Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've had this fascination with birds on the street lately. I'm not sure why. Especially watching them eat. Yes, eat. Or play with their food. Or both. Not sure what the heck it is that they're doing. I put these little "bits" together when I should be doing other things... like making books.




I'll be on the lookout for some other birds...

Friday, April 29, 2011


This was one of my favorites. When there'd be a snow day from school and we'd get home from a day of sledding my mom would read this to us while we drank our hot chocolate. It was scary and I remember the big dark frog being even darker and more frightening than he looks now but that's why I remember it and love it! Kids like to be frightened a little bit.

I love the way when Frog asks Toad, "Are you making this up?" Toad answers-- "Maybe yes and maybe no." Then later Frog asks Toad, "did this really happen?" "Maybe it did and maybe it didn't." I love the repetitive use of the word "maybe." It works so nicely.

"They were having the shivers. It was a good, warm feeling."

Thursday, April 28, 2011




Last week the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed all claims in a million dollar lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named individuals.

In the lawsuit, GAG asserted claims for defamation and interference with contractual relations, alleging that IPA had interfered with a "business relationship" GAG had entered into that enabled GAG to collect orphaned reprographic royalties derived from the licensing of illustrators' work. GAG alleged that efforts by IPA to create a collecting society to return lost royalties to artists "interfered" with GAG's "business" of appropriating these orphaned fees.

In her decision, Judge Debra James ruled that statements made by the Illustrators' Partnership and the other defendants were true; that true statements cannot be defamatory; that illustrators have a "common interest" in orphaned income; and that a "common-interest privilege" may arise from both a right and a duty to convey relevant information, however contentious, to others who share that interest or duty.

Regarding a key statement at issue in the lawsuit: that GAG had taken over one and a half million dollars of illustrators' royalties "surreptitiously," the judge wrote:

"Inasmuch as the statement [by IPA] was true, [GAG]'s claim cannot rest on allegations of a reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Truthful and accurate statements do not give rise to defamation liability concerns." (Emphasis added.)

And she noted:

"The plaintiff Guild has conceded that it received foreign reproductive royalties and that it does not distribute any of the money to artists."

Labor Department filings provided as evidence to the court document that between 2000 and 2007, GAG collected at least $1,581,667 in illustrators' reprographic royalties. GAG admitted to having collected similar royalties since 1996. GAG's officers have repeatedly refused to disclose how much money their organization has received to date or how the money has been spent.

The judge concluded that this situation justified an assertion of common interest by IPA. This means that "the party communicating [relevant information] has an interest or has a duty" to convey that information truthfully to others "having a corresponding interest or duty":

"The duty need not be a legal one, but only a moral or social duty. The parties need only have such a relation to each other as would support a reasonable ground for supposing an innocent motive for imparting the information. Here the plaintiff Guild's factual allegations demonstrate that the defendants' statements were both true, and fall within the parameters of the common-interest privilege." (Emphasis added.)

We hope this decision will end the two and a half years of litigation during which GAG pursued its claims against IPA and artists Brad Holland, Cynthia Turner and Ken Dubrowski of IPA, as well as attorney Bruce Lehman, former Commissioner of the US Patent Office and Terry Brown, Director Emeritus of the Society of Illustrators.

All defendants were participants in a public presentation sponsored February 21, 2008 by 12 illustrators organizations. The presentation was disrupted by GAG's officers and their attorney. A videotape of the event proves that statements which GAG alleged to be defamatory were made only in response to GAG's intervention, and that until that time, no speakers had mentioned GAG or GAG's longstanding appropriation of illustrators' royalties.

Last year, on January 12, 2010, Judge James issued a prior ruling dismissing nearly all of GAG's causes of action. This left only a claim asserted by GAG against Brad Holland. But in a response filed with the court February 4, 2010, attorney Jason Casero, serving as counsel for IPA, pointed out that GAG's remaining claim rested on an allegedly defamatory statement that Holland never made. When confronted with evidence, GAG was forced to admit it had "inadvertently attributed" the statement to Holland.

GAG subsequently filed new motions in an effort to revive its claims against IPA and the other defendants. Last summer the judge consolidated GAG's multiple motions and on April 18, 2011, she dismissed all ten causes of action against IPA and all the defendants.

GAG served the lawsuit on IPA October 10, 2008, seven days after Congress failed to pass the Orphan Works Act of 2008. The Illustrators' Partnership and 84 other creators' organizations opposed that legislation. GAG had lobbied for passage of the House version of the Orphan Works bill. Mandatory lobbying disclosures document that GAG spent nearly $200,000 in Orphan Works lobbying fees.

In our opinion, the issues behind the lawsuit are greater than whether an organization should be allowed to benefit from the millions of dollars that, collectively, illustrators are losing. We believe the reprographic rights issue is linked to both orphan works legislation and the Google Book Settlement, which Federal Judge Denny Chin dismissed on March 22, 2011.

Each of these developments involves an effort by third parties to define artists' work and/or royalties as orphaned property, and to assert the right, in the name of the public interest or class representation, to exploit that work commercially or to appropriate the royalties for use at their sole discretion. So far, judges have affirmed that copyright is an individual, not a collective right, and that unless one explicitly transfers that right, no business or organization can automatically acquire it by invoking an orphaned property premise. Now the challenge for artists will be to see that Congress does not pass legislation to permit what the courts have so far denied.

