How I work: New York cartoonist Barry Blitt

Barry Blitt has become known for his cartoons and illustrations that mock political figures and look at the world in a satirical way. Blitt's pictures are in a scratchy ink and watercolor style and have a timeless energy. Even after 30 years, many of Blitt's images now feel just as relevant as when they were first created.

Since 1992, Blitt has contributed illustrations and more than 100 covers for the New Yorker and published his work on the websites of Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic and the New York Times. Blitt has illustrated many children's books and published many books of his own work, most recently in 2017 Blitt, a compilation of his editorial illustrations.

Blitt has received awards in exhibitions and awards from the Society of Illustrators, Print and American Illustration. In May 2020, he received one of the highest awards, a Pulitzer Prize for editorial drawing. Here the illustrator talks about how he created his first paid work at just 14 and how the pressure and panic of creating a New York cover seems to be increasing over time.

Above: detail from the Vanity Fair illustration, 2016; Above: New York cover, July 27, 2015

At his first paid job My first published drawings were pictures of hockey players – after all, I grew up in Canada. I was probably 14 years old and a big sports fan. I sent cartoons to all hockey teams, and one of them – the Philadelphia Flyers – commissioned more and printed them in the team magazine. The artwork was essentially hero worship, far from the sarcasm and cynicism that I would pursue later.


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