Fred, from the Zazzle stores FredzShop, Fredml8, AfroHipo, Tipitaka, etc., was kind enough to sit down and talk with us about his art, and his time as a Zazzler. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out his stores Fredml8, AfroHipo, Tipitaka, HappyPanda, VouDou, FredzCards, FredzMugs, FredzTies, and FredzShop.
Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Fred: I’m a self-taught graphic artist with a passion for books and all things retro. From a young age I was always drawing, doodling or sketching. I remember learning how to draw by reproducing Marvel comic book covers (don’t tell Stan), especially Doctor Strange and Captain America.
Eventually life caught up and I worked in the engineering industry for 15 years. The company I worked for had me involved in design doing corporate brochures, catalogs, advertising etc., which introduced me to Photoshop and Illustrator (can you believe they used to fit on a floppy disk?). Tools I still use today to create my art.
Zazzle has given me the opportunity to share my art and designs as well as collaborate with people from around the globe. Zazzle has also helped me rediscover a much neglected skill and allowed me to express myself. Thanks Zaz!
Zazzle: What’s your inspiration for your designs?
Fred: Inspiration for my designs comes from many sources, my travels, the people I deal with on a daily basis as well personal experiences. I’m also a big fan of the 1960s and 1970s and draw a lot of inspiration from those periods, they were exciting decades with lots going on. A lot of it is random too, I sometimes start doodling away and end up with something totally unexpected that I think would look good on a t-shirt or something else.
Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?
Fred: I tend to be very critical of my work (something bad I’m told), and as such, hardly ever publish anything I think isn’t worthy. In that respect I have no favorites, but then again all my designs are favorites. Having said that, the shop I’m the most pleased with as a whole, would have to be my Buddha themed store, Tipitaka.
Zazzle: What is your favorite Zazzle feature? How do you use it?
Fred: For me Zazzle as a whole is an amazing feature and I’m always looking forward to the next tweak or new addition. If I had to pick one particular thing though, it would have to be “customization”. I think it’s great that clients can customize our products, adding their personal touch to the final product… it’s an option I always enable.
Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?
Fred: To be honest I first started on a couple of other sites but was always frustrated at how limiting they were, and how unnecessarily difficult it was to do the simplest things. I was about to throw in the towel when, by chance, I came across Zazzle and decided to give it all one last try. I guess third time’s the charm. I was instantly hooked and felt that out of all the other sites, Zazzle was the one with the most potential for the future. The complexity was kept to a minimum while offering so many features. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?
Fred: Tips? Perseverance. Don’t give up just because things aren’t going as fast as you want them to. Keep at it and you’ll eventually get that first sale and be on top of the world. It’s a great feeling. Being unique (or at least trying to be) is also important, do your own art (stay away from commercial boxed sets) and express yourself in your own unique style.