The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of March 30, 2020; More Spills…

Note: As of 10:00am this Monday morning the magazine’s digital issue has not yet been posted, so, for now, I’m relying on what’s available on other areas of

Update: Digital issue posted this evening.

The Cover: as mentioned here last Friday, the new issue’s cover (above) was early released.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons: As might be expected, several of this week’s eleven cartoons are current event-centric.  Roz Chast’s and Paul Noth’s the most reflective, with Sofia Warren’s very much in the vicinity.  If there’s a non-exclusive theme running throughout, it is domesticity: Lars Kenseth’s couple in the kitchen, Zach Kanin’s dad in the living room, a neighbor showing up to borrow a lot of sugar, Emily Flake’s couple at home in the hallway, and a dad in bed, with little patience to listen to his kid’s dream. Kim Warp’s way out there drawing bucks the surely coincidental at-home theme.

All of the cartoons above can be seen here via a slideshow on

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch: Mr. Irvin’s iconic masthead (below) is still hidden away, a redraw in its place since the Spring of 2017. Read about it here.


…Today’s Daily Cartoon: Maddie Dai on staying in.

…a Daily Shouts by Emily Flake: “Adages For The Age Of Quarantine.”

…From Comics DC, March 22, 2020: “Was Emily Richards The First Black Female New Yorker Cartoonist in 2004?”









Personal History: Sketchbooks; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

In 1972 or 1973, several years before my work was first accepted into The New Yorker, I began drawing in the black sketchbooks you see above. At the time it seemed like a good idea, and it remained a good idea until the late 1970s, when having arrived at Sketchbook #73 (yes, I numbered them), I suddenly stopped. The reason for stopping was simple. I was no longer drawing the way I’d drawn for the past eight or so years.

The sketchbooks are not filled with what most would call sketches — they are filled (predominantly) with cartoons, usually captioned — and as finished as I thought they should be. Those pre-New Yorker drawings were not worked on — I just drew them from scratch right onto the sketchbook pages. If I did something I hated, I’d rip out the page.

Above: it was rare to draw in a small sketchbook, but it happened when I came to sketchbook #53, (February 20, 1978)… the caption: “Do you think he’d like a stick of Dentine?”; below is sketchbook #73 (August 1979) a titled drawing: Mr. Geng Has Coconuts In The Pool Problems

In the years I drew in the books, I would go to my local copier place and turn my most recent sketchbook over to the copy person. The drawings to be copied out of the book were marked off.  Those drawings were my weekly batch. For some reason I decided to take each copy, cut it down to less than 8 1/2″  x 11″ and rubber cement it on to thin illustration board. Then I’d take the pile of mounted cartoons uptown to The New Yorker. No one asked me to do this, or suggested I do it — it was a time wasting system I developed all on my own.  I’ve put those mounted drawings in trash cans; the plan is to burn them some day. The rubber cement has turned the drawings dark brown.

In 1977, when I got my foot in the door at The New Yorker, my output (for lack of a better word) increased. I no longer had the patience to do a completed drawing on each sketchbook page. Instead of drawing in the sketchbook, I began drawing on copy paper. I bought reams of copy paper, and eventually cases of copy paper (my Rapidograph loves copy paper). Bits and pieces of drawings and sentence fragments, or just a word or two,  now make it onto paper until the cartoon gods decide to show me the way. When that happens, a drawing is swiftly put down on paper — much like the old sketchbook days.

I’ve not shown all the sketchbooks I worked in. Some were given away over the years, and a few are somewhere in the Spill archives waiting to be found (for instance, books #1 -10 are not shown.  Years ago I placed them someplace “special” and of course have no idea now where that special place is).

When the sketchbook “system(?)” ended I began placing work in manilla folders marked by month and year.  Each folder contained a month’s work — actual work pages, not finished drawings. That system ended a few years back when I ran out of manilla folders and didn’t want to bother buying more.  So I began just piling up the work sheets.  The finished drawings (i.e., the rejected work) are in their own piles, awaiting who knows what fate.  The published drawings are in their own piles. Things sure have become complicated.


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon 

Jon Adams on working from home.

Mr. Adams began contributing his work to The New Yorker in October of 2017. Visit his website here.

Thurber Thursday; James Stevenson’s Hat Trick Issue Of The New Yorker: March 22, 1969; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; From The Department Of “What The…?”

