began "How old are you and where did you go to school?"
There are days when I think I should have sent him a picture of my ass instead.
This is a selection of work that I've made since 2014 for the New York Times. Like many people, I began working on the Letters page, then moved on to Opinion and Book Review. I've worked with Brian Rea, Nicholas Blechman, Aviva Michaelov, Alexandra Zsigmond, Matt Dorfman, Nathan Huang, Arem Duplessis and several others who I'm neglecting to mention out of forgetfulness, rather than feeling. Working here is always a pleasure and a privilege. There are some people for whom you make your best work, and I have met a few of them at the Times. They know who I am, and they hire me to make what I like.
Here you will find Diane Johnson's Book Review piece for Marilynne Robinson's "Lila", Jenny Wilkinson's Op Ed about justice for rape survivors at universities, An op ed from Eric L. Adam's about his life as an officer and as a black man in the wake of Eric Garner's death, Michelle Goldberg's Book Review cover on Susan Faludi's "In the Darkroom", Eliot Ackerman's piece about women in the Marines, Sadhbh Walshe's piece about womens' roles in the Easter Rising and Curt Stager's Sunday Review cover on climate change. Reading this list, you can see how perceptive and intelligent my Art directors have been in their use of my work.
I've worked with the Marshall Project and Lisa Iaboni twice. Both were feature pieces, and both were collaborations with other non profit news sites. This piece, "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, made in collaboration with ProPublica, won a Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting.
This section is called SooJin Buzelli, rather than Asset International where SooJin is employed, because she is more important as an art director than any company could ever be. SooJin gave me my first paying job as a student in her husband, Chris Buzelli's, class. She is my longest standing client, and I consider her a friend. She has the respect and affection of every illustrator she hires, because she allows them to be themselves within the context of a magazine about money. Her approach to her subject has inspired many others to give control of metaphor to the people who they've hired to illustrate. Her approach to life straightens my spine.
Drawing for smaller design firms can be so rewarding. Kate and Erin are a dream to work with, and have cheerfully paid me in BBQ and introduced me to their families. They take care to bring me work that I can stand behind politically and visually. If you're in Texas, hire them.
This selection of some of my work for them includes Sarah Hepola's feature "Blackout" for Alcalde (Which was honored by the Society of Publication Designers in 2016), a poster for The Gaslight Baker Theater's production of "The Uninvited" by Tim Kelly, and album art for Deadman's "The Sound and the Fury".
I've worked with Len Small at Nautilus three times since the summer of 2013. Nautilus hires some of the more beautiful art for science that I've seen. I read it for the pictures. This piece, by Gillen D'Arcy Wood was about how the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Tambora gave us Gothic Literature. I redid the cover four times.
I love drawing for The New Yorker. I've typically worked with Deanna Donnegan on music or cultural pieces, or pieces for the web. I've worked with Chris Curry once. It's my dream to work for Fiction here. But till that time...
In 2012, Robyn Ng, Victo Ngai and Dadu Shin (and I) left ICON7 and began making image and phrase libraries which we would mash together to make stream of consciousness gag comics for a blog called "Extra Bitches". Many clients saw the link to this blog on my site and wrote to me specifically to tell me that they would not hire me, and that they found the title of my blog offensive. I told them that I tried not to be offended by words, but would they like to hit me. I don't believe that they read the blog itself, but I could be mistaken. "Extra Bitches" came, I think, from the assumption that Dadu was actually a secret agent with a double life and extra everything to spare. We were taking all our spare girlfriends, our sketches and "doodles", and endowing them with the meaningful strength of language. What you will see here are some of the images that I made for the blog during that time. Drawing these was an excellent way to warm up for a day of work.
It was a good exercise, and a way to see that drawing true nonsense is more difficult than it looks. The things that we feel, that interest us, organize themselves without us even watching. They are not extra at all.
I've worked for McSweeneys, Lucky Peach, and Grantland from 2009 on various projects. It's always a privilege. My work on Issues 42 and 44 is my favorite. Some of Issue 44's work, all black and white sketches for fiction, is pictured here.