We’ve each now got our own websites dedicated to our particular work:
Just finished a really fun commission for some artwork to go on a wedding. The couple wanted to highlight one of my favorite pairs of places in the world (NYC & SF) so it really was a pleasure making this for them.
Folks ask me a lot about my process for something like this. So here it is:
The clients (Rebecca and Ellery, hence the “RebEl” on the billboard) had given me some basic things they wanted in the image like SF & NYC, their dog, my kinds of drawings of people, food and booze. So I sent them this sketch:
They loved the idea. (Yes! That’s always a great email to get back from folks.) But were afraid some details like SF’s Sutro Tower would be lost on New Yorkers and suggested I just go for the two iconic bridges. I changed up the sketch and inked over it on some 100 lb. Bristol. The inked piece looks like this:
They also had mentioned their wedding colors were coral, blue and green. That was kind of a fun challenge for coloring this piece. The limited palette also added to its graphic look, which I figured would be better on a wedding invite. And to give a sense of how that kind of coloring works, I scanned the inked image and then cut out all of the whites in Photoshop. I then made that one layer (and usually I’ll convert the black of the lines to a dark blue so it’s less oppressive with other colors) and then made another layer of colors. I digitally painted in the color in that layer with a Wacom Tablet. Minus the line art, here’s what that layer looks like:
And that (minus all of the coffee/snack/beer breaks, walks in the parks, email checking, trips to Brookyn Boulders) is basically how it’s done. Questions?
Hello from Morocco! I (Casey) am going to be here for the next few weeks with a documentary film crew, traveling up and down the country. While I don’t have much film experience (ahem, ok no experience at all), I do have experience living and working in Morocco (aka eating couscous, bargaining like hell), so that’s how I’m trying to make myself useful.
We arrived this morning in Casablanca, took a quick rest then got straight to work!
We’re a crew of 7, including sound master and documentary extraordinaire Jessica Orec (above). You can see more pics and updates on her blog here.
I’m just drawing what I see (it’s raining today in The Slope) but if you see something that looks comic-worthy drop me a line.
Well, maybe not birthday party. But who knows? We just posted this video about the book presentations we do for our book To Timbuktu.
And we’re back!
(Didn’t know we were away? That’s cool. It was pretty quick.)
We just spent about a week and a half in India to go see our friend’s wedding in Mumbai and then also to check out the Hindu holy city of Varanasi. Like most trips I kept a cartoon log of our time travelling around. Here it is below.
Waiting in Newark for the flight to Mumbai:
Once in Varanasi:
And then once we’re in Mumbai:
(CONGRATULATIONS ADITYA AND RIDDHIMA!!!!)
All for now.
And if you liked these, be sure to check out my last run of travel cartoons from Colombia last July here.
A new magazine hits the stands today: National Animalgraphic!
It’s what came out of a conversation Steven and I were having over the weekend about what would happen if a National Geographic reporter stumbled upon animals from famous kids books doing their thing then lept to conclusions. Steven drew them and I came up with the articles. Many more to come!
Right? We do Shitty Kitty Meet Ups there, we did New Year’s there, we’re often just, ehem, there. It’s a great bar and we’ve had a great two years getting to know the bartenders and owners–plus having a bar named after our old hood in SF really helped us with our move to Brooklyn. So we were really excited when they asked us to make a Shitty Kitty inspired poster to highlight all of their 2012 brewery events. (See below.)
Maybe we had a lot of experience in the bar to work from to nail all of those Shitty Kitty poses? Maybe.
So this also seemed like a good time to review all of the posters we’ve gotten to make in order to promote events at Mission Dolores. They’ve all been a delight to make, and then to do as events.
Here’s the first one we did for a Shitty Kitty Meet Up in July 2010. Doesn’t it look just like Diego Rivera’s “Man at the Crossroads”? There’s even the first ever “Vladimir Lenin Shitty Kitty”!
Next we teamed up Sixpoint Craft Ales to help promote the launch of our book To Timbuktu. Nothing like beer to help get folks buying books right? Yep, worked like a charm. And big thanks to Bergen Street Comics for helping sell all night!
After that one we teamed up with the fine folks at Sixpoint again and helped them launch their beers in can form, or as they refer to them as “nano-kegs”.
