Saturday, September 04, 2010

What should a cartoonist do after he loses the contest?

The last page of the New Yorker magazine runs a wonderful contest for cartoon captions. First, they print the cartoon without any caption. People write in with suggestions. Then people vote on the best three ideas, and then they show the cartoon with its winning caption. People are so resourceful, that the results can be quite apt.
If you want to draw a cartoon for this competition, all you have to do is to produce an image that is striking and really, really makes no sense. Then the New Yorker's clever readers will find a caption that, somehow, some way, fits.
Now here's the problem: suppose you're a cartoonist, and you submit a cartoon to the New Yorker for this page. You make it as bizarre and disjoint as you can. And the New Yorker declines to use your cartoon. You went to all that drawing effort, and now what? You can sell the cartoon to somebody else, but you'll have to come up with a caption on your own. Or maybe you can post it at your own cartoonist website and ask people for ideas...

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