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illustration

Alison Bechdel, Rick Lowe Among 2014 MacArthur Fellows

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(Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Cartoonist and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Are You My Mother?) and artist Rick Lowe (Project Row Houses) are among this year’s MacArthur fellows, the annual mix of thinkers, writers, artists, mathematicians, and materials scientists awarded $500,000 in no-strings-attached “genius grants” over five years. “Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said MacArthur Fellows Program vice president Cecilia Conrad, in a statement issued today. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.” Other 2014 fellows include documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, translator and poet Khaled Mattawa, playwright Samuel D. Hunter, and computer scientist Craig Gentry. Meet all 21 MacArthur fellows here.
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Mediabistro Course

Pitch Your Magazine Article

Pitch Your Magazine ArticleStarting October 1, learn how to write queries for magazines and websites! In this course, you'll learn how to write and send an effective pitch, generate pitch letters, research outlets for your articles, and follow-up with editors to ensure that your queries get results. Register now!

At MCNY, a Look Back to the ‘Mad Men’ Era, Illustrated

What do you get when you cross Norman Rockwell with Roy Lichtenstein? The Don Draper-era illustrations of Mac Conner. Writer Nancy Lazarus previewed the new exhibition of his work and sketched out her impressions.

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Mac Conner’s illustrations for “The Girl Who Was Crazy About Jimmy Durante” in Woman’s Day, September 1953 and below, for “How Do You Love Me” in Woman’s Home Companion, August 1950. (Courtesy of the artist)

01_How Do You Love Me_Mac Conner_1950_Courtesy of MCNY.jpgAt the ripe age of 100, McCauley “Mac” Conner is ready for his close-up. The illustrator made a special appearance this week at the opening of an exhibition of his work at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). “Mac Conner: A New York Life,” on view through January 19, 2015, provides an in-depth look at Conner’s career along with his working process.

“The period from the late 1940s through the early ’60s was Mac’s heyday,” said Terrence Brown, the exhibit’s guest curator and director of the Society of Illustrators, at Tuesday’s press preview. During the “Mad Men” era, Conner’s illustrations appeared on the covers of leading magazines of the day such as The Saturday Evening Post and the “Seven Sisters” women’s titles, like Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook.

“It was a vibrant time and Mac relished it,” said Sarah Henry, MCNY deputy director and chief curator. “Magazines were Mac’s favorite medium since they allowed more creative freedom. That’s also the time when he grew as a designer,” she added.
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Quote of Note | Jasper Morrison

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“As I child, I was obsessed with Tintin, the comic-strip hero invented by Hergé. There was something about the atmosphere Hergé created in his drawings, very clear lines and simple spaces. I’m sure that influenced my impulse to simplify.”

-Jasper Morrison in an interview with Michael Hsu for the Wall Street Journal

Wanted: Designer to Blind Them with Science

man of science.jpgDo you excel at explaining phenomena ranging from plate tectonics to nuclear fission using only a pen and a dinner napkin? Doodle double helices—and their accompanying nucleotides? Then listen up, because the American Association for the Advancement of Science (or “triple-A S,” as the cool kids call it) is looking for a new visual Einstein to join the creative marketing team for its flagship journal, Science, at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. Need you be able to tell xylem from phloem, ventricles from atria, a chupacabra from an exasperated kangaroo? Probably not, but be ready to describe how your “strong communication skills and excellent type sensibility” will react with your “ability to create effective, visually exciting print and electronic media” to keep the visual standards of Science as high as its impact factor. And don’t forget to balance your equation.

Learn more about this junior graphic designer, American Association for the Advancement of Science job or view all of the current mediabistro.com design/art/photo jobs.

NYHS Exhibit Fêtes Ludwig Bemelmans and Madeline on Her 75th Anniversary

Nancy Lazarus heads up Central Park West covered in vines, in search of twelve little girls in two straight lines, or at least the smallest one of the bunch: Madeline, and her creator.

Madeline at the Paris Flower Market
Madeline at the Paris Flower Market, 1955. Courtesy the Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans.

As a hotelier, cartoonist, and fabric designer, Ludwig Bemelmans was a jack of all trades, but Madeline, published in 1939, became his masterpiece. The New York Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary with a retrospective of his career. “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans,” is on view through October 19.

“He took any jobs that came along,” said exhibition curator Jane Bayard Curley of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, the show’s organizer. Over 100 works are on display, reflecting Bemelmans’ many talents: drawings, paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and specially commissioned objects, including murals for the playroom of Christina, the Onassis yacht. Bemelmans’ family opened their archives to lend artwork and memorabilia.

“We created a faux Bemelmans’ Bar, but don’t tell the Carlyle,” joked Charles Royce, who along with his wife Deborah, lent murals from their luxury hotel, Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. They acquired six plaster works, which had once graced the walls of Bemelmans’ La Colombe bistro in Paris. Royce was referring of course to New York’s Carlyle Hotel, where Bemelmans painted murals depicting the seasons of Central Park.
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Murray Olderman Talks About Becoming a Cartoonist

Murray-Olderman-DrawingMurray Olderman has had a storied career as a syndicated newspaper columnist and cartoonist. Although this 92-year-old is officially retired, he’s actually working on a new book, comprised of illustrations and cartoons of people in sports he’s known and drawn.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, we spoke with Olderman about journalism school in the 1940s, his most memorable interview and how he got started as a cartoonist:

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I was captivated as a teenager (when I was also writing sports for a county weekly) by the looks of cartoons on sports pages and started copying them, gradually perfecting my techniques through trial and error. I was first published in the Columbia Missourian, a city newspaper paper produced by the Missouri School of Journalism, in my junior year. My first hire, by the McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento, was as a sports cartoonist. I have written and drawn conjunctively. No preference. A lot of guys have written sports. A lot of guys have drawn sports. Few have done both.

