John Lennon: “I was about 15 when I started Thurberizing the drawings.”

Posted on 9th October 2016 in News

Back in December of 2013 Ink Spill ran a piece, “John Lennon & James Thurber: A Sunnier Connection.”  To celebrate John Lennon’s birthday, I’m re-posting that piece, albeit in slightly edited form.



Anyone familiar with John Lennon’s and James Thurber’s drawings can’t help but see some cross-pollination from Thurber to Lennon.  Lennon’s drawings, published in 1964’s In His Own Write immediately drew comparisons to Thurber’s work. According to a Lennon biographer, Ray Coleman, Lennon at first scoffed at the suggestion, telling a BBC interviewer in 1965, who brought up book reviewers mentioning Thurber and Edward Lear (among others) as influences on Lennon’s work, “I deny it because I’m ignorant of it.”

Not too many years later, in 1971, during an appearance by Yoko Ono and Lennon on The Dick Cavett Show, Cavett brought up the subject, saying, “You know, your drawings look a little like James Thurber’s.”


In a funny moment as Lennon begins to respond to Cavett, Yoko Ono turns to Lennon and says, “His work does look a bit like yours, y’know, I think” to which Lennon replies, “Well he’s older than me, so he came first, so I look like him.”  And then he went on to say:

“I used to love his stuff when I was a kid. There were three people I was very keen on—Lewis Carroll, Thurber and an English drawer, or whatever you call him, called Ronald Searle. When I was about 11, I was turned on to those three. I think I was about 15 when I started Thurberizing the drawings.” (Another Lennon biographer, Philip Norman, credits Lennon’s Aunt Mimi with introducing her nephew to Thurber’s work).

[Top drawing, from  The Thurber Carnival.   Lower drawing from Lennon’s A Spaniard in The Works]

 Note: In His Own Write and the follow-up, A Spaniard in the Works are still in print.  You can see many of the drawings in those two books by Googling: John Lennon +drawings    (then select “Images”)

 To see the Yoko Ono & John Lennon Cavett moment, click here.  The discussion turns to Thurber at around the 6:05 mark.

Interview of Interest: Shannon Wheeler

Posted on 7th October 2016 in News

wheelerFrom webcomicsinterviews, October 5th, “Shannon Wheeler Interview”

Here’s Ink Spill’s Shannon Wheeler  “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry:

Shannon Wheeler  NYer work: May 4, 2009 – .   Key collection: I Thought You Would Be Funnier ( BOOM! Studios, 2010). Website:

Liza Donnelly Joins “CBS This Morning” as Contributing Cartoonist

Posted on 5th October 2016 in News

TV Newser reports that New Yorker cartoonist  Liza Donnelly has joined CBS This Morning as a contributing cartoonist. The announcement was also made on air this morning by Gayle King.

L at DNC w: CBS This Morning News team July 28 2016












[Photo, left to right: Norah O’Donnell, Liza Donnelly, Charlie Rose, and Gayle King on the CBS This Morning set at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia]

Here’s the press release from TV Newser:

Award-winning cartoonist Liza Donnelly, best known for her work in The New Yorker, will join CBS THIS MORNING as contributing cartoonist.

Donnelly, a pioneer of on-the-fly sketching of live events, has worked previously with CBS THIS MORNING sketching for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and the 2016 Presidential Debate on September 26. She will be present in the studio and greenroom on an ongoing basis to capture behind the scenes moments with guests and significant news moments.

And here’s a related article from WWD,CBS This Morning Adds New Yorker Cartoonist as Part of Growth Strategy” 



Event of Interest: Roz Chast & Liana Finck Help Launch Best American Comics 2016 at the Strand

Posted on 4th October 2016 in News

best-2016 The next installment in The Best American Comics series will be launched Wednesday night (October 5th) at the one and only Strand book store. Guest editor Roz Chast will be there as well as Liana FinckDetails here.

Book Launch of Interest: Bob Eckstein’s “Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores”

Posted on 3rd October 2016 in News

And here are the details for what promises to be a fun event…





Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores will be out tomorrow, October 4th.


