Interview with “Toothpaste for Dinner” cartoonist Drew
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 19:11
Webcomics have exploded in popularity lately. It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s another crudely-drawn comic on the internet full of obscure humor and sarcasm. Suffice to say, I’m a sucker for them. I follow a lot of webcomics religiously, and one of my absolute favorites is called “Toothpaste for Dinner,” penned by an artist that simply goes by “Drew.”
Coincidentally, it’s a favorite of many other people: the “Toothpaste for Dinner” Facebook page has almost 24 thousand “likes.”
The comic is brilliant. It features sketchily-drawn people with lopsided heads and sometimes animals and other things. Each drawing is paired with a hilarious caption about a variety of topics.
Drew has many popular online projects. In addition to “Toothpaste for Dinner,” he runs a website that showcases funny instances of trolling, www.drewtoothpaste.com, and a blog where he complains about dumb stuff that’s for sale on the internet, www.theworstthingsforsale.com. He also runs another webcomic with his wife, Natalie Dee, who is also a wildly popular web cartoonist. Her series is called “Married to the Sea.”
In addition to his online comics, Drew has a few music projects, including rap act CRUDBUMP and an electronic music project, Kompressor. He’s also the author of “Veins,” a novel.
I had the extreme honor of interviewing Drew about why he became a web cartoonist. He used to be a research chemist, so I was interested in seeing what caused him to make such a drastic (and successful) transition.
Q: How do you get inspiration for Toothpaste for Dinner? It’s genius.
A: Thank you, and I'm proud to report it just comes from my mind. I think of ideas and then I write jokes about them.
Q: It might be true that not everyone quite “gets” the humor in your work. How would you best describe it?
A: Humor is subjective. You can't make something that everyone gets. Toothpaste For Dinner is a reflection of life, and not everyone is living a life where they think about things or want to laugh at them. But that's okay. We still need those people, for the economy.
Q: I understand that you previously held a job as a chemist. How much schooling did you go through before you found work in that field? Did you just not enjoy your work? Why did you decide to make the switch?
A: I got a bachelor's degree. I worked for a couple of years, on and off, and received a patent for one of my inventions while employed. But nobody would hire me for real, they wanted me to do temp work, paid hourly with no benefits. And I had a business I was starting on the side, selling merchandise of my comics, and that was starting to do well, so it was natural. A man needs health insurance.
Q: Now that you’re a webcomic and don’t really need your chemistry training, do you regret having gone to school?
A: Learning is something that only the ignorant regret.
Q: Do you have any advice for students or recent graduates who may be thinking about radically changing their career path? It seems to have worked out well for you.
A: Don't quit your job to "be an artist." Do something on the side from your real job, and if you can make money on the side, then you can think about developing it into a new career. Art never made me money, merchandise did. It's a neat story that someone quit to follow their passion, and it's true that I like writing, drawing & making music more than I like working in a laboratory. But I also like ice cream more than I like ice cubes. The catch is always going to be how to make a living eating ice cream. It's as hard as it sounds.
Q: Can we be expecting anything big from you soon? New CRUDBUMP album? Book? Project?
A: My new rap album comes out in January 2013, it's a collaboration between me (CRUDBUMP) and some guest rappers. I will keep posting daily comics to my sites until they are no longer relevant.
Drew’s most popular comic, Toothpaste for Dinner, updates daily at midnight. Check it out at www.toothpastefordinner.com.