Thanks for taking the time to sit and have a chat with us, and congratulations on becoming Spreadshirt’s Designer of the Month for November, ivejustquitsmoking! We can see in your User Profile that you have been selling with Spreadshirt since 2012.
How did you hear about us, and how have you found the experience so far?
I’m really honored! Knowing that Spreadshirt is full of talented designers, this is really a nice surprise. I wanted to sell my own label then, but I have heard horror stories about inventories. I came across Spreadshirt online and head on to try it out. Spreadshirt solves the inventory issue and I really love the platform – I have www.ivejustquitsmoking.com redirect to my Spreadshirt shop. I like that with simple tweaks you can make it your own. It’s also fun receiving emails when something gets sold at the Marketplace.
You have a very eclectic variety of designs! Where do you get your inspiration for such a varied array of styles?
I do have a variety of styles, and it’s giving me a hard time branding myself! This is likely because I have such a short attention span and many, many interests. I like pairing together somewhat related ideas (in my mind, at least), and building on what makes me smile. Inspirations can be sparked by everyday conversations and sometimes by travelling.
You’ve got quite a few cutesy-wutesy monsters creeping around your Shop. What draws you (pun intended) to these tiny terrors?
In my journey of finding a style, I fleshed out more of the funny-cute-happy-ironic monsters that I had rendered in clean lines and bold colors. There’s a handful more of them dozing in my hard drive and sketchbooks. Making these silly monsters make me happy and I love how awfully sweet they can be.
What medium do you use to create your art? Are you an old-school pencil and paper artist or do you trend toward the new-school tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, or other digital art programs?
I normally start out using pencils. Lots of lists, handwritten notes, scribbles and scrawly pictures. Sometimes I clean it up, but most of the time, I just take a photo then proceed digitally. I go back and forth using tablet and mouse, but on simpler illustrations I use my laptop’s trackpad. Adobe Illustrator is a given for vector works. It’s great for tee designs to get that crisp lines and easily manageable layers.
For collage work, I manually arrange objects on a big table and shoot with a decent camera. Preferably using good ambient lighting. I then painstakingly clean up the edges over at Adobe Photoshop. Perhaps minimal adjustments with color balances and such.
Oh, I also enjoy dabbling in watercolor. Mostly because it’s fun and different. The pieces I’ve done are quite abstract, just letting the color blend on its own, lending interesting shapes and textures to the over-aching concept. It’s a challenge to clean up the edges though! I have had good experience having the colors separated professionally. Sometimes, I mix up techniques because, why the heck not? 🙂
How much time, on average, do you spend creating designs and managing your Spreadshirt Shop?
That’s a tricky question for me! When I am in the zone, I literally lose a sense of time. As an estimate, I can finish a piece within two hours but I may get back to others after a day, a week or sometimes never.
For the Spreadshirt shop, I would give it a focused day or two to put together. It all depends on how many items you have and how many types of canvas per design.
We always like to guess what our designers do for a living when they’re not designing t-shirts. We asked around the office and took the three most popular guesses: you do voiceovers for cartoons, you’re a kindergarten teacher or (one person seems to think that…) you work in a candy factory. Were we close? How do you pay the bills if it’s not collecting huge commission payouts from Spreadshirt?
Hmm… I do watch cartoons, I have a curiosity of a kindergarten, and I eat lots of candy! As a grown-up in real life, I’m a user experience designer/manager in a software company. Really looking forward to run my own design company that helps businesses build customer-centric products. But I sure would like to pay my bills via my art commissions!
We particularly like your Hoot! Night Owl! design, as coffee fuels most of our days here at Spreadshirt HQ. How do you take your coffee, and which of your designs do you feel best represents you?
Glad you like my owl! It’s been ripped numerous times (thanks, internet) and someone even did a stockphoto based it. I like drinking flat white. But I would want a cappuccino if I want to perk up and if I’m out of NZT. Design that represents me would be: “All monsters are the same!” It’s a rework of an older crowd favorite. I aim to continually learn new things and improve as a designer based on feedback. That monster is also self-contradicting, which pretty much sums me up.
What kind of advice could you offer to someone who is looking to open their own Shop on Spreadshirt? Do certain product sell better for you than others? Certain designs?
My advice is to just start. Aside from prepping the designs themselves, it takes awhile to upload and take care of little details. But it becomes easier as you get used to it. So just start. Also, be sure to let people know about it. Some products do sell more than others so make more of those. It helps to be on multiple channels. Lastly, it’s best if your design resonates with a group of people.
We assume you’ve just quit smoking. Is that what inspired you to spend some more time with your art?
Surprise, I quit smoking almost a decade ago 🙂 It’s a curious username that get people talking even today. It also leads to me when you google it. I’m kinda stuck with it by now, but I’ve also used @ijqs and ‘smoking’ a few times. These days, I like to be simply called Marco.
I wish I could say I spend enough time with art as I want to! I’m getting back in the groove and I have a few ideas brewing, watch out on www.marcoangeles.com or www.ivejustquitsmoking.com for that.
Oh, I also have this other Spreadshirt shop: www.yogabearproject.com
I just read a pdf of it, but I understand it’s a picture book! Based on google images, I remember flicking through it in a bookshop 🙂 This makes me want to watch the movie!