Drawings That Went Nowhere

 I thought it might make for a nice end of week break to look at some drawings of mine from this past week that went nowhere. Every cartoonist works on drawings that go nowhere. We do it every day of every week.  It’s how we get to the drawings that do work.

Initially, with each of these shown, I had some hope they’d go someplace — it’s how every drawing begins for me — with some hope, and a lot of curiosity. I think I had in mind some vague memory of the acrobats who performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. Wouldn’t it be funny, I thought, to have a cat involved in that kind of showbiz routine?  The drawing above was fun to do, but I realized, as I was drawing the cactus plants, that it wasn’t a drawing I wanted to spend any more time on.  Usually I recognize within a few moments after the initial drawing (or caption, if the caption starts things off), whether I want to move along with that particular idea. Often that drawing dies right then and there (it’s put in my “collection” of all the other work that hasn’t worked over the years. Why I save these is a mystery to me).

The only one of these four that went beyond what you see here is the one below of the octopus being sworn in. I was briefly amused by the idea of the octopus not having a designated right hand to raise while being sworn in. Still, with a few attempts at an improved drawing (the bailiff has two neckties, with one floating off on its own), and a caption around that idea, it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere (and it wasn’t).

The drawing below is a good example of an idea based on the thinnest sliver of an idea: what would/could happen if the 3 Pigs sat down with the 3 Stooges (the soldier off to the left had nothing to do with this idea). Again, as with the cat drawing above, my curiosity waned.  As I wrote “oink oink oink” above the first pig, I realized that this was as amused as I was going to be with this situation;  there was nothing else left here of interest, so I moved on.

Below is a drawing of the sort I did in high school and college. As I drew the little guy coming out of top of the bust, the drawing seemed creepy, so I abandoned it.

So there’s a sampler of what happens on the way to a coming up with a drawing that does work — the kind that ends up being finished and submitted to The New Yorker. The ones that don’t work vastly outnumber the ones that do. And of the ones that do work — that I think work — the number of those rejected vastly outnumber the ones accepted.  Nutty right? But that’s the life.

Sidenote: these four drawings might seem to say that the drawing comes first (for me) when coming up with ideas. That’s not the case.  Words are probably the better instigators of ideas. More frequently than the drawings or words leading to an idea are just vague impulses not yet on paper that suddenly suggest I draw whatever. That’s where the fun begins.

The Tilley Watch Online, November 5-9, 2018; Site Of Interest: A New Yorker State Of Mind; Short Interview Of Interest: Art Spiegelman

The emphasis was, of course(!), on the political this week, with at least half of the Daily Cartoons specifically Trump-centered (Farley Katz‘s Amazon drawing referencing hometown baseball and  “Midnight Cowboy” (?) was an exception).  The other contributing New Yorker cartoonists were Ellis Rosen, Kim Warp, Lars Kenseth, Brendan Loper, and Mort Gerberg.

Over on Daily Shouts, Olivia de Recat and Tom Chitty were the contributing New Yorker cartoonists (Ms. de Recat twice).


Site Of Interest: A New Yorker State Of Mind

The always entertaining and enlightening A New Yorker State Of Mind: Reading Every Issue Of The New Yorker looks at the issue of October 26, 1929 (with Theodore Haupt’s beautiful cover). Key quote from this post:

Although two months remained in the decade, the New Yorker of the Roaring Twenties effectively ended with this issue, just days before a massive market crash sent the nation spiraling into the Great Depression.

Read here


Short Interview Of Interest: Art Spiegelman

From the University of Southern California’s Daily Trojan, November 9, 2018, “Art Spiegelman on comic-book stardom and the responsibility of today’s artists”



Edward Koren Book Events; An Early Release Of Next Week’s New Yorker Cover; Colin Tom Is Pencilled; Live New Yorker Cartoons On Late Night With Seth Meyers; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons

From UV Index, November 8, 2018, “Ed Koren, the ‘New Yorker’ cartoonist who served as Vermont’s cartoon laureate, releases new book” — this press release mentioning two upcoming events featuring Mr. Koren.

Ed Koren began contributing to The New Yorker in 1962. Link here to his website.


An Early Release of Next Week’s Cover

As happens every so often, the magazine has early-released its upcoming cover (cover artist: Barry Blitt). You can read about it here. 


Colin Tom Pencilled

Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils’ spotlight falls on Colin Tom. Mr. Tom began contributing to The New Yorker in 2015.

Go here to read all about Mr. Tom’s  tools of the trade.


Live New Yorker Cartoons On Late Night With Seth Meyers

The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick (above left) returned to NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” for the seventh installment of “Live New Yorker Cartoons” (this one carried the tag, “Raiders of the Lost Snark”). Cartoons by Liam Walsh, Liana Finck, Jon Adams, Zach Kanin, and Mick Stevens were brought to life.  See it here.

And:  here’s Mr. Remnick’s sit-down chat with Mr. Meyers. It includes some interesting cartoon talk.


Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons

The CC’s “Max” and “Simon” focus on all the cartoons in the latest issue of the New Yorker (the one with the row boat on the cover). Read it here.


Event Of Interest: The Surreal McCoy’s Wolf Of Baghdad; Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly & Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Event Of Interest: The Surreal McCoy’s Wolf Of Baghdad

Here’s the info about this upcoming audio-visual project based on The Surreal McCoy’s graphic novel, The Wolf of Baghdad.

…and here’s an interview with Ms. Isaacs (aka the Surreal McCoy) from Jewish Renaissance magazine (October 2018).

Ms. Isaacs began contributing to The New Yorker in August of 2014.


Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly And Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Taken at last night’s event, “Power Talk with Liza Donnelly” at Barnard College, New Yorker cartoonists Ms. Donnelly (on the left) and Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.

And a bonus photo, courtesy of Marcie Jacobs-Cole:  Ms. Donnelly being interviewed by Jenna Freedman, Barnard’s Zine Librarian. 

Illustrated Interview Of Interest: Liana Finck; Two Events Tonight Of Interest: Bob Eckstein At Book Culture; “A Power Talk With Liza Donnelly” At Barnard College

From The Huffington Post, November 6, 2018, “A Visual Interview with Liana Finck”  — this illustrated interview with Ms. Finck, whose well received graphic memoir, Passing for Human was recently released.


Bob Eckstein at Book Culture

A reminder that New Yorker cartoonist and world’s leading authority on the snowman will be at Book Culture this evening discussing his latest book, The Illustrated History of The Snowman.   All the info here.


Liza Donnelly at Barnard College

Another reminder: “Power Talk with Liza Donnelly” is tonight at Barnard College — Ms. Donnelly was recently named by Barnard as a distinguished fellow. The interview will take place at 6:30 in the James Room of Barnard Hall.  — all the details here.