From Washington & Lee University, May 10, 2013, “Announcing the Winners of the New Yorker Caption Contest” – The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff spoke at W&L yesterday, and revealed the winning caption for a contest deigned for W&L.
Here’s a link to a website devoted to the work of Charles E. Martin, better known to the New Yorker readership as CEM. Martin, who died in 1995 at the age of 85, began contributing to The New Yorker in 1938 (his first appearance was a cover). He went on to create nearly two hundred more covers for the magazine as well as just over four hundred cartoons. The website features a short film about his life.
(thanks to Liam Walsh for the link)
And in case you missed it: here’s Chris Weyant on Bob Mankoff’s weekly New Yorker blog speaking about the Daily Cartoon he created following the tragedy in Boston.
From Virginia’s Washington & Lee University, April 17, 2013, “New Yorker Cartoon Editor to Speak at W&L”– link includes a caption contest designed by Bob Mankoff specifically for the Washington & Lee community (His talk is May 9, 2013).
From the North Adams (Massachusetts) Transcript, April 19, 2013, “Cartoonist, illustrator to speak at WCMA” — Adrian Tomine will be at Williams College April 23, 2013.
From fora.tv, “A Drawn and Rendered Life” — this video preview of a talk by Roz Chast concerning the death of her mother.
We’ve known that Leah Wolchok has been hard at work on her film about New Yorker cartoonists and thought this was an excellent time to check in with her (Ink Spill will revisit Very Semi-Serious in a matter of weeks). We asked Leah to describe her film, and give us an idea of who’s in it (so far). Here’s what she had to say:
The film has been a labor of love and obsession for 6 ½ years. The film is supported by Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, the Pacific Pioneer Fund, Women Make Movies and BAVC. We are working closely with cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, and we’ve interviewed a dozen cartoonists, including Roz Chast, Michael Maslin, Liza Donnelly, Sam Gross, Mort Gerberg, Lee Lorenz, Matt Diffee, Drew Dernavich, Zach Kanin, Emily Flake, Liam Walsh and Liana Finck, who recently published her first cartoon in The New Yorker. Next up is Bruce Eric Kaplan.
We’ve also filmed scenes with Gahan Wilson, PC Vey, Sidney Harris, David Sipress, Mike Twohy, Joe Dator, Bob Eckstein, Robert Leighton, Farley Katz, Benjamin Schwartz, Carolita Johnson, Felippe Galindo, David Borchardt, Corey Pandolph, Paul Noth and Barbara Smaller.
Jack Ziegler and Andy Friedman both created original artwork for the film.
In a few weeks we are launching our website and trailer, featuring animation, interviews and never-before-seen footage from the New Yorker headquarters, cartoonists’ studios and inside the homes of caption contest devotees. Plus a killer ping pong match between Bob Mankoff and Puzzlemaster Will Shortz.
Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker’s cartoon editor has announced on his blog that long time New Yorker cartoonist, Ed Fisher has died at age 86. Mr. Fisher contributed over 700 cartoons to the magazine, beginning with the issue of October 27, 1951. His last cartoon appeared January 17, 2000 (this last cartoon appears on Bob Mankoff’s blog post along with several others). His New York Times obit (April 8, 2013) contains a good deal of biographical information.
The New Yorker’s former Art Editor/Cartoon Editor, Lee Lorenz, wrote in his book The Art of The New Yorker 1925 – 1995, that Ed was among the small pool of cartoonists once considered to succeed James Geraghty as Art Editor when Geraghty announced his retirement in 1972 after holding that position since 1939 (other candidates included Charles Barsotti and Donald Reilly). Lorenz was appointed by the magazine’s editor, William Shawn, to succeed Geraghty in 1973.
Ed was among the generation of cartoonists — those who began contributing to the magazine before Lorenz became Art Editor – whose cartoon ideas were often secured for the more established artists, like Whitney Darrow, Jr., George Price, or Peter Arno. In a letter dated September 2000, Ed wrote to me of his experience:
“…Geraghty would take one of my roughs and say ‘this one’s perfect for Arno.’ And sometimes I’d reluctantly agree and sometimes not. Jim harvested gags for several of the great masters from us newcomers…and now and then, leafing in one of the albums [those hardcover collections of cartoons the magazine once published] I’ll suddenly remember: that’s my gag!”
Four collections of Fisher’s work were published: Ed Fisher’s First Folio (Macmillan,1959), Wine, Women and Woad: A Tale of Decadent Rome (Macmillan, 1960), and Ed Fisher’s Domesday Book (St. Martin’s, 1961). He was also a co-editor of The Art in Cartooning: Seventy-five Years of American Magazine Cartoons (Scribner, 1975). Maestro, Please! a collection of musician themed cartoons was published by Applause Books in the 1990s.
In the Foreward to his Domesday collection, Ed wrote:
You can judge a man not only by the company he keeps but by the jokes he tells. Gather a bundle of his jokes, lay them out neatly, study them — and you will find his philosophy of life, revealed, as in an essay.
By the time I met Ed he was a twenty-seven year veteran at The New Yorker, yet his demeanor suggested he had just walked into the office for the very first time to present his batch of cartoons to the editor. Energetic, open, supportive — a fellow enjoying to the hilt the strange world and community he was devoted to.
Below: Donald Reilly, Warren Miller, Ed Fisher and Joe Farris during a much needed break at the Arnold Newman photo shoot along the Hudson River, NYC, 1997. (photo by Liza Donnelly).
Two recent posts on The New Yorker’s website, newyorker.com:
The magazine’s Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff, takes a look at marriage cartoons (what with all the marriage talk in the air and in Washington, D.C.) in his weekly blog post.
