Welcome to a brand new edition of the Geek Shirts HQ Designer Unlocked Interview series
……..Where we have searched high and low (not side to side!) to find you the best designers.
This week we have a designer from the USA, a designer whose cartoon style is making a name for himself as a hot new designer in the world of independent t shirt designers.I heard, Sam but not born, but made from a computer to design.Made from old ZX Spectrum parts with a little Sega Master System thrown in for good measure, it is a testament to Sam’s talent that he can come up with such complex designs given the hardware that makes him up!When not designing Sam, is often completing binary code at a rate that would astonish most other computers. This gives him the inspiration to design.One of his heroes, Data from Star Trek, has described Sam, “As an adequate designer” praised indeed from one piece of computer hardware to another!
Geek Shirts HQ welcomes Ratigan Designs…The latest designer to get unlocked.
Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from? What is your background? How did you get into design?
My name is Sam Daugherty, I live in Colorado, I'm 21 years old and I have been doing art for as long as I can remember, and I've been using the computer since before I could read.
I've always been really big into watching cartoons and movies. I got into doing pop culture T-shirt designs a little less than a year ago, and it's the most fun I’ve had making money.
Where did you get the name Ratigan Designs?
It come from one of my favourite films "The Great Mouse Detective" starring Vincent Price as Professor Ratigan
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
I watch a lot of movies and cartoons, any and all kinds. Horror, Sci-fi, Cult, Comedy, Anime, Drama, you name it, I try to design for ones that I think still have a following
How would you describe your design style?
It's a cartoony style, I've always loved cartoons and if done correctly they can be so much more expressive than real life. I love doing mash-ups and combining two similar but opposite things.
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
First I get an idea that comes to me either by watching a movie or it just pops into my head randomly. Once I have the vision of what I want it to look like, I sketch it out in a program called Manga Studio. My method is paperless and I do all the drawing on the computer with my Wacom tablet.
When I like the way the sketch looks I then ink it using the same program. After inking I take it into Adobe Illustrator and colour it, shade it, and halftone it.
When it looks the way I want it to, I post it up on Facebook and get feedback from my fellow designers and friends. That is the most crucial step, every time I post what I think is a finished project I end up getting some sort of advice that really makes the design complete.
When all that is done, I submit it to my favourite T-shirt site.
Design Process for Cthulhu Waits T-Shirt
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
My favourite design is "Saturday Morning Eraserhead" based on the surreal and oh so creepy David Lynch movie Eraserhead.
This is my favourite because although it has yet to be picked up by one of the daily sites it seems to be the shirt that gets talked about most.
Eraserhead is not a movie that gets much exposure in the pop-culture t-shirt world, but everyone seems to know it.
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek?
I'm currently working on a mash-up of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Rocky Horror Picture Show
Who are your favourite designers?
Some of my favourite artists are H.R. Giger, Jhonen Vasquez, Jamie Hewlett, Frank Cho, Bruce Timm, and Tim Burton.
When marketing your designs how much focus and importance do you place on social media sites?
Marketing is probably the thing I struggle with most. I do all the advertising I can on sites like Facebook and Tumblr, but haven't quite gotten into using sites like Twitter and Reddit. I always try to get friends to help me spread the word, it's very important to have friends.
A lot of designers use sites like Redbubble and café press to market and sell their designs. Have you thought about setting up your own store?
I do have a Redbubble store, I've never considered having my own physical store if that's what you are asking, I just like to design, I am fine with getting just a small share and letting the companies do all the printing and shipping and such.
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
Not at all, I simply design things I would like to see and then I just hope other people will like them as well.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I’d like to be working on my own cartoon show. I also hope to be able to still have time to do the t-shirt designing thing on the side, but who knows what the one-a-day shirt sites will be like in 10 years, it's hard to know exactly
What do you prefer designing for, something wearable or a print?
I love to design things that are wearable because people are picky about what they want to wear, so you know they really like it when they proudly wear it in public.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
I listen to music, play guitar, watch movies, build models, play videogames, read comics, and go to concerts
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Don't be afraid of getting critiqued, it makes you better. Make friends with other designers, they will help you out tremendously.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
My family, and my beautiful girlfriend Lizzy, for always being so supportive and all the people who help me out with my designs on Facebook, I couldn't possibly list all of them.
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts?
Well they are always available at redbubble and keep an eye out at the daily sites to get good deals.
Add me on Facebook so I can let you know when and where to get them on the daily sites.