The theme of NoBrow 10 is "Studio Dreams". There were a set of patterns regarding how each artist interpreted what this might mean. For some, it meant what their dream studio might look like without regard to reality or limitations. A number of them fantasized about treehouses as their studios, such as Jarom Vogel, Dustin Harbin, and Jan Van Der Veken. Many more imagined them in a house in a forest, surrounded by vegetation. Others fantasized about a lake or ocean view. A general rule of thumb for most of the entries is that the more detailed the environment was in their drawings, the less detailed their actual workspaces were. That was especially true for naturalistic styles like Bianca Bagnarelli, whose drawing emphasizes the house and the surroundings she works in, but only offers up a tiny silhouette of her actual workspace. On the other extreme, Jim Stoten's illustration is heavy on presenting the tiniest details of his workspace, even if some are imaginary.
There's a lot of great drawing in this anthology. However, the candy-colored NoBrow house style resulted in most of these drawings bleeding into each other. NoBrow's comics, for the most part, have a bright, friendly palette: oranges, reds, yellows, pinks, light purples, etc. It's a pastel parade that eschews darker colors in general and shading techniques like hatching in particular. There's a lack of density or weight in many of these illustrations as a result. It's not unusual for a publisher to have an overall aesthetic defined over time. Drawn & Quarterly, especially when Chris Oliveros was still the publisher, was strongly influenced by a combination of classic American comic strips and Franco-Belgian cartooning. 2DCloud is known for its willingness to take risks on comics that eschew narrative. Even Fantagraphics, which publishes a wide array of styles, has always had a strong connection to the underground era's dense drawing techniques.
----------------------------------------------Rob Clough has written about comics for Cicada, the Comics Journal, Sequential, tcj.com,
sequart.com, Savant, Foxing Quarterly, Studygroup Magazine, as well as for his own blog, High-Low (highlowcomics.blogspot.com).