Al Mudgett aka ‘Mudge‘ is a family man, designer and a combination of many talents as we will find out in this interview. Read on to find out what tools a disc-golf playing ale lover and graphic designer has in his box.
Let’s kick it off with a 2-fold question: what distinguishes you from others, and what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I try diverting time between my two wonderful daughters, friends, pets, sports and finishing my day off with a good ale. I’ve been an independent graphic designer for over two decades, and every day I enjoy the freedom of determining the art I choose to create in order to earn my keep. This absolutely brilliant concept makes me get up early even when I make myself work hard on my goals.
You’re at home with many styles and themes. What inspires you to your designs and where do you get your inspiration?
20 years ago I started creating sports cartoons and illustrations for official licensors. Every day, all day long. I did this for a number of years before I got into everything but sports illustrations. It’s always refreshing to explore other subject areas. And then there’s this voice in my head that reminds me of bills that need paying. It needs to be said that designing T-shirts on topics such as sports, skulls, dinosaurs and animal jokes is a quite fulfilling way to pay the rent. It’s always good not to put all your eggs in one basket.
What’s your peer group, and how do you reach out to them?
I see myself and my friends at a young age. Basically, I create stuff I would have worn back in the day. I also look at my 20-something daughters and ask myself ‘Would she or a friend of hers wear it?’ For marketing, I send subtle messages on Facebook and Pinterest where I can get in touch with like-minded folks. However, pay-per-click measures on Facebook didn’t do the trick for me, so I stopped that after a while.
It is a long journey from the first spark of inspiration to the finished product. How do you get an idea on a T-shirt?
I keep my eyes open wherever I go and doodle fast drafts in my sketchbook that I always have on me. After collecting a few ideas, I go through the better ones and take them as starting points. This sometimes leads me astray, but I always come up with something fun to design in the end of which I’m more or less sure others will like it as well.
How much time do you put into your shop and your designs?
This is hard to say, because I always work full time when I do not have any assignments. I just do what needs to be done and don’t procrastinate stuff. It’s incredible, but after all these years I’m still working on the best way to generate a regular income.
There’s a great choice of online platforms to sell designs on clothes. Why Spreadshirt?
I was made aware of print-on-demand solutions by one of your competitors. After spending a couple of years there, I found out that this particular company doesn’t really care about the well-being of the designers, the very people responsible for creating the art that’s being sold. Looking for an alternative, Spreadshirt offered the best package, so I gave it a go.
What’s your favourite Spreadshirt feature for Partners, and which one do you wish for in the future?
I find it great that I can divide my Shop into categories that can be adjusted to feature products anyway I want. It would be great if we could get a search function to help administer a Shop with so many designs like mine.
If you had to choose a single TV show to watch or band you had to listen to for the rest of your life…?
The TV show would probably be ‘Lost’. I could watch it over and over again. Musicians would be Peter Murphy or Kate Bush. To carry on in this vein, I could forever eat ice-cream and drink Dark & Stormy cocktails with Jamaica Ginger Beer and a dark Myers’s rum.
Thanks for the interview, Mudge! Designing for life, running a SpreadShop and raising two girls all at once is quite an achievement, we think. Hats off to Mudge, we’re looking forward to Dark & Stormy designs ahead!
Is your SpreadShop experience different to Mudge’s? We can’t wait to hear your story in the comments below!