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Brands We Love: CMRTYZ


Seattle-based duo CM Ruiz and Ty Ziskis, aka CMRTYZ, are an artistic team that creates original artwork for "anything from T-shirts to album covers." UO design teamed up with the duo to print their lo-fi creations on one-of-a-kind destroyed tees, and subsequently created some of our favorite tops of the summer. We caught up with the duo via email while they were on opposite sides of the globe to find out a little bit more about their design process and inspirations. (And they also had some incredibly inspiring words of wisdom for all aspiring artists out there! We're feeling like we can take on the world now.)



How did you guys get started as a company?

TYZ:
[Carlos] and I met through a mutual friend who was curating a NW poster art exhibition. I had just been laid off from my job and volunteered to help with the project. My contribution was the idea to create a group of products incorporating the work from the artist and the music from the bands that were featured on the posters in the the show. The whole thing ended up being kind of a bust, but through being a part of the show I met Carlos and we clicked immediately. I was blown away with his work. We decided to continue the concept of building products using his work as our graphic identity. We never visualized ourselves being a clothing brand really; we're just two guys that like to be productive. We like to daydream and then get a kick out of figuring out round about ways to make those dreams happen.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

CMR:
I'm inspired by things that have similar energy or humor as I do. I like comic books, '60s mod design, The Simpsons, and my other creative friends' work. I look at a lot of Reddit and Tumblr when I can't really think of anything, because an artist's block can be reduced just by laughing at some dumb thing and feeling relief.

What is your design process like?

CMR:
I go to a copy shop and just start making stuff. I'll come with some books in my bag I know I can pull from, things like pretty girls or interesting body movements, and start creating things around these people. Landscapes, text, shapes, bugs, brick walls, floating creepies, stuff that I like to draw and I think can balance a composition. Around 3/4 way in I will start to pull back the insanity and start to think of it mathematically. I'll listen to whatever music I think best fits the tone, mood, and voice of whatever particular project I'm working on.



Any advice for other young artists/entrepreneurs out there?

CMR:
I think if you're naturally talented you really have to hone it and try your hardest to make as much work and get as much practice as you can. If you're not going to go to school, then you have to learn from whatever scene you're in about what works and what doesn't. You can't be resigned to give up because it didn't happen in a year or two; it may take ten years but at the end of it you'll be "there" which is the mountain peak you wanted to get to all along. You have a story and you need to just go for it 100%, not halfheartedly.

TYZ: Don't listen to the people who tell you you can't because of "this or that." Think outside the box, then think outside that box, too. Think backwards and upside down. There is always a way as long as you believe there is. Be persistent even if it feels like you're being annoying. Always be productive, be prolific, don't stop working. If you are doing EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) in your power to make "it" happen, the universe will more than likely take care of the rest.

What are your favorite spots to hang out/eat/etc. in Seattle?

CMR:
Lots of places! Ba Bar, Tacos Chukis, Ezells Fried Chicken, Ballard Pizza Co. For drinking there's The Streamline, The 5 Point, Rendezvous, Hazelwood. For shopping there's Totokaelo, Glasswing, Comics Dungeon, Zanadu Comics, Red Light Vintage, Pike Place Market. Literally any park is nice, or see a movie at any of the art house theatres (Harvard Exit, Guild 45, Central Cinemas). Just pick up a Stranger and see what's happening. A lot of the time they're not far off.

TYZ: BPC (Ballard pizza co.), Pho Cyclo, Pike Street Fish Fry, GGNZLA karaoke, T-docks for a good swimming spot, STARBUCKS for coffee (:p), Fremont Vintage Mall/Market, my backyard and Magnusson beach dog park.

What are you currently listening to?

CMR:
Detective Agency, White Fang, Juan Wauters, So Pitted, The Trashies, Times New Viking, Vaguess, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Outkast, M.I.A., Chiddy Bang, Ice-T.

TYZ:
Detective Agency, So Pitted, Johnny Thunders, Pet Shop Boys, Stickers, The Memories, Yves/Son/Ace, King Krule, Damaged Bug, and everything on Castleface Records.

