Hilary has been drawing and writing Rhymes With Orange, her daily newspaper comic strip, since 1995. It has twice won “Best Newspaper Panel” by the National Cartoonists Society and appears in over 200 papers internationally. Her work has also appeared in Parade Magazine, The Funny Times, People, and Glamour. When she began drawing Rhymes With Orange, she was the youngest woman to ever have a syndicated strip.
One of my goals in the strip is to inspire more women to join the field. One of the ways I do that is by teaching a two hour gag writing workshop to folks (of all genders!) interested in how to get and keep getting cartoon ideas. I am also happy to look at people’s work if they want to send me a dozen of their cartoons to critique.
My early inspirations were Dr. Seuss for the rhymes, Shel Silverstein for the clever word play and black-and-white illustrations, and The New Yorker cartoonists Roz Chast, Sam Gross, and George Booth. I’d like to think like Roz Chast, draw like George Booth and the chutzpah of Sam Gross.
Greeting card artist Sandra Boynton, was also a major influence. Her work was huge when I was in the eight grade, and it was a defining monent for me when I learned that Boynton’s first name was Sandra. Up to that point I had assumed she was a he. The fact that a “she” was doing funny drawings opened up the possibility that I could, too. I encourage all female artists to sign their full name on their work-whether or not you realize it, it can be a powerful and inspiring statement. (One of the BEST things that has happened as a result of being a cartoonist is that I have had the opportunity to meet Sandra Boynton. She is every bit as cool and funny as your would imagine!)
My first actual cartoon character was a friendly monster that looked a little like a sitting-down hippopotamus. I used my mother’s blusher from her cosmetic’s bag to “paint” it. That’s probably the last time I have touched a cosmetic bag for any purpose.
Hilary draws her strip in an old toothbrush factory that has since been converted to studio space for artists. She lives in western Massachusetts with her overly large dog and hoodlum cat.