April 22, 2014

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Rob Ullman's Animal Alphabet

 Written and Illustrated by Rob Ullman
Self-Published

Anyone who is a fan of this blog knows my long association and friendship with Rob Ullman, the biggest Pirate/Steeler/Pens fan not living in Pittsburgh.

It's been a rough weekend, given the Bucs are back to their old tricks and the Pens look ready to choke more than the Boston Strangler, so I thought I'd cheer him up by telling you about this gem of a mini from a few years ago.

Back in 2011, a group of cartoonists, many of whom I am either friends with or know of, got together and put together a group Tumblr featuring a different letter of the alphabet each week for six months. For each letter, the artist could pick a corresponding animal of their choice.

(I even did one, in a rare art moment. "L is for Lemings on a Ladder.")

Well, those of us familiar with Rob's art know he can easily draw beautiful and realistic women, but could he manage to do the same for the animal kingdom?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Taking the same slick lines that serve him so well when crafting humans, Ullman puts together images of the selected animals that portray them as neatly as if they were illustrations in a field guide or 19th Century biology book and yet feel just light and airy enough to match his other works. Each creature is front and center, taking up as much of the page as possible, with backgrounds that fit their natures.

(I will forgive Rob for adding an Igloo to the Penguins one, given it *is* the name for the old Mellon Arena.)

This is a unique sketchbook that shows off Rob's talent in a way you can hand to your child, and even, as he notes on the website, let them color the figures in, if they're so inclined. I love themed sketchbooks (I even have one that's an artist's choice alphabet, that I desperately need to get working on), and this is no exception. If you enjoy artbook mini-comics, this is a must-have, that you can get from Ullman's website.

Not convinced yet? Then I leave you with a picture of Rob's Dik-Dik:


What else were you expecting? For shame!