Episode 508 – Tom Gauld

Virtual Memories Show 508:
Tom Gauld

“There are all these tiny little pushes and pulls that the audience don’t even notice but feel like big changes for me.”

Cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld rejoins the show to celebrate the publication of his new book, Revenge of the Librarians (Drawn & Quarterly), a collection of his weekly literary humor comics for The Guardian. We get into his comics’ three lives — in the paper, online, and in books — and the difference between seeing his work in print vs. onscreen, the decision to include lockdown-era strips in his new book, and how he manages to keep his comics fresh despite having two weekly deadlines (he also draws a comic for New Scientist). We also talk about his stylistic & structural experiments, how he grew more comfortable using color, the longform comics he’d love to make (if he could just find them halfway done before he got to work), and why Beckett & Austen are always great authors to fall back on for a gag. And we discuss what it’s like going on a book tour again (and meeting at least one librarian at every event), being more fearless about his work when he was younger and having higher standards now, why it was important to him to make a children’s book before his kids went to college, and more! Give it a listen! And go read Revenge of the Librarians!

(And listen to our 2016 conversation!)

“I think once I realized that if you wanted to draw all day, you couldn’t be a doctor or whatever, I asked, ‘Well, what job do you draw all day?'”

“Two things you can do with drawing when you’re not good at something: either hit it head-on and work on it and get better, or write your way around it. The problem with writing your own cartoons is that you can write your way around things for your whole career.”

“One percent of a bad idea could be the beginning of something.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Tom Gauld was born in 1976 and grew up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He is a cartoonist and illustrator. His work is published in The Guardian, The New Yorker, and New Scientist, and has been collected in You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, Baking With Kafka, and Department of Mind-Blowing Theories, among other editions. He is also the author of full-length books Goliath and Mooncop, as well as the children’s book, The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess. He lives in London with his family. His new book is Revenge of the Librarians.

Follow Tom on Twitter, Instagram, and . . . Tumblr?!

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at EVEN Hotel Brooklyn on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Tom by me. It’s on my instagram.

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