Eckstein's books

Exhibit of Interest with Jerry Dumas

Posted on 2nd October 2016 in News



An exhibit of cartoon art in Wilton, Connecticut includes work by New Yorker cartoonist Jerry Dumas. The exhibit also includes work by Chance Browne, Brian Walker, Greg Walker, Mary Anne Case, Bob Englehart, Dick Hodgins, Bill Janocha, Sean Kelly, Maria Scrivan, and Rick Stromoski.  Above is Mr. Dumas’s National Cartoonists Society profile, and below is his Ink Spill “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry:

Gerald Dumas  Born, Detroit, Michigan, 1930. NYer work: August 27, 1960 – July 12, 1976

New Addition to the Ink Spill Library: How To Be Perfect. Illustrated by Jason Novak

Posted on 30th September 2016 in News

novak-how-to-be-perfectThe latest addition to Ink Spill’s  “New Yorker Cartoonists Library” is How To Be Perfect by Ron Padgett, illustrated by Jason Novak, whose work can be seen on  Mr. Novak’s drawings, with their strategic use of black areas reminds me a bit of Gluyas Williams’ work along with some  Feiffer, Steig, and Ben Shahn line work mixed in.  Good stuff.



Bob Eckstein’s “Why Bookstores Matter” in Publishers Weekly; A 1970 Whitney Darrow, Jr. Interview

Posted on 29th September 2016 in News

bob-eckstein-pwFrom Publisher’s Weekly, September 23, 2016, “Why Bookstores Matter”Bob Eckstein talks about some of the stores left out of his forthcoming book.


whitney-darrow-cartoonist-profilesMike Lynch has posted Jud Hurd’s 1970 Cartoonists Profiles interview with the great Whitney Darrow, Jr.









His Ink Spill New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z entry:

Whitney Darrow, Jr. (photo above)  Born August 22, 1909, Princeton, NJ. Died August, 1999, Burlington, Vermont. NYer work: 1933 -1982. Quote (Darrow writing of himself in the third person): …in 1931 he moved to New York City, undecided between law school and doing cartoons as a profession. The fact that the [New Yorker’s] magazine offices were only a few blocks away decided him…” (Quote from catalogue, Meet the Artist, 1943)

Emmy Winner Alex Gregory Pencilled

Posted on 27th September 2016 in News





Alex Gregory, who recently picked up an Emmy for Veep, is the latest subject of Jane Mattimoe’s wonderful blog, A Case For Pencils. Read it here.

Latest Addition to Ink Spill’s Archives: “Drawings of the Theatre 1927” with Arno, Karasz, Birnbaum, and Covarrubias; More Spills: Bob Eckstein Cracks Wise for The New York Times on Debate Night; Donnelly Live-Tweet Draws Debate for CBS News

Posted on 26th September 2016 in News


























Thanks to the generosity of the illustrator Tom Bloom (who is an  indefatigable collector of cartoon-related books & ephemera)  Drawings of the Theatre 1927 has been added to the archives. I’d not heard of or seen this until a few weeks ago. Published just two years after Arno started at The New Yorker it’s an excellent example of how quickly his star was rising in the publishing world. New Yorker aficionados will also recognize some of the company he kept: the great cover artist, Ilonka Karasz (187 covers between 1925 and 1973)  Abe Birnbaum (141 covers and 9 cartoons in a career that lasted from 1929 through 1974) and Miguel Covarrubias (7 cartoons, all published in 1925).







This is a small pamphlet, measuring 4″ x 6″, that opens up like a file folder.   Four attached postcards are slipped into the right side, each postcard featuring one of these four New Yorker artists. . The work of the two non-New Yorker artists, Gil Spear and Samuel Rogers appear on the pamphlet itself — those portraits you see running vertically along the right edge.












More Spills Icon Edited…Bob Eckstein has posted on Facebook: “I hope you watch [tonight’s] debate along with The New York times website where they will have me doing commentary, doodles and cracking wise.”   (Link to Mr. Eckstein’s exploits on the Times’ site  here).

While you’re waiting to link to the Times, don’t forget to pre-order his forthcoming book, Footnotes From The World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Book Sellers, and Book Lovers.  Out October 4th. Eckstein's books






…And  Liza Donnelly will be Live Tweet-Drawing the debate for CBS News.  You can find her work on Instagram:

and on Twitter: