Welcome to the Geek Shirts HQ Designer Unlocked Interview Series where we put the best independent designers under the spotlight.
Today’s designer under the spotlight is has described himself as “I am just a guy with a bunch of ideas swimming in his head and a computer to unleash them upon.”Now the t shirt designer known as Buzatron is anything but “just a guy” his talent for design has a lot of originality to them, giving him a unique edge amongst the many t shirt designers of today. His style in my opinion is varied and does not fit any one niche as you can see from the t shirt designs below.Geek Shirts HQ welcomes Buzatron, the latest designer to get unlocked.He was in the US Army for 12 years and part of a mysterious collective simply known as The RBC. Unfortunately I am unable to discuss that further as the first rule of RBC, well you know! However, when not living his “alternative lifestyle” Buzatron is known as t shirt designer and a successful one.When not designing, he can be seen attending Doctor Who convections, no not because he is a fan but he actually thinks he is The Doctor, He says battling evil across time really gets his creative juices flowing! I just respond with “Whatever dude!Now the t shirt designer known at Buzatron is anything but “just a guy” (is this Déjà vu or are we at the start of the interview). Jon can you stop messing with time; we have an interview to complete!
Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from? What is your background? How did you get into design?
I originally come from Washington State, but I now live in Oklahoma with my family, 3 dogs, 3 cats, and a bunny. I was in the US Army actually for quite a long time…12 years to be exact. In that time I had been all over the world and the US.
I retired back in 2008 and just kind of fell into this shirt designing business as a hobby in 2010. Shortly after I started making shirts, I was invited to an amazing group of artists known only as “The RBC”. I learned from many prominent shirt designers about how to market, create, and improve my art to what it is today.
As a member of that group for the last 2 years, I learned that there are rabid fans of just about every theme of pop culture you could think of. When I realized that, I tried to learn all I could about making shirts and different programs associated with that. I have never had any formal training in either art or design, but I did have an artistic eye. I made it a priority to study every tutorial I could find about both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
"Based an a quote by comedian Steven Wright. Probably been done a million times before, but I wanted to give it a try "
I think Buzatron is a really cool name! Where did you get the name from?
Buzatron is a name I basically made up that I thought sounded cool. It comes from a mix of “Buz” and “Trinitron” (an old Sony television brand name). I have had the name kicking around the net since about 1996 in some form or another.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Many of my designs come from pop culture. I see either funny relationships between two different ideas and try to mash them together or take an idea from a show and turn it into some fake product that you might see in the store.
Sometimes, I get inspiration from current events or simply want to do a typography piece that tells a message.
"This is the yellow version, there is a blue version as well"
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
I first sketch it out to see what compositions work best. Once I am happy with some idea, I scan it and go over my sketches roughly with a pen tool and adjust line-weights in Adobe Illustrator.
It is all a very scientific process that involves a lot of coffee and energy drinks. Once I am happy with my creation, I slap it on a shirt and have a beer.
Here are some of my pictures giving you the sort of design process I follow.
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favorite design and why?
Probably my “Bad Wolf Radio” design I made based off the Bad Wolf story arc from Doctor Who. The idea is basically a radio station in the future that broadcasts emergency transmissions from the future. I loved the story and how the multi-episodes from the show told an ongoing story until the last episode of the season.
"Emergency broadcasts from the future"
Geek Shirts HQ: This happens to be my favorite design as well! a very original idea for a Doctor Who inspired tee
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek?
I am not currently working on any projects at the moment, but I am sure that won’t last for very long
Who are your favorite designers?
There are so many talented designers out there that it would be difficult to name all of them. Some of my favorites are Zerobriant, Hydro74, Godmachine, TeevsTeee, Coddesigns, Ian Leino, Winter Artwork, Vincent Carrozza, TeeKetch, and Corrose.
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
Most of the time, I try to make silly pop-culture mashups. I love making typography designs with inspirational messages though. Here is one of my recent inspirational pieces available at my Redbubble store.
"Because you know…..you know what your doing"
World Peace Or a New series Of Star Trek? Which Do you prefer
Optimistic for world peace, but a new Star Trek would be pretty cool.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I will be free of my 9 to 5 job and be freelancing my little heart out.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you're not designing?
I try to spend time with my wife and kids and all the animals that I own. After that there really isn't a whole lot of time to do anything else. I like nachos a lot, but that doesn't exactly qualify for a hobby does it?
"Greetings From the Capitol: “If a tribute gets stung by by these nasty little hornets and you can BET it will drive them absolutely insane….could mean DEATH! Place your bets now folks because the stakes are high and the action is HOT at this year’s 74th Hunger Games!"
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
I found that network, talk with other artists, and find out all you can about different techniques though tutorials if you have no formal training. That really helped me learn so much more about designing and the shirt business in general.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
My family, All of my awesome designer friends, and HI MOM!
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
One last question, when you going to design a Back To The Future shirt as I am a massive fan?
Now you’re giving me ideas for my next project
"For the serious gamer who screams when they die playing video games…."
Geek Shirts HQ:Thanks Jon for a really cool interview, I will look forward to that Back To The Future t shirt Hope it happens.Don't forget to check out Jon's Redbubble page for even more awesome tees, as I have only provide a few of the tees that Jon has designed. He has an active Facebook page as well, don't forget to give that a look as well. Maybe you could ask him to design a Back To The Future T Shirt