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Posts tagged "cartooning"

Jul 03, 2014
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Bob Mankoff, How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons

Booklist got it right:


  In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother’s complicated influence (“Humor thrives on conflict”), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine’s cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker’s devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 “after 107 tries.” A cartoon lover’s feast.


I particularly liked the bits where Bob talks about how the humor in cartoons works, and how the cartoonists themselves work:


  In cartooning, as in life, nine out of ten things don’t work out… 
  To get good ideas in any field, the best method is to generate lots of ideas and throw out the bad ones.


He then points to something that I’d always suspected: that there are writing-first cartoonists and drawing-first cartoonists:


  Different cartoonists have different was of getting quality from quantity. One division is between the doodle firsters and the word firsters. The doodle firsters doodle away until a drawing inspires something funny, while the words first people write, write, and write some more until something clicks.


(For a great example of the process of a word-firster, check out my friend Matt Diffee’s TED talk.)

The other thing I love about this book is how informed it seems to be by Mankoff’s blogging — it reads like a really lean, well-edited blog post, with cartoons tossed in the stream at any point they need to be to illustrate the point. It’s fast reading that also rewards re-reading, which is a hard thing to pull off.

If you’re at all interested in The New Yorker, cartooning, or how humor works, this is a really great read.

Recommended.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Bob Mankoff, How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons

Booklist got it right:

In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother’s complicated influence (“Humor thrives on conflict”), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine’s cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker’s devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 “after 107 tries.” A cartoon lover’s feast.

I particularly liked the bits where Bob talks about how the humor in cartoons works, and how the cartoonists themselves work:

In cartooning, as in life, nine out of ten things don’t work out… To get good ideas in any field, the best method is to generate lots of ideas and throw out the bad ones.

He then points to something that I’d always suspected: that there are writing-first cartoonists and drawing-first cartoonists:

Different cartoonists have different was of getting quality from quantity. One division is between the doodle firsters and the word firsters. The doodle firsters doodle away until a drawing inspires something funny, while the words first people write, write, and write some more until something clicks.

(For a great example of the process of a word-firster, check out my friend Matt Diffee’s TED talk.)

The other thing I love about this book is how informed it seems to be by Mankoff’s blogging — it reads like a really lean, well-edited blog post, with cartoons tossed in the stream at any point they need to be to illustrate the point. It’s fast reading that also rewards re-reading, which is a hard thing to pull off.

If you’re at all interested in The New Yorker, cartooning, or how humor works, this is a really great read.

Recommended.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Jul 02, 2014
Permalink
austinkleon:

Out of the way, you swine! A cartoonist is coming!

Cartoon by B. Kliban via @comicsreporter. Filed under: pity the poor cartoonist

EVERY time I see this cartoon it makes me laugh.

austinkleon:

Out of the way, you swine! A cartoonist is coming!

Cartoon by B. Kliban via @comicsreporter. Filed under: pity the poor cartoonist

EVERY time I see this cartoon it makes me laugh.

Jun 20, 2014
Permalink

RIP cartoonist Charles Barsotti 1933-2014

My favorite signature in the New Yorker. He grew up just down the road:

Charles Barsotti – or “Charley,” as nearly everyone called him – was born September 28, 1933, in San Marcos, Texas. “Everything down there either had thorns on it or bit,” he said of his hometown when I interviewed him in January 2013, “and that includes the adults.” Howard, his father, sold furniture in San Antonio, where Charley was raised. His mother, the delightfully named Dicey Belle Branum, was a schoolteacher. Barsotti credited his hard-working parents with inspiring his own determined work ethic. “That, and fear,” he added.

If you’re unfamiliar with his work, Bob Mankoff has a nice small gallery of his cartoons, and there’s a collection called, simply, The Essential Charles Barsotti.

Jun 15, 2014
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newyorker:

The cartoonist Paul Karasik explains why his candidate for the perfect cartoon is this classic by Peter Arno: http://nyr.kr/1itW3KY

Arno is amazing. I love this era of New Yorker cartooning. (See also: Charles Addams)

newyorker:

The cartoonist Paul Karasik explains why his candidate for the perfect cartoon is this classic by Peter Arno: http://nyr.kr/1itW3KY

Arno is amazing. I love this era of New Yorker cartooning. (See also: Charles Addams)

(Source: newyorker.com)

Nov 03, 2013
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thenearsightedmonkey:

"Let’s Draw a Car and then Let’s Draw Batman"

A comics essay by Lynda Barry

Illustrations retrieved from materials discarded by participants in Lynda Barry’s writing workshop at The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fall 2013

Filed under: Lynda Barry

Oct 25, 2013
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Let my very funny friend Matt Diffee, he of New Yorker fame, teach you how to get a great idea.

