The Age praises New York Drawings

“New York Drawings” / The Age / Ross Southernwood / March 3, 2013

The New Yorker is one of the world's most famous magazines, for its writing and illustrations. This beautifully produced and reasonably priced hardback volume by New Yorker artist Adrian Tomine offers a fine cross-section of his work and, importantly, what inspired his drawings in particular cases.
Tomine, who has written and drawn the American comic book series Optic Nerve since 1991, moved from California to New York in 2004. To familiarise himself with the city, he spent much of his time drawing the people and places he came across.
His artwork first appeared on The New Yorker's cover in 2004, beginning a partnership between artist and magazine resulting in a varied and renowned body of work, which has been described as "offering a singular vision" of the city.
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New York Drawings contains, as the subtitle implies, a comprehensive look at Tomine's illustrations, covers and comics for The New Yorker; other illustrations inspired by the city, including album covers and book jackets; rare and, until now, unseen sketchbook drawings; a three-page comic-book introduction; and notes and commentaries by the artist about the work reproduced in the book, this being most helpful in giving context and background.
Most of the illustrations are colour, with only a few in black and white.
Tomine mainly uses a pastel background, with black or darker colours - often reds or browns - featuring on sketches of the characters, thus giving contrast and impact to the drawing.
Each illustration or comic drawing has a title and publishing history.
Unfortunately, the notes and commentaries are at the back of the book. It would have been far more reader friendly for them to accompany the titles and histories.
The volume begins with a black-and-white comic set about 2004, the year Tomine came to New York, depicting a youthful, unknown out-of-town illustrator at his first New Yorker holiday party, being rather overwhelmed by it all and largely ignored. It's a rather charming self-introduction to the book.
The book's cover has a drawing entitled Missed Connection, Tomine's first cover for The New Yorker, done for a book-themed issue.
A pretty girl reading a book is seated in a stationary subway train adjacent to another, in which a young man is holding a copy of the same book. Their eyes meet. Words are unnecessary, while the film Sliding Doors comes to mind.
This interesting journey through New York and observations of its denizens, insightful and at times humorous, is well worth taking.

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