Last year, I interviewed my friend, New Yorker cartoonist, Liza Donnelly for an article called, Drawing For Good. At the time, Liza had recently returned from attending a conference in France where she, along with several other women cartoonists from around the globe were being honored for their humorous contribution as a catalyst for change. I asked her if expressing her personal convictions about women, art, politics, or the environment, limits or expands her profession as a cartoonist, Liza explained: "I am a cartoonist first, and while I bring my perspective as a woman to many of the cartoons I draw (whether they be about women, feminism, politics, whatever), it is not the first thing I necessarily think about. I draw as a person, and feel compelled sometimes to draw about issues that affect women around the world. Acknowledging that part of me only expands what I do. And as for politics, I love to make light of things in the news, and the best cartoon is when I can make people laugh and make a serious (sometimes disguised) point."
Women cartoonists are few and far between in their representation in publications such as the New Yorker, and no one has championed women cartoonists like Liza has. In fact, she's written a book called Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, and more recently she released, When Do They Serve The Wine.
In December, Liza announced to her friends that she was doing a TEDTalk. Having been an environmental writer for some time, I knew that being invited to talk at a TED conference was a big deal, and certainly mega-news in this neck of the woods. Plus, Liza wasn't just doing any 'ol TEDTalk, she was speaking at the first ever TEDWomen. Here is her recount of how she prepared for her TEDTalk.
What inspires me most about Liza is not just that she had the guts in all her shyness to speak at such a high profile event (and her knees look steady), but how she steps out from behind her drawing table to make this world a funnier place...and a better one too. I'm sure you will agree after viewing the video, that Liza infuses her creative talent and social commentary about women with just the right amount of humor.