Sunday Mailbag

April 15th, 2007 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: As an illustrator do you go to great lengths to protect your hands from injuries? I know it would be a tragedy to injure your hands as you wouldn’t be able to work. For example do you avoid playing catch with the kids and things like that?

A: I wouldn’t say I go to “great lengths” but I don’t do anything stupid either. About 6 years ago I was working out with a boxing heavy bag, and while I was wailing on it I hurt my right wrist. I ended up getting something called Decravain’s Tendinitis. That is where the tendons in your wrist, that are held in place by a thin band like the strap of a wristwatch, become inflamed and swell. That causes them to strain against this band, aggravating the injury and causing more swelling. I had to adjust the way I draw live caricatures for two years before it fully went away. After that I avoid impact workouts. I also do not bowl (except once and a while at a kid’s birthday party) or place my hand in running garbage disposals.

Other than that it’s Katie bar the door. I play catch with my kids, swing a hammer or do regular life type stuff. If my hand gets sawed off I can always go back to making Whoppers. I could do that with one hand behind my back anyway.

Thanks to Mark Beadle for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. I had a job for 2 months that ended just a few days ago where I was doing a lot of tying of string, and it had to be VERY tight. Well, after a while I got a cut on each pinky and a cut on each index finger from the string constantly cutting into my fingers. I’m kinda happy that I got fired from that job, because I was starting to get concerned that this constant strain on my hands might affect my cartooning.
    Those cuts are taking a long time to heal.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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