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6-step guide to designing your own hipster logo

Tim Delger not only reveals the secrets of hipster logo design, he'll also sell you the necessary fonts

Alexander Calder, the artist who redefined sculpture

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Alexander Calder with [Paul] Matisse and a maquette of his last mobile. The maquette was enlarged 40 times in the final piece. (Source: Alexander Calder Special Collection Photo)

Alexander Calder's (1898-1976) father was Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945), who sculpted George Washington as President on the Washington Square Arch in New York. His grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder (1846 – 1923), sculpted the 37-foot tall William Penn statue, which stands atop Philadelphia City Hall. His great-grandfather was a tombstone carver.

So it's not surprising that Calder become a sculptor as well. But unlike his forebears, Calder was not interested in traditional sculpture. Instead, he invented a new art form -- kinetic sculpture -- the most famous of which were his "mobiles," (a word coined by his friend, the artist Marcel Duchamp). These delicately balanced sculptures consist of biomorphic shapes cut from sheet metal and painted in black, white, orange, red, white, yellow, and blue, and which hang from metal rods and wire.

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Proposed redesign of Ticketmaster's ugly and confusing tickets

After working as a volunteer usher, Matthew Lew reimagined Ticketmaster's hard-to-read tickets. His ticket stripped out the redundant info, made the seating information clear, added an anti-counterfeiting strip, and is the size of a business card so it fits in a wallet without folding.

Dear Ticketmaster: It is time to redesign the master of all tickets

Cool old cigar box art: Moonshine Crooks

I want someone to do a comic book series about moonshine crooks. (Via Shelley Rickey)

Human digestion for the LSD set - LIFE magazine 1962

Earlier today David posted a 1962 LIFE magazine photo of a ski mask that would appeal to the family in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I took a look at the scanned copy of the magazine at Google Books and came across this article about human digestion, titled "How Food Becomes Fuel: The Phenomenal Digestive Journey of a Sandwich."

The hallucinatory illustrations were painted by Arthur Lidov and I have to assume that they reflect LIFE publisher Henry Luce's wife Clare's strong interest in LSD.

The tattoo work of Wan Tattooer

The World's Best Ever has been showcasing tattoo artists in a series called Flash Us, and they brought to my attention the work of Wan Tattooer, who works at Wild Rose Tattoo in Seoul, South Korea. His Instagram feed is terrific!

Interview with MAD's Jack Davis about his Tales From the Crypt comic book days

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "We just published an exclusive interview with MAD magazine cartoonist Jack Davis, who spoke to us about his Tales From the Crypt years in the early 1950s. Our article, which features a new drawing by Davis of MAD publisher William Gaines posing alongside the Crypt-Keeper, coincides with Mondo's Tales From the Crypt exhibition opening on October 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

It was Bill Gaines who gave Davis—recently honored in a 2011 Fantagraphics retrospective book called Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture — his first break. The young artist, who’d been drawing since kindergarten, had published comic strips in middle school and high school, in the Navy, and at the University of Georgia. When he graduated in 1950, he hoped to land his dream job working on the newspaper funny pages so he could afford to marry his college sweetheart, Dena Roquemore.

“I wanted to be a cartoonist and get syndicated,” says Davis, who worked as an assistant to Ed Dodd, creator of the syndicated “Mark Trail” comic strip, while he was in college. “I figured I had to go to New York City because that was where everything in publishing was, including the comics syndicates. I took a year at the Art Students League in New York, and I’d look for work. I’d go up and down Madison Avenue, where I was rejected at the syndicates and at a lot of the publishers.”

But not all of them. “I saw a comic book one day and went down to the offices of Entertaining Comics, where I met the publisher, Bill Gaines. My work was bad, and they liked it,” he says, laughing. “They gave me some stuff to work on right away, and I was very excited about that.”

Soon, Davis, who was sick of being a starving artist, developed a reputation for speed, as an artist who could sketch and ink sometimes three pages in a day. “I’d have to be fast, because when you turned them in, that’s when you’d get your money,” Davis says. “The faster you drew, the faster the money came in.”

Interview with MAD's Jack Davis about his Tales From the Crypt comic book days

Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Sketching London's burlesque artists

"I find myself using a large Rowney sketchbook to carve my way through the evening crowds around Piccadilly Circus, following Eros' arrow up to the narrow streets of Soho, London's notorious sleaze quarter."Read the rest

Dog-chewed shoe sells on eBay for $378

Eric Bradley says: "I saw this eBay listing for a wingtip shoe some guy’s dog chewed up. He positioned it with a very well-written description as a ‘work of modern art’ from his dog, Jack. It sold yesterday on eBay for $378. The seller says he is donating a portion of the proceeds to a pet rescue center in Washington, D.C."

Banksy's Ronald McDonald sculpture gets a shoeshine

"A fibreglass replica of Ronald McDonald having his shoes shined by a real live boy. The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonalds every lunchtime for the next week. Today: South Bronx." -- BanksyNY (Be sure to click on the link to get a good look at Mr. McDonald's facial expression.)

