Ahh, finally an alphabet book for today’s cynical adult. The Dictionary of Unhappiness is an 80-page book that mirrors the colorful alphabet books of our youth, but instead of C is for Cat, C stands for “Child: Proof of disposable income.” Written by Situationist Isaac Cronin, and with visuals by graphic designer Tyler Spangler, the tongue-in-cheek bleak descriptions and their accompanying pop art might give the impression that this is all for shits and giggles. But underneath the humor is commentary on human consumption and our shifting attitudes on communication–the kind of topics you don’t seem to notice until you’re a pessimistic adult with no hope for the future. Hey, no one said getting older was easier.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, November 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Coloring books for adults have been one of the biggest trends to hit the publishing industry. The New Yorker calls it the “Peter Pan effect” when marketers use nostalgia to win the hearts of 30-something adults who miss the simplicity and innocence of their youth. You can also add adult pop-up books to that list.
However, some credit Etsy/Pinterest and the “home grown” artist for making coloring cool again. Etsy user Team Art is one such artist. Based out of Canada, their tiny coloring books (each one hand made) are an adorable reminder of the past. Each book focuses on a particular pop culture-y theme, from female comedians to cats to even Paul Rudd. And if you’re really trying to relive your teen years, they even make a boy band themed coloring book. Time to bust out those 25-year-old colored pencils.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, September 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Canadian illustrator Marlon Sassy was listening to Snoop Dogg and doodling on Post-It notes during his lunch break when he accidentally invented Gangster Doodles. Now with two published zines and a growing Tumblr and Instagram following, Marlon is taking his lunch break hobby into new, professional heights. His trademark pen and marker doodles have a distinctive look that’s intriguing in its simplicity. From Biggie to Nicki Minaj to A Tribe Called Quest, Gangster Doodles shows not only a love of hip hop but also a look at the art of doodling, a scene that’s still struggling to gain respect in the art world, much like hip hop used to be for the music world. This unlikely pair is turning out to be a match made in heaven.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, May 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
I don’t know why I’m obsessed with these depressing, introspective auto-bio comics from Tumblr artists, but I find them so intriguing. Illustrator Rachel Ang, who has a handful of zines under her belt, is one such artist. But her comics go a step further than simply being a rudimentary purge of teenage-like emotions. Instead, she funnels her vision through the lens of what’s known and unknown. Things are never what they appear in her world, and what might look like tragic melancholy transforms into clever themes you never see coming. Above, a few comics we liked the best. But you can read more of her work via–where else?–Tumblr.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Monday, March 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Art and science don’t typically go together, but artist Chantal deFelice has made her love affair with microscopes, marine biology, and micro minerals her artistic muse. Working with various mediums, her pieces show off the beauty of Earth’s organisms and minerals, whether it’s an illustrated series of natural microcosms or videos about the glittering sea floor. Her zine we stab ourselves for the love of science is a collection of illustrations, sketches, and quotes about the allure of scientific unknowns.
Most of the zines we come across are about feelings. So we thought it was pretty cool to stumble across one that was just about nerdy stuff for once. You can buy her work via her Etsy store.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, February 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
Illustrator/comic artist Krystal Difronzo is the mind behind Under the Ice, a Kate Bush fanzine (which is unfortunately sold out on Etsy, but is being sold here). Featured in the zine is this comic of illustrated lyrics to Kate’s track “Wild Man.” The song, which appears on 50 Words for Snow, is an epic story about a yeti spotted in the Himalayas and the efforts the narrator takes to keep his existence a secret. It’s the kind of imaginative storytelling that Kate fans are familiar with, even though this track isn’t our favorite from that album (that autotune effect in the chorus is annoying–yuck). However, Difronzo’s art adds a nice visual to the song and highlights its strong narrative nature. In fact, this comic helped us realize that we were mishearing a lot of the lyrics. We also recommend reading this while listening to the song.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, February 4th, 2015||No Comments »|
Erika Rier was just 10 years old in 1987, but it was a year of many milestones. Her younger sister was born, she reached menarche, and she got her first kiss. 1987 Illustrated cleverly compiles all of Rier’s memories from that year into a colorful accordion-style zine full of caboodles, Wet ‘n Wild nail polish, and other ’80s relics.
The zine was created for Light Grey Art Lab’s Stacks show, an exhibit that asked artists to create a timeline of zines starting from 1984 to 2014. Each artist picked a year and created a zine that represented what that year meant to them. Most artists played it straightforward and created zines that summarized the entire year, or created zines about a specific movie or TV show, while others, like Rier, created pieces that were more personal and autobiographical. You can buy all the zines, including this one, from Light Grey Art Lab’s shop.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, August 21st, 2014||No Comments »|