Good Play

Today on the site we have Katie Haegele profiling Leanne Shapton, an artist who has made multiple picture-story books, worked with tons of cartoonists, and published innumerable illustrations, but somehow remains little known in most comics worlds.

Like good character actors, some artists are everywhere and nowhere, consistently putting out high quality work but not drawing particular attention to themselves. A Canadian artist who lives in New York, Leanne Shapton is one of the more interesting artists working in the U.S. right now, and though you may well have seen her stuff—if you watched Spike Jonze’s exercise in awkwardness, Her, for instance, you’ve seen the artist’s rendering of what two people having armpit sex might look like—you may not yet know her name.

For an artist her age—Shapton is 41—she has already had a large and tremendously varied output. She paints lettering and patterns for book covers by Harper, New Directions, and Vintage Classicsand runs J&L Books, a small art book press, with the photographer Jason Fulford. She has seven books to her credit, some of which are almost purely visual and contain little or no text, while others (well, one, anyway) is a good old-fashioned prose piece with a few paintings thrown in.

Though she’s not really a comics artist herself, Shapton has also had a hand in putting the work of many cartoonists in front of a mainstream audience. As the art director of the Op Ed page at the New York Times from 2008-2009—and before that, for the Avenue section of Canada’s National Post—she hired visual artists with from a variety of backgrounds, from Blexbolex to Jillian Tamaki.


James Romberger has a nice review round-up of comics that mostly flew under my radar.

This is me being an old guy, but I really enjoy this kind of trainspotting, thought I understand if you don't.

This is old for the internet, but I hadn't seen this short profile of Jackie Ormes before (via Frank).