New New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt.3: Charlie Hankin

This is third part of an Ink Spill series looking at newer New Yorker cartoonists. I asked three of the most recent additions to the magazine’s stable of artists to tell us a little about themselves and how it was they ended up at The New Yorker (previously we heard from Liana Finck and Edward Steed). The  series wraps up with the newest of the trio: Charlie Hankin, whose first cartoon appeared in The New Yorker this past August (a Hankin cartoon from The New Yorker, October 14, 2014 appears below).

And now, here’s Charlie:

 

CharlieHankin_7615_cSashaArutyunova_WEB-1Hankin: Cardwells

I’ve been drawing cartoons in some form or another, on and off, since I was a kid. My main inspirations were strips and long-form pieces; I was young when Calvin and Hobbes stopped running, but I think I had read every strip by the time it ended, as well as most of the Tintin books. Eventually I grew into the more mature comics we had lying around the house–my dad curated a show of original work from Art Spiegelman’s RAW in 1987, and his complete collection of the series was a major discovery for me when I was a teenager. But gag cartooning always appealed to me, and I pored over anthologies of cartoons from Punch and The New Yorker.

My interest in cartooning went through cycles. I did single-panel bits for my high school newspaper, and then nothing until a single installment of a graphic-novel/zine I drew in college. After school, I got deep into realist painting. I also started a comedy webseries called Good Cop Great Cop with my friend Matt Porter. Maybe the merging of art and comedy finally attracted me to cartooning for The New Yorker. Either way, it seemed like a good fit: both the webseries and my paintings have undertones of dry, quiet absurdity.

Since entering the fold, it’s been great to meet some of the big names in cartooning–Roz Chast, David Sipress, Sam Gross, and of course Bob [Mankoff]. Ben Schwartz and Liam Walsh have both given me guidance. And I dig around the archives for extra inspiration. Much older generations aside (Chas Addams, Peter Arno, et al.), I love Mick Stevens, Mike Twohy, Tom Cheney, Leo Cullum, Jack Ziegler, Danny Shanahan, and too many others to name.

 

 

Further reading:

To see Charlie Hankin’s New Yorker work, link here to The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank.

Link here to visit Charlie’s webseries, Good Cop Great Cop.

To visit his website, link here:  charliehankin.com.

Photo: Sasha Arutyunova

 

 

Book of Interest: Punch Cartoons in Color

 

Coming in October, The Best of Punch Cartoons in Colour.

From the publisher’s description:

Punch‘s move into color illustrations early in the 20th century is now all but unknown. The magnificent results are shown in this collection with hundreds of stunning cartoons from the 1920 through 1992. Showcased here are exquisite illustrations from E. H. Shepard, Art Deco masterpieces from Fougasse, and the eccentrically whimsical creations of Rowland Emett. Other greats represented include H. M. Bateman, Arthur Watts, Anton, Ronald Searle, Russell Brockbank, Quentin Blake, Ralph Steadman, Trog, Mike Williams, Stan Eagles, and more. There are special features on the brilliant caricatures, the magazine’s take on the Royal Family, the funny and poignant cartoons of World War II, and more.

 

For many years The New Yorker and the now defunct Punch “shared” artists such as Fougasse, Ronald Searle, Henry Martin, Ed Fisher, Michael ffolkes, J.B. “Bud” Handelsman, Kenneth Mahood, Leslie Starke, Dana Fradon, Lou Myers, and Rowland B. Wilson.

In the introduction to a much earlier collection, The Punch Line (Simon & Schuster, 1969) there’s this quaint passage regarding cross-over cartoons :

“…most of the cartoons could just as easily have appeared in The New Yorker as in Punch. Except — and this is really a surprise — many of them are too sexy for The New Yorker! The two magazines even share many of the cartoonists; the English artists study the details of American life, and are thus enabled to sell to such relatively high paying markets as The New Yorker and Playboy. “It’s easy to make people look American, ” says the English cartoonist Smilby: “you draw them fat.”

 

 

Punched

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve had my share of rejection letters from magazine and book publishers. My absolute favorite came from the now defunct magazine, Punch, back in June of 1978.

At that time I was reaching out to just about every publication I could find that ran cartoons (UFOlogy and Medical Economics were among the many magazines that rejected my work).

The New Yorker had just begun publishing my cartoons and I’d learned that a small handful of New Yorker cartoonists (including veterans like J.B.“Bud” Handelsman and Ed Fisher) were being published in Punch. I decided to try my luck, even though it meant there’d be a lot of time involved awaiting word from overseas.

I sent one batch of drawings to Punch and after some weeks,  an envelope from them arrived in the mail. It contained the letter shown above, and highlighted below:

 

Dear Mr. Maslin,

Sorry to return these drawings, but I think they are just missing that elusive something. The zany joke has to have its own mad logic but on most of these the drawing is just too ‘throw away’. Hopeless to try to explain humour, as you can see, so therefore I have marked the three which were nearest for us.

 

I’m still grateful to the fellow who took a stab –- or was it more like a quick jab? — at explaining humor to me.  I think he was probably wise to abandon the task, and let me continue out into the publishing world, mostly unschooled.