Lisa Hanawalt

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Lisa Hanawalt
Hanawalt speaking at the Small Press Expo in 2016
Born (1983-06-19) June 19, 1983 (age 39)
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
  • Illustrator
  • cartoonist
  • production designer
  • producer
  • writer
Notable works
BoJack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie
AwardsFull list

Lisa Hanawalt (born June 19, 1983) is an American illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. She has published comic series, as well as three books of illustrations. She worked as the production designer and a producer of the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman (2014–2020),[1] and co-hosts the podcast Baby Geniuses (2012–present) with comedian Emily Heller. She created and executive produced the Adult Swim animated series, Tuca & Bertie (2019–2022).

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Hanawalt was born in Palo Alto, California to Stanford biologists Philip Hanawalt and Graciela Spivak.[2] Her mother was born and raised in Argentina by a family of Jewish refugees originally from Odessa.[3][4]

Hanawalt attended UCLA, graduating with a B.A. in art in 2006.[5]

Work as cartoonist and illustrator[edit]

She is a former member of Pizza Island, a cartoonist's studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which included cartoonists Kate Beaton, Domitille Collardey, Sarah Glidden, Meredith Gran, and Julia Wertz.[6]

Her illustrations and writings have been published in print and online periodicals including The New York Times, McSweeney's, Vanity Fair, and Lucky Peach magazine.[7][8] From 2011 through 2013, she was a regular contributor to The Hairpin and produced a series of illustrated film reviews.

Her first comic series, I Want You, was published in 2009 by Buenaventura Press. In 2010, Hanawalt was the first woman to win an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic, for "I Want You #1." In 2012, she illustrated her first children's book, Benny's Brigade, published by McSweeney's and authored by Arthur Bradford. The book stars a tiny talking walrus, rescued by two sisters with a range of magical animals at the end of the quest. The book was named a "Wildest Book of the Year" by children's lit blog 100 Scope Notes and called "exuberant and imaginative" by Foreword Reviews. The book's jacket reverse folds out into an oversized poster featuring Hanawalt's creatures from the book.

In 2013, Drawn & Quarterly published My Dirty Dumb Eyes, Hanawalt's "one-woman anthology" of comics and illustrations, including previously-commissioned works. The collected stories and shorts range from autobiographical narratives to cultural observations, frequently featuring anthropomorphic animal-people and scenes of nature rendered in bright, detailed watercolors, and likened by one reviewer to "a grown-up Richard Scarry turned absurdist social commentator."[9]

In 2016, Drawn & Quarterly published Hot Dog Taste Test. This book is a collection of comics and illustrations often featuring animal-people in vibrant watercolors.[10] Publishers Weekly said about her book, "Hanawalt takes a kebab skewer to the pomposity that's grown up around food and dining. The cartoons evoke an idiosyncratic absurdity akin to Roz Chast's work."[11]

On August 21, 2018, Hanawalt released a graphic novel with Drawn & Quarterly entitled Coyote Doggirl. Unlike her previous two, Coyote Doggirl features a singular narrative and follows its titular character and her trusty steed, Red, on their escape from a vengeful bulldog and his cronies.[12]

In 2020, Drawn & Quarterly published a collection of Hanawalt's early comics, I Want You, with a contemporary introduction.

Work in television[edit]

The Netflix animated television series BoJack Horseman, which debuted in 2014, is designed by Hanawalt. She has been friends with show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg since high school[13] and previously worked with him on the webcomic Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out.[14]

In 2019, Netflix released Tuca & Bertie, an adult animated comedy created by Hanawalt, starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong.[15][16] Critics called Tuca & Bertie one of the best new shows of 2019,[17][18] and the show holds a rating of 100% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[19] Netflix cancelled the series after its first season, however the show was revived by Adult Swim in 2020.[20][21]

In 2019, Hanawalt joined other WGA writers in firing their agents as part of the WGA's stand against the ATA and the practice of packaging.[22]

Hanawalt appeared on the October 13, 2020, episode of The George Lucas Talk Show with fellow guest Ken Jennings.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Her longtime boyfriend is comedian and TV host Adam Conover.[24]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Print magazine named Hanawalt one of the best new, young designers in 2013.[25] Her illustrated short story "On the Trail with Wylie" won a James Beard Foundation Award for humor writing in 2014.[26]



