Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of November 18, 2019; Some Thoughts After Seeing The Documentary Film, “Stevenson Lost And Found”

Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing

From the Facebook Invite:

Come celebrate the release of Sarah Dooley’s new book ‘Are You My Uber?’ which is a parody of the P.D. Eastman classic ‘Are You My Mother?’ Listen to comedians Sydnee Washington, Eva Victor, Larry Owens, Pat Regan, Marcia Belsky, Gabe Gonzalez, and Taylor Ortega tell hilarious stories of wild cab experiences while Hilary Campbell, the book’s illustrator, does live drawings.

Ms. Campbell began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017. Visit her website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

A leafy Daily from Chris Weyant, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. Visit his website here.

 

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The Cover: I see leaves. The fifth cover (below right) by Brigit Schossow.  Read a Q&A with her here.

There’ve been a lot, a whole lot, of leafy New Yorker covers, but this current one by Ms. Schossow  brought to mind (courtesy of a helpful New Yorker colleague) the beauty below left by the magazine’s former art & cartoon editor, Lee Lorenz.

 

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A scattering of thoughts about just a few of the cartoons in this issue:

P.C. Vey’s bear and couple in the woods (on page 33) made my day.

Something totally unexpected cartoon-wise is usually always good, and so it was coming upon a Jack Ziegler cartoon. Especially nice that the drawing is set in one of his favorite cartoon scenarios: a bar.

A fun Pete Mueller drawing (p.27).  Two Mueller drawings in two issues. Yay!

Ellis Rosen’s friend’s shower (p.56) is different. Like the choices of warm/cold and cold/warm.

Needed a ten second Googled refresher course with Liana Finck’s drawing (p. 60).  Not so much what her drawing means, but the meme’s origin (just curious, y’know).

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:

Am hoping to open the issue one day and see Mr. Irvin’s iconic design has returned. No dice this week. For now, there’s that re-draw. Read about the classic Irvin Talk masthead here.

Here’s the real deal:

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Some Thoughts After Seeing The James Stevenson Documentary Film, Stevenson Lost And Found

A few random thoughts after attending last night’s premiere of Sally Williams’ fab documentary film, Stevenson Lost And Found.  There are are so many moments in the film — too many to go into here — that cartoonists and people who love New Yorker cartoons will treasure.

One instance I found particularly fascinating: the animated sequence showing what might go through cartoonists brains as they sit down and begin the day’s work. We’re shown a series of cartoons covering a wide variety of subject matter. It is, for this cartoonist, a relatable experience, as the mind careens through unlimited places every morning.

Another instance: in some eye-popping sequences we’re shown images of Mr. Stevenson’s children’s books lined-up, as well as Mr. Stevenson’s New Yorker  black scrap books (shown above) kept in the magazine’s library. These books contain every single signed New Yorker contribution by Stevenson, whether it’s his writing or drawing (including covers of course).*  Most of The New Yorker’s nearly 650 cartoonists (from 1925- present) have not had their work collected in one scrap book, let alone five. **

At the screening, I was lucky enough to be seated next to the legendary artist, Edward Sorel. During one of the sequences in the film where we are grasping the enormous amount of work Stevenson did (both published and unpublished) Mr. Sorel leaned over and said to me, “Do you feel as much like an underachiever as I do?”

In a perfect cartoon world, there’d be films such as Lost And Found for a number of the magazine’s artists. It’s heartening that there is already a Thurber film out there, and an Addams documentary in the works, as well as a film about George Booth.  But how about a Steinberg documentary, and one about Steig***?  I can dream, can’t I.  For now, we are quite fortunate to have this gem on Stevenson showing on the big screen. Go see.

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* I say “signed” because The New Yorker  did not and does not scrap book cartoon ideas handled by other artists. Mr. Stevenson, early in his New Yorker career, wrote a large number of captions for some of the magazine’s artists (read about his “secret job” here).

**Artists (and writers) without an enormous amount of work are scrap booked in alphabetically  cataloged books, along with other contributors.

***A short video accompanied the Steig exhibit that ran at The Norman Rockwell exhibit.

There is a 20 minute film about Edward Sorel available here.

A 40 minute Eldon Dedini film here, 

And a short film about C.E.M. (Charles E. Martin) here.

 

 

The Weekend Spill: The Online Watch, November 3-8, 2019; A Swann Galleries Teaser With Addams, Steinberg & More

The Online Watch: a listing of New Yorker cartoonists who’ve contributed to The Daily Cartoon and/or Daily Shouts, November 3-8, 2019.

