Alta Asks Live: Cartoonists Hilary Campbell and Amy Kurzweil

Two Alta contributing cartoonists take us through their process — and punchlines.

alta asks live cartoonists hilary campbell and amy kurzweil
Hillary Campbell and Amy Kurzweil

Where do cartoons come from? How are jokes developed, and where do artists mine for ideas? What role does gender play in the genre, and why don’t we see more women cartoon artists? We’ve got a ton of questions for the cartoonists who contribute to the popular Altatude cartoon section of Alta magazine, and we’re joined by two of these artists—Hilary Campbell and Amy Kurzweil—to follow the path to the punch line.

About the artists

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is a cartoonist, writer, filmmaker, and comedian. Her cartoons have appeared in the New Yorker since 2017. Campbell illustrates books (Feminist Fight Club, Are You My Uber?), and her short documentaries (Small Talk, This Is Not the End) have been awarded top prizes at festivals across the country. Her graphic memoir, Murder Book, will hit the shelves in 2022. Follow her on Instagram @cartoonsbyhilary.

Amy Kurzweil is a New Yorker cartoonist and the author of Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir (a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Kirkus Best Memoir of 2016). Her writing, comics, and cartoons have also been published in the Believer, Longreads, Literary Hub, Wired, Cosmopolitan, Catapult, and many other places. Her cartooning work has been nominated for a Reuben Award. She’s received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, and the Black Mountain Institute, and this fall she’ll be a Berlin Prize fellow working on her second graphic memoir at the American Academy in Berlin (if the German government lets her in the country, that is!). Kurzweil currently teaches for the Zoom-niverse.

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