The legendary Bob Mankoff, who recently stepped down as cartoon editor at the New Yorker (1997 to 2017), said it took approximately 2,000 submissions to the magazine before ever getting an acceptance letter.
I don't know why this information inspired me, when it should have left me in a fetal position, whimpering for my mother.
Obviously, I have no illusions that winning at this sort of endeavor comes easy— especially now, with so much talent sending their cartoons to the same address every week.
To paint an accurate picture, the number of cartoons reviewed weekly at the New Yorker is roughly 1,000. The number of cartoons in each issue is about 12 to 20? I've always been a bit of a hack when it comes to math, but even I can see the New-Yorker odds and myself are waving at each other across an almost immeasurable expanse.
Then there's the humor.
It's distinctly New Yorker-ish. Can I pull that kind of dry, subtle, epiphany-esque kind of funny out of my tail pipe?
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 still be making cartoons regardless of the outcome, because it seems I don't know any better. This has created an interesting situation; forcing me to examine (and reexamine) my reasons for trying out for the "show".
1. Turns out; I love cartooning more than I thought. So, scribbling and searching out the absurd is, in my humble opinion, an excellent way to spend a few hours each day.
2. Having this near-impossible goal has forced me to focus on the task at hand. I submit to you— it is easier to drown a fish, than get the average artist to focus for long periods... on anything. In the process, I've become a much better (and disciplined) cartoonist and illustrator.
3. As cliché as it sounds, the journey is the reward. I'm an illustrator by trade, doing mostly science and technological demonstratives, infographics, etc. Cartooning is vastly different and being silly is just plain cathartic. Was it Confucius who said, "Choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life?" I can't remember, maybe it was Bono— smug bastard.
Anywhoodle, I see so much brilliance on Bored Panda. I'm always inspired by the talented contributors, and hope there aren't artists out there hiding their brilliance because of intimidation or fear of criticism.
In the mean time, I forge ahead with zero expectations and the certainty of either getting published in the New Yorker one day, or having enough cartoons for my own coffee table book.
Either one works for me.
Thanks for reading.
More info: johnart.org