A Cartoonist’s Diary

Emily Flake: Tuesday

Batchety-batch-batch-batch. I am not going in for the meeting, so I have until evening to send in my cartoons. Here is a rough depiction of my process:

Then they are bundled into a pdf and sent off to their fate. Sometimes one sells. It’s very nice when that happens.

I wish I could tell you there was some kind of fancy secret to working on New Yorker gags, like you’re just looking at a pile of diamonds and deciding which one you want to polish first. But basically - for me, anyway, and I hope I’m not the only one - it’s a lot of boring holes into a sheet of paper with your eyes and willing jokes to come. Every once in awhile something good slips through from whatever cavernous underworld it is that jokes live in, but it’s basically a lot of dry, fervent prayer for the occasional little flash of grace, to make an uncomfortably churchy metaphor. And at some point, you just run out of time to fuck around, and you have to scrape together what you’ve got and hope for the best.

So: I do a New Yorker-y thing with my evening and go to see my friends and colleagues, Drew Dernavich and Corey Pandolph, tell funny stories at an event called Adult Ed in the city. The even is at Housing Works, which is right near Sur la Table. I feel like a shitheel cooing over Le Creuset cookware after being in a space set up to benefit homeless people with AIDS. I buy a cookie from the Housing Works cafe to assuage my guilt. Do I have to feel guilty that the cookie is delicious? Shouldn’t it taste like sand?

Emily Flake is an award-winning illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. Her work appears in Time, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Forbes, The Nation, and many, many others.