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Valentine’s Day Love-Hate Debate!

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Valentine’s Day The infamous February 14th.  The holiday celebrated around the world to express love.  A  romantic, heart-felt, candy-filled day represented by hearts, exchanging Valentine’s and a cherub aiming his bow at love-seeking pedestrians.  You’d think that such a holiday would be cherished by everyone….right?!

Well, apparently not!  While it may seem like everyone is seeing red and pink lately there has been a lot of back and forth regarding whether to love or hate Valentine’s Day.  This controversial topic has inspired Sharpie to host its own debate and find out where YOU stand on the issue.  Maybe you’re that gal who LOVES LOVE and enjoys getting wrapped up in all the Valentine’s Day  hoopla?  Or maybe you’re the kind of guy who claims Valentine’s Day is a greeting card manufactured holiday?!  Whoever you are, whatever side you take,  we want to know!  Express yourself and let your voice be heard!   Be a part of Sharpie’s first ever

 Love-Hate Debate!

HOW IT WORKS!

Share YOUR OPINION February 1st through 14th!  Tell us if you Love or Hate Valentine’s Day by:

  1. Make a video and uploading it to YouTube (post a video response in the comment section) on: http://www.youtube.com/SharpieUS
  2. Join Sharpie’s Fan page and leave your comments and photos on our wall: http://www.facebook.com/Sharpie
  3. Follow the discussion on Twitter and respond directly to @SharpieSusan with a #SharpieDebate hashtag

Need some inspiration?  To kick things off we took our question to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to find out what people had to say about Valentine’s Day!  Check out the first series of videos to see what was said!  Come back throughout the next two weeks to see more of what Chicagoans had to say on this hot topic:

 

 

 

We will be posting more Michigan Ave. interviews and sharing your uploaded videos and pics February 1st through February 14th so check back every day to see what’s new!

Check out SharpieUncapped for more details tied to the debate!

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Well I’ll be a Sharpie’s Uncle!

Artists have all different quirks, types of personalities and styles, hence such creativity and self-expression!  For instance, maybe you’re  the shy-pensive photographer, or perhaps you know a  moody- heart broken sculptor, how about those out-of-the-box, off the wall painters (Warhol anyone?).  The list can go on and on… but by chance, have you heard of The Gross Uncle?  In short, The Gross Uncle encompasses all sorts of personality and talent beyond compare (see question 3 for an accurate formula).  Unfortunately for you, Fortunately for him, there is and can be only ONE “Gross Uncle.”  Let me introduce you to him.. 

Grant Gilliland, artist, uncle and super model

Grant Gilliland: Artist, Uncle, Super Model

 

 Grant Gilliland aka “The Gross Uncle” is a cartoonist and illustrator with a style COMPLETELY his own.  One cool aspect about this artist is that at your request he will put his Sharpie marker to work, sketching anything you wish and ship it out to you for a measly 20 bucks!! (One-of-a-kind art? Yes please!  Placing my order as we stare at monitors) Turning a cool hobby into a career, Gilliland strives to enjoy life, have fun and create work that he loves, while being confident in all that he does.  Combining big talent with an even bigger personality, this young artist has a long and successful road ahead of him.  Let’s dive right into it and find out more about this Sharpie artist…   

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 Tell me about yourself!    Hello! My name is Grant Gilliland; I have a blog called “The Gross Uncle” and I love to draw and make things.  I spend the majority of my time drawing cartoons and illustrations for all sorts of reasons…sometimes for clients, sometimes just for fun.  I am based in San Francisco, originally from Ohio, a place where I spent a great deal of time playing and being creative.  As I recall, I also went to high school there, but really all I remember is skateboarding and making funny home movies with my friends.  I also enjoy coffee, bike riding, daydreaming about absurd images, scouring the web for inspiration, and meeting new people.  How did you get started as an artist?  What kind of experience do you have?   I started my artistic career in my high chair, cranking out crayon-styled depictions of geometric cars, amorphous birds, and freakishly proportioned people. I would probably stop a minute to spit up or scream some gibberish towards the sky, then after wiping my face and getting something to drink, it was back to work… Come to think of it, not much has changed since then…besides the fact that I use a regular chair now. 

 When I was a little older, I took art classes after school and then once I got too cool (air quotes) for those, I started making comics with some of my friends.  I went to The Columbus College of Art & Design in 2001 and got super-inspired there - It’s when I started to take art a bit more seriously. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Illustration, I balanced a part-time job as a barista with freelance work.  I started getting my feet wet and figuring out my style and eventually met up with my agent, Scott Hull in 2007.  I am still pretty new to the world of freelance illustration and am looking forward to what things I am inspired to make in the future.    

 

Gilliland's work displayed at an art show

Gilliland's work displayed at an art show

 How would you describe your personal style?  This personal style recipe yields one to two editorial illustrations, one overworked 4×4 painting and about half a dozen blog posts with too much writing, it serves an infinite number of portions if rationed correctly. 

  • 1/2 cup of season 1 Ren & Stimpy mix
  • 4 tsp of Surrealism
  • 1 page of The Maxx comic book, shredded
  • 2 small vinyl figures from Kid Robot (under $40), massaged in oil
  • 1 Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge (Sega Genesis), quartered and cut into large pieces
  • Pictoplasma to taste
  • 1 pot strong black coffee
  • sarcasm to taste

Directions:  Mix in a blender. Pour over a 4 year art-school education, slowly adding strong black coffee to the batter, while playing a post-punk mixtape in the background. Sprinkle sarcasm over the condensed result. Let bake in the California sun for four years, and enjoy.  

