I have, for a number of years now, been an ardent admirer of Whiskey Radish, the enthusiastic, energetic creator of a world like no other—one peopled with an inexhaustible cast of characters whose adventures unfold in single-sentence illustrated frames. These moments sometimes stand alone, sometimes riff off one another with a free form jazz vibe. Her distinctive sketches have been a regular presence online and off—illustrating articles, decorating freely gifted postcards, stickers and other treats, and gathered together in books created and often sold for a song. Now, for the first time, a selection of Ms. Radish’s images have been collected in a fabulous full-colour book published by Ice Floe Press. The adventures of char, vol #1 is a labour of love. It is a treasure for existing fans and a welcome introduction for those who have not yet met the cheerful madness of Whiskey Radish.
Behind the playful moniker is an artist, writer and jazz lover who lives near Boston. A wife and mother of three who teaches private art classes to teenagers, the core stimulus of her art rests in the daily practice of producing a daily “sortie” or burst of thought. Illustrated with her boisterous ink drawings, each thought becomes a story in itself. The images in this volume are drawn from around 300 “sorties” made between October of 2020 and July of 2021. Robert Frede Krenter, the publisher of Ice Floe Press, selected and ordered the images with their descriptive wisdoms and observations to titled create mini-adventues. The result is a collaborative visual poetry.
Whiskey Radish’s primary template is black ink on white, a blend of blotchy exuberance and startlingly fine detail, but in this collection colour is invited to join the party, often adding texture, density and a remarkable range and variety to the images. The creative process and the method of assembly heightens the variability. Some of Whiskey’s familiar characters—Char, Slimbo the Rocket Dog, You and the King—are joined by other wise, wistful and magical personas and even, for a change of pace, a selection of drawings of plants.
I first read this book in PDF—full disclosure, I was asked to provide a blurb—a format that enforces a linear reading. But, now that I have a paper copy, it is just as delightful, if not more fun, to just open it up and slip in and out of the short segments moving forward and back. During a month in which a broken leg has me tethered to home as outside spring is bursting with green leaves and blossoms, and so much news has been shrouded in darkness, it has been wonderful to have a book so full of life close at hand.
The adventures of char, vol #1 by Whiskey Radish is published by Ice Floe Press.