Don't Eat This

FAQs

While I don’t think I’ve ever been asked the same question more than 17 times, here are a few I’ve been asked at least once. If you have a question you’d like to ask me, just email me at donteatthis@willwoodstudios.com or post it to the Don’t Eat This Facebook page.

WilloleonDynamite

Why do you call the comic Don’t Eat This?

Don’t Eat This began as a disclaimer. For years I’d drawn on napkins at restaurants and left them on the tables. To cover myself legally, I included the disclaimer, “Don’t eat this.” Eventually, the phrase worked its way into many of my other drawings. When I started daily drawings I called Doodles of the Day, I made sure they all included the disclaimer (which I was, by that time, calling, “simply good advice”). Now the simple statement works double-duty as a catchy name and a strict warning.

Where do you get inspiration for your characters and cartoons?

I constantly watch people, listen to conversations, whistle to myself, and wonder what someone would be like as a cartoon. Everything can be funny if you squint enough. Life is full of cartoonish distortions, absurdities, and contradictions. Try this: Next time you’re at a restaurant or fast food place, look around and observe the way different people chew their food. Everyone has a different way of doing it. Some chew like horses while others chew like robots.

Most of the time I just draw stuff that amuses me.

Why old men, blobs, aliens, and scientists?

I’ve often wondered where the characters in Don’t Eat This come from. I think they’re some type of manifestation of my own self-image. So, maybe they’re all just different parts of me. They could simply be people I’ve seen or heard about. Or they could be based on you!

How do you come up with the comic ideas?

I usually grow ideas in a mix of soil, coffee grounds, banana peels, garden mulch, and ripped up newspaper. The process begins with a seed idea, usually a word or thought. The fully-grown ideas are usually soggy and require a drying period in which they might become another idea completely. There’s not a lot of science to it.

Here are a few other techniques I use:

Something’s Wrong Here: Sometimes I draw a scene between a couple of characters and then put something in the scene that doesn’t seem to belong. The caption comes from trying to work out what’s going on.

Captions First: I keep a growing list of captions that beg for a visual. Doing the caption first will really stretch me to come up with what visual is interesting.

Consider Others: When I come up with a visual that I think is hilarious, but can’t settle on a caption, I’ll ask others. Other people have great ideas and can be a great source of inspiration. As it’s said, no one’s an island. Or a baked potato.

The Ol’ Juxtapose: I really love contrasts and juxtapositions. I’ll often take two things that don’t belong together and work out how they met. Imaging a character in a setting they wouldn’t likely be in, and wonder at what their reaction is.

What do you do when you run out of ideas?

When I’m stumped I usually just doodle. I let my mind go and see what happens. I’m often surprised, but not always in a good way. I try not to fear the blank moments. They’re probably there to give me a chance to do something other than drawing. And if I feel like I’m running out of funny ideas, I can always go to the mirror. There’s always something absurd in the mirror.

What do you do professionally?

I make stuff up. I imagine. I think in pictures and words. I share inspiring moments with others. I think in a group. I ask, “What if we…” and “Why not?”

I’m a doodler, proprietor of Will Wood Studios, curator and Creative Czar of Dead Pocket Station (however that takes shape) and creative gun-for-hire. Freelance designer, illustrator, creative director, and art director.

If you didn’t have the profession you did, what would you do?

If I weren’t a creative professional, I’d be a cartoonist, a writer, a protest singer, an artist, a rodeo clown, an atmospheric photographer, a crowd control strategist, a mentat, a wanderer, a collector, an interpreter of dreams, a silencer of doubt, a human cannonball, a mime, or a flamenco guitarist from Barcelona named Guillermo.

How do you like to spend your time?

When I’m not sleeping, eating, or dreaming about sleeping or eating, I enjoy these activities: drawing, doodling, reading, thinking, cartooning, illustration, creative direction, art direction, design, collaboration, creative writing, brainstorming, idea generation, concept development, character development, story development, music, daydreaming, and pretending to be something that’s never been.

I like to make stuff up, pretend, play, think, imagine, and dream.

How do you like to eat your eggs?

Scrambled with salsa. Mmmm.

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