SharpiemanWhere do you draw inspiration from?  I spend a lot of time absorbing podcasts, YouTube videos, music, comedy albums, you name it… I just like hearing creative material from people.  If there is a sense that they know what they’re doing and have their own voice, usually I’m game to listen.  I get in these modes where I get into a certain podcast and just listen to it nonstop…even if I don’t really like it all that much or wouldn’t want someone to walk in on me listening to it.  I will go into the archives and listen to the whole thing – sometimes I will listen to the same episode several times.  I guess I’m sort of sponge-like when it comes to most things…sometimes vaguely loofa-like, but rarely.  How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?  What is your favorite Sharpie?!   I like the way Sharpie markers make a nice strong line.  I have used other pens in the past, but I always ended up coming back to Sharpie for their consistent quality.  I love the way they draw on laser jet photo paper…so smooth!  I like the regular fine-point Sharpie marker…I have about two dozen lying around at any given time. 

 Where did you come up with the idea to sell $20 Sharpie drawings?  How does this work?  wanted to sell something on my blog that was affordable and fun for me to make.  The cool thing about doing these drawings is that I get to post them on the blog and say who they are for and where they are being mailed.  People seem to like the idea, and each drawing is made just for them. Also, it’s really helped me loosen up…the more people that order the drawings, the better they will get because of all the great drawing practice I’m getting. All you need to do to get your own is email me at seegrantdraw@yahoo.com and ask! I am open to creative suggestions and I will gladly draw your dog. 

What children’s books have you illustrated for?   Just one.  The book is called “Theo” and there is a blog where you can check the whole thing out (http://theobook.blogspot.com).  The book was conceived and written by the talented author Kentucky Lim.  We are planning a whole series of books together.    

Theo

So tell me, do you have a gross uncle or are you the Gross Uncle?  Maybe I should just ask this: Where did you come up with the name for your blog? 

 I him!  He me!  We be me!

…Actually, the whole alias came about one summer when I was thinking about how great and sneaky it would be to have this “alter ego” that I could get extra illustration work as.  So there’s Grant with his cute little round style and then there’s The Gross Uncle with his bizarre, awkward, hairy drawings…and all the time it’s just one guy.  I basically scrapped the idea when I decided to use the name for my blog, so I just ended up mixing elements from the two styles over time.  Nowadays, The Gross Uncle moniker gets used the most when I participate in gallery shows…seems to fit…and it’s easier to say than my last name.   

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If you could design for any one person who would it be? Why?  I would design for the auto-tune machine because that’s the most popular singer these days.  Other than that, I have made a character design for my friend Donny Papermaker…he’s pretty famous on the YouTube nation. 

 I’m curious…What do you think is the “funniest looking appendage” and why?  Great question! I like the nose. That’s an appendage, right?  There are just so many great ways to make a nose…you can abstract it and add all sorts of funny joints and angles and planes that shouldn’t be there and it can really add a lot in terms of visual punch.  If your drawing is looking real good, then you could put a blue nose on a guy and it could work. 

Laser Portrait

Hippie Style

Tattoos

Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?  I’m finally getting back around to working on a cartoon show called “Touch Base with Gregg Sween.”  The show is basically a cartoon version of a daytime talk show…it started out as a puppet show that my friend Patrick Kouse and I did last summer.  We performed the whole show live at Fivepoints Arthouse in San Francisco – we only did it twice. We haven’t touched it for a year and now I think it’s time for us to get back in touch with our inner thespians (cue laughter here).   

Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?  Yes. Can you direct me to the Instant Sharpie Replacement Hotline?  That would be nice.  I’d put it on speed dial and then a Sharpie representative can send new pens to my house in 2-3 business days. You accept drawings as payment, right?  (Grant, you can reach me (the Sharpie Rep) at 1-800 illlosemyjob) -cue sarcasm here : )   

 

 Do you have any advice for other young artists? It’s always important to be into what you’re doing for the fun of it.  No matter what circumstances you are under in life, fun plays a major role.  Just being in a good mood can really negate and remove (even permanently) any real or perceived obstacles in life.  Also just keep the world up to date on what you’re doing…post blog entries about it, take progress pictures, share…being active is more important than being really good.What do you hope for in 2010?  There are some major projects that I hope to finish either this year or next…patience can be tough.  Honestly, just to be happy and satisfied with life sounds nice…to be happy with whatever I am working on without doubting it and to spend the rest of my time playing.  

He desgins shoes too!

 

  

Find out more about how Grant Uncaps What’s Inside on his website: www.seegrantdraw.com

Check out Grant’s blog: www.thegrossuncle.com!

Want more? Follow him on Twitter and take a look at more of his art on Flickr

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The Character Behind Character Design

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Meet Character Designer and new favorite Sharpie artist, Marc Perry!  I hunted down this amazing artist and all around great guy through good ‘ol Google a while back.  When I came across his blog, I found that he draws TONS of Sharpie doodles and posts them write to his own site www.studio5.blogspot.com.  This immediatley sparked my interest and I had to know who was the character behind such creativity!

Marc’s passion for style in design and exploring new and different ideas keeps things new and fresh in terms of animation, personal art and personal projects.  You may recognize this artist’s work from several popular animated television series including Ren & Stimpy, Johnny Bravo and Tiny Toon Adventures. 

Get to know Marc Perry, the person and the artist, and take a closer look at a collection his Sharpie renderings, right here on the Sharpie blog!  Here’s some background info on MP to get things rollin’…

Born and raised in North Carolina, Marc Perry started drawing at a young age, right around 3 or 4. Influenced by many different artists and styles, very much so by cartoon and animation, Perry uprooted to Southern California to work as a Character Designer in animation. 

boyWhen did you first realize you were an artist? I guess the first time was back in early elementary school.  I was always drawing and creating characters, cars, jets, spaceships and creatures from my imagination or getting inspiration from magazines and books.  I even started selling some of my drawings to classmates and making special pieces for my friends.

Many years later, while working in retail before my animation career, I discovered that one of my coworkers, an old classmate, had bought one of my drawings and still had it after so many years! *Just a bit of trivia here, one of my tattoos is a character from a major influence of mine and is a tribute to him and the inspiration his work gave me.