Shop CMRTYZ

Interview: Abbey Watkins for Morning Warrior


Tobacco & Leather's Abbey Watkins is an London-based illustrator and print designer with a penchant for skulls, women and a bit of warping. When Los Angeles clothing company Morning Warrior asked Abbey to work on a few summer tank tops for them, she conjured up the energetic warrior spirit of the brand and brought her earth-inspired designs to a whole new world. Here we talk to the 25-year-old beauty to get a glimpse inside her life, workspace and a sneak peek at the look book for the collection.
Interview by Ally Mullen


Introduce yourself!
I'm Abbey Watkins of Tobacco & Leather. I'm 25, living in London and working as an illustrator and print designer.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester Metroplitan Universirty and studied textile design for fashion. I chose Manchester because it's a vibrant city, but it's not too overwhelming. At the time I struggled a lot with my confidence so this played a big part in my decision. 

I always wanted to study fashion in London, but this was the best I could do with the tools and finances I had. It worked out well in the end as I ended up with the best tutor, Alex Russell, and I got a career out of it which I'm very grateful for. I'm from a very small town in the middle of nowhere so university was my way out and my first experience of a real city.




How did you get involved with Morning Warrior and when and how did this collaboration come together?
I was already aware of Morning Warrior when they got in touch about working together; it was obvious we shared some interests and creative visions so we got together and created these three designs.

Tell us about the influences behind your art! 
There are many, many influences but it's really hard to name them! I'm influenced by mythology and ancient gods, strange creatures—especially the mixture of animal and human. I'm interested in things like the occult and witchcraft, shamanism, and hallucingenic visions. I have this deep-rooted love for tribes and people that live closely to the earth, treating nature like a language that can be interpreted and returned. I guess all of that mixed with some '60s pychedelia and old metal album covers is somehwere near my vision. I've still got a lot of work to do to bring it all together though.



What was the driving inspiration behind your collaboration?
There was a loose brief for the collaboration, but with themes like "Mystical", "Animal" and "Bad Girl Biker", Morning Warrior and I were already pretty much on the same page, so it flowed nicely.

How would you describe your style of art to someone who hasn't seen it yet?
I still can't find an answer that satisfies, but the basis of my work is set in pencil realism, with subjects of naked women, skulls, animals, mythic elements and hints of surrealism.

What is your favorite medium to use when creating your illustrations?
Pencil. It's the only one that comforts. If there's color, it's done digitally.


Of the shirts you designed, which is your personal favorite?


I haven't seen them in the flesh yet! But my favorite is the grey Eagles Tank Top. That was my favorite one because I remember learning from it. You are always learning every time you draw but sometimes you can feel it, and I enjoyed that time.

What are your favorite things to draw?
Naked women, skulls, anything where I can play with its form and mold it into something else. That's my new favorite thing to do!



Are you going to wear your own designs?
I never wear my own designs. I hope nobody takes that personally! I just feel weird wearing something that I drew. Like it's somehow saying, "Look what I did!” And that makes me uncomfortable.

What was the… 
Last song or album you listened to: "Desert Ceremony" by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats 
Last movie you watched: Iron Monkey
Last purchase you made: A black, leather, bondage thigh-harness from Etsy that clips onto your belt loops and wraps around your thigh.
Best part about doing this collaboration: That I got to draw and create and was given artistic freedom. Morning Warrior were an absolute pleasure to work for. It's not always that way with commissions.




Look Book Information: 
Photography by Emman Montalvan
Hair and Makeup by Brittany Sullivan
Model: Courtney Money at PhotoGenics L.A.
Styling by Julie Swinford & Renee Garcia
Clothing by Morning Warrior: Twitter | Instagram

Better Together: Monica Ramos and Leah Goren

If you don’t know them by name, you probably know Monica Ramos and Leah Goren through their work or have purchased their items on Etsy. Monica and Leah, both Brooklyn-based, share a studio with lots of light, plants and snacks. Between illustrating for publications like The New York Times and designing book covers, they also work on sticker packs, make a Sad Girls Zine, and do impressively accurate drawings of what they wear to the studio. Here’s what they had to say about being better together, as friends and as artists.
Interview by Maitri Mehta


Totes by Leah and Monica

So the feature is called Better Together— how are you ladies better together?
Leah: That’s so cute! Before I moved in here I worked at home by myself, or I guess with my boyfriend, but he’s not an illustrator so I was basically alone. It’s amazing to have Monica around to talk to about my work.
Monica: She keeps me from being a total bum.
Leah: It’s good teamwork to get here at a good time and make coffee or tea and talk about what we’re working on—
Monica: And share frustrations.
Leah: It makes us feel like we’re part of a bigger picture of illustration work rather than just being cooped up alone. You can go crazy working alone.

