Paper Picture Puzzle

Here is a puzzle I drew

Your final answer will be what you need to know to solve this puzzle (You'll know it when you have the final answer)

Notes:

I did a couple dumbs. One is the space planning. Anywhere with awkwardly written or squeezed in numbers is just that and so you don't have to read in to it.

Another is that apparently I can't spell. There's a typo I only noticed after an hour of drawing, and since this is pen, it'll just have to stay. woops

• these are really nicely drawn... Aug 29, 2017 at 1:16
• Once again, a masterfully made puzzle!
– Deusovi
Aug 29, 2017 at 1:21
• This is a beautiful puzzle. I wish there was a way to upvote it more than once! Aug 29, 2017 at 2:15
• Where's the button to give a bounties to a question? Aug 29, 2017 at 20:51

At first, this solves fairly simply.

Each picture clues a word. The word has the same number of letters as the number of numbers next to the picture. Put each letter in its corresponding blank. (For example, the top left picture is a SNEER, so S goes in square 32, N goes in 22...)

The pictures are:

SNEER / ZIM / DIME / GURU / ART / ACE / (Kylo) REN / NAVAL (the typo, should be "navel") / COCOA / STAIR

And the message is:

MAD MAGAZINE, REAR COVER: INSTRUCTIONS ARE A CLUE

So, what do we do next?

Mad Magazine is well-known for its "Fold-Ins" on the back cover, humorous cartoons that fill a page. When folded, they give a completely different image altogether. For example:

The trick to this puzzle is that...

it's also a fold-in!

The message at the bottom now says "this is the answer", and all the numbers in the grid below correspond with the new images. Repeat the same process (the images are DOWN / HOME / LEFT) to get the final answer:

You have to know WHEN TO FOLD 'EM.

• Everything is right except spot 12 in the message. Looks like we both misspelled a letter! (Not longer applicable) Aug 29, 2017 at 1:23
• Wow! Another incredible puzzle Aug 29, 2017 at 9:12
• The fold-in part is quite brilliant! Aug 29, 2017 at 20:09
• how did you get the message, and what is the answer? Aug 30, 2017 at 0:09
• Also excellent job @stacksfiller at drawing everything and not creasing the page to make sure it all fits! May 10, 2018 at 13:52