I'm the guy who runs The Oatmeal. The Oatmeal is a one man operation; I write, draw, code, market, and maintain everything myself.

I use Adobe Fireworks to draw everything, and the site runs on CakePHP, mysql, and lighttpd. I use a mac and I draw with a mouse. I have a tablet but I hate it. I also suck horribly with Photoshop.

I recently did an interview on TheDesignZine which answers a lot of questions in regards to workflow and where I get my inspiration from, and there's also a bit more detail about me on my rather outdated about page.

Comments: 921 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

karmanaut156 karma

Did you ever apply for that job on Craigslist that wanted someone to draw comics like yours?

GiantBatFart242 karma

Yeah, they took the post down immediately and never wrote me back. I was hoping they would - it would have been a comedy gold mine.

ben174139 karma

Do you feel at all bad for down-talking Reddit in your How to get on the Reddit homepage article?

GiantBatFart429 karma


frak_your_couch138 karma

How does it feel to get a never-ending blowjob from reddit?

derektherock4242 karma

And Digg

Anaharat133 karma


No? Not so much?

GiantBatFart43 karma

hahaha...i actually burst out laughing at that. thanks mr. anaharat.

ZZZlist111 karma

Love the Oatmeal!

Do you make money at this?

GiantBatFart226 karma

Yes, as of October I no longer have to do any client work because of the money I get from TheOatmeal.

[deleted]106 karma


GiantBatFart381 karma

krazykipa-86 karma

What do you think is your best Oatmeal cartoon?

GiantBatFart199 karma

Traffic-wise, the most successful comics I've created are probably how to suck at facebook, printers are from hell, or 10 words you need to stop misspelling.

My personal favorites, however, are punchline aliens and the motherfucking pterodactyl.

Illah66 karma

For some reason, maybe it's the art style or the name "Oatmeal", I picture you as really fat. No idea why (and not trying to be offensive or anything). True/untrue?

GiantBatFart148 karma

Yeah, that's exactly what I was going for. I want people to think of me as obese, bald, and possibly some kind of lumberjack or tow truck driver: http://theoatmeal.com/pages/about

That persona lends itself to the humor, much more so than what I really look like (also, I'm not into online dating anymore, I just used to work at Mingle2 so I've got a profile there)

CasualDave68 karma

Not true, you do look funny.

GiantBatFart41 karma


charliedayman58 karma

What did you do before you started The Oatmeal?

GiantBatFart103 karma

In short, I used to build websites for a living. I did that during my teens and early twenties, then I co-founded an SEO website called SEOmoz. After being miserable there for a few years, I took it upon myself to code an online dating site. I used quizzes and comics to market it, and it ended up getting acquired by a bigger company 6 months after launch. I worked for them for awhile, creating comics and such, but eventually decided that the comics themselves deserved their own home rather than awkwardly fitting inside the marketing strategy of another site.

[deleted]30 karma

Hmmm...I think I might actually remember that dating website.

Good job, man! Did you make money from the sale of it?

GiantBatFart243 karma

enough to buy my first house, but i'm not a millionaire or anything like that. People hear "my company was acquired" and assume I own a swimming pool shaped like a dollar sign that's filled with supermodels and prime ministers.

[deleted]54 karma


GiantBatFart82 karma

hahaha, sorry to hear about the towel rack fine sir.

celticninja53 karma

Does it turn a profit to run a site like yours?

GiantBatFart114 karma

Yes, being a one man operation my overhead is very low, so turning a profit isn't tough. I'm also notoriously stubborn and difficult to work with, so I prefer to keep myself out of an office setting.

drdoooom44 karma

what kind of printer do you own?

GiantBatFart83 karma

I actually own three, and between all of them I can usually get something to print. More recently I dropped $900 on a canon pixma pro 9500 so I could print out posters and artwork at home, and so far it's been pretty bitchin

romcabrera39 karma

Mr. BatFart, it seems your submission was caught by the spam filter (I was able to find it, because I've been stalking your user page after the announcement you made yesterday).

That's why there are no comments here yet.

EDIT: Question: Could you please us detail us your experience using S3 for hosting your images? Benefits, drawbacks? How much do you (Time, effort, money) save using S3?

EDIT2: P.S.A. - Prevent YOUR submissions being caught by the spam filter

GiantBatFart47 karma

I was wondering why the crickets were chirping so loudly.

