Illustrator Tom Gauld has a new collection of wryly funny literary cartoons

Illustrator Tom Gauld is best known for his short, wry, literary comic strips for The Guardian‘s Review section. These have taken on a life of their own – being widely shared across social media outside the context of the paper, or even linked to Tom himself.

Tom has just released his second collection of comics, Baking With Kafka, which you can buy from Amazon or Waterstones. It’s the follow up to his first collection, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack).

As with his previous work, Tom’s comics create comedy through the juxtaposition of literary and cultural norms and traditions. Social media goes up against the canon of literature. Children’s books are reimagined with themes from social history.

Many of Tom’s strips also poke fun at the processes of both writing and reading stories: from a writer’s gradual decline into cliché to the spread of unread books on all of our shelves. 

Publisher Canongate has also created animations from some of the comics. Watch them below.

Baking With Kafka

Author Health Hazards

All of Tom’s work is hand-drawn – and he describes this as giving it a feeling of “aiming for perfection, but acknowledging that there will always be a bit of human failure in there.”

That quote is taken from an interview with him filmed by his rep agency, Heart – which you can watch below.  In the video he discusses his creative process, beginning as ideas in his sketchbook before being fitted together “like Lego” to create works that often express quite complex ideas using simple linework and stick figures.

Recently, Tom created cartoons for the celebrated recent ‘New York Stories’ issue of The New York Times Magazine – which was the first issue to be presented entirely in comic strips. He created a story across a spread, created hand-drawn typeface that was used throughout and illustrated the letters, contributors and puzzle pages.


Illustrated page for the ‘New York Stories’ issue of The New York Times Magazine

He’s also published two graphic novels books – Mooncop and Goliath – and cards you can rearrange to tell different stories.


The cover for Goliath

You can see more of his work on his site or on Heart’s – though the best way to keep up with his work is on Twitter.