Thurber Thursday

Here’s an oddity from the Spill’s archive. An eight page pamphlet containing James Thurber’s speech delivered upon receiving the Ohioana Sesquicentennial Medal. The Citation reads (in part): In appreciation of your generosity of spirit…originality of concept…your matchless satire…at times pure wit…oft times gentle humor…your priceless gift of laughter…boon to disturbed mankind…In recognition of the world wide fame you have bestowed on the state of Ohio and your home town of Columbus the pleasure you have given readers round the globe.

Thurber couldn’t be there in person to accept, so his speech was read by the then editor of The Columbus Dispatch. The award was presented in October of 1954.  It included this oft-cited passage:

I have lived in the East for nearly thirty years now, but many of my books prove that I am never very far away from Ohio in my thoughts, and that the clocks that strike in my dreams are often the clocks of Columbus.


James Stevenson’s Hat Trick Issue Of The New Yorker: March 22, 1969

Look closely at the above table of contents and you’ll see James Stevenson’s name appears three times. He’s credited with the piece, “Notes From an Exhibition”; he’s credited with the cover, and he is credited with contributing a cartoon, under “Drawings.” Perhaps — perhaps! — we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Stevenson’s work was all over the place in the issue. He is believed to be the most prolific New Yorker contributor of all time (if you add up his cartoons, his covers and his written contributions). This weighty presence in the magazine is best exhibited in the Sally William’s documentary,  Stevenson: Lost And Found,* when the filmmaker animates Mr. Stevenson’s black binders piling up in the magazine’s library. Every New Yorker contributor’s work is added into a binder.  If you’ve contributed  a lot of work, you end up with your own binder. If your work exceeds the binder’s page limit, you get a second binder, and so on.  Mr. Stevenson has five binders in the magazine’s library. They look like this:

A fun fact about the above Table of Contents: The New Yorker that appeared the week before had a Table of Contents that looked (exactly) like the one shown below. For a magazine that rarely (in those days) messed with its design, this change to a more informative Table of Contents was a very big thing. The next time The Table Of Contents design changed was the issue of October 5, 1992 — the debut issue of Tina Brown’s editorship.

*It was announced just yesterday that Stevenson: Lost and Found has been selected to screen at The Newport Beach Film Festival, Salem Film Fest, and Block Island Film Festival.


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Teresa Burns Parkhurst on VP Pence’s new job assignment. Ms. Parkhurst has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2017.



From the Department of “What The…?”

During one of my many daily Google searches for New Yorker cartoonist news, this special little box shown below titled “New Yorker Illustrators” turned up (I’ve provided a screenshot).  I wasn’t searching for New Yorker illustrators — this came to me unbidden. Of the several things wrong with this offered selection, besides the glaring one sitting dead center, is that only one of the people shown — Mr. Niemann — is a New Yorker illustrator (unless Trump does illustration work on the side I’m not aware of). And okay, okay, I’ll  add the obvious “quip”: I never thought Donald Trump would get between me and my wife.





A Valentine’s Day Cartoon; A Case For Pencils Spotlights Nick Downes; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist



— from The New Yorker,  Feb. 22, 2016


A Case For Pencils Spotlights Nick Downes

Jane Mattimoe’s terrif blog, A Case For Pencils features Nick Downes this week. Take a look.

Mr. Downes, shown here in a sort of Eustace Tilley-ish pose, began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998.

Visit Mr. Downes’s website here.


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Amy Hwang on love of chocolate. Ms. Hwang began contributing to The New Yorker in 2010.

Visit her website here.

Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

From cartoonist, Olivia de Recat, & writer, Julia Edelman: “Dating Material: A Pop Quiz To Determine If You’re In A Relationship”

Olivia de Recat has been contributing her cartoons to The New Yorker since 2013. Visit her website here.

A Spill Super Bowl Tradition; Three Helen Hokinson Covers For The Stage


Carrying on a Spill Super Bowl tradition, here’s my drawing from The New Yorker issue of October 16, 2006.  And below, since we’re in such a heavy political time, here’s another (my only other football drawing) from the issue of October 23, 2017.


Three Helen Hokinson Covers For The Stage

Browsing around the web this Groundhog Day morning I came upon three covers by the late very great New Yorker artist, Helen Hokinson for The Stage. I’d never seen any of these before.

Ms. Hokinson’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Helen Hokinson  Born, Illinois, 1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956). According to a New Yorker document  produced during Harold Ross’s editorship (1925-1951) rating their artists, Ms. Hokinson and Peter Arno occupied a special category unto themselves above all others.