The designs released by Nic aka squirrell on Spreadshirt’s Marketplace have won many hearts and admirers. Her designs impress with a charming naivety that’s both very artistic and yet playfully child-like. Let’s find out about the girl behind the squirrell.
Hey Nic, thank you for taking the time! Where are you from, and what do you do?
Hello! Thanks for the feature. I’m and artist and illustrator, and I’m from a village in Kent, in the south of England. I’m surrounded by countryside and orchards, it’s very pretty around here. I live with my other half, our daughter and various cats who are my not-so-helpful studio assistants.
Your designs exude childlike wonder and a penchant for the beauty of simplicity. What sources of inspiration do you tap?
I’m always inspired by nature, plants, birds and animals. I think my love for simplicity comes from my parents’ fondness for Scandinavian design and also from living in Japan as a child. We left Japan when I was eight. My parents loved Japan and brought a lot of Japanese things and ideas back with them. So there was always a Japanese influence when we lived in other places as I was growing up. I hope to go back to Japan before too long.
Could you let us in on your creational process and some of the tools you like using?
My designs start with either sketches on scraps of paper, or else I just draw straight onto my iPad. These days almost all my designs are made completely on my iPad, except when I’m using watercolours. Painting watercolours with a tablet would get quite messy. There are so many great apps available, and I am a bit of a geek about trying them all. I am making art constantly so whenever I have a suitable design which works on T-shirts I add it. I try to add new art regularly to keep it fresh.
What tools and apps do you use on your iPad?
My favourite apps are Procreate, Adobe Draw and Sketch. And Graphic for vectors, but there are so many other great apps I like to play around with occasionally as well. I usually use my Apple Pencil or just my finger to draw with.
You don’t really seem to give any particular animal a preference. Do you like them all, or do you have a favourite?
I like most animals, except spiders. Shudder! But if I had to choose a favourite it would be tapirs. Or foxes. Foxes are so clever. They have learned to live alongside people, whether it’s in the city or the countryside. Maybe I wouldn’t like them so much if I were a chicken. I’m not sure what it is about tapirs, but they just make me feel happy! Unfortunately they are endangered. And I may well end up as a crazy cat lady one day.
Is there a word of advice you would want to share with a noob designer?
Draw what makes you happy. As long as you enjoy creating your designs, it will really show. Keep drawing every day!
How did you get into Spreadshirt?
A friend recommended Spreadshirt to me. I like the fact that you can sell your designs or have your own storefront, or do both.
What are your plans for the second half of 2017 as a designer selling on our marketplace?
My plans for the next six months: I have been taking part in the 100daysproject, with #100daysofslightlysarcasticcreatures where I draw a new slightly shifty looking animal every day and post them on Instagram and social media. Most of them will be finding their way into the Spreadshirt Marketplace in the near future. Apart from that, I have a whole head full of new ideas waiting to get out, so watch this space!
Thank you very much for taking the time, Nic! We really love your designs and wish you all the love and happiness you deserve.