How long have you been in this studio?
Leah: Almost a year!
Monica: I was working in my living room before. It was so depressing! I would be there every day and I wouldn’t go out.

Where are y’all from?
Monica: The Philippines.
Leah: San Diego. Both warmer climates.
Monica: People think I’m from California, I think because how I talk.
Leah: We were talking about moving to California some day, but we’d ALL have to go, because otherwise it’d be too lonely.

And you two met at Parsons?
Leah: Yes. We were trying to figure out what class it was but it’s all kind of a blur—
Monica: I think we met in a printmaking class because I remember Leah did all these block prints of girls’ faces—
Leah: We were making .gifs! I don’t even know anymore! We have a lot of friends from school but I don’t know when we all met. They just showed up at some point.

How did you decide to move into a studio together?
Leah: I started here with Rachel [Levit] and some other friends, and then we convinced Monica to move in.
Monica: I was actually really resistant because I was so comfortable in my living room. I was like, I’m just never gonna leave. But no, it’s been so good. I feel like a normal person here [laughs], with a place to do work.


Catdish by Leah


Alpacas by Monica

What are you working on right now, individually?
Monica: I have this one group show in Copenhagen, it’s about swimming. And a few months later I have another duo show also in Denmark, and I’m hoping to fly there.
Leah: I got an editorial thing this morning! So I worked on sketches today. It’s for an essay. I’m learning things about writing today. It’s a quick turnaround as usual, and then just answering emails, always.

I get bad email anxiety, do you?
Monica: If I answer an email at 1 AM, is that bad?
Leah: I don’t think it’s bad, I think it just means you’re on the clock all the time.
Monica: But not like, 4 AM, right? 4 AM is bad.

What are you working on together?
Monica: We’re working on a ceramics pop-up show, which is how we spend most of our time—
Leah: Yeah, I think it’s the most fun thing I do, because it doesn’t feel like work. Not that my work isn’t fun. We’ve been taking ceramics for maybe a year, or a little over. I started just making things with my mom who’s an art teacher and then taking actual classes in New York.
Monica: I took one class in high school, because my grandmother on my dad’s side used to have a ceramics studio, and then I started maybe half a year ago here in New York because Leah was taking classes and it seemed like a lot of fun. They had all this cool stuff! We just hang out at the ceramics studio, talking and making things. I mostly make a lot of alpacas.
Leah: She’s notorious at the studio for her alpacas.


Ceramics by Leah and Monica

Is it hard making art for business?
Monica: Yeah, it’s strange. Because you want to pursue something like illustration and then you’re like, "OMG I’m gonna love my career," and then it ends up giving you stress at the same time.
Leah: It puts an edge on it, yeah.

Do you guys talk to each other about your own personal projects?
Leah: Yeah, I would say since we’re still just starting out, two years out of school, there are a lot of questions we have to figure out and apply, like pricing and how to answer clients’ questions. Even more basic stuff like, “Is this sketch good?”
Monica: It’s reassuring, too. It helps just being in the same room as people who are doing things that are creative. I think it’s a pretty tough industry to get into and it’s nice to see other friends at the same point. We’re all trying to get to the same place. I don’t know what I would do if not for the studio at this point. I feel so at home here.
Leah: And we’re always so excited for each other when we get jobs! And we also get really mad at things together.
Monica: Also, Leah has been helping me get better at Instagram! She is amazing at it.
Leah: No, you’re really good at it, but you don’t post enough. I grade her Instagrams. "A minus."


Illustration by Monica


Illustration by Leah

What do y’all like to do together that’s not work?
Leah: Go to Vanessa’s Dumplings.
Monica: Yes, dumplings.
Leah: Go to the movies, buy plants… we love to go plant shopping.
Monica: We had a poker night before! We also love to go to ceramics together.

Tell me more about your pop-up shop.
Leah: It’s gonna be in Greenpoint!
Monica: Originally we were thinking of doing a gallery show but then as we were making things it just seemed like a lot of the things were functional so it would be better as a pop-up.
Leah: I think even though Monica does more group shows in a fine arts context, I think our ceramics are more commercial and it makes sense to sell them that way.
Monica: And we wanna be more in control of how our ceramics are sold.
Leah: I think having these nice little home objects that are decorative and affordable is relevant to our interests right now, and we have some other friends who are putting stuff in the show, like quilts and jewelry.
Monica: We’ve been talking about shelves. It’s a totally empty space so we get to put whatever we want in there. It’s gonna be so much fun.

