Hindsight can be as entertaining as foresight. If you’re someone who writes things down, or draws things down, there’s a paper trail to peruse and ponder.
Luckily for us, Danny Shanahan writes and draws things down so we are able to see, in quick succession, how his latest New Yorker cover evolved.
When it comes to coming up with ideas for cartoons, there are at least three schools:
1.Write ideas down first, work on the drawing second.
2.Draw something first and figure out the writing second.
3.The Chicken or the Egg School: a mix of the first two schools.
Danny is of the school of write ideas down first, then work on the drawing second. He has generously made available to Ink Spill a page from his pad of ideas — his “ideas of the week” — showing the Palm tree/High Water Cover idea written right at the top. Danny told me, “You can see that I put a dot next to the ideas I particularly like, and a line through those that I’ve drawn up.” In this case his idea was immediately designated as a cover idea — it didn’t require a written caption.
When he got around to drawing up the palm tree/high water cover it looked like this:
From there, he went to the version below. This is what he submitted to Francoise Mouly, The New Yorker‘s Art Editor.
Once Ms. Mouly brought the rough to The New Yorker‘s Editor, David Remnick, and he OKed it (i.e., bought it), Ms. Mouley gave Danny the green light to go to finish, and voila! Danny’s 11th New Yorker cover (Danny has sold two others. One was “killed” and the other ran inside the magazine as an Artist’s Sketchbook) :