The Monday Spill: The New Yorker Cartoonists Glossary (Updated)

No Monday Tilley Watch today as we’re in the second half of a double issue stretch (the latest issue is dated July 6 & 13, 2020). The next new issue, dated July 20, 2020 will be out next Monday).

Just for fun, I thought I’d dust-off and update the Glossary I compiled some years back for a newyorker.com feature. The original version appears there, but here’s a slightly expanded version reflecting changes at the magazine’s Cartoon Department. Even though the magazine’s employees are working from home during this time, it’s temporary, and so I’ve left in the areas referring to the cartoonists going into the magazine. They will return!

The Glossary 

If the average person happened to sit down with a group of New Yorker cartoonists, they would likely hear some common words and expressions used in unfamiliar and possibly confusing ways. Here is a glossary of commonly used words and expressions by the magazine’s cartoonists:

Batch: As in “I faxed my batch early.” Or “My batch is thin this week.” A batch is the collective term for the drawings a cartoonist submits weekly to the magazine [see Magazine, the].

Cartoon: Drawing

Colin: Colin Stokes, the assistant cartoon editor. Usage: “I’m not sure if there’s a meeting this week—I’d better give Colin a call.”

Daily: Refers to a drawing used online as a Daily cartoon, or to the online feature itself, as in “Did you see today’s Daily?” or, “Who did today’s Daily?” A Daily cartoon does not appear in the print magazine; print magazine cartoons do not appear as Daily cartoons. Go here for a fuller explanation.

David: David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. His is the final word on whether art is bought. [see O.K. and/or Meeting, the]

Drawing: Cartoon.

Emma: As in “I spoke to Emma about it.” Or “I’ll run it by Emma” or “Emma held [see Held] twelve this week.” Emma is Emma Allen, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor.

Finish: As in “I’ll get that finish to you by the next week.” Finish is short for “finished drawing.” It refers to an O.K.ed drawing that has been readied by the cartoonist for publication.

Held: The drawings Emma holds on to from your batch. A held drawing has the potential of being O.K.ed, although it could still be rejected.

I’m going in : As in “I’m going in next week.” If you’re going in, you’re going in to the magazine to see Emma and show her your batch.

I’m in: As in “I’m in this week.” Or “I’m not in this week.” Refers specifically to one of your drawings being published in the current issue of the magazine.

I went in: As in “I went in last week.” “Went in” refers to going to The New Yorker’s offices, specifically to the art department.

Magazine, the: The New Yorker. As in “I haven’t seen this week’s issue of the magazine—am I in it?”

Meeting, the: The weekly art meeting, at which David Remnick and Emma look over, discuss, and decide which drawings will be bought. David, as the magazine’s editor-in-chief, has the final say on whether a drawing is O.K.ed or rejected.

O.K.: As in “you got an O.K. this week” or “I got an O.K. this week” or “I haven’t had an O.K. in seven months.” This is the two-letter word that every cartoonist lives for—it means that The New Yorker has bought a drawing [see Drawing] from you ( i.e., O.K.ed a sale).

Pitch/Pitching: see Submit/Submitting: “pitch” or “pitching” has begun to take the place of “submit” or “submitting”; I prefer (and argue for retaining) submit to pitch, as pitch seems like a Hollywoodism. It conjures up the artist sitting before a few people and verbally trying to sell an idea. Cartoonists traditionally let the work speak for itself.

Resub: As in “I sent in mostly resubs this week.” Resub is short for “resubmitted.” Cartoonists sometimes send rejected drawings back to Emma for another shot.

Submit/Submitting: What you do when you send in your batch, or bring it in for Emma to see. As in “Yeah, I submitted this week — did you?”

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