Fine Print: Jaime Hernandez


Jaime Hernandez, an illustrator from Los Angeles, is best known for his comic book series Love and Rockets. The series, which Hernandez writes and illustrates with his brothers Gilbert and Mario, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and continues to be a mainstay in the alternative comic movement. Last fall Hernandez teamed up with Riverhead Books to illustrate Junot Diaz’s book This Is How You Lose Her, a heartbreaking and tender collection of stories from Diaz that celebrates and laments his character Yunior’s relationships with the women in his life. We were lucky enough to talk to Hernandez from his home in Los Angeles about illustrating and writing female characters.
Interview by Maitri Mehta. Illustrations c/o Riverhead Books.



First of all, thank you for illustrating this book. It’s one of my favorites, and I just got a copy of the illustrated version. It’s beautiful!
Thank you! But I owe it all to the publisher [Riverhead Books]; they did all of the design work.

Did you know Junot Diaz before you illustrated his work for The New Yorker?
Yeah, I was emailing him back when I did one of his first stories, but my computer crashed and I lost all the contact information until this time around! I was first introduced to his work through part of the Oscar Wao story [The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao].

Many people—myself included—find a lot of similarities in yours and Diaz’s work.
Sure, sure. A lot of the character development is similar. Maybe it’s just Latino culture.

Is there a reason you’re drawn to creating female characters? Do you feel like it’s more important?
There’s a million reasons. I basically… like women! You know, all around. For the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons [laughs]. I think it all started when I was 13 and learning to draw women. I was a little scared to before that. Growing up Catholic, my mom was uptight about stuff and uptight about sex and I was a kid, you know? It was always, “Don’t draw girls, you’ll go to hell," or worse, "Mom’s gonna get mad." And when I was 12 or 13 my older brother Gilbert was already drawing women and doing comics with women, and he was like “You should draw girls, it’s fun.” From then on, it was like if I wanted to do stories about women I had to... should I say, back it up? It didn't feel right JUST to draw curvy women. I had to put something else in there to bring them to life. I think that's where it started. I just started to like writing women. I don't know if I was doing it right, but I was trying, and by the time we did Love and Rockets, a woman came up to me and said, “I like your women characters and I like the way you do women.” And I said bam, okay, I'm here. I've got nothing to apologize for.

I think it's hard for male artists to write a good woman which is really why I love Junot Diaz. Did you have a favorite of the girls in This Is How You Lose Her?
Yes, the one that read comics, Nilda, because she had 50 million things going on in her head. I liked the craziness and the sweetness and the intelligence, all of that put together in one character. She spoke to me more than the others.



Was it difficult to illustrate someone else's writing?
Yeah, especially because in prose you don't have to describe people in detail so I was looking at every detail in the writing, thinking, "Okay, I'm getting an idea about this woman," and then three pages later I find out she's not Latina, she's white! I guess I could have asked Junot himself but I figured it was my job that I was hired for, to figure it out myself, to put my two cents in there. You know, to help create his world. Luckily he agreed with 99.9 percent of what I did.

Did you have a lot of freedom in how you interpreted his characters?
Yes, a lot, but there were a few things that came back to me in his notes. You know, make this character bigger, or make this character more this and that. But not too much, and I’m happy that he trusted me because this is his world, and I know how personal that can be.

Diaz’s stories are really autobiographical. Are yours too?
Yeah, of course, but I take liberties and change things because my life is pretty boring and my characters need a more interesting life for my readers to follow them. I romanticize sometimes but within reality.

It seems like you ended up doing exactly what you wanted to do in life—any advice for young illustrators or artists in general?
Ooh! Tell the truth. Or I guess, be truthful to what you're drawing; don't fake it because you'll be found out later. It's hard to explain... but that's why I'm an artist and not a teacher.

Did you ever teach anywhere?
Nope. I sat in on a graphic novel class once; I didn't know I was being primed to maybe teach a class. I just sat there kind of like a doofus. I could never express myself the way these teachers do; that’s why I let it come out in my art.

