Review: Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

I’ve never lived on a farm before.

Sure, I’ve been on a few jungle treks and mountain climbing exhibitions during my teens (and when my knees were much better.)

But living on a farm? I take it that it’s a completely different experience altogether. And from what I could gather on a subject – sometimes it can feel as though you’re living on a completely different planet – in a good way.

So when Julia’s book Farm Anatomy came out, I was thrilled. Not only was it going to be about life on a farm (imagine – a manual for those who has never lived on a farm, let alone visited one!), but it was to be 100% illustrated entirely by her. That last thought alone almost made me break out in hives of excitement.

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

Title: Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life by Julia Rothman
Paperback 224 pages
Storey Publishing

First off: The book is gorgeous.

The paper quality is beautiful, which serves to really bring out the illustrations that Julia has done. I can’t stress how important paper (glossy vs. matte, textured vs. smooth, etc) is in effecting how your illustrations will turn out, and the team at Storey Publishing has managed to do a wonderful job.

Julia’s style is all over the book. And when I say Julia’s style – I mean that you know that it’s her when you flip through it. Her hand-drawn type; the crisp, clean perfectly imperfect lines that has been the hallmark of her work since the very beginning; and the details that accompany each and every one of them. You see it repeated time and again in her patterns and in her illustration work; and needless to say, if you’re a big fan then this book is a must have.

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

The meat of the book is in the information as well; offering nuggets of information and an informal roadmap into the workings of a farm. Gleaned through years of experience during her time at her husband’s family farm, Julia has come up with an easy-to-read book that has information that I never thought of knowing. Things like milking a cow, or the various different tools that farmers used, and even how a barn is constructed (handy if you ever have the urge to build one). Or what about a rooster’s comb? Did you know that there were THAT many different types? If I’m at a dinner party (where the people are predominantly city folks), I’ll know that information would come useful – random as it may be!

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

More than just a book for adults, I could see how the book would make a fun farm encyclopedia for kids as well. Unfortunately for them, I’m putting this book on a high shelf for when little people come to visit, that’s for sure.

Or maybe I’ll just get them one for Christmas. I’ll see.

You can get a copy of Julia’s Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life over at Amazon.

Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy

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Have a wonderful weekend folks!
I’ll catch you back here on Monday with more illustration goodness!

Oh, and just in case, have you signed up for our free and awesome mailing list yet?

Nick Edwards / Dinopopolous

Dinopopolous Cover

Martin from Blank Slate Books sent over Nick Edwards latest work, a comic entitled Dinopopolous – and I think Nick is a genius! While he’s still studying, he’s also balancing it with professional illustration works for clients.

Read on for a quick little interview I did with him:

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into comics?

My name is Nick Edwards and I am currently studying Illustration at Brighton. I got into comics when I was about 11 and a friend in the year above lent me a copy of Squee (issue four) and it blew my mind. I’d read a lot of superhero comics up until that point, but a B&W comic made by just one person was just so appealing to me. I immediately started making my own terrible comics, done just in pencil. With the help of the internet I learnt a lot more about craft and got feedback on my work. Later on alt comics by people like Jim Woodring, Crumb and Dave Cooper mixed with other lively “all-ages” comics like Tintin, Krazy Kat and Dragon Ball (to name a few) would really influenced my way of thinking about comics.

Nick Edwards

I just read your latest comic – Dinopopolous. Could you tell me how the idea for the story came about?

I’d been doodling this boy and his dinosaur character for a while and when I heard from Blank Slate that they wanted to publish a comic by me I just grabbed that idea and ran with it. Most of the comic is planned, but long stretches were just made up on the spot. I like working that way. I hope it reads as being energetic and packed with detail as I intended.

What’s your process like, and what/who are you inspired by?

I tend to doodle and sketch around characters and stories for a while. It can take a year or a few months to nail a story down in my head. When I’ve got some of it laid out I tackle each page as it comes, changing things all the time. I use a mechanical pencil and a Hunt 102 nib with india ink. I’m very inspired by the comic artists I mentioned earlier, but I really love film, cartoons and music just as much as I love comics. Recently I’ve been re-watching Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, which are completely insane and incredible. I’ve also been listening to a lot of metal like Melvins, Metallica, Sabbath and Sleep.

You’re currently studying while illustrating professionally. How do you juggle the two?

With difficulty! I’ve really been feeling it recently. I’m not in a position where I can turn down jobs, so doing both successfully just means I can’t play as much videogames and drink as much beer. Real first world problems.

You’ve worked on character design for Disney TV and also published titles under small publishers – which is your favorite project so far and why?

I think Dinopopolous just because it’s mine. One of the best things about small press comics is the amount of creative control. Johnny Ryan’s “Prison Pit” is a good example of something that couldn’t really exist anywhere else (although it’d make an awesome animation) and its entirely his creation and his amazingly violent and filthy mind. The project I’m most excited about, though, is always my next project. If all goes well it’ll be a story about a beetle in a vast unforgiving universe with lots of monsters and jungles and lazer swords.

Can you email us a picture (or two) of your working studio? And perhaps a few shots of your sketchbooks?

Sure!

Nick Edwards

Nick Edwards

Nick Edwards

Nick Edwards

What advice do you have for people who are looking to follow in your footsteps?

The usual. Draw every day. Draw for yourself. Keep healthy. Don’t listen to the haters and don’t believe the hype! Also watch a lot of cartoons and buy lots of comics.

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Thanks Nick!

You can get flip through a preview and pre-order Nick’s latest comic – Dinopopolous over at Blank Slate Books !

Gennebra

Gennebra

Gennebra

Gennebra

Gennebra

I am fascinated by Portugal-based artist Joao Rodrigues’ ‘Perspective of a Dead Nature’ series and also his studies and renderings of trees, particularly Bad Nature – a linocut print inspired by the forces of nature, and how we are destroying nature by feeding into the greed of others.

You can see more on his Etsy shop, and also his portfolio website.

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