Brain Pickings

Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future

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Last week marked the 183rd birthday of iconic science fiction writer and futurist Jules Verne, who coined the term “imaginary voyages.” (And Amazon celebrated by offering a slew of his work as free ebooks, which you can still grab.) Today, we turn to the beautiful mid-century illustration of Peter P. Plasencia for Franz Born’s 1964 book Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future — a light but excellent biography of the great novelist and a powerful primer for his literary legacy.

Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future is currently out of print, but you might be able to snag it from several independent sellers through Amazon or look for a copy at yoru local library — the screen doesn’t do Plasencia’s artwork justice.

via Wardomatic via Right Brain Terrain

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Pioneers of Spanish Graphic Design

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Spain has a rich and widely recognized art tradition — Picasso, Goya, Dalí — but its equally noteworthy design legacy hasn’t achieved the same level of exposure and acclaim. Emilio Gil’s Pioneers of Spanish Graphic Design is a bold and visually striking effort to rectify that by spotlighting 15 groundbreaking Spanish graphic designers whose work between 1939 and 1975 defied the political circumstances and visual vocabulary of post-war Spain to ignite a provocative new culture of visual language.

Alongside the artwork are essays by some of Spain’s finest art historians and design writers, tying the era’s design landscape to the social and political realities of the period. From advertising to expressionism, the book covers an extraordinary range of graphic expressions in the context of their cultural belonging.

Pioneers of Spanish Graphic Design is the kind of book that not only unearths a treasure trove of vintage eye candy, but also makes a compelling case for design as art.

via 50 Watts for But Does It Float

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All the Buildings in New York, Illustrated

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What deli signage typography has to do with the connectedness of the universe.

A couple of years ago, illustrator Jason Polan set out to draw every single person in New York City. Now, Australian illustrator and creative nomad James Gulliver Hancock is drawing all the buildings in New York. He started the blog when he first moved to Brooklyn, as a way of getting to know his surroundings and recording his relationship with his new home.

I’ve started to see all the buildings intersect, all the areas locking together. A lot of the drawings seem to reflect this interlocking of manmade structures, i.e. it’s all connected. I started out wanting to hug all the buildings in some autistic reaction to love, awe, shock… but now they are slowly becoming just friends.” ~ James Gulliver Hancock

With his playful style and mix of drawing tools and techniques, from Sharpie-on-notebook to digital illustration to screenprints, Hancock offers a refreshing lens on the world’s most overexposed city, filling it with the kind of childlike wonder so easy to lose amidst New York’s chronic hurry.

In this talk from Harvest HQ’s excellent HOBBY series, Hancock pulls the curtain on his creative process

The interesting thing about drawing is that it makes you look at objects in more detail. Instead of just passing by a building, you realize that there’s this weird little sign and it says these funny things about what the deli sells.” ~ James Gulliver Hancock

Many of Hancock’s lovely drawings are available as prints on the project site. We’re particularly loving the How New York Works one. (Sorry, no direct link — look in the blog’s right sidebar.)

via Quipsologies

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Jumpin’ Jive: Have a Great Day the Cab Calloway Way

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Having a tough day? Let Cab Calloway make it better with this priceless, timelessly smile-inducing scene from the 1943 film Stormy Weather. The Nicholas Brothers foot action is just the cherry on top.

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