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.

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)

 

Feiffer’s Playboy Cartoons; Liza Donnelly is the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer of the Month; Interview of Interest: Roz Chast

Feiffer’s Playboy Cartoons

From the Los Angeles Review of Books, February 1, 2018,  “The Playboy Funnies: Hefner Editing Feiffer”

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Liza Donnelly is the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer of the Month

From the University of Dayton’s Writers’ Workshop, this notice concerning Ms. Donnelly.

Link here to Liza Donnelly’s website

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Interview of Interest: Roz Chast

From Vice, January 29, 2018, this interview with Ms. Chast.

Link here to Roz Chast’s website

 

 

Smilby Cartoons Auctioned; New Yorker cartoon editor (and associate cartoon editor) Sing; Soglow Covers Judge

Smilby Cartoons Auctioned

From the Rugby & Letterworth Observer, November 17, 2017 “Rugby Cartoonist’s Playboy Art Raises Eyebrows at Auction”  — this piece on auctioned work by the late cartoonist Francis Wilford-Smith, known professionally as Smilby. His work appeared in the New Yorker from 1962 through 1971.

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New Yorker cartoon editor (and associate cartoon editor) Sing

In this week’s episode of  “Cartoons, Etc.” there’s singing.  See it here. (on the left is Emma Allen, the magazine’s cartoon editor, and on the right, Colin Stokes, the  associate cartoon editor).

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Soglow Covers Judge

More fun stuff over on Attempted Bloggery.  See the great Otto (“Little King”) Soglow’s color work on the cover of Judge here.

Podcast of Interest: Gil Roth Interviews Shannon Wheeler; Fave Photo: Liza Donnelly In the New York Yankees Dugout with Shortstop, Didi Gregorius; R.C. Harvey’s Out-of-the-Vault Interview with Playboy’s Former Cartoon Editor, Michelle Urry; Radio Interview: Roz Chast

Podcast of Interest: Gil Roth Interviews Shannon Wheeler

Gil Roth continues his wonderful series of cartoonist interviews with Too Much Coffee Man’s Shannon Wheeler.  Hear it here.

— thanks to Attempted Bloggerys Stephen Nadler for bringing this to my attention (check out his site for recent posts on two auction pieces: an Arnold Roth drawing and  a Charles Addams pencil sketch)

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Fave Photo: Liza Donnelly in the New York Yankees dugout with Didi Gregorius

Liza Donnelly recently spent the afternoon at Yankee Stadium.  Among the highlights of the day: lending her iPad to the team’s shortstop, Didi Gregorius, for his first tablet drawing. See the short CBS video here

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R.C. Harvey’s From-the-Vault Interview with the late Michelle Urry, Playboy’s Former Cartoon Editor

From TCJ, May 4, 2017,  “Magazine Gag Cartoons, Michelle Urry, and Cartooning for Playboy” — an enlightening interview with Ms. Urry, who passed away in October of 2006.

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Roz Chast on Fresh Air

The media blitz is on for Ms. Chast’s just-out Going Into Town Here she is on NPR”s Fresh Air, aired October 2nd(find it just just below the Tom Petty piece).

Interview of Interest: Roxie Munro; Blog of Interest: New Yorker State of Mind; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; More Hef: Playboy Comedy, Comedians and Cartoons; More Bloggery

Interview of Interest: Roxie Munro

From the blog Smack Dab in the Middle, this interview with Ms. Munro who contributed some spectacular covers to The New Yorker, including the one above.

Link here to her website.

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Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind: Reading Every Issue of The New Yorker

An irresistible site if you love getting in the New Yorker weeds. As you can see the issue in the spotlight this week is dated August 4, 1928.  Cover by Julian de Miskey. Read it here.

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Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated

And now back to the future…the Cartoon Companion boys, “Max” & “Simon” look closely at the brand new cartoons in the brand new issue of The New Yorker. Cartoons with salt, sharks, wax, thuggery, punch, groceries dissected.  Read it here.

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More Hef: Playboy Comedy, Comedians and Cartoons

Thanks to a Facebook post by Mort Gerberg yesterday I was alerted to this brand new book published in late August by Beaufort Books, Playboy Laughs: The Comedy, Comedians and Cartoons of Playboy.  According  to Mr. Gerberg, the book includes interviews with Arnold Roth, Jules Feiffer, Mike Williams, Don Orehek, Al Jaffee and Mr. Gerberg. 

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More Bloggery

Stephen Nadler over at Attempted Bloggery continues providing a look into New Yorker cartoon auction art and ephemera.  Today it’s sheet music from Murray Anderson’s 1929 Almanac (and an Arno Camel ad in the show’s Playbill). Scroll on down the post and you’ll see an auctioned Eldon Dedini original and an incredible horde of originals for a 1937 Macy’s ad campaign by Gregory d’Allesio.  Fascinating stuff all.  See it here