Liam Walsh and Benjamin Schwartz, two of the more recent recruits in The New Yorker‘s cartoonist fold collaborate on “Hey Look!” — their graphic report on a recent visit to see the Harvey Kurtzman exhibit at the Society of illustrators.
From The Comics Journal, March 7, 2013, the latest installment of Richard Gehr’s “Know Your New Yorker Cartoonist”: Charles Barsotti
An interview with Liza Donnelly as part of Judy Clement Wall’s Creativity Interviews, March 7, 2013.
From newyorker.com, two cartoonist-centered pieces:
Bob Mankoff’s blog features Kim Warp talking about her Oscar themed drawing in the current issue of The New Yorker
From the Culture Desk, this recap by Sarah Larson of a recent event devoted to exploring “the mental processes involved in creating and understanding cartoons” — Paul Noth, Zach Kanin, and David Sipress were present to show and tell.
From The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff’s weekly blog, “There’s No Place Like Work” this meditation on the office (with a photo including, among others, Felipe Galindo, P.C. Vey, Gahan Wilson, Liza Donnelly, Paul Noth, and Andy Friedman).
From Bob Mankoff’s blog @ newyorker.com, February 7, 2013, “Kvetch A Sketch” – Roz Chast, Mick Stevens, Liza Donnelly (whose drawing appears above) and Matt Diffee give the Etch A Sketch app a whirl.
The last time Ink Spill singled out a particular New Yorker cartoon it was Bob Eckstein’s terrific 3-D Thanksgiving drawing in the issue of November 26, 2012. There are always a good number of drawings in each issue of the magazine that should be applauded, but every so often one of them deserves a standing ovation. Robert Leighton’s drawing (above) in the February 4, 2013 issue is one of those. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it in New Yorker anthologies for years to come.
Robert, whose first New Yorker cartoon appeared in the issue of December 9, 2002, is a puzzle writer as well as a cartoonist. He, along with two partners founded the puzzle-writing company, Puzzability, which authored The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2006) with introductions by Will Shortz, and Bob Mankoff.
I asked Robert if he’d mind telling us about the Escher drawing, as well as giving us an idea of how he came to be a New Yorker cartoonist. He was kind enough to provide an early rough drawing of the piece as well as the sketch he sent in to the magazine as part of his weekly batch.
So here’s Robert, first on his journey to becoming a New Yorker cartoonist, and then, following the rough sketch (Fig. 1) and submitted drawing (Fig. 2), he talks about how the Escher drawing came to be:
I owe my New Yorker career to Ping-Pong.
I had submitted cartoons in the early 80s, but only got rejection slips—never even an encouraging note. I had no idea what I was doing, and was submitting cartoons about businessmen and cocktails parties that I myself understood only about as well as I understood most of what I saw in The New Yorker.
I might never have even submitted again. But one day 20 years later my phone rang and Bob Mankoff was on the other end. Fortunately he explained who he was—I didn’t know the guy with the dots was the cartoon editor.
Every week, Bob explained, he plays Ping-Pong (I believe it’s technically table tennis) with Will Shortz, the New York Times crossword editor. Will and I go way back to when I was an assistant editor (and resident cartoonist) at Games magazine in the 80s. Now, Bob was thinking it might be nice for the New Yorker’s 2002 Cartoon Issue to have some sort of interactive cartoon-centric puzzle. He mentioned the idea to Will, who said, “You should speak to Robert Leighton—he’s a cartoonist and a puzzle writer.”
So Bob brought me in to talk about puzzles, not cartoons. I showed him a number of relevant puzzles that I had done for Games, including one in which eight captionless gags had their visual “punchlines” removed and placed elsewhere on the page. Bob said “These are good cartoons. Who did them?” I told them I had, and he encouraged me to start submitting regularly. I don’t think I’ve skipped a week since then.
P.S. Some years later my partners and I did an entire book, “The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games,” in which the drawings, captions, and history of New Yorker cartoons are all turned into puzzles. The introduction is a very interesting conversation between Bob and Will, discussing the juncture of puzzles and cartoons. (The “Aha!” moment and the “Ha!” moment, essentially.)
(Below: Fig. 1. the rough sketch)
( Below: Fig. 2. the submitted drawing)
The Escher cartoon just popped into my head all at once–caption and picture. If there was any “inspiration” for it, then it might be because my main job (if you can call it that) is puzzle-writer. So my visual side is as predisposed to optical illusions as my verbal side is to wordplay.
Looking at my first rough sketch of the idea again, the main difference I notice is that if I had submitted it like this, it probably would have been too subtle. People might not have noticed what was going on. Before I tightened it up to submit it, I lengthened the “trick” beam so that it crossed in front of one of the verticals. Now it’s instantly clear that there’s something wrong. (I like the shouting guy in the rough version a lot better, though—he’s got more energy than the finished version. Although maybe he’s a little too cartoony. I never know with these things.)
I was confident enough of this idea to put it at the top of the batch I submitted that week. They skipped it the first time they saw it but I resubmitted it three months later and that’s when it sold.
I remember debating with myself whether or not to use a ruler when it came time to ink the final version. I prefer my drawings to have a more casual feel, so I often use a ruler when I’m working out the perspective but then I ink over those lines freehand so they have more life. (I’m awful with perspective and struggle to make my drawings feel at all solid.) There are so many long, straight lines in this drawing that I decided if I did the whole thing freehand it would look sloppy by the time I was done. And this had to look solid to give the sense that, yes, he really built it that way.