The Daily Cartoon:  Jon Adams, Ward Sutton, Ali Solomon, Kim Warp, Lila Ash.

Daily Shouts: David Ostow, J.A.K. (with Erin Chack), Teresa Burns Parkhurst.

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Swann Galleries December 10th Teaser

The upcoming December 10th Swann Illustration catalog is not yet available to peruse online, but here’s a preview of several New Yorker  pieces that’ll be auctioned, including work by Charles Addams, Ilonka Karasz, and Steinberg (Saul not Ari).

 

Helen Hokinson’s Silent Partner: James Reid Parker; Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

While reading James Reid Parker’s brief New York Times obit, (published January 31, 1984) I was anticipating at least a mention of his work with one of The New Yorker‘s earliest superstars, Helen Hokinson. In the magazine’s first decades, according to an in-house memo, Ms. Hokinson, along with Peter Arno, was in a special category above all other contributing artists. As you can see for yourself below, the Times obit does mention Mr. Parker’s “humorous pieces and light sketches” he contributed to the magazine, but not a word about his eighteen year sideline as a writer for Ms. Hokinson.  And that’s a shame. 

There’s not a mountain of material to sift through regarding the Hokinson-Reid working relationship, but what we do have allows us a feel for how their collaboration worked.  The best reading is found in Reid’s “memoir” included in the Hokinson collection, The Ladies God Bless ’em! published a year after Hokinson was killed in a spectacular plane crash over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. 

Mr. Parker fills us in on how he met Hokinson, and how it came to be that he became her main supplier of ideas (The New Yorker sometimes passed along an idea they felt was right for her — a practice begun in 1925, the year she joined the magazine’s brand new stable).  A mutual friend made the introduction; it was during that first meeting that ordinary conversation occasioned a spark.  Here’s Parker talking about the moment:

I happened to mention that in a story on which I was working there were two suburban matrons who talked, it seemed to me, the way some of her women might. Miss Hokinson asked what sort of things I was having them say, and I quoted a few lines of dialogue. She stopped twisting her handkerchief.  With a sigh she remarked that one of the lines in particular would have made a good caption for a drawing and that the situation was exactly the kind of thing she liked to do. I told her to go right ahead because my women could just as easily be saying something else.

About a week later, The New Yorker bought the Hokinson drawing using Parker’s idea. In a year’s time they had officially set aside all of every Friday to look at each other’s work with an eye to finding “acceptable” material.  An interesting revelation by Parker is that in 1933 he “devised” Hokinson’s women’s lunch club scenario. 

Below: a Hokinson women’s lunch club New Yorker drawing, published April 24, 1948

When the relationship between cartoonist and idea person works well, the seams don’t show — the reader believes they’re visiting a singular world (ala Jack Ziegler or Steinberg — neither of whom used outside ideas). The seams never showed in Hokinson’s drawings; looking through her work you won’t see an awkward fit. Some of the best New Yorker artists have done wonders with some outside help (Addams, Hoff, George Price, to name a few) but the Hokinson/Parker relationship was different in that she was fully dependent on provided ideas (George Price is the only other New Yorker artist known to completely rely on provided ideas).*  More than that, Parker was much involved in Hokinson’s world. In their first year of collaborating they went to dinner and then the theater once or twice a week (in his memoir he describes how much fun it was being with her on outings in Manhattan, watching her draw, sharing  her joy in discovering wondrous New York City things). When Hokinson moved up to Connecticut, Parker eventually rented a place close by her home. 

Parker on the scene there:

Thereafter Helen’s guests and mine mingled amicably, often joining forces for picnic lunches, and whenever it was necessary Helen and I could confer about a drawing on very short notice.

It’s not clear how many of Ms. Hokinson’s roughly 1,800 New Yorker drawings were the product of working with Parker, but no matter. We have a great body of work they had a grand time finding acceptable — maybe that’s plenty enough.

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*Ms. Hokinson’s  New Yorker cover ideas were her own. George Price had one New Yorker cover — it was his own idea.  

For further reading on Ms. Hokinson the place to go is Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoons and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005)

You’ll have to find a copy of Hokinson’s Ladies God Bless ’em! for James Reid Parker’s nine page Hokinson “memoir” (It can be had for a buck on AbeBooks.com). You can also find it at the end of  The Hokinson Festival  (Dutton, 1956). The bonus in that anthology: some of Hokinson’s New Yorker covers are reproduced in color. 

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Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

Attempted Bloggery discusses the 1931 Arno collection, covered and not.  Read here!

