'Oh. Great. Lakes.' A Conversation with Illustrator Sara Lautman

A longtime friend and customer of UPSCo brought to our attention the following comic that was included in New Yorker magazine. We chuckled, for quite some time. Have a look yourself.

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gr8 lakes in this week's @newyorkermag

A post shared by Sara Lautman (@slautow) on

We thought it best to reach out to the artist Sara Lautman to ask a few questions about herself and the comic.

UPSCo: Let's begin by getting to know the person behind the comic. Sara Lautman, tell us about your work.
Sara Lautman: My work is writing and drawing. I've always had great affection for single image cartoons, so making those has become sort of a home for me. I also draw sequential comics, editorial illustrations, posters, album art -- extremely scattershot, that's the way I like it. Today I'm working on album art for Cheese on Bread, my favorite queer twee insurrectionist pop group.
UPSCo: And where did you grow up?
SL: New Jersey
UPSCo: Wow, New Jersey. Do you have a connection to the Great Lakes region?
SL: No, I've never been there. Uh, I know about "the hand"? I remember a lot of the dialogue from Freaks and Geeks? That was set in Michigan.
UPSCo: Hold up, you have never seen a Great Lake? What do you imagine the Great Lake to be like?
SL: Big/cold.
UPSCo: The largest freshwater lake in New Jersey is Lake Hopatcong (because we happen to know that sort of thing off the top of our head). The surface area of Lake Hopatcong is, wait for it, wait for it, 4 square miles. The smallest of the "Oh. Great." Lakes has a surface area of 9,910 sq mi, while the largest has a surface area of 31,700 sq mi. Please respond.
SL: One summer I had a lifeguarding job at a camp on Lake Hopatcong. There was an activity where the kids got dragged around the lake on a tube tied to a motorboat. It was my job to make sure they didn't drown. I used to go up to the main camp sometimes and hang out with this nice teenage kid who told me about starving himself to make weight for wrestling. Eventually the guy who drove the motorboat either got fired or stopped coming and they said to go home.
UPSCo: Have you drawn many comics that are rooted in geographical wordplay?
SL: I think this is it.
UPSCo: What would you tell the wonderful people of New Jersey about the Great Lakes?
SL: Hahahahaha. I don't know! Are they going to see this? "Get out there, see those lakes, be kind to one another."
UPSCo: Any plans on visiting? A pasty and a Michigan microbrew are on us.
SL: Thank you, that is a very gracious offer. Maybe someday.

Sara, we thank you for amusing us.

This turned into a delightful follow-up to our last post which was in regards to the question, “How do you explain the Great Lakes to someone who has never seen them?”.

Folks, if you’d like to see more of Sara’s work you can follow her on Twitter (@saralautman) and Instagram (@slautow). The full extent of her work can be found at saralautman.com.

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