We did this a few weeks ago, so let’s try it again just for fun. Here’s what I sketched when I had the original ‘a-ha’ about a guy whose couch was so filled with leftovers from previous dinners that he had to get gutters installed. It’s about somebody else, naturally.
It needed a bit more fleshing out to be understood. Who is that person looking over his shoulder?
This is the last step in getting it to be a submission-worthy sketch. Yes, I sometimes sign my sketches. Why? No idea.
So, this is how it looks when I originally hand it over to the editor for consideration:
And this is what it looks like in this week’s issue of the New Yorker. Page 80 if you have one of the printed thingys.
And this is what my drawing desk looks like. WHY CAN I MAKE JOKES ABOUT SOMEBODY ELSE’S COUCH BUT NOT MY OWN DESK?
Filed under Cartoons, Photos
Judging by my reader mail, nobody really has any interest in getting in touch with me. But if they did, I’m guessing they’d want to see another one of those from-the-sketch-to-the-pages-of-the-New-Yorker-magazine things that I did a while back. So here goes.
A while back, while casually caffeinating myself, I was trying to think of silly ideas about carpooling, and I scrawled something down which I could barely read:
The joke wasn’t about saving money on a work commute, which is dumb, but about saving money on a midlife crisis, which is obviously hilarious, because you’re supposed to go all-out on those things, according to the rules of a midlife crisis (which, because of increasing longevity, now happens at around age 75). So I decided it was good enough to submit to the New Yorker, and they liked it.
Notice how the “Jump in, Stan” is unnecessary, and I reworded the caption so that it was less clunky. The car, however, was a definite clunker. You’re not having a midlife crisis in that car. You’re having a takeout Sonic cheeseburger. I had drawn an economy rental vehicle. So I had to sex up the car a bit when I drew it for the magazine so that the joke was actually believable. Here’s the preliminary sketch:
And then I went all woodcut on it, which is the way you see it in this week’s Money Issue:
And once it’s in print, the rest of it, as I wrote in a recent post, goes like this. Peace out.
The original art for this cartoon is still available here, for anybody who considers themselves a part of the hot, sweaty, art-buying public.
Last Thursday, the 92Y Tribeca was the location for Fisticuffs!, the epic improv battle where cartoonists draw cartoons supposedly based on audience ideas, but which really are based on the things that are already contained in their warped heads. Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke provided the witty soundtrack to the night. It was a success, especially if you consider humor regarding infant libidos a success. Among other happenings, Paul Noth showed the few cartoons that he hadn’t spilled food on, Zach Kanin read a twisted version of his wedding vows, and the band actually turned in a nifty drawing of Baby Bjorn-sporting sumos.
Who won the fracas? I’m not at liberty to say, but there were lots of losers: silence, sincerity, good taste, gurus on desert islands, Southerners, and Philip Glass (don’t ask – out of context it makes no sense). Thanks to Maya Wainhaus who uploaded a bunch of pictures to the 92Y Flickr. We’re hoping to do it again early in the new year, and we hope to see you there! (until then, follow us on twitter: @fisticuffs_show)
Filed under Cartoons, events
What better way to celebrate the confirmation of our SXSW panel on words & images than with caption shop talk?
There are some cartoon tropes that lend themselves to endless variations: the grim reaper, the desert island, the guru on the mountain, the government of the United States. And then there are things that are in themselves so absurd that they are difficult to add humor to: again, the government of the United States. But another example of this is wine. The language of wine tasting is inherently ridiculous. When you talk about wine you’re allowed to give it all kinds of flavors and characteristics that aren’t really there: trees, nuts, leaves, flesh, backbones, noses, legs, a short temper. It’s almost theological. The language associated with tasting wine is similar. I still have no idea what a “long finish” is besides the amount of time it takes the next day to get rid of a really bad wine headache.
