The Tilley Watch: 50 Years Ago This Week In The New Yorker; Reminder! A Zoom Event Tomorrow Night…Cartoon Marriage: A Conversation With Two New Yorker Cartoonists; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Note to Readers: Ink Spill was down nearly all of yesterday due to who knows what (that’s as technical as I get).  Sorry about that.

The Monday Tilley Watch is off this week as we’re in the second week of a double issue (August 3 & 10, 2020).  Just for fun I thought I’d take a quick look at the issue out 50 years ago (dated August 8, 1970).  The cover — and a fab cover it is! — was by C.E.M. (Charles E. Martin)

Here’s the Table of Contents:

Thirteen cartoonists, and fourteen cartoons (Warren Miller had two in the issue). Of the thirteen, you’ll notice two names still contributing fifty years later (50!): George Booth, and Edward Koren. They happen to appear opposite each other. Beautiful work, perfectly placed on the page.

Just a few other observations: the Charles Addams drawing in the issue is in his experimental style of that time, a thinner line (pen), less wash.  As Addams told Dick Cavett in March of 1978: “I did that for awhile in the mistaken idea that it was an improvement.”

And here’s Ed Frascino’s drawing —  certainly in the running for a spot in the top ten longest New Yorker cartoon captions:

Here’s the caption in readable size:

Finally, the Chon Day drawing seems as if it could run today:


Reminder! Tomorrow Night…A Zoom Event: Cartoon Marriage: Two New Yorker Cartoonists In Conversation

As part of their month long series of Virtual Programs tied in to the Liza Donnelly exhibit at The Norman Rockwell Museum, Ms. Donnelly and yours truly will be “In Conversation” at 5:30 Tuesday evening. You can watch live on the Norman Rockwell Museum YouTube channel.


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Brendan Loper on who’s behind Trump. Mr. Loper has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016.




Weekend Spill: A New Yorker Artists Group Photo From 1984; The Tilley Watch Online, July 27-31, 2020


A fun evening at Parsons School of Design back in October of 1984. The occasion was the opening of a group show of New Yorker art. The group photo above and the smaller photos, by T. Dovidio, appeared in The Village Voice. Below is a barely legible key (sorry!) to the artists shown. One person is unknown to me. She stands between Barbara Westman and Donald Reilly, lower right. Hopefully someone will let me know who she is. I was there that evening but, alas, missed the shoot. Below the key is the postcard invite to the opening, back & front, with a drawing by Whitney Darrow, Jr..


An end of week listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to online features.

The Daily Cartoon: Peter Kuper (with a Bonus Daily), Hartley Lin, Lila Ash, Maddie Dai, Sara Lautman, Ben Schwartz.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook: “Talking Old Dogs”


More Zoomin’ Cartoonists; Today’s Bonus Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon, Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon, & Yesterday’s; Randomly Pulled From The Spill’s Library Shelves

The Norman Rockwell Museum continues its zoomed panel discussions next Tuesday, August 4th with Liza Donnelly and myself.  Link here for all the info.

Liza Donnelly’s first New Yorker cartoon appeared in 1982. A retrospective of her work, Comic Relief  is currently on exhibit at The Norman Rockwell Museum.

Link here for my bio.


Today’s Daily Bonus Cartoon is a Dr. Seussian take by Peter Kuper. Mr. Kuper has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1993. Visit his website here.

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Hartley Lin, who began contributing to The New Yorker in January of 2019, on a good read. Visit his website here.

…and Yesterday’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Lila Ash, on gym courtesy. Ms. Ash began contributing to The New Yorker in December of 2018. Visit her website here.


Randomly Pulled From The Spill’s Library Shelves

Here’s a fun read from 1967 — Corey Fords The Time Of Laughter. The chapter, “The Making Of A Magazine” is a terrif concise first hand account of the birth of Harold Ross’s magazine. 

A key sentence from that chapter concerning the near death of the magazine after its first four months of publication:

“Only one thing saw The New Yorker through its darkest hour, and that was Ross himself.”




Thurber Thursday: His First New Yorker Drawing…Is It Funny?

Imagine you’re a New Yorker reader back in 1931, and you’ve settled in with your issue of January 31. Let’s also say you’re one of the readers who looks at the cartoons first, so you’re flipping through more than taking your time browsing. By the time you’re about to turn to page 16, you’ve seen four cartoons (or “drawings” as the magazine often calls them). All four are heavily rendered, beautifully drawn. For instance, look at this one, by Kemp Starrett.

And this terrific drawing by Harold Denison:

Followed by this full page by W.C. Galbraith:

The very next drawing is by a newbie to the artists’ stable: James Thurber. The New Yorker readership is already  familiar with him as a contributing writer, and, it’s even likely they’re already familiar with his drawings.  Is Sex Necessary? a book co-authored with E.B. White, and loaded with Thurber’s drawings (at White’s insistence) was published in 1929 (See Thurber talk about that moment, and more here).

Still, this somewhat awkward cartoon, barely grasping human anatomy, now joins The New Yorker‘s gallery of art. I find it amusing that his drawing appears opposite Alan Dunn’s cartoon. Mr. Dunn’s style was among the most graphically dense in the magazine’s history.

There are only two eyes total among the five people in the Thurber drawing (drawn as tiny circles), and three distinct fingers (stretching the definition of a digit, possibly two more).  Three of the people lack any facial features and their arms seem as loops, with no break for wrists or hands. The fellow speaking looks like an early stage tadpole. The fellow opening his Speakeasy door (“Tony” — I’m assuming after the real Tony) is drawn with real flair. He has a nice sway to him — his body is beautifully balanced. Tony is supposed to take a good look at the three featureless people — and is asked to remember them.  So, okay, is it funny? (as Harold Ross would ask in Art Meetings).  Fast forward to 2020, and for me at least, the question is irrelevant: it’s James Thurber’s first New Yorker drawing — a landmark moment in the magazine, and for the magazine…and, as we know, there is a large basket of Thurber diamonds still to come.

The Wednesday Spill: Archived…The Norman Rockwell Zoomin’ Cartoonists; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon…And Yesterday’s…And The Day Before Yesterday’s

In case you missed it live yesterday, The Norman Rockwell Museum zoomin’ cartoonists panel is now available on Youtube here. Panelists shown, top left then clockwise: Michael Shaw, Stephanie Plunkett, Bob Eckstein, Edward Koren, and Teresa Burns Parkhurst.


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Maddie Dai, on green rooms. Ms. Dai began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017.

Yesterday’s Daily cartoonist: Sara Lautman, who began contributing in 2016.

Monday’s Daily cartoonist: Ben Schwartz, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2011.