GOOD

Artist Posthumously Breathes New Life Into Russian Lit Classic

Alice Neel’s long-forgotten illustrations for the Brothers Karamazov highlight the humor and the sadness of a master.

Alice Neel was often referred to as an “outsider artist” as a way of simplifying her often-complex work, which was both abstract and elegantly pained in its emotional clarity. When Neel passed away in 1984, she left behind a massive body of work, ranging from oil paintings to drawings to watercolors. The latter of these is the subject of a new book on the artist, Alice Neel: Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978, and an accompanying exhibition at blue chip New York City gallery David Zwirner.

Neel’s delicate sketching had the unique ability to catch the precise moment between joy, laughter, and sadness as it flashed across a human face. This gravitas and perception, with a dash of sly cheekiness, made her the perfect choice to create a set of watery black and white illustrations in the 1930s of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov. The final, fully illustrated book by Neel never saw the light of day, and as The Paris Review put it: “It’s not clear if the publishers rejected her work or if the whole project fell through, but in either case, damn.” The eight illustrations Neel created that we do know of are a testament to her intuitive ability, sensitive hand, and fierce humor. The unbridled joy of Grushenka and Mitya at the Drunken Party is juxtaposed with the somber, Old Testament sufferings of The Doctor’s Visit to Ilyusha. Together, they create something just as complex, as human, as one of Dostoyevsky’s very own works.

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I grew up as an older brother in a family of nine kids. This meant entertaining my siblings with drawings and stories I came up with. I found out what children enjoyed in a good story, which led me to becoming a children’s book author. I learned early on that without engaging characters, and valuable lessons, a story couldn’t stick with a child into adulthood.

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You Are What You Ride: Two French Designers Create Illustrated Bike Taxonomy

Romain Bourdieux and Thomas Pomarelle of Cyclemon have created a series of posters in an homage to the race, and bike riding in general.

This year the Tour de France turns 100 years old. In celebration of their country's legacy, French illustrators and designers Romain Bourdieux and Thomas Pomarelle of Cyclemon have created a series of posters in an homage to the race, and bike riding in general. The illustrations playfully stereotype what kind of rider you are based on your wheels, including weirdos, hipsters, grandpas, and cougars all in the mix.

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While the Tour de France has been plagued with a bit of controversy lately—Lance Armstrong, and the fact that women still aren't allowed to compete in the games—a love of cycling is universal. Check out their clever animation, and images below, and let us know what kind of cyclist you are in the comments.

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Our Winning How-To Guide: Learn to Bind a Book

GOOD reader Amy Wu illustrated her technique for making her own books.

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Intermission: Can You Do This with Your Bic Pen?

Parisian artist Sarah Esteje uses a plain old ballpoint pen to create your favorite creatures.

Doodlers, you're about to fall in love. Parisian artist Sarah Esteje, who's currently studying at the Gobelins School of the Image, used only a classic Bic pen to create a collection of highly detailed, ultra-realistic animal illustrations. The menagerie includes everything from a tiger to a platypus, and it proves that even the most unassuming tools can create amazing art.

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