When was your first big break?  My first big break, I think was an opportunity offered to me by Paul Strickland (which I will always appreciate and never forget).  Briefly, the story goes like this…Once Upon a Time… No really, it was like this –-  I was working in a completely unrelated field, yet had always been drawing and tried on numerous occasions to get into animation unsuccessfully.  I made a call to Warner Bros. looking for the animation department and was connected to Paul Strickland with whom I spoke about my dream of working in animation since I was a kid.  Paul was attached as a line producer to a new show called Tiny Toon Adventures and said a new director was coming on and in need of an assistant.  To make a long story short, I made the trip to LA on the possibility of this job, was hired started that very day, which looking back now was some 20 years ago.

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I want to know all about how you started using Sharpie markers as one of your primary sketching and drawing mediums!  For many years now, Sharpie markers have been one of my primary drawing and sketching tools in character design, concept and development sketching.  The story of how I first started using Sharpie goes something like this…

When my daughter was born I found it difficult to use my usual medium, Prismacolor colored pencils or Tombo pencils, both of which require sharpening.  Since I wasn’t able to use my sharpener due to the noise, I needed to find a quiet replacement.  I found that a black Sharpie marker and heavy laser print quality paper were the ideal combination.  The Sharpie was great for line quality and the paper wouldn’t cause the ink to bleed (*Sounds like he could’ve used a Sharpie Pen, it doesn’t bleed through paper!).  The Sharpie helped me to improve my drawing technique as it’s lack of erasability made me plan ahead to what and how I was going to draw.  The permanent ink aspect was great because I was able to do colored marker comps. directly on the drawings without bleeding or smudging.

I also found that the use of a whiteout pen would allow me to make line corrections without changing the overall drawing, its look or its feel, which sometimes happens when cleaning up a drawing. 

What is your work environment like?  My work environment usually is at an animation desk, with an animation disc or at a large art table where I have access to paper, markers, paint and inspirational sources, such as books, art, and drawings.

3 things that must be within an arms length at work:

  1. Paper (laser print quality or newsprint sketch paper).
  2. Sharpie fine point markers, wide chisel tip markers, Tombo markers and my whiteout pen.
  3. Basic colored markers and pencils for working up quick doodle colors or comp. ideas.

manI read that you designed a character after your daughter.  Have you modeled any others after people in your life? How do you come up with them?

The best way I could describe how I come up with characters is by doodling with shapes, playing with different postures and adding features that help to represent the type, size, shape, attitude among other incidental features that give the character personality.  Most of the time, when I work on shows, it usually calls for creating characters for a special scene or episode based on a set style.  It is fun and challenging to create memorable characters that stand out.

With the new technology that’s out there today, what has been the most difficult part of keeping up with changes in animation?

Technology, software programs and new drawing mediums, such as the Wacom Tablet and Cintiq have changed how a great deal of production is done.  The addition of these tools and software has, for the most part, made things cleaner to work with and less wasteful, as far as materials go.  Changes and Effects, for instance, can be done very quickly and with fewer staff. 

On the other side, things have become more specialized or technical, especially with the creation of CG where people are experts of specific areas.  CG has been a boom to the entertainment industry and has allowed characters and worlds to take on a whole new reality.  With the advancement continuing and now the popularity of 3D in theaters, it appears that the old artistry of hand creation has been lost and the new generation will know nothing of traditional animation or that what they see now is only advancement do in thanks to computers and technological developments.

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 I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands of elements that go into TV/Film. What specifics are you involved in? As a Character Designer, I am responsible for the creation of characters, both main and incidental, that will be used in the animation.  Sometimes the Character Designer will create the props that will be used in the animation as well.

In my last few productions, I have been involved with Visual and Concept Development, and following that through into Art Direction.

What are the best/worst parts about your job? I would honestly say that there really isn’t a worst part, it’s more the nature of the Television and Film Entertainment industry.  Those in “The Industry” know first hand that it isn’t your usual steady 9-5 job.  There are those lucky times where you can get connected with a show/series that has a long run with little to no down time, but that’s usually not the standard.  More often than not, you work on a show or series for a specified number of episodes; once those are completed there’s usually some down time or a hopefully brief layoff period until there is a decision regarding additional pickup. 

Sometimes, when multiple shows are in production you can be reassigned to another series if needed and could fit the style.  Most of the time, however, towards the end of a series you begin scrambling and searching for a new a new show to be a part of.  So, I suppose the feeling of instability, then, would be the “worst” part of my job, or the industry as a whole. 

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Now, the best part of my job – It’s a lot of fun and satisfying to be able to use specific talents and abilities and to have a career in entertaining yourself and others.  Whatever parts of the industry you work in, I think there is a certain pride you take in your work, both as an individuals and part of a collaborative team, bringing fun and entertainment to an audience.

 As a Character Designer, I have fun creating new and different characters all the time from my imagination and seeing them come to life.  As a Visual Concept Designer and Art Director, the enjoyment is creating new and imaginative characters and environments and then overseeing the visual creative process through to completion.

 

Can you tell me about what you’re working on now?  Currently, I am working on personal projects and development for my own show and series ideas.  I’m also working on ways to branch off into areas where I can produce and sell my non-animation art commercially through products, merchandise, books, or through selected galleries.

Do you have any goals that you’re working toward? I think the biggest goal for most of us in animation or as artists, for that matter, is just working and making a living.  You always have goals; it’s part of human nature, yet for artists it is usually not easy to obtain many of the ones you dream of unless everything just happens to fall into place.  I have always had big dreams and the desire to work at obtaining them, many, I can happily say, have come true and are not even art related. 

Basic CMYKLooking back, knowing what you know now, what would you want to 10 yr old Marc Perry to know?  This may come as a surprise, but….I would probably tell him to choose another career path other than art!  Being an athlete my whole life, I would probably suggest picking a sport where I could become a professional or at least use that talent to get a scholarship to a University for something in the medical field, such as becoming a surgeon, where I could use my hands and eyes for something greater!

