Cartoonist Ken Wilkie provided a map of sorts to his creative process and how a glance or an overheard comment can be transformed into visual and punch lines:
“Sometimes I see something that interests at some level. Attached is a photo on a page of New Yorker of a Polish dancer/gymnast balancing on one hand. I imagined him doing that in yoga class to show off. I did a rough sketch, or thumbnail. Then I thought of one of those yoga class women commenting, ‘But can you do the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and turn yourself around?’ That cartoon hasn’t been sold to anyone yet.
“Sometimes I hear something that triggers an idea. My mentor, Mort Gerberg, used to say he would leave the TV or radio on in another room while he worked on his cartoons. Even with his door closed he would hear bits and pieces of conversations that would trigger an idea. In my case, (my wife) had Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest (of the Kelly and Ryan show) on in the bedroom while I was working in the studio. They typically banter back and forth for around 15 minutes at the beginning of the show with almost nothing off limits. Ryan was complaining about looking in the mirror and not being happy with his 40-something physique compared to his 20-something physique. In particular, how in the rear view his buttocks are sagging where they were so firm 20 years ago. I thought how I could show some guy looking at his ass in the mirror and what would his wife be doing besides looking at it. Then it occurred to me that she might have similar issues with her breasts. Thus the punch line ‘I think we need move to a planet with less gravity.’ This was published in Funny Times in November, 2019.”