The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of January 29, 2018

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

Always a pleasure to see a colleague’s work pop up as a New Yorker cover as I open up the digital edition early Monday morning. We (“we” meaning the New Yorker‘s contributing cartoonists) used to be responsible (my unofficial estimate) for 60% of the covers during the year. Since Tina Brown’s era it’s somewhere around 1% to 5%. Roz Chast, Bruce Kaplan, Danny Shanahan, Harry Bliss, and George Booth would be the five percent. In 2017, just Ms. Chast’s and Mr. Kaplan’s work appeared on the cover.  In 2016, it was just Mr. Shanahan’s; in 2015 just Mr. Bliss’s work appeared on the cover — well, you get the idea). This one by Ms. Chast is graphically eye-catching.  It was ever-so-slightly difficult to appreciate on the tablet, so it was off to the laptop for a bigger image. I think the cover perfectly captures some people’s notion  (or reality) of January in New York City. The scarf knitted, then lost days later on the train, is shown on the magazine’s strap (the traditional vertical border running on the left side of the magazine’s covers) — it’s a nice touch.

Moving into the magazine I noted an attractive snippet of a Grant Snider drawing from a Daily Shouts piece. The blues reminded me of William Steig’s blues he used in a great number of his children’s books.

Oh, here’s a thought: why not reinstate Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk of The Town masthead in the magazine’s 93rd anniversary issue — just a few issues away. How great would that be! Mr. Irvin’s is directly below, with the re-do directly below it. 

To read more on the Mr. Irvin’s gem and its replacement, check out this Spill piece

Now on to the magazine’s cartoons. The first, by Amy Kurzweil, appears on page 19. A somewhat dark (yet not-so-dark!) take on flight delays.  I’m guessing many would enjoy a bonus three hours of life.  Nice handling of the plane out on the tarmac. Eleven pages later, the aforementioned Bruce Kaplan has a couple of kitties chatting in a living room.  As one who came later to cat appreciation, I appreciate the sentiment of the drawing, as well (as usual) as the drawing itself.

Noted along the way from Ms. Kurzweil’s drawing to Mr. Kaplan’s: Rui Ruireiro’s spot drawings making good use of yellow.  I see the predominant use of yellow in the New Yorker (especially if it involves a yellow cab, such as on page 28) and I’m immediately reminded of Steinberg’s masterful use of it on a cover back in 1979:

Four pages following Mr. Kaplan’s kitties, a wonderful Edward Koren drawing (wait, is there any other kind?). As with the last number of Koren cartoons published this one is given ample space to breathe on the page. Textbook placement. 

On the very next page a drawing by a relative newcomer, Pia Guerra. Who knew guessing weights at a carnival could lead to violence.  By the look of the weight guesser he has yet to be pummeled.  

Three pages later, a rather large funnel, or, ah, tunnel, drawing by Colin Tom (sorry, no website for Mr. Tom, that i know of. Please advise). I kind’ve wish this wasn’t in a boxy border (it’s obvious by now — maybe?– that I believe New Yorker cartoons thrive in a roomy habitat). On the very next page, an Amy Hwang drawing with a terrific caption.  I was about to note that this was a cat-free Hwang drawing when I spied a framed kitty on the cubicle wall.

The cartoons keep-a-comin in this issue: two more on the next two pages. The first by David Sipress and and the next by Paul Noth. Mr. Sipress’s recalls David Letterman’s, “I do and do and do for you kids — and this is what I get.” Mr. Noth’s refers to one of my favorite scenarios: the old women who lives in a shoe. In this case she’s spending some down time at a bar. I must say that the self-proclaimed old woman in Mr. Noth’s drawing appears quite young.  Perhaps she’s just starting out in life, in the shoe? Ten pages later a subway drawing couched as a personal hygiene drawing by Carolita Johnson. Clipping one’s nails while riding the subway seems risky. 

On the very next page, a Joe Dator drawing that set-off the Spill‘s applause meter. I’m leaving the applause meter out for Tom Chitty‘s drawing five pages later. 

Another five pages later, a Mick Stevens doctor’s office. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out  if what appears to be a jar of rubber glue on the front right of the desk is in fact a jar of rubber glue.  Four pages later a Frank Cotham drawing in a very familiar Frank Cotham scenario. On the very next page, the last drawing of the issue, not counting the caption contest: a charming charming Liana Finck drawing. I don’t know why, but I wanted the Earl of Sandwich to be the one asking the other guy the question. The cartoonist’s fuss-o-meter never rests.   