See also: Frank Chimero’s “How To Have An Idea”

Sep 03, 2013
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Ralph Steadman drawing and playing ukulele in his studio in Kent

Amazing video of one of my very favorite artists.

People have said, “Oh, I thought you’d be a nasty piece of work because you’re so dark and trenchant,” and I say, “No I’m not! I’ve got rid of it — it’s all on paper!”

On mistakes:

There’s no such thing as a mistake. A mistake is only an opportunity to do something else.

On style:

I never went out of my way to invent a style. I haven’t got a style — I just draw and it’s that way.

Basically who I want to be when I grow up…

(via @abstractsunday)

Jun 15, 2013
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Ivan Brunetti, Aesthetics: A Memoir

Brunetti’s an interesting guy. I love the spirit of the introduction—his humility and his contentment with just being one small member in a tribe of craftsmen…


  I am aware that there is no originality in my work, that pretty much all I am doing essentially is making my own version of Peanuts (crossed with Robert Crumb) and a vastly, hopelessly inferior one at that….No matter. I am happy to be a subatomic particle whizzing around inside the seemingly infinite ocean of cartooning.


…and the the book trailer…


  As a teacher, I like to encourage my students to explore their own past and explore the things that shaped them. And from there, I think you can use that as raw material for whatever [else] you want to explore. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of where they came from or the things that aesthetically shaped them….
  
  I’m sure people will look at my drawing style and think, “That’s pretty simple. I can do that.” And actually, I think that’s good. That’s what I want people to say. Hopefully it will inspire someone to feel like they can do it and that they can take whatever limited ability or limited means…even just using the cheapest materials. […] The hardest thing for most people is simply getting started. That’s my hope [for this book] really: that people will look through it and just feel inspired to make something of their own and start valuing whatever it is they make.


If you haven’t read his book, Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, it’s $10, and probably the best guide to cartooning ever written.

Ivan Brunetti, Aesthetics: A Memoir

Brunetti’s an interesting guy. I love the spirit of the introduction—his humility and his contentment with just being one small member in a tribe of craftsmen…

I am aware that there is no originality in my work, that pretty much all I am doing essentially is making my own version of Peanuts (crossed with Robert Crumb) and a vastly, hopelessly inferior one at that….No matter. I am happy to be a subatomic particle whizzing around inside the seemingly infinite ocean of cartooning.

…and the the book trailer

As a teacher, I like to encourage my students to explore their own past and explore the things that shaped them. And from there, I think you can use that as raw material for whatever [else] you want to explore. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of where they came from or the things that aesthetically shaped them….

I’m sure people will look at my drawing style and think, “That’s pretty simple. I can do that.” And actually, I think that’s good. That’s what I want people to say. Hopefully it will inspire someone to feel like they can do it and that they can take whatever limited ability or limited means…even just using the cheapest materials. […] The hardest thing for most people is simply getting started. That’s my hope [for this book] really: that people will look through it and just feel inspired to make something of their own and start valuing whatever it is they make.

If you haven’t read his book, Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, it’s $10, and probably the best guide to cartooning ever written.

(Source: yalepress.yale.edu)

Feb 20, 2013
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Milton Caniff in his studio, c. 1947


Wow. I want to go to there.

(via @comicsreporter)

Jan 25, 2013
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Al Hirschfeld’s signature: spot the NINA

We were talking about signatures yesterday, and my wife reminded me of Al Hirschfeld. Wikipedia:

Hirschfeld is known for hiding the name of his daughter, Nina, in most of the drawings he produced after her birth in 1945. The name would appear in a sleeve, in a hairdo, or somewhere in the background. As Margo Feiden described it, Hirschfeld engaged in the “harmless insanity,” as he called it, of hiding her name [Nina] at least once in each of his drawings. The number of NINAs concealed is shown by an Arabic numeral to the right of his signature. Generally, if no number is to be found, either NINA appears once or the drawing was executed before she was born. Hirschfeld originally intended the Nina gag to be a one-time gimmick but locating Nina’s name in the drawings became extremely popular. From time to time Hirschfeld lamented that the gimmick had overshadowed his art and tried to discontinue the practice, but such attempts always generated harsh criticism. Nina herself was reportedly somewhat ambivalent about all the attention. In the previously mentioned interview with The Comics Journal Hirschfeld confirmed the urban legend that the U.S. Army had used his cartoons to train bomber pilots with the soldiers trying to spot the NINAs much as they would spot their targets. Hirschfeld told the magazine he found the idea repulsive, saying that he felt his cartoons were being used to help kill people. In his 1966 anthology The World of Hirschfeld he included a drawing of Nina which he titled “Nina’s Revenge.” That drawing contained no Ninas. There were, however, two Als and two Dollys (“The names of her wayward parents”).

See if you can spot the NINAs above.

(Hint: look to the hair and the gentleman’s lapel.)

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