I'll say it right off: Tim Lane is one of my favorite print illustrators working today. Along with his periodic appearances in the Times, I watch for his posters and buy any issues of his comics I can find. (Re: the latter, fans of postmodern pulp auteur Charles Burns would do well to seek out Lane's Happy Hour in America.) So a day like Friday, with not one, not two, but three Lane op-ed illos, is a joyous one here at I.W.H.Q. What I love about Lane's work is his eye for grotesquerie and surrealism combined with incredible precision of line. On the op-ed page, he doesn't generally concern himself with responding directly to the article. It's like he free-associates from the article and comes up with something that he just really wants to draw. At least, that's what he seems to have done in today's lead graphic. While his theme of technology eclipsed by nature is not incompatible with Kenneth Deffeyes' article, nothing points to an oil derrick grown over with antlers. (Tree branches? Nah, antlers!) The piece is arrestingly tight: the gentle curvatures of the branch-tips, the carefully rendered junctures of machine and organic matter, the contours of the snow-covered ground, everywhere Lane sweats the details, it pays off in stare-worthy spades. The other two drawings are not as impressive, but continue the theme of machinery gone wild. More about those in the next two posts.