Editor’s Note: Babble and Disney-Hyperion are both a part of The Walt Disney Company.
Even if you’ve never heard the name Loryn Brantz before, chances are she’s made you laugh about a million and one times while aimlessly scrolling through Facebook.
That’s because the author and illustrator has become something of a viral sensation in the last few years, thanks to her hilarious and super popular comic series that so brilliantly depicts the everyday thoughts, struggles, and emotions we all feel, but rarely voice out loud.
Like our collective obsession with cheese … as well as our refusal to acknowledge that eating it might be the reason we’re rushing to the bathroom all the time.
Or the universal struggles that befall anyone who dares to get a little risky with an eyebrow pencil.
Or the fact that when your dog gets in bed and cuddles up to your butt, you will lose your ever-loving mind, because OMFG THAT’S SO CUTE.
… and while we’re on the subject, can we talk about the fact that owning an animal of any kind basically turns you into a walking fur-creature, too?
And FORGET about getting a good night’s sleep for the foreseeable future.
She also captures one of our greatest shared fears: prematurely hitting “send” on a work email you were totally not finished with yet.
In case you’re suddenly wondering just how Brantz has climbed into your head and literally stolen all of your thoughts, I am right there with you. She says she takes inspiration “directly from everyday life” and we all just so happen to be living the same life, apparently. Brantz’s true talent comes from finding humor in the mundane where others may not.
“It’s always when I’m in the middle of doing something not even thinking about comics when an idea for one pops in my head,” Brantz tells Babble.
That’s likely how she’s managed to dream up such a constant stream of hilarious illustrated comics for BuzzFeed, where she now works as a senior editor. And also where she got the idea for Feminist Baby, her new children’s book published by Disney-Hyperion earlier this year.
“Feminist Baby felt like it had been a long time coming,” says Brantz. “I’ve spent nearly my entire adult life trying come up with a children’s story that would positively impact the world. So when one day I was looking for a baby book to buy for a friend’s shower and couldn’t find ANYTHING related to feminism for the 0-2 crowd, the idea of Feminist Baby hit me. I literally ran home to write it. I wanted to write a book that I would want to give to my friends’ babies, and to my own possible future babies.”
And it couldn’t have come at a better time, since 2017 basically reignited the feminist movement for the first time in close to 40 years. So if ever there was a better time to reveal a pint-sized baby spouting progressive ideals, doing what she wants when she wants while taking down the patriarchy … it’s now.
“The concept and character kind of came crashing in all at once,” Brantz explains. “I sketched her up and felt like I knew her personality in a matter of minutes. Finding the stories to tell with her and laying out illustrations for the books took much longer.”
And while much of Feminist Baby captures the same look and feel of Brantz’s other popular comic series, it also carries with it some very important messages for the 5 and under set.
“I like to think of Feminist Baby as a way to simply expose and familiarize very young audiences to the word ‘feminist,'” she says. “I think it’s a great jumping off point for parents to talk to their children about feminism as they get older. I’d like to think that if a child loves Feminist Baby, it will help them have a positive association with feminism later on in life.”
Brantz says drawing has always been a huge part of her life. In fact, she can’t even remember a time when she didn’t want to be a professional artist.
“I started drawing at a very young age, before I could really even walk or talk,” she shares. “Art in any form, whether it’s drawing, painting, animation, or comics, has always been a focal point of my life.”
But as for her uncanny ability to nail so many of the things we think, do, and feel? Well, that’s a natural born talent right there.
And in case you’re curious, she says the trademark (yet nameless) character at the center of all her comics is inspired by her, but is not literally her.
“She’s a part of me for sure, but certainly not all of me!” admits Brantz. “She’s often an exaggerated version of some anxiety or emotion I have. But sometimes me and her disagree on things. Characters always have a mind of their own.”