20 Questions with Comic Artists: Tom Nash of Tut & Groan

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We are back once gain True Believers with our most popular segments, 20 questions with comic artists!!!!  Today we travel across the Atlantic to talk with Tom Nash of Tut & Groan a wordplay web comic from England.  The Root Beer is an international party which embraces comics and comic creators from all over the globe.  If there is one thing that can unite us all, it is laughing at the absurdities of life.

You can find his comic on his home page at: http://www.tutandgroan.com/about/

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Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
Before I fell out with the craft of writing, I would draw terrible MS Paint cartoons to add a little something different to each blog post I’d write for my creative writing website. I also, used to think up bad jokes and labored puns that I would do nothing with. When I took a break from writing I decided to merge the two together and start doodling the jokes I’d come up with on my tablet (that coincidently came with a stylus) as a way to keep the creativity ticking over.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
The great Moose Allain is a professional artist who lives in the Southwest of the UK and creates a fantastic array of art, stop-motion videos, cartoons and jokes on Twitter. His feed showed me that there was an audience for quick, funny (if not especially well drawn) doodles, so I decided to get in on the action.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
See, root beer isn’t as big over here in the UK. I had to look it up. Ginger beer counts, right? They sell a ‘weapons grade’ alcoholic version where I studied in Cornwall. Once in a while I would neck a pint of that. It was strong stuff… I preferred the local cider (sorry!).
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
Well, the good people of Unbound.co.uk have just helped me launch a crowdfunding campaign for a T&G book. If I can get that fully funded, I think I’ll have exceeded everyone’s expectations, especially my own.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I’m a writer by trade (I may have mentioned that earlier…) and have written (and had a big falling out with) a novel that I started a few years ago, during my postgraduate degree. Music is very important to me as well, but I have no musical talent. Mostly, I like to laugh. There’s not much going on around the world to smile about at the moment, so any guilt-free opportunity is golden.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I don’t think I could call myself a professional cartoonist until it has made me some money but I’ve put it on my LinkedIn profile anyway. If my Unbound book campaign reaches full funding and you can pick up a copy on Amazon, then that would be very cool. It’s hard to get something made if you don’t have big name backing or a huge audience, it’d be great to see something I’ve created on the shelf in a shop.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I try to avoid politics if I can (I’ve failed a handful of times) and I try not to be cruel, but if I think it’s funny, I’m making the joke.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I have a battered and abused Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with attached stylus and I settled on Autodesk Sketch Express as my app of choice after trying a couple of others.
My style of drawing is ‘none’. I can’t really draw and the early cartoons I made were just quickly thrown together. Once I realised they were in essence a style I started to refine the process and now I think I can make a glorified stick figure really emote with a face consisting of no more than two dots and a weird blob. The less detail the better with me, hence why the majority of my comic strips are two characters chatting.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I have a degree in English with Creative Writing and a postgraduate degree in Professional Writing. I didn’t realize they would help with a comic. Never envisioned a comic, to be honest… I think it helps to know how stories work, especially now I do three and six panel comic strips.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Getting this book deal. It’s been an exciting couple of years and it’s good to know it’s (hopefully) been building towards something.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
Potentially, it’s getting this book deal as well. I was just sharing little drawings I thought were funny, now I’m trying to convince people to pay for a book full of them. It escalated quickly.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If so where?
No such luck… Yet. I’ve got a T&G t-shirt and so have my missus and buddy. If they count, there are three walking exhibits in South London.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Loads- Rubyetc, John Cullen, Peter from Fatherhood Badly Doodled, Mike from Dust Piggies, Chris from Poorly Drawn Guy, Pais from Highgreen Dawn, OddAtho, Joan Cornella, Mythdirection, Reza from Poorly Drawn Lines, Things in Squares, Liana Finck… I could go on for days- there are a lot of very talented people on them internets. Pretty much everyone on my Twitter follow list is intimidatingly gifted.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
People tell me my comics have made them laugh. That makes me happy. I’m running out of obvious puns so I can see the updates dropping to twice a week at some point, maybe. I’ll keep doing it as long as people keep laughing and I keep coming up with jokes I’m willing to put my name to.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Apart from shut your noise and fuck off? Your opinion isn’t as important as your mother has led you to believe. Nobody cares what you think, even the people who do have time for your nonsense so shut your noise and get to fuck.
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Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I try to ensure I have at least 30 toons scheduled at a time, if not more. I keep my phone or a notepad close by at all times, ready for doodling and my back pocket usually has a couple of scribbled comics on pages torn form work notepads or on Post-it notes. These prolific spells help hide the occasional barren patches, innit.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
I like a coffee. I live on coffee. A latte, preferably, thanks. On a hot day- cider, a flat, still scrumpy. Delicious.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not,  what is the matter with you?
Tut and Groan transcends political factions. Unless there’s a badge. Is there a badge?
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
I’m crap at drawing so anything more technical than two blokes talking is a challenge for me. Humor is so subjective it is a challenge to ensure every cartoon is a challenge
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m approaching 500 entries on the website, which is nice. Plus, I’m getting married next year. Hopefully the book will be funded by then. Lots of things to look forward to in 2017 and beyond… Now, about getting that book funding…
(if you are kind enough to share it, the book campaign link is unbound.co.uk/books/tut-and-groan thanks) & should be exciting.
And there you have it True Believers, Another interview with comic artists brought to you from merry old England this time.  Still don’t know why people think the Root Beer Party is political, I guess the term party has been co-opted by the political process, which by the way, is nothing like a party, so it’s false advertising.  We hope to bring you more great interviews from our friendly comic artists across the seas and spread the word of Root Beer, which England is apparently severely lacking in, across the world.  So until next time True Believers. may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.
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