Andrew Dobson AKA Tom Preston Interview

The MCM Expo in London always draws in a variety of different artists, each with different inspirations, styles and themes. There are comics about the zombie apocolypse, manga about fighting ancient demons and artists who specialise in drawing caricatures and portraits. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Andrew Dobson, known on deviantART as Tom Preston, who makes comics about video games, life as a comic artist and even does the artwork for a comic based on the comedic video game songwriter brentalfloss (whom we interviewed on MCM Buzz recently). He talks about his artistic influences, working with brentalfloss, his future plans and more.

Laura: For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?

Andrew: My name is Andrew Dobson and I am a freelance cartoonist.

Laura: Some people will know you more by the name Tom Preston, what made you decide to work under that name?

Andrew: That is probably my geekiest answer. Peter Preston was the name of Scotty’s nephew in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn. When I was younger I made Star Trek home movies with my friends from school and I needed a character name. I’ve always liked the name Tom, and for some reason Peter Preston stood out to me in the movie… put them together and you get Tom Preston.

Laura: How would you describe your comic “So, You’re A Cartoonist?”

Andrew: So, You’re A Cartoonist” is a semi-autobiographical comic, as I point out the problems that cartoonists face everyday and attempt to parody the struggles and frustrations many of us go through trying to turn a hobby into a job.

Laura: What are your artistic influences?

Andrew: I’ve always been drawn to the clear line style employed by Hergé and the majority of classical 2-D animations. I really like the simple linework, the bold bright colors, and the desire to maintain reader clarity at all costs. It’s not the sort of thing I see influencing a lot of comics today.

Laura: Who were your favorite artists growing up?

Andrew: Hergé, Walt Disney, Jeff Smith, Jim Davis, Rumiko Takahashi, and Hayao Miyazaki are the biggest ones I think.

Laura: You had a lot or aggression pointed at you for some of your political cartoons. How do you feel about the reaction you got? What effect did the reactions have on how you made comics going forward?

Andrew: Honestly the aggression targeted at my political stuff is actually pretty easy to deal with. It’s odd but I never really had a problem with people voicing differences of opinions regarding political matters, messy though they might get at times. I think it’s actually very healthy to do and I look forward to being able to continue making more of them soon.

Laura: Do you encounter artist’s block? if so, how do you overcome it?

Andrew: Artist’s block was a bit more of a problem when being a cartoonist wasn’t my full time job. Now that I’ve got deadlines and goals and due dates and the like, it’s become far less of an issue. If I ever encounter an artist’s block I look for something else to work on for a while. Play some Minecraft, read some comics, watch a movie, etc. The best advice I can give is to not force yourself through it and just let it come to you naturally.

Laura: What is it like working with Brent Black and Dan Roth on the brentalfloss comics? How do your thought processes compare?

Andrew: I love it. It was a little challenging at first because I was not used to working with other people, but having that difference of opinion has really helped push me forward. They (Brent and Dan) also seem to love to give me challenges every week, pushing me to draw more detailed and specifically than I would otherwise on my own.

Laura: What can you tell us about your future plans?

Andrew: I have two websites I want to start up. One involving a story I’ve been planning for years, and another dedicated entirely to political and geek themed comics. Both are still in the early phases of development, but I am rather excited about being able to start them soon.

Laura: What can we expect to see from you at the London MCM Expo in May?

Andrew: I’ll primarily be selling my various books, many of which aren’t readily available in England.

Andrew’s art can be seen on his deviantART page here.

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