   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tilley Watch Online; Photos from the Kovarsky Opening; “Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

Among the magazine’s Daily cartoons this week:  Kim Warp’s weary winter weather drawing; Brendan Loper’s tweeter-in-chief cartoon;  Lars Kenseth’s  take on this week’s  unusual White House media moment, and Peter Kuper’s Trumpian map of the world.   

Over on Daily Shouts, these were the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Ellis Rosen and Liana Finck

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Photos From the Kovarsky Opening at The Society of Illustrators

A packed house last night at the Society of Illustrators Opening Reception for Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker. Here’s an array of photos (all by Liza Donnelly, with one exception: the photo of Liza Donnelly and her husband– that’s courtesy of Gina Kovarsky)

Above: a wall of Kovarskys.

Below: Anatol Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina, and Mr. Kovarsky’s wife, Lucille Patton; Ellen Lind and John Lind.  Gina Kovarsky and John Lind co-curated the exhibit.

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Sam Gross and Felipe Galindo

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin

Below: Sam Gross and New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein

Below: Writer/illustrator Mo Willems, Columbia University’s Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Karen Green, and John Lind

 

A closing thought on the exhibit, which runs til March 3 of this year:

This is a terrific show.  The energy bouncing off Mr. Kovarsky’s work on the walls is inspiring.   After looking at all of the covers and drawings I went back and spent more time looking at Mr. Kovarsky’s very first cartoon for the New Yorker.  It was published in the issue of March 1, 1947; here’s how it appeared:

I’ve always had a special affection for first New Yorker drawings.  It is, as they say, a moment.  Every cartoonist remembers the details surrounding their first published drawing. The unspoken mini-drama surrounding the first is that no one knows, of course, whether there’ll be a second (see the Spill‘s One Clubbers on the A-Z).  In Mr. Kovarsky’s case there was a second, and then there were hundreds more — close to 300 in fact. If that wasn’t something impressive in itself, he also contributed 40 covers.  And all this work was done in the relatively short time span of twenty-two years (according to Gina Kovarsky: “In the 1970s, Kovarsky shifted his main focus from cartooning to fine art…”).  It will not come as a surprise to anyone seeing this exhibit how Kovarsky accomplished so much in a mere two decades. It is as if he never set his pen or his brush down for a moment. Kovarsky’s world seemed to be abuzz 24/7. How lucky for us all.   

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“Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

From Westchester Magazine, January 12, 2018, “You Can Meet New Yorker Cartoonists…”

 Here’s a capsule description from the article:

“Not OK” — Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough is a collection of works by previous New Yorker-published cartoonists that fit exactly that bill. Curated by artist and Brooklynite David Ostow, this series has come to Westchester for a month-long showing following the completion of its original gallery run in Bushwick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 6, 2017

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

 I think it’s safe to say we have in our hands this week the New Yorker’s official Fall issue what with John Cuneo‘s beautiful giant leaf descending cover. 

For a change, I looked through this week’s issue (the digital issue, of course) on my laptop instead of on my tablet. It’s helpful seeing everything in an immediately readable format instead of having to zoom in, but it also removes a layer of mystery I’ve come to enjoy: seeing the cartoons small, and trying to figure out (sometimes) who did them and guessing what the caption might be. Back to the tablet next week.

Skipping through the front of the magazine, I did pause to admire the illustration on page six by Roman Muradov. It sort of has a Arthur Getz and Eugene Mihaesco mash-up feel — a 1960-ish vibe.  Nice.

Passing by the “redraw” of Rea Irvin‘s  iconic never-shoulda-been-replaced Talk of The Town masthead (above) we get to the first cartoon on page 22, a couple of beavers, courtesy of Kaamran Hafeez.  One of the beavers suffers from an age-old problem that was used to great effect on The Mary Tyler Moore Show when  newsman Ted Baxter read, on air: “I’ve just been handed a bulletin: ‘You have something on your front tooth!'” Curious about whether there was any significance to running a beaver drawing now, I consulted Wikipedia for a snap education. The entry included this:“Maintenance work on the dam and lodges is particularly heavy in autumn.”

Here’s a photo of a beaver, just because:

 Five pages later is a Zach Kanin drawing of a fitting room. I like the louvered fitting room doors, which could easily double for those steel roll-down gates you see on storefronts. Below left: Kanin louvered door.  Right: steel roll-down gate.