Above left: an early version (or “rough”) of a New Yorker drawing in the book. “I want you to meet my bosom friend”  appeared in The New Yorker issue of October 10, 1931.

 

 

 

 

 

George Booth’s New Yorker Golden Anniversary!

Let us raise our cartoon glasses and toast to the great New Yorker artist, George Booth. His very first New Yorker drawing appeared in the issue dated this day in 1969. His most recent drawing appeared in the magazine’s issue of June 10, 2019. My math tells me that he has now been contributing to The New Yorker for half a century.

I’ve always felt that Mr. Booth’s arrival at The New Yorker  was part of a transitional moment for the magazine’s art, helping it move from its mid-1950s Eisenhower-ish slumber to the excitement right around the bend in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the decade Mr. Booth’s work appeared, The New Yorker had lost two of its giants: James Thurber in 1961, and Peter Arno in 1968. Tremendous losses, but also a decade of tremendous gain for the magazine when the art editor, James Geraghty brought in a number of artists who would also become giants in their field: Edward Koren in 1962, Charles Barsotti, Sam Gross, and George Booth in 1969.  How fortunate we are that three of these artists continue showering us with their work right up to today (Charles Barsotti passed away five years ago this week).

By the time I was making a serious effort to get into The New Yorker in the mid 1970s (my work rejected a mountain of times by Mr. Geraghty), Booth, Koren, Barsotti and Gross had already been added to the New Yorker’s  Mt. Rushmore of cartoonists; their work impossibly inspiring. I felt (and still feel) about Booth’s drawings as I felt about work by Thurber and Hokinson and Steig and Saxon, and Peter Arno and Steinberg (and many more): it cannot get any better than this.

(above: A Booth New Yorker cartoon from the issue of March 25, 1991)

As with so many, if not all of the New Yorker great artists, there is an education for aspiring cartoonists, and published cartoonists as well, in every single one of their drawings. Even this morning looking through Booth’s work, I find my electrical cartoon current even buzzier than usual. There’s beauty and excitement in Booth’s art, and of course, there’s that signature Boothian barrel of fun.

For those wanting more of his work, Omnibooth is a great place to dive in.  Find Lee Lorenz’s The Essential George Booth (Workman Publishing Company, 1998) and you’ll be treated to a mini-bio of Booth as well as samples of pre-New Yorker work. There is also his classic 1975 collection, Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead & Co.).

And very luckily for us all, Nathan Fitch’s documentary film on Booth, Drawing Life  is well on its way.

I  leave you with a small sample of Mr. Booth’s cover work, and with hearty applause for George Booth — a fine person, and an exceptional artist.

 

Note: Here’s what Fred Taraba of Taraba Illustration Art had to say about the Skittish Dog drawing shown at the head of this post: Not published, rather a version of one of Booth’s most recognized cartoons. The published version appeared in The New Yorker on August 15th, 1977. A third version appears in the book, Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth.

 

 

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill; Tom Chitty Has A Question; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Christopher Weyant; More Steinberg; Today’s Daily Shouts By…Seth Fleishman

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill

I came away from a recent visit to my favorite (used) book store, Rodgers Book Barn in Hillsdale, New York with the brochure handed out at Brendan Gill’s memorial back in 1998 (see the details of the tribute below). I’m indebted to one of my book store haunting friends, Mark Burns for digging the brochure out of a box of ephemera and placing it right in front of my face (for the record, my other co-haunters were Danny Shanahan and John Cuneo). Frank Modell’s drawing of an exuberant Brendan Gill was new to me, and an obvious must-have, must-buy. 

For more on Mr. Gill, I highly recommend his oft-reprinted Here At The New Yorker (the William Heinemann 1990 edition shown below)And for more on Mr. Modell there’s his collection Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! as well as James Stevenson’s terrific The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell.

Further Reading: An earlier Spill piece on cartoonists and Rodgers Book Barn.

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Tom Chitty Has A Question

From Jane Mattimoe’s  fine Fine Case For Pencils, “Tom Chitty Has A Question About Dip Pens”

Mr. Chitty began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014.  Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

The lack of White House press briefings has been in the news. Chris Weyant comments via a castle cartoon.  Mr. Weyant has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1998. Visit his website here.

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More Steinberg

From The Brooklyn Rail, “Saul Steinberg: Untitled” 

Comments on the Steinberg exhibit currently showing at Totah (til April 28th — hurry!)

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Today’s Daily Shouts by…Seth Fleishman

A fish story from Seth Fleishman who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016. See some of his work here on the New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site.