Illustration

Steven Heller
Christoph Niemann’s Creative Powers: A Mystery Investigated
Steven Heller uncovers what makes Christoph Niemann a veritable illustration Superman.


Steven Heller
Chris Ware’s Really Big Novelty Book
The first time I was introduced to Chris Ware’s work was at R.O. Blechman’s Ink Tank office on West 46th Street.


Chris Ware
I Loved to Draw
An excerpt from Chris Ware’s new Monograph.


John Foster
Strange Ink
Works by untrained artists who found inspiration to produce unique works despite a host of impediments.


John Foster
Postcards from the Trenches
Hand-painted postcards from WWI sent home in 1915 and 1916 by a 23-year old German soldier named Otto Schubert.


Debbie Millman
Design Matters from the Archive: Roz Chast
Debbie talks to Roz Chast about how she earned a coveted spot as a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, and how her art is informed by the brutal reality of life.


Michael Bierut
Seymour, An Introduction
In a world of design consultants, information architects, and experience planners, Seymour Chwast is something refreshingly old-fashioned: a commercial artist.



DJ Stout
Jack Unruh
The House on Fairmont


Debbie Millman
Lisa Congdon
On this episode Debbie talks with artist and writer Lisa Congdon about how she sometimes felt like an imposter.


Debbie Millman
Alison Bechdel
Debbie talks to Alicon Bechdel about how identifying herself as a lesbian when she was young lead her into a career as a cartoonist.


John Foster
Fusing Cultures
Painted Bookplates by Traditional Rajasthani Miniaturists



Steven Heller
Comic Bacteria
Huber and Corky



John Foster
Mechanical Mysteries
Drawing widgets in the sixties


Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: Caroline Paul + Wendy MacNaughton
Debbie talks to illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and author Caroline Paul about their unusually intimate collaboration on a book.



Debbie Millman
Design Matters From The Archive: Marian Bantjes
Debbie talks to Marian Bantjes about her daring typography and her highly ornamental designs.


Debbie Millman
Oliver Jeffers
Debbie talks to artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who explains how illustrating and writing children’s books has changed his fine art painting.



Timothy Young
Insect Men
The Art of Pochoir and the two Messieurs Séguy


Debbie Millman
Chris Ware
Debbie Millman talks to graphic novelist Chris Ware about how Charles Schultz, George Herriman, and Art Spiegelman figured into his life and career, and why empathy is fundamental to his work.



John Foster
Body of Knowledge
A historical overview of anatomical drawing


Rob Walker
Resolutions, Vibrantly Illustrated
Illustrator Linzie Hunter cleverly hand-letters other people’s 2015 resolutions


Rick Poynor
Illustrations by Bohumil Štěpán for Crazy Fairy Tales
Another look at Bohumil Štěpán’s whimsical absurdism



KT Meaney
Comparakeet
How the digital humanities can broaden the learning experience



Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Illustrator Sketchbooks, Pt. III
An interview with the artist known as August Wren



Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Jennifer Daniel’s Texas 35th
Illustrator Jennifer Daniel reimagines Texas’ 35th congressional district: If you can read this, you’re in range.



Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Steve Brodner’s Pennsylvania 7th
Steve Brodner reimagines Pennsyvlania’s Seventh Congressional District three (frightening) ways.



Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Oliver Munday’s Florida 5th
Illustrator Oliver Munday revisualizes Florida’s Fifth Congressional District


Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Lisa Congdon’s North Carolina 4th
Illustrator Lisa Congdon reveals that North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District is a leafy sea monster.


Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Leif Parsons’ Illinois 4th
Illustrator Leif Parsons reimagines Illinois’ Fourth Congressional District, giving a visual message to voters.


Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: Joe Alterio’s Maryland 3rd
Illustrator Joe Alterio reimagines Maryland’s Third Congressional District in a monstrous animated GIF.


Rob Walker
Spawn of Gerrymander: A Series
A week-long project in which six top illustrators visualize some of the most contorted congressional districts in the country.


Rick Poynor
The Mysteries of France:
A Gothic Guidebook

Guide de la France mystérieuse, illustrated by Roman Cieslewicz, is a surreal beast of a travel book.


Rick Poynor
The Body as Factory: Anatomy of an Image
Peeling back the skin of a New Scientist cover illustration by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson.


Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
Alex Knowlton reviews this year's ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach.



Observed
See America
Over 75 years ago the government first commissioned posters to showcase the country's most stunning natural features under the banner "See America".


Alexandra Lange
Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur
Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.


Gideon Amichay
No, No, No, No, No, Yes
In this excerpt from his book No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From A Creative Journey, Gideon Amichay pushes past no to yes.


Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: People, Politics and Pop
Martin Sharp rediscovered: drawings and collages from the book People, Politics and Pop: Australians in the Sixties.


Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
The late Martin Sharp was a visual innovator whose work erased artificial distinctions between applied image-making and fine art.



Observed
The Psychedelic and Grotesque Proto-GIFs of the 19th Century
Richard Balzer has spent the past five years curating an online collection of his phenakistoscopes, praxinoscopes, and zoetropes — "optic toys".



Observed
Seven Fantastic Vintage Anatomy Drawings
Popular Science's gallery of seven of the most fantastic anatomy drawings from the Middle Ages.


Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Family Album of Oddities
Bohumil Stepan’s Familienalbum presents a series of surreally equipped and irreverently modified collages of his family.


Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Gallery of Erotic Humor
Mapp Editions has released a digital version of Bohumil Stepan’s Galerie (1968), a surreal collection of collages and drawings about the relationship between the sexes.


Alexandra Lange
A World of Paste and Paper
Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective.


John Foster
The Voynich Manuscript
Accidental Mysteries for July 14, 2013 focuses on the rare and undecipherable Voynich manuscript.


Alexandra Lange
An ABC of the ABCs
Were you a child? Did you read books? Then the NYPL's "ABC of It" serves as a portal back in time.



Observed
Flowering Pages
A little-known but remarkable collection of treasures from The Garden Club of America illustrates the activities of the premier American gardening association over the course of a century.


Rick Poynor
The Age of Wire and String Rebooted
Granta’s new edition of The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus is a landmark of experimental illustration.



Debbie Millman
Wendy MacNaughton + Caroline Paul
Wendy MacNaughton and Caroline Paul on a journey from advertising to Rwanda to illustration, and from Stanford to firefighter to author.



Debbie Millman
Sara Blake
Debbie Millman talks to Sara Blake about collaborating with her sister, creating portraits of 100 girls and illustrating NBA players.


John Foster
What’s Inside?
Accidental Mysteries for February 17, 2013 focuses on what's inside: anatomical drawings.



Debbie Millman
Sophie Blackall
Sophie Blackall discusses learning to draw, painting vs. illustration and her favorite postings from Craigslist.


Rick Poynor
A Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image
An alphabetical guide to graphic designers influenced by Surrealism and to some key Surrealist concepts.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
David Rumsey's collection of more than 150,000 maps is one of the largest private collections in the United States. Herewith, a selection.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Jason D'Aquino is a miniaturist who creates on an incredibly small scale and whose preferred canvas is, perhaps not surprisingly, a matchbook.



Debbie Millman
Marion Deuchars
Marion Deuchars on the expressiveness of hand lettering, how drawing is an intensive form of looking, and the need to be messy when creating art.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Comic selections from the 
Lewis Wayne Gallery in Dallas, Texas — one of the nation’s largest galleries of comic book art. 


Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?


Alexandra Lange
Dot Supreme
On the enduring power of the simplest shape, from corporations to children’s books.


Rick Poynor
The Museum of Communicating Objects
Orhan Pamuk’s The Innocence of Objects is an illuminating guide to his Museum of Innocence in Istanbul.


Rick Poynor
Brian Eno’s “Music for Films”
On Brian Eno and a competition to design an alternative sleeve for Music for Films


Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Graphic Metallica
Heavy metal’s extremity, as a set of aesthetic choices and as a way of life, exerts an enduring fascination.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is paper folding art.



Amelia Lacy
Gene & Jackie Lacy
Gene and Jackie Lacy, Indianapolis-based graphic designers and illustrators practicing from the 1950s through the 1980s.


Rick Poynor
The Covers of J.G. Ballard’s Crash: An Update
Some recent covers of J.G. Ballard’s disturbing Crash, a notoriously hard novel for designers to interpret.


Rick Poynor
Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible
Motif magazine, founded in 1958, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”


Rick Poynor
John McHale and the Expendable Ikon
Artist, graphic designer, information theorist, architectural critic, sociologist, futurist: it’s time to rediscover John McHale.


Alexandra Lange
Want to Buy A Valentine?
You can buy a valentine handmade by someone else. You can send your beloved a vintage card using an app. But where's the romance in that?


Rick Poynor
The Evil Genius of David Shrigley
British artist David Shrigley, subject of a major exhibition in London, is forever tempting and testing the viewer.



Debbie Millman
Malcolm Gladwell
A live episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman withe special guest Malcolm Gladwell.


Rick Poynor
Man in a Bowler: Illustration after Magritte
By copying Magritte’s subject matter and method, illustrators ended up making a great artist look hackneyed.


Rick Poynor
How to Cover an Impossible Book
Tadeusz Borowski’s book This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen poses a visual challenge for designers.


