New York Drawings

Adrian Tomine has become about as New York as a lox bagel prepared by Lou Reed atop the Empire State building. In short, very New York indeed.

New York Drawings cover, Adrian Tomine
New York Drawings cover, Adrian Tomine

The cartoonist’s works have graced the pages and cover of The New Yorker for over a decade, and now the new book New York Drawings brings together every cover, comic and illustration he’s ever produced for the publication.

The volume will also reveal a little  about Tomine’s practice, showing sketchy notes and dry, often hilarious annotations.

New York Drawings, Pacific St. Station (7/12/04), Adrian Tomine
New York Drawings, Pacific St. Station (7/12/04), Adrian Tomine

Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker art editor, says, ‘Adrian Tomine arrives in New York, and we suddenly remember why we all love living in The Big City, whatever the hassles may be.

‘Tomine’s wit is as sharp as his heart is tender, and his portrait of the city is not only intellectually stimulating, but also emotionally and aesthetically rewarding.’

The book opens with a very sweet, partially autobiographical cartoon of a star struck awkward Sacramento boy arriving in New York, in awe of the bustle and beauty of the city. There’s more than a hint of New York poet Frank O’Hara in text such as, ‘and now here I am: the holiday party for the New York Magazine!’

New York Drawings, 'Double Feature' (The New Yorker, August 24, 2009)  Adrian Tomine
New York Drawings, ‘Double Feature’ (The New Yorker, August 24, 2009) Adrian Tomine

Tomine’s urban vignettes turn quotidian incidents into something special – to a packed tube carriage, the girl who ‘doesn’t move a muscle for four stops’, may seem unremarkable, but for Tomine, it’s something to be wondered at.

There’s the boy on the D Train going uptown, ‘sweating profusely’; or the woman in the 3 Train  ‘making subtle facial reactions as one Wall Street guy explains to another his plan for “scoring” with his ex-girlfriend when she comes to visit.’

New York Drawings
New York Drawings

They’re snippets of observation and conversation that would resonate with any city-dweller, but put through Tomine’s witty, sharp lens, they become something to be celebrated.

And who knows, if you’ve found yourself on a New York subway over the last decade, perhaps one of Tomine’s characters is a portrait of you.

New York Drawings by Adrian Tomine is published by Faber and Faber on 1 November priced £16.99

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