Shansby climbs to the top

March 23, 2004, midnight | By Vivek Chellappa | 16 years, 10 months ago

Eric Shansby works with The Washington Post

Eric Shansby left high school with a distinguished cartoonist résumé: five first-place awards at the 2002 Gold Circle Awards, three first-place awards at the 2002 Maryland Scholastic Press Association and second place at the 2002 Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association Editorial Competition, where he was the only high-school student to place. But for Shansby, a 2003 Blair graduate and current Yale freshman, the list of accomplishments that places him among elite talents in the world of cartoonists just keeps growing.

Shansby is now a cartoonist for The Washington Post, which has a readership of around one million readers. Shansby works for the Post's "Below the Beltway" columnist Gene Weingarten, author of one of the most-read columns in the Washington area.

Meeting Gene

Shansby's relationship with Weingarten began in 2001 when the writer visited a class to talk about journalism. At the end of the lecture, Shansby asked Weingarten to look at his most recent cartoon. Although Weingarten said he did not have time just then, he asked Shansby to e-mail a sample.

"That was above and beyond," Shansby says of Weingarten's willingness to look at his work. "He asked me to send him more stuff. We emailed back and forth for a while."

Eventually, Weingarten offered Shansby a cartoonist spot as part of The Washington Post Magazine's Education issue, and, in June 2003, Shansby published his first work in The Washington Post Magazine, a cartoon about going to college. Shansby's cartoon in the Post soon developed into even greater opportunities.

Working with the best

Shansby works with Tom Shroder, The Washington Post Magazine Editor, and Weingarten to develop his weekly illustration.

"They have really valuable input," says Shansby of the two. "They have such good ideas." Shansby has about a week to finish an illustration for a column, and he is given columns three weeks in advance of the publication date.

Shansby, who will either major in history or political science, also occasionally draws for the Yale Daily News and just completed a drawing class last semester at Yale, considered one of the nation's top drawing schools. Shansby's success is starting to pay off financially as well – the cartoonist will be paid $1,500 a year for his work with the Post.

Tags: print

Vivek Chellappa. As Vivek beings his final year in Blair, several new hobbies draw his attention: his passion for standup comedy and making lists with only one real piece of information. Vivek has recently developed a strong liking for the works of Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chapelle and … More »

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