Celebrity: Cartoonist Nick Seluk (The Awkward Yeti), with an exclusive comic included!

Meet Nick Seluk. His New York Times Bestselling book "Heart and Brain" is a must-have gift for the holiday season. If you're not a fan yet, you're about to become one...

DA: You call yourself a "mildly talented cartoonist". Coming from a family of artists myself, I find that it's definitely "a thing" that most of us are self-deprecating about our work. Any thoughts on this?

Seluk: I think it's common for artists to be hard on ourselves because we are often desperate to improve. I feel pretty fortunate that people like my work so far, but I don't consider myself to be some great talent. I just want to keep doing what I love doing, and if people continue to enjoy it, that's a huge bonus.

DA: My friends and I especially enjoy "Heart and Brain". Your depictions of human struggle are hysterical and spot on. How did this series come about?

Seluk: My original series about Lars the Awkward Yeti introduced Brain as a way of getting a little deeper with the inner dialogue. Heart naturally followed, as many people have done before - but then I realized after a few comics that Heart and Brain were their own characters, and were worth exploring beyond the single panel gags we've seen in the past. It wasn't long before it was the perfect outlet for my inner dialogue, inspiration from my kids, and the people around me. And people gravitated to it because it turned out to be so relatable.

Nick enjoying breakfast with his inspirations

DA: Where do you find inspiration? What do you do when you get writer's (or artist's) block?

Seluk: A lot of my inspiration comes from my own inner dialogue. If I recognize a part of my brain that's holding me back from something, I like to write Heart in a way that makes me want to follow. My comics are kind of like therapy in that way. Even Lars was originally created to help me poke fun at my introversion, which really ended up helping me either accept some of my behaviors or modify them. Someday I'd like to grow up to be more like Heart.

When I get a block, which happens very often, I turn to the people around me. Sometimes Heart is somebody I spot in a coffee shop dancing for no reason, sometimes Brain represents a common thought that I've observed from others.

DA: How big a role has social media played in parlaying your comic into a career? Which social media outlets do you find most helpful?

Seluk: Without social media I would have no comic career. Social media allowed me to make comics for myself without relying on one person's subjective opinion to tell me what I'm doing right or wrong. Being able to connect directly with readers, I've been able to adapt and understand what people like, without having to sacrifice my own way of doing my comic. Facebook is by far the most helpful outlet, but I enjoy working with all of them in different ways.

DA: You come up with so many shareable comics. I sent the "I own you" coffee pic to several friends, and I recall a particular Gallbladder comic that nearly had me in tears (of laughter). Do you find that the things you think are funny go over well, or is it the ideas you are kind of... "meh" about that do better?

Seluk: It's a mix. To do the original gallbladder comic, I did research on gallstones for hours. I ended up simplifying it so much that none of that research was necessary, and I made myself laugh out loud. It doesn't happen often, but I loved it. Now it's such a fan favorite and comes up so often I've become numb to it like a song you play a hundred times in a row. I'm always after that next comic that will make me laugh though.

Poor Gallbladder. Nobody is ever excited about the stones he made...

DA: Your fans are excited about the ability to shop the Yeti. What's next?

Seluk: The first Heart and Brain collection just hit stores in the U.S. and Canada, so this is what I'm really excited about right now. It's off to a great start, made the New York Times Bestseller list in its category, and I encourage new and old fans to pick up a copy at a store or online (bn.com or amazon.com) - it has over 75 new Heart and Brain comics that you won't find online, so it's a "must own" for fans. Outside of the U.S. you can use bookdepository.com . I've also got some fun new merchandise at theawkwardstore.com that will make for great gifts - just be sure to order as early as possible. I run the store myself, so I'm not equipped for last minute shipping like the big stores.

Follow Nick and his comic adventures, (and buy oodles of great stuff!) here:

Twitter and Instagram: @theawkwardyeti


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