Radiolab is my favourite thing on the airwaves. Or podwaves, or whatever you want to call them. And now the science and philosophy podcast for the layman has been treated to a tribute by some of my favourite designers and illustrators. In Radiolab We Trust is a set of affordable Gocco screenprints being sold to benefit Radiolab and its parent station, WNYC New York Public Radio.
The prints are the work of Jez Burrows, Frank Chimero, Nicholas Felton, Meg Hunt, and Impactist. And dig that perfect logo.
Here’s Frank Chimero’s print, taken from Jez Burrows’s Flickr set of the prints:
Nobrow is fast becoming my favourite small press outfit. They keep putting out fantastic small runs of illustrated books and comics, all of them beautifully printed.
The latest is an English translation of French comicker Blexbolex‘s graphic novella Abecederia. The book is a horrific scifi thriller masked as an alphabet book; each page features an illustration based on the shapes of the letters of the alphabet, all printed in a minimal 3 colours, and the combinations they make. Visit Nobrow to order the book.
Fans and students of engraving, traditional printing processes, art history, and 19th-century ephemera alike should, like I did, fall instantly in love with Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities.
Bookmaker John M. Carrera meticulously restored thousands of engravings from the pages of 19th-century Webster’s dictionaries, and has compiled an extraordinary visual account of Victorian history.
In his introduction to the book, Carrrera suggests that the very juxtapositions of the illustrations tell a story:
The conceptual underpinning is that this book can act as a springboard for individual creativity. It was printed with a belief that the human compulsion to find meaning would lead readers to create stories that explain whole pages and perhaps even inspire some to derive unifying threads that might, in a Joycean fashion, enable a narration of the entire book.
It is a creative and romantic way to look at what amounts to a collection of images very purposefully arranged in alphabetical order, but he continues to admit the book is invaluable even just as pure reference:
The surface function of the book as a visual reference needs little explanation. The book contains many great examples of how to solve problems of illustration. … By virtue of the magnitude of engravings, their varying density and size, the book also becomes a study in design.
In this video I found on Vimeo, John Carrera gives us a detailed tour of the process, tools, and machinery used to print and bind the hand-made jaw-dropping deluxe edition of the book. It is nothing short of book-making porn:
The pricetag of this lovingly crafted tome? $4600.00.
But not to worry. The trade edition of Pictorial Webster’s is an affordable $35.
I recently received a copy of Nobrow Magazine, a new periodical created as a platform for artists and illustrators. Limited to 3000 numbered copies, the magazine is gorgeously printed in just two spot colours, and features the work of folks like Jordan Crane, Mcbess, Stuart Kolakovic, Paul Blow, Toby Leigh, Sam Arthur, and others. It’s a decently sized book at about 9.5″ x 13.5″, and the work looks great shown at such nice big size. Can’t wait for issue 2.
Here’s an idea I love:
The International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Time Attic, and Altered Esthetics gallery are collaborating to produce an oversized newspaper comics section like they would do it today if they still did it like they did it in the old days.
I have a copy of the old timey newspaper in question, and not only is it enormous, it’s gorgeous. Dozens of artists have put their heart and soul into doing it the old fashioned way, and the results are impressive.
The stand out is Jesse Gillespie’s Little Emo in Slumberland. I won’t post a paltry jpeg here, though, because a) you have to spread it out on the living room floor in front of you to truly enjoy it, and b) I can’t seem to find Jesse’s work online.
Our friends at Bountee, the fantastic print-on-demand t-shirt shop, have relaunched as MySoti. MySoti stands for “My Stuff On the Internet” and they’re expanding beyound just t-shirts. Currently they’re offering poster and canvas prints of your artwork, but expect other products soon.
Like Bountee, after uploading your art you can sell and share your creations, and you always retain the rights to your work.
To help celebrate we’re helping MySoti give away a prize pack including:
As it has started to snow here in Toronto, what could be a better theme for this contest than winter? To enter, simply create a product on MySoti with your winter-themed artwork or design and tag your entry ‘drawnblog’. It’s that simple. You have until December 31, 2008, after which myself and the crew at MySoti will pick our favourite entry as the winner. So get creating!
UPDATE: Oops, I had mistakenly posted the wrong deadline. The correct deadline is December 31, 2008
Speak Up recently took a look at Dear Lulu an extremely useful and imaginative sample book desgined to test the digital printing capabilities of print-on-demand service Lulu. The book was put together by 14 students and a professor at a workshop at Germany’s Hochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, and tests various colour modes, type sizes, patterns, inks, and other ways to put these systems to the test.
The days in which digital print-on-demand meant expensive and low quality products is nearly behind us, as the results seem to indicate. You can buy a copy of the book or download a free PDF version which you can use to test the digital printer of your choice.