Monday, March 3, 2008

Two Things You Should Know About Ivan Brunetti

1. Notorious angst'n'agony cartoonist Ivan Brunetti has a web site displaying favorite bits of ephemera from his personal collection. There's a heavy emphasis on movie starlets of long ago, but also some eye-rolling weird stuff.

2. Ivan recently published a book that you should read if you are serious about making and understanding comics, as well as improving your drawing skills (the drawing lessons are rigorous). It's something that came together from lesson plans he assembled after agreeing to teach some classes, as well as a series of bottomless cup of coffee diner sessions with fellow comics artist Chris Ware. It's called Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, and was published as a shrink-wrapped piggy back volume riding with Comic Art Annual #9.

I think it's inevitable that someone is going to publish it separately one day, but for now, the Comic Art version is the way you can get it. For $15 you'll get Brunetti's instant classic and a classy, inch-thick magazine about comics with almost no ads. Comic Art is like the New Yorker of comics: highbrow, making odd choices of inclusion and exclusion and likely to fold at any second. If you can afford a place to store it, you can afford to buy it. I'd move fast: 1 - 8 sold out.

Besides the Brunetti book, my favorite piece was on Kaz, an artist whose work would be more fun to look at if it didn't yank your eyeballs in seventeen directions at once via its weird disregard for depth perception. Other articles compete to celebrate obscure artists of the past with lush layouts. These need to be balanced with celebrations of obscure artists who are still working, trying to gain a toehold.

I respect and admire Ivan for producing a book for all cartoonists.