Here’s a really fun read, published in 1980. Short interviews with a ton of folks, as you see by the list (shown below) on the back cover. My initial interest in this book was that it included New Yorker contributors such as Renata Adler, John McPhee, Donald Barthelme, John Cheever, John Updike, S.J. Perelman, etc., etc.) as well as a few of its cartoonists: George Booth, William Hamilton, William Steig, and Gahan Wilson. And, two New Yorker contributors directly tied in to the art department: William Maxwell, and Peter DeVries.
Some key moments from each of the above-mentioned cartoonist pieces:
George Booth: “I agree with E.B. White when he says that analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. You can spread the pieces all over the table, but in the process you lose something. The important thing for me is to see the little things that everyone sees, the things they see and ignore, things that are so familiar you don’t notice them, and laugh at them until they are drawn on paper.”
William Hamilton: [speaking of using captions supplied by someone else — something he did not do]: “If you use outside material you stand in great danger of becoming a parody of yourself. When you write your own lines you might get bad ones every now and then, but you are growing. You aren’t cutting off your future.”
William Steig: “…my drawing styles have changed very little over the years. They may go in cycles but the same styles keep coming around again and again. I’m actually more influenced by the kinds of paper or pens I use than by what is in my head. A pen that produces a thin, scratchy line, for instance, will produce a different cartoon from a pen that makes a fat, heavy line.”
Gahan Wilson: “I don’t believe in scary illustrations in books for children. It’s unfair. As for adults, they can take care of themselves.”
Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery has a fun series of posts concerning a cow drawn by the great New Yorker cartoonist, Jack Ziegler, and how that drawing may (may) have led to a Ziegler drawing published in The New Yorker. See the cows here.
Left: a fave Ziegler photo from the Spill‘s archives. That’s New Yorker cartoonist Richard Cline leaning into Mr. Ziegler. Photo, by Liza Donnelly, taken sometime in the 1980s.
The Daily Cartoon: David Hornsby (a Bonus Daily), Kim Warp, Peter Kuper, Liz Montague, John Cuneo (a Bonus Daily), Brooke Bourgeois, Ali Solomon.
Daily Shouts: Eugenia Viti (with Lillian Stone), Avi Steinberg (with Shelby Lorman), Jeremy Nguyen (with Irving Ruan, and Graham Techler).
…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook
*a name italicized: a contributor whose cartoons have not appeared in the print magazine.