Cartoonist Amy Hwang ’00, whose sketches are regularly featured in The New Yorker and other outlets, started drawing cartoons as a first-year at Barnard for the Columbia Daily Spectator. After graduating with a degree in architecture, Hwang started her career at an architecture firm before discovering a new path in her late 20s when one of her cartoons was accepted and published in The New Yorker. Her work — which also features prominently on Usual Wines’ Instagram account — won the 2019 National Cartoonists Society’s Silver Reuben Award for Gag Cartoons.

Hwang, who will be featured in Barnard Magazine’s upcoming Spring 2021 issue, says her inspiration for art stems from daily observations. “My process is a combination of brainstorming ideas and then finessing them up to the last minute,” Hwang said. 

To learn more about Hwang’s work, and to view some of her sketches, make sure to read the full story in Barnard Magazine. Until then, check out a preview below.

Photo of Hwang's workspace, with an in-progress watercolor cartoon surrounded by watercolor materials

Which classes at Barnard most informed your work?

Pulling all-nighters in the architecture studio reinforced my appreciation for sleep. The opposing concepts of misery and comfort are common to my cartoons.

Where would we have found you sketching or making artwork on campus?

In the back row of Schermerhorn 501 during an art history lecture, at the library, or in an actual art class.

What do you listen to while at work in your studio?

My answer to this varies day to day. Sometimes I listen to music — usually without words. Sometimes I have a television show or movie on in the background — something with a lot of words so I don’t have to look at the screen. I do not listen to podcasts because I find them too distracting.

What is your favorite place to see art?

For me, it is less about the place — NYC has many great museums — and more about having the space to see the art. I dislike crowds of people in museums.

What artwork was on your dorm wall?

I had postcards of Edward Hopper paintings, a postcard of a sculpture by Duane Hanson (Woman with Dog), and one or two Sam Gross cat cartoons torn from a New Yorker daily calendar. 

Check Out Hwang's Process