Interview: Shea Serrano


Shea Serrano is the talented and hilarious illustrator behind Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book. We recently spoke to him about his favorite albums, Bun B, and how he definitely knows Wiz Khalifa.
Interview by Katie Gregory



Hey, Shea! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Sure, sure. I'm Shea. I live in Houston and I have been a middle school science teacher to ESL students at an inner city school for eight years and a music writer for six years too. I've written for a bunch of different places, including but not limited to Grantland, LA Weekly, XXL, MTV, Village Voice, The Source, Vice and so on. But my most proud moment was the time that I was getting interviewed for Urban Outfitters, which is happening right now.

Also, and this is just a tad off topic, but: Back when this was all first starting up, my wife and I agreed that the highest achievement any book could earn was to be sold in Urban Outfitters. That's all I ever wanted for this book, haha. So thank you. I'm going to spend the first two or three hours after the book release hanging out at your store in The Galleria just crying and crying from pride. Thank you. Sincerely.

You're welcome! And Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book is out today! Can you tell us how you got involved with the project?
I got involved with the project by creating the project, which is definitely the best way to be involved with any project.

Bun and I had plotted on doing a book for a bit. One day I was coloring with two of my sons (twin six-year-olds) and got bored and started drawing some local rappers as coloring book pages. I posted them to Twitter and they got a nice response so I was like, "Maybe if I do some super famous rappers it'll get a super good response." I messaged Bun with the idea. I thought he'd swat it away but he was all for it. Downloaded Adobe Illustrator, spent a month or so learning how to use it, got it to where I could draw the pages how I wanted them to look, sent one or two to Bun, then started the Tumblr. Samantha Weiner, the woman from ABRAMS that eventually became my editor, contacted me and we talked about turning the Tumblr into a book. She said nice things. We worked out a deal. And then she put me on her tiny shoulders and carried me and the book to where we are right now. Malibooyah.



What was Bun B’s role in the project? Does he also draw?
Bun's role has been to lend credibility to the idea. I never wanted it to seem like I was making jokes about anyone without them being in on the joke. With Bun's backing, that's established immediately. He has a seemingly endless amount of rap good will. Everyone loves him. It's really crazy. I'm still always very intimidated whenever we're trading messages or standing near each other. People always ask if he and I were friends before this, and if we weren't then did we become friends during working together? If we did, I'm friends with him the way a small kid in the class is friends with a bully, in that mostly I just hope that I don't do anything that makes him want to stab me in my intestines.

How was it decided who was going to be included in the book? Did you go with your favorite artists, or was it based on who would be most recognizable?
I mostly just picked rappers that I liked. Once we started to really get into it, the Tumblr had spread pretty far, and a lot of great people said a lot of nice things about it at big media spots like New York Magazine or MTV or whatever, so our ability to reach people became easier and easier. Also, I believe Bun knows a lot of these guys personally, or at least professionally. Being a famous rapper makes it way easier to get in contact with other famous rappers.



Was there anyone you wanted to draw but couldn’t, either due to artistic limitations or a refusal on the subject’s behalf?
I would've really liked to get Andre 3000 in the book, but we never could get everything worked out. Bun and me and ABRAMS made a conscious decision to only put people in the book that said they wanted to be in there. More thoroughly: We didn't put anyone in there that didn't give us written permission to do so. It was very important to us that the book was full of people that were happy to be in there. I would've felt horrible if we'd just put it out there and then somebody was like, "Hey, what the hell, man?" That would've broke my heart.

Have any of your subjects colored in their own pages? Has Drake colored in his eyebrows and sent them in to you?
Haha. Well, Mac Miller was on TV and the people interviewing him had printed out his coloring page and given one to everyone in the audience and had them color it and then they showed it to him and that was pretty amazing to watch. I've not had anyone send it to me yet though. But we've only recently sent books to the rappers. Maybe it'll happen in the next few weeks, haha.



Do you spend time coloring in your own coloring book pages? Have any favorites to share?
My sons have. I'll tell you what's been really neat though: So we sent the book to different media places, right? One of the places we sent it to was Texas Monthly, a very popular magazine here. They have an art person that works there named Nicki Longoria and she started doing all of the pages in the book, but she hasn't been just coloring them. She's been adding all sorts of neat graphics to them. She posts them on Twitter and it's always fun to see what she's come up with. And people send us completed pages in emails or Facebook messages or Tweets and so on. I'm always happy. One lady sewed a Snoop Dogg using our page, which was just amazing. It got, like, more than 3000 notes or something, haha.