More recently we had an “eleven, eleven, eleven” Shitty Kitty Meet Up at Mission Dolores where we harked back to Casey’s early years spent as a figure skater. (She had an ice dance to Sheryl Crow’s “All I Want to Do…”, though she really wanted to do one to Green Day.)
And finally there was this past New Year’s Eve. Such a blast! See photos and such from that here, or just relive the night by trying to pick which face in the matrix best represents you that evening. (“Ashton Kutcher Shitty Kitty” anyone?) (Yes we know all about that as we are semi-proud subscribers to Us Weekly.)
All for now, but we look forward to even more fun times with these crazy folks at Mission Dolores. Happy 2012 everyone!
NYE plans: done.
Just come and hang out with us and the Mission Dolores Bar crew all night long!
And Mission Dolores Bar is here.
We’re crossing the East River on Friday night to have a group show with our friends at Discovering Oz at the La Mama Galleria gallery in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. Well, we actually just crossed the river and hung our work. Here’s a sneak preview:
The show features the work of us, Kanan Shah, Marc Bovino, and Christopher Kalb. We all have done visual work with Discovering Oz for their client, the NYC theatre institution, the La Mama Theatre. At the show we’ll all be showing off the other things we do, plus they’ll be some music and booze. Event goes from 7-10pm. La Mama Galleria is at 6 E 1st between Bowery and 2nd Ave. What’s not to like?
Some of our new work in the show includes new collaborations where we go back to our SF roots: Steven painted some animals and Casey captioned what’s going on. Here’s one of them:
See you on Friday! Here’s the full invite:
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the recent abductions and murder in Timbuktu. If you’re not familiar with the story, last Friday several heavily armed Malians abducted two Dutch and a South African tourist in Timbuktu. They murdered a German member of the group when he resisted the kidnapping. It’s thought but not confirmed that the kidnappers are part of the Al Qaeda affiliate in North/West Africa, Al Qaeda in the Magreb.
What really brought this event home for us, besides the fact that the incident occurred in a town that Casey and I spent a month in and ultimately left because of security concerns, is that early reports indicate that this all happened at one of our favorite hotel/cafe spots in Timbuktu. When we were living there I painted a portrait of our friend Malik (see below) who was a waiter there. He was probably the funniest guy we met in Timbuktu and he played a role in several chapters of the book. (See pages 436-7 and 446-447.) Over the years we’ve lost contact with him and can only hope he is well. Luckily, none of the reports suggest any Malians were hurt in all this.
(I tried really hard to nail his skeptical look that informed much of his humor.)
Beyond, of course, the loss of lives, the tragedy here is that this has such a ripple effect for so many people throughout Mali. Specifically our friends in Timbuktu and in the country’s tourist industry.
We hope as soon as possible Mali will once again be a safe place to travel. We made so many amazing friendships living there for ten months and hope more people can have that opportunity as well.
On 11/30/11 we heard from Miranda Dodd, owner of the Sahara Passion Hotel in Timbuktu that the incident took place at Camping La Paix, not the hotel/cafe where Malik works (or worked). Miranda also told us that no one, besides the German murdered and others kidnapped, were hurt in the incident so he should be fine.
We just wrote a straight news piece for the newspaper Global Post about the reaction of folks in Timbuktu to all this. You can read that here.
And we’re BACK! After two weeks and nine plane rides, we now feel all too comfortable 30,ooo feet up in the air. That said, we’re happy to be back in Brooklyn, feet on the soggy fall-time ground.
Thank you sooo much to everyone who came out to our many events– it was great to meet all of you and answer your questions about everything from the state of our non-existant marriage to Twilight and to hear about all of YOUR adventures!
Here’s a quick round up of some highlights from our tour:
NASVHILLE: Land ‘o honky tonk and readers, Nashville you are TOO MUCH FUN. The Southern Festival of Books was the perfect kick-off!
MIAMI: We love you even though your rained on us the whole time. And all you Miami Dade College students we met, keep on rocking like you do!
BALTIMORE: Crab cakes? Check! Super engaged audience and great fellow panelists and speakers at Books for the Beast? Check! Copies of our book to sign? Kind of check… Hey Paul Auster, I hope you don’t mind that we signed two hundred copies of your book Timbuktu. They’re basically the same book anyway, right? (Book store mix ups happen, and to NO fault of the amazing folks behind the festival!)
AUSTIN: We’re coming back for you…One panel at the Texas Book Festival and one beer garden visit is simply NOT enough.
