28 May 2021

Covering The New Yorker: Joost Swarte

Dutch graphic designer and artist Joost Swarte (pronounced Yost Svarta) has been contributing to The New Yorker magazine since 1995. In 2018 his New York Book collected over 450 of his illustrations for the magazine (published in France by Dargaud). In 2012, Fantagraphics Books published Is That All There Is?, a collection of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the Raw magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s. A career spanning interview from The Comics Journal #279 (November 2006) is available on the TCJ website.

Power Trip
Art by Joost Swarte
When I travel, I love seeing the different ways people live. Sure, I collect all sorts of initial information from the Internet. But, once on a trip, I prefer not to be online. A simple mobile phone, just in case of an emergency, is enough. If I need information or if I lose my way, I ask the locals.

Smart Designs
Art by Joost Swarte
I love to show how things work, how a window can be opened, how a table is constructed. A lot of that comes through while drawing. I’m always analyzing objects, observing human behavior, and reconstructing what I find as I work on the page... I feel a responsibility to the readers. I try to express myself clearly even when the message is complex. Drawing comes first for me; architecture is really something I got to do later. But you’re right that there are similarities: in both lies the fun of analyzing a problem and resolving it in an elegant manner.

The Mouse of Wall Street
Art by Joost Swarte
“The stock market is all about fear and anxiety, best shown in how a mouse reacts to a cat,” says the Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte about his drawing for this week’s cover. When Swarte first sent his sketch, the markets were in free fall - but then a day later they had rebounded. Swarte amended the image to show “the optimistic mouse.”

Summer Adventures
Art by Joost Swarte
I always relish how a cartoon can trigger thought and laughter with just a small drawing. Cartooning has an edge on all other media. You don’t need anything else such as canvas and paint, or camera and actors: the road to expression is only a sheet of paper and a pencil away.

Love Stories
Art by Joost Swarte

Novel Approach
The New Yorker (17 May 2010)
Art by Joost Swarte

Summer Reading
The New Yorker (20 August 2007)
Art by Joost Swarte

Fall Books
The New Yorker (5 October 1998)
Art by Joost Swarte

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