A Foot of Rejected Cartoons

Rejection is a New Yorker cartoonist’s constant companion. We are rejected every single week we submit work to the magazine (I’ve heard tales of contributors selling up to a half-dozen drawings out of one batch, but I’ve yet to hear of a contributor selling their entire batch.  Please advise if that’s ever happened).  Example: I submit cartoons weekly to the magazine (there is no set number despite the myth you may have heard that we must, or have to send ten a week).  If I’m very very lucky, one of the submitted cartoons will be accepted. The rest, the rejects, are then added to a pile in my work room. In the photo above is the pile that’s accumulated over the past year or so. Eventually I’ll move that pile to storage where it will join its rejected friends from years/decades past. 

Some time ago — fifteen or twenty years? —  I made a stab at organizing my rejects.  I bought plastic bins that held file folders.  I labeled the folders “Dogs” “Cats” “Police” “Food” “Knights” etc., etc.. This organization came in handy when someone would ask for submissions for a collection of drawings about dogs or cats or food or whatever. As the era of themed cartoon collections cooled, I found though that it was wasted time organizing for the possibility of a request for themed cartoons. So that organizing effort ended (although the plastic bins with their folders still exist).

Many cartoonists take their rejected work and try to find a home for it elsewhere. I know of at least one cartoonist who is very successful doing just that. I used to submit rejects to other magazines back when there were a good number of publications using cartoons. Below is a page out of a ledger I briefly kept in 1977.  I quickly realized keeping track of stuff wasn’t my thing.  You see on the page below across the top of the ledger the magazines I was submitting to the summer of that year — the summer when I broke into the New Yorker:  The New Yorker, Esquire,The Saturday Evening Post, Changing Times, Quest, Dawn Dusk, Playboy, Medical Economics, New Woman, and The Ladies Home Journal. Judging my from my entries I wasn’t doing very well until August of 1977, when the New Yorker bought “Nothing will ever happen to you” — after that things started to improve (with the exceptions of The Ladies Home Journal and Medical Economics — nothing of mine ever “clicked” for them).

Over time, the number of publications using cartoons has dwindled.  Most of the action these days is online, where the pay is little-to-none.  “None” is usually disguised as “exposure” as in “we don’t pay, but your work will get plenty of exposure.”

So what to do with these weekly rejected drawings.  Over the years I’d sometimes come across one that seemed it needed a second chance, and so off it went to the New Yorker.  Sometimes a resub (as they are called by cartoonists) is accepted, and published.  I once was even asked to send in resubs. It was around the time my wife and I were expecting our first child. My then editor, Lee Lorenz  sent me a letter saying something to the effect of: “Please send in a bunch of resubs — I know you’re going to be busy for awhile.”  There have even been weeks I resubmitted a drawing that had just been rejected. My personal favorite rejected cartoon is the one below.  I did the unthinkable: convinced of its merit, I stubbornly resubmitted it the very next week after it was rejected. It was accepted (and published December 21, 1998). Hey, you never know.

Mostly though the second chance for a resub (my resubs, not other cartoonists) is its last chance — and that’s okay.  I’ve always felt these rejects were necessary to do to get to the drawing that makes it through to being accepted and published. The rejects are invaluable steps to the printed page.  I’ve realized in the past few years that I rarely, if ever, send in resubs anymore. Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s current cartoon editor has yet to see one of my drawings submitted twice. There’s no grand plan here — it’s just how it’s working out.

Marisa Acocella’s Animation; Blog Post of Interest: Captionless Cartoons; Campbell Fest Rolls On

Marisa Acocella’s Animation

Marisa Acocella’s animated “Mission Control” is up on Youtube See it here.

Ms. Acocella began contributing to the New Yorker in 1998.  Her most recent book was Ann Tenna.

_________________________________________________________________

Blog Post of Interest: Captionless Cartoons

Thanks to Dick Buchanan by way of Mike Lynch’s blog we can see a sampling of non-New Yorker captionless cartoons from 1938 – 1970.  A number of New Yorker cartoonists are represented, such as Everett Opie, above. See all the work here. 

____________________________________________________________

E. Simms Campbell Fest Continues on Attempted Bloggery

Stephen Nadler’s blog continues to direct a spotlight on Mr. Campbell’s Esquire work.  See the latest post here!

Here’s Mr. Campbell’s entry on the A-Z:

E. Simms Campbell (above) Born, 1906. Died, 1971. New Yorker work: 1932 -1942. Key collections: Cuties in Arms (1943) – the earliest published collection of cartoons by an African-American cartoonist); More Cuties in Arms (also 1943); and Chorus of Cuties (1953)

Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons; E. Simms Campbell Fest Rolls on at Attempted Bloggery; A Thurber Original On Ebay Offered For $20,000.00

The Cartoon Companion‘s “Max” and “Simon” point their critical spotlight on the cartoons in the latest New Yorker (the issue of  February 26, 2018).  Read it here!

____________________________________________________________________

 E. Simms Campbell Fest Rolls On at Attempted Bloggery

Stephen Nadler’s Attempted Bloggery continues to highlight work by the prolific cartoonist, E. Simms Campbell. See it here.

For more on Mr. Campbell, link here.

(above, Mr. Campbell’s The Blues, from Esquire, 1939)

___________________________________________________

A Thurber Original on Ebay Offered For $20,000.00

From the Dept. of Hey Big Spender: an original Thurber that appeared in The New Yorker, May 21, 1938, and was republished in Thurber’s collection, Men Women and Dogs (Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1943) is up for grabs on Ebay with the asking price of…$20,000.00.

  I’m almost certain the aforementioned Mr. Nadler of Attempted Bloggery will let us know how this auction turns out (his site specializes in examining auctioned New Yorker art). Below is what the drawing looked like in the magazine way way back when it was originally published.

 

 

 

Attempted Bloggery’s E. Simms Campbell Fest Begins

E. Simms Campbell, a somewhat obscure New Yorker cartoonist, better known for his work elsewhere (Playboy, and more importantly, Esquire.  He created that magazine’s mascot, Esky) will be the next focus (ala Syd Hoff) of Stephen Nadler’s blog.  The above scans of Mr. Campbell’s work are all from Chris Wheeler’s wonderful blog.  Here’s Mr. Nadler on Mr. Campbell:

Cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) will be featured on Attempted Bloggery for the next week or two, depending on how much material I come across. Perhaps Ink Spill’s knowledgable readers can help me to find some original art or published cartoons of his not currently available on the internet. As I have in the past, I’ll be looking at a talented New Yorker artist who today isn’t talked about all that much. He is an important figure though, the first African-American cartoonist to appear in national magazines. I hope to gain a fresh appreciation of his artistry. His New Yorker work (1932-1942) was only a small part of his output. His color pieces were published regularly in Esquire and Playboy. He is the artist who created Esky, the well-known mascot of Esquire. He also illustrated Cuties, a syndicated panel strip, for King Features. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I timed the selection of this cartoonist so I can post his Playboy cartoon of a woman popping out of a cake on my birthday.
 
 
Mr. Campbell’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:

E. Simms Campbell (photo above) Born, 1906. Died, 1971. New Yorker work: 1932 -1942. Key collections: Cuties in Arms (1943) – the earliest published collection of cartoons by an African-American cartoonist; More Cuties in Arms (also 1943); and Chorus of Cuties (1953)