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illustration

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.

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Tel Aviv Architecture Gets Illustrated Tribute

tel_aviv

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.”

Quote of Note | Marcel Dzama

“I’ve always remembered Where the Wild Things Are so clearly, which isn’t the case with most other children’s books. Wild Things was a favorite from the start. I remember looking at the images a lot and really studying [Maurice Sendak's] crosshatching at a young age—and even attempting to draw like him on my own. This was probably kindergarten, and so he was an early influence. All of the fantastic creatures—and especially the monsters…have such character and personality, and it’s so great that they’re not evil monsters but more co-conspirators. Maybe Maurice got me started on monsters and beasts, which pop in my work a lot, too.”

-Artist Marcel Dzama, in an interview with Spike Jonze that appears in Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord, the sublime new monograph from Abrams

Creativity, Innovation Are Key at Communication Arts

CommunicationArtsCommunication Arts, a trade journal for visual communications, covers everything from graphic designers to photographers to advertising agencies. The subscription-only mag features in-depth profiles, tips on design trends, book reviews and more.

CA is approximately 80 percent freelance written, and it’s on the lookout for fresh new writers. So what are the editors looking for? Someone who will inspire:

“We want to improve the way our readers work and think, whether that means introducing a revolutionary technique with dozens of potential applications, challenging disparate disciplines to work together in new ways or refuting common wisdom about, say, what it means to be creative or successful,” said managing editor Robin Doyle. “If your article can do that, we want to see it.” CA editors are always on the lookout for stimulating content for “Columns,” “Profiles” and “Book Reviews.”

To hear more details about CA, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Communication Arts.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

–Aneya Fernando

Volvo Gives Illustrators Sneak Peek at Latest Concept Car

volvo a
Pining for the fjords. An image of the Volvo Concept XC Coupe in Norway.

Volvo is keeping its Concept XC Coupe under wraps—mostly. In advance of the big reveal later this month in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, the company has released a lone image (above), in which the vehicle—”inspired by modern high-tech sports equipment”—plays peek-a-boo with Snøhetta’s Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Hjerkinn, Norway. The next phase of Volvo’s curiosity-piquing campaign was to offer a sneak peak at the Concept XC Coupe, the second in a line of three concept cars, to six illustrators: Mark Riddick, Lovisa Burfitt, Blair Frame, David Puckney, Jesper Waldersten, and Gary Barker each had the opportunity to look at and interpret the car. Here’s what they each came up with…
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Mark Your Calendar: Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston’s Wordless!

wordlessTry as we might, we can never get enough of Art Spiegelman—in the unlikely event that you disagree, treat yourself to a copy of Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps (Drawn and Quarterly). That illuminating and illuminated volume also functions as a catalogue of sorts for the Spiegelfest on view through March 23 at New York’s Jewish Museum. The outside-of-the-box comics/art fun moves from the page to the wall to the stage on Saturday, January 18, when BAM presents Wordless!. Billed as “an innovative hybrid of slides, talk, and musical performance,” the work was created by Spiegelman and jazz composer Phillip Johnston as a commission for the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are going fast. Prepare for the evening of multisensory stimulation with this Spiegelvideo from the Jewish Museum:

Saks Fifth Avenue Decks the Halls with 3D-Printed Snowflakes by Marian Bantjes

printing snowflakesOh, the weather outside is frightful, but Saks Fifth Avenue’s latest holiday (and possibly last) collaboration with Marian Bantjes is so delightful. This year Makerbot and Mastercard join the mix, offering shoppers at Saks’ New York City flagship the chance to take home a 3D-printed snowflake.

Illustrated by Bantjes and printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 (pictured), the snowflakes are a gift with purchase for those who spend $150 on their Mastercard through December 24. Stop by to watch the Replicator work its magic Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Can’t make it to New York this holiday season? Bantjes’s work is just as entrancing in 2D. Pick up a copy of her stunning new monograph Pretty Pictures (Metropolis Books) and then buy five more as stocking stuffers.

Quote of Note | Neal Adams

(DC Comics)

“That’s the difference between DC and Marvel comics: all the characters at DC, because of their history, were all all sparkly-tooth Americans; they smiled, they had good jobs, they had secret identities. At Marvel, Jack [Kirby] convinced Stan [Lee] that the four characters who would go off into specae, be bombarded by cosmic rays, and come back as monsters. All [the Marvel stars] were essentially monsters turned into superheroes. Over at DC we had golden-toothed heroes. Even the new guys: test pilot, lab scientist. It’s still the difference between the two companies. When people talk about Spider-Man and his personality problems, it’s all part of the monster side of the superhero genre as opposed to DC. Batman is the closest to the Marvel characters that DC has.”

-Green Lantern and Batman artist Neal Adams, interviewed by Paul Levitz in The Silver Age of DC Comics (Taschen)

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