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Meet Your Zine Maker: Tom Roberts

March 26, 2013

Tom Roberts is a self-taught illustrator, painter, and shut-in. His new illustrated zine Porn is a collection of small erotic cartoon drawings.  Meet Tom at the Brooklyn Zine Fest 2013 on Sunday, April 21st at Public Assembly.


Your new zine Porn is a collection of small erotic drawings. Is it safe for work? Safe for subway reading? Safe for anyone?

I just thought Porn was a catchy title and maybe I’d doodle some Smurfs or Snorks (remember them?!) doing dirty stuff. Instead it turned into a story that opens with a classic porno-type scenario. It’s on my blog, Cheer Up Tommy. There’s a wiener or two, maybe a nipple, but nothing too shocking.

Materials in your work include wood, drug baggies, and actual bees.  What other materials have you experimented with?

I’ve worked with sawdust dyed green to look like grass, firecrackers, sawed tennis balls in half, I like to paint old televisions, make collages. Pretty much anything is up for grabs if I feel passionate enough about a project. I made my nose bleed over a painting once…I’m gonna stop now, this is getting dark!


You’ve taught yourself how to draw and paint over the last three years. What are some of the challenges and rewards of being a self-taught artist?

There’s definitely some ups and downs, yeah. I think by not going to art school, I have this idea of art as being no rules, do what you want, anything goes, no subject is too taboo. No one is telling me to sketch a bowl of apples you know? I never had to make something for a grade, which I like. On the flip-side, I lack socializing with anyone who likes doing the same stuff I do. I don’t know a single practicing “artist.”


What can people expect to see on your table at the Brooklyn Zine Fest?

I’ll have a bunch of my zines: Porn, Nerd, Skulls, and I’m working on this new zine called Drunk, where I’m soaking all the covers in beer, so they um, smell like beer! I’m also recording an EP in my studio-space, so that will have a little booklet as well.



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