Rick Poynor
Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers
British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have created an image of sublime horror for the cover of Granta magazine.


Rick Poynor
Andrzej Klimowski: Transmitting the Image
Andrzej Klimowski, author of a new book, On Illustration, has used the medium to create a compelling alternative reality.


Rick Poynor
Speculative Fiction, Speculative Design
The cover of England Swings SF is one of those prescient imaginative leaps that vaulted so far it disappeared from the historical record.



Julie Lasky
Between Two Convex Mirrors: A Conversation with Tomi Ungerer
Interview with illustrator and book artist Tomi Ungerer.


Rick Poynor
Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
A DVD cover for the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly uses the blindingly obvious symbol that just keeps on giving.


Rick Poynor
Unearthly Powers: Surrealism and SF
Richard Powers, auteur of the paperback cover, was a key figure linking science fiction and Surrealism.


Rick Poynor
Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Why, at the height of his early success, did a brilliant British illustrator decide to walk away and what happened next?


Rick Poynor
Starowieyski’s Graphic Universe of Excess
In Franciszek Starowieyski’s posters, desire, sexuality, monstrosity, madness and death conjoin in some of the most outrageous images found in graphic design.


Rick Poynor
An Unknown Master of Poster Design
Karel Teissig might just be the best poster designer you have never heard of.


Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Richard Neville’s Playpower
Martin Sharp’s cover design is a garden of queasily decadent delights where the joke is probably on the reader.



Mark Lamster
Gerd Arntz: Design Icon
Gerd Arntz: A design icon who designed icons.


Michael Bierut
At the Movies with Javier Mariscal
Chico & Rita is a new animated film by Spanish designer Javier Mariscal and director Fernando Trueba.


Rick Poynor
What Does H. P. Lovecraft Look Like?
In a gilded age of adaptations: films, TV series, theatrical productions, H. P. Lovecraft’s short novel At the Mountains of Madness, is re-envisioned for a new generation.



Debbie Millman
The Art of Poetry
Debbie Millman interview Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, plus a slideshow of 67 Poetry covers.



Michael Bierut
James Victore: Straight Up
"Few designers have done more to render typography foundries irrelevant than Victore. The human hand, his hand, is always in evidence." Michael Bierut on James Victore's work.



William H. Helfand
Ridendo
A slideshow comprised of covers from Ridendo a magazine distributed to French physicians.



Christopher Mount
Wild at Heart: Tadanori Yokoo
Essay adapted from the catalog for "The Complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo," an exhibition running through September 12, 2010, at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan.



Rob Walker
When Funny Goes Viral
Taking Lulz (Sort of) Seriously.



Gerry Shamray
Harvey and Me
A remembrance of comic artist and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by an illustrator who worked with him throughout his career, fellow Clevelander Gerry Shamray.



Ernest Beck
Edward Koren in Retrospect
Essay on The New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren.



Ken Botnick, and Ira Raja
The Subtle Technology of Indian Artisanship

How India's craftsmen offer lessons in design thinking.





Steven Heller
Home Is the Sailor, Home from the Sea
In 1943, Margaret Wise Brown, the children’s book author signed a contract with Harper & Brothers to publish The Fathers Are Coming Home.



Michael Bierut
The Figure / Ground Relationship
Designing is the most important thing, but it’s not the only thing. All of the other things a designer designer does all day are important too, and you have to do them with intelligence, enthusiasm, dedication, and love. Together, those things create the background that makes the work meaningful, and, when you do them right, that makes the work good.



Steven Heller
Covering the Good Books
When reading was more fundamental than tweeting, Time Life Books played a significant role in getting the general public to acquire books on almost every subject.



Steven Heller
Father of Shrek, Grandfather of Tweet
William Steig was the father of vanity license plate abbreviations and the grandfather of the Instant Messenger, SMS, iChat, and Twitter shorthand.



Rob Walker
A Successful Failure
Yiying Lu is an artist and designer in Sydney, Australia. One image in her portfolio is of a peaceful whale held aloft by a small flock of birds, aka as the “Fail Whale” of Twitter.



Steven Heller
Draw Me Schools Of Commercial Art
Scores of advertisements, like the famous "Draw Me!" matchbook cover, offered willing aspirants the big chance to earn "$65, $80 and more a week" in "a pleasant, profitable Art career." Although the ads often shared space at the back of cheesy pulp magazines with offers to learn, well, brain surgery at home, they offered a legitimate way for anyone with a modicum of talent, limited means and an existing job to train in their spare time for a new profession.



Steven Heller
In Praise of the Anthropomorphic
Today I’m going to go out on a limb. I’ve decided that the next big thing in illustration, is one of the oldest conceits ever: Anthropomorphism, “the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, natural and supernatural phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.”