Favorite Sharpie: The one I wrote the draft to answer these questions, a black Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker.  I have used these for so many character designs and concept designs, I can’t even recall.

Favorite Characters: Good question, hard to answer.  My style influence is classically based on the designers of the ’50s (stylistic and disgnee) and Retro, as it is referred to as now (flat and stylistic).  So, I would say my favorites are characters, yes, but more importantly are my favorite designers of character design.  Most of these people have been and continue to be my inspiration for many and different reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Ed Benedict
  • Tom Oreb
  • Ward Kimball
  • Mary Blair
  • Hawley Pratt
  • Bill Hurt
  • John Hubley
  • Gene Deitch
  • Jack Cole
  • Eric Sokol
  • Eldon Dedini
  • Miroslav Sasek
  • Aurelius Battaglia
  • Ed “Big Daddy” Roth

The last thing I’d Like to share is… To be able to do what I do, turning something you love and would do for free into a career is great!  To bring that fun and entertainment to others is something I think a lot of people in the industry enjoy.  I’d also like to add a word of thanks to the people who have enjoyed some of the work I’ve done and hopefully will continue doing for a long time.  I thank you all.  It’s all appreciated.  A special Thanks to Whitney Kelly who found my work and invited me to share. Best! MPerry.

***

Thank YOU Marc, for this incredible interview and all the great art you produce!  Be sure to visit Mr. MP at his very own site for more of his work and info!  www.studio5.blogspot.com.

*Uploaded your favorite Sharpie pics onto the Sharpie Uncapped Gallery.

*Become a Fan of Sharpie on Facebook!

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The ‘SHARP’ in ‘SHARPWOOD’

Looking to add a little color into your home?

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…Take a tip from Karen Edwards, a wife, mother, and full-time college administrator who has taken her hobby to a whole new level! Making old things new again, Edwards is the chief operator of SHARPWOOD, a line of re-worked home décor, musical instruments, utensils and more, all of which are designed by hand!  Her very first designs can be found on basement pipes, switch plate covers, old dresser drawers, however since then Edwards has graduated to front doors, table settings, even guitars! Check out how Karen Edwards uses Sharpie Permanent Markers to turn drab into fab!

“SHARPWOOD products have been salvaged from their misguided fate because of their inherent beauty and potential for re-design!”

Where does the name SHARPWOOD come from? SHARP refers to the Sharpie markers that I draw with, and WOOD refers to the medium I usually work on.  In our household, “SHARPWOOD” has become a verb!  The other day, I was wearing a dress with a lot of detailed designs in the fabric and my 6 year old asked me, “Mama – did you SHARPWOOD your dress?”

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Where do you salvage these items from? Do you stick to your hometown? Stumble upon them?  Travel to find pieces?  Most pieces were found at second-hand shops or garage sales. I have a hard time driving by either without making a quick stop. My extended family is also in the habit of noticing treasures when they second hand shop. Sometimes when walking into a 2nd hand shop I feel like a kid in a candy store, how do you decide among pieces that you want to re-design? I’m picky about the pieces I buy. I look for unique shapes and features. If the piece doesn’t inspire me, it just sits in the basement and gets passed by as I pick the next thing to work on.

How long have you been “re-designing” items? I’ve only been doing this for a couple years. I picked it up when I was between jobs. I’ve done at least 60 pieces… I started with a pair of candle sticks – I just looked at them and thought “I could make those look better!” The next thing I knew, I wanted to draw on everything in the house!

SAharpwood CUpYou mentioned that SHARPWOOD is your hobby, what other things are you interested in? I’m a wife and the mother of two active boys. I’m also a full time administrator at a selective liberal arts college, working to support our international student population. I love culture and travel and my art is inspired by my interest in ethnic arts, designs and colors.

What is your favorite piece that you have worked on? A number of favorites are in my home – chairs, light switch covers, even my front door. My favorite piece on my site is the Masai Chalis – my father-in-law found this very unique piece at a sale in Minnesota. In the end, though, my absolute favorite project was a guitar that I decorated for a friend.

I LOVE the SHARPWOOD Treasure cup! What kind of treasure would you fill this vessel up with?! I like that one too. I imagine it holding unique stones or coins from someone’s travels…

 Your designs are beautiful, so detailed! Where do you draw inspiration from – A certain culture or era, perhaps? I notice designs and patterns in things – fabric, wrapping paper, stationery… I love ethnic food, clothing, art, and culture – especially with South Asian or African origins, so some patterns come from that. I can’t really trace a specific source.

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What is the design process like? Give us the play-by-play! I don’t usually plan a piece, I just start working it and the design develops. Sometimes I find myself working with the wood grain, to trace a line in the wood or in the workmanship, but usually it is very random. I like to leave negative space so the color of the wood comes through, but that doesn’t always happen either. One design or color determines the next. I like to cover the surface, and then add texture and layers with dots and metallics.

Where do Sharpie Markers come into play? What kinds do you use? Favorite Sharpie? I’ve used a variety of permanent ink pens, but Sharpies are the most vibrant, last longer, maintain the tips, and offer great color variety. I tend to use deep colors, metallics, and a lot of black. I mainly use fine point markers, though the ‘big boy’ version works well on larger pieces (like my front door). I also like to use brush tip pens – but they are very hard to find.

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At a dinner party, let’s say, do you ever find yourself having to hold your hand back from snatching up the salad bowl? YES! I’ve actually snagged a few pieces that way! One day I was in a meeting with a colleague and actually asked him if I could SHARPWOOD his lamp. It was an old ugly thing, heavy wood, and I was just sitting there distracted thinking “That is an ugly lamp that COULD be made really funky!” He didn’t let me take it, and I was bummed and slightly embarrassed. I also find myself wanting to do more inside my home, which was built in 1904. I would LOVE to SHARPWOOD our old oak banister!

 sharpie on sharpwood  cup

 Is there any item that you haven’t been able to find or would love to work on? The guitar turned out really well – I’d love to do another.  It would need to come as a custom request, though, so I suppose that isn’t too likely. I also love to tuck words into the designs, so I enjoy custom pieces that can have meaning for people. 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? I usually have several pieces going at once. My front door is a work in progress, and I’m also working on a drum shell, a pair of book ends, and a headboard right now. Yesterday, I ran across a figurine of a mother pig with 2 baby pigs – I might start working on that one tonight (it will be very fun)!

