Since May, when his 102-year-old mother, Joan, arrived to ride out the pandemic, Paul Karasik has been driving her all over the Island. It has become part of their daily routine, something she loves to experience and Mr. Karasik has come to enjoy too, this reawakening to the contours of the Vineyard. Mr. Karasik has long been an astute observer of Vineyard mores and any opportunity to see things from a new perspective is a creative boon.

Beginning earlier this week and running through Nov. 15, the mind and talent of Mr. Karasik will be on display at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center with an exhibit of his work entitled Funny Papers. A socially-distanced opening reception will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Mr. Karasik is a cartoonist and frequent contributor to the New Yorker, the Gazette and the Martha’s Vineyard Magazine — along with being a teacher, editor, memoirist, and a founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. The film center exhibit will include 11 images stretching back nearly 10 years, some that have appeared in the New Yorker along with Vineyard-based illustrations.

Paul Karasik

To complete a piece is a two-part process — there is an illustration and the accompanying words. Which comes first is often a jump ball.

“Sometimes I will stare at a blank sheet of paper and come up with an idea for a picture but have no idea where it will go,” he said. “But for a gag to succeed, part of it is the idea but equally important is how the idea is composed.”

Mr. Karasik sits down every Saturday morning for a drawing marathon. The rest of the week the ideas and images mulch in his brain. Currently, he has been wrestling with the phrase: “I like you, but I like you as a friend.” No image has come to mind yet, he said.

The gags he has selected for the exhibit focus more on the illustration.

“It’s difficult to stand in front of a wall and read a lot,” he said.

The Vineyard pieces lend themselves to a certain amount of insider knowledge, something he feels is key to the gag’s success.

“Vineyard cartoons, the ones people like best, there is a tipping point of insider cultural knowledge that is key.”

The exhibit is a chance to see the Flying Horses, Back Door Donuts and other iconic Island spots in a new — and humorous — light.