Eight pages later a Paul Noth mobster-tinged bar scene based on  “if a tree falls in the forest…” Nice expression on the woodsman’s face.  Good caption. Four pages later an Ed Steed drawing (i.e., dark). Shades of Charles Addams’ kids home from camp drawing

On the very next page, Julia Suits takes us out west to the reliable compound of cowboys at a campfire plus modern technology (I’ve done it myself a few times — it’s an irresistible scenario). Can’t see a cowboy campfire without thinking about Mel Brooks’ classic scene. Three pages later an interesting garage drawing by Ellis Rosen. One of our grandmasters, George Booth did a number of memorable garage drawings. Here’s one (published in the issue of December 28, 1998):

Mr. Booth has had a lot of company over the years. Mr. Ellis gives us a lovely drawing with an excellent caption. And, bonus: it sits well on the page. An Amy Kurzweil drawing is on the very next page.  A chess scenario, perfectly timed for Halloween. I like this drawing, but did find myself pondering why the chess pieces have arms. Are these actual chess pieces dressed up for Halloween, or are they people dressed up in chess pieces for Halloween who have decided to further Halloween-ize their chess costumes? So many questions…

Five pages later a Roz Chast triptych (her preferred construct in recent years). The third panel is a gem.

Six pages later, a Sara Lautman drawing leaning heavily on a pun. Five pages later, appearing just a day after International Cat Day, is an Amy Hwang cat drawing. If you want even more cartoon cat drawings, find these somewhere online or in your favorite used book store:

Five pages later, veteran Mick Stevens brings us back to much earlier times. I’m aware of the cartoon takes of Moses passing by a burning bush (hmmm, that was him, wasn’t it?) and him famously getting hold of the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. But the Biblical-era press conference is new to me.  I note that Moses looks weary.

Three pages later another cartoonist trope: the wedding scene. This one’s by Emily Flake. Understanding the definition of the word “algorithm” as used in the caption is key to understanding this drawing.  Someone should really do a book of New Yorker  dating/mating/algorithm related drawings (there was a dating cartoon in the magazine two weeks ago).

Four pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the caption contest work): a banana peel domestic situation via J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). The only thing as funny as someone slipping on a banana peel is someone getting slapped with a pie in the face. Danny Shanahan gave us both:

To see a slideshow of all the cartoons in this week’s issue, go here to the Cartoons page of newyorker.com and scroll down past the Daily Cartoon, Caption Contest to Cartoons from the Issue.

–See you next Monday

 

 

 

   

 

 

Pictures At An Exhibition: Not Ok

Here’s a great photo taken last night at the Not Ok group show (recently profiled in The New York Times). 

Front row:
Ellis Rosen, Brendon Loper, Jeremy Nguyen, Lars Kenseth, Amy Kurzweil

Back Row: Sam Marlow, Mitra Farmand, Maggie Larson, David Ostow, Jason Adam Katzenstein, Drew Panckeri, Colin Tom

Below: a miscellany from the exhibit (group photo above courtesy of Jeremy Nguyen. All other photos courtesy of Elizabeth Dickson).  My thanks to Ms. Dickson, Lars Kenseth, Mr. Nguyen, and Mitra Farmand for their assistance.

 

 

Event of Interest: Not OK: Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough; Cartoon Companion’s Latest Ratings; Next Week’s New Yorker Cover Revealed

Event of Interest: Not OK: Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough

What fun!  An exhibit of cartoons that did not make the cut at The New Yorker. Many of the contributing artists are newbies at the magazine, either in the print version and/or on the magazine’s website.

“Not OK” refers to the two letters every New Yorker cartoonist (and every prospective New Yorker cartoonist) longs to see in her or his inbox at week’s end in an email from the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor: OK (or sometimes: O.K.).  An OKed cartoon is a drawing that has been bought by The New Yorker. The Not OK show is comprised of selected drawings submitted to the magazine but not bought. 

Here’s a list of the participants:

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, Mitra Farmand, Jason Adam Katzenstein, Lars Kenseth, Amy Kurzweil, Maggie Larson, Sharon Isadora Levy, Brendan Loper, Sam Marlow, Jeremy Nguyen, David Ostow, Drew Panckeri, Ellis Rosen, Julia Suits, Colin Tom

For more info on these artists please consult the Spill’s A-Z or the personal websites of each cartoonist.

Day, time  & place:

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Cartoon Companion’s Latest Ratings

The CC boys are back (sans Mystery Cartoonist!) with a look at this week’s cartoons. I particularly enjoyed their dissection of Jeremy Nguyen’s Picasso cartoon.  Go here to see what they have to say about that drawing and all the others in the issue.

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Next Week’s New Yorker Cover Revealed

It’s become somewhat routine these days for the New Yorker to allow us a look at the upcoming issue’s cover, most especially if the cover is tied-in to current events. Here’s the cover artist, Eric Drooker, talking (very briefly)  about his cover for the September 18th issue. And here’s Mr. Drooker talking about it a little more to The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna.