Text, Don’t Call: An Interview with Introvert and Cartoonist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura

INFJoe is the cartoon persona of artist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura. Stuck in a creative rut in 2012, Aaron developed INFJoe and discovered a receptive community of fellow introverts. He’s been sharing funny, insightful, and empowering cartoons on his blog ever since. His new book, Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life, celebrates life as an introvert and offers tips on navigating a noisy, people-filled world.

You began posting on INFJoe Cartoons in January 2013. Why did you start this site? How has your focus or style evolved since then?

I started INFJoe Cartoons to encourage fellow INFJs (my Myers-Briggs personality type). As an artist, I thought drawing comics would be a fun way to do that. Growing up as an INFJ was extremely difficult for me. Among other things, INFJs are deeply emotional, highly sensitive, empathetic, and introverted, and they often find themselves feeling odd or out of place. Almost immediately after launching my site, I began including cartoons for all introverted types and some drawings for everyone regardless of type and temperament. I’ve been doing the same ever since.

The style of my drawings, however, has evolved somewhat. I started out with pen and paper, producing black and white cartoons with somewhat tight lines. Then while preparing for a two-month trip to Spain, I decided I didn’t want to carry art supplies and a scanner around, so I bought an iPad and adopted Paper by FiftyThree as my app and a stylus for my drawing implement. With the new iPad cartoons, I added color and loosened my lines. At present, I’m back to tighter lines, which I attribute to mood and using the Apple Pencil.

Based on a cartoon from 2013. Copyright© 2017 by Aaron T. Caycedo-Kimura.

How did your book, Text, Don’t Call, come about?

In July 2015, my friend Jenn Granneman, the creator of the online community Introvert, Dear, contacted me to do an article about my cartoons. I was in California at the time, taking care of my mother who had passed away a month before. Jenn didn’t know about my mother but noticed that I hadn’t been posting cartoons. I think she wanted to give me a boost. Her encouragement was just what I needed at that tough time. Her article spread far and wide across the internet, and soon other online magazines were doing articles on the cartoons. In October, Ashton Kutcher’s A Plus published an article, which George Takei shared on his Facebook page. While I was driving back to the East Coast from California, Emily Haynes of BluePen Agency saw the Takei post and emailed me about the possibility of representing me. We began working together right away, and by April 2016, we had a deal with TarcherPerigee.

Based on Aaron’s most popular cartoon in 2016. Copyright© 2017 by Aaron T. Caycedo-Kimura.

As an introvert, how do you plan to promote the book? Will you go on a book tour, do speaking engagements, do interviews? How do you feel about all that?

I have an amazing publicist, Danielle Caravella, who fully understands that I’m a huge introvert, and she always checks to see if I’m comfortable doing what she has in mind. She came up with a great way for me to have an introvert book launch party: doing it online as a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)! Right now we don’t have a book tour or speaking engagements scheduled, just written interviews, which is perfect for me. I am, however, open to the possibility of live engagements, believe it or not.

Copyright© 2017 by Aaron T. Caycedo-Kimura.

As an introvert as well, I’m grateful to have various outlets, like my blog and Instagram, to express myself in my own way and own time. But I wonder if these platforms make it harder for introverts to emerge from their shells when they really need to, like in social settings or in-person meetings. What do you think?

In general, it’s easier for introverts to express themselves in writing than it is verbally, and it always takes us a little while to process things in our heads before expressing ourselves to the world. So, yes, it can get really comfortable and satisfying online, which may keep some out of practice with face-to-face interactions. On the other hand, introverts who are closer to the middle of the extrovert/introvert continuum may not find it so difficult. I think it really depends on the introvert and degree of introversion.

“The INFJ Wave,” commenting on INFJs in relationships. Copyright© 2017 by Aaron T. Caycedo-Kimura.

In addition to WordPress.com, you also have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramTumblr, and Pinterest. Do you use them in different ways? Which is the easiest to express yourself on?

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My WordPress.com blog is home base for me. It’s the first place I post new cartoons and important news. It’s my catalog, my history. I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest to broaden my reach. I find it fairly easy to express myself on most platforms, but tend to interact with readers mostly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What’s your idea of the perfect day?

It’s a day in which I’m left to myself to be productive, getting lost in my creativity (making art and writing). And then as a reward, I can go out and eat some incredible food with my wife.

Really, when was the last time you talked to someone on the phone?

Other than to my wife asking me what to bring home for lunch? It must have been months ago. Two old friends from elementary school got together and wanted to include me by calling. And this was on speakerphone, which I hate, but I would do it for them any day. I found out that one of them is a fellow INFJ!

Follow Aaron Caycedo-Kimura on his blog, INFJoe Cartoons, and buy his book, Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life, published today.

August 15, 2017Authors, Books, Comics, Interviews, Publishing,