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.

Latest New Yorker Cartoons Dissected; George Booth New Yorker Original Cover Art; Blog of Note… A New Yorker State of Mind: Carolita Johnson’s “This Is The Hand”; Cartoons From The Saturday Evening Post; PR: Blitt, Chast

The Cartoon Companion guys, Max & Simon, are back with their customary dissections of the latest New Yorker cartoons.  Read it all here.

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George Booth New Yorker Original Cover Art

Above is the published Booth cover from February 4, 1974.  To see the original art visit Attempted Bloggery

Don’t forget! An exhibit of Mr. Booth’s work just opened yesterday at the Society of Illustrators (the opening reception is tomorrow night).   _________________________________________________________________

Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind

It’s always a treat to get away from 2017 for awhile and visit A New Yorker State of Mind.  This latest post explores the September 1, 1928 issue, featuring a cover by the one of the magazine’s first stars, Helen Hokinson. See the piece here. 

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Carolita Johnson’s “This Is The Hand”

From newyorker.com‘s Culture Desk October 26, 201 , Carolita Johnson’s “This Is The Hand: A Response To Recent News”

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Cartoons From The Saturday Evening Post

News to me until this morning: The Saturday Evening Post has a cartoon archive of sorts;  unfortunately it’s not a database of all its cartoons — it’s selective and thematic — with just a handful of cartoons per theme.  You’ll see some New Yorker cartoonists (I ran across a number by Chon Day and at least one by Tom Cheney). Link here

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Note: this new feature on the Spill allows for the opportunity to list items previously lost in the sauce. 

…Barry Blitt’s next stop on his book tour promoting the just released Blitt takes him tonight to Harvard Bookstore. On Sunday he’ll be at Politics & Prose in D.C. Details here.

…a New York magazine piece posted today: “What Roz Chast Can’t Live Without”

 

Thurber’s Dogs Set to Music; The Spill Responds to a Response; Time Traveling: Saturday Evening Post Cartoons From the 1950s

Thurber’s Dogs Set to Music

Attempted Bloggery has posted this curio: Thurber’s Dogs set to the music of Peter Schickele.  Until yesterday, I’d never heard of this. 

It’s not the first time Thurber’s work has crossed over from print to music. In one of the many high points of Thurber’s career, his best-seller, The Thurber Carnival was transformed into a  a very successful playwith Thurber himself taking the stage. 

A soundtrack for the show was issued –it includes a booklet of his drawings.

The play won a Special Tony Award in 1960.  Video exists of Thurber accepting the award (with Burgess Meredith). You can see it here (Thurber takes the stage at the 25:50 mark).

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog of Interest

In response to The Spill‘s mention of Arnold Zwicky’s Blog the other day,  Mr. Zwicky posted this on his site:

“Note from Michael Maslin on his Inkspill blog (“New Yorker Cartoonists News and Events”), appearing as a comment on a recent posting of mine here:

As you see, Mr. Zwicky’s blog is “mostly about language”; when it’s about the language of New Yorker cartoons it will be mentioned here

This could get burdensome. I’ve posted here over a hundred times about New Yorker cartoons and covers; these are indexed in a Page on this blog, with subpages for (so far) 25 specific artists…”

Ink Spill’s response to Mr. Zwicky’s response:

Dear Mr. Zwicky,

It is a burden The Spill will happily bear.

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Time-Traveling: Saturday Evening Post Cartoons From the 1950s

Mike Lynch’s has posted Eisenhower-era  Saturday Evening Post cartoons (and a few that appeared in Collier’s) including this one from the late great New Yorker cartoonist,  Barney Tobey.

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

Barney Tobey (photo above from Think Small, a book of humor produced by Volkswagon) Born in New York City, July, 18, 1906, died March 27, 1989, New York. New Yorker work: 1929 -1986. Essential collection: B. Tobey of The New Yorker (Dodd Mead & Co., 1983)

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Note:  An exhibit of Bob Mankoff’s work will run from July 20 through Oct. 20 at the Charles P. Sifton Gallery in the Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse in Brooklyn.