Since you spent all this time drawing rappers and hip hop artists, what are some of your favorite albums from the genres?
I'll give you four:
UGK, Ridin' Dirty: My favorite album of all-time.
Juvenile, 400 Degreez: Perfectly gorgeous.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, E. 1999 Eternal: I just can't even explain how much this album means to me. It's my everything. It makes me feel like a 13-year-old, which I think might be the point of music sometimes.
Snoop, Doggystyle: The best G-Funk album that's ever been.

If I only listened to those tapes for the rest of my life, that'd be just fine.

Now, I have to mention your essay “Here Are the Songs They Play at a Middle School Dance,” because it’s great and everyone needs to read it. Was this a real thing that happened? Did the kids ever find out that you live-blogged their dance?
Ha! Man, thank you. That one actually won some very cool writing award, if you can even believe that. Yes, that's a real thing. I was chaperoning a dance at my school. We have one or two a year. It's fun to go in there and see the kids moving in a non-classroom context. They look like different people. And I want to say that a few of them mentioned reading the column to me, yeah. They liked it. They thought they were famous. I wasn't in a position to disagree.

And since you’re a teacher, do the kids know about your coloring book collab? Are they excited?
Some of them do, yeah. I don't spend any time in class talking about it (we're too busy learning how to balance chemical equations or the phases of the moon), but I did this interview with the news here in Houston a couple weeks ago and a bunch of them saw it and so that's when they found out I had a book coming out. They're actually in the process of interviewing me for the yearbook, which is especially fun and funny to do. They think it's cool. They're always like, "OH MY GOD DO YOU KNOW DRAKE AND WIZ KHALIFA?" And I'm always like, "…Yes."

Any other cool projects you have coming up in the future?
I've been fortunate enough to have some neat stuff come up and have some very nice people express faith in me so there'll probably be a proper book or two in the future, but I don't know. Mostly, right now I'm just trying to spend all of my energies making sure I don't cry from pride anytime someone mentions the book to me.

Shop Bun B's Rap Coloring And Activity Book

Follow Shea on Twitter!

Friday the 13th Tattoos

Ben Kopp

It's Friday the 13th so you know what that means... it's time to dig through your couch and old purses for some change to take to TD Bank, so you can scrounge up enough money to get a $13 tattoo of something FT13th-inspired!  


We know tattoos last like, a really long time or whatever, so to make it easier for you to choose on this super-duper-stitious day, our lovely team in the art department have provided us with awesome designs to share with you! 

It's simple: Just print one of these bad boys out, take it to your local parlor, and get it tattooed on you! We suggest your face as the best possible spot.

P.S. If you DO happen to get one done, please send us an email of it at blog@urbanout.com! —Ally

This tattoo will remain timeless as your body withers away and dies.

And it's only 13 calories!

What a tough pussy.

BOOOOoOOOoOOoooooOOo!


I feel like I just lost 10 years of my life by just POSTING this last one.

Ben Sifel
2 cute 2 resist. Seriously, try to tell me with a straight face you don't want this right now.

Cool Art: Laura Kay

Earlier today we ran across artist Laura Kay's website Diary Sketches and fell in love with her ultra-feminine illustrations. If you love everything as much as we do, her art can be purchased on her Etsy. She even does custom couple sketches, like, C'MON, how cute is that?! —Katie










Pull List: July 24, 2013

Regan should never smile, not even if the comic she's reading is delightful. It is terrifying. Christina


1. The Daniel Clowes Reader: A Critical Edition of Ghost World and Other Stories, with Essays, Interviews, and Annotations from Fantagraphics
It's almost like I planned this or something. Nope. Happy coincidence.

2. Hawkeye Annual from Marvel Comics
If you've been reading Young Avengers like I've been all but ordering you to, you already know who Kate Bishop is. If you've been ignoring me, you jerk, pick this comic up. Kate's one of two street level superheroes named Hawkeye, the other being Jeremy Renner . . . I mean Clint Barton. And as a street level superhero, she doesn't have to play nice.

3. Mars Attacks Statue
I know that it costs $230, but it's a Martian stepping over a corpse and the Liberty Bell. I'm from Philadelphia, I have to like this. (Fun Fact: Did you know the Tim Burton movie was based on trading cards? I didn't.)

