Peter Kuper

I am trying to bring myself back to the smiley face.

We desperately need to have artists who will tell us about the world, to describe the beautiful world we live in and try to give hope.

Be kind and be positive.

We live in an inspiring world.

Peter Kuper is an American illustrator and cartoonist. Some of his work is overtly political, some if reflective. But all of his work has an implicit political undertone.

Peter Kuper does both his own personal and commissioned work. He does a lot of work for free eg all the editing and work by all authors in World War 3 was done without payment. But provided a springboard to future work.

Peter has lectured extensively throughout the world and has taught comics and illustration courses at Parsons, and The School of Visual Arts and Harvard University’s first class dedicated to graphic novels. He was the 2020-21 Jean Strouse Fellow at The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center and received a 2022 Yaddo residency.

Translations of his work have appeared in Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia, China, Brazil, Poland, Sweden, Israel, Germany and Mexico.

More recently he has become interested in the potential of e-publishing as a way of bridging print and animation, and possibilities for including links to video and external information.

Peter Kuper’s work appears regularly in The New YorkerThe Nation, and Mad , where he has written and illustrated “Spy vs. Spy” every issue since 1997. He is the co-founder of World War 3 Illustrated, a political comix magazine now in its 43rd year of publication.

He has produced over two dozen books including Sticks and Stones (winner of The Society of Illustrators gold medal), The System, Diario de Oaxaca, Ruins (winner of the 2016 Eisner Award) and adaptations of many of Franz Kafka’s works into comics including The Metamorphosis. His most recent graphic novels include Kafkaesque (winner of the 2018 Rueben award) and an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

His New York sketchbooks were published as as series of short fiction works in different styles in ‘Drawn to New York’.

His Exhibition INterSECTS: Where Arthropods and Homo sapiens Meet was on display at the New York Public Library Jan. 14- Aug 13th 2022. He is currently working the on INterSECTS, a graphic novel on the history of insects that will be published by W.W. Norton in 2024.

Connections between his sketchbooks and his creative identity and illustrative style?

Sketchbooks are central to his practice.

  • He always keeps small sketchbooks with him as he travels on the subway.
  • He then uses larger sketchbooks to refine his drawings and practise techniques. And to map out book plans.

If I draw in one style too long I get bored.

He works in many different media:

  • mixing crayon, pen, ink and watercolour often adding digital colour over ink
  • gluestick collage
  • stencilling and spray paint
  • scratchboard and woodcut eg in Kafkaesque

He does a lot of research, draws from photographs and spends time writing on location to experience what he draws.



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