Nicholas Blechman
Teacher Plus

Nicholas Blechman

New York, United States

Nicholas Blechman

I never went to art school. Most of what I learned about design is self taught, or picked up from my father, R.O. Blechman, an illustrator known for his wit and squiggly line. I had a desk in the corner of his studio, where in true DIY spirit, I designed, edited and published a political-comic ‘zine called NOZONE. This gave me the opportunity to work with my design heroes (Gary Baseman, Maira Kalman, Chip Kidd), and learn about art direction. Meanwhile I ran around the city hustling my portfolio. Soon, my illustrations began to appear in The New York Times, under the pseudonym Knickerbocker.

Eventually I was asked to join the Times as Art Director for the Op-Ed page. It was a dream come true. However the pace at a daily newspaper was relentless, and after a few years, I left.

I opened my own studio, Knickerbocker Design, in Chinatown, and I taught illustration at the School of Visual Arts, and a course in political image-making at Maryland Institute College of Art. During this time my illustration career flourished. I was working for almost every major magazine, drawing maps, charts, icons, full page illustrations, and spots. I said “yes” to every assignment. In 2006, my work was included at the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.

However my heart lay in art direction, and eventually I returned to The New York Times to art direct the Week In Review and Book Review sections. In the summer of 2015 I fulfilled another dream, and became the Creative Director of The New Yorker.

Commissioning illustrations for the magazine, and occasionally creating them myself for other clients, is the perfect professional balance. I love working on both sides of the desk, as an art director and illustrator, in the pursuit of illustration that is witty and memorable.



Joined January 2020