We'll have more to say about this issue in the future. For now we'd like to conclude by thanking our attorney Jason Casero, who provided us with a strong, incisive and heartfelt defense; his law firm, McDermott Will & Emery, which provided us with his services; the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of New York and its Director Elena Paul. We'd also like to thank Dan Vasconcellos, Richard Goldberg, and the over 700 artists and illustrators who in 2008 signed a petition asking GAG (unsuccessfully as it turned out) to drop the lawsuit; the support of so many colleagues was a great tonic at a low time. Finally we'd like to thank the representatives of the 12 organizations that comprise the American Society of Illustrators' Partnership (ASIP). ASIP is the coalition organization IPA incorporated in 2007 to act as a collecting society to return royalties to artists.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership


Sunday, April 24, 2011


I stumbled upon this boardroom table. It was made by ABGC Architects for an Advertising agency called Boys and Girls.

Yes... it's made out of Legos! 22,742 pieces. No glue involved. Sweet.

Publishers: maybe you should think of making one, yes?

Friday, April 22, 2011


This was one of my favorites as a kid. As a budding young artist I was really excited by the colors in this book. And it teaches you how to mix colors!

Copyright 1973 (this was before I was born so it must have had a long print run - maybe they'll bring it back!)

I loved this car crash scene at the end. If you put too many colors together you get mud! So true, so true.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I was really irritated the other day when I saw a book that was the subject of a big book event on the 4th floor at the bookstore. Only big important authors get to be on the 4th floor. This was a children's book and this almost never happens. The first few pages of the book were working okay but the book fell apart after that. It was awful. Why was the book getting attention? Why was the author getting to do an event on the 4th floor? Because she was somehow related to Obama. Grrrr. I'm sooooo sick of this whole celebrity thing. And now it's applying to politicians...and their family... and distant relatives.

Will it ever end?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I just bought this book at B&N. I'm not into promoting one book store over another but it's a bargain book right now and I got it for 7 something. Online it's 7.18. It's an out of print book and unavailable on Amazon.

If you're interested in the evolution of comics and graphic novels or just want to look at a bunch of pretty covers I recommend getting it! My coworker is Mr. Comic and went through the book with me. He explained all sorts of fascinating things that were in the book - how there was a law passed and on the books for a long time that controlled the content of comics. It started with this book:

It was written by Dr Fredric Wertham, MD. In it he printed the most shocking comics he could find, implying that they will warp children's young minds. He wrote "By and large much younger children read crime comics (he called all comics "crime comics") than is commonly and conveniently assumed. Crime comic books are available almost anywhere. Any child who meets other children has access to them. They are in kindergartens, pediatric clinics, pediatric wards in hospitals. They are in play grounds and schools, at church functions and, of course, in the homes of the child or his friends." Wertham's book created an outrcry. Comic vendors were threatened. They removed the comics. In 1953 a Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency was formed. Wertham was invited to testify and he attacked the comic book industry with full force. There were, of course, violent and gory comics, but Wertham lumped ALL comics together--Superman, Captain America, and the rest.

The result was that if the comic book industry didn't clean up their act the Senate would do it for them. So comics had to be approved and have a stamp put in the corner of them that said "Approved by the Comics Code Authority." Scenes with blood, gore, sex, crime scenes, things containing ghouls, werewolves, vampires, walking dead, cannibalism, were banned. Words like "horror," "crime," "terror," and "weird" were banned from covers.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I go to the Strand on occasion (though I try to avoid it as of late until I make more room on the bookshelves and pay my medical bills!) and riffle through the art catalogs. This is how I stumbled upon Cindy Tower's work:

This is cindy...

And here she is at work...

And here she is with her hired body guard. It's a long story. I urge you to check out her film where you get to watch her work on location, which happens to usually be dangerous! She hides her paintings and chains them up sometimes, along with ladders and other things she may need. Homeless people live where she paints but there are other people there who come to collect valuable copper and they have come with guns, etc. Cindy doesn't seem to mind any of this. She paints away and is perfectly at home in her environment. It's a very interesting thing to watch. Go here to view it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


COPYRIGHT MCMXLI (once again I have no idea what that means)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was working on some sketches for one of my new book ideas and I was at work while I was doing this. My character - ME - fell into a small child while on roller skates and and flew into the air. I was trying to figure out what kind of expression I, as a teen, might have. Mind you my cartoons have little lines for mouthes and so you'd think it wouldn't be that difficult a task but sometimes it is - especially when I just have one line to play with! I realized while doing this that i must make the facial expressions to create them on paper. I was contorting my face into all sorts of lovely forms while standing at the register. I wonder if anyone noticed?

Do other artists do this too?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The United States from its early days to cars and buses by R. Crumb:


This is from the documentary:

WARNING: Crumb draws nude figures in this clip- kind of big shaped ladies... so if you're offended by his cartoons then I guess don't watch. This clip also contains some of his cartoons of a sexual nature. The film, though, is a really great glimpse into an amazing mind (in my opinion). I just loved watching him sketch. I will say that there was one cartoon that they showed in the film that I was perplexed by. Many of his supporters thought it was offensive and it was. Crumb is a complex man with many insecurities and these feelings show in his work. This is why the film is great - it shows both the good and bad, and is both a praise and a critique.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I watched a really great documentary called Crumb last night. It's fascinating. His family is crazy! But I digress.

In the documentary Crumb showed us a book of photos. They're a collection of photographs of powerlines. These are a few of the photos from his collection:

He said something like, "You can't make this stuff up." And he's right! There are some things that you can't make up or invent... and if you try to it'll look false. That's why a reference photo is invaluable. Obviously powerlines are important to him. So he created a collection that he can use for quick reference. I love it.

Below is some of his art with powerlines in it:

Below is a sketch I did of Crumb while watching the documentary:


I'm on an animation kick. It looks like this was an ad in the UK for depression.... I really like the music.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


What do you think of this book? Is it for adults? Kids? Both?