Op-ed pieces aren’t born on content farms, they come from another place entirely: the human heart. Translating the writer’s impassioned words through editorial illustration is delicate work, a task German-born artist Hanna Barczyk performs skillfully, with near-surgical precision.
In just a few lines drawn against a limited palette of color, the emotions igniting an opinion piece are made plain. Case in point: her tender black-and-white portrayal of Oliver Sacks in a graceful surrender to ocular cancer, which accompanied his widely read reflection, “My Own Life,” in the New York Times. “I look for a feeling’s physical expression—how the body would move, how the body might be represented in exaggerated ways,” she says.
A graduate of OCAD University and the BizStart young entrepreneur program funded by the government of Ontario, Barczyk has worked full-time from her home studio in Toronto for just over a year. She now draws regularly for the opinion pages of major dailies, including the Los Angeles Times’ Affairs section, which features stories on dating and relationships from lovelorn Angelenos.