4. Part 1 of Book Girl and the Scribe Who Faced God 
This is actually a novel and not a comic but I support this book on principle. That is an amazing title. The Book Girl series has been adapted for manga and film, so check those out of you need pictures.

5. Issue #51 of The Unwritten from Vertigo 
Don't buy this comic, especially not this crossover issue. Instead, go to your local shop and ask for The Unwritten #1 or the first collected edition, Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity and start there. It is a series about a man who was the inspiration for/might actually be Tommy Taylor, a Harry-Potter-esque boy wizard. The Unwritten is a love letter to literature and if that sounds like your sort of thing, check it out. This series makes my soul happy in a way that few other stories do.

Cool Art: Bobby Griffiths

Sometimes the UO blog readers submit something to us and we just have to share. Such is the case with Bobby Griffiths. When he sent us a link to his website Gutter Magic, we fell in love. His illustrations are sometimes surreal, sometimes cute, but always awesome. If you'd like to see more of Bobby, you can also follow him on Tumblr. Go, Bobby, go! (Seriously, his shit is great. Check it.) —Katie










DEER DANA

DEER DANA is a T-shirt company run by Dana Veraldi and Kevin Tekinel, and their shirts feature line-drawn portraits of various people who have rocked the pop culture world in one way or another. My favorite on the site might be Grace Coddington (shown above). Make sure to check out the rest of their shirts as well! —Katie


(If the model Naleye Junior on the main page of the site looks familiar, that's because we did a feature with him earlier this year. YOU GO, NALEYE!)

How To: Get Into Comics


Every new hobby starts with baby steps and for comic-lovers-in-training, the first baby step is entering a comic book store and getting lost in the longboxes. Despite a childhood filled with comics, I didn't step foot in one until my teenage years because I was so scared. What a waste of time. Comic shops are wonderful places filled with fun, friendly folks. If you're a little socially anxious as well, here is some basic advice for your first trip. Christina

1. Do your research.
You don't need to know the differences between Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel (you get the idea) but you should at least know your own interests. Do you want teenage angst or do you want teenage angst with magic, mutants, and monsters? Do you want something familiar or do you want to jump into something you've never heard of? Is good writing or good art more important to you, or do you require both? If you know the basics of what makes you a happy reader, your trip to the shop will be a lot easier.

2. Go with a friend.
Granted, your friends may be jerky snobs but they can tough out a few minutes in the corner of a store while you embrace a new hobby and make your life a fuller, better... I said five minutes! No, we just got here. God, stop embarrassing me!


Channel the Amazons. Wonder Woman would never lose her cool.

3. Ask for help.
I know subcultures can be intimidating when you start sniffing around the front gate, but geeks love to (over) share! They all have their favorite series, characters, artists, etc. and they want you to love them just as much as you do. And if you think they're being mean or you are absolutely terrified, pop a Xanax (prescribed only, of course) and go somewhere else. Hell, Barnes and Nobles sells graphic novels and a small selection of single issues. Also, you can always start your collection with the Comixology app or online shopping. Which brings us to Rule #4.

4. Whenever possible, shop local.
If you can do it for food, you can do it for comics. They are equally important. Comics will usually be cheaper and easier to find online, but if you want your local geeky community to thrive, you gotta invest. Plus, your local shop will come to learn your taste and will help you cultivate a killer pull list or automatically put things aside for you because they think you'll like it.

5. Don't carry your giant stylish purse into a shop.
Some shops will make you check them at the counter and others will kick you out while everyone stares because you happened to spin around too fast and your bag took out an ENTIRE WALL of comics, books, and toys. Not that that's ever happened to me or anything...


Longbox of shame.

If you're still a nervous wreck after all of this fabulously helpful advice, fake it 'til you make it. Big heels, big sunglasses and a supermodel strut will take you far. It's pretty much how I deal with all emotions. Good luck!

