An interesting approach to cartooning from the New Yorker.

Anyone stumbling upon this, try it out as a New Yorker contest, but also send me your drawings funny or not using the cues.

JUNE 6, 2012


Posted by 
In a previous post, I wrote that “cartooning is idea creativity on overdrive.” Cartooning, of course, is also a form of humor. In his 1964 book, “The Act of Creation,” Arthur Koestler considered humor, scientific discovery, and artistic creation to be forms of creativity, because they all involve making connections between things not usually connected to create novel and surprising combinations. Research has shown that individuals with a greater sense of humor also tend to be more creative in other areas.The assortment of shapes shown below are part of a psychological creativity test. Participants are asked to take any three pieces and use them to build an invention, a tool, an animal, a toy—anything their minds can imagine.120604_cn-objects_p465.jpgSince cartoonists have some of the most imaginative minds out there, I’ve put them to the test to see if they can meet this challenge, and come up with something funny to boot. As might be expected, the rules were not always followed. I guess that could be looked upon as cheating, or creativity, or maybe both. Anyway, here’s what they came up with:

Pat Byrnes:


Bob Eckstein:


Tom Cheney:


Kim Warp:


Jack Ziegler:


Julia Suits:


Paul Noth:


Well, that was a good time, wasn’t it? But why should the cartoonists have all the fun? Now it’s your turn.

Here again are the shapes for you to work with:


Just combine the three pieces anyway you like. They can be any size, and they can be made of any material. You can send us your result three ways: Reply to us on Tumblr, post on our cartoon Facebook page, or tweet your drawing with the hashtag #tnydrawing. I’ll discuss the best entries next week.

P.S. You can try to be funny or just functional, but, either way, I think you are going to do splendidly. Why? Well, as I’ve explained, the research indicates that people with a good sense of humor tend to be good at creative tasks, and since you’re reading a blog from the cartoon editor, I’m going to assume you have a good sense of humor. And there’s experimental evidence that simply exposing subjects to humorous stimuli before having them engage in an unrelated creative task makes them more creative. So consider yourself exposed, and get on with it.

Read more