My Failed Cartoon Career

Text Box: When I was a teenager I loved buying The New Yorker every week and reading it on the subway trip to high school. I loved the fiction and the cartoons. I didn’t think I was a writer but I could draw so I tried to be a cartoonist. Somewhere I have the collection of rejection slips that convinced me to give up my hopes of being a comic artist. Here are a few examples of the drawings that brought on those rejection slips which pushed me to television. I was so disheartened that I stopped drawing for a couple of years until I started sketching the kitchen at Cordon Bleu in Paris when Gerry and I were hoping to do a cooking show there. Follow this link for that story.

Years later I sold a drawing to The New Yorker, but never any cartoons.

This was supposed to be a really grungy restaurant. I guess I just couldn’t get it to look that way.

It seemed funny to me at the time that this klutz would want to turn a table into a door rather than the opposite.

I thought this would be a commentary on ridiculous advertising gimmicks.

I think these three were the beginning of the end of my cartoon career. I was only 18.

 The last three were done in 1963.

Here’s the drawing I sold to the New Yorker. There is, as usual, a long story here but the short version is that I had supplied them with Xerox copies of a number of drawings. I got a check that was labeled “boats” and I assumed it was a drawing of a couple of derelict boats that was part of the group. I enlarged the signature on the original of that drawing so that it would be readable when the drawing was reduced for the magazine. I brought that drawing to the art department at the New Yorker and gave it to the receptionist. The issue with my drawing in it was finally published two years later. Not only had I given them the wrong original but they published a different drawing with a little tiny unreadable signature.

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All material copyright 2008 Neil Borrell