An Evocative Year in New Yorker Illustrations

In 2022, The New Yorker’s art department and contributors used a sprawling range of techniques and styles to tell the stories of a complicated year. To illustrate Timothy Snyder’s essay on the war in Ukraine, Nicholas Konrad created an animation in which a seed transforms into a bullet, then a bomb, and finally bursts into a blossom—capturing a situation at once dire and dynamic, one in which danger and possibility coexist.

Often, the artworks were inspired by trying circumstances or bad news. For Weike Wang’s personal essay about overwork, Bianca Bagnarelli created a comic-strip-style illustration of a woman at her desk who disappears as the image, like a fractal, shrinks and repeats itself, a representation of feeling overwhelmed. Chloe Cushman’s drawing for Jia Tolentino’s Comment about the overturning of Roe v. Wade shows three women, their faces hidden, shackled with chains that both restrain them and connect them to one another. Chris Ware’s “Lockdown,” a cover drawn in the aftermath of yet another school shooting, conveys the terror of such incidents, and, with its familiar classroom elements—brightly colored bulletin boards, rows of little chairs—the reality that they have become commonplace.

2022 in Review

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Elsewhere, New Yorker artwork reflected lighter topics and moods. For Jill Lepore’s look at the evolution of bicycles, Cari Vander Yacht conceived an animated loop of riders, cycling through the fashions of their moments. In the September 5th issue, the spot art—the miniature illustrations that you’ll find scattered throughout the pages of every print edition—comprises a parade of imaginary creatures: a long-necked bird with two heads and lanky legs, a buffalo beast with the bumpy thorax of an ant, and other playfully remixed wild things.

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