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Background about Lisa Benson

Lisa Benson is an experienced editorial cartoonist whose work began national syndication in 2007. Lisa's cartoons from the Victor Valley (CA) Press came to the attention of the Washington Post Writers Group through Editorial Page Editor Steve Williams. The Writers Group asked Benson for samples of national interest and was “blown away” by her work.

“Steve Williams knows of what he speaks. Lisa Benson is a rare talent who can illustrate a major news story in a single drawing and convey her ideas to readers in very few words,” said Alan Shearer, Writers Group editorial director. “Conservative describes her politically. Brilliant describes her artistically. A combination of artistic talent, moral indignation and strong point of view mesh somehow to produce some of the finest work I have ever seen from a local cartoonist. Looking at her portfolio, I was blown away.”

Benson came to editorial cartooning a little later than most, in the midst of raising her four children. In the early 1990s, Benson’s husband’s business was going through an industrywide recession, so she began looking at employment options to supplement the family income. “Cartooning seemed like a glamorous choice. It was either that or work in fast food. I shook some hands and some people were actually impressed with what I could do, or felt sorry for me,” Benson quipped. In 1990, she started drawing cartoons for a local monthly publication, “The Senior Advocate,” and doing paste-up and cutting rubylith for the color separations.

Benson soon decided to give editorial cartooning a try. “I was so confident the Daily Press needed my services back in 1992 that I stuffed ONE sample cartoon in an envelope and mailed it to the opinion page editor. I must have included my phone number, because Steve Williams called me in for a meeting and hired me to do two cartoons each week.”

Benson stopped editorial cartooning from 2002 to 2004, a period she calls “nursing home hell.” With both her parents and her father-in-law in nursing homes – and trying to maintain a freelance design business and drawing cartoons – something had to give, so it was the editorial cartoons.

Despite the personal pressures, Benson earned first-place honors from the California Newspaper Publishers Association (under 75,000 circulation) in 2000 and second place in 2004. In 2005, she took both second and third place from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Inland Southern California Chapter. A native Californian, Benson lives in Apple Valley with her husband, Gregory, a building designer. They have four children, ages 18 to 26.


 


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