Entrepreneurs in NYC charge $20 to peek at Banksy stencil

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Drawing a potato chip bag

James Gurney says: "Using colored pencils and markers, Marcello Barenghi draws a super-realistic potato chip bag. Here's his list of the art materials he uses for these videos."

True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969 (Gallery)

Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson have lovingly compiled a picture book about crime magazines from the mid-20th century called True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969. It's loaded with exceedingly lurid, attention-grabbing magazine covers and illustrations.

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the “Dickbooks,” referring to a popular slang term for a detective.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however. When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the “detectives” turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts, and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Cover lines shouted “I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,” “Sex Habits of Women Killers,” “Bride of Sin!,” “She Played Me for a Sucker,” and most succinctly, “Bad Woman.”

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime and punishment over five decades. With texts by magazine collector Eric Godtland, George Hagenauer and True Detective editor Marc Gerald, True Crime Detective Magazines is an informative and entertaining look at one of the strangest publishing niches of all time.

See more images

Documentary about four illustrators from Italy

Andrea Chirichelli, a journalist, writer and video-maker, says:

I made a documentary called Illustrators, that describes the job of four Italian illustrators who are world famous and have been awarded many prizes and recognitions: Alessandro “Shout” Gottardo, Emiliano Ponzi, Olimpia Zagnoli, and Francesco Poroli.

The documentary lasts approximately 70 minutes, is subtitled in English, and offers a wide view on the secrets of a new job, that has transformed completely ever since the Internet’s arrival, that has marked a pivotal change in the world of publishing, commercials, and magazines.

Illustrators is a journey of images in the creativity of a nation, Italy, depressed and mortified under the political and economic aspect, but still capable of showing its best side and bound to live, at least under the artistic profile, an outright “Second Renaissance.”

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Online museum of forgotten art supplies

Bob Knetzger let me know about this fun museum of old art supplies. Above, The Jon Gnagy Pantograf Drawing Device.

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Review of a figure drawing posable mannequin

The talented illustrator I-Wei Huang reviewed this $300 articulated artist's mannequin. His verdict: awesome!

Strange Powers 3 - new paintings by Ryan Heshka

Ryan Heshka's astounding pulp-fiction inspired paintings are on display at the annual BLAB! group show, which opened this Saturday at the the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica on 9/14/2013. In addition to being in the group show, Ryan's work is on display in a solo show in the second room.

Click here for the complete show preview. See more of Ryan's paintings

Cool tarot card art by knitwear book author Barbara G. Walker

Yesterday I posted a photo from Barbara G. Walker's fabulous 1972 instructional book, Knitting From The Top. It turns out Barbara is not only a terrific knitter, she is also a designer and illustrator of tarot cards. I like these images nearly as much as Frieda Harris' paintings for Crowley's Thoth deck.

Barbara Walker Tarot

Guinness collectors snap up secret stash of unpublished advertising art

Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says: "I just wrote an article about John Gilroy, who was the illustrator of all those wonderful Guinness ads during the 1930s-1950s. Gilroy created an oil-on-canvas painting as a final proof for each ad. After the ad was approved or rejected or whatever, the canvas would be rolled up and stored away. This went on from the 1930s until 1962, when Gilroy stopped working for Guinness.

"Sometime in the 1970s, a secretive collector bought the entire cache of Gilroy canvases. A few years ago, the Gilroy canvases started making their way onto the art market. Now, former Guinness brewer and Guinness authority David Hughes has written a book about the canvases, as well as Gilroy more generally, called 'Gilroy Was Good For Guinness.'"

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Glitch embroidery and stitching

This is Nukeme. I met him at the Tokyo Maker Conference in June. He was wearing a cool MAKE shirt that had a messed up logo. The flaw is intentional. He calls it "glitch embroidery." He gave me one of the shirts and I love it.

Above, an example of Nukeme's glitch stitching. I emailed him last week to tell him I like his work. He sent me a couple of videos (below) that show how he does glitch embroidery and glitch stitching.

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New biography of MAD editor Al Feldstein

Al Feldstein began working at EC comics, publishers of Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear in 1948. Soon he became editor of most of EC's titles. He typically wrote and illustrated a story in each title and drew many of the covers, a mind-bogglingly prolific output. Eventually he stopped doing the art for stories and stuck with editing, writing, and cover illustrations. According to Wikipedia, from "late 1950 through 1953, he edited and wrote stories for seven EC titles." I've always loved his signature, which features elongated horizontals on the F and the T, and an extended vertical on the N.

After MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman got in a fight with publisher William Gaines over ownership of the comic and left EC in 1956, Gaines put Feldstein in charge of the humor magazine, where he remained as editor until 1985.

