Gifted with the specific task of creating comics (Techno Tuesday) and illustrations to please en masse with their apt wit, not a little irony and a universal niceness, is Philadelphia based artist Andy Rementer. This week he has kindly selected five books from his library of reference and inspiration for our Bookshelf feature…
The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book Robert Crumb
It’s big, yellow, and barely fits on my shelf. It’s one of my favorite books, I even had two copies at one point for some reason. I acquired it while first getting into underground comics, and served as a great introduction to Robert Crumb’s work. It covers everything—from his early sketches to his most famous “Keep on Truckin” moments. This book demonstrated to me how the career of a successful image maker could look like. Also, it made me realize that you can find your voice though art, and use it to tell stories, or get things off of your chest. A very big chest in Crumb’s case ;)
Kramers Ergot #5
When I saw this book at Barnes and Noble in 2004, my brain exploded. At the time I was just starting to find my way as an illustrator, and becoming aware of my own style. Not only did this book re-affirm that I was on the right track, but it opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of drawing and story-telling. It spoke to me on so many levels. The selection of talent is extremely well considered and it does a wonderful job of suggesting what’s possible after an artist has defined his/her visual style. It also has one of my favorite spine designs of all time.
How to Remember Names and Faces Robert H. Nutt
My sister found an old, banged-up copy of this book at a yard sale some years ago. It’s actually a very neat self help book from that era of the 50s where anything seemed possible. By now the dust jacket has fallen apart and the pages are all yellowed and stinky. But I love this book! It provides extensive drills on strengthening your memory, as well as improving your ability to recall peoples’ names. I’m kind of fascinated with memory, and unlocking the hidden powers of the human brain, and Nutt begins to tap into that here. If only there were a chapter on remembering where I put my keys.
Handbook of Early Advertising Art Dover Pictorial Archive
It’s the ultimate clip art book. It’s a classic. Most artists/designers have some sort of similar book in their repertoire. It has been reproduced countless times, and is an endless source of inspiration and ideas. This giant of a book is crammed with lovely lettering, decorative frames and borders, pointing hands, etchings of pigs, you name it. And it’s all done with that 19th century pizzazz we all know and love.
I found my 1957 edition at an antique store in my hometown for five dollars. For me, it’s priceless, and the book has gotten so much use that I finally had to make my own protective cover for it. I always look at this thing when experiencing a creative or mental block. Not only is this book valuable for referencing, sourcing, photocopying and outright stealing, but it also offers a sincere look into the quality of craft and attention to detail that existed once upon a time. Kind of makes you want to cry a little.
Listen Little Man Wilhelm Reich, illustrated by William Steig
A friend gave me this volume a few years ago, and now I truly cherish it. The pocket-size, 128 page soft-cover book (my version from 1974) is one scientist’s diatribe against the common man and his “emotional plague” set out to kill the author’s love of life. It is filled with some of the most profound one liners like “you consume your happiness” and “your slave driver is yourself”. The book is delivered with a forcefulness that leaves you feeling both guilty and empowered at the same time. To top it off, the pages are accompanied by William Steig’s beautifully simple black and white line drawings. It certainly is a legendary book, and a testament to artistic collaboration.