Dash Shaw

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Dash Shaw
Shaw at the New York Comic Con in Manhattan, October 8, 2010.
BornHollywood, California
Notable works
Bottomless Belly Button

Dash Shaw is a U.S. comic book writer/artist and animator. He is the author of the graphic novels Cosplayers, Doctors, New School, and Bottomless Belly Button, published by Fantagraphics. Additionally, Shaw has written Love Eats Brains published by Odd God Press, GardenHead published by Meathaus, The Mother's Mouth published by Alternative Comics, and BodyWorld published by Pantheon Books.

Shaw's comic short stories have appeared in many different anthologies, newspapers and magazines. His square-sized short stories were collected in the 2005 book GoddessHead published by Hidden Agenda Press. His comics are known for their emphasis on emotional, lyrical logic and innovative design. He was named one of the top ten artists to check out at the 2002 "Small Press Expo" when he was 19 years old. He also writes lyrics and plays with James Blanca in the weirdo pop band Love Eats Brains! and has co-written and acted in various short film projects.

Early life[edit]

Shaw studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.[1]


Throughout college and since, Shaw has published sequential art short stories in a variety of publications in the United States and abroad, plus numerous magazine illustrations.[citation needed] Amy Taubin of Film Comment magazine writes:[volume & issue needed]

Dash Shaw's comics are fearless, tender and smart. Shaw's drawings and texts turn the blank page into an imaginary friend — an alter-ego onto which he and the reader can project and try to make sense of dangerous, contradictory, consuming fantasies and ideas about life (especially that crazy thing called love) and its representation. Comics and movies have lots in common, but few movies are as inspired and intimate as 'Goddess Head'.[volume & issue needed]

Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button was published by Fantagraphics in June 2008.[2] His BodyWorld webcomic was bought by Pantheon Books and published in a single printed volume in April 2010.[3]

Bottomless, an exhibition of Shaw's original drawings, storyboards, color background overlays and a new video animation, was on display at Duke University's John Hope Franklin Center from September 25 through October 31, 2008.[4]

Late 2009 saw the release of The Unclothed Man In the 35th Century A.D., a collection of short stories previously published in MOME,[5] along with several pages of storyboards and other ephemera from his animated shorts for IFC.[citation needed]

Technique and materials[edit]

Shaw employs a combination of hand drawing, animation techniques and Photoshop to produce his artwork. Shaw started working on acetate sheets while studying at the School of Visual Arts. Pointing to pre-Photoshop comics that were colored via clear celluloid containing the black line art, under which would be placed a board with the painted colors, Shaw explains that he took this process and combined it with animation-style use of celluloid, where the backs of the acetate are painted with gouache and laid over a painted background, in addition to color separations where black line art is used to mark the different colors. In addition to using hand-drawing media such as crow quill pens, colored pencils, and markers, Shaw incorporates collage, Photoshop, and painting directly over photocopies, though he does not work with a separate line art layer, preferring to treat black as simply another color, and not a separate or more important element. On BodyWorld, for example, Shaw did the color separations by hand, used the paint bucket tool in Photoshop to color the shapes, and then printed it out and painted over the photocopy, before scanning it again and making final adjustments in Photoshop to achieve the final art.[1]

Shaw explains that his key motive is combining what he likes about hand drawing with the processes available in Photoshop. He has stated that he does not own a drawing tablet, and that his actual knowledge of Photoshop is limited, compared to most mainstream colorists who rely on it exclusively, explaining, "that coloring leaves me cold."[1]


Shaw's animation My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea gets its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2016 and will also be shown at the New York Film Festival (NYFF). It features the voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph and Susan Sarandon.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Judith Salavetz and Spencer Drate. Creating Comics!, 2010, Rockport Publishers, pages 128-130
  2. ^ Bottomless Belly Button at Fantagraphics
  3. ^ Dash Shaw, Pantheon Ink Deal, Publishers Weekly, August 19, 2008
  4. ^ Sikorski, Rob (2008-08-22). "Graphic novelist Dash Shaw to exhibit Bottomless at the Franklin Center Gallery on the Duke campus" (Press release). Duke University Center for International Studies.
  5. ^ Chris Mautner (November 27, 2009). "The clothed cartoonist in the 21st century: An interview with Dash Shaw". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  6. ^ Heidi Macdonald (August 9, 2016). "Dash Shaw's animated film about high school to be shown at two acclaimed film festivals". The Beat. Retrieved 2016-08-12.

External links[edit]