Personal History: Ink Never Sleeps

The cartoonist working in the wee hours. 1978, New York City

There are probably as many different work habits among New Yorker cartoonists as there are New Yorker cartoonists. I’ve heard of colleagues who are nine-to-fivers, and those who’ve worked the night shift. There was even a rumor of a colleague, now long gone, who did his batch of cartoons on the train as he headed down from Connecticut to see the New Yorker‘s art editor. As there’s no clock to punch, we are left to working out/on our own schedule. Joe Dator‘s hysterical “How We Do It” published in The New Yorker Cartoon Issue of 2012 (September 24th to be exact) is the last word on the idealized life of cartoonists working for the magazine.

My own work habits migrated with the years, from childhood, passing the hours drawing in front of the television, to working during high school study halls (yes, that’s right, instead of studying) to working at any convenient time in college between all those required courses, to post-college when staying up all night resulted in a whole lot of drawing but few usable ideas. Post-college, living in Manhattan, inspired perhaps by my perceived notion of the work habits of my downstairs neighbor, the writer Donald Barthelme, I began an attempt at regular hours — vaguely bracketed by late morning and late afternoon. Years later, out of the city and with a family, the unthinkable happened: working very early in the morning for a defined amount of time (my wife and I split our work days: I worked in the morning while she was with our kids, and she worked in the afternoon while I was with the kids). Once the kids grew up and flew the nest, the entire day was wide open again, but the morning hours remained (and remain) as the best use of time. In the past decade, the mid-to-late afternoon around 4 o’clock — what William Shawn called the hour of hope — has become an opportune time to wait for the cartoon gods to toss me an idea or two.

Through all this time shifting, from childhood home through the home where our kids grew up, from working defined times to undefined, from working through the night to working early in the day to working whenever, there has remained a constant: making myself available, Rapidograph and paper at the ready, with the intention that something might happen.

My tool of choice from high school to the present: the Rapidograph.

New Yorker Cartoonists Holiday Party

Decades ago, in the William Shawn era, New Yorker cartoonists celebrated the holidays in-house (specifically, in-department).  They’d show up at the office and drink punch provided by the art editor Lee Lorenz and his assistant, Anne Hall. Cartoonists would sample rum balls brought in by their colleague, Henry Martin.  During the Tina Brown years the holiday party went big time, when all departments went out-of-office and co-mingled in (mostly) downtown establishments.  Coming full circle this year’s party for cartoonists came back home to the offices (yay!).  Last night’s shindig was hosted by the cartoon editor, Emma Allen, and the assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes (and, shades of Henry Martin, cartoonist David Borchart even brought in some homemade cookies).

Ink Spill‘s official photographer for the evening, cartoonist Liza Donnelly attended the festivities, and captured the scene. 

Below, left to right: Kendra Allenby, Ali Soloman, Farley Katz and Emma Allen.

Below: in the foreground, Robert Leighton (on the left) speaks with Ed Steed. In the back, left-to-right, with his back to the camera is Colin Stokes, Avi Steinberg (in the hat), and a partially obscured Ellis Rosen. Between Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Ellis is the fabulous Peter Arno New Yorker cover of June 5, 1954.

Below: a frieze of cartoonists. Will mention just a few: to the far left is Emma Hunsinger. To the far right, second in, is PC. Vey.

 

Below: Mort Gerberg (on the left) and George Booth.

Below, left-to-right: Avi Steinberg, Karen Sneider, Jason Adam Katzenstein, and, with her back to the camera, Gabrielle Bell.

Below: foreground, looking at the camera is Sophia Warren, then Robert Leighton, and (with eyepatch) Mort Gerberg. In the background: far left, is Ed Steed, then (with back to camera) David Sipress, Joe Dator (with scarf), and Kendra Allenby.

Below: on the far left is Joe Dator, and then Emily Flake and Marisa Acocella.

 

Below: a waving Jeremy Nguyen and Maggie Larson. Far left, in the back is Brendan Loper.

Below, left to right:  George Booth, Liza Donnelly, and David Borchart (this photo courtesy of  Mr. Borchart).

Below: Felipe Galindo and Drew Dernavich.

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Below: The New Yorker‘s Jack-of-All Trades,Stanley Ledbetter, Johnny DiNapoli, Farley Katz, and Ellis Rosen.

Below, left to right: David Sipress and Ben Schwartz.

Below: Emma Allen and Farley Katz.

Below: the ever festive Rea Irvin type-faced logo!

 

— My thanks to Liza Donnelly, Colin Stokes, Emma Allen, and David Borchart for their assistance  with this post.

 

 

The Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue Of October 29, 2018

It’s not a trick: this post about the October 29, 2018 New Yorker looks and feels and reads suspiciously like the Spill’s now defunct Monday Tilley Watch, but it’s not a Monday Tilley Watch…I think.

So often in the past 90+ years of The New Yorker ‘s existence, an issue dated October 29 (or 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, or 31) would bear a Halloween cover. Not this year, folks.  But who doesn’t like pastries.