You can Find & Purchase SHARPWOOD at etsy.com The full internet address is http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6051638

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These pieces will not only liven up your own space but this is a great gift idea too! 

 Head on over to your local second-hand shop to see what you can find.  Better yet, take a look around your house – go back into your crawl space, climb up to the attic and pull out a piece that can be given a new life! 

For more DIY check out www.sharpieuncapped.com

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Kickin’ it…Sharpie Style

We constantly hear about how celebs and large companies use social media tools to attract attention-  whether it’s Oprah broadcasting live via Skype, Taylor Swift selling ## albums off her MySpace page, or Starbucks promoting a contest on Flickr, big names are taking over the social media circuit.  Well, move over Harpo, put down the mic Tay, and cool it caffeinated Mermaid, there’s a new kid in town…

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Let me introduce you to Peter Mullin, the mastermind behind the creativity, the art, and of course, the cool factor of OPC Kicks.  Since sixth grade, Mullins has been using sneakers as his canvas- transforming them, with paint and Sharpie markers, into virtually new shoes!  Soon after rockin’ his custom kicks around school, his friends wanted in on the action!

“Ever since I did my first pair, I started getting used shoes from my friends and customizing their shoes.”   

Realizing his potential and that of his product, Mullins began selling OPC Kicks on Ebay.  Wanting to spread the brand further, he created an OPC Kicks page on Facebook where he could promote and show off his shoes.  After receiving so much positive feedback, this sneaker savant is now designing and selling both new and used custom designed shoes to people all over the internet! 

What DREW (pun-intended) you to painting shoes?  I always have had a love for shoes; my favorite thing to do was to find the craziest shoes on the market.  Then I wanted cooler and more colorful shoes that were exclusive - that no one else could have.

opckicks1Be honest…how many pairs of shoes do you own? And Does the shoe have to match the outfit?  Haha!  This is probably one of my favorite questions to be asked…My mom and Dad think I’m crazy, but I have 31 pairs of shoes.  I have my favorites, including my customs, some very rare Nike Dunks and, of course Jordans.  There is nothing better then waking up and looking at which pair to pick, and especially putting a new pair on!   But NO… my shoes don’t always match the outfit.  Sometimes though, because the girls like itand I like to match too.  But sometimes I just like wearing whatever shorts I have clean so that people can see the full image of the shoes I am wearing. I also like when they POP out more than my clothes.

Why did you choose Facebook.com to be a main outlet to spread the word about your business?  When more and more people started asking to see my work and not having a way to show them, I made a profile for OPC KICKS.  It was easy to create and easy for friends to get to.  Once I created the page I was getting crazy friend requests and getting awesome messages from people supporting the shoes and my business. That got me more and more pumped up to work harder and keep on putting up more pictures.  It just seemed like people were using Facebook a lot more then other sites.

Well, now that our friendship is OFFICIAL seeing as we are FaceBook friends and all… I read on your profile that you only paint Air Force Ones.  Why is that?  Where do you get them? I have [worked on] other types of shoes before and they never ended up looking as good as the Air Force Ones. I like the Nike Air Force Ones because they are so simple and everyone (especially me) loves Nike. It seems like they were made to be customized because they have good sized proportions to be painted. To me, Nike Air Force Ones seem to be the most clean and original shoes to ever hit the shoe market.  I have an awesome shoe connect too, who I met on Ebay.  I bought my first case of 16 shoes from him, one of the biggest purchases at that time, and was nervous of a scam but then two days later; sure enough a huge box was waiting on my front porch when I got home from school.  Ever since that first case, I would just call and tell him when I needed more and he would ship them out.   Now he ships me 3-4 cases of shoes at a time, at an amazing price!

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Do you know every word to Air Force Ones by Nelly? Haha No. I do not.  I like the song a lot but I’m more of a Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne fan.

What kind of Sharpie markers do you use on OPC Kicks? Favorite Sharpie? I use the original fine point Sharpie.  My favorite Sharpie color is RED, but I defiantly use BLACK the most.   Each pair I do has Sharpie on it somewhere, whether it is outlining, detailed designs, or putting someone’s name or a number on the shoe.

Why Sharpies? Why do you like them? Sharpie markers are the bomb, they never come of the shoes, and I can add more detail that can’t really be done with a paint brush!

sharpie fine pt

What goes into designing a shoe? How long does it take? Usually I like to free hand my shoes, especially the ones sold on Ebay. But I also get a lot of orders from people wanting specific designs or colors.  On an order like that, I draw it up to show what the shoe will look like and make sure it is exactly what the person wants.  After that I have to rub down the shoes with a special chemical to take of the factory gloss finish from the leather.   After mixing paint with the right chemicals, [making his own paint cuts costs by 10-15 dollars] I GO TO WORK! 

Time really depends on how complex the paint job is.  I can finish some, complete and ready to wear, in 3 hours.  Others, I could spend up to 10 hours on.   I try to work on 3 to 4 shoes at a time which saves time while paint is drying.opckicks5

How do you cover up/correct a mistake? If you ever do you ever mess up, that is! Not perfect yet…but if I mess up I can rub it right off before the paint dries. I try to keep the steadiest hand I possible.  Messing up with Sharpie isn’t too noticeable but if it is either I try to make it into a whole new free hand design or start all over on a new pair!  And that big of a mess has only ever happened twice!

