Quinn Ryan: app designer by day, illustrator for her Instagram account, Riding In Cabs With Boys, by night.
Although Quinn certainly devotes a significant amount of her time to the technology industry, she speaks about the importance of living a life not revolved around Insta. Oh and despite what it may look like, NYC isn’t all just cabs, coffee and romance.
How and why did you start the Instagram account?
The themes originally stemmed from my frustrations with the dating scene in New York. I was frustrated because I moved out to NYC thinking it was going to be a Carrie Bradshaw story where I’d be glamorous and it would be all martinis and boyfriends… but it wasn’t like that because, as it turns out, life is not a TV show!
I worked on the comics for a long time, but wasn’t certain I’d even put the comics out there until I started showing my friends what I’d been working on. It was their encouragement that ultimately convinced me it was time to start posting.
What advice would you give to young hopefuls who want to have a crack at moving to the Big Apple?
Just do it! Is it intimidating? Absolutely. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
Moving to New York City has been an incredibly rewarding experience of personal growth for me. Getting physically out of my comfort zone and meeting people who grew up in different settings really opened my eyes to the world. One of the things that make New York so fantastic is that it’s a transplant city with people from all over the world, so don’t worry about being the odd one out. It’s a whole city of misfits!
What was it like settling into NYC?
I moved out to NYC originally because out of all the 30-something jobs I applied to ahead of college graduation, the only one that hired me was a small news website in Manhattan.
The workplace was pretty young, but, yeah, basically I knew no one and had pretty much no friends. So, I filled my time with doing every touristy thing imaginable. I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, went to ALL of the museums, and regularly got extremely lost on the subway (total tourist move).
I also did a lot of weird things to make friends. For example, I did a runners’ meetup in Central Park and ended up making a friend, who, four years later will have me at her wedding! It wasn’t easy, but it all worked out.
Are the comics based on things that actually happen to you?
Sometimes… sometimes the comics come from experiences from friends, and sometimes it’s made up. Sometimes (definitely not every time!) if I feature a guy in a comic that’s based on something that actually happened, I’ll tell them. It’s facilitated some interesting conversations.
When you’re not illustrating for your Instagram project, what do you do for work?
By day, I’m a mobile app designer and have worked in tech for four years now. Designing apps is super cool and exciting, but my comic is my side project that really allows me to be creative. It’s great to come home and doodle about frivolous things that have nothing to do with share buttons or app screens or even the news, that matters.
How do you balance your Instagram project with your day job?
It’s not always easy! I watch hardly any TV, and I actually don’t date as much as some of my friends do, because I just don’t have time! Some weeks I have to remind myself that my comic is my side project, not my full-time gig. I’ve had to become okay with not posting as often as some other comic accounts, because taking care of my own life is more important than posting comics about riding in cabs with boys every day.
Having a successful side project is a huge goal in the 21st century, do you have any specific tips on how to get it up and running?
I wouldn’t consider the side project successful just yet! It’s a work in progress, life is a work in progress. Just do whatever gives you life. Doodling about fuckboys gave me life, so just pick your thing and run with it.
However, I think it’s important to establish a volume of work before you hit the ground running. Establish a message, a style, a perspective. That will inform the rest of the project, however it evolves. And most importantly, don’t copy other people – it’s not cool.
How do you most like to get inspired?
I have always loved comics and cartoons. I grew up collecting my favorite newspaper comics, like Calvin & Hobbes, Get Fuzzy, and Mutts. I like looking at those comics for facial expressions and character style. It’s been tough figuring out my own illustration style, and it will definitely continue to evolve.
My newest inspiration is Daria, the MTV cartoon from the ‘90s. A commenter said my comics reminded them of Daria, which I’d actually never seen! Now I’m hooked.
Do you have a regular creative process?
The process is also a work in progress. When I first started, I was drawing each comic entirely in Adobe Illustrator. As I continued making them, I decided I didn’t want to always be looking at a screen and I felt more confident about putting a hand drawn comic out there, so I changed the style. I will definitely continue to evolve the drawing style—who knows what it will look like in a year!
Finally, I just want to say that I’m so happy to put a comic out there that people enjoy, and am so very grateful to the followers I do have. But Instagram will not change the world, and it’s important that while we all have a laugh whenever we possibly can, we continue to look out for one another and fight for what’s right for our brothers and sisters near and far who need our help. Peace babes.
Interview by Amber De Luca – Tao
IG – @fettywamber1838
Illustration Riding In Cabs With Boys