The Many Faces of The New Yorker: Why Not Only New Yorkers Love This NYC Magazine

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I’ve been taking a class from the legendary Tony Palladino at the School of Visual Arts this summer, and one of our assignments was to design a cover for The New Yorker.

The New Yorker for New Yorkers is like a bible. It’s considered one of the most intelligent, original, creative magazines in the city, if not in the country. To design a cover for it is like a dream for many illustrators and graphic designers. Each issue features an artist’s work, which the artists submit for each issue and only one is chosen from many, many submissions.

It’s a true honor to work on a New Yorker cover, which brings lots of pressure because:

A. New Yorker only accepts hand-drawn work: be it a painting, a pen sketch and/or a picture drawn on the computer – but in no means it should be graphically generated image.

B. It should not only be an illustration that is beautiful and creative, it should have a meaning and be related to the current state of New York mind – culturally and/or politically, economically and/or socially – it should carry a very good, important message. If you notice, even New Yorker cartoons are smart and play out a current state of NYC and country mind.

This said, it’s not an easy job, also because it will be reviewed by someone, who’s been on the Art Director’s Hall of Fame not once, but many times and who have met one of the most well-known, notorious cartoonist for New Yorker – Saul Steinberg, in person.

I’ve studied hundreds of the magazine covers for this assignment and found it amazing not how many artists contributed to the New Yorker covers over the years, but also that these covers are so smart and clever that it’s not even funny…I’m sure that even once featured for the New Yorker cover changes the artist’s career. And The New Yorker does give one a chance for that. For example:

For the Anniversary Issue cover, “Brooklyn’s Eustace,” is by Simon Greiner, a thirty-one-year-old reader from Sydney, Australia, who submitted it through our 2013 Eustace Tilley Contest. The 2012 Anniversary issue cover, Brett Culbert’s “Loading…,” also came from the contest.

Greiner, who moved to the city a year and a half ago following his girlfriend (now wife), subscribed to The New Yorker while still in Sydney. Reading about all that was happening in New York inspired him to move here. He now lives in Brooklyn—indeed, in Park Slope. “This is not me,” he says of his cover, “I certainly move in a world where those people exist—they’re all around me—but they’re not my people. I’ve been identified as a Brooklyn hipster, but I’m sure I’m sort of at the edge of that Venn diagram.” Greiner, who used to have a studio in Williamsburg, has been known to ride his bike around Brooklyn. He has a beard, but adds, “I’ve had a beard for as long as I remember.“ He has no tattoos.

As you can see, he drew himself:


So, here’s this awesome cover, illustrated by hand and all the other creative submissions for the New Yorker magazine cover:


See below all of the entries to this year’s Eustace contest and get inspired!


“Most baby boomers I know are dealing with the repercussions of aging parents, including dementia. It wasn’t a great leap for me to imagine that an aged Eustace might go after the butterfly with malicious intent.”

“At Last,” by Martha Gradisher, cartoonist and comic illustrator, Nyack, New York.


“My image is simply an observation, not a judgment, on the proliferation of social photography and the way in which it instantly colors the present in shades of passed time.”

“Eustace-gram,” by Jin Suk, freelance illustrator and stay-at-home dad, Brookline, Massachusetts. Reader’s-choice winner.


“This image is about pondering. I had an advertising career in a big city before slowing my pace down, and I have been moved by the fact that despite the excitement and creativity, people also long to escape it all.”

“Dandy Men,” by Jeff Weyer, communications specialist and designer, Madison, Wisconsin. Reader’s-choice winner.

“As soon as I heard of the Eustace Tilley Contest I knew I wanted to draw my sister in the pose of Tilley. As it happened, my inspiration struck just as she was getting ready for bed. I now have a number of very nice pictures of her posing in a top hat and holding a toothbrush.”

“Tilley in Tweed,” by Maia Kobabe, freelance illustrator, Petaluma, California. Reader’s-choice winner.

“The stubby guy’s funky music has infiltrated every medium! It is hard to resist trying out the silly dance moves, even just for once, and Tilley is no exception. Two other iconic New York characters are also brought in to join the riotous fun!” Alex S. C. Hsu submitted eleven entries, two of which ended up as winners. “The graphics software I used is my creation too,” he says.

“Eustace in Gangnam Style,” by Alex S. C. Hsu, artist and computer scientist, Markham, Ontario, Canada. Reader’s-choice winner.


“When I looked at Eustace Tilley’s familiar image, I immediately saw the Curiosity rover peering through the monocle of its electronic eye, Earth a bright swirl of color in the distance, suspended like a butterfly in space. I talked about it to my eighty-two-year-old mother, Francesca Baroni, an accomplished artist, and she painted the watercolor.”

“Curious,” by Silvia Baroni and Francesca Baroni, daughter and mother, respectively (Silvia writes, Francesca paints), San Francisco, California. Reader’s-choice winner.


“I had previously worked with emoji before, to create Emoji Dick, which was a translation of Melville’s Moby Dick into emoji using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowd-sourcing platform. So when I heard about the Eustace Tilley competition, I figured I’d try it with emoji. I knew there was software that could help with the idea, and after plenty of fiddling, I was able to get it to look right.” “Eustace Emoji,” by Fred Benenson, data engineer, New York, New York.


“My drawing is an homage to James Thurber, who was a friend in Connecticut of my grandparents, and whose signed books I grew up with in my house. When he inscribed them, he often did so with a big sketch of a dog that ran off the page because he was mostly blind by then.”

“Thurber’s Tilley,” by Adam Van Doren, Artist, New York, New York.


“I teach a workshop called ‘How to Make Mistakes on Purpose,’ which uses speed and chaos to create. I get a goofy squeeze-bottle paint called ‘Tulip,’ which is used by teen-agers to decorate T-shirts. Each drawing takes no more than fifteen seconds. Then I edit like mad.”

“Eustace_Tilley_Texting,” by Laurie Rosenwald, illustrator, New York, New York


“Tilley’s hauteur and his profile are so iconic. I saw him as an ice mountain. Skis and butterfly naturally followed. I giggled as I rendered this.” “Tilley Slope,” by Joseph Caroff, retired graphic designer, New York, New York.


“This is a mockery of the ugly, ubiquitous barcodes and Q.R. codes that are appearing everywhere, some even taking center stage as the focus of a design. So I let Tilley and the butterfly both dress up ‘coded’ to our tagged existence.”

“Coded Age,” by Alex S. C. Hsu, artist and computer scientist, Markham, Ontario, Canada.


“I’ve considered entering the Eustace Tilley Contest for years but never made the time. This year, we were forced to cancel holiday travel plans because our son had the flu. I used our quarantine time to make it happen. Best-laid plans derailed by unforeseen natural causes very likely influenced my submission.”

“Tilley Submerged,” by Robert Linn, architect, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And if you are curious of what font they use for the Cover and other texts in the magazine: they use

The New York magazine masthead has been specifically designed for the merged newspaper of the New York Herald-Tribune, World-Telegram & Sun and Journal-American’s Sunday magazine. It’s based on Bookman (Light Italic with Swash). Mark Simonson has recently released a beautiful revival of Bookman Old Style calledBookmania with tons of alternates and swashes characters. I believe you could get pretty close using his version.


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