This month, IDW released Feldstein: The Mad Life and Fantastic Art of Al Feldstein!, a 320-page biography written by Grant Geissman (who is a far-out jazz guitarist in addition to being a biographer of comic book luminaries). My copy is in the mail. In the meantime, enjoy these sample pages below, swiped from Bhob Stewart's Potrzebie blog.

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Murder and Mayhem in Miniature: The Lurid Side of Staffordshire Figurines

Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says, "Recently, in the course of building a new family for Figurines, staff writer Hunter Oatman-Stanford learned that the ceramic pieces coming out of Staffordshire from 1780 until 1840 often featured unsettling depictions of the crimes and scandals of the day. Inspired by this weird corner of ceramics history, Hunter interviewed author Myrna Schkolne for an article called "Murder and Mayhem in Miniature: The Lurid Side of Staffordshire Figurines," which we published today."

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How James Gurney paints dinosaurs

[Video Link] I love James Gurney's art. He is the creator of the beautiful Dinotopia series of books, and he's just made a video that shows the process he used to paint two illustrations of dinosaurs for Scientific American. This trailer shows how much careful planning Jim puts into his work -- sketches, color, studies, photography, and cool 3D models. Wow! I sure admire his devotion to his craft.

The 56-minute video is available at a name-your-price starting point of $15, which is a great deal. It'll also be available soon on DVD with bonus features.

1961 Alex Schomburg painting for Amazing Stories

What a beautiful painting by Alex Schomburg, a Puerto Rican illustrator who was known for images that "filled every square inch with flamboyant characters, flames, knives, guns, explosions, Nazis, Japanese, and pretty girls in need of rescue." [Wikipedia]

This painting is called "What Need of Man?" and appeared on the February 1961 cover of Amazing Stories.

Fantasy Ink has a bigger image.

1961 was around the time that chimps and other non-human animals were being sent into orbit. (Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace did a great podcast episode about space animals, which you can listen to here.)

Fake toy store in Hays, Kansas

I've written about artist Randy Regier quite a few times because I love his work. He not only makes beautiful one-shot retrofuturistic toys complete with made-in-China style cardboard boxes, he also builds the stores in which to display the toys. I like the fact that you can't enter the stores -- you can only peer through the windows to get a glimpse at his creations from an imagined future that never was.

Lucky residents of Hays, Kansas will get to see NuPenny's Last Stand on the corner of 10th & Main during the first two weeks of September.

Photos of my copy of The Best of EC Artist's Edition

In July I wrote that I'd ordered a copy of the giant-sized book, The Best of EC Artist's Edition, a collection of original arts scans from the great EC comics of the 1950s. I got my book and it's worth every penny. Below, some iPhone snaps of the book.

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The fascinating character heads of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Today, I had occasion to remember the incredible face-pulling busts of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (February 6, 1736 – August 19, 1783), which I first saw in the late 1980s when I saw them at a museum in Vienna, Austria. A Google Image search for Franz Xaver Messerschmidt is a treat for girning aficionados.

30 great illustrations from one dumb pin-up sketch

Artist David Jablow took these cheesy notepad and created over 30 great illustrations from it. He's selling a book of them, and you can see 15 examples at Twisted Sifter.

Giant size book of EC comic book art: Weird Science, Tales from the Crypt, etc.

Cory and I have both raved about MAD: Artist's Edition, a massive hardcover book of high-fidelity scans of original MAD comic book art pages from the 1950s, complete with pencil lines, rubber stamps, Zip-A-Tone, pasted-over panels, yellowing Wite Out, notes in margins, and other markings that add interest to the pages. The paper used in the book was selected to closely match the bristol board of the original pages. (Here's Cory's review, and here's my discussion of the book on Gweek).

When I discovered that IDW, publisher of the MAD: Artist's Edition released The Best of EC: Artist's Edition, I immediately ordered it, too. EC is the same publisher that published MAD, and it used the same stable of virtuoso artists and writers in the 1950s to produce some of the best comic book titles in history, including Weird Science and Tales from the Crypt. This edition includes art by Frank Frazetta, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Roy Krenkel, Bernie Krigstein, Joe Orlando, Alex Toth, and Al Williamson. I haven't received The Best of EC: Artist's Edition yet, but to give you an idea of how big the book is and how nice the scans look in the Artist's Series editions, I asked Jane and Anna to pose with my MAD book.

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Eric William Carroll's art based on Grand Unified Theories

Eric William Carrol's art show, G.U.T. Feeling, is on exhibit at Highlight Gallery in San Francisco.

A kind of unattainable ideal, various G.U.T.s have been developed by establishment and fringe physicists alike, each striving to explain the fundamental forces of the universe in a single elegant solution. Fringe science is either valid science departing from the mainstream or a bunch of hogwash, depending on whom you ask. Struck by the absurdity, grandstanding and purely visual poetry of theories created by these outsiders, Carroll responded with photography, his medium of choice.
Eric William Carroll’s “G.U.T. Feeling” at Highlight Gallery, San Francisco