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The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity Hardcover – November 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; First Edition edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579122361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762896660
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cartoon editor of the New Yorker since 1997, Mankoff has a license to be silly. This combination memoir, how-to, abridged history, manifesto and IQ test (Inanity Quotient) on the art and pseudo-science of gag panel cartooning puts that license to the test-with fine results. Much like Scott McCloud did in Understanding Comics, which examined the nature of narrative comics, Mankoff breaks down the creative process of the gag panel, offering a succession of thoughtful (dreams are "analogous to what cartoonists do when they're awake") and generally amusing insights into the craft. There's also a more or less coherent argument about the role of the subconscious mind in cartooning, in which he uses Magritte, a baseball, a tomato and Andy Warhol's soup can to explain it all for us. Still, his explanations aren't nearly as much fun as the cartoons themselves, by Mankoff and by fellow New Yorker cartoonists Roz Chast, Mort Gerberg, Jack Zeigler and others. Mankoff can be overly cute, but mostly offers smart, practical and funny ideas about how to make funny cartoons for a living. In fact, Mankoff argues that magazine cartoonists are the most creative people in the world: "If a scientist comes up with one new idea a year, he's a genius. If a cartoonist comes up with only one new idea a day, he's looking for other work." Mankoff offers such minutely and intensely considered examinations of the mechanics of cartooning that for all we know he may be right.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

In this practical, funny, and easy-to-follow approach to the creative process, the cartoon editor of The New Yorker reveals—through the medium of cartooning—the simple secrets to finding your inspiration, honing your wit, getting great ideas, and being more creative every day.

INCLUDES MORE THAN 400 CARTOONS!

"You were born with a gift for laughter and a sense that the world is mad.

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

This book will help you come up with fresh new ideas that will help drive your comic.
J. London
I thought it would be a hilarious collection of some of the best New Yorker cartoons, and it is, but it's also a complicated theory of creativity, humor, and art.
Shaun Hawkins
I was very disappointed and would have returned it but the return postage was too high.
sonja powell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Rahmel on July 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book fails at the stated task -- showing a process of generating cartoon and general creative ideas -- but succeeds nonetheless. Although I read the book cover-to-cover, I didn't find it very educational about the process of creating new ideas or even evaluating existing ones. If you define comedy as `I'll know it when I see it,' this book doesn't do much to expand beyond that. There is a brief section near the end where the author describes (with examples) the order of punch lines, but that's about it.

Nonetheless, the book is chock-full of cartoons from the New Yorker that are exceptional in their breadth of humor and subtlety. You may learn only a few things from the text, but you'll get a lot of smiles from the cartoons.

If you want to create cartoons and don't know where to start, I would suggest picking up "The Cartoonist's Workbook: Drawing, Writing Gags, Selling" by Robin Hall. Hall's book is excellent at providing the mechanics of cartooning. Mankoff's book then acts as an excellent companion volume of real world examples that strike the funny bone.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Hawkins on November 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Me, laughing my head off as I read this book. But this book also filled my head before I laughed it off. I thought it would be a hilarious collection of some of the best New Yorker cartoons, and it is, but it's also a complicated theory of creativity, humor, and art. The author keeps things light, but there are some serious points made as he investigates the links between cartooning, dreaming, surrealism, and so on.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Coles on December 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a longtime reader of the New Yorker -- and, more importantly, a longtime reader of its cartoons -- I was happy to see that the cartoon editor of the magazine had written a book. To be honest, I expected more about the inside dealings of the magazine: the idiosyncracies of famous cartoonists, the backstage intrigue that led to my favorite cartoons. That's not exaactly what this book is. It's more a solo performance by Robert Mankoff, who writes at great length about his own internal creative process. This was offputting at first, but by the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. He has an engaging voice and a real talent for illustrating his ideas (as you would expect), so the result is a pretty wonderful guidebook to human creativity and humor.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Robert Mankoff, the Cartoon Editor of the NY Times has written the book purportedly as a learning guide for prospective cartoonists. Well, I don't want to be a cartoonist, but I do love cartoons, especially those found in the New Yorker. In leafing through the book I began having doubts that the text of the book would provide much help for a fledgling cartoonist. After awhile you simply become oblivious to the written material and hone in on the many delightful cartoons. As the book says there are 400 of them in this volume, and, to me, that justified the purchase price.
This book is certainly as good as any of the other books that form part of the New Yorker cartoon book library, and if you are a devotee of pictorial humor do pick up a copy.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Robert Mankoff, the Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker has written the book purportedly as a learning guide for prospective cartoonists. Well, I don't want to be a cartoonist, but I do love cartoons, especially those found in the New Yorker. In leafing through the book I began having doubts that the text of the book would provide much help for a fledgling cartoonist. After awhile you simply become oblivious to the written material and hone in on the many delightful cartoons. As the book says there are 400 of them in this volume, and, to me, that justified the purchase price.
This book is certainly as good as any of the other books that form part of the New Yorker cartoon book library, and if you are a devotee of pictorial humor do pick up a copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Torben Mølgaard-Andersen on May 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for people who are interested in Mankoff's thoughts. The book does not deliver what is said on the dust jacket and in the preface. So if your looking for practical pointers in becoming a cartoonist, this i s not the book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Vandruff on March 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a short list of favorite books on Creativity, (mainly Gabrielle Rico's WRITING THE NATURAL WAY for a practical approach), but this one just got added to my list.
Mankoff's approach embraces the chaos, insanity and surrealism of how ideas germinate, which can get a bit offputting if you have low tolerance for chaos, insanity and surrealism, but the results are often hilarious - I laughed all through it - and it's filled with lessons about how unpredictable the process can be - a fact that creative people embrace.
If you want a sample of his teaching, look up his TED talk ANATOMY OF A NEW YORKER CARTOON. It will give you an idea of what he has to offer.
My only criticism is that it gets a bit silly at times, but if a wild child can keep me laughing while learning, that's at least as good as a careful adult who clarifies thoroughly with bullet points but doesn't dare to goof around.
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Format: Hardcover
Although there are a lot of cartoons in this book;its purpose is not only to give a collection of cartoons.

Mankoff attempts to analyze cartoons and show what it takes to make a cartoon funny.He goes through the process he uses in developing a cartoon.Obviously creative thinking is fundamental in any cartoon.

An approach of showing a drawing without a caption;and letting others create a caption.This can be a lot of fun and I have often tried it.As a matter of fact,I like to put aside the caption and come up with another.You don't really need a cartoon drawing to do this. Any picture with people in it will sufice.

He also stresses that the cartoon should be viewed from left to right and the simpler the better.

I notice that there are mixed reviews on this book.I guess that is little wonder.Mankoff tries to disect a cartoon as one would using the scientific approach.He really proves that it is not possible ;because the human element takes over.No two humans are alike;therefore how different people see a cartoon will likewise vary.

Nonetheless,this is a good attempt by a professional cartoonist to show what makes a good,average,mediocre or excellent cartoon and after understanding what he talks about;you will be better equipped to enjoy a cartoon.
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