Everything Is Its Own Reward
An All Over Coffee Collection

Art Practical

"It's not the spirit of any particular place that Madonna captures so well but rather a quality of life, a state of mind, predicated on the luxury of having an existence in which the only dramas to speak of are personal."

"All Around the World: Paint it San Francisco "
Aug 16, 2012

Ashley Gao writes about Paul Madonna's artwork.

- Asheley Gao, Unleashed


"mesmerizing . . . When his international images are paired with his sparse, poetic words—sometimes thought-provoking one-liners such as 'You don't get anywhere without searching' and sometimes long, meandering sections of dialogue and story—the effect is haunting."

San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Madonna gets an extra chills-up-the-spine boost from his illustrations of semi-familiar San Francisco architecture and intersections, lucid as etchings of bleached Kodachrome shots."

Check out book app on the iPad!

If you've got an iPad, check out the new app for Paul Madonna's Everything is its own reward. It's free!


"You don't have to have lived in or loved San Francisco to fall under the spell of Madonna's mysterious and largely unpeopled cityscapes. San Francisco isn't the only place he draws with the miraculously exquisite attention on display here (Paris, Rome and Buenos Ares also appear) but something about the fog off the bay makes it particularly well suited to his dreamy and surprisingly emotional pen-and-ink images. Madonna eschews well-known and much-photographed places in favor of the spaces between old Victorians, neglected corners, intersections that seem to cant dangerously into space, vistas of rooftops bristling with pipes and ganglia-like clusters of power lines, all paired with short enigmatic stories and reflections on art, memory and love. This book is the second collection of All Over Coffee, a 'strip' Madonna draws for the Sunday arts section of the San Francisco Chronicle. There's also a free app, too, if you'd like to see a sample, but only paper can do justice to the eerie radiance of Madonna's artwork, and the cumulative effect of its 176 pages is ravishing." -- Laura Miller

Five books about San Francisco
Jun 5, 2011

"The landscape of a city isn't simply a 3-D collage of buildings imposed on the earth. What we see is culture and politics, memory and revelations, resistance and change.This is especially true of San Francisco, ever in flux, where the viewers range from globe-trotting tourists to fifth-generation natives and new residents searching for some utopia all their own.

[Madonna's] San Francisco includes Visitacion Valley and elite museums, Four Barrel Coffee and the asphalt crest of Potrero Hill. The aphorism-like narratives that accompany the drawings can be an acquired taste - the Potrero Hill scene is accompanied by 'I am quite aware,' she said,/ 'of how oblivious I am.' - but the monochromatic drawings are as evocative in their own way as Robert Bechtle's paintings of similar terrain. This is San Francisco chilled and empty, a unique topography cloaked by everyday life."

- John King, The San Francisco Chronicle

Metropolis Now

"Paul Madonna is a San Francisco-based cartoonist who has spent the last few years crafting – and crafting is the word – a comic strip that offers snapshots of the city he lives in. It's a city of big skies, telephone lines, clapboard buildings, street lights, advertising signs, TV aerials, storm drains and long shadows as recorded in pen and ink wash. It is the equivalent of a late afternoon in a favourite city, the hum of the day dying away before the buzz of the night begins.

Madonna’s book reminds us that the reason so many of us love cities is because they give us permission to be voyeurs, to observe others, to see other lives on display in front of us in the coffee shop, the supermarket, the traffic jam, the commuter train, the neon-lit street. They are full of stories."

"The Biblio File: Gifted San Francisco artist and writer to appear at Chico book signing"
May 15, 2011

"Paul Madonna's stunning pen-and-ink cityscapes appear in the comic section of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. His drawings contain short stories, snatches of conversations, philosophical observations, forming strange juxtapositions with his intricate architectural renderings.

The weekly strip is called 'All Over Coffee' (I suspect the multiple meanings are not accidental), which gave the title to Madonna's first compilation. Now he's out with a new collection of panels, "Everything Is Its Own Reward" ($27.95 in hardcover from City Lights Books), and it's a mesmerizing journey, as the author puts it, 'from an introduction, into autobiography and fiction, to a climax of creative questioning, then to resolution.'"

- Dan Barnett, Chico Enterprise Record

Everything Is Its Own Reward... It Really Is
May 19, 2011

"In putting Everything Is Its Own Reward together, Madonna was intimately more familiar with his own process. The four sections progress from rumination to artistic statement, forming a narrative that effectively captures the creative arc he has traveled throughout the history of All Over Coffee. Each moment, each page is self-sufficient. But the book, too, is its own reward."

- Evan Karp, KQED

Paul Madonna: finding the creative arc
May 12, 2011

"'I just love that process of letting the work speak to me, and it's a way of constantly working: apply this part of my brain, and then looking back and seeing something else.'"

- Evan Karp, Litseen

Drawing Crowds: Illustrating Paul Madonna's Book Party
May 3, 2011

"Like many, The Bay Citizen's Jay Sacher has admired Paul Madonna's elegant drawing series, titled All Over Coffee, which appears weekly in the SF Chronicle. Last Friday, Madonna showed off the original pieces in an exhibit that coincided with his latest collection, Everything is its Own Reward, published by City Lights. As Sacher notes, Madonna is a busy guy: he also does a strip called Small Potatoes for lit-site The Rumpus."

- Jay Sacher, Bay Citizen

Paul Madonna on 'Everything Is Its Own Reward'
Apr 27, 2011

"Not a day goes by without Paul Madonna sketching and scribbling away in the notebook that never leaves his side. He knew from the beginning that he would be an artist. From amateur illustrations as a kid to a BFA from Carnegie Mellon to the first-ever art internship at MAD magazine, the Missionite has always expressed himself through drawing."

- Allison McCarthy, 7x7

Paul Madonna is much funnier in person
Apr 25, 2011

"Where do you get your city gossip? Eavesdropping.

What's your favorite San Francisco institution? The Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park.

What's the question you wish we asked? Why stay in San Francisco? Because it's just close enough to what I think the world should be like that other places let me down."

- The Bold Italic

Boston Globe

"Paul Madonna is a pen master. His work is difficult to categorize but that he was MAD magazine's first art intern may help explain his ability to capture human experience in its odd fullness. In his All Over Coffee comic strip, published in the San Francisco Chronicle since 2004, Madonna's evocative pen-and-ink drawings of cityscapes are accompanied by handwritten bits of overheard conversations, mini-stories, and zen-ish musings like: 'It takes perpetual work to keep life simple.' The new anthology Everything Is Its Own Reward: An All Over Coffee Collection (City Lights) is a treasure chest that comes with a pullout poster inside."

Publishers Weekly

"In this exquisite second collection from his long-running weekly San Francisco Chronicle series All Over Coffee, Madonna captures snapshots in time as he explores the relationship between image and text . . . With pieces depicting San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, and Tokyo, Madonna's work is something to savor."