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“I choose to do cartoons because that’s the art form closest to how I actually see the world,” says Ivan Brunetti, the illustrator behind eight New Yorker covers and creator of a definitive new guide to crafting comics. The Columbia College professor and University of Chicago alum, 43, lives and draws in Jefferson Park, where he’s assisted by his two muses, cats Linus and Schroeder. We dropped by Brunetti’s studio to observe his process, which he details in Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice (Yale University Press, $13), out March 29th. PLUS: Brunetti appears April 1st at Chicago Comics, 3244 N. Clark St.; 773-528-1983.
STEP 1: Penguin asked Brunetti to create a cover for its new edition of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, part of a series of literary classics with art by today’s graphic novelists. After doodling on Post-its, he sketched a layout in black pen, showing the different rooms where the naughty children meet their fates. Brunetti bedecks his house with curio cabinets filled with Mickey Mouse dolls, Pinocchios, and vintage toys, so a project catering to his inner child wasn’t far-fetched.