Carla, from the Zazzle store scruffshop, talks with us about embracing her childhood passion and discovering opportunities with Zazzle. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her store scruffshop.
Zazzle: Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself!
Carla: My name’s Carla and I live at the bottom of the world in Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve been designing on Zazzle for nearly two years under the name of Scruff. That name originated from my continual inability to keep grubby fingerprints off my artwork!
Zazzle: When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been making art?
Carla: I’ve been making art since I was little – drawing was my favorite thing to do. I still have some of my old books full of endless drawings of girls, cats, complicated city scenes and maps of imaginary countries. Later on I trained in illustration, graphic design and animation – I had ambitions of becoming an illustrator of children’s books, but ended up working in animation in the UK for six years instead. That was a challenge for me as I find it hard to sit still! During the past few years I’ve felt a pull to return to the kind of work I loved when I was younger: funny-looking animals, cute characters and intricate hand-drawn doodly patterns. I remember my grandma once telling me off for not spending enough time on my art. “You’ll come back to it when you are older and aren’t so restless,” she said. As usual, she was right!
Zazzle: How would you describe your style?
Carla: Quirky hand-drawn illustration with a sense of fun, sometimes for kids, but really for anyone who likes a little bit of whimsy. Drawing’s my first love, but I also have a passion for good old-fashioned painting and printmaking.
Zazzle: What’s your favorite medium to use?
Carla: Most of my work originates from drawings I create by hand, usually in pen and ink. I have a stash of favorite fountain and drawing pens, though occasionally I’ll deviate into ballpoint pen territory! When I started on Zazzle I taught myself the basics of Adobe Illustrator, which makes it easy to create large vector images. Usually I clean up my original drawings in Photoshop then transfer them to Illustrator for coloring and adding other design elements.
Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?
Carla: I first heard about Zazzle on an online illustrator’s forum – at the time I had just started to think seriously about getting back into design again and was looking at ways to kick-start that process. I was also interested in the world of art licensing, and Zazzle gave me the opportunity and tools to begin building my own collections. I’m now represented by an art licensing agent in the US, which is a new and exciting development.
Zazzle: What was the first product you ever sold on Zazzle?
Carla: The first thing I ever sold on Zazzle was a customized baby bunny children’s poster, to someone in Australia! Seeing that first sale was very exciting – I remember obsessively checking my earnings history just to make sure it was still there.
Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?
Carla: Patience, by the bucket-load. Building up your store (and sales) takes time, and there are plenty of moments when nothing may appear to be happening. Persistence, determination and consistency are all important. When I started I was very impatient and sometimes self-doubting, but I kept going, regularly adding new designs when I could. I try to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I take the time to make sure my designs are well-placed on each product they are suitable for. I try and get my tags and descriptions right (I’m still in the process of fixing my original tags, some of which were just plain wrong). I read lots – online forums, design blogs, articles on anything to do with art licensing. Designing and creating makes me happy, and I love the creative options and range of products that Zazzle offers.
Zazzle: Can you give us a sneak peek of future designs? Pretty please!
Carla: I have never-ending ideas for new designs and wish I had more hours in the day. Recently I’ve been drawing lots of monsters and have plans for a new little monster collection. I also love creating hand-drawn floral and animal character patterns, so there are lots more of those in the pipeline.
Thanks for sharing Carla!