“For all those years, one of the main questions in my mind was: What is my own style? What isn’t a hodgepodge of things I’ve borrowed from my heroes? With this book, it felt like a great opportunity to probe that and challenge myself to investigate that.”
Cartoonist and illustrator Adrian Tomine is in it for the long haul. With his new graphic memoir, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Drawn & Quarterly), he explores his lifelong connection to comics and the embarrassments & humiliations they’ve caused him. We get into the new book and talk about whether it was worth it, what brought him to the sketchbook style he adopted for this one, the differences between his comics and illustration work, being accepted by his cartooning heroes, and the importance of mindless time. We also talk about his ideal reader, the anxiety of influence and vice versa, what he misses about floppy comics (as opposed to bookstore graphic novels), the redactions he made in Loneliness to protect the douche-y, Adrian’s remembrances of the late Richard Sala, and much more. Give it a listen! And go read The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist!
“I’ll always be attracted to people like Richard Sala, who have achieved so much, who are at the top of their game in some ways, who could by every right be an arrogant snob, but are completely down on themselves, alienated, and think their own work is terrible.”
“As a parent, my life has opened up in ways I wouldn’t have sought out on my own.”
“I don’t think anybody looks up to me the way I looked up to my heroes. The world has changed and younger cartoonists are very excited by the work of their peers and even of artists younger than themselves.”
“The friendships I have in comics are irreplaceable and couldn’t be reproduced from someone outside the industry.”
About our Guest
Adrian Tomine was born in 1974 in Sacramento, California. He began self-publishing his comic book series Optic Nerve when he was sixteen, and in 1994 he received an offer to publish from Drawn & Quarterly. His comics have been anthologized in McSweeney’s, Best American Comics, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, and his graphic novel Shortcomings was a New York Times Notable Book. His previous book, Killing and Dying, appeared on numerous best-of lists and was a New York Times graphic bestseller. Since 1999, he has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters. His new graphic memoir is The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist.
Follow Adrian on Instagram.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Drawings of Adrian by him. It’s on my instagram.