I just returned from another amazing weekend in San Francisco, attending the 20th annual Alternative Press Expo (APE) (www.comic-con.org/ape). Since I am a fledgling graphic novel author/illustrator myself, it is always very inspiring to see what’s happening in that world and all the different styles of artwork and storytelling out there.
One of my favorite parts of APE is that you can often purchase prints or originals of some of the artists’ work. On top of spending way too much money on books, my husband and I always come back with a few more pieces to hang on our walls at home.
This year, we were particularly taken with the art of Chris Koehler (chriskoehler.com). He is a freelance illustrator who lives in the Bay Area, and is currently compiling a themed book (chriskoehler.com/devotion). He let me page through his original sketchbook, and I was instantly smitten! Each of his drawings is clearly telling a moving story, if not just making a vivid observation. The “delicate boldness” of his ink is refreshing—almost a throw-back crisp, wood-cut look but with a feathery lightness. I came home with 3 prints of his work, but could easily page through his sketchbook time and time again.
One of our existing favorites, Mike Manomivibul (mikemanoart.com), was also there. He is another example of having a keen eye for a drawing that tells a story, and the brush-and-ink art is just beautiful. He is currently putting together a children’s book, and is also featured in an upcoming book release of “The Princess Bride.”
Overall, APE is definitely a big and bold event, but one that I highly recommend to anyone who is a graphic novel, comic, or just plain wonderful art lover. I promise, it’s not just Manga and science fiction! You are sure to find something that sweeps you off your feet, makes you laugh, or gives your imagination a nice, fresh polish! – Jen