Thursday, December 24, 2015

More Abstract Comics on Album Covers

Here’s more abstract/semi-abstract, possibly sequential, if you want to look at it that way, art on album covers that I’ve found just for you…

1997 - Liquid Liquid - Liquid Liquid
Cover by Richard McGuire

2002 - Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Vrioon 
Design: Olaf Bender, Carsten Nicolai and Ken Nibori

2005 - Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Revep 
Design: Olaf Bender, Carsten Nicolai and Ken Nibori

2011 - Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Summvs 
Design: Olaf Bender, Carsten Nicolai and Ken Nibori

2011 - Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know (single)
Artwork by Kat Kallady

Version #1:

Version #2:

2011 - Gotye - Making Mirrors
Artwork by Frank De Backer

2014 - Real Estate - Atlas
Artwork by Stefan Knapp

2015 - Love of Diagrams - Blast
(still searching for art/design credits)

2015 - Twentyone Pilots - Blurryface 
Art direction and design by Brandon Rike, Reel Bear Media and Virgilio Tzaj 

2015 - Hillsong United - Empires
Design by Nathan Cahyadi

2015 - New Order - Music Complete 
Cover by Peter Saville

2015 - Capital Kings - II
Artwork by Luke Schoenhals / Design by Boerhaüs

2015 - Trey Anastasio - Paper Wheels
Artwork by Matt Taylor (a.k.a. Matt Varnish, Varnish Studio Inc.)

2015 - Ostgut Ton - Zehn
Artwork – Wolfgang Tillmans / Layout – Yusuf Etiman

Also see:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My minicomic "Alcoholalia," 2004.

A remix of a Maakies comic by Tony Millionaire, done with Mr. Millionaire's permission.  Done entirely in Microsoft Paint, from a pretty lo-res version of the strip (this was 2004, after all) I downloaded from the Maakies website.  It's also been available at UbuWeb but in a slightly mangled format I've never been able to get them to fix.  I'd rather have it seen properly, so I'll post the entire thing here.  

And here is the original Maakies strip:

Here is an old review of Alcoholalia by Derik Badman, who later started making his own abstract comics and ended up contributing to the Abstract Comics anthology.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Abstract Comics using Code (software art)

Over the last few years, I have been increasingly interested in software and generative art. Software art requires the artist to first think through and set up a system within which creativity and generation of imagery can happen. Tools like, as well as more modern coding libraries, reduce the complexity of actually building code that draws art. For Derik's 30 Days of Comics, I created a system that combined visuals, randomized text, and panel number to create a variety of images. Some are included below.

Apologies for the text in advance, though I do believe the text here is non-representational and used as an icon more than a narrative. Some curation was needed to select good outcomes, but not much.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Welcome back and… call for submissions to Abstract Comics, volume 2

Hello, and welcome back to Abstract Comics, the blog! 

Let me begin with an important announcement:  I am inviting submissions for Abstract Comics, volume 2.  As you most likely know, if you’re visiting this blog (but then again, you may not), Abstract Comics:  The Anthology was published to glowing reviews by Fantagraphics Books in 2009, was nominated for an Eisner Award for best anthology in 2010, and has only risen in stature since.  It effectively started the abstract comics revolution, with the number of creators engaged in our favorite genre (or is “art form” a better name for it?) rising exponentially since then.  Given all the work that has been produced in the meantime, I expect volume 2 to be even better.

To submit, please post your comic on a well-established social media or blogging site (Tumblr, Blogspot, Facebook, etc.), make sure that, if your site has privacy settings, they are set so that I can see it, and email me the link.  My email address is in my Blogger profile.  Please preface the subject line of your email with the word “SUBMISSION” in all caps. 

I am interested in abstract comics of all stripes, and I am looking forward to be surprised.  Here are the main things I am looking for, though:

a) multi-page abstract comics.  There are already many single-page abstract comics out there.  I would like to see more people explore longer formats.

b) comics with a clear (formal) narrative arc.  For the most part, I’d like to see some sort of formal/abstract logic to why a panel is placed before or after another, and to how the comic proceeds from first panel to last.

c) comics beyond the “moment-to-moment morphing blob” mode.  This should be pretty self-explanatory, right?  

d) comics fully devoid of identifiable shapes.  If your panels have hands or feet or little alien heads sticking out of the abstract shapes, or if they seem to be constructing a recognizable space, consider redrawing your comic without those elements and see if it still works.  

e) comics without text (captions, word balloons, etc.), unless the text is, say, asemic. I am interested in how abstract panels work with each other, rather than how the images work with words which may define their meaning.

That said, every rule has its exceptions.  I am likely to be flexible on points a, b, and c above.  I will probably receive many single-page submissions (already have, in fact), so, if that is what you are thinking of submitting, consider that the competition will be pretty intense and try to make it especially good.  Submissions of two or more related single-pagers are also encouraged.  I am more likely to consider comics without a clear narrative arc if the art is particularly striking, both in terms of what is in each panel and of the overall layout.  And, of course, there are still many good moment-to-moment, morphing-blob comics that can be made.  I am much less likely to be flexible on points d and e.  

One more thing:  by "comic" I mean "comic." That is, sequential art.  Just an abstract drawing does not an abstract comic make.  Panels (whether clearly framed or implied) are crucial.   

Color or black and white is fine, as is any page format (portrait, landscape, square, etc.).  If I like it, we’ll find a way of laying it out in the book. 

Email me with any questions, or, if they’re of general interest, please post them in the comments here.  

Thanks, and I’m looking forward to seeing your submissions!

Oh, yeah.  Deadline.  March 15, 2016.  That should give you enough time, right?  

[Edited for clarity and emphasis 11/9/2015]

Monday, October 12, 2015

best american comics 2015

My abstract comic 'briefly, before dawn' (first published in Central Booking Magazine) is included in this volume. (!)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

conversational maladjustment by Rosaire Appel

'conversational maladjustment' in Central Booking Magazine (available at Central Booking Gallery / 41 Ludlow or

Thursday, August 20, 2015