The artist hopes her comics will show fellow “quiet ones” that they are not alone in their introvert quirks, and they don’t need to be fixed.
Growing up, Debbie Tung was convinced something was wrong with her. Rather than going to parties and hanging out with friends, she preferred spending lots of time alone, quietly diving into her passion projects. Not knowing she was an introvert, she felt compelled to try to “fix” herself and live up to what she would later understand as our society’s obsession with extroversion, the “extrovert ideal.”
Then she took a Myers-Briggs personality assessment and got the result INFJ, one of the eight introverted personality types. Finally things clicked into place, and this new way of understanding herself inspired her to begin drawing comics about introversion.
“Creating comics became the best way for me to express myself,” she tells me via email. “It helped me to be more open, and take things from a more positive and humorous point of view.”
Tung lives in Birmingham, England, with her husband and young son. Before embarking on a career as an illustrator, she worked in an open office as a software developer (hell on earth for a quiet introvert like her). Constantly surrounded by people and noise — an incredibly draining environment for introverts — her job left her exhausted and unfulfilled.
Eventually, she left her job to focus on making art. As both an introvert and a highly sensitive person (HSP), she says there’s no place she’d rather be than in her home studio, surrounded by her books and art supplies. “That’s the best feeling in the world,” she says.
Her first book, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story, perfectly captures what it’s like to be an introvert living in a world made for extroverts. It follows Tung through graduate school, marriage, her first job, and finding her way as a young adult. “It documents moments in life when I was struggling with my quiet personality and eventually learning about my introversion and embracing it,” she says.
She hopes her comics will show fellow “quiet ones” that they are not alone in their introvert quirks, and they don’t need to be fixed. “We all experience introversion in different ways and some, like myself, who are highly sensitive, also experience lots of anxieties and moments of self-doubt,” she explains. “Everything can feel intensely overwhelming at once, but in time, we will find the best ways to cope. When we learn to work with our quiet nature, that’s when we find our voice.”
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Her advice to introverts who feel out of place in an extroverted world: “The important thing is to always stay true to yourself. It’s so cliché, but it really is the most important part of finding what works best for you and finding the right people who will support you and bring a positive energy into your life. There will be tough moments, but you will come out stronger. Remember that you’re not alone, and this is all part of the journey. Focus on your passions, the people you love, and what makes you happy. Life is too short for anything else.”
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Tung’s own website. You can pre-order her upcoming book, Happily Ever After & Everything in Between, an adorable collection of comics about married life, here on Amazon. Her books make great gifts for the introverts in your life — or yourself!
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