Episode 187 – Tom Gauld

Virtual Memories Show #187:
Tom Gauld

“I think I made three cartoons about Jane Austen before I got around to reading a Jane Austen novel. And then I thought, ‘Oh, this is really good!'”

70_mccover2Cartoonist & illustrator Tom Gauld joins the show to talk about his new book, Mooncop (Drawn & Quarterly), and developing a post-optimistic view of the future. We get into his drawing and storytelling influences, how he got a weekly gig doing literary gags at The Guardian, why he likes doing illustration work, the time he melted down when he met his comics-idols, how he got his first New Yorker cover, the two key elements of productivity for all artists and writers (coffee & walking) and more! Give it a listen! And go buy Mooncop! (and his other books, Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack!)

“I never tailored my work to an audience, other than just trying to make what I think is funny.”


We also get into the importance of the hand-drawn line, the question of collaborating with a writer, the balance of long-form comics and weekly assignments, his schoolteacher’s rapprochement with his compulsive cartooning, the challenge of doing literary comics while trying not to read too deeply, the scope-creep of doing the cover for the Drawn & Quarterly 25th anniversary collection, why weaknesses are as important as strengths to one’s style, and why he REALLY needs to learn to draw hands. Now go listen to the show!

“The constraints of illustration work are actually liberating. . . . I think I’d go crazy if I had to draw comics all the time.”


Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

tom-gauld-illoTom Gauld was born in 1976 and grew up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He is a cartoonist and illustrator and his work is regularly published in The Guardian, The New York Times, and The New Scientist. His comic books, Mooncop, Goliath, and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, are published by Drawn & Quarterly. He lives in London with his family.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded in the Bethesda North Marriott home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. Photo of Mr. Gould by me.

Episode 143 – Jennifer Hayden and Summer Pierre

Virtual Memories Show #143:
Jennifer Hayden and Summer Pierre LIVE!

“Middle age is such a perfect term. You’re right in the middle of life. You could not be more in the middle of everything. Your parents are old, your kids are little. Life is just swirling around you.”
–Jennifer Hayden

titscoverTime for another LIVE episode of the Virtual Memories Show! Jennifer Hayden (The Story of My Tits) and Summer Pierre (Paper Pencil Life) join us at Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ to talk about comics, cancer, middle age, art vs. work, learning compassion through memoir, and more! Give it a listen!

“With my mom dying, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna die? Great, I work well with deadlines!'”
–Summer Pierre

summerjencropAccording to Labyrinth Books’ promo for the event, “Art is not something we create in isolation. Art happens between the diaper change and the trip to the vet. Between the car accident and the roast chicken. Every day we fight to seize a little more art from the jaws of this wild existence.  And if we’re lucky we catch the spark while it’s rising. Autobiographical cartoonists and graphic novelists Jennifer Hayden, and Summer Pierre discuss their graphic lives with moderator Gil Roth of the Virtual Memories Show.” It’s a great conversation about making art in the interstices of life, so go listen! (And go buy The Story of My Tits!)

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guests

jenniferpromopicJennifer Hayden came to comics from fiction-writing and children’s book illustration. Her new book, The Story of My Tits (Top Shelf, 2015), is a 352-page graphic memoir and breast cancer narrative. Her previous book, the autobiographical collection Underwire (Top Shelf, 2011), was excerpted in the Best American Comics 2013 and named one of “the best comics by women” by DoubleX. She is a member of Activate (the premier webcomics collective in New York City), where she posts her webcomic S’crapbook, which earned a Notable listing in the Best American Comics 2012. Jennifer currently posts the daily diary strip Rushes at thegoddessrushes.blogspot.com. Her comics have appeared in print anthologies such as The Activate Primer, Cousin Corrine’s Reminder, and The Strumpet. After hours, Jennifer plays electric fiddle with The Rocky Hill Ramblers and The Spring Hill Band. She lives in Central New Jersey with her husband, their two college-age children, two cats, and the dog.

summerilloSummer Pierre is a cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and teacher living in the Hudson Valley, NY. She makes an autobiographical comic called Paper Pencil Life, and is the author of The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week (which the Boston Globe called, “A virtual bible for artists and day jobs”) and Great Gals: Inspired Ideas for Living a Kick-Ass Life. Her writing and art have appeared in The Rumpus, Hobart, The Nashville Review & Booth Literary Journal, among other places.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Labyrinth Books in Princeton on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones and a Blue enCORE 100 microphone feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro.

Down and Up

It’s been an up and down day.

Up: Easy time driving out to the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival (BCGF), found a parking spot half a block from the site, and had no line for gas on the way out of NJ.

Down: The panel discussion with Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman and Richard McGuire was too crowded to attend.

Up: We took the L train out to 14th & Union Sq., went down to the Strand, and I actually found a whole bunch of books I was looking for!


(L-R: The New Adventures of Jesus (Frank Stack), The Complete Short Novels (Anton Chekhov), Confessions of Felix Krull (Thomas Mann), Journey Into the Past (Stefan Zweig), Officers and Gentlemen (Evelyn Waugh), Lucky Jim (Kingsley Amis), and three Library of America editions of Philip Roth)

Down: After we left the Strand, the Sartorialist walked right by us on 5th Ave. and didn’t look twice at my wardrobe. (He didn’t have his camera with him, but I still felt deflated.)

Up: I had the lardo pizza for lunch at Otto.


Down: Back at BCGF, the exhibit halls were way too hot, so I had to go back to my car and drop off my jacket.

Up: Got to meet Richard McGuire, whose 1989 6-page comic Here changed the vocabulary of comics and the understanding of how time and space can be represented on the page. Learned that he’s working on a full-length book of Here. He was friendly and said he was interested in being a guest on the podcast.

Down: Left my business cards in my jacket, so I couldn’t give him one as a reminder.

Up: I had a good conversation with David Mazzucchelli, which I skillfully started by talking about one of his obscure short comics, not his superhero work from the 1980’s. (I later told him that his Daredevil comics were pretty awesome when I was 15 or 16 years old. He was happy that I grew up along with his art.)

Down: He has no interest in being on my podcast.

Up: Gary Panter and Anders Nilsen both said they’d be on the podcast. (I went out to get my business cards, so I could give them reminders.)

Down: Art Spiegelman gave me the cold shoulder while he was talking to a pal of mine outside the show.

Up: Bought an awesome little book by McGuire, and a new edition of Nilsen’s Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, about his girlfriend’s death from cancer.


Down: Nilsen drew an empty chair for his sketch on the book’s frontispiece.

Up: Met Anne Ishii and Jillian Tamaki and had a nice conversation with them and my pal Tom Spurgeon.

Down: Made them really sad when I told them about Anders Nilsen’s follow-up book, The End, which has a 2-page spread that makes me want to cry.

Up: No one I talked to had any too-terrible stories from the hurricane and nor’easter. That makes it a good day.