The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of May 28, 2018

Gayle Kabaker‘s charming cover kicks off summertime ’18 (you can read about the cover here).

Just for fun I’m showing the cover of every last issue of May from 1925 through 2015, one from each decade.

May 30, 1925: Ilonka Karasz; May 25, 1935: Constantin Alajalov; May 26, 1945: Constantin Alajalov; May 28, 1955: A. Birnbaum; May 29, 1965: Arthur Getz; May 26, 1975: Robert Tallon; May 27, 1985: Gretchen Dow Simpson; May 29, 1995: Mark Ulriksen; May 30, 2005: Peter de Seve; May 25, 2015: Carter Goodrich

And now to the new issue.

From the Department of Just Sayin’ : There are 18 cartoons and 17 illustrations (3 of the illustrations are full page)…  Rea Irvin’s classic  Talk of The Town Masthead is still a-missin’. It’s a thing of beauty. This is what it looks like:

I’m going to mention just one drawing from this issue (if you want critical writing on the cartoons I suggest you head over to Cartoon Companion, where each drawing is discussed and rated from 1 – 6).  Charlie Hankin’s drawing (it’s on page 61) reminded me of Jack Ziegler’s work. That of course is a very good thing. Mr. Hankin gives us a lovely (and large) drawing of the Metropolitan Opera House —  obviously there’s more to it than that; you can see it here, along with all the other drawings in the issue.  Mr. Ziegler’s was a cartoon world created to amuse himself; his way-out-there graphic and humorous takes on just about everything were his cartoon calling card. It’s good to see someone (Mr. Hankin in this case) give us such a fun drawing to look at and live with.

Finally, some paperwork.  A new cartoonist in this issue:  Jessica Olien.   If my record keeping is correct, Ms. Olien is the 15th new cartoonist — the 4th this year — brought on board since Emma Allen took charge of the magazine’s Cartoon Department in May of 2017.

Here’s the list of cartoonists in this week’s issue:

You might notice a co-credited cartoon: Kaamaran Hafeez and Al Batt.  It’s not the first time a cartoonist has shared credit with a gagwriter, but it’s still a rarity. 

— See you next week

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.

The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor on Kanye and the Caption Contest; Commencement Speaker of Interest: Seth; A Favorite Blog; A New Yorker Cover Artist of Interest: Cannaday Chapman

The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor on Kanye and The Caption Contest

Read what Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor has to say about the Kanye Caption Contest thing going on.

______________________________________________________________________

Commencement Speaker of Interest: Seth

All the info on the poster above and some more here.

__________________________________________________________________________

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

Time well spent reading this blog.   Above: one of Rose Silver’s seven New Yorker covers.

_______________________________________________________________

Illustrator / New Yorker Cover Artist of Interest: Cannaday Chapman

From Cleveland Magazine, April 25, 2018, “Local Artist Talks About His Work With The New Yorker”

 

 

 

Video of Interest: New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor Talks to Caption Contest Whiz Kid; New Yorker State of Mind’s Look at the March 30, 1929 New Yorker

Video of Interest: New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor Talks To Caption Contest Whiz Kid

Part one of New Yorker cartoon editor, Emma Allen’s vid-chat with Alice Kassnove, the 9 year old Caption Contest Whiz Kid whose contest captions went viral not long ago.  See it here. 

________________________________________________________________

A New Yorker State of Mind’s Latest Post

One of the Spill‘s favorite blogs, A New Yorker State of Mind: Reading Every Issue of The New Yorker dives deep into the issue of March 30, 1929.  See it here!

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of February 26, 2018

Always glad to return to weekly issues of the magazine after doubles. This new issue sports a cover that seems like the sum of the equation: Olympics + North Korea =.

  Here’s what cover artist Mark Ulriksen had to say about it on newyorker.com

The Olympics + North Korea equation continues with the very first spot drawing appearing on the opening page of The Talk of The Town. And, as long as we’re mentioning that page,  let’s get this out of the way: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead is still a-missin’.  Here’s what it looks like:

Could be wrong, but it seems like there are slightly more Otto Soglow spot drawings scattered throughout Talk than usual (along with Tom Bachtell’s always top-notch drawings). 

Doesn’t take long to get to the first cartoon of the issue (it’s on page 18). P.C. Vey delivers a very P.C. Vey-like piece of work (that’s always a good thing).  Love the little fish Mr. Vey has drawn, but wish it was still swimmin’. Five pages later Lars Kenseth takes us to the land of the pitchman. Funny drawing. Love how Mr. Kenseth uses the language. I did something in that vein a long time back — in the New Yorker, April 6, 1981, to be exact.  I remember it being a ton-o-fun playing with the structure of the television pitch. 

On the very next page one of my favorite subjects: the old west (or possibly it’s a cowboy and his horse in the contemporary west).  Zach Kanin’s coffee-drinking horse is well drawn.  I wish the cowboy’s face was easier to see on the digital edition — this is where print (might) come in handy. 

Nine pages later, a well-placed-on-the-page Frank Cotham cartoon. Cartoonists usually love to show gangsters about to toss a guy off a pier.  Mr. Cotham gives us a prequel. Nice.

Four pages later Roz Chast with an at-home Olympics moment.  A very Chastian drawing any which way you look at it. Another four pages brings us to the second-ever New Yorker drawing (unless I’m mistaken) by Olivia de Recat.  Similar to her first in that it’s mostly text. This one is approximately 97% text (handwritten text).  Her first was perhaps 91% text.  Though we don’t see them as much as we used to, the aforementioned Ms. Chast has done a number of text-driven (to use a Tina Brown era term) drawings over the years. Without doing research (unforgivable, I know!) I’m going out on a limb by suggesting Ms. Chast may have pioneered this particular form of New Yorker cartoon. If anyone wants to shoot that down, please contact me.

Five pages later, Maddie Dai weighs in on a fellow’s mid-life crisis times two.  His motorcycle (which lacks a gas tank — maybe it’s one of those new electric bikes) has at least one (unintentional?) funny feature: the bike’s training wheels are attached to the hub of the rear wheel.  If this cartoon bike was a real bike the training wheels would spin around with the tire, complicating things even further for the crisis guy.  No matter — it’s a nice drawing. 

On the very next page, a debut New Yorker cartoon by Navied Mahdavian*, that answers the oft-asked question, “What did we do before the internet?” Funny drawing.

Four pages later, veteran cartoonist, Mick Stevens gives us death having just died.  Looking at Mr. Stevens’ drawing I asked myself if this fell into the double negative column.  If death dies, isn’t death then alive? Way too much of a headache-inducing thought for this cartoonist (me, not Mr. Stevens).

Eight pages later Sara Lautman takes us to a contemporary bar moment. Found myself studying the shelves and bottles of booze in the background.  There’s a Robert Weber-ish looseness to that area.

Seven pages later a Bruce Eric Kaplan gem of a caption.  And on the very next page, the last drawing of the issue (not counting those on the Caption Contest page).  Liana Finck gives us a bird chase. Not sure what the surface is that they are on — is it pavement with a sidewalk in the rear?  It probably doesn’t matter.  The big bird — the one that’s chasing the little bird —  has an expression indicating confidence she/he will succeed, despite the lack of arms. 

*For those keeping track, Navied Mahdavian is the thirteenth new cartoonist introduced under the magazine’s current cartoon editor, Emma Allen, since she was appointed in May of 2017, and the second newbie introduced so far in 2018.

— See you next Monday