Do you have any funny stories using Sharpie markers that you could share? The really funny ones are just drawing on somebody with Sharpie when they fall asleep!  One time, my friend fell asleep really early at a family graduation party and the parents were not too happy about that.  He had his shirt off already so, four friends and I got as many Sharpies together as we could find and went crazy on him!   Drawing full-body Sharpie art all over him – including drawing a TUXEDO and whatever else we could think of, all over him.

tuxedoshirt*Note*  Sharpie does not support or promote the drawing/writing on your own or others’ skin with Sharpie permanent ink.

Who are your main buyers? A lot are from school, as well as people who have heard about me and have personal orders.  I’ve been getting a lot of calls from moms wanting custom shoes to give to their sons or daughters as birthday or graduation presents.  The bulk of my shoes, I would say, are definately sold through Ebay.

opckicks7If you could design a shoe for any one person (athlete, celebrity, musician, politician, singer, etc.) who would it be? That’s a pretty hard question…but if I were to choose one it would probably be Kanye West.  He is always wearing some of the craziest shoes, plus I really like his older music.

Does every shoe have a different design or do you make several of each? A lot of my shoes are one-of-a-kind, especially personal orders.  If they’re just a certain color scheme that sold high, I’ll make more.  BUT if the listing says “One-of-a-Kind,” there will never be another pair made like it.

Aside from painting some really cool sneakers, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time? I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. I spend a good amount of time with my friends, but when I’m not with them, I love playing lacrosse, the original Halo 2 every once in a while, playing roller hockey, and just chilling and enjoying the free time.

Look into your crystal-Air Force One OPC Kicks- ball, now, what do you see for the future OPC Kicks?  I love the creative questions!   I would really like to start designing more and more shoes.  After a couple vacations this summer, I am going do be working on shoes like none other.  Once I start planning more time to work, I think OPC Kicks is going to start blowing up a lot more!   If things go really well during the school year, I would love to open up my own boutique, or maybe start a website throughout college then open the store…  I’d love to just do shoes all day but I like keeping my good grades and am getting very excited to go to college

opckicks10

Where can we find OPC Kicks? You can find me on Ebay!  I have 3 accounts right now and in about a week, I’m going to have a ton of new customs shoes up! 

Most Used:  opckicks

Second Used: opc_kicks

Third Used: opc_kicks09

Anything else you’d like to add?  Staying in contact with you [Sharpie] has made me want to work harder and harder!  So I would just like to thank you for keeping in touch!   [what a nice guy! Sharpie loves OPC Kicks!]

***Be sure to satisfy your OPC Kicks craving by checking out Peter’s custom designed sneakers on Ebay and ‘Friend’ OPC Kicks on Facebook!  

UNCAP WHAT’S INSIDE!

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Sharpie Prom

 

"A lot of people didn’t believe me that the dress and suit were done in Sharpie, I guess the idea sounded a little crazy to some people. Others thought we bought them, but little did they know both the dress and the suit started out completely white."

“A lot of people didn’t believe me that the dress and suit were done in Sharpie, I guess the idea sounded a little crazy to some people. Others thought we bought them, but little did they know both the dress and the suit started out completely white.”

HEguys and girls! With the new school season about to start… who says it’s too early to start planning PROM!?? You only have one right? Well, see how Amy decked out her prom outfit… and she probably saved a fortune doing it.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to make outfits for prom?

Ekbom: It was actually my boyfriend who made me think of it. He wanted to wear a suit that looked absolutely ridiculous, and we already owned a white suit and a white dress, so I figured we could save some money and look extra unique by having matching outfits. 

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Q: How big is your Sharpie collection?

Ekbom: I have a good sized box full of Sharpie markers, and Sharpie products only. During the process of making the dress & suit I was constantly running out of black markers, so over the period of time that I was making them, I probably bought a pack of black markers every other week.  Sharpie was the only product I would trust with a project like this. The colors are bold and vibrant, and from my experience of using them they never run.  I wanted to use something that I knew I could trust to look good, and last long. There was really no second guessing myself with what I was going to use.

Q: What specific Sharpie tools do you use? Markers, pens, etc.
Ekbom:
I use the standard fine point permanent markers, ultra-fine point markers, retractable markers, water based (and a few oil based) paint markers, and my personal favorite Sharpie Accent highlighter liquid pens. 

Before and After

Before and After

What a date!

What a date!

Look at those designs. Look at those designs.

sleeve

Q:How long does it take you to make an outfit (on average)?
Ekbom:
For this particular project, I worked on and off from the time I found out the date of prom. Overall it took about 2 or 3 months to complete. Although it could have been a shorter amount of time if I wasn’t also busy with school work.

Q: What’s your favorite outfit/piece of the outfit?
Ekbom:
My favorite piece out of the whole set was the dress, not only because I got to wear it but it was a bigger canvas and the material was a lot easier to draw on.

Q: What were people’s reactions after seeing your Sharpie prom outfits? 
Ekbom:
A lot of people didn’t believe me that the dress and suit were done in Sharpie, I guess the idea of that sounded a little crazy to some people. Others thought we bought them, but little did they know both the dress and the suit started out completely white.

tim 018Q: Have you had any requests from friends or family to make their prom outfits?
Ekbom:
I have actually had no requests for another prom outfit, but people ask me all the time if I will draw on other articles of clothing, or just draw them a picture.

Q: Do you draw on other “everyday clothing” or was this a one time thing?
Ekbom:
I suppose this all started when I drew on a hat (worn in the picture) for my boyfriend. Since then I’ve used Sharpie to draw on 4 different hats, the prom outfits, and pair of pants and 2 shirts. I’m hoping to get a pair of white Converse and draw on them as well.

Learn more about Amy! www.myspace.com/cool_kid_with_amyspace 

Amy’s Contact: xoamyox38@yahoo.com

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Put a Sharpie “Schwager” in your step

rob-schwagerRob Schwager is a  freelance illustrator and graphic designer.  He lives in Florida where he has built a well-respected name for himself within the industry producing amazing artwork.  Born and raised in Chicago, Schwager is now living his dream, working as an artist.  Through hard work, “determination and a desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances,” he continues to create art that people can’t get enough of! And he’s one of the coolest artists I’ve talked with.  Not only is he super creative, he has a great personality and an awesome sense of humor!  Rob Schwager is one artist you’ll definitely want to collect. 