Steven Heller
Breakdowns: A Review
Steven Heller reviews Art Spiegelman’s Breakdowns, his first anthology of autobiographical and experimental comics were originally published in 1978. Thirty years later, a new edition, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist As A Young %@(#!, is finally out.



Steven Heller
Where Have You Gone R. Cobb?




Steven Heller
Clipping Art, One Engraving At a Time
These books, universally known as clip art books, some edited by Dick Sutphen and many others published by Dover and Chelsea House, were owned by almost every American illustrator, designer, and art director who found solace in them when an idea was needed but their imaginations were not entirely up to the task. This is a personal remembrance and homage to them.



Paula Scher
It’s How You Said It
Paula Scher: “The problem with the New Yorker’s controversial Obama cover is not that it’s dangerous and tasteless. The problem is that it isn’t dangerous or tasteless enough.”



William Drenttel
Thoughts on Democracy, July 4 2008




Debbie Millman
Laurie Rosenwald
On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks with graphic designer, artist and actress Laurie Rosenwald.



Debbie Millman
Stefan Bucher
An interview with graphic designer, illustrator and Daily Monster creator Stefan Bucher.



Debbie Millman
Luba Lukova
An interview with award-winning illustrator Luba Lukova, whose work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Library of Congress and Bibliotheque Nationale in France. 


Debbie Millman
Maira Kalman
An interview with the remarkable Maira Kalman — the closest thing we in the United States have to a National Treasure.



Debbie Millman
Art Chantry
Art Chantry works and lives in Seattle where his ideas and personal style branded the look of popular culture, not only in the northwest and its bohemian underground, but also in the pop and alternative culture of the last few decades.  



Debbie Millman
Christoph Niemann
An interview with German-born designer and illustrator Christoph Niemann, who claims to have only one trick: “sitting in front of a white piece of paper and thinking, staring and drawing until my head hurts.”  



William Drenttel
David Hughes: Caricaturist of Our Time
But my favorite, in recent years, is the British illustrator David Hughes. I yearn for his drawings, look for them in my favorite publications, and save them whenever and wherever I find them.



Observed | October 17

It’s time for companies to let design expand its influence to the core of the business. [JH]


Observed | October 16

It was scary when the graphic designers seized control of the country... [BE]

Does design thinking live up to the hype? Business leaders apparently think so. (Not sure design leaders would agree.) [JH]

Spark Awards: call for entries announced. More here. [JH]


Observed | October 13

Poster Girls! An exhibition of work by forgotten women at the forefront of graphic design. At the London Transport Museum. [JH]

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found. [BV]

Another view of Google, design, and the future. [JH]


Observed | October 12

Rob Walker thinks this is the best headline he’s seen in a while. We agree. [JH]

Can design minimize hate speech? [JH]

Three designers win MacArthur “genius” grants. [JH]


Observed | October 11

Get some advice from your potential future self. [BV]

Three design projects that promote good mental health. [MB]


Observed | October 10

A look at the iconic New York Film Festival poster. [BV]

Do you want to know everything? Oxford has your answer. [BV]

Did you know there are scissors in the MoMA permanent collection? Of course they‘re orange. [BV]


Observed | October 09

School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade. [BV]

How to train an algorithm to understand a hurricane. [BE]

So long, cubicles: introducing “palettes of places”. [JH]


Observed | October 06

See some of the entries in National Geographic’s 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year contest. [BV]

Changing the math on gerrymandering: a visual guide to redistricting shows what a proper Congressional district might look like. [BV]

“This guy is the best”: best-selling Instagram poet Rupi Kaur wants Peter Mendelsund to design her next book. [BE]


Observed | October 05

In 1930, Alexander Calder became a married man. In 1931, he became an abstract artist. These were the foundations on which he would build for the rest of his life. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead? [BV]

One hundred and fifty seven shades of grey. [JH]


Observed | October 04

A celebration of the human brain, consciousness, and failure or: How to build a self-conscious machine. [BV]

“Verbs like ‘hacking’, ‘hustling’, and ‘disrupting’ are particularly galling, as they absolve their practitioners of the obligation to build skills and understand systems before performing design.” One student’s reflection on The Next Stage. [BV]

How the Russian Revolution spurred mid-century design. [BV]


Observed | October 03

The incredible beauty of nature, exposed in macro photos of peacock feathers. [BV]

An appeal to abolish the term “human-centered design”. Who is the human? [JH]

Circadian Rhythms, Illustrated: A graphic look into the brain’s molecular clock—research that contributed to one of this year’s Nobel Prizes. [BV]



Jobs | October 17