Super Sunday Artist Spotlight - Paul Schmitt


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It seems like a vast majority of the handmade market is made up of jewelry and clothing artisans of various niches, photographers, and artists who sell prints of their work. From what I've seen, there are few who work with media aside from the occasional zine or journal here and there. That's why it's really neat to have come across this week's feature. Paul is an artist who uses his talents to make comics and graphic novels. He was kind enough to share some insight into his work process and what motivates him.

Paul owns Gargantuan Media and has an Etsy.

What is your specialty and medium of choice?
I make comics and graphic novels. I make complete pages from really rough sketches then flesh them out into full pages of pencils. After that I digitally ink and color them.

It all starts with Ticonderoga #2 pencils and an idea. And coffee. Don’t forget that part.

How would you describe your style?
I like Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 1960's a great deal. The imagination in these characters is extraordinary. I think "cartoon" is a good way to describe the style of my first book Roaches, very well.

How did you get started with your craft/artform? Was it difficult to learn?
In the part of the US I grew up in there was no real art education. The nearest thing I had to a formal education before art school was a compulsive need to draw and forged hall passes. Since college, I've worked as an Artist in many companies including book publishers and academic institutes.

Fine art techniques and traditional illustration are not easy to learn. They both take years of development and usage to reach a level of personal satisfaction for both the artist and audience. Even today, after 10 years of projects, I'm still learning all the time.

Tell me a little about your creative process. What inspires you?
In comics, there's a tendency to over-generalize and throw spandex on everyone. I like specific situations that are outside of the norm minus the spandex and capes. Roaches, told from the point of view of a demented "king" Roach goes into bizarre specifics on a number of subjects. The whole book is told from the twisted point of view of a narcissistic megalomaniac who is 2 inches tall. You won't see that in major books. I'm inspired by weird paradoxes and unusual subject matter.

Approximately how long does it take to finish a new piece?
One year is a good time frame for a graphic novel. Roaches started in Fall of 2010 as a web comic that became popular enough to be published by my own small publishing effort, Gargantuan Media, in Fall of 2011. I started selling these books at that time. In early 2012, I took it to my first comic con - and it started selling pretty well.

Steampunk Wall Tentacle
What is your favorite piece so far? Can you tell me a little about why it is special to you?
My favorite piece is a series of sculptures on Etsy called Wall Tentacles (image on side). They are these giant octopus tentacles reaching out of a porthole from a freighter ship. They are bizarre and extremely detailed. A piece like that changes a room from a boring place into a Jules Verne novel. I love that.


As a self-published graphic novelist, what challenges have you had to overcome to realize your goals?
Printing fees and promotions are my biggest challenges. The first hurdle is always financial - meaning the printing fees themselves. Book publishing is demanding and expensive to make happen. Getting the initial printing fees paid is a major challenge.

The second challenge is promoting this book. Promoting a product means having a good product in the first place. I read that 200,000 books are released each year in America alone. In order to stand out, a book needs original concepts and good execution.

How did you become self-published?
The short answer is that no one wanted this book. It was basically an orphan! I knew that it was a good book - funny and original. I would get really kind rejection notices (and still do).

So, I created a web presence for it (sites, samples, blogs) saved a few bucks and published it myself. I’ve found that this is a very personally rewarding experience and look forward to publishing many more books.

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow artists?
I must repeat the same thing that successful people like David Sim (Cerebus) and Wendy and Richard Pini (Elfquest) have said: If you love something and it loves you back - it's yours. No one can take that from you and no one else can stop you from doing this thing. No one can stop you but you.

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Thank you for the great advice as well as the insight into the world of publishing! I look forward to seeing new works from you in the future. Be sure to check him out on ETSY and DEVIANTART! More information about the Roaches graphic novel can be found here.

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Would you like to be featured? Send me an e-mail at LampshadesAndLollipops@gmail.com.

Super Sunday Artist Spotlight - CC


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Crocheted Cuttlefish Amigurumi Pattern by CC

This week, I'm talking to the super-crocheter CC. She sells crochet patterns for amigurumis on her Etsy. If you've ever wondered how those cute little critters go from being jumbles of yarn to an intricate pattern, read what this crafty Etsian has to say.

What is your specialty and medium of choice?
I love yarn, of course! I specialize in crocheting amigurumi, especially sea creatures! If it is a marine invertebrate, I have either designed a pattern for it or have it on my list! I also do some embroidery and mosaics for fun.

How did you get started with your craft? Was it difficult to learn?
I have been interested in crafts for a while, so two summers ago I went with my mom to a local craft fair and saw that crochet classes were being advertised. I signed up for one and it was love at first stitch. I jumped almost immediately into designing my own patterns, and after a year of accumulating notes in various journals, decided to open up an Etsy store to sell my designs. It has been a hectic, crazy, fantastic time since then.

Tell me a little about your creative process. What inspires you?
I have ideas constantly hitting me. I'll see a picture of some cool animal and immediately start drafting up sketches. Of course, my life is pretty busy, so I can't do it all at once! I keep a giant word document with a list of ideas for projects and notes. When I decided to make a new pattern, I start by looking at lots of pictures for amigurumi and sketching various cartoony versions. When I hit upon a design I like, I set about breaking it into component parts ("Ooh, I could use a bunch of increases to achieve that effect!"). Next I actually start to crochet my first demo! That always takes a while, since I write down every step. Once I have that pattern, I crochet another amigurumi to test and tweak it, then I polish up the pattern and send it out to my pattern testers. After I make any last-minute changes that they suggest, I put the pattern in my shop!

Approximately how long does it take to finish a new piece?
Although it takes me under 8 hours for a single amigurumi, the whole pattern process can take about a month. This year I am releasing one new pattern every month, which means that I have been working nonstop! My next release is scheduled for the 28th of March. (Check it out!)
Amigurumi  Shark Crochet Pattern
What is your favorite piece so far? Can you tell me a little about why it is special?
That is a tough choice! My two favorite patterns are probably the large cuttlefish (top of page) and the fat shark (side).
I love the cuttlefish because they are some of my absolute favorite animals, and I feel this pattern is indicative of my style - a semi-realistic, very cute rendition of a marine invertebrate. As for the fat shark, I just find it a very cartoony and cute pattern, and it took a long time for me to get the pattern just as I wanted it - I'm proud of my hard work.

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow crafters?
If you crochet, always take your work with you! I have a very busy schedule, and it is amazing how much work you can get done in tiny increments. Most people I know often ask how I find the time to make things - I just pack in the minutes! Is the bus three minutes late? Crochet three rows! Waiting for the pasta water to boil? Crochet another three! You'll have the finished piece in your hands before you know it.

I also encourage people to develop a community. Deviantart, Tumblr, Ravelry... these are great resources for crocheters! Deviantart and Tumblr can be valuable no matter what craft you practice.


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Thank you so very much, CC! Your dedication to such a time-intensive craft is inspiring. It was lovely getting to know more about the crochet craft and amigurumis! Be sure to check out her ETSY, DEVIANTART, and TUMBLR!
Clicking an image in this post will take you to its listing on Etsy.

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Would you like to be featured? Send me an e-mail at LampshadesAndLollipops@gmail.com.

Two Year Anniversary & 150 Total Sales!


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Choco-Vanillaberry Double Scoop Ice Cream Cone

That's right! It's my TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY! I'm so excited to have reached this milestone.

Of course, I couldn't have done this without the help of my awesome fans. I want to give you all a huge thank you for 150 total sales! So, for the entire month of April, celebrate with me by using coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAY2 at checkout to get 10% off your order.

Happy Birthday, L&L!