LOS ANGELES AND OJAI: So many school visits and absolutely no homework! Just the way we like it.
Thanks again to everyone who invited us to their festivals and schools and to everyone who came out and supported us. As our book heavily suggests, we LOVE to travel so this was great fun– and if we missed your city/school/library/bookstore this time around, feel free to drop us a line here and we’ll work something out!
This Friday, Steven and I hit the road again! This time, instead of trekking through Colombia (Missed that? The tall tales are here) we’ll be criss-crossing the good old US of A to present at book festivals, colleges, high schools, and bookstores around the country.
Details for each event are posted on our Events page, but here’s the general plan:
Friday-Sunday, October 14-16, Nashville, TN
Monday-Friday, October 17-21, Miami, FL
Saturday, October 22, Baltimore, MD
Sunday Austin, October 23, TX
Monday-Wednesday, October 24-26, Los Angeles, CA
Come bother us! Make us sign books for you! Ask crazy questions during the Q&A sessions! We’ll be happy to see you.
Israeli chemist Dan Shechtman just won this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of crazy tenfold symmetry in “quasicrystals” found in aluminum and manganese. Steven woke me up this morning with this article saying, “How much does this look exactly like zellij?!” Zellij being the traditional Moroccan tiling we’ve come to love.
So much! Check it out: (The quasicrystal formation is on the top left.)
So cool to think we might be hardwired to make this kind of stuff… Read the NY Times article about him here.
I’ve been playing around with the idea of documenting just how many strollers I walk by on a daily basis. I’ve seen every single one of these in action. Really.
Seen any other strollers that need documenting? Please let me know.
HUGE thanks to everyone who came to the Chigüiro opening last Saturday night at The Littlefield. We had a blast. Nothing like friends and art and a little bit of drinking. Pieces are still available for sale. A full price list with pictures is here. Some photos from the night are below.
Pre-show, Casey and Juki (who runs the space) are just two ladies with bobs.
Steven, muggin’ early on in the night.
Folks arrived. It got a little crazy.
Some very serious conversations were had.
And as was prophesied, the night ended up at the one and only 7th Ave Donuts.
This September I’m going to have a show of oil paintings at The Littlefield. It opens on Saturday, September 10th 6-9pm with a concert by the band Plus/Minus to follow in the concert space adjacent to the gallery. (Doors for that open at 8pm.) I’m really excited to be showing all of the oil paintings based off Casey’s and my recent trip to Colombia.
The show, called Chigüiro, is based on a pretty old school premise: go somewhere new, get inspired, and paint. Henri Matisse did it in Morocco. Paul Gauguin did it in Tahiti. Thomas Moran did it in the American West. (And this list could go on and on.) These are some of my favorite painters and I wanted to do what they did in my own way. Some works depict scenes I saw, like two guys sitting and watching a Colombian soccer match.
Some piece together ideas and influences that bombard you in Colombia society like Catholic imagery side-by-side women in beer sponsored bikinis.
(Oil on panel, 10" x 10")
The show is named after a chigüiro, an oddly shaped and unexpectedly large South American rodent that happens to share the gaze of the panthers from the Prospect Park 3rd Street entrance, over a pattern taken from ponchos. The funniest things remind you of home.
The Littlefield is located at 622 Degraw St (between 4th and 3rd aves) in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
This summer we entered a t-shirt design contest at our favorite San Francisco bar (where Shitty Kitty was born!), Shotwell’s– and we won! Here’s the design that goes on a classic white tee:
You can pick up your very own next time you swing by Shotwell’s for a brew. Make sure to say hi to the bar owners Dave and Tom for us!
You can also order the shirt online here from the good folks at Taverntees, but recommend stil going and saying hi to Dave and Tom for us.
Yep, we’re keeping it in the Slope this summer! (That is, when we’re not in Colombia.)
Come by Community Bookstore (on 7th ave between Carroll and Garfield) this Thursday between 7-9pm book & travel talk over drinks from around the world.
I love doing a cartoon a day when I travel. Usually Casey and I will find a quiet cafe or a bar. She’ll write away in her journal and then look up to see a view like this:
I did sets while in Southeast Asia and Mali during the time that would become To Timbuktu. (You can see bits of those here.) And another set in Morocco in in 2009. These past 5 weeks in Colombia was no different. I did about 47 in all. (OK, some days I did more than one.) Here are my favorite eleven.
