BY JEN VAUGHN – Vermont cartoonist James Sturm wrote an insightful piece on submitting cartoons to the New Yorker posted on the Slate. As a cartoonist or unfortunately termed ‘graphic novelist,’ Sturm is used to drawing stories in the long term, stretching a few hundred pages, panel upon panel upon panel upon YES, panel. How Sturm spent his summer vacation was a cartoon a day to build up a keeper-portfolio for The New Yorker. Sturm relearned to let go of the beats you find in a long-form comic to sketch loosely and effectively situations right after that something funny, something intangible occurred. He includes many of his cartoons in the article including this close-to-home joke and one of my favorites: when the caption is recycled for a different situation.

Now I won’t ruin the article for you but Sturm did the numbers and basically went to the office with his portfolio along with “50 regular New Yorker cartoonists who submit 10 cartoons each week. That’s 500 cartoons vying for about 12 to 20 slots.” What may have eventually felt absurd to Sturm is still an inspiring journey to most cartoonists. Getting a cartoon accepted to the New Yorker is a milestone for some people but at one point so was getting into Nickelodeon magazine or for that matter, getting a company to publish your own work. Kudos to Sturm for his open door, open heart and keep on swingin’ for those fences (baseball metaphor mine).

Jen Vaughn was recently spotted diving off the Floating Bridge by New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren, who recognized her but commented that she had more clothes on the last time they met.


  1. Single panel gags are a bitch.

    Shannon Wheeler has been posting rejected NEW YORKER cartoon submissions at ACT-I-VATE under the title, NIHILARITY, for awhile now and published a book collection called I THOUGHT YOU’D BE FUNNIER [BOOM!Town] which was nominated for a Harvey and won an Eisner. Good stuff:

  2. My dad’s parents used to have a place in Brookfield when I was very young and the floating bridge looms large in my imagination. Used to be big wooden barrels holding it up, if I recall correctly.