AVC: How did you get involved with The New Yorker? Did they come to you, or did you go to them?See, we do sometimes still write about The New Yorker!
KB: No, you have to submit to them. You give them packages. The New Yorker doesn’t come to anybody, not even the people who’ve been published there for 20 years. You have to submit, and you just keep doing it until they buy one.
AVC: What’s it like doing comics for them?
KB: It’s just a different audience—and by “audience,” I mean the New Yorker editor who buys your comic or doesn’t, and he’s the guy you want to really impress. I could do anything I wanted on my site, but I just wanted to get in somewhere where an editor said, “This is good enough,” or, “This is not good enough.” There’s a certain New Yorker sensibility, style, sense of humor, that I thought about when I was making them, like, “I want this to look like a New Yorker cartoon.” And I thought that’s how I should go about it. I didn’t write them, Sam Means wrote them, and I drew them. We had a partnership. But recently, I was on a panel with Roz Chast. She’s amazing, and she was like, “You shouldn’t adhere to any style, you should just do what you wanna do. You shouldn’t make it look like a New Yorker cartoon, you should make it look like yours.” Which I never really considered. [Laughs.] I mean, The New Yorker’s kind of an institution. But she probably is right. I enjoyed doing it, but maybe I would enjoy it more if I had stuck to my own sensibilities more. I don’t know.
Hello! We're a small band of culture writers, editors, and artists based in New York and Los Angeles. Emdashes, which spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog, is our collection of conversations—mostly civilized—about magazines, movies, design, punctuation, and other things that stir us.
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Emdashes, founded in 2004, is written and drawn by Emily Gordon, Martin Schneider, Pollux, Jonathan Taylor, and Benjamin Chambers, as well as occasional guest contributors. All posts before October 2008 are by Emily Gordon.