Our favorite illustrator Mari Andrew just came out with a book: Am I There Yet? To celebrate, she and I met at Books are Magic — with a bunch of wonderful men and women — to chat about life, work, heartbreak and buttered toast. Here are a few photos and funny things she said…
Her new book in the window of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn.
The crowds were huge. As Mari and I prepared to walk on stage, we were not not nervous. Luckily, her agent had brought some Champagne, which we sipped (chugged?) before grabbing the microphones.
Luckily, once we started chatting, our butterflies went away, and the audience was so warm and friendly. Mari has a knack for drawing things people are secretly thinking about (exhibit A, exhibit B), so I asked her if she’s always hunting for ideas. “Well, I didn’t have any friends when I was growing up,” she told us. “People say, ‘Oh, you know, I had no friends,’ but I literally had NO FRIENDS. I identified much more with older people. But what adult wants to invite a seven-year-old to their dinner party?” As a tried-and-true outsider, she explained, she spent time observing her surroundings and learned what makes people tick.
We talked about when she struggled to find a career path, fell severely ill during a solo trip to Spain, lost her father, and endured heartbreak (side note: her ex-boyfriends now read her cartoons), but Mari said these tough times helped lead her where she is today. One way she suggests helping a friend who’s grieving? Leave lasagna on their doorstep.
Amazingly, Mari didn’t start drawing until two years ago, at age 29. Her other hobbies include playing guitar, solo traveling and dancing. One of my favorite lines from her book: “You may not always have the same friends or same relationship you have now, but you’ll always be with you… now’s the time to become to person you want to live with for the rest of your life.” (Don’t you love that?)
Here, she showed us a flamenco dance move that made her feel like a mermaid underwater.
Toward the end of the chat, we did a lightning round, and here are some of her answers:
Three things you’ll always find in her fridge: Chardonnay, arugula, kimchi
Celeb crush: Frank Ocean
Best dish she ate recently: Buttered toast for breakfast
Irrational fear: Public speaking
The evening was really fun – and everyone was such a joy to be around. We ate Poppy’s cookies while Mari signed autographs. Here’s her book, if you’d like to take a closer look.
Thank you for the inspiration, as always, Mari. xoxo
P.S. Mari’s illustrations on Cup of Jo, and the great book swap.
(Photos by Ana Gambuto for Cup of Jo.)