How it Works

I’ve got a cartoon in this week’s issue of the New Yorker. It never gets old, seeing things of yours get published. In fact, getting things published is an interesting process, from start to finish. Sometimes people want to know how it works. So, I thought I’d post a little story, and I thought it would be helpful to title it How It Works.

The first thing to do is to drink a lot of coffee.

One of the keys to finding humor in things is knowing where NOT to find humor. And as you can see, you cannot make a joke about Hoboken. Once that becomes clear, the rest is easy. You just start sketching.

This is a rough idea that came to me upon contemplating a history of missed deadlines. I only jot down what I need to jot down in order to preserve the idea. When I go to pitch it to the magazine, it’s cleaned up quite a bit and drawn in Sharpie:

This cartoon would have been expedited to the cartoon graveyard, except that the good editors at the magazine decided to buy it. So then I do a final version in scratchboard, which is not too different in layout than the sketch:

The final part of the process, of course, is the tremendous crush of media attention and fame that comes my way, which is naturally followed by staggering amounts of money. After a cartoon is published I like to relax by buying a Greek island and paying the residents to leave so I can vacation there all by myself, but sometimes the throngs of people outside my door are so overwhelming that I am stuck here. For instance, this is a snapshot of what is happening outside my window right now:

So, that’s pretty much how it works.



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3 responses to “How it Works

  1. Wow, your “rough” is anybody else’s finished cartoon. Very nice.

    In 2009 I heard your talk at the New England Cartoonists’ dinner thing in Somerville, MA. Was very good, fun, memorable, and, as the first cartoonist talk I’d heard, especially informative for a beginner like myself. I distinctively remember the unpublished genius of your “Medieval Knievel” cartoon. Keep up the great work, Dd, and here’s to continued success in your endeavors!

  2. So the legend of your headstone design is true. And you made it sound difficult. Pshaw!

  3. Pingback: In the Money (issue) | Words, Pictures, Humor

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