Phil Hands is an award-winning freelance cartoonist, illustrator and writer, who was born in October of 1980. He grew up in Detroit, MI and started drawing at a very young age. He started having his cartoons published in the Grosse Pointe News when he was still in high school. He graduated from Kenyon College in 2003 with a double major in Political Science and Studio Art. During his four years at Kenyon he was the cartoonist for the school’s newspaper, The Kenyon Collegiate. In 2005 Phil moved to Madison, WI to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He drew cartoons for that school’s newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, as well. While at UW-Madison working towards his Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications, he was honored with a first place finish from the Associated Collegiate Press for best editorial cartoons.
He currently draws editorial cartoons for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, Wisconsin as well as contributing illustrations to other sections of the paper and writing columns for the opinion page. Phil’s cartoons are also distributed internationally through Artizans Syndicate. Being a political moderate, his editorial cartoons don’t pull any punches with either side of the aisle. For three years straight (2005 – 2007) the Milwaukee Press Club chose one of his cartoons as the best for the year. He has also received national first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and was even a finalist, along with other staffers at the Wisconsin State Journal, for 2008’s Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His cartoons have also been published in TIME Magazine, The Washington Post and USA Today.
A member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Phil lives in Madison with his wife Tricia and their son Owen. Visit his Phil Hands Cartoons website to see much more of his work as well as his Madtoons blog and his blog at the Wisconsin State Journal. You should also his check out his Facebook page which he updates regularly. As a side note, Phil is also a huge Green Bay Packers fan, but I won’t hold that against him…Go Patriots!
What is your favorite pen to use?
I ink with a brush. My favorite pen is a Micron number 01.
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
What type of paper do you use?
I use 100 lb smooth Bristol board.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I buy what I can from local stores but I order specific items I can't always find.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I always listen to something when I draw. Usually news and talk shows. Occasionally I'll listen to
Irish Music, Hip/Hop, Country or the Grateful Dead.
What was the first job as a cartoonist/illustrator that you were paid for?
Editorial Cartoonist Grosse Pointe News.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Calvin and Hobbes
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Sneetches, my son has it now.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I have a Bachelor's in Art.
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both of course. It's easier to share my cartoons with people. It's harder to get paid.
Did either of your parents draw?
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
Mom, Dad, wife.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
Yes. It was just OK but I don't think I'm very good at it.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion can lead to skill, but you can't learn talent. I'm a skilled artist, but not all that talented.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect little Christmas village houses and characters but if you tell anyone I'll have to kill you ;)
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Editorial page writer and columnist, or Architect.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I have an exceptionally messy desk in the attic of my house.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar and Harmonica.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Quantity breeds Quality. Draw lots and don't worry about making it too perfect.
Who is your favorite artist?
Thank you very much for participating Phil!