The Little Prince: The Movie


The Little Prince, that super whimsical book that everyone was gaga for on Tumblr a couple years ago, is getting turned into an animated movie! Which is totally fun! And it'll apparently be voiced by James Franco, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard, as well as other A-list movie actors. James Franco, gettin' involved in every movie ever made. If you've never read the book, click that image above and it'll take you to a totally sweet Angelfire site where you can read the whole thing. Tumblr-ness aside, it is a great story, and will probably make an awesome movie. —Katie

Hyperbole and a Half: 2013

Remember Hyperbole and a Half? A couple years back, her blog was it on the internet, mostly because Allie Brosh, the blog's writer, is the most hilarious person ever. But then she started to write a book, and then she got sad, and then we didn't hear from her for almost 2 years... until yesterday. Yesterday Allie posted on her Facebook page for the first time in a gazillion years, and she even put up a post! It's, in her words, a "pre-post" to a sadder post from today called Depression Part 2, but I am welcoming that shit with open arms. The internet is not the internet without crudely drawn MS Paint photos of Allie doing things. If you somehow missed her blog (and all the memes that spawned from it), may I suggest a few entries? Okay! How a Fish Almost Destroyed My Childhood, Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving, and, of course, This is Why I'll Never be an Adult. (Plus, don't forget you can pre-order her book!) —Katie

Simpsons Drawing Club

Simpsons Drawing Club is a collaborative blog by a handful of UK artists with a shared obsession for drawing the iconic animated family. If you consumed popular culture in the '90s, you understand the impact of Matt Groening's yellow characters, particularly on illustrators.

 
The genius of Simpsons Drawing Club comes from the range of personalities and artistic quirks among the contributing illustrators, providing new spins and stories on old, beloved characters. My favorites are Sam Taylor's drippy metal-inspired characters. Check it out for pages and pages of goodness, and if you have a Simpsons drawing, tag it with #simpsonsdrawingclub on Tumblr and see if it makes the blog. -Angelo

French Girls App

French Girls is an app that lets you upload a picture of yourself for other people to draw totally anonymously. IT IS SO MUCH FUN. And it gives everyone a legitimate excuse to take 1,000 selfies. Plus, the name "French Girls" is a hilariously perfect Titanic reference ("Draw me like one of your french girls"), so obviously you need to download this app ASAP. —Katie

Converse Artist Customization Station

Today, Converse sat up a customization station in our store, with artists Josh Row (who has done some sick murals all around Austin), Sophie Roach and Jason Archer working non-stop to turn Chucks into wearable art. Totally girl-crushing on Sophie now, too. Adorbs—Kate



Spring/Break Art Show


Although NYC's Spring/Break Art Show may not have neon bikinis and beer bongs, it does look like it's going to have some awesome art for everyone to check out. The curator-driven show will feature the projects of over 20 curators and even more artists, and will focus around the theme New Mysticism. The exhibition takes place at 233 Mott Street in NYC and runs from March 7-10, 12PM-9PM. Admission: $5. Culturing your lame-ass during spring break: priceless.—Katie

Bianca Green

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home" is playing on repeat in my head just from looking at Bianca Green's You Make Me Home print, shown above.  Check out more of her work below and get lost in the colors and sounds of her art. —Ally




Recap: Hattie Stewart's "Everything is Just So F**kin Fabulous"


Sooooo we had a pretty rad time at the opening of artist Hattie Stewart's new pop up shop, Everything is Just So F**kin Fabulous, in collaboration with Urban Outfitters and Dr. Martens at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) in L.A. this weekend. The shop, showcasing Hattie's new collection with Urban Outfitters, (which will be released shortly), was packed with bright young things, who went perfectly with the incredibly pop art work of Hattie Stewart. Many thanks to Dr. Martens, who provided the shop with shoes to be customized by Hattie herself, as well as Coolhaus for tasty treats, Kleur for their nail art services, and Nosaj Thing for an incredible DJ set. The shop will be open throughout the month of March, from 12PM-8PM everyday. Stop by and check out the adorable accessories, like pins, shoelaces, stickers and more just picked out for the shop, as well as customized Dr. Martens shoes, and of course, Hattie's new collaboration with UO! - Maddie

All photos by Vanessa Atlan.


















3D Wiener Doodles

Whoa! It's about to get really hard to mindlessly doodle during a boring class or meeting, because with the 3Doodler, your wiener drawings are going to literally burst off the page. But everybody will be so fascinated by your cool gizmo that even your teachers won't care that you haven't been paying attention. 


Seriously though, this could be a game changer for artists. People have been calling 3D printing the most significant technological advancement of our time, but it's still something that regular people are confused by, and the pen could be an affordable and fun introduction to the possibilities of the field. The Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its funding goal by more than a million dollars, so it shouldn't be too long before you'll be able to get your hands on one and finally give your cat comics the life they deserve. -Angelo