Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leo the Lion

Here's a lion from a naming certificate I made for friend who just had her first child. The style is a bit of a swipe from the great late illustrator Jim Flora. Overly cute, perhaps? Not for a baby's room!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New papercut on the table:
Revisiting the Flood

Two details from the papercut currently on the table in my studio -- trying some new things with text in the background, and I'm very pleased with how it's coming along.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Nisan Tree" --
Just in Time for Spring

This is my newest papercut, "Nisan Tree." It's almost spring -- and almost the Jewish month of Nisan -- and the papercut is inspired by some lines from the Talmud:
Rabbi Judah said, When a man goes out to the country in the month of Nisan [that is, in springtime] and see trees bring forth blossoms, he is to say, "Blessed be God, whose world lacks nothing, having created in it comely creatures and beautiful trees, so that human beings may enjoy them."

The tree is backed with cut-up comics to bring in the vibrant colors and textures of spring -- with characters including Green Lantern and She-Hulk, and artists including Alex Ross and Joe Kubert.


If you want to get your hands on a print of this new papercut, there's only two ways to do so, because I'm only making two prints right now (though I may make more in the future):
1. At the silent auction benefiting Jewish World Watch on Sunday, April 10, at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills. I'm going to be in the "2011 Walk to End Genocide" as part of the Temple Ahavat Shalom team, raising money to fight genocide around the world. Details here.

2. At the Temple Ahavat Shalom Annual Gala silent auction on Saturday, June 4, at TAS. Details forthcoming on the TAS website -- and I'll post a reminder here in advance of the event.

Click the image to see it larger, or check out this earlier blog post to see what it looked like when it was still just a sketch.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How a pencil sketch becomes a papercut

On the left, a little sketch from my sketchbook (after days and pages of drawing); on the right, the final cut. As you can see, often my sketches are just rough ideas toward the final form of a papercut. Then again, sometimes they're full-size, and very detailed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From the cutting table: leaves

Just a little something I cut the other day... some leaves. I'm working on a new tree right now, but this isn't going to be it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Reuben" papercut

This is my latest completed papercut, titled "Reuben"; it's the first in a planned series of 12 cuts based on the Twelve Tribes (the papercut is 24" in height; click the image above to see it larger).

Reuben was the oldest son of the patriarch Jacob and matriarch Leah. I've represented the tribe with a mandrake root, based on the words of Bereshit (Genesis) 30:14: "Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben came upon some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah." Mandrakes are a symbol of fertility and their roots often resemble human figures or body parts; Leah had been having difficulty conceiving again, and it is taught that Reuben was trying to help his mother.

The Tribe of Reuben is often represented with the figure of a man, and I've built this mandrake root out of comic book representations of flesh and skin -- hoping to convey the gnarled twistedness of the root and the pliant softness of flesh. Much of the flesh textures come from the Marvel comics character The Sub-Mariner, as an allusion to the words of Bereshit 49:4, in which Jacob calls his son "unstable as water." I won't get into the racy story that figures in the Jacob/Reuben conflict (it's a bit too juicy for this blog), but there's a lot of ambivalence over Reuben's character, and I wanted to express some of that attraction/repulsion with the layers and segments that make up the root.

The blue background the surrounds the root comes from a Batman illustration by Alex Ross -- Batman has his own mother issues, usually represented by a string of pearls at the time of her murder; I liked the conflation of Batman's desire to seek justice for his mother after her death, and Reuben's attempt to find justice for his mother while she still lived.