Rob’s art runs the gamut.  He’s into all kinds of stuff like “lowbrow art, comic books, Fleischer cartoons, nose art, pickelhaubes, pin-up girls, vinyl art toys, cyanotypes, acrylics, oils, hot rods, kustom kulture, pinstripes, tattoos, tiki stuff, chicago gangsters, vintage metal signs, screen printing.”   Rob says he likes fabricating stuff with his hands, listening to old school punk rock (the classic stuff, late 70′s early 80′s), making rock posters, ‘zines, digital painting, etc…

But  I’ll let him tell it in his own words:

spiderman

So how did you get started in art?  Like most kids, I spent too much time watching cartoons and doodling.  After being introduced to Punk Rock in the early 80′s, I started designing album covers, t-shirts and flyers for various punk bands I was friends with in Chicago.  This led to abundant work as a silkscreen* concert poster artist, supplying hand crafted promotional posters to bands and venues across the country.  I eventually fulfilled a childhood dream and became an artist working on mainstream comic books.  I’ve spent the last 20 years working on such classic icons as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. My work has helped shape comic book pop-culture as we know it today. I’ve often been credited as being a well-respected rising force in the art of color for the comic book industry. Most recently, I’ve been featured in the best selling book, The Art of Modern Rock, as well as, Kustom Graphics: Hot Rods, Burlesque and Rock ‘n’ Roll, from Korero Books.

*FYI: Silk Screening (or screen printing), is a printing method where ink is forced through areas of a silk screen that aren’t blocked out with an impermeable (water resistant) substance.  A roller, squeegee or sponge is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink into the open areas of the fabric (there’s a little bit of my Warhol knowledge for ya ).

What sets you apart from other artists? What makes you stand out in a room of artists?!  My determination and desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances.

dgen-schwager

I see that you liked to read comics as a kid?  Favorite comic book? Would you ever start your own?  Yep, I loved comics when I was a kid!  I learned to read by reading Spider-man comics – That’s always been my favorite.  I do have some ideas for a comic series of my own.  Maybe someday, but for now, I’m quite content having built a nice career spanning 20 years working in the comic book industry as a digital colorist.gogogs2

So you like old school punk rock, huh?!  Favorite band?  Have you made posters for any of your favorite groups?  I grew up on the music of old school punk rock.  A lot of Chicago stuff Naked Raygun, Effigies, etc…  Also other bands like Social Distortion, Cro-mags, UK Subs, the Damned and Bad Brains…  And yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to make posters for some of my favorite bands and meet them!   I kinda geeked a bit when I met the Go-Go’s.  Jane (Wiedlin) was such a sweetie when I asked her to sign my poster. I shot pool for a while with Mike Ness from Social D.  I’ve hung with the DGeneration guys too!  My favorite was that I had a series of long rambling messages on my answering machine from Joey Ramone when I did a poster for him. I wish I would’ve saved that.

Just out of curiosity…seriously, is SCHWAGER really your last name (I’m slightly jealous & want a cool last name too) ?   Yep!  It’s my real name.  First generation American and damn proud of it too!

How do you incorporate Sharpie markers into your work?  I started using Sharpie mostly for accent work on my paintings.  A little line here or there….  But Sharpie water-based paint markers are my favorite!  I started using them to paint custom toys for gallery shows.  Sharpies are easy to use; there is a nice array of colors to choose from and variations in line weight.  I just wish you guys made a flesh tone color (editor’s note:  we make an almond color which is perfect for pale skin tones).  It would work wonders for me with my pin-up nose-art work.

dontfeedtheanimalsWhat does the creation process involve? 

1)Planning out my graphic

2)Transferring the design to the substrate

3)Busting out the Sharpies and going to town!

You’ve done a lot of different types of work, poster art, designing apparel, cyanotypes..you name it, you’ve done it!  What are your personal favorites?  I really enjoy doing my faux nose-art inspired bomber panels.  From the fabrication, to the painting to the distressing, an all-around good time.  I just wish there were more hours in the day, because I’d love to make them non-stop if I could!cherrybomber01

What has been your most well-received art?  It’s a tie between my bomber panels and my cyanotypes.  The cyanotypes are more affordable to most folks, but the bomber panels really leave most folks awestruck when they walk into a room and see them hanging on the wall.

What are you currently working on?  Well, I’m in the process of setting up a print shop so I can start running my own art prints.  It’s been over a decade since I pulled a screen printing squeegee, but I’m really looking forward to it!

What do you see for the future of your work?  To be hanging on the walls in galleries and in people’s homes worldwide. 

Where can I find Rob Schwager art?!  In the store, at robschwager.com

* * * * *

sweet_leilani2Need more SCHWAGER?  No problem!  A guy with this much talent needs to be seen and heard.  Click on the links  below to learn more about the artist, see more of his work, and then buy some art for yourself!

Rob’s Homepage is http://www.robschwager.com

Check out his blog too!! http://www.robschwager.blogspot.com

Take a look at Shwager’s photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robschwager

Follow him on Twtter!  http://twitter.com/robschwager

And of course, hop on over to MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/robschwager

Rob Schwager knows how to Uncap What’s Inside!! logo-sharpie-home

Want more Sharpie Artists?  Click HERE to see the creative things people are doing with their Sharpies!  

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Hot Wheels

sportbike

Now this is what I call HOT WHEELS! As a kid you were probablly told never draw on anything with a Sharpie.  Heck, you probablly tell yourself that even as an adult!  Well, leave it to two young guys in Jacksonville, North Carolina to break the rules and go to town on a $10,000 Honda sportbike! 

