The Friday Fillip

The TED blog continues to delight and amaze. What caught my eye this time is a piece on graphic artist Maira Kalman, “The Illustrated Woman” (“I’m trying to figure out two very simple things: how to live and how to die. Period… And yell at my children and do all the normal things that keep you grounded.”). Kalman has illustrated many New Yorker covers, has written and illustrated many children’s books, and, if you can imagine, done 56 illustrations for a new edition of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.”

Because of the TED video (where she is charming, disarming and droll), I pursued her to the New York Times, for whom she has just completed a year’s worth of monthly illustrated columns, and it’s to these that I’d like to direct you today. With a clear understanding that I am violating copyright, I nonetheless reproduce below her first drawing in the series, and hope to avoid censure by claiming that this will (surely) drive Slawyers to the Times’ site and to her work, which must be a Good Thing at the end of the day.


The column called “Principles of Uncertainty” starts at this link, with perhaps half a dozen illustrations in each episode. You proceed through the months using the navigation graphics at the top right of each landing page, something that wasn’t immediately obvious to me.

I have found her stories and her drawings in this series moving, funny, charming and delightful. Hope you do too.

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