I don't smoke, gamble or use drugs, and I try not to drink more than is absolutely necessary. I don't carouse or otherwise gadabout. My one indulgence is the ever-expanding Inkwell Studios Library. Here are a few recent acquisitions...
A retrospective, to date, of work by the excellent Barry Blitt, best known for his covers and interior illustrations for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. The pen and ink/watercolor drawings are wonderful and Blitt's self-deprecating commentary is hilarious.
Usually these "Art of" books are released along with the film, to capitalize on the hype that accompanies any major animation feature these days. The Iron Giant never got the attention it deserved when it was released in 1999, but has remained so enduringly popular that this collection of concept art was put together 16 years later.
"Loish" is the pen name of digital artist Lois van Baarle. This book collects sketches, studies and lots of process art. She's incredibly talented and ridiculously young.
Gregory Manchess is a wonderful painter-illustrator with a gorgeous "loose-but-precise" style. Last year he wrote and illustrated "Above the Timberline" a ripping retro-futuristic adventure story with steampunk airships, art deco rocket-sleds, noble polar bears and a little romance. A true labor of love, in the spirit of James Gurney's "Dinotopia."
Also at the Nickel City Comic Con, I sat in on a panel discussion with the extraordinarily talented comics artist Frank Cho. How skilled is he? Here's a portrait of Jennifer Lawrence, done with a ball-point pen- a goddamn Bic ball-point pen!
Well, this was a heartbreaking sight: The 1966 TV series Batmobile was just about the coolest thing imaginable, in my opinion, so I was excited to see a replica at the Nickel City Comic Con. Unfortunately, it smashed into a guardrail on the way into town, so all they had to display were a few broken pieces.
Once, when I was about 10, I found an ad for do-it-yourself hovercraft plans in the back of a Popular Mechanics magazine. I spent the rest of that day consumed by Walter-Mitty-esque daydreams in which I zipped to school on my own personal flying saucer, the envy of all my classmates. That evening, I asked my dad (a man clearly lacking in vision) to loan me the necessary $4.00. He was unmoved by my enthusiasm and refused. Sadly, my fantasy never became a reality.