Fine Cartoon Art

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the Art of Harvey Kurtzman at the Society of Illustrators

Posted by jtebeau on March 20, 2013

Kurtzman by Drew Friedman © 2012

Kurtzman by Drew Friedman © 2012

Harvey Kurtzman, the mastermind behind Mad’s golden age (in convenient comic book form, not as a bulky, cumbersome magazine) is being featured in a retrospective at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan. Hoo, and might I add “hah.”

If you’re any kind of fan of comics, cartoon art, modern American humor (by that I mean post-WWII), absurdity, fine pen work, the better things in life, chicken fat, Little Annie Fanny, and all things Melvin, by all means, get thee to the show. It runs till May 31, 2013, at the Society of Illustrators. That’s on the lovely, tony, trés hah-schwah Upper East Side of Manhattan at 128 East 63rd Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues).

Don’t be a schmuck. Make the show. Whattaya, meshuggeneh?

That is all.




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Posted by jtebeau on March 21, 2012

John Tebeau

I’m in the back row of a classroom. I think it’s an art class. A phrase pops, fully formed, into my head. I know it’s important, so I grab the first thing I can and I write it down. I use a charcoal stick and write on a piece of driftwood.

Then I wake up. Then I write it down for real. Later I cut and sand and prime a piece of masonite board and go to Lowe’s with Sorgatz and buy wood to build a frame, which I stain and finish. Then I paint the board with gold and black paints, complete with an absurdly detailed border. And I hang the whole thing above my desk at the studio.

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Who Was It Who Had that Awesome Quote?

Posted by jtebeau on February 14, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve finally gotten my feet back under me after the holidays. I’m serious. We were in New Orleans till the week of Thanksgiving, then there’s the big feast day, and the kickoff to the best time of the year — the filet, if you will — here in New York. The holiday season, from Thanksgiving week to New Year’s and beyond. Super Bowl? The Giants? Whew. Seriously. Enough. Time to get back to work. Fun’s fun, but . . . .

SO, I’m gearing up for another “series” project. Not birds (they’re forbidden at this post-Portlandia point in time, right?), not food, but this time . . . great quotations. Hand-lettered, maybe even illustrated, if the spirit moves me. Definitely a juicy project, right? I like to read a good line. I love a clever turn of the phrase. And wisdom? In the immortal words of Ted Nugent, “Wisdom f*ckin’ ROCKS, dude.” And when you throw in color, fonts, design and layout? Forget it. There’s enough there for ten lifetimes of devoted work.

And the pool from which to draw? Come on. It’s huge. (Or “yooge” as we say in New York, for some reason.) YOOOOOGE. We can cover anything from Hunter S. Thompson’s “I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me,” to Goethe’s (possibly misattributed) “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” And who could forget Mark Twain’s famous “That’s what she said?” Yes, good stuff, that.

Courtesy T-Shirt Lunatic

Anyway, I’ve done this before (see below) and have a mess of quotes to plumb, ones I’ve jotted down over the years, but I’m open to suggestions. Got any favorite quotes you’d like to see illustrated, or illuminated, as the monks did in days of yore? This one below was a quote from the HBO mini-series about John Adams, and Alan Janesch commissioned it from me a couple years ago. Thanks again, Alan!

Hit me with your suggestions, and I’ll get on a few of them. I promise. I’ll run a couple of my ideas by you, too, next week. Keep your eyes peeled.

"Rejoice, Evermore" from John Adams via the always-watchable Paul Giamatti as America's favorite cranky Yankee

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