Regarding S3, it's tough to say how much money I'm saving. I host everything with a local company named Swiftco, and when my site started to get a ton of traffic in November I got a bill from them for around $1100 in bandwidth overages. I've since switched to s3 and my hosting is somewhere between $1800 - $2400 / month, but I get a ton more traffic now than I did then, so it's tough to compare. I know that setup was really easy and it even works with Transmit, so I never had to write a single line of code.

One major problem I'm having with S3 though is that anyone can hotlink my images and I can't set up a rewrite rule to block those, so I'm getting billed every month for hotlinkers. I tried setting it up in lighttpd so that the images are internally rewritten to s3 - meaning they appear to be hosted on theoatmeal.com, but are actually being served out of s3, but I couldn't get it to work. Instead, the images are redirected. For example, if you visit this page you'll be redirected over to the s3 version of that URL.

BraveHearted39 karma

How old are you? Married or not? Do you make an "above comfortable" living off this? Any "further" expansion plans?

GiantBatFart66 karma

I'm 27, single, and yeah I make a comfortable living off of it. I want to start doing little animated shorts soon.

Omnicrola35 karma

Want to date my sister?

GiantBatFart90 karma

Will she fill plastic bags with raw chicken and beat me with them? if so, it's a done deal

gelatinous_poot37 karma

What generates revenue for you. is it ad sense, selling merch etc?

Do you ever get ideas from strangers you met on Reddit. Like "How to lose your virginity during Shark Week"

GiantBatFart106 karma

Adsense and merchandise is where most of the revenue comes from, although the 'buy me a cup of coffee' helps a bit too.

I don't get a lot of suggestions from reddit, but I get a ton of emails every day with ideas. 99% of them are awful ("How to pet a kitty!!!" or "Top 10 reasons reality tv is super lame-o!" ) but occasionally I'll get a real gem, like making a comic about a creature that is half-dragon, half oprah (opragon) or how to turn a bum into a cage fighter.

saidnoside27 karma

Where do you get more traffic from Digg or Reddit?

GiantBatFart81 karma


virga25 karma

A few weeks ago I sent you some money for coffee after reading your coffee comic strip. You never replied or sent a note or anything like that. Why not?

GiantBatFart62 karma

I've got 1,100 unread emails in my inbox right now - don't worry, I'll get to it. Thank you though, I really appreciate it.

[deleted]26 karma

This is your way of procrastinating, isn't it?

"Shit, I really don't want to do that. OH, I KNOW! I'll go do an AMA on reddit!"

GiantBatFart36 karma


advkyle22 karma

I didn't see it down there, so what's your favorite kind of oatmeal?

GiantBatFart70 karma

Ironically, I don't like oatmeal. I'm a 27 year old marathon runner who eats fairly well, but for some reason oatmeal gives me heartburn.

ilovegreen21 karma

No good question (dammit. Would you love me if I had a good question??) Just thought I'd let you know that The Oatmeal is probably the best thing I've ever seen. I even bought you a cup of coffee once, and given that I don't pay half my bills on time, that's a pretty good indicator of my love for you...err, your comics.

GiantBatFart12 karma

thank you! It's much appreciated. Also green is my favorite color.

savetheclocktower16 karma

Do you have any weird old tips that might help me cut down a bit of my belly?

Seriously, though. You do good work, but I irrationally can't stand that font you use for everything. Ever think of mixing it up?

GiantBatFart23 karma

Here are the 5 fonts I use: http://theoatmeal.com/misc/p/fonts

mrfredman15 karma

How do you feel about imitators and the fact that your style is being parodied and straight up plagiarized all over the web?

You do an excellent job using the infinite canvas of the web which isn't something many popular webcomics take advantage of. As for the question: Have you read Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics? Is he making accurate assumptions about the powers of the internet for distribution and creation of comics or is he full of shit?

GiantBatFart96 karma

I actually don't mind if someone borrows my style, provided it's funny and there's something interesting in it. I always say no art is born in a vacuum. Occasionally, however, someone borrows a bit too heavily - in which case I do the online equivalent of cutting off their head and sticking it on a pike in my front yard.

fuck-34 karma

GiantBatFart52 karma

I linked to the digg story to give people an idea of how much traffic that post got to cement the whole head/pike/public humiliation thing.

