Back in 2004 an editor at Natural History Magazine contacted me because they were gong to start running single panel cartoons in their letters section. The email was part of a larger call for submission, but I was flattered to be included in the search. I had read Natural History Magazine for a long time and enjoyed the Stephen Jay Gould pieces. Today as I was looking for something else I rediscovered the samples that I had sent them.
Below are two examples of my first pass. I sent 5 or 6 of these for the editors to consider and ended up inking one to use on an Invertebrate Biology exam.
Natural History passed on this batch and told me they were looking for something “witty.” Ouch. However, they did ask me to try again so I interpreted the witty comment to mean I needed to be a little more New Yorker-esque. (Not that I had much hope of attaining that, but it was a target.) Below are examples from the second batch I sent.
Eventually they picked the cartoon below, which appeared in a May issue of the magazine (I can’t remember the year but it had a bee on the cover…). It was fun to see it in print, but the momentary warm feeling I got from appearing in the magazine really wasn’t worth the time and effort I had invested. I have so little time to write and draw as it is. I don’t know if they still run cartoons but I never submitted again.
And, of course, work like that takes me away from completing my own cartoons. Like, say, the Photosynthesis cartoon I’m working on. The one I was going to do a page-a-day? pfft. Looks like I need to make that a page a week…