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Royal Reviews: Denis Kitchen's Chipboard Sketchbook

Royal Nonesuch takes an advance look at the next collection of Denis Kitchen art!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:


DENIS KITCHEN’S CHIPBOARD SKETCH BOOK HC
Written & Drawn by Denis Kitchen
HC, 128pgs, FC, SRP: $19.95
Diamond Code of AUG100879
ISBN13 # 978097888511

Following on the heels of THE ODDLY COMPELLING ART OF DENIS KITCHEN, an overview of the pioneering underground cartoonist published this summer by Dark Horse Books, DENIS KITCHEN’S CHIPBOARD SKETCHBOOK is comprised of particular kinds of drawings on “chipboard” that Kitchen has done below the radar for many years. Chipboard is the heavy, grainy card stock at the base of writing tablets. The artist started the habit of drawing on this unlikely substance during long, often boring production meetings at Kitchen Sink Press, his former company, when he would flip his notes tablet over and doodle with a combination of the only tools at hand: a Sharpie pen and fine-point Uni-ball pen.

With subject matter often extremely bizarre, or, in his own words, even “demented,” Kitchen filed these away for many years. They were seen only his close friends and colleagues…until now!

Measuring 6 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches, this collection features an extra thick 3 mm cover stock (chipboard, of course) with a de-bossed cover image and vertical belly band. The full-color 128-page hardcover was edited and designed by Greg Sadowski and art directed by John Lind, who won a 2009 American Graphic Design Award for their work on Underground Classics (Abrams).

Note: contains some images not suitable for minors.



Review:


The aesthetics of a piece of artwork are informed by the medium it's created with.  The same drawing can take on different qualities on two different stocks of paper, or with two different grades of graphite.  It's the tactile aspect of art that doesn't seem to get talked about much outside of art school.  Fortunately, it's front and center in DENIS KITCHEN'S CHIPBOARD SKETCHBOARD, the second collection of Denis Kitchen artwork to be released this year (this one is due out in October). 

Eschewing smooth white vellum for coarse grade, earth-tone chipboard (the stiff board on the back of a legal pad) and meticulous planning for on-the-fly inspiration yields a grungier style for Kitchen, but the drawings contained in this volume are vintage Denis.  The linework is remarkably effortless and whimsical and the drawings on the whole are hysterical; all the rubbery anatomy, devilish grins, and disturbing little beasties that are attendant when perusing a book of Kitchen artwork are on full display here. 

Publisher Boom! Town has recruited an excellent designer/art director duo to assemble this nifty archive of rarely seen artwork.  The book is beautifully designed, and shows off the juxtaposition of the graniness of the chipboard with the easy glide of Kitchen's pen. 

It's really amazing to consider that all of these suitably bizarre pieces are drawn on the spot.   A lot of the sketches collected in this book look like they're the fully-formed result of formal planning.  In fact, a lot of these designs get outright intricate (how long were these corporate meetings that bored Kitchen so?).   The shading, the proportion, and the pure comic bombast collected here are an absolute pleasure to look at, and everything here provides further proof that Kitchen is a master cartoonist.







Denis Kitchens Chipboard Sketchbook Cover

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch


As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
 

 


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