Welcome to the Geek Shirts HQ Designer Unlocked Interview Series where we put the best independent designers under the spotlight.This week we have David Clements, a dad, a secret superhero, works in a pet shop and an awesome t shirt designer!David designs are a varied with a clever use of typography and a design style that is often inspired by his daughter, however David put his own individual style on these themes from movies and comic books.
Geek Shirts HQ welcomes David Celements, the latest designer to get unlocked.He is from a small town that people have not heard of, apart from the people who live in the town. He is a secret superhero, so secret, it has taken months of painstaking research to find out about him and his super heroic feats. I can now exclusively reveal David Clements scours the planet, looking to save pet shops that are in trouble.He uses his special powers of eagle eye vision and producing canned dog food at will, to save pet stores in peril.And yet he still does not have a nickname!David, we don’t need any more cans of dog food, I don’t even own a dog, let’s get this interview done
CAN YOU START BY GIVING SOME BACKGROUND ABOUT YOURSELF? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
I'm the second-oldest of seven kids raised in Metea, Indiana. (Don't bother looking it up. It's WAY too small!) Being a part of a family that big and living in a house as small as ours, I had to find a way to escape the craziness. Drawing and doodling was it.
I took that hobby with me throughout school and ended up integrating it into graphic/web design in high school. Even though college didn't go as planned, I taught myself most of what I know now and took steps toward freelance work. I'm not doing freelance full time, but I am working for a great local business that's putting my skills to good use.
"Let’s just say he’s one bad dude"
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR NICKNAME FROM?
Ha. Well, it seems that there are a lot of other David Clements' on the internet. That makes it hard to come up with a user name, so I tacked on "427" (my birthday, April 27) and it just kind of stuck. I DO need a cooler nickname, though, don't I?
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
I would really like to say that everything inspires me. The truth is, though, my t-shirts and stickers are inspired by my love of comic books and movies. The cuter designs in my portfolio are inspired by my daughter.
I also like to think to myself, "What would I like to wear?" It's a great motivator.
"I’m very excited for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, so I’ve decided to make yet another Batman-themed shirt. This is from a piece of fan art I did a couple of nights ago on Twitter."
WHEN YOU CREATE A NEW T-SHIRT DESIGN, WHAT SORT OF PROCESS DO YOU FOLLOW?
When I'm not working as a designer at one job, I stock pet food at a grocery store. (Glamorous, right?) Stocking gives me a lot of time to think and let ideas marinate. I usually sit down at a break and sketch my ideas using a couple different styles. After refining it I take it into Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes I add textures with Photoshop. There are some designs that hit me out of the blue and I go straight to the computer without a sketch.
"Even the god of mischief can have good days."
LOOKING AT YOUR OWN PORTFOLIO, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN AND WHY?
I've really only been designing shirts for the past six or eight months, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be "My Spider-Sense Is Tingling". There's just something about it that makes me smile every time I see it. If I had a second favourite, it would be "Han's Best Friend". He's so stinking' cute!
"My daughter and I recently started watching “Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends” (1980s) on Netflix. The dialogue in that show is so cheezy!"
WHAT CURRENT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? AND CAN WE GET AN EXCUSIVE PEEK?
I've got a really cool idea for shirt, but haven't had the time to sit down and figure out how to pull it off. I will say, though, that it involves Iron Man.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNERS?
Favourite designers… hmm.
Kev Brett's stuff is great. He's got a great personality and has given me some great advice on projects in the past. He's my #1 designer.
I'm also a fan of Ray Frenden's style and all of Josh Alve's work.
Some of the illustrators that I follow on Twitter really get my creative juices going, too. Drew Pocza, Eric Merced, Jamie Cosley, and Mike Maihack, just to name a few.
"When I think of George Lucas’ STAR WARS films, I always think back to the time I met Han Solo. Then I always think of his best friend, Chewbacca, calling him “scruffy lookin’”. Classic."
DO YOU TRY TO CONVEY ANY MESSAGE IN YOUR DESIGNS?
I want people to have fun and smile every time they wear a shirt of mine
STAR WARS OR STAR TREK? WHICH DO YOU PREFER?
I'm a Star Wars guy through and through. JJ Abrams' Star Trek is a favourite of mine, though.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Like everyone else designing, I'd love for more people to be enjoying and buying my work. Professionally, I would like to be working with a group of creatives, maybe running a shirt shop. My boss is very open to new ideas, so it's a possibility.
On a personal level, though, I'd love to be writing and drawing my web comic regularly. And there's that storybook I've always wanted to write and publish for my daughter…
WHAT OTHER INTERESTS AND HOBBIES DO YOU HAVE WHEN YOU'RE NOT DESIGNING?
Boy, when am I NOT designing? My family is really special to me, so they're a hobby of sorts. I do video reviews on YouTube, read books, comic books, and watch movies. I'm also a super hero, but I can't reveal which one.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR BUDDING DESIGNERS?
Just go out there and do it! Don't let anyone stop you from creating and perfecting your craft.
ANYONE YOU WANT TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO?
Absolutely! Kev Brett, Alan "Kid Icthus" Myers, Eric Merced, Josh Alves, and Drew Pocza. They've really given me great feedback in the past couple of years and make me want to do better work.
Also, my wife, Wendie, and daughter, Duck. They're the most honest fans when it comes to this part of my life. I wouldn't have it any other way!
"A tribute to many of the suits that Spider-Man has worn in the past 50 years. Happy birthday, Wall Crawler!"
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 ARE YOU GOING TO DESIGN A FIREFLY SHIRT, AS I'M A MASSIVE FAN?
Great question! I'm a big Firefly fan myself. I still need to watch "Serenity", but I'm sure I could come up with a design. Never say never!
Thanks for a really cool interview.
You can buy one of his cool designs over at his Redbubble store.