Just for fun, here’s a cover submission of mine that combines pastries and Halloween — it was probably submitted, and definitely rejected, in the late 1980s or early 1990s:

 You’ll find more than twenty illustrations in this issue (not including the seven photographs accompanying the piece by Janet Malcolm). Four-and-a-half full pages are given over to illustration.  You’ll find ten cartoons. There’s a Halloween cartoon (by a modern Spill fave cartoonist, Seth Fleishman) squeezed in at the top of page 32.

If you’re a leaf-peeper, or just like leaves in general, you’re sure to fall for Joe Dator’s brilliant desert island drawing (on page 41). There have been, of course, other brilliant New Yorker cartoons in the not-so-distant past; two that I can’t resist mentioning whenever I have the chance:  Bob Eckstein’s 3-D Thanksgiving drawing and Robert Leighton’s Escher drawing. If you link to C-Span’s coverage of the recent Milford Readers & Writers Festival you’ll see a few more candidates by panelists, Christopher Weyant and David Borchart. This current drawing by Mr. Dator sits squarely in the Charles Addams branch of New Yorker cartooning (a branch notably climbed by P.C. Vey, Gahan Wilson, Zach Kanin…and Ed Steed, sort of). I would go as far as suggesting that if Mr. Addams was still with us, the magazine would’ve wanted to purchase Mr. Dator’s idea to hand over to Mr. Addams to execute. Yes, pun intended.  (Here’s a Spill piece about the magazine’s history of buying ideas).

For the record (your honor), here are the ten cartoonists in the issue:

 

— Finally, still in the Halloween spirit, here’s a Boo!

Below: the missing Rea Irvin iconic Talk masthead switched out for a re-drawn version early last year. Read about that here:

 

 

 

 

 

The Tilley Watch: A Collaboration; A Correction

A Correction: The original Spill post under “Papaerwork” [I’ve left it intact below] incorrectly stated that the appearance of Tadhg Ferry’s cartoon in this latest issue was his first cartoon in the magazine. Jane Mattimoe, of a Spill favorite blog, A Case For Pencils,  has sent me a cartoon of Mr. Ferry’s that appeared in the September 19, 2016 issue. My apologies to Mr. Ferry, and my thanks to Ms. Mattimoe for setting the record straight (the good news is that Mr. Ferry’s name was added to the A-Z, albeit belatedly. This bit of information about Mr. Ferry led to the addition of one cartoonist to the #218 below, making it 219 new cartoonists brought in from 1997 through 2017; at the same time one cartoonist is subtracted from Emma Allen’s total thus far, from 19 to 18).  

Paperwork: a new cartoonist in the issue (it’s the “Money Issue”…well, okay) of October 22, 2018:  Mr. Ferry is the seventh new cartoonist added this year, and the nineteenth new cartoonist added since Emma Allen became the magazine’s cartoon editor in May of 2017.  Her predecessor added two hundred and eighteen new cartoonists in his close to twenty year stint, or approximately eleven new cartoonists a year. His predecessor, Lee Lorenz, added approximately forty-five new cartoonists in his twenty-four years as art/cartoon editor, or approximately 2 a year.

 Noted: a rare co-credited cartoon in the issue: Joe Dator & Dan Yaccarino. For more on the subject of New Yorker cartoon collaboration, go here and here.

Rea Irvin: Mr. Irvin’s classic Talk masthead is still stuck in a drawer somewhere at the New Yorker‘s offices, having been replaced by a redrawn (!?) version in the Spring of last year.  Read more here. Below: what the shelved masthead looks like, lest we forget:

 

 

Fave Photos Of The Day: Funny Ladies At The Society Of Illustrators

Here are a number of photos from last night’s terrific Society of Illustrators event, Funny Ladies: The Changing Landscape of Cartooning [at The New Yorker].

All photos courtesy of Stephen Nadler, who runs the essential New Yorker cartoon/cartoonist-centric blog, Attempted Bloggery.

Above, the panelists standing in the aisle, pre-talk: Emily Flake, in mango-colored shirt, her back to the camera, ala Paul McCartney on the backside of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper lp;  just visible over her shoulder, Amy Kurzweil. Then, in profile, Liza Donnelly (who curated the Funny Ladies Exhibit and served as moderator for last night’s panel, and the previous panel in August); Center, looking right at the camera, is Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor; Sara Lautman, in plaid; far right, in profile, Amy Hwang.

Below: the panelists, l-r:  Hwang, Kurzweil, Lautman, and Flake. On screen, Liza Donnelly’s developing live-drawing of the panel (that’s her below drawing on her iPad).

Below: Ms. Flake talks about her “resting perv face” drawing.

Below: Ms. Hwang talks about her home/rest area/work cartoon.

Below: Ms. Lautman talks about her tools of a cow drawing.

Below: Ms. Kurzweil speaks about her death to the patriarchy drawing.

And one more, pre-show:

New Yorker cartoonists spotted in the crowd included Ellis Rosen, Kendra Allenby, Jeremy Nguyen, Jason Chatfield, and Joe Dator.

The Society live-streamed the event on Facebook (it’s archived, so you can watch it, or re-watch it).