Released this month by Abrams ComicArts in conjunction with The Oakland Museum exhibition of the same name is The Art of Daniel Clowes; Modern Cartoonist. A career retrospective on the artist, writer and creator of some of the worlds best-loved comic books including The Death Ray and Ghost World. The latter of which, under the direction of Terry Zwigoff became the definitive teenage angst movie for its generation and would earn Clowes an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. A partnership that also spawned the underrated Art School Confidential, a painfully accurate look at the ‘art world’ laced with Clowes trademark melancholy and dark, sophisticated humor.
The book begins with an extensive interview conducted by Kristine McKenna, also serving as a biography in which Clowes talks about his childhood influences, tools of the trade and reactions to his early work, followed by series of essays on each of his major titles including David Boring, Ice Haven, Wilson and Mr. Wonderful. Contributions from fellow artists and writers such as Chris Ware, Ken Parille and Chip Kidd provide insight on a huge collection of work and eclectic range of styles (by design) that show a real mastery of pen, ink and brush. Finishing off is a collection of work produced for book, DVD and album covers, advertising projects (including the i’ll fated Coke Cola ‘OK Cola’ project), previously unpublished drawings and sketch book pages.
There’s a lot to learn here from Daniel Clowes. His inking technique, page design and approach to storytelling elevate his work beyond what you might expect of the typical comic book or graphic novel, providing excellent study material for those looking to develop their own work. And for those not already familiar with his deadpan, sometimes detached and often hilarious world view, this book serves as a perfect introduction to one the greatest cartoonists working today.
The Art of Daniel Clowes; Modern Cartoonist – Edited by Alvin Buenaventura
Hardback 224 pages
32.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 cm
Review by Christopher King (aka Wing’s Art & Design Studio) a Freelance Illustrator & Graphic Designer creating hand-drawn & digital artwork for posters, flyers, books & advertising clients. Also something of a movie buff.