Illustrator and cartoonist Sarah Andersen has gained international recognition for her Sarah’s Scribbles comics, both online and in collections like Adulthood Is a Myth. Released this month, her latest work, Big Mushy Happy Lump, celebrates introversion with topics like being stuck in a literal hell of small-talk. She jumped off the page for a chat in advance of her visit to the Harvard Coop on March 20.
What can readers expect from the book? It’s a best-of collection of the comics I’ve made since Adulthood Is a Myth. … So there’s going to be some of my all-time favorites, and then I made quite a few new comics just for the book. Then there are three long-form stories that are a little more personal, and they’re illustrated with comics. As for the selection process, we definitely focus around the title, so the idea of being a lump or being a little bit of a blah person comes up repeatedly.
How autobiographical is the comic for you? It’s very autobiographical. Some things are exaggerations, but the core concept always comes from me…something I’m thinking about or something that happened to me personally. And then these long-form stories kind of are more narrative, and they are directly from my life.
How does it make you feel that people can relate so closely to the main character? It’s sort of a relief. I think it’s a good movement on the internet that sort of started happening a few years ago where people just started making memes and comics about stuff they were doing wrong in life. There’s all sorts of stuff you’ll see, like…“When you can’t get your life together for the third time this week.” You could say that it’s negative, but I actually think it’s better to share in that experience than it is to feel isolated. It’s better to talk about it, so I think it’s a good thing. I feel really happy when people tell me they connect to the character because we don’t need to pretend to be perfect all the time.