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Print is excited to announce this week’s Designer of the Week: comic book historian, writer, illustrator and designer Arlen Schumer. You might recall Print’s longtime contributor Michael Dooley writing about Schumer’s fight for artist-creator credit years ago. Just this week Dooley urged us all to attend Schumer’s upcoming lecture for the Type Director’s Club of New York‘s exhibition centered on lettering artist Ira Schnapp.
Dooley writes, “Arlen Schumer is a force to be reckoned with. He’s peerless in his unique knowledge and perspectives on the art and design of superhero comics. … And his presentations are not to be missed. … Bottom line: Go. See. Hear. Learn. And be very entertained.”
Without further ado, let’s get to know Schumer a little better.
Name: Arlen Schumer
Location: Westport, CT
Design school attended: Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Graphic Design, 1980)
How would you describe your work?
I combine expertise in graphic design and illustration with knowledge of comic book art history to create works that stand out from the crowd of conventional graphic design and illustration.
Where do you find inspiration?
From the comic books and comic book artists that I’ve read, collected and studied my whole life.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
All the comic book artists covered in my comic book art history book, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art; from other fields, Saul Bass (graphic design), Stanley Kubrick (film), Edward Hopper (painting).
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
My favorite project would have to be my book, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, because it represents my lifetime of comic book art research and study.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
Yes, my current exhibit design project, “The Super Type of Ira Schnapp” for the Type Directors Club of NY because I’ve never designed an exhibit of this size and scale.
Schumer’s lectures at “The Super Type of Ira Schnapp” will feature large, oversized prints of Schnapp’s “greatest hits” provided by the producer and sponsor of the exhibit, A to A Studio Solutions. The lecture opens the exhibition on May 14th and the exhibition will run until September. Tickets can be purchased online. Read even more about Schumer and the Ira Schnapp exhibit here.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I’d like to lecture more about comic book art history, nationally and internationally—I won’t be happy until I have an IMAX screen behind me, and an audience like Martin Luther King’s ’63 speech in front of me!—and eventually teach it full-time, and design more exhibits about it, at larger scale!
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Don’t rely on the computer to dictate your “style”—develop a style of mark-making that is uniquely yours, and then bend the computer software and graphic capabilities to your will.
Additional work by Schumer:
This download from Print magazine explores graphic novels and comic books, including a feature-length article with a current award-winning comic book colorist and a look inside a comic book movement in Argentina.
Even if you’re not a comic book fan, the illustrations, reviews and life work of one cartoonist will inspire you.