Tag: illustration

Pencil and paper, drawing and writing

At PRINT magazine, Steven Heller talks to Washington University American Culture Studies professor and illustrator DB Dowd, whose ongoing illustrated journal of graphic nonfiction Spartan Holiday has just seen the publication of its third issue.

From Heller:

This is #3 of Spartan Holiday. What is your rationale for these “zines”? And why is it Spartan?

Above all, drawing is a kind of sense-making for me, a strategy to remain sane. As you have plainly noticed, judging from some of your recent posts, we are living through a plague of bad faith. What is true? What can I be sure of? I can use my senses. The observed world has come to seem quite urgent. Listen. Look. Make marks. Describe first, interpret second. That’s what’s “Spartan” about the “holiday.” Pencil and paper. Drawing and writing.

As for the zine itself, the fact that I am a writer and curious about other places guarantees me interesting subjects to report on. So I go here and there, near or far, and take on the role of correspondent, both verbal and visual. (I am also interested in visual journalism for publications. Trials, conventions, sports, day-in-the-life, etc. Spartan is proof-of-concept in certain respects.)

Spartan Holiday‘s third issue is focused on France: As Dowd writes at his blog, “French Lesson tells the story of a visit to Paris, woven into a reflection on Massillon, Ohio, the town I grew up in.”

Read Heller’s interview with Dowd at PRINT. Buy Spartan Holiday.


Sue Coe’s incisive political art

Activist and graphic artist Sue Coe has been producing some fierce political art for The Nation magazine. Last year, I wrote about a solo exhibition of hers at Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 that encompassed prints, newspaper illustrations, large-scale collage works, and more aimed at a number of ills, each demonstrative of the social reform element long at the center of Coe’s work. Visit her archive at The Nation.

sue coe political art

Image © 2019 Sue Coe via The Nation. Visit Sue Coe’s website.

Documenting subway station design for 40 years

Lots of good-looking publications in Curbed’s picks for 2018’s “best design and urbanism books”—Archigram: The Book, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, and more. I’d forgotten about having read a piece or two in recent years on the book from printer, artist, and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Philip Ashforth Coppola, which is also included in the feature.

Philip Ashforth Coppola drawing NYC subway

Coppola has been creating painstakingly detailed ballpoint pen drawings of the design work at New York City subway stations—their decorative elements, the tile patterns, the typefaces, and more—since 1978 (I think that cartoonist Julia Wertz might appreciate his effort). In May of this year, Princeton Architectural Press published One-Track Mind: Drawing the New York Subway, a hardcover book that includes 130 black and white illustrations culled from a collection of thousands of sketches with the help of editors Ezra Bookstein and Jeremy Workman. Coppola’s handwritten annotations point to the names of architects or firms contracted for the original labor—based on research he’s conducted at the library or elsewhere—or simply to the colors utilized, as the book is in black and white. See Jessica Leigh Hester’s 2018 Atlas Obscura feature on the artist and his book. More details about One-Track Mind are at the publisher’s site.