And so, every time I try to think of a good wine cartoon, I end up in the same rut. You can twist wine language in all kinds of ways: it’s got a crooked nose, it’s got a full body but don’t call it fat, it’s got a 7:30 train to Seacaucus – but it always struck me that none of it is as funny as what real wine experts say. It seems so ripe for parody, but in reality the best way to parody it is to just leave it alone. It is probably the same approach that should be taken with cartoons about Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
It’s why I was so pleased that the good editors at the New Yorker published this cartoon this week, after helping me tweak the caption a little bit. It’s one of the only wine ideas of mine that ever made it out of the notebook and onto scratchboard (besides this silly one). It seemed like a good twist on the whole thing. While financial language isn’t absurd, it does have it’s own set of semi-intelligible jargon, and it’s a logical idea that your stereotypical Wall Street types who are experienced drinkers would also be interested in the financials of a wine brand. There are lots of ways that you could write the caption, but to my mind it had to sound both like opaque wine language and like they were describing a specific company. It had to blur the analytical and the experiential. And also it had to sound completely natural.
So, mission accomplished. And now, back to doing cartoons about vodka, which is a heck of a lot easier.
At last night’s Steam Powered Hour at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, I had the privilege of joining a great Halloween-themed multimedia event: horror/suspense writer Jack Ketchum read one of his stories, and I did a live illustration for it, along with illustrator Natalie Ascencios. Kris Gruen and the Bowman sisters accompanied on music. Here’s a little teaser montage for the second of Jack’s stories, with drawing by Felipe Gallindo, Matthew Diffee, and R. Sikoryak, and music by Jacob Tilove, Rick Snell, Bridget Kearney, and the Party People:
The good and crazy folks who are Longshot magazine published a full-page comic of mine in their new issue on the theme of “Comeback.” The cartoon is meant to stand on it’s own, but is also a metaphor for the story of Longshot, who rose victorious from the (still warm) ashes of 48HR mag. You can see the full-size image here. My comic in Issue Zero can be found here. Thanks, Longshot!
My friend Austin Kleon has put together a panel for next year’s SXSW Interactive about the relationship between words, pictures, and humor. Sound familiar? The title is Your Caption Here: How To Manipulate Images Without Photoshop, and the panel is full of talented folks: Kleon, who recently published Newspaper Blackout; Jessica Hagy, of Indexed; Maris Kreizman, of Slaughterhouse 90210; Ross Nover, of The System; and myself. It should be great, because each of the panelists’ work comes from a slightly different angle, but each is wonderful in it’s own right. You can vote for the panel here, on the SXSW Panel Picker site. Whether you’ll be at SXSW 2011 or not, please vote!
Filed under Cartoons, events
A few years ago I stumbled upon (electronically, because somebody left it right there in the middle of the internet) the blog of the British illustrator Michael Renouf, who challenged himself to post one drawing a day, more or less. He stated that they were supposed to be silly, with no particular theme.
He made me question my definition of “silly,” because these drawings are expertly crafted visual puns. Some are topical or illustrate a certain editorial idea, some are purely for fun, and a lot of them require a rewarding second look in order to spy the subtle “joke.” But they’re almost all clever and inventive, especially considering how many he did – several hundred, until pausing in December. Anyone who has tried their hand at illustration or political cartooning knows how hard it is to truly combine familiar images or icons in a fresh way (Bob Staake’s cover for this week’s New Yorker is another example of how to do it right), and so I’ve been amazed at how ingenious and how effortless some of these are. But enough of my yapping. I’ve posted a few random ones below, but you should go to Michael’s blog and spend some time sorting through them yourself.
Click here to view all images
If you’re lucky enough to be dining with cartoonists on your birthday, and if you’re also lucky enough to be dining at a restaurant where they don’t mind people drawing on the tablecloth and ripping it apart, then you might get some gifts like this. Sam Gross, Sidney Harris, Karen Sneider, and Bob Eckstein all drew me some cake, “colored in” with coffee and wine. Thanks, lady and gents. Notice how nobody actually wrote my name on any of them? I am so going to regift these to other people.