51 minutes | Oct 30th 2019

Excuse Me with Liana Finck

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How do you make space for yourself in the world when you’re shy and a little bit weird? If you’re cartoonist Liana Finck, you channel the stuff stuck in your brain into your art—and find out a lot of people actually feel like you, too.

Liana is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and a wildly popular cartoonist on Instagram. Her newest book, Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self, is a collection of drawings about dating, love, sexism, anxiety, and all the absurdities of city life. We talk with her about getting comfortable with a public persona, processing feelings through drawing, and...crying at job interviews. She’s a delight, and you are gonna love this episode.

There’s a real good feeling in sharing something with strangers... I’m saying, “this is no longer my private shame, this is something we all share.”
—Liana Finck, cartoonist and author of Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self | Photo of Liana by: Jorge Colombo

On the agenda:

  • Drawing as a form of understanding yourself. “I’m trying to explain something to myself that I didn’t have words or pictures for before.”
  • Being a shy person. “I think I was shy because I knew I was strange in a way that I couldn’t quite define and I was very afraid of being found out. And the sadness I think arose from the shyness... I was afraid of showing myself and I felt trapped and helpless and out of control. And I think that has a lot to do with something that society didn’t find me exactly what they ordered.”
  • Putting yourself out there. “If I only did what was comfortable to me, I wouldn’t be able to make a life at all. I’m so used to stretching myself that I’m always doing it.”
  • Breaking into the New Yorker. “I would come into the New Yorker once a year for many, many years… I would be the only newbie, and also the only woman, and also the only young person. And also of the young people—if there were any young people—the only one who didn’t go to Harvard.”

Plus: Handling professional rejection, rejecting others, and what to do when you wake up and realize…you’re a gatekeeper in your field.

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