  • 2013 James Beard Journalism Award for Humor, "The Secret Lives of Chefs," Lucky Peach[30]
  • 2015 James Beard Journalism Award for Humor, "Goodbye to all that sugar, spice, fat," Lucky Peach[31]

Selected works[edit]

  • 2012. Benny's Brigade, by Arthur Bradford. McSweeney's. ISBN 978-1-93636-561-6
  • 2013. My Dirty, Dumb Eyes. Drawn & Quarterly. ISBN 978-1-77046-116-1
  • 2016. Hot Dog Taste Test. Drawn & Quarterly. ISBN 978-1-77046-237-3
  • 2018. Coyote Doggirl. Drawn & Quarterly. ISBN 978-1-77046-325-7
  • 2020. I Want You. Drawn & Quarterly. ISBN 978-1-77046-388-2


  1. ^ Berkowitz, Joe (August 22, 2014). "How a Funny, Horse-Obsessed Artist Created the Look of Netflix's First Animated Show". Co.Create. FastCo. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "Hanawalt Collects "My Dirty Dumb Eyes"". May 24, 2013.
  3. ^ "Welcome to Graciela Spivak's Home Page".
  4. ^ Randle, Chris (May 31, 2016). "Lisa Hanawalt: BoJack cartoonist gets personal in Hot Dog Taste Test". the Guardian. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  5. ^ "UCLA Arts: School of the Arts and Architecture". UCLA Arts: School of the Arts and Architecture.
  6. ^ Ward, Katherine (April 3, 2011). "Books". New York. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  7. ^ "Visions of Thanksgiving". Sunday Review: The Opinion Pages. New York Times. 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Hanawalt, Lisa (April 13, 2014). "On the Trail with Wylie". Lucky Peach. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "My Dirty, Dumb Eyes". Publishers Weekly. 260 (11): 67. March 18, 2013.
  10. ^ "Books". Lisa Hanawalt.
  11. ^ "Comics Book Review: Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-77046-237-3".
  12. ^ Gruber, Frank The Pulp Jungle Sherbourne Press, 1967
  13. ^ Lambert, Molly (September 10, 2018). "The Origin Story of the Depressingly Good BoJack Horseman". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Tip Me Over Pour Me Out". Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Schwartz, Dana (March 14, 2019). "Watch a first look at Netflix's new animated series starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong". Entertainment Weekly.
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 20, 2018). "Netflix Picks Up Supernatural Teen Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Travers, Ben; Nguyen, Hanh; Greene, Steve; Hill, Libby; Obenson, Tambay (June 5, 2019). "The Best TV Shows of 2019, So Far". IndieWire. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Chavez, Danette (May 6, 2019). "The vibrant, surreal Tuca & Bertie is one of the best new shows of the year". TV Club. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  19. ^ "Tuca & Bertie: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  20. ^ Petski, Denise; Andreeva, Nellie (July 24, 2019). "'Designated Survivor' & 'Tuca & Bertie' Canceled By Netflix". Deadline.
  21. ^ Sippell, Margeaux (May 22, 2020). "'Tuca and Bertie' to Fly Again: Adult Swim Rescues Canceled Netflix Series for Season 2". TheWrap.
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 13, 2019). "Writers Share Signed Termination Letters As Mass Firing Of Agents Begins After WGA-ATA Talks Fail". Deadline.
  23. ^ "The George Lucas Talk Show – Episode XII with Ken Jennings and Lisa Hanawalt". Youtube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Havrilesky, Heather (September 7, 2018). "Don't Look BoJack's Gifted Horse-Lady in the Mouth". The Cut. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  25. ^ Lerner, Jane (April 2013). "Lisa Hanawalt". Print. 67 (2): 40–41.
  26. ^ "James Beard Foundation 2014 Award Winners List" (PDF). James Beard Foundation. 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "2011 Stumptown Comic Arts Award Winners". The Comics Reporter. April 17, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  28. ^ "Illustrators 56: Part Two". Society of Illustrators. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  29. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Pond, Steve (January 17, 2016). "'Spotlight,' Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson Top Critics' Choice Award Winners". The Wrap. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  30. ^ "2013 James Beard Awards Nominees" (PDF). James Beard Foundation. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  31. ^ Borden, Maggie; Haak, Alyssa (April 9, 2015). "Meet the 2015 Humor Journalism Nominees". James Beard Foundation. Retrieved April 8, 2016.

External links[edit]