In a relatively short period of time Liana Finck has done something that just a few New Yorker cartoonists have managed: working successfully in two distinct styles; in Ms. Finck’s case, one in The New Yorker and the other on Instagram. I think back to John Held, Jr. as a previous example. His New Yorker woodcut work was in a different universe than the work that brought him fame: delicate flowing lines capturing the roaring twenties crowd. Ms. Finck’s styles aren’t as far apart as Mr. Held’s, but they are easily IDed as her Instagram work and her New Yorker work. Most of the drawings included in Excuse Me, out today, focuses on Ms. Finck’s Instagram work (the New Yorker drawings included here appeared on the magazine’s Instagram account).
These are highly personal drawings — “complaints, and notes to self” — transmitted to her readers via lists, charts, diagrams, serial drawings telling a story, or a single drawing telling a story (i.e., a New Yorker cartoon moment). Like the very best of New Yorker artists, Ms. Finck’s work seems to be of her, not just by her. Think of Steinberg, Ziegler, and most especially, Roz Chast. In the Publisher’s Weekly blurb accompanying my copy of Excuse Me the reviewer refers to “Finck’s brick of a gag collection…” One thing this collection is not is a collection of gag cartoons (oh how I dislike that term). Do not expect the classic arrangement of a drawing hovering over a caption as you see in The New Yorker. My hope is that there’s a Finck collection of her New Yorker drawings in the wings that’ll bookend Excuse Me.
Part of the delight of Ms. Finck’s Instagram drawings is that they are of-the-moment. Just about every cartoonist I know works like this, laying down rough work of words and sketched impressions that may or may not go anywhere. But few post them on Instagram within seconds of completion. The New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly, for instance, has developed a bustling cottage industry over the years out of her “live-drawings” posted immediately online.
The above mentioned PW blurb says this is a brick of a book. Correcto! It’s four hundred pages, 6″ x 8″ — the perfect size to carry around and delve into whenever you need Ms. Finck’s genuinely absorbing graphic company.