Sunday, January 8, 2012

Music for a Ridiculous Ensemble

See if you can spot Dylan, Daft Punk, and a digeridoo. I recently did an interview with a great blog called Illustration Concentration - check it out for some intimate secrets about how Incidental Comics are made and a couple previously unreleased sketchbook pages. For an extended musing on the above cartoon, keep reading.

The recent death of Ronald Searle and the 100th birthday of the late Charles Addams got me thinking about how much The New Yorker has influenced me as a cartoonist. During my sophomore year of college my brother brought a stack of back issues to our apartment. I'd never opened the magazine before, but I quickly became obsessed with it - especially the cartoons. To someone raised almost exclusively on newspaper comic strips, the humor was understated and often weird. The drawings were especially appealing - the best cartoonists had a unique style that couldn't be mistaken for anyone else. I remember puzzling over a full-page spread drawn by Roz Chast, probably in the yearly cartoon issue. At first I couldn't decide whether I hated it or was just mildly annoyed by it. It grew on me, though. A few months later, she was my favorite cartoonist.  

The comic I posted above is from mid 2010, but it was directly inspired by old New Yorker cartoon collections. I loved the highly-detailed drawings of full orchestras, rendered in gray ink washes. I was also listening to a lot of Steve Reich at the time, and I wanted to merge the lush experimental sound of a Reich piece with the visual gags of a New Yorker panel. I'm still happy with the way it turned out.


  1. thanks for the link to the interview!

  2. Oh goodness, I love this.
    My brain could enjoy a lovely 5 minutes, easily (probably more) with this one.

    Thank you for your creations. They're always something I look forward to seeing.

  3. the saw appears to be being played backwards. Thought the bow was applied to the straight side. The toothed side would cut the bow.

  4. Anonymous: Dang, you've revealed my darkest secret... I've never played the musical saw, and whenever a band breaks one out on stage I run to the exit. But seriously, your comment makes sense.