Rinse, Tumble Dry, Repeat
webcomic aimed at people who are “nervous and overwhelmed with life”
Before he headed to college at UW-Stout in 2007 for a degree in studio art, Tyler Haas knew he was destined to be great. That expectation was tempered somewhat when he leveled up.
“As it turns out, being the best artist in your high school class of 50 people doesn’t give you a lot to compare yourself to,” Haas said. “And college was a pretty good slap in the face.”
He started drawing comics in 2013 after graduating with a degree in game design art, which gave him the 3D modeling and digital storytelling skills necessary to then create his website, Tumble Dry Comics. He’s amassed quite a social media following – with more than 1,200 likes on Facebook and several hundred followers on Twitter.
“I try to treat every week as a new chance to make someone laugh, and if I’m lucky, they’ll stick around.” – Tyler Haas, founder of Tumble Dry Comics
“I couldn’t begin to answer how I tricked so many people into following me,” he said. “For a while I would just post comics to Reddit, because I didn’t need a following for it to take off randomly and suddenly be in front of 100,000 people.”
He posts a few of his many comics to the Facebook group page UWEC Memes for Trend Setting Teens, which features memes, comics, and jokes revolving around topics that are important to UW-Eau Claire students.
“His work is certainly some of the most innovative on the page,” said Paige Sprink, one of the administrators of the Facebook group. “It’s never simply cutting and pasting Blu’s face on top of a beloved cartoon character or just slapping the UWEC logo on something.”
There’s a good reason why many younger people may relate to the series, Haas said. Many of his comics follow Haas’ life as a 20-year old.
“I know there are a few years where every joke was about being dirt poor and depressed and refusing to grow up,” he said. “Throw in a couple rambling, multi-part adventure stories, some sci-fi and pop culture references, and a handful of political opinions that the last three years have made unavoidable, and that’s the comic in a nutshell.”
Even his slogan – “Solid lines for shaky people” – is a way to appeal to people who are “as nervous and overwhelmed with life” as he is.
Haas’ artwork appeals to more than just 20-somethings, said Becky Prestley, the UWEC Memes for Trend Setting Teens creator and administrator. They differ from other memes on the page because they’re original and community-based, rather than exclusively UWEC-based, making them more appealing to local folks, especially around the Eau Claire area.
“I try to treat every week as a new chance to make someone laugh, and if I’m lucky, they’ll stick around,” he said.
In addition to creating comics, Haas also does a little bit of work with digital painting. “Every now and then I’ll get commissioned to do caricatures, or digital paintings, or D&D characters,” he said. “Once, I was even hired to draw the huge outdoor sign for The Liner Tavern in Cadott. But usually it’s just the free comic.”
He also runs a podcast called Wisconsin Bound with his brother, Travis, and Travis’ wife, Jaycee, which they started around three years ago, he said.
“We wanted to do something improvisational that let us drink and surprise each other every week with some trove of strange topics and news and fringe culture,” he said. “We eventually started picking themes for every episode. A listener once described it as ‘filthy NPR,’ and I thought that was a nice way to put it.”
Tumble Dry Comics, Haas’ art, and Wisconsin Bound are still booming, Haas said, as he has lots of ideas for the future, including animation, video, live shows, and illustrated books.
As for the name, Tumble Dry Comics? Well, it’s a bit of a dry story, Haas said.
“The truth is that it means nothing, he said. “I knew whatever I picked would be something I’d have to read and say a million times and so my only rules were one, it can’t be a joke or a pun, no matter how good, because it will eventually stop being funny. And two, It has to roll off the tongue and be easy to remember. It’s also possible I was folding laundry at the time.”
Folks interested in seeing more of Haas’ work can visit the Tumble Dry website at www.tumbledrycomics.com. People interested in supporting this work can also become a patron for Tumble Dry Comics at www.patreon.com/tumbledrycomics.