Legendary Bob Mankoff, who recently resigned as cartoon editor at the New Yorker (1997 to 2017), said it took roughly 2,000 submissions to the magazine before he received an acceptance letter.
I don’t know why this information inspired me when it should have left me in the fetal position, whimpering for my mother.
Obviously, I’m under no illusions that winning in this kind of company is easy, especially now, with so many talented people sending their cartoons to the same address every week.
To paint an accurate picture, the number of drawing ideas reviewed weekly in the New Yorker is about 1,000. The number of these funny cartoons in each number is from 12 to 20? I’ve always been a bit of a klutz when it comes to math, but even I can see that the odds of New Yorkers and myself are greeting each other across an almost immeasurable expanse.
More info: johnart.org
Then there’s the sense of humour.
It’s distinctly New Yorker-ish. Can I pull that kind of dry, subtle, epiphany-esque kind of funny out of my tailpipe?
It remains to be seen, but I’ll continue to try. Still, the lottery is the lottery—you can’t win if you don’t play.
And I’d keep doing these New Yorker cartoons no matter the outcome, because I don’t seem to know any better. This has created an interesting situation; forcing me to examine (and re-examine) my reasons for trying out for the “show”.
- It turns out; I love doing cartoons more than I thought. So doodling and searching for nonsense is, IMHO, a great way to spend a few hours each day.
- Having this nearly impossible goal has forced me to focus on the task at hand. I submit to you: it is easier to drown a fish than to make the average artist concentrate for long periods… on anything. In the process, I’ve become a much better (and disciplined) cartoonist and illustrator.
- Although it sounds cliché, the journey is the reward. I am an illustrator by trade, I mainly do scientific and technological demonstrations, infographics, etc. Cartooning is very different and being silly is just cathartic. Was it Confucius who said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life?” I can’t remember, maybe it was Bono, you cocky bastard.
Anyway, I see a lot of glitter in Bored Panda. I am always inspired by talented collaborators and I hope that there are no artists who hide their brilliance out of intimidation or fear of criticism.
In the meantime, I move forward with zero expectations and the certainty that one day I’ll either get published in the New Yorker or have enough great drawings for my own coffee table book.
Either one works for me.
Thank you for reading.
I’ve been working on a children’s book and a new batch of cartoons. I have two new books in the works and I’m always looking for that next gag to turn into a cartoon. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be productive. Work every day—even when you don’t feel like it, or feel like the attempt was a failure. Not trying or making the effort—that’s when we really fail.