New Yorker Cartoonist Pat Byrnes

November 13th, 2011


Join host Elysabeth Alfano and go behind the scenes into the studio of New Yorker cartoonist, Pat Byrnes.

It may not take a rocket scientist to draw cartoons, but Detroit native Pat Byrnes erred on the side of caution by getting his Aerospace degree at the University of Notre Dame. He joined General Dynamics–Convair as the first pre-design engineer (the brainstorming guys) they had ever taken directly out of undergrad. Despite this privilege, he knew his calling was elsewhere.  For a time, he honed his creative skills writing ad copy for big agencies like W. B. Doner in Detroit and J. Walter Thompson in Chicago. He scripted ads for everything from cheese to menstrual relief products, and won buckets of awards, from the Addy to the Clio. During this time, he moonlighted with experimental comedy acts, to much critical acclaim (even notoriety) in Chicago’s then crackling night club scene. He left writing ads for reading them as a voiceover actor. Between auditions, he finally found time to answer his above-mentioned calling. Cartooning. Since 1998, Pat has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He is also a staple in Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal and America Magazine.

For three years, he created the syndicated comic strip, “Monkeyhouse”.  He has won the National Cartoonists Society Award for advertising illustration, and awards for his sonnets. He also writes musicals. And he used to paint when he had the time. His gag cartoons appeared for the first time in book form in “What Would Satan Do?” (Harry N. Abrams, 2005), and again in “Because I’m the Child Here and I Said So” (Andrews-McMeel, 2006).  His most recent book is “Eats Shoots & Leaves” — Illustrated Edition by Lynne Truss (Gotham 2008) of which he is the illustrator. More recently, he is the inventor of the “Smurks” app for the iPhone and author of the Captain Dad blog.

He is married to Lisa Madigan, who, in addition to being charming and beautiful, is also the Attorney General of the State of Illinois. They live a surprisingly quiet life with their delightful daughters, Rebecca and Lucy, on the banks of the Chicago River.

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