Even those who are not regular readers of the magazine often find great pleasure and fascination with the New Yorker’s witty, clever, and often beautifully drawn and painted covers.
New Yorker covers are such a recognizable and distinct format, and have so much history of superb work by terrific artists, that they are practically an art form in themselves.
Many artists who are not New Yorker cover artists have playfully thought “What would I do with a New Yorker cover?, and perhaps indulged in some sketches, or participated in the magazine’s Eustace Tilly Contest (myself included).
Françoise Mouly, who is the New Yorker’s current art editor, has apparently been thinking playfully about New Yorker covers as well, though perhaps in a different context, and has launched a new personal blog, Blown Covers, subtitled “New Yorker covers you were never meant to see”, in which she is holding weekly themed cover contests.
The concept is based on Mouly’s book of the same title, Blown Covers, in which she features actual submissions and preliminary versions of real New Yorker covers that didn’t make the cut, sometimes for hilarious reasons.
Each Monday Mouly will suggest a cover theme, anyone who wants to participate can then indulge in creating their version of a New Yorker cover with that theme and submit it to the site through an online form or via email. Mouly will select a winner to be posted on the site on Friday, along with selected runners up.
This is not official and not associated with the New Yorker; it’s just Mouly’s fanciful take on the idea. She makes a point of saying that the selection is according to her own “subjective whims”, but of course the interesting thing is that these are the same subjective whims that contribute to the selection process for the real New Yorker covers.
Mouly also points out that she prefers sketches to more finished work (which is likely more in keeping with the real process for development of a New Yorker cover), and is more interested in a good idea than good drawing.
Deadline for each week’s submissions is Thursday at noon.
For those not familiar with Françoise Mouly outside of her current role as New Yorker art editor, she is an artist and designer who worked for a time as a color artist for Marvel Comics, and created the pioneering RAW magazine, which showcased cutting edge (and out-on-the-edge) comics and illustrated stories, along with the RAW Books imprint.
Mouly is married to comics artist and author Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers. Her daughter Nadja Spiegelman is the co-author of the Zig and Wikki titles in the Toon Books series, along with Trade Loeffler, creator of Zip and L’il Bit (see my posts on Zip and L’il Bit, and here).
(Images above: Joan Reilly, Teresa Rodriguez, Daniel Hertzberg, Andre Slob, Chee Yang)