Today we’re talking with Paul Stickland, Zazzle Designer of StrangeStore. Read on to find out more about his background as an author and illustrator, his creative characters and passion for children’s literacy.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Paul Stickland and I am the author, illustrator and designer of a great many bestselling children’s picture and pop up books, which have sold around the world. My titles include the classic children’s dinosaur books Dinosaur Roar and Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, as well as The Christmas Bear, One Bear One Dog and the pop up books Swamp Stomp, Dinosaurs Galore, Big Dig and Truck Jam. My Zazzle stores feature artwork from some of these books.
StrangeStore has some of the intricate artwork from The Christmas Bear as well as a whole host of colourful and funny characters which I have created especially for my Zazzle stores. Funny cats and sleepy owls, crazy crows and terrible trolls are just some of the funny creatures that you’ll find. Plenty of Steampunk and surreal too. I live in the ancient stone town of Sherborne in the West Country of England, surrounded by the rolling hills of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, with my musician and bookseller wife, Helen, our 6 yr old daughter Tabitha and a random selection of my five creative artist and musician boys!
As an author and illustrator I am a passionate advocate for children’s literacy and creativity. I spend a great deal of time traveling around the world working with children of all ages in workshops and events at schools, libraries and festivals, both music and literature. Helen and I play in an author based band, ‘First Draft’ and we play at Children’s Literature Festivals here in the UK. Helen is one third of the English Indie Pop band, DESIGN. Busy lives but Zazzle fits in very well! I have a plan chest full of a lifetime’s children’s art and Zazzle is the ideal home for this. I have several stores and will submit another application form for my TruckStore which features my Big Truck artwork from my pop up books, Big Dig and Truck Jam.
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home? Both are equally wonderful and we’re excited to learn more!
I have a dedicated studio in the stone walled courtyard garden of our 1820s house in Sherborne. I’ve shared some photos in the Media area of my store.
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
I come from a creative family, my grandfather was a well-known author and illustrator and my parents were very creative, engineer and teacher. I have always drawn, it’s a language in our house.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I have been working as a freelance author and illustrator for nearly forty years! I get huge inspiration from my family and the thousands of children that I have worked with over the last twenty years.
When do you feel your most creative?
It varies. Often late nights though!
What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?
I love so many of the products on Zazzle but I do love posters, cards, t-shirts, phone cases and invitations.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
All-over print tote bags please!
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
A set of Halloween Bats Invitations!
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Take time to learn how to use the amazing editing tools available. Have a look at some of the bestselling products on Zazzle. Join the forums, I have learned a wealth of information there, from basic coding to promotional advice and I’ve had a huge amount of support from my fellow Zazzlers. Hopefully I’ve had a chance to repay that!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?