You guys, I am thrilled to finally share this with you. It’s the first time I’ve ever curated a show, and it’s a theme that I’m very passionate about. Take a gander at the artist list, get yourself pumped up and come to the show, it’s going to be a stellar time.
I’ll be a part of this show! Space! Pretty great!
Have you heard of these things called blogs? Blogging wasn’t new in 2005, but it was still a niche hobby for the technologically minded. I had been maintaining a personal blog, and was a regular blog reader. I saw multiple-author blogs devoted to certain subjects and cultures (particularly Boing Boing, and the animation-centric Cartoon Brew) and saw opportunity for something similar that could be devoted to comics and illustration and drawing. I hobbled together a Movable Type installation, sent out a few invitations to artist friends and online acquaintances who might want to get involved, and Drawn! (then with an exclamation point) went live on March 4, 2005.
The site became immediately popular, due in part to there being nothing else like it on the Internet at that time, and the sheer volume of posts from our excitement in sharing all these cool images and artists and links.
Within a year Time Magazine included the site in their annual 50 Best Websites list alongside fellow newcomers YouTube, Digg, and Myspace — the same year that social media and blogging led them to crown You as Person of the Year. Drawn became the top Google search result for “illustration”. To this day I still meet readers who tell me how much they appreciate the site, and artists who tell me their career got a kickstart from having their work featured.
It is gratifying to know that this project, even in the tiniest way, became a valuable part of the community it was designed to mirror.
I started Drawn because it was a way for me to connect with an industry and community that I wanted to be a part of. In 2005, starting a blog was the best way to share content easily with a wide audience, and there was enough of a hurdle in setting up a blog, that you could do it and get noticed. I’m happy for Drawn to have been noticed.
Here’s what didn’t exist in 2005: Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook (at least not the Facebook we know today).
Drawn was designed to share links and images when sharing links and images wasn’t easy to do. Eight years later, by the time I get around to posting something interesting on Drawn, it’s already made its way around the Twittersphere and been reblogged on Tumblr a thousand times over.
In a 2013-era Internet that allows artists to share their work easier than ever and to a bigger audience than ever, and for anyone to start a Tumblr or a Pinterest account to collect and curate their own inspirations and influences, a 2005-era link blog like Drawn grows increasingly irrelevant. It starts to look more and more like the dinosaur it is. Drawn quietly switched to Tumblr in 2010, amid unrealized plans to do something new with the site unrelated to blogging, as a reaction to its competition from sites like Tumblr itself. But in those eight years since Drawn launched, it’s not just the Internet landscape that has shifted and evolved.
My personal life and priorities are not what they were when I was twenty-four, hammering away at the keyboard at my day job, hoping my boss wouldn’t notice. Drawn encouraged me to be a better artist, and my association with the site put my name out there in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. I owe my career as an illustrator to Drawn — a career that now offers, ironically, little free time with which to maintain a site like Drawn.
I certainly wouldn’t have the opportunities and friends I have today if it wasn’t for the goodwill and community that being a part of Drawn afforded me, and for that I am eternally grateful.
There may yet be life in the site and its name, and I will eventually put its searchable archives back online, but for now I’m drawing the curtain and taking a bow.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the site throughout its eight-year run: Matt Forsythe, Ward Jenkins, Luc Latulippe, Jay Stephens, Patricia Storms, Jared Chapman, Adam Koford, Claire Robertson, Scott Thigpen, Meg Hunt, S.britt, Jaleen Grove, Leif Peng, David Huyck, Chris Gardner, Jake Parker, and Dustin Harbin.
Thank-you to the reader who sent me this example of early Machine Gum cosplay.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is this weekend! I’ll be exhibiting all weekend. Here’s a full list of everything I have that’s new this year:
- Destination X from Nobrow Press
- Machine Gum from La Pastèque
New to TCAF
- Who’s on First? from Quirk Books
- The Big Team Society League Book of Answers from Koyama Press
- Gold Star from Retrofit Comics
- Team Society League minicomic #5
- Know Your Double minicomic (originally published in Nobrow 6)
- Original Machine Gum robot drawings
See you there!
I finally have copies of both my new books: Destination X from Nobrow, and a Machine Gum collection from La Pastèque. They both make their official debut at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, May 11-12.
Coming out soon: TÊTES DE MICKEY. A collective of comic artists self-portraits entirely silkscreened and bound at the Mille Putois studio. 3 launches to come in may. In Québec city at Morgan Bridge galery on the 2nd , at TCAF in Toronto on the 11-12 and at Techno-lith in Montréal that date to be announced. More details soon !!!!
artistes participants / featured artistsEdie Fake +Pierre Maurel + Jean-Christophe Menu + FiFi + John Howard + Trio Magnus + Rebecca Rosen +Dewey Guyen +Lea Heinrich + Rémi + Eunice Luk + Rob Corradetti + Nadia Moss + Emy Rojas + Niv Bavarsky + Kim Sielbeck + Travis Jackson +Josh Holinaty + Julie Gélon + Patrick Doyon + Carl Zeller +Emilio Esteban + Jesse Jacobs + Pat Shewchuk +Marek Colek +Bene Rohlmann + Burt +Quentin Pillot + Valentine Prignot + Alex Hubert + -Caro Caron + Pol-Edouard Flores + Lisa Czech +Ghosttthead + Pishier + Howard Chackowicz + Pierre Bouchard + Oriane Lassus + John Porcellino + Nina Bunjevac + Gigi Perron +Antoine Duthoit + Alain Reno + Roi Sim + Seth Smith + Guillaume Perreault + Martin Romero + OBV + John Martz + Luke Ramsey +Nikola Witko + Mathieu Dubois +Mimitraillette + Ethan Rilly + Ben Tardif +DJOB Nkondo Jonathan +Matt Forsythe +Benjamin Sea +Flexib + Obom + -ElRotringo + Mathilde Cinq-Mars + Otto + Lolmède + Moolinex + Aurélie William Levaux + Guillaume Guerse +Phlppgrrd + Tim Barnard + Éric Simon + Patrick Kyle + Iris + Thomas Wellmann + Caroline Robert + Joe Ollmann + Jimmy Beaulieu +Derek Ercolano + Inés Estrada + Michael Deforge + Vincent Giard + Abraham Diaz + Philippe UG + Guy Delisle +Julie Delporte +
I am excited to see this book in person at TCAF. Check out that crazy lineup of artists. You may recall what my portrait for the book looks like.
The original art for this Machine Gum strip will be exhibited and auctioned off as part of the Toronto Strip Show, the TCAF 10th Anniversary art show. The show runs from May 1st to 31st at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse.
Destination X is my new book from Nobrow Press. I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy. It’s printed, and all set for its debut at TCAF. It’ll be in stores in June, and is available direct from Nobrow now.
Illustration for a story in the Globe and Mail.