Butterfly Nets and Ideas

Sometimes ideas spring from just one word.  But it has to be the right word.  Doing a cartoon around the word “uprising” would be difficult. Plus, it’s not a very interesting word.  “Revolution” could lead to a lot of things.  But the word “protest” is more malleable, it can fit into many situations. It’s not an interesting word, but it is a buzz-word in the public’s mind right now, so using it at this moment in time works.

While the above idea is not really what I want to say about all the turmoil that is going on in the Middle East, you sometimes just have to go with the flow as to where words take you. Political cartoons in The New Yorker are often oblique, and are about how events affect people often far removed from the events. And unlike editorial cartoons, they are not necessarily about my opinion.  I am an observer.

I often say that cartoonists are sponges, soaking up all that is around us and then squeezing it out into ideas. But we are also grabbers, snatching ideas and words–I envision a butterfly net– as they float in the air around us. We put them on our papers and mold them into cartoons.


cartoon originally published on WomensEnews.org



About Liza Donnelly

Cartoonist and writer and live drawer for The New Yorker, CBS News. Speaker for TED and others. Books: Women On Men, http://www.narrativemagazine.com/store/book/women-men
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3 Responses to Butterfly Nets and Ideas

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  3. I like that imagery of you as a sponge both bringing in data around you and squeezing out insight and laughter.

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