New Yorker Cartoonist Conducts Workshop/Talk with Upper School
“You can’t wait for inspiration,” The New Yorker magazine’s Matthew Diffee told Upper School students on Friday, May 6. His talk – part of a new Distinguished Speaker Series at Ranney aimed at growing students’ understanding of the world around them – centered on his work as a national cartoonist, TEDx speaker and what he refers to as the “Idea Factory.”
Mr. Diffee used his experience—and a series of sample cartoons—to impart to students the importance of trial and error and of having a disciplined routine when working in a field that requires a constant feed of new, marketable ideas. He explained how his approach to evoking creativity, which features an “add-subtract-switch-invert-mashup” methodology, can apply from everything to writing music to generating a research paper. He also stressed the value of feedback and review of one’s work—essentially the “inspection” part of the idea factory—before finalizing a set of ideas or projects (view his takeaway message).
After his talk, Mr. Diffee conducted an hour-long workshop and Q&A session with Middle and Upper School art students. Mr. Diffee is editor of "The Rejection Collection" and author of the new book, "Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People."