There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
TO JUNE 30
Deep in the Nuttycombe Archives is a box containing eight leather-bound, dusty volumes representing the entire course work of the Famous Artist’s School. Yes, the same organization responsible for those “Draw Me!” ads in the back of comic books. This particular set dates from the ’50s and originally belonged to a neighbor’s dad who actually completed its correspondence courses. The famous artists of the Famous Artist’s School were indeed notable: Norman Rockwell, Albert Dorne, and Steven Dohanos were among its founders. And although I never officially signed up for the lessonsthe ‘rents balked at the several-hundred-dollar tuitionI would often drool over the many stunning examples of the illustrator’s craft that the FAS staff provided: the figure studies, the shading techniques, the dramatic lighting. You, too, may need to strap on a drool cup when entering the third-floor gallery above Georgetown’s Beyond Comics, where “IS ART: The Art of Insight Studios” is showing. The Baltimore-based graphic house is home to artists Marc Hempel (Untitled is pictured), Mark Wheatley, and occasional Washington City Paper contributor Frank Cho, a productive trio that is every bit as impressive as the old-school masters. Evidence abounds: Cho’s pen-and-ink precision, Hempel’s witty watercolor cartoons, Wheatley’s exotic pulp-fiction-esque gouaches. If you don’t want to slobber on the matted works, buy the accompanying book by Allan Gross; it offers thoughtful words to match the gorgeous images, which are on view from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, to Saturday, June 30, at Illumination Arts Gallery, 3060 M St. NW, Third Floor. Free. (202) 333-8651. (Dave Nuttycombe)