They’re all pretty self-explanatory with the exception of this first one. On our first day in Bogotá we OD-ed on museums going to the Museo Botero (Colombian artist who paints fat people), Museo del Oro (of gold), Museo de la Policía Nacional (come on, you know this one), and then a textile museum housed in the old house of Simón Bolívar’s mistress. Didn’t catch the name of that one.
And we’re back! Colombia was an amazing 5 weeks of seeing everything from desert dunes that run straight into the Caribbean to coffee farms up on mountain tops and we’re going to be posting lot’s more stories, art, and cartoons from all that in the coming weeks.
But speaking of coffee farms, I am having an art show all this month at Cafe Grumpy on 7th Ave. in Park Slope Brooklyn. The show consists of paintings I did while Casey and I were up in Gigante, small town in Colombia. We spent a few days living with the folks who grow the coffee berries that Grumpy eventually roasts and serves in Brooklyn.
The show is up this whole month and there will be an opening reception Thursday August 11 at 6:30 pm. If you’re in the area, please come by to sip come fine coffee, sample a local Colombian liquor called aguardiente, and see some of these paintings. The cafe’s address is 383 7th Avenue (between 11th and 12th St).
Paintings in the show are for sale. $125 for all except for the double-wide landscape which is $175. If interested please email us and we’ll work from there.
We head off to Colombia mañana! (See? My Spanish is improving already.) So today is for PACKING. We aim to pack light so we don’t get whiney while walking around town looking for the cheap-but-not-too-dirty hostels. So minus the clothes and ziplocks full of chewable Pepto (we simply cannot stop ourselves from eating street food) here’s what we’re bringing:
We plan to write and draw and paint the shiz out our 5 week trip, hence all of Steven’s art supplies and my journal. Steven’s going to keep a Cartoon A Day sketchbook (like the one he kept in Southeast Asia which you can see on the Map here), and have an art show at Café Grumpy here in Brooklyn when we return of the things he draws and paints at their Colombian coffee supplier farm we are going to visit in Gigante, Huila.
We’re also big fans of backgammon, and this nifty little set is magnetic so you can actually play on epic bus rides through the mountains etc. And you simply cannot travel without something to READ. We chose:
-The Corrections because even though everything I’ve read about Franzen leads me to believe he’s a raging asshole, we’re both kind of interested in seeing what this book holds.
-Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls because honestly? I just saw “Midnight in Paris” with my mom, best gal pal and her mom, and Hemmingway’s character was kind of hilarious.
-Atwood’s The Rober Bride because Attwood is my hero and I needed something smart and intriguing. (Are you reading this Atwood? I NEED TO MEET YOU!)
-And Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Collected Stories because we love being clichés. In France I wear only stripes and always carry a baguette. Ok, not really. We wanted to find something by a contemporary Colombian author that takes place in modern day Colombia, but were having a hard time finding any good recommendations. We’re hoping to pick something up somewhere on the road. For now, Marquez will certainly do. Short stories are also great for reading aloud to each other on beautiful hotel balconies.
-And book to help us learn Spanish. There’s a lot to be said for immersion, but I’m also the kind of gal who needs a goddamn verb chart sometimes.
We’ll be checking in off and on, but are taking a pause in book events and our weekly Q&A feature. We hope to post cartoons and photos and other silly things along the way though, so come back for a peek soon!
And of course, if anyone has any Colombia recommendations, please send ‘em our way on our Contact page.
Still not got enough Spider-Man musical related news in your life? We’ll you’re in luck, because recently I (Steven) was commissioned to do the artwork for an upcoming NYC FringeFest play The Legend of Julie-Taymor, or The Musical That Killed Everybody! Here’s the poster I drew and painted. (Casey did the typography–just look at that neat lettering!)
It’s a pretty wild production that according to the production’s Kickstarter “tells the rise and fall story of director Julie Taymor and the behind-the-scenes scandals of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway! Facing financial problems, actor injuries, technical problems, performance delays, scathing reviews, and a complete overhaul… this is how the most expensive flop in theatre history made Broadway legend.”
I’m pretty excited because normally we’ve just been working on posters and playbills for productions and events, but for this play they wanted me to design the whole backdrop for the stage as well. The producer Travis Ferguson mocked up a loose sketch of what he wanted giving me the art direction of basically Picasso’s Guernica plus Spider-Man plus tragedy. They wanted a 20 foot wide mural that could be cut into three parts.
