Zazzle designer Victor Ma, owner of TYZUarts, talks with us about how he became a Zazzler and how he thought up TYZU’s adorable cartoon characters.
Zazzle: Tell us about yourself – where do you live?
Victor: I emigrated from China to Canada in 2000 and currently live in Vancouver, British Columbia. TYZUarts was founded by a group of designers in 2009. I am the team leader of our group and have been an inventor, designer and programmer for many years. I also ranked in the top 3 Canadian spots and top 8 North American spots in the Automated Trading World Championship in 2008 – the highest class FOREX automated trading system programming competition in the world.
Zazzle: What is your background in art and design?
Victor: Before 2009, I had been focusing on industrial design instead of art. In China, as an inventor and industrial designer, I owned 5 Utility Model patents. Now, I like to create cartoon designs.
Zazzle: Where do you find inspiration for your characters and designs?
Victor: One summer day in 2006, I had a miraculous experience in the yard: a neighbor’s cat was chasing a sparrow, and the little bird flew to me seeking help, hiding its head in my armpit. The sparrow was eventually saved and freed, but the cat hated me and bothered me often after that. These cute scenes left quite an impression on me – for years, I was haunted by the imagery. Suddenly, I got some inspiration on another summer day in 2009: “Why not build my own cartoon world?”
Zazzle: That’s adorable – so how did you get started in creating these cute characters?
I designed a few cartoon characters at once, and recruited a team to make a short animated movie. Because there have been many cartoon cats in the market, I decided to create a mischievous raccoon instead of a cat, and a little bird as my hero. People love this unique style of combining an American-style humor plot and anime character together, not to mention the rabbit ears which all characters have. People have never seen characters such as a cute bunny-bird, bunny-goldfish, bunny-bear and bunny-raccoon before!
Zazzle: Do you have any advice for designers who are just starting out on Zazzle?
Victor: I think being unique is everything. There are millions of designs and products on Zazzle – only those things that are unique will catch people’s eyes. However, a unique design does not guarantee sales. Before your items have a chance to catch someone’s eye, you have to lead them to your store first. Having some SEO skills can help you get more visitors.