Nick Anderson of The Houston Chronicle is an independent-minded liberal who covers politics and contemporary cultural issues in a way that connects with readers. His loose, idiosyncratic style carries with it an unconventional message with appeal. “I approach my work with a healthy skepticism for the ideological extremists littering our political landscape,” says Anderson.
In 2005, Anderson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. The judges complimented his “unusual graphic style that produced extraordinarily thoughtful and powerful messages.” Anderson takes great care and effort with those messages. “I think Nick has deserved this [award] for a long time,” says Alan Shearer, editorial director of The Washington Post Writers Group, which distributes Anderson’s cartoons. “Nick's a really hard worker, submitting three versions of every cartoon -- traditional black and white line art, a grayscale black and white, and full color.”
Anderson has pioneered a method of coloring his cartoons. Using an advanced computer program, he creates digital paintings characterized by subtle textures and striking images. Through his innovative use of the program, he has earned the designation by the program's manufacturer, Corel Corporation, as a "Painter Master."
Prior to joining The Houston Chronicle in 2006, Anderson worked for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. Anderson majored in political science at Ohio State University and was editorial cartoonist for the school’s newspaper, The Lantern. In 1989, he won the Charles M. Schulz Award for best college cartoonist. He interned one summer with The Courier-Journal, which immediately recognized his talent. The newspaper created a position for him as an associate editorial cartoonist and illustrator after his graduation from OSU. “I didn’t want Nick to get away and get ensconced someplace else because he just seemed to fit us,” says David Hawpe, editorial director of the paper. “I think he has the kind of tone we want for our page – it’s a tone that’s not disrespectful, but it is provocative.” Anderson was promoted to chief editorial cartoonist in 1995.
In addition to the Pulizer, Anderson earned the SPJ’s Sigma Delta Chi award in 2000, the 1999 Fischetti Award, and first-place honors for editorial cartooning in the Best of Gannett Awards in 1996, 1997 and 1999. Anderson’s cartoons have been published in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and other papers.
Anderson grew up in Toledo, Ohio, in a family that encouraged independent thinking in politics. His father, a scientist, didn’t like the mathematical odds of his son becoming a cartoonist, but at age 15 Anderson started drawing cartoons for his high school newspaper and immediately knew his calling. “I figured the chances of being an editorial cartoonist were pretty slim, but I didn’t want to go to my deathbed without trying."
In his spare time, Anderson enjoys mountain biking, cycling, water skiing and rollerblading. In 1988 he cycled across the country from Oregon to Massachusetts.