Lorre14 karma


GiantBatFart55 karma

I spend probably 80 hours a week or so on the computer, I'm not sure exactly how much of that is spent doing real work.

quitephrankly14 karma

Your comics are hilarious, but I can't help noticing some of them are downright brutal when it comes to the violence (lopping heads off with a shovel comes to mind). That said your internet persona makes you seem pretty normal and well-adjusted, so where does the inspiration come from for the more rage-filled comics?

GiantBatFart47 karma

Violence is good for lols some times. My favorite movie is american psycho.

[deleted]12 karma

What gets your creative juices flowing?

And what are your hobbies?

GiantBatFart19 karma

If I really need to get in the creative mood I'll drink a ton of espresso. Also, for some reason long plane flights always give me good ideas - there's something about being confined in a small space with crappy food for hours that makes me motivated to write things down.

My hobbies include japanese (the language), snowboarding, endurance sports (marathon running and triathlons, I recently completed my first half-ironman), film, sushi, travel, and illustration.

Clbull11 karma

Just wondering:

1) When did you start The Oatmeal (the current comic/quiz site)?

2) How how did it take before the site became popular?

3) Apart from what you said on your interview on TheDesignZine, could you give any other tips on becoming a successful webcomic artist?

4) From your other interview

I tend to iterate a lot – meaning I re-draw the same thing over and over again until it’s perfect.

Can you go into more detail about your habit of self-editing? I know you said you limit yourself to around 45 minutes, but whats the longest you've spent on editing a comic?

GiantBatFart20 karma

1). July 2009 2). The first month I got around 300k unique visitors. Traffic scaled up from there, and as of Jan 2010 I got 4.5 million unique visitors. 3). Make things that you think are funny and then see what everyone else thinks when you launch it. If they like it, keep at it. If not, maybe pursue another career. The quality of your drawings isn't important as important as making the characters funny, and often times the less detail you put into them the funnier they'll appear. It's almost like you create an empty shell where the reader can fill in with whatever they think is funniest.

4). Well, for an entire comic 45 minutes is definitely not the limit, I meant moreso for a specific character or illustration - like if I'm drawing a tractor or something. I think the longest amount of time I put into a comic took maybe 16 hours or so.

[deleted]10 karma


GiantBatFart22 karma

Probably my coffee duck. I did that entirely with vectors.

SEOmofo10 karma

Why don't you make any effort to optimize your comics for organic search traffic? For example, why don't you include the textual content of your comics in their img tags' alt attributes? Is it because you hate blind people, or because SEO is gay?

GiantBatFart47 karma

Actually, the goal with TheOatmeal was to provide a job that would let me get out of the douchey, uninspired SEO industry and move into a more interesting career. I've received a few emails about the alt tag thing, and mostly it's just that I don't care. The volume of organic traffic I'd get from that pales in comparison to the traffic I get from the rest of the internet.

Also, I've got nothing against the blind, it's just that without the visuals it'd be really hard to find my comics funny, so I don't even bother.

lovelynotes9 karma

I frequently check out your site, and greatly enjoy it. I notice you love to draw fat people - are they easier, do you enjoy it more or do they just fit your ideas the best?

Also, you're way cuter than I ever would've expected. I'll make some babies if you ever want to. Just sayin'.

GiantBatFart21 karma

I think they're funnier looking that way. Gary Larson does the same thing, and even PBFcomic characters are always packing a couple extra lbs.

Zurox7 karma

I assume you also wrote thingsbearslove.com - IMHO your most hilarious comic. Do you plan on integrating it in to The Oatmeal?

GiantBatFart5 karma

yeah, I wrote it, and it's linked to from the comics section of my website.

sxtxixtxcxh6 karma

Hey Matt, I met you and Rand a few years ago for a job interview, but alas, I didn't get the job… it was the tie, wasn't it?

GiantBatFart11 karma

probably, i hate ties. it's like having your testicles taped to the front of your shirt

dasnein6 karma

I love you.

GiantBatFart10 karma

I love you too.

Japeth6 karma

How do you know if an idea you have is good?

GiantBatFart5 karma

Generally, if it's something that makes me laugh, I'll run with it. My sense of humor seems to coincide with that of a lot of people on the internet.