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Project II: Chris Ware

The designer that I chose, Chris Ware, is an American comic book artist and cartoonist. His style is very identifiable from the very geometric backgrounds he uses to the unique way he draws his characters. He is most known for his comic book series Acme Novelty Library and his graphic novel series Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth.

His style is very similar to that of early 20th century cartoons and he is inspired by artists from around that time (including Peanuts artist Charles Schultz). He is also influenced by cartoonist Winsor McCay, whose art I love.

His work is mainly comprised of simple shapes that are added together to make a more complex object. There is almost no shading on any of the pieces I’ve seen and if there is, it’s just one color of shadow that is clearly separated from the main color. The colors that he used are mostly diluted and watered down, with undertones of “naturalistic color”, as Ware puts it. Many of his palettes remind me of 50’s pop art and propaganda ads, and his art is somewhat influenced by those as well.

Despite how precise and clean his lines are, Ware barely uses the computer except to color his strips. He relies almost exclusively on traditional drawing tools like paper, ink, and rulers.

Besides his own comic books, Ware has been published in newspapers and books. He has also designed album covers and posters for different bands, mostly ragtime performers. He even designed the facade of the San Francisco writing lab 826 Valencia. IN 2005 he created the cover for Penguin Books’ new edition of Voltaire’s Candide, which looks like a comic book with almost stick figure characters. Ware has also designed many covers for The New Yorker.

In 2010 he was commissioned to create the cover for an issue of Fortune 500 but his final design was rejected. When I read the description of what the cover looked like, I was expecting an extremely detailed image but when I finally saw it I was surprised by its simplicity. The angles are very isometric and the perspective is completely fictional. I was actually a little disappointed by its design, as it didn’t seem to have as much character as other designs of his I’ve seen. The characters are stick figure-esque like from the cover of Candide but the colors and the layout aren’t as interesting to look at.

Other images:


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