Cartoonist Look Day

Typical Cartoonist “Look Day” Now Obsolete


cartoonists on sidewalk

Cartoonists in NYC are moo’ing in unison during typical ‘Cattle Call’ during Wednesday ‘Look Day’

Cartoon ‘Cattle Calls’ were a weekly occurence in New York City. With the magazine known as the cream of the cop for magazine gag cartoonists, The New Yorker has announced the typical “look day” is being phased out. This news comes on the heels of Bob Mankoff leaving the helm of ‘Cartoon Editor‘ after what seems like eons as the head cartoon honcho there.

Suffice it to say, only a select few ever really make it to the actual stage of being “published” within the magazine. Many of the so-called contract artists do get yearly contract renewals but overall,  it was the actual process of mailing in your work and getting that ubiquitous ‘rejection slip’ as a way of legitimizing your gag cartooning cred.

I had received bundles of those small slips with the little “New Yorker guy” with his monocle and top hat and those scant words of apology for not finding anything interesting to keep for further consideration. It was just the fact I got 10 or 15 of my panels mailed in and rejected….thinking to myself maybe I had at least a percent of a percent of a chance at having something considered there, behind the scenes.

Cartoon Rejection Slips Are Normal Part Of Cartooning Process

This feeling came to me when I submitted work to many of the major publications which rejected my cartoon submissions on a relatively regular basis. All of this being said, sometimes it’s the actual form of rejection itself, that keeps me in the game. A form of creative sado-masochism if you will. Now with the dawn of the digital era, comes the fact bigger magazines now want cartoon submissions sent to them electronically.

A  submission invitation link is offered to potential contributors of The New Yorker through a digital platform called “Submittable”. I’ve tried using it to no avail. It keeps rejecting the files I’ve formatted and tried uploading, but then I harken back to those hard copy submissions I made which were promptly rejected. Would using their email platform “Submittable” be worth it?

New Digital Uploading Tools Available To Cartoonists

Is the angst of trying to struggle through some cumbersome uploading tool worth my time? Probably not. A well known cartoonist was quoted in a cartoon book about the old days when magazine gag cartooning was in it’s “heyday” and Wednesday’s  were designated as  ‘look day’ by most magazines. Editors would invite freelance gag cartoonists to come in and show their work, and many in the New York City metro area did just that. Cartoonists would sit nervously waiting for an editor to look through his folder or envelope of drawings and if he was lucky, a few would be held for possible publication.

Then during the day of this cartoonists’ ‘cattle call’, the cartoonist would leave one editorial office for the next one on his list. Many times, cartoonists would be in NYC traveling on foot among their fellow New Yorkers “MOOOing” in unison. It had to be a sight to behold! Times have truly changed for the magazine gag cartoonist. I’ve never participated in a proverbial “cattle call” as such, but often wonder what those old pros would think of this new digital era and whether or not they’d have their worked archived into an online digital cartoon catalog.