Here’s was my initial sketch:
And then here’s the final, taking the inked sketch and different layers of vector shapes on Illustrator. (And more of Casey’s lettering.) I’m guessing it will be chopped up and printed on big ol sheets of canvas.
If you like it at 600px, you’ll love it at 20 feet, so go help these folks out and donate to their Kickstarter and then see the play in August! (And if you’re really impatient, you can see it bigger just by clicking on the image, too.)
This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal printed an article called “Darkness Too Visible: Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?” In it, WSJ book reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon blasts YA literature today for being too R rated and says that what the publishing world calls ‘banning’, “in the parenting trade… we call this ‘judgment’ or ‘taste.’” She ends the whole thing like this:
No family is obliged to acquiesce when publishers use the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children’s lives.
Ouch. And yuck. And yes it’s true, no family is obliged to buy anything SO RELAX. If only the publishing world could bulldoze books into homes, most authors and illustrators would be a lot more pleased with their royalty checks. (I’m kidding of course.)
Needless to say, people are PISSED and hashtagging all over the place about it. (Check out #YAsaves.) I groaned aloud several times while reading it, mostly because I agree with YA God Judy Blume when she tells the School Library Journal in their response article, “If it makes [a kid] uncomfortable, if they’re not ready for it, they’ll put it down.” Who keeps reading a book they don’t like? (Ok, most of the time I do, but that’s just because I’m stubborn about it.) I’ve also heard award winning, First Amendment rights champion/ YA author Laurie Halse Anderson speak on several occasions about the heart felt responses she’s received from readers thanking her for giving it to them straight and for giving the most unfortunate of them the courage to come forward about their own horrific experiences. Like she says in that same response article, “YA literature saves lives. Every. Single. Day.”
This all feels extra timely for me since Steven and I happen to be in the middle of blowing through Suzanne Collins’ super popular and inherently violent Hunger Games series. (Teens are annually forced to kill each other on live TV in a whoever-is-the-last-man-standing-wins game.) This was us last night at 1 in the morning:
We thought about taking a picture, but it seemed a little inappropriate being not exactly clothed and in bed. (You never know where those photos wind up, do you Weiner?) But now I kind of wish we DID because people who go crazy over violence tend to go crazy over lady-nipple and I kind of love to drive those people crazy. I also kind of love that there are no lady nipples in this shot only because they’re being covered by a crazy violent YA book.
But I digress!
Steven told me he thinks the WSJ is running something like this so they can stake out their conservative territory in the news world, but that it is “pretty ironic” they would put True Grit on their list of recommended YA ficiton. “Just because a teenaged girl wants to kill the person who killed her dad 100 years ago it’s ok? It just reaked of can’t-handle-it-because-it’s-happening-right-now-ism”. WORD.
I also agree with what Christopher John Farely wrote as a response in the WSJ blog:
The worst pathological books will fade away with childhood. The best will live on and become permanent parts of the landscape of adolescence. I’m now going to let my son … read YA fiction to his heart’s content (as long as my wife agrees too). I’ll just be there to talk it over with him.
The stuff that’s written just for shock and awe, that’ll get old. Kids see through that. It’ll be the books that have a real heart in them– tough life questions, impossible situations and choices– those will be the ones that will stay and continue to inspire. And as long as you’re around as a partent/librarian/teacher/big sibling/babysitter to talk about the tough topics that arise, then you’re all good.
Like my dad (author/rabble-rouser Jon Scieszka) has said many times before, kids are smarter than almost any adult gives them credit for. That’s why we didn’t cut out all the sex and booze and danger in our book. This shit happens people, and teens know it.
And seriously folks. Once you start censoring, there ain’t no going back.
My brother Jake has never been much of a reader. Or a wimpy kid. Which are two of the reason he has never cracked open a copy of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of A Wimpy Kid.
But yesterday when Steven and I we talking about the series Jake said, “Maybe I would have read Diary of Manly Kid.” And thus it was born.
We’re putting up a whole diary on diaryofamanlykid.tumblr.com entry by entry. All you wimps, come back for advice! All you manly kids, read it and give each other high fives.
P.S. If you want guns like Jake you can have ‘em! He’s a personal trainer. Check out his site here.