For more from Olderman, read: So What Do You Do, Murray Olderman, Iconic Sports Journalist and Cartoonist?

Christoph Niemann, RISD’s Rosanne Somerson Among ‘Doodle 4 Google’ Contest Judges

2013 winner
The 2013 national Doodle 4 Google winner was 17-year-old Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin.

christoph-niemannPut on your inventor’s helmets and break out the fancy Prismacolors, kids, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is back with a new doodling prompt: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” (Magical video glasses is probably too on the nose).

“Our theme this year is all about curiosity, possibility, and imagination,” notes Google, which has run the annual competition since 2008. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in U.S. schools are invited to complete that sentence in the form of a redesign of the Google logo. The winning doodle will be animated and featured, for one glorious day, on the search giant’s homepage, and the lucky doodler receives a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Among this year’s illustrious guest judges are artist, designer, and author Christoph Niemann (pictured) and Rhode Island School of Design interim president Rosanne Somerson, who are joined by the likes of Lemony Snicket, LEGO robotics designer Lee Magpili, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The Lego Movie. Start dreaming and doodling now, because all entries must be received by March 20.

Tel Aviv Architecture Gets Illustrated Tribute

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A stubborn Israeli landlord is partially to thank for a delightful new Tumblr. When that building owner refused to extend Avner Gicelter’s lease, he and his partner were forced to search for a new apartment in central Tel Aviv, which in 2003 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International Style buildings. “That process awakened my dormant passion for Tel Aviv’s unique architecture, and I got more interested in the buildings than in the apartment we were looking for,” says Gicelter, a graphic designer. He decided to share his interest with the world through Tel Aviv Buildings, a site inspired in part by Jose Guizar’s Windows of New York. “I wanted to use this simple yet very honorable way of design to show my love for my hometown and its most beautiful buildings.” We asked Gicelter more about the project and some of his favorite Tel Aviv buildings.

How do you describe the architecture of Tel Aviv?
I don’t really have a professional way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture, only a point of view as a designer—in Tel Aviv’s central area (where you can find most of my illustrated buildings) there are two major architecture styles: the eclectic style which was active during the 1920s and 30s, and the International Style which was the major architecture movement during the 1930-50s and led UNESCO to name Tel Aviv as a world heritage site for its International Style architecture. I think that the difference between these two styles creates an unique and very interesting dialogue throughout the street of the city. In my opinion this dialogue is the best way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture.

How do you decide which buildings to illustrate?
I start by walking throughout the city’s old areas. During that I shoot photos of buildings I find interesting, whether it is their architectural style, the way the residents designed their balconies or the presence of the building in the street. After choosing and shooting the buildings, I illustrate them with the pictures as reference.
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DIY Drama: Ten Illustrated Stories ‘About People with Really Awful Lives’

Start with what writer Matthew Swanson describes as ten “stories about people with really awful lives,” add the delightful, Quentin Blake-ish illustrations of Robbi Behr (Swanson’s wife), chop it all up into flippable panels, and you’ve got the recombinant narrative of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings, published recently by Chronicle Books. We asked writer Mariam Aldhahi to take a closer look at this book of fractured fairy tales.

ten thousand stories coverFlip through the first few pages of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings and you’ll be abruptly introduced to a pretty twisted duo.

The book’s introduction, originally nothing more than the usual run-through of what you’re reading and why, is covered in red-ink redactions and rewrites courtesy of the illustrator half of this husband/wife team. We are greeted with a “Hello Sucker!!” and quickly advised that we’ve just wasted $20 on ten-thousand “god-awful” stories only saved by an accompanying ten-thousand “breathtaking” illustrations. Suddenly, you’re confused, a little uncomfortable, and yet completely taken.

The concept is simple enough—each page is divided into four turnable mini-pages that mix and match to create ten-thousand different story combinations, each topped off with its own eccentric illustration. We are handed the reigns and encouraged to “choose our own disaster” by letting the flaps fall where they may.
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Stefan Bucher Creates Cellular Valentines

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It’s January 24th. Do you know where your Valentines are? Swap those chalky candy hearts and flimsy greetings for a microscopic approach with “Love Cells,” a pack of whimsical Valentine postcards created by Stefan Bucher for Moo’s Luxe Project. Each of the hand-drawn designs is a pattern of tiny, almost-hidden hearts: lay out all ten cards to form one large pattern that can be rearranged into several configurations. All oroceeds from the $29 packs of sturdy postcards (with matching envelopes) go to ShelterBox USA. Says Bucher, “Their mission to provide shelter, warmth, and dignity to disaster and conflict survivors also comes with an edict to provide transparency to their donors, a value I hold in high regard.”

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