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Webcomic / So... You're a Cartoonist?

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Portrait of the artist as a young bear.

So... You're a Cartoonist? was a webcomic started by Tom Preston (real name Andrew Dobson) in 2011. SYAC is a comedic autobiographical comic about Tom Preston's life as an unemployed cartoonist and the challenges he faces day-to-day, both on and off the net.

Until June 2015, SYAC was available on Dobson's website and DeviantArt page. From 2015 to 2017, it was updated only on his website. In 2017, the comic went on hiatus, and later, every strip was deleted. Some strips have survived, thanks to blogs discussing Dobson's work.

So... You're a Cartoonist? provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Cartoon!Preston looked younger and had more hair than the real deal, more so as time went on. Noting this in a comic, he eventually changed himself to be a bear so his appearance wouldn't matter anymore.
  • Adaptational Badass: He has admitted that, in real life, he's quite timid and shy, compared to how he portrays himself in the comics.
  • Alliterative Name: Persistent Pam and Curmudgeonly Carl.
  • Animesque: The girl in this strip. Also, Dobson's early art style itself, which was obviously inspired by Rumiko Takahashi's.
  • Art Evolution: Preston drew himself as a human in the older comics, but later pages show him as a blue bear.
    • In general, his art style as a whole shifted drastically at the beginning of this 17th August 2012 comic strip by using thicker line art and more cartoony proportions for faces.
  • Art Shift: This happens occasionally. Example.
    • Downplayed with the New SYAC comics (i.e., a series of strips starring an aspiring female cartoonist named Emily), which has a brighter color palette, a flat coloring style, and uses colored outlines instead of the usual black in the Classic SYAC comics (i.e., gag-per-day strips).
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: When he was younger, he had a Chinese roommate who had immigrated recently and thus didn't speak English very well.
  • Author Avatar: Tom Preston, a.k.a, Andrew Dobson, is the protagonist of the comic. He originally represented himself with a cartoon version of himself, then a younger-looking man, only to end up as a small, blue anthropomorphic bear.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Preston's is artists thinking they can skip learning the basics because they draw manga. In fact, manga and anime seem to be Berserk Buttons for him in general.
    • He also hates misogyny and sexism.
  • Black Bead Eyes: One-shot characters often have them, and Persistent Pam has these as part of her design.
  • invokedCaptain Obvious Aesop: Brought up in this strip. Preston says he's considering making a comic addressing terrorism or gun control. His friend argues that criticizing something everyone already hates takes no real effort. Preston thus decides to give himself a challenge and deliberately unleash a flame war... about Mario.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Andrew Dobson's former girlfriend was a recurring character in the strips, but she stopped appearing when she and Dobson broke up.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: In this strip, Persistent Pam mentions her dislike of this trope when she points out Preston utilizing this occasionally. He reacts with exaggerated surprise, much to her annoyance.
  • Double Standard: Andrew Dobson has a recurring problem with empowered female characters and how they tend to be called boring or Mary Sues, while male characters with similar attributes don't get this reception.
  • Droste Image: Downplayed due to a lack of the infinite mirror effect. This strip where a power outage reveals that he's working on a drawing that resembles the strip's first panel. In short, he's drawing a drawing of himself drawing.
  • Dumb Blond: In a strip using the cast of Alex Ze Pirate, author Andrew Dobson depicts the winner of a beauty contest, who is blond, as a dumb broad.
  • Flame War: In-Universe. He demonstrates his "talent" to start an instant flame war by yelling, "Metroid: Other M rocks!" Cue exploding computer.
  • Freudian Excuse: Andrew Dobson, in his words and artwork, suggested that his dislike of blond people comes from a bully he had when he was a kid in school. This grudge is intense enough that when that bully reached out to him to become friends on Facebook, he rejected it.
  • Flat "What": Several comics invoke this, with characters responding this way to various ridiculous antics around them.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: In the comic's art style, humans have five, while funny animals have four.
  • Funny Animal: Preston's later blue bear appearance, portraying himself as a small anthropomorphic blue bear wearing glasses and a nice hat. It's funny that in an earlier strip, he mentions he doesn't understand furries.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In one strip, his roommate abruptly ran into their room and screamed, "EAT THE PENCIL! RUNNING LIKE A DOG!" The next day, it was made all clear; his roommate was referring to a new invention of his, a model car that could transform and grow legs if you stuck pencils in it.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Before he became a bear anyway, Preston only represented himself wearing a blue shirt and a pair of pants. As a bear, he goes full commando.
  • invokedProtection from Editors: Preston's not a fan since he believes restrictions on a creator help fuel their creativity.
  • Scully Box: invoked Parodied in this strip. A fan sent a doodle pointing out how the height difference between Bear!Preston and a human is inappropriate for their proportions. In response, Preston drew a sketch outside the panel, which shows two dead bodies with a paintbrush to the eye and an artist's palette to the back, respectively, with Preston standing on top of the former.
  • They Changed It, So It Sucks: One of the most notorious strips is about a Nintendo representative changing the established lore of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. Mario isn't longer from Brooklyn, Link no longer has brown hair anymore, and Samus Aran no longer has green hair. The problem arises from Dobson taking inspiration from the DiC Entertainment animated shows and Samus's Easter Egg costume. Dobson later stated that this strip is a joke.
  • Title Drop: This strip mentions the comic's title verbatim before the manga fan asks Preston, the titular cartoonist, what style he draws in.
  • Yonkoma: Many of his gag-based strips are formatted like this, especially during his Animesque era back in 2011. Lampshaded in this strip when Preston is admonished for trying too hard to stick to the formula.
  • Young Future Famous People: He's pretty surprised to hear years later that his old roommate, Ke Jiang, now works at Disney.