Spending over 50 hours tagging this bike, Jesse Lockhart, 25, and  Nick Schuman, 27, went by their own rules, took out their Sharpies and simultaneously began drawing on opposite sides of Schuman’s brother-in-law’s sportbike.  The duo decided to name it Shiyonin, meaning “Servant of God,” reflecting their Oriental backgrounds.  And with no professional background, Schuman and Lockhart, with a total of only 4 Sharpies,  uncapped their creativity and drew whatever came to mind!

You may want to take a second, third, even a fourth look at Shiyonin because every time you look, you are sure to find something new!  And no Sharpie fans, you are not seeing things- I asked and yes, that is the Michelin Man and Woody the Woodpecker!  Check out these pictures and learn about how Lockhart and Schuman used their talent to create one AMAZING piece of work.

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Tell me a little about yourself and everyone who contributed!  My name is Jesse Lockhart, I’m a 25 yr old male and  Nick Schuman is a 27 yr old male.  Our wives definitely had a big role in contributing to this bike because.  Alongside our 9-5 work week, we had to work on the bike after hours, LATE into the night.   One of our biggest contributors, we would both have to say is Jesus, for giving us the talent to do it.

How long have you been riding?  I started when I was 8 on dirtbikes, so for 17 years I have been riding.  Nick has been riding for 15 years, starting when he was 12, on a minibike.

Do you have an art background?  Professional artists?  We both have had artistic talent since we were young.  Our minds have always seen things differently that most people don’t usually see – Curves, Colors, Shapes, Texture!  We are not professional yet, but we sport bike 6are well on our way to becoming full-time custom painters. 

What made you decide to Sharpie up this HOT bike? We are in the process of opening our own custom paint shop and we wanted to do something that would definitely stand out amongst the crowd and shine some light on our business.  This bike was actually done for Nick’s brother in-law, who was more than willing to lend a bike to get tagged when he heard the idea of a “Sharpie bike.”

Why Sharpie? Why did you go with Black & White?  Nick and I have always been big fanS of white vehicles ( Both of us and our wives all have white vehicles).  White is very clean and the bike itself is mostly black, so it was kind of a no-brainer that we would both want to do black over white.  All our lives we were told to never to write on anything with a Sharpie because it was PERMANENT, so when we had the chance to use a Sharpie on something big and important like a $10,000 machine, we were all over it!

About how many Sharpies went into this? What kinds did you use? Believe it or not, I had 2 markers and Nick had 2 markers and neither of them ran out!  We both had 1 fine tip for outlining and 1 fat chisel tipped for filling in.

sportbike-21

Did you have a plan? Tell me about the process!  NO PLAN!!! We both stepped back with a blank stare, he took one side and I took the other and we met in the middle.  Whatever popped into our heads went on the bike. Total improv.

I would be terrified to mess up…Who made the first mark?  How nervous were you?    We both started at the same exact time with both of us laughing at what we had gotten ourselves into!  We knew it was going to be a long process.   Then about 10 minutes later we started cracking up at the “squeeekie,squeeekie” sound that came from the tips of the markers- that never stopped.  It was hilarious...we weren’t nervous!

sportbike 5How many bikes do you own? Kinds?  I have a 2008 Suzuki GSXR 600. Nick traded his beloved Honda “Nicky Hayden Edition” RC51 in for his son’s new dirtbike.

Does anyone actually ride it or is it just for show?  Yes!  It is driven daily, we haven’t even been able to finish it.  He (Nick’s brother-in-law) was told to bring the bike back the next day for touchups and here it is a month later and it still hasn’t made it back (he just likes the attention)!

Any other designs in the works?  Yes, but it’s a secret for now.

What’s next for the bike?  Lowering it, extending it, finish custom exhaust, and Sharpie the wheels.

***

Be sure to visit Lockhart’s myspace page to see more photos of Shiyonin and the hard work that was put into creating the design. 

Also, look forward to their new website and new updates on http://www.shiyonin.com/

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Heather and Lola – The Sharpie Answer Girls

Heather and Lola, The Sharpie Answer Girls

Heather and Lola: Sharpie Answer Girls

They’re baaaaaaaaack!  Heather and Lola, the Sharpie Answer Girls.  Heather and Lola work in Sharpie’s consumer affairs department and are here every Friday with answers to some of the many questions they receive from people just like you.

Today’s question is an important one.  I mean it’s not everyday you run into a celebrity and get an autograph on your t-shirt.  The only problem is how to preserve it for posterity.  Heather and Lola are on it…

Q:  My son ran into a celebrity on vacation and had him autograph his t-shirt with the Sharpie marker we packed for marking our belongings. We want to set the ink so it does not wash out. Any suggestions?

Janet G., Tallahassee, FL Continue reading

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Heather and Lola answer your Sharpie questions

Heather and Lola - you have questions, they have answers!

Meet Heather Cooper and Lola Walker, the Sharpie Answer Girls!  Heather and Lola work in Sharpie’s consumer affairs department.  They answer more questions in a day than the mother of a two-year-old!

“We get some pretty interesting questions,” Heather says, “some that even we can’t answer – and we probably know more about Sharpie than anybody : )  I think everybody who works on a brand should work in the consumer affairs department first.  It’s really the best way to find out just what makes a brand tick with consumers.”  (Note to Sharpie brand managers: do a rotation there.)

“Most of the calls and emails we get are positive,” Lola says. “People want to know where to buy a certain type of Sharpie in their area, or whether a Sharpie is permanent on glass (Sharpie markers are permanent on most surfaces).  But every once in awhile we get somebody with a problem, and it’s our job to come up with the solution.  Sometimes it’s a challenge, like solving a Sodoku puzzle.  But that’s why we’re here!”

Heather and Lola will be here on the Sharpie Blog every Friday with answers to your questions, like this one from Beverly in New Mexico.

Q: I notice some Sharpie markers have the ACMI seal on the barrel that